Best Shots: DETECTIVE, NECROSHA, Tons More!

The X-Dead Shall Rise in NECROSHA

Best Shots 11-02-09

By the Best Shots Team, courtesy of ShotgunReviews.com

Your Host: David Pepose

Hello, readers, your friendly neighborhood David Pepose taking over for Troy Brownfield this week!

What sorts of Best Shots Extras did we get this week? How about some reviews from your mighty Blog@ crew? Ask and ye shall receive:

Dark Reign - The List: Wolverine #1 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose)

Red Snow (Published by Drawn & Quarterly; Review by Michael Lorah)

Nine Gallons (Published by This Is What Concerns Me; Review by Henry Chamberlain)

Echo: Desert Run (Published by Abstract Studio; Review by Russ Burlingame)

Fables: The Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 and Peter and Max (Published by Vertigo; Reviews by Russ)

Legion of Three Worlds HC (Published by DC Comics; Review by Russ)

Private Wars (Published by Bantam; Review by Mike)

World's Finest #1 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David)

Joe and Azat (Published by NBM; Review by Mike)

Blackest Night #4 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Lan Pitts)

Jennifer Love Hewitt's Music Box #1 (Published by IDW; Review by Henry)

Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer (Published by Slave Labor Graphics; Review by Henry)

Spider-Man: The Short Halloween (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Henry)

FVZA: Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency #1 (Published by Radical Comics; Review by J. Caleb Mozzocco)

Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four Vol. 2 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Mike)

X-Factor #50 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Brendan McGuirk)

Dark Corners (Published by I Know Joe Kimpel; Review by Mike)

But wait -- there's more! Take a look, and give us your comments below!

I Can't Believe I Got TEN BOOKS This Week!

A look at an insanely busy week by The Rev. O.J. Flow

There's probably a bunch of readers here who wouldn't even sniffle at that the idea that 10 books were waiting for them on a given Wednesday, but this week in particular really felt like virtually every title on my monthly pull list came all at the same time.  Rare is it that I buy more than four or five books a week. Shoot, for me this week alone, I got two Superman books, two Batman books, TWO Blackest Night books (for the record, I bypassed Blackest Night: Titans altogether, so I'm referring to the other related books from this week) on top of everything else, so that alone would've been plenty. But with everything I ended up picking up, I thought I'd mention at least a little bit of all so as to not leave anything out.  

(Full disclosure: I am NOT currently getting anything from Marvel Comics or anyone else currently, so this may have the appearance of a DC promotional piece that it's not intended to be.  As much as I lean toward the Time Warner publisher with my dollars, it is not by design that all by books are from them, it's just what's swaying me lately.)

The X-Dead Shall Rise in NECROSHA
The X-Dead Shall Rise in NECROSHA
X-Men: Necrosha One-Shot

Written by Christopher Yost, Craig Kyle, Zeb Wells, and Mike Carey

Art by Clayton Crain, Ibraim Roberson, and Laurence Campbell

Coloring by Clayton Crain and John Rauch

Lettering by VC's Joe Caramagna and Joe Petit

Published by Marvel Comics

Review by Richard Renteria

The first thing readers will notice about the X Necrosha One-Shot is the manner in which the three stories all tie together thematically while still managing to clearly define the roles of the titles involved in the crossover, in this case those titles being New Mutants, X-Force, and X-Men Legacy.

As a set-up to the story this issue works perfectly. All of the main players are given ample time to establish their motives and machinations while simultaneously moving the story forward at a rather quick pace. By the end of the first story, Necrosha Chapter One, the reader is left with a very interesting twist that also thematically ties into the title of the crossover as Selene reveals the next step in her plan.

The other two stories contained in this issue, Binary and The Foretelling, offer the readers some extraneous exposition on other facets of the storyline that deal with the return of Doug “Cypher” Ramsey and Irene “Destiny” Adler, two characters who are seemingly being set-up for pivotal roles in the crossover.

If your first thought is, “but Doug Ramsey and Irene Adler are dead! How can they be in this crossover?” The answer is as simple as it is ingenious, as rather than going the normal zombie route the writers have created a uniquely mutant zombie in that they do not look like rotting corpses and are able to understand their actions while being controlled by the will of their creator. This is a nice twist on an old idea and by using the techno-organic virus as the basis of the resurrections the writers add a much needed layer of X-Men lore to the story.

The artwork throughout the issue is top notch with Clayton Crain providing his highly energetic CGI-inspired artwork for the first part of the story with Ibraim Roberson and Laurence Campbell bringing up the rear. At times Crain’s characters may seem a bit out of proportion but the overall effectiveness of the artwork sells the opening chapter perfectly. While the shift from Crain’s dark and shadowy art to Roberson’s clean pencils and detailed line work is a bit abrupt, Roberson does an admiral job of relaying Doug Ramsey’s story cleanly and effectively. Laurence Campbell pencils the final story with some stylish art that nicely captures Destiny’s dilemma and perfectly illustrates the growth Campbell’s art has taken over the last few year.

X Necrosha is a good example of how to start a crossover out right. By providing the reader with the necessary information to not only understand what is happening within the confines of the story but also the stories potential effect on the X-Universe the writers have set the bar pretty high for the story to come. The story potential and ramifications from Necrosha are huge and it should be interesting to see how the story plays out..

Dark Reign: The List - Punisher #1

Written by Rick Remender

Art by John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson

Colored by Dean White

Lettering by VC's Joe Caramagna

Published by Marvel Comics

Review by David Pepose

This is it -- Frank Castle's last stand. The Punisher has threatened the wrong people and made the wrong enemies, and for his troubles Norman Osborn is finally dropping the H.A.M.M.E.R. on this hard-boiled vigilante. But does everyone come out of this alive? And does Rick Remender and John Romita Jr. get out of this issue in one piece?

In some ways, Dark Reign: The List - Punisher feels a little bite-sized -- but I don't say that in a bad way. To be more specific, this issue has only a handful of scenes, instead focusing on the brutality of the Punisher taking on Dark Wolverine and the forces of H.A.M.M.E.R. In contrast to Rick Remender's tongue-in-cheek tone to Castle's war on crime in the first two arcs, this issue has a tone of finality to it -- Frank knows the enormity of what's coming, and it's all the more heroic that he faces his enemies unflinchingly. Yet Remender also gives Henry -- Frank's former-sidekick-slash-new-Rocket-Racer -- a great desperation to his voice, while Daken has an somewhat gritty but wonderfully vindictive edge. And his Norman Osborn -- well, he proves to be a character that is a joy for Marvel writers to take on, as Remender makes his gung-ho approach both reptilian and charismatic.

But the real star of the show is John Romita Jr. Does JRJR have the same level of simpatico with Remender as opening series artist Jerome Opena? Admittedly not -- Daken, for example, doesn't really get a strong introductory image, as much as he just appears, and despite the inks of Klaus Janson, there is a surprising amount of blockiness to some of his characters, especially Henry. Still, the Punisher himself gets some great imagery, especially a mournful reflection of the weary vigilante in his mobile bunker. While it may not be Romita's cleanest work, however, when Remender calls for it, he gets down and dirty in the best possible ways, especially in the brutal last seven pages of the book. Needless to say, as you might have seen on the cover, Frank gets pretty trashed in this book, but Romita definitely shares the wealth in giving Daken something to remember the Punisher by. Colorist Dean White also deserves some praise, as he gives this book some sickening maroons and dark blues to give everything a real sense of reckoning.

There are some definite flaws to this book, of course -- there will be those who will call the 15-page fight scene insubstantial, that the tone was one-note rather than distilled brutality. For me, however, the biggest issue with this book is that you pretty much know how it'll all end, just based on Marvel's heavy promotion for the it's-so-crazy-it-might-just-work next arc with Rick Remender and artist Tony Moore. I'm not going to give it away, but with me having seen these promo images -- as well as the cover to this issue -- it kind of robs Dark Reign: The List - Punisher of some of its potential terror and tension. Still, the preview in the back of the book of the next phase of Frank Castle's career looks stellar -- and if you're looking for a bridge to get you to this unconventional turn of events, this book certainly takes no prisoners.

Detective Comics #858

Written by Greg Rucka

Art by J.H. Williams III and Cully Hamner

Coloring by Dave Stewart and Dave McCaig

Lettering by Todd Klein and Jared K. Fletcher

Published by DC Comics

Review by David Pepose

Ready... and...  

Go.

After hitting the ground running for their first arc, with their second arc "Go," Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III take a bit of a breather in this issue of Detective Comics. But even while slowing things down to give Kate Kane an in-depth origin story, they still manage to find ways to push themselves artistically.

In terms of writing, this is probably some of the more naturalistic dialogue I've seen out of Greg Rucka, who depicts young Kate with a natural precociousness shared by her sister, Beth. It sets up a nice, fairly stable life for the future vigilante, so that when it inevitiably shatters, it is brutal and to the point. Additionally, Rucka does a fine job weaving the present day -- with Kate wrestling with the fallout of her first nemesis, Alice -- and transitioning it to the past. It may be obvious what'll happen next, but Rucka very well could surprise us.

But Rucka's best service to the comic is the fact that he gives J.H. Williams III some opportunities to shine. Williams does his best riff of Batman: Year One artist David Mazzucchelli, with sparse lines providing all the shorthand we need for some clear-cut emotion. There's a decent amount of panel per page -- usually five or six at least -- and Williams still manages to make it all clear. He also manages to riff on the war comics of Joe Kubert and Kyle Baker in another scene, as he juxtaposes the stars and stripes against Colonel Kane's military past.

That said, if you're looking for Williams' regular style, don't worry -- he still manages to cram in two sets of double-page spreads that look fantastic, with one particularly emotive page of Batwoman struggling under the weight of her sadness, while simultaneously looking for clues. Yet one page in particular -- even without much in the way of images -- just comes off as really chilling, in a very Scorcese sort of way, thanks to Rucka, Williams, and letterer supreme Todd Klein. And the last two pages -- well, it's just masterful composition paired with some powerful expressions. Colorist Dave Stewart also makes some great choices with his color, both in terms of emulating the Year One palette, as well as making the reds and whites really pop in his present-day scenes -- as well as the issue's two-page finale.

What about the second feature, with the Question? Rucka's writing is a little light for the conclusion of Renee's first arc, with things tying together a little bit too nicely for my tastes. That said, artist Cully Hamner makes some nice choices with his work -- who'd have thought giving a faceless person expressions could look so easy? -- especially with Renee's physicality. There's one panel near the end, with Renee ready to lay the smackdown on two hapless guards, that just shows that Hamner knows how martial artists work. In terms of the color, I like the increased diversification in this issue, but occasionally the shadows become a little too overbearing, such as a somewhat messy three-panel sequence of Renee hopping over a wall, and -- time to quibble here -- while I'm finally sold on Renee's one-color ensemble, her blonde "Question" hair looks a little weird to me.  

In short, while there will be those who aren't fans of the decompressed style of storytelling, Detective Comics #858 is definitely one of DC's strongest books this week. With some fantastic art moving in the service of an organically-constructed story, even a breather for this team packs a serious narrative punch.

DOUBLE SHOT!

Detective Comics #858

Written by Greg Rucka

Art by J.H. Williams III and Cully Hamner

Colors by Dave Stewart and Dave McCaig

Published by DC Comics

Review by Lan Pitts

In "Go," we are finally treated to the origins of Batwoman.  It begins with a flashback that had me do a double-take to realize it was still J.H. Williams doing the art in a more simplistic style compared to the more avant garde pages he's been giving us in the previous issues.  We see Kate and her sister Beth in their youth being the army brats living on base and dealing with typical problems military children deal with -- i.e., missing their father who is currently on active duty.  There isn't too much going on here, but Greg Rucka does set up some really good backstory.

Then, it jumps to present time and the more familiar style that Williams has done is integrated in for two two-page spreads which are the best of the issue.  You can see the hurt and anger in Kate's face as she is determined to get to the bottom of her recent revelations.  Suddenly, it flashes back once more and we see that Kate shares a similar fate to that of other members of the Bat-family.  It's certainly kicked up a notch in the levels of violence, and even though Kate never saw what happened (like what Bruce Wayne experienced) it still affected her the same way and led her down the path she walks now.  I can't wait to see where this goes.

With the second feature, we finally get to the end of the Question arc. It's been a slow burn, but Rucka and Cully Hamner's team-up really shines here as they deliver some gritty, espionage action.  Hamner is delivering quite possibly the best work of his career here.  I know this story gets overshadowed over the lead feature, and it would probably have been appreciated more if it was by itself.

One question with the timeline of things has me puzzled (mainly in the feature story with Kate wearing a Superman shirt when she was twelve), but Detective Comics is such an all-around great book right now and easily in my top three of the month.

Marvel Divas #4

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Art by Tonci Zonjic

Colored by June Chung

Lettered by VC's Cory Petit

Published by Marvel Comics

Review by Corrine Vitek

Let’s recap this series. Patsy Walker recently published a memoir about her life as the superheroine, Hellcat. She should be living the high life, right?  Instead, she has three best friends with a lot of (contrived) problems. Angelica Jones (Firestar) has discovered she has cancer. Monica Rambeau (formerly Captain Marvel, now Photon) is dealing with her pseudo-relationship with Brother Voodoo. Felicia Hardy (Black Cat) recently split from her own beau, Thomas Firehart (Puma), over his terrible habit of offering to help her out. Last issue ended with Patsy making a deal with the devil -- literally -- to save Angelica’s life which consisted of her going to hell with her ex, Damian Hellstrom. As this issue opens, the girls are on a mission to save their friend from whatever fate awaits her.

"Sex in the City" this is not -- unless you’re counting the re-hashing of the cancer plotline and girls spending more time sipping margaritas than saving the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love girl-centric comics.  Unfortunately, this just isn’t one of them. The word "misogyny" got thrown around quite a bit when this series first appeared; and while I wouldn’t go that far, this is definitely not a progressive book in terms of obtaining female readership for Marvel.  The women in this comic not only appear desperate to find love but also continually behave like self-absorbed parodies of themselves in order to further the plot.  Felicia is relegated to ungrateful girlfriend in order to keep her independence from a guy who only wants to help her become completely financially successful.  Monica continually treats Brother Voodoo like nuisance instead of the supposed ally he should be.  (Word to the wise: women don’t always behave like raving banshees when angered.) And Patsy was almost completely unneeded in the story.  Actually, most of the series was unnecessary.  The characters felt disposable and the plot went nowhere.

Firestar’s cancer is treated like every other ailment in the Marvel Universe – a plot device.  The cause of her cancer?  Her own generation of microwave radiation.  While the idea of superpowers backfiring on their user is intriguing, I don’t feel that it was handled with enough maturity to really explore the possibilities.  In the same vein a leap of logic is missing with The Black Cat’s decision to return to a life of crime in order to fund her legitimate private investigation business.

This was billed as a Marvel’s  “sassiest, sexiest, soapiest series” with issue #1 and they certainly got one part of that equation right.  This read like a bad soap opera plot.  The only thing missing was a surprising pregnancy at the end.  While it’s easy to see why they went with some directions with the characters – freeing Felicia for appearances in Spider-Man, keeping Brother Voodoo single for his solo series – they don’t always make sense in terms of the character’s or their motivations.   

There were some amusing scenes, including exactly why Damian Hellstrom wanted ex-wife Patsy to return to hell in the first place.  Overall, this lackluster series comes to a lackluster end with no real resolutions other than to paint these Marvel women in an unfavorable light.  It felt as if the creators weren’t sure what direction to take the story, vacillating between Sex in the City parody and dramatic tale of friendship.  As a female comic book reader, I love great heroine-centric series.  Unfortunately for me, this is not what I’m looking for.  For a book about strong female characters, this one falls far from its intended audience.  Unless you’re just a huge fan of any of the characters, you may just want to pass on these “Divas” altogether.

Ms. Marvel  #46

Written by Brian Reed

Art Sana Takeda

Published by Marvel Comics

Reviewed by Brian Andersen

Sometimes bagging on something gets old. I mean, how many times can you keep saying something is ‘bad,’ ‘awful’ or ‘poorly done?’ Sadly, these are about the only words I seem to have for “Ms. Marvel.” Oh, how I long for that future day when the “Ms. Marvel” book becomes an enjoyable read. I cling to my hope that someday, someway, “Ms. Marvel” will reach it’s untapped potential and become a totally awesome comic like I hold fast to my hope that Lindsay Lohan will regain her lucidity and make her triumphant, successful return to acting (I know, the chances for both are slim).

Sadly, since Ms. Marvel has been off the rails for so long now (since, like, issue 10) and I’m not even sure she can ever star in her own well crafted, intriguing, fun, totally exciting superhero comic like she deserves to. I suppose if I have to say something nice about the current issue I can happily say that the long-drawn out “War the Marvels” storyline is finally (finally, finally) over! Thank heavens!

In case you aren’t been a glutton for punishment (like me) and haven’t picked up the comic lately here’s basically what you need to know: Ms. Marvel (a.k.a Carol Danvers) was killed (Nobody cared. No superheroes showed up crying. There was no superheroic ‘funeral for a friend’ moment. No fanfare. No outrage on the blog-o-sphere. Zilch), was split into two beings; the superhero side - which first appeared as three sexy-lady-shaped-energy-beings who later merged to became the superhero aspect of Ms. Marvel - and the regular woman side named Catherine Donovan with Farah Fawcett hair circa 1973. In the meantime the villainous Moonstone stepped in to fill the title of Ms. Marvel as one of the members of the Dark Avengers. Naturally all three Ms. Marvel’s clash and fight and, as per comic book rules, only one can retain the title. Just guess who it is.

Of course it’s the Carol Danvers Ms. Marvel who wins (sillies)! Not only does she win but she somehow manages to remerges her two separated selves to once more become the one and only Ms. Marvel we all know and love, or at least used to love until the book became so wrapped up in every event in the Marvel U that Ms. Marvel as a character is barely even a character now - she’s more like an empty, superficial heroine-cipher that can stand in for any “superhero needed” storyline without adding an ounce of meaning or personality to said story and who is solely un-relatable - but why quibble?

My main problem with this overly-predicable story is just how does Ms. Marvel become whole again and why did she get split into different beings in the first place? This “conclusion” doesn’t really conclude anything. Nothing is explained; aside from a panel that, I think, shows the magical reality warping M.O.D.O.K babies having something to do with everything, but as to why and how, who the F**K knows? It almost feels like the comics creators just didn’t care. So I guess I’m supposed to make my own assumptions? But why should I care when it seems the comic creators can’t muster the same effort? I mean, why should they devote anymore space to explaining anything in their story to make the entire-multi-part story-arch have, gee, I dunno, some meaning other than just one more excuse to have Ms. Marvel interact with as many marvel characters as possible? Their contempt for their reading audience is deafening.

Ok, so screw what I said in the beginning, this book is bad. And I hate that I hate this book right now, but man, I do. Each issue is just another big fat let down. Yet I keep coming back. Like a jilted lover I can’t seem to quit Ms. Marvel. As much a I dislike this book, I suppose I still have hope for a better tomorrow. There’s always hope! Right?

Dark Avengers: Ares #1

Written by Kieron Gillen

Art by Manuel Garcia, Stegano Gaudiano and Mark Pennington

Coloring by Jose Villarrubia

Lettering by Dave Lanphear

Published by Marvel Comics

Review by David Pepose

With the grit of Heartbreak Ridge and the bravado of 300, Dark Avengers: Ares #1 is the training day from hell, as Marvel's God of War finally wields the one weapon he has never owned: an army of his own. As an opener, this book definitely punches above its weight class, even as the issue's second half shoots itself in the foot.

Writer Kieron Gillen certainly opens the book with a bang, as we are introduced to Team Shade, a team of hardened troops who are meant to become the ultimate warriors under Ares' command. Gillen introduces Ares in style, as he shows that being the God of War doesn't cover trappings like diplomacy, the Geneva Convention, or even running into battle with enough bullets: "No one I select for my squad of shades will ever lose a fight for the rest of their life," he says. "It's just that the ret of your life may be somewhat shorter than you expect." It's certainly bombastic in the vein of 300, but you know something? It feels right for Ares as a character.

In terms of the art, Manuel Garcia -- along with inkers Stegano Gaudiano and Mark Pennington -- have a nice gritty look for this book that I think really fits the tone Gillen has put together. Each of Ares' Shades has distinctive features that do wonders for understanding the story, and they do a great job at making Ares look like a fierce commander even when he's standing and talking. Colorist Jose Villarrubia in particular deserves some praise, as he takes this artwork and pushes it to the absolute limit of how it can look.

There's only one problem -- but unfortunately, it's a problem that, once made, just snowballs through the second half the book. Without spoiling too much, Gillen issues a questionable design choice for the pack of Shades that totally took me out of the story -- when one soldier says, "Check out the Top Gun revival," he's not too far off the mark. While Gillen tries his hardest to handwave away this development, his art team just can't pull the gag off without looking completely chuckleworthy -- indeed, one image of Ares imagining the warriors of Sparta and the horrors of two World Wars are kind of undercut with this goofy-looking... well, we'll call it a "symbol" and leave it at that.

Even though this misstep occurs in just five out of 22 pages, it's certainly a big black eye for what otherwise could be a prizefighter of a first issue. Combine that with an ending that feels a bit forced, and this issue is certainly a mixed bag. Do I think that this series will survive a second incursion? I can't say for certain -- but if Gillen can keep writing like he did for the first half of this book, it may be a necessary evil to get us going into the real story. If you're interested in wartime action, and can stomach a weak second half in exchange for one hard-hitting introduction, Dark Avengers: Ares #1 is definitely for you.

PELLET REVIEWS!

Fantastic Four #572 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Erich Reinstadler): The multi-part "Solve Everything" arc comes to an end, and I have to warn you, terrible things happen to Reed Richards. As well as Reed Richards, Reed Richards and Reed Richards. But fear not, for Reed, Reed, Reed, Reed and Reed (as well as other Reed Richardses) are all fine. Except for Reed Richards. Yuck. What happens to him is not pretty. If you haven't read the last few issues, let me catch you up -- our Reed was brought into a multidimensional group of other Reed Richardses with the goal of, as the title subtly hints, solving everything. Ending war, plague, famine and so on, to bring a new level of peace and prosperity to his Earth. Unfortunately, another Reed managed to piss off the Celestials of Earth-4280. To call the results 'disasterous' would be a dramatic understatement. Writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Dale Eaglesham deliver a satisfying conclusion to the story, delivering some emotional impact as well as some very impressive action. Outside of this run, I don't think I could name another book Hickman's done, but from now on, I will be on the lookout for his name. As for Eaglesham, his art is never less than outstanding. Enjoyable story, and I feel that it's leading to more readitional "Fantastic Four as a family" type stories again. An end to the internal turmoil, and a trimphant return to the heart and soul of the Marvel universe.

New Mutants #6 (Marvel Comics, Review by Richard Renteria): As Necrosha begins in earnest, writer Zeb Wells picks up the threads of his story from the one-shot and in the course of 22 pages has really made me like the New Mutants. With his efficient writing style and effective characterization, Wells takes the reader on emotionally-driven story that includes the New Mutants' reunion with Professor Xavier and ends in shocking tragedy after a reunion with their former teammates Doug Ramsey and Warlock. Showing a complete set of skills with his clean lines and detailed action scenes, Diogenes Neves proves once again that his talents are quickly excelling to A-list caliber. An understanding of comic book anatomy and effective page layout also help Neves’s visuals. The stunning final page cliffhanger is not only perfectly drawn, but it also brings Wells's narrative full circle from the issue's opening pages. If this issue of New Mutants is an example of what we can expect from the X Necrosha crossover titles, Marvel is sure to have a lot of happy X-fans.

Gotham City Sirens #5 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Amanda McDonald): When we last saw the Sirens, Selina's apartment had been set ablaze by a jealous Joker coming after Harley. Ivy sacrifices one of her precious cacti to engulf the flames in cactus water and goo, and Selina brings in Jenna Duffy, a.k.a "The Carpenter" of the Wonderland Gang, to fix everything up. Heading out to confront Joker, the ladies break into one of his storage facilities, but Harley keeps alluding that something isn't quite right. Unable to maintain his Joker facade, Harley identifies the man who has been after her as Silver Age villain and former Joker sidekick, Gaggy. While small in stature, he proves to be a formidable foe and we're left wondering how the Sirens will get themselves out of his grasp in the next issue. After mentioning my appreciation for Jose Villarrubia's vibrant colors in my last review, I was curious when I saw this issue was by a colorist I was unfamiliar with -- Tomeu Morey. Morey's colors are much more subdued. I prefer the vibrancy of Villarrubia's work, but I did note that Morey's color palette was a good lead in to the preview of the Batman/Doc Savage Special that closes the book, and also has a very subtle color scheme. Hopefully we'll see a return of Villarrubia in issue six, as his colors really do better fit the fun tone of the book set by Guillem March's art style and Paul Dini's storytelling.

Anita Blake The Laughing Corpse: Executioner #1 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Corrine Vitek): While not the most action packed of issues, Anita Blake The Laughing Corpse: Executioner #1 picks up with some important exposition details that at times are almost verbatim from the novel. It picks up in the middle of the current investigation without a lot of time for new readers to play catch-up. The ending is another cliffhanger but hopefully next issue we’ll see more undead slaying action from Anita and company. As a Laurell K. Hamilton fan, I’ve been keeping up with these graphic novelizations most of the time -- and while they’ve been very true to the heart of the series, the comics haven’t added much to the experience. I’ll admit that the art in this series is starting to grow on me, but it still doesn’t capture the creepy noir feel of the first few novels.

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