As much as I love my daily dose of superheroes, I also explore many other stories that excludes them from the spotlight. Whether they’re series exploring the supernatural horrors hidden around the world or space opera inviting readers on a journey filled with colourful environments, I’m always on a hunt for a good story. For this collection of reviews, I’m featuring a couple of comic books that I’ve picked up in the past months featuring all kinds of fun! Let’s get on with it already! 😀
This feature published at an undetermined frequency (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, who knows) will present a couple of mini reviews on anything that isn’t a physical book that I own (ebooks, comic books, TV series or movies).
Anything presented in this feature doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t get a full-review treatment in the future. That will entirely depend on how much I loved it, how interested you are in hearing more on it, and how much I have to still say about it! 🤣
Ghost Tree by Bobby Curnow.
What is it about? The story follows Brandt to Japan, running away from the personal problems that he’s been facing, as he revisits his ancestral home and discovers his intergenerational ability to see the dead.
Writer Bobby Curnow illustrates the urge of human beings to dwell in the past and to fear their present problems while also exploring the themes of love, loss, and death, in this refreshing tale dipped in Japanese folklore. With simple artwork, he creates a well-rounded tale that works its way towards delivering a message with dedication and purpose.
Killadelphia (Vol. 1): Sins of the Father by Rodney Barnes.
What is it about? A talented detective is murdered. A son returns to uncover the mystery behind his death. A plot centered around vampires is unraveled.
As fascinating as the premise was, the story suffered immensely with each issue. There was unusual pacing that just kept on going faster and faster, tossing the reader straight into a resolution that was never properly built up.
The artwork is what essentially keeps things neatly together and offers a wonderful style to the series. It’s amazing to find out that these were drawn based on real photos taken by real actors too.
Pulp by Ed Brubaker.
What is it about? This story explores the life of a pulp writer for Western tales that suffers from a company’s desire to move on with his work without the creator due to his age. Unable to find a solution to his inability to find happiness, he has to take matters into his own hands as his life derails and takes an unexpected turn.
This was another phenomenal piece by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. If you’ve never read anything by these two, you’re in for a treat. For how short this is, it is incredible to watch these characters being developed with such attention to detail.
This is a must-read.
The Coldest City by Antony Johnston.
What is it about? The story kicks off with the death of an undercover MI6 spy who held crucial information: a list of every spy in Berlin. This is where another operative, Lorraine Broughton, is sent to find it before anyone else does.
This turned out to be a confusingly obscure espionage tale with little to no action that follows an MI6 veteran operative into a mission in the heart Berlin as its infamous Wall is ready to fall.
The main reason I wanted to read this was to then watch Atomic Blonde (2017) starring Charlize Theron. Yes. That movie is based on this graphic novel. But the movie is a whole other beast.
While it is clear that an attempt was made to give us a kick-ass female John Wick character to look forward to, the over-convoluted plot will go through one year and leave through the other.
The cinematography will, however, leave a lasting impression, offering a neo-futuristic tone and style for a movie that would otherwise be set right in the middle of the Berlin Wall’s fall.
The action choreography, which is absent and non-existent in the original comic book, is entertaining, especially the one-shot scene in the staircase and stretched out for what seemed like forever.
Let’s see if they can improve with the sequel.
★★★½ out of five.
The Old Guard (Book One): Opening Fire by Greg Rucka.
What is it about? Andromache of Scythia is cursed with immortality. Recruiting similar individuals afflicted with this curse, they form a crew offering their combat services to those who can afford it, while keeping their abilities secret from the rest of the world. But some people, knowing their secrets, would do things far worse than death to these people if only they could get their hands on them.
It has a really good premise and the movie plays quite well on the idea of immortality and the relativity of time but the world-building is weak and suffers enormously from not exploring the history behind these characters more profoundly.
The artwork has a unique style that doesn’t shock or awe. It works for what it is but it’s often rough around the edges and makes it especially difficult to enjoy the action sequences. Especially the gore-filled ones.
One again, the main reason behind this pick was to prepare myself for the Netflix adaptation under the same name: The Old Guard (2020).
The movie turned out to be a solid adaptation of the comic book, fully capitalizing on the concept of immortality as these warriors showcase an entertaining and strategic team-based fighting choreography.
If they ever dare do a sequel, it might have the potential to become a truly exciting franchise.
★★★½ out of five.
Invisible Kingdom (Vol. 1) by G. Willow Wilson.
What is it about? Two distinct narratives, one centered around a young religious acolyte and the other around a hard-bitten freighter pilot, collide to uncover a conspiracy that will test their loyalty and beliefs.
The premise for this series is interesting but the execution is a bit flawed, hardly ever succeeding in creating any kind of dynamic interaction or fluid narrative development. It often felt like there were some missing parts to the story, making it seem like it was going faster than it should’ve.
The artwork is stunning and original, sometimes rough and sketchy, but there’s a lot of potential in the colourful and hectic style for a cosmic adventure like this one.