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The Old vs The New – A Review of American Gods

By Jarrett Heale for TheComicBookDen.ca

American Gods is the comic adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name. It’s a tale of old gods at war with new gods, and considering I like the author and I know it is successful in all it’s forms, I was happy to have the opportunity to review this book thanks to Penguin Random House.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Season 8 Review

By Meagan Milton for TheComicBookDen.ca

“In every generation, there is a chosen one…”

In less than 10 words, I am drawn back into a TV series that I have loved for more than a decade. Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with the opportunity to re-visit the Hellmouth with the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus (Season 8 Volume 2). This Omnibus collects volumes #21-40 from Dark Horse Books.

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Transformers Drift: Origins and Empires Review

By Matt Larose for TheComicBookDen.ca

More than meets the eye, they were robots in disguise as well as one of the best parts of my childhood, yes folks I am speaking of The Transformers. Although with this review I’m not going to be talking about any of the famous or more well known of the Autobots or Decepticons, I will be talking about one transformer who was in fact a part of both factions, so let me tell you about Drift.

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Green Lantern: Earth One Vol 1 Review

By Ryan Arden for TheComicBookDen.ca

A long forgotten power has awoken again and along with the evil thought to have ended it. Green Lantern: Earth One vol.1 is a gorgeous interesting take on a character that so many love. As someone with very little experience with Green Lantern I found myself wanting more.

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Predator: Hunters Review

By Matt Larose for TheComicBookDen.ca

“There’s something out there hunting us and it ain’t no man…….We’re all gonna die”. This was quite possibly the best quote that I could use from the original movie to describe exactly what this book was about for me. I’ve been a huge predator fan ever since I was a little kid watching the first movie with my dad on Fox for the Sunday movie, sure it was edited to hell and dubbed terribly with every swear word but damn was it an entertaining movie!

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TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 Review

By Matt Larose for TheComicBookDen.ca

Ghosts and villains are terrorizing the world through multiple dimensions, who do you call?! The Ghostbusturtles!………..ok I’m guessing you’re not familiar with this term because you haven’t read this book, well then I guess I’ll use them by their real names, you call the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Ghostbusters. So if I was working at IDW and had the rights to almost all the best 80’s cartoon properties what would I do with two of them? Cross them over of course which leads me to today’s review. Here comes IDW with it’s second installment of this fantastic crossover, being a fan of the first chapter I had high hopes going into this read.

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The Sheriff of Babylon Review

By Pete McNeely for TheComicBookDen.ca

I have had my eye on The Sheriff of Babylon for a while, and thanks to Penguin Random House Canada, I’ve been given the chance to final read this great story. The Sheriff of Babylon collect Sheriff of Babylon #1-12 from DC-Vertigo. Check out my full review.

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Conan the Slayer – Blood in his Wake Review

Conan The Slayer: “Blood In His Wake”

Collects issues 1-6

Writer: Cullen Bunn (Deadpool, Harrow County, Uncanny X-Men)

Artist: Sergio Davila  (Red Sonja)

Reviewed by: Jarrett

 

Shout out to Penguin Random House Canada for the chance to read this book! You may recall that my previous review, also of the same character but from another series of his comics, was my introduction to the world of King Conan, the Cimmerian barbarian (who originally appeared in stories by Robert E. Howard in 1932).

Between reading that first comics collection, and getting more into the lore as well as rules for the new board game, I’ve come to crave the fast-paced, action-packed tales featuring Conan. Taking such an energetic, unforgiving character and putting it into the very capable hands of an author like Cullen Bunn produces this blood-soaked tome; a timeless story of trust/mistrust, jealousy, betrayal, and consequence, filled with equal parts sword and sorcery.

The tale begins in a most familiar way. I’m not sure whether just one other or many other Conan stories start this way, but I love how some of the very first text in this series perfectly sums up most of the Conan mythology: “…and burdened by a tremendous weight…not upon his shoulders but upon his very soul…hither came Conan…marching ever forward. Ahead of him, he knew, was his inescapable ending. Just as, far behind him, he knew…were only the uncountable dead men he had left in his wake.” These words are spread over several panels of art that match exactly what you envision in your head as you read them. Often enough, these books seem to start without really cluing the reader into where he’s coming from, but ultimately it doesn’t matter, and allows you to read them in any order you like for the most part.

Stumbling into an unfamiliar camp of raiders,  Conan is spared and eventually befriends them. He earns the respect of the family who leads the tribe, learning they have similar convictions and codes of honour. As the plot unfolds, allegiances within the tribe begin to come apart at the seams and Conan is forced to follow his steadfast instincts, which have yet to fail in keeping him alive. The elements of subterfuge and betrayal lead to surprising revelations, not only for the characters but the reader; revelations not only regarding the plot, but also about the very “Hyborian” setting of Conan’s adventures.

The artwork by Sergio Davila serves the story well, filling any descriptive gaps with blood and motion. Again, as with my last Conan read, you can feel the intensity of the action and hear the fury of blades without the need for onomatopoeic words like “whoosh” or “clang” clogging the landscape. To that accomplishment, as I came to the story’s conclusion, I put the book down as if it had been a bloody weapon I was wielding, victorious and sated.

I found “Blood in his Wake” to be another great Conan instalment on all levels. Great writers like Cullen Bunn seem to have an easy time with this world, despite the fact in some ways it can appear overly simple at first glance. A good story is a good story, regardless of setting; which isn’t to say this setting is lacking! On the contrary: it is really beginning to reveal to me just how much action and intrigue can be woven from just such a world; a place where sorcery can allow for unknown or surprising elements where a story set in the real past (for example) cannot. The lack of technology and guns allows breathing room as well, prompting both plot and character development. If you’re looking to read something a little different from the most popular titles, and/or something that has a stellar creative team behind, this book will not disappoint.

All Star Batman Volume 1 Review

Batman All-star volume 1

Collects issues 1-5

Writer: Scott Snyder (New 52 Batman, Wytches)

Artist: John Romita Jr. (Amazing Spider-Man, Kick-Ass)

Reviewed by: Peter (Produce Pete) McNeely

 

All-star DC comics (which no longer exists) was an imprint of DC comics which brought together some of the best writers and artists to create new stories using DC’s most popular characters. The main differences between previous All-star titles and All-star Batman is that All-star Batman’s stories are part of the current DC universe continuity. The series features the ever so popular writer Scott Snyder with a rotating cast of well known artists.

Scott Snyder is at it again with the help of John Romita Jr.. Together these two create one hell of a rollercoaster ride that jumps between the present and the past. The story, titled MY OWN WORST ENEMY, has Batman fighting his way across the state (498 miles to be exact) to cure Harvey Dent of Two-Face. Early into the story we find out that Two-Face has put out an open contract on Batman to try and stop him from reaching a house (we learn about this house later on) containing the cure. As the story progresses Batman’s relationship with Harvey Dent is explored, through multiple flashbacks, revealing the childhood interactions these two characters share. Even with over a dozen different villains trying to stop him, Batman with the help of Robin (Duke Thomas) and a few other members of the Bat family, prevail (SURPRISE!).

I really enjoyed the art in this book. It flows beautifully from panel to panel and does a good job of creating an obvious transition from past to present. There is a panel of Batman standing in a field, cape blowing in the wind, which is so simple yet still portrays Batman’s perseverance. Although, of all the characters in this book I would have to say that Two-face is drawn the best. The details of the scaring on his face are outstanding and the use of showing one side of the face to show who is in control is very well done. The colours used are not your typical dark Batman colours. They are brighter and more vibrant making the characters pop out from the background.

Even though at its core this is a very typical Batman story I still enjoyed reading this book. Snyder just knows how to write a good Batman story and John Romita Jr. backs it up with some wonderful art. The book (and I’m sure the rest of the series) will scratch that Scott Snyder Batman itch lingering since the end of his run on Batman New 52. The only unfortunate thing about this series is that the artist changes every story arc, something I am not the biggest fan of. If you can get past this I would recommend hopping onto the series. If you can’t get passed that issue I would still recommend picking up All-Star Batman volume 1 as it is sure to be an entertaining read.

All-Star Batman volume 1 was provided to us for review by Penguin Random House Canada.

DC Rebirth Aquaman Vol 1 Review

 

Review by: Matt Larose

Written by: Dan Abnett

Art by: Scot Eaton, Brad Walker and Philippe Briones

 

DC Universe has now reached an end of an era with the New 52 wrapping up and entering the new phase of comics titled Rebirth. Everyone is beginning their relaunches starting at issue #0 and moving quite quickly into trade paperback format, today I get the privilege of reviewing one of the first with Aquaman. A lot of people give Aquaman grief mainly because they see him as the typical under water guy who talks to fish, sorry folks but if you actually took the time to read his books before passing judgements you’d realize that you’d be pretty wrong, I would know because I used to be one of those people. I started my journey with Aquaman while working at a local comic shop and got dared to try and read volume 1 from the New 52 storyline, my coworker at the time was and will always be an Aquaman fan so I took the dare. Man was I ever glad to be wrong because it was an amazing read and an incredible run for Aquaman. But now that that run is over with we get to start over, not going to lie, I’m quite excited to see where this title goes.

We begin this new tale exactly where the last volume of New 52 leaves off, Aquaman and Mera are pretty much trying to create peace between our society and Atlantis, who knew this task would be tricky, right? Not only do they find trouble with the surface world but there are a lot of citizens of Atlantis, even terrorist groups, that totally disagree with Aquaman when it comes to peace. It was interesting to see the differences and similarities between both cultures over this touchy subject. Differences were obviously how the world was treating the oceans as well as how society in general should be, but similarities in how both societies hated each other but also in how they both wanted change. To say that a lot of opinions were being thrown around would be a total understatement, but that’s what made this story interesting.

One thing I enjoy about relaunches in comics is the fact that characters get brought back in big ways, for this storyline one of my favourite villains was brought back and I couldn’t have been happier, that’s right folks one of our big baddies is back and goes by the name Black Manta! Now for those reading this and not knowing anything about this title or this particular character in general do not fear because in this story you get a brief history on both Aquaman and Black Manta and as to why they are hated foes, and I got to tell you it’s a pretty interesting tale to read. I loved seeing this character returning to the title, I find that Black Manta is a key player whenever telling any tale from Aquaman, he may have a ridiculous costume (depending on the artist) but he is a great villain and deserves some respect for that.

Story wise, it felt like I was watching an episode of a TV series, seeing as how i had just previously finished the last volume of the New 52 run. This volume pretty much picks up the pieces of the previous story line and just starts a new one. The ending of the book didn’t feel like much of an ending but that’s what I found intriguing. The way this volume ended made me want to read the next volume immediately because it didn’t have that finishing touch to it.

Now here’s  my favourite part of this review, the art. In this volume we had artists Scot Eaton, Brad Walker and Philippe Briones. I enjoyed the art in this book very much it’s just for me I get pretty picky, I like when a story stays with one artist in general. I found the work of Scot Eaton to be what was needed in this book, detailed enough with facial expressions and not over detailing on say hair or Aquaman’s armour or clothing. Not to mention the covers for this book were very well done by Brad Walker, my favourite one being the issue with the cover of just Aquaman’s hands in handcuffs.

All in all I would have to say that this was a great story from beginning to end and that Aquaman does deserve a lot more respect than what he gets from the typical comic fan. He’s not just the guy who talks to fish, trust me if you read this book you get to see him go toe to toe with a big gun and he says a lot to them that makes you respect the man just a little bit more. So I say unto you good reader, find volume 1 of Aquaman and have a look see and maybe, just maybe you’ll break that chain of Aquaman hate like I did.

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