Comic Bastards Reviews for Sept 10, 2014

The blog has received more traffic than usual in the past day or so. It’s either because a bunch of Howl’s Moving Castle fans stumbled across the site, or thanks to the review I did over at Comic Bastards for the most recent BPRD trade. Whatever brings you here, I hope you find a post that gets you reading something you hadn’t considered before, comic book or otherwise. Thanks for reading.

 

 

BPRD: Hell On Earth Vol. 9 Reign of The Black Flame

The worst that can be said about BPRD: Hell on Earth Vol. 9 is that it’s difficult to choose the arc’s most badass moment. Do you go with Agent Liz Sherman in full Human Torch mode crashing through an apocalyptic Manhattan, one-man army Agent Howards slicing baddies like a sushi chef, or the brawl between the team and a giant demon crab? Whatever else is said about this arc, it’d be difficult to argue that at the very least it makes the apocalypse a gorgeous bloodbath where Mignola and company go all out in creating memorable enemies while setting up future trouble for the BPRD and their Russian allies.

Never having read any of BPRD prior to this trade, I was relieved by how accessible it was. Migonla and John Arcudi write a script that establishes each person’s power sets and individual struggles without resorting to extensive exposition. Between the recap page and a few flashback scenes, I quickly understood the BPRD’s current predicament. Sent on a fact-finding mission to Manhattan, two contingents of the BPRD head into the heart of the island to determine what has occurred there following the release of demons caused by Liz Sherman’s earlier defeat of The Black Flame. Lacking radio contact, each team hopes to uncover who’s behind the corporation called Zinco and how they might stem the onslaught of demons. (Read the complete review here)

Prometheus: Fire and Stone #123594

Gonna confess something here: I never saw Prometheus, and I’ll give you one more, I had no idea this comic would be a tie-in to the Alien‘prequel.’ Therefore if I miss out on some crucial aspect of the story in my review, chalk it up to ignorance although the recap page provides some info of what’s happened so far with the Prometheus crew mostly dead, and the Engineers posing a threat to all life. NBD.

This mini-series introduces us to a new crew who believe they are on a run of the mill salvage mission to LV-223, a moon they think is just another barren wasteland. Their captain, Angela Foster, hides the mission’s true intent though, which is to continue the work of the Prometheus crew of finding the Engineers and uncovering the truth behind our creation. Heavy stuff, but don’t worry. There’s xenomorphs and space horror monkeys just around the bend to make this something other than a sci-fi existential exercise. (Read the complete review here)

Black Market #3

Well that was disappointing. We’re three issues into Black Market, and it has yet to do anything that surprises me. I’m not asking that every comic have the type of wicked plot development of The Walking Dead, but it’d be nice if the repercussions of characters’ decisions weren’t as transparent as they are in this comic. Our protagonist Ray Willis has moved from sympathetic and simplistic guy way in over his head to just a very stupid man who doesn’t know when to quit.

At long last this issue reveals what exactly caused Ray to lose his medical examiner’s license and his job with the police, and it was definitely underwhelming. Seeing the events as they actually occurred does little to develop Ray or Denny as characters, and only looks included to set up the next issue’s antagonist. This comic hopes to complicate the notion that Supers are innately good, but it does so by taking Supers to the other simplistic extreme, portraying them as arrogant and sociopathic with little room for moral ambiguity. According to Frank J. Barberie’s depiction, Ray is the comic’s hero just because he’s a little less crappy than the Supers that populate this world.(Read the complete review here)

 

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