In this post, from Dark Horse Comics: Orchid #10, DC Comics: Before Watchmen: Minutemen #4, Image Comics: Walking Dead #103, and from Vertigo: American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #5. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to say something constructive about the B.P.R.D. series beyond OMG WTF!?!
Dark Horse Comics
Orchid #10 by Tom Morello, illustrated by Scott Hepburn, cover by Massimo Carnevale
Genre: Fiction, dystopia, action, post-apocalypse
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Things continue to progress in the end all be all battle for freedom from the megolomaniac Tomo Wolfe by the disenfranchised Bridge People, the Shadow Rebels and their leader/former prostitute Orchid. They are assisted by pyromaniac Westin, Orchid’s prostitute peers who are fighting for their respect, and Barrabas who is on a killing spree with help from his animal friends. As expected, this battle is full of blood and gore which Scott Hepburn does so well and also his mechanical animals which join the fray. While not a fan of battle sequences, Tom Morello gives us a nice contrast between action and plot/character development.
Of course it couldn’t be a straightforward battle, that wouldn’t be any fun! We get some much anticipated double crossing as well as some twists and turns. If only all battles were this interesting. Although those Welsh knew how to fight amusingly dirty back in their day… When they ran their own country. There’s also a lovely historical reference to Tomo’s Slave Guards working out of Iscariot (as in Judas Iscariot- the guy who betrayed that Jesus dude). Not surprising for a man who fancies himself someone out of Greek/Roman antiquity. I love me some historical/literary references!
Before Watchmen: Minutemen #4 by Len Wein and Darwyn Cooke, illustrated by John Higgins and Darwyn Cooke, cover by Darwyn Cooke
Genre: Fiction, superheroes, action, prequel
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The Minutemen (in the same vein as Ozymandias) is an in-depth look at Hollis Mason’s autobiography Under the Hood. The narrative oscillates between 1946, the time in which the book itself is set and 1962, when Hollis finished writing the book. Very little time is devoted to the 60’s, but it does give us a glimpse into life post Minutemen and tells the audience what the former heroes are up to. I.e. Byron is in an asylum/home- although to be fair, we basically learned all this in Watchmen. Tell me something I don’t know, this is Before Watchmen, not Occasionally During Watchmen or Everything You Already Read About In Watchmen.
In 1946, we are shown Chapter Four of Hollis’ book “War Stories”. Like the film, it’s full of hokey songs of the era just in case you didn’t get enough of a feel for the time period. This drives me crazy to no end regardless of the medium. I get it, it’s the 40’s! The chapter also gives a more humanizing look at Sally Jupiter and the Comedian as the authors continue to try to humanize him. How could Hollis have witnessed these tangential stories or why he would include his crush on the Silhouette whose lesbianism had her kicked out of the Minutemen is beyond me? It’s your autobiography stupid!
The Walking Dead #103 by Robert Kirkman, illustrated by Charlie Adlard, cover by Charlie Adlard
Genre: Fiction, post-apocalyptic, zombies, horror
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I have been sensing a trend between The Walking Dead comic and “The Walking Dead” television show, specifically that the first 2/3 is too-much-talking-dead and the last 1/3 is HOLY SHIT THIS IS AMAZING I MUST KEEP WATCHING/READING FOR ALL TIME!!! Which if you think about it is super smart. No matter how dull the content, people will stick with it. So smart. The first 2/3 of this issue deals with a lover’s tiff between Andrea a Rick, super secret plans held from the audience and the theme that Rick hating is fun and it’s important to let loved ones in on your scheming. Worst themes ever.
The last 1/3 covers the arrival of Negan, who is in the Alexandria Safe-Zone to take half their supplies. I get that he’s a scary dude but it still doesn’t detract from the fact that he looks like a 1950’s greaser. Soda Pop and Pony Boy are not as scary as they think they are. And how frightening can a man who names his bat after Lucille Ball be? Although he does have the best line in the series. As he reminds Rick after taking his supplies, “In case you haven’t caught on… I just slid my dick down your throat… And you thanked me for it.” Hit-Girl would be so proud.
American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #5 by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, cover by Dustin Nguyen
Genre: Fiction, horror, vampires, action
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
It’s so hard to write or talk about conclusions without giving away major plot points so instead I’ll just touch upon exciting parts in the narrative while avoiding all the implications and changes that the ending brings about. This last issue in the American Vampire spin-off is full of touching confessions as the vampires, humans and humans with vampire blood head out to sea to kill the head Carpathian vampire Dracula, who plans to take over the world. Just a typical day working for the VMS. Attempts to save humanity from bloodsuckers and dealings with waspy villains included.
Other notable favorites include readings from the journals of William S. Harker (a probable allusion to Dracula‘s Jonathon Harker), the sad albeit artistic use of dismemberment by Dustin Nguyen and plenty of vampire mind games. If you thought Dracula was scary because of his giant fangs, you were wrong, the real danger is when he gets inside your head. We saw a little bit of this in American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #4 through Hobbes, but be ready for even more! This is of course not a bad thing as it combines Nguyen’s strong artwork and Scott Snyder’s impressive narrative style. Also blood, so much blood.