Digital Mini Reviews | When Violence is in Your Blood

Hi there!

Violence, violence, violence. We are bombarded by it in every sphere of our lives. Somehow, we even find entertainment through it! Sometimes, it’s also what you need to see how far one could go to make ends meet. πŸ˜‰


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 in a physical format that I own (ebooks, comic books, TV series or movies).

Click on the covers to be redirected to their Goodreads/IMDB page!
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! 🀣

The Boys Omnibus (Vol. 1) by Garth Ennis.

45168235. sy475
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment.
Pages: 354.
Format: Digital.
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†.
In a world where costumed heroes soar through the sky and masked vigilantes prowl the night, someone’s got to make sure the “supes” don’t get out of line. And someone will! Billy Butcher, Wee Hughie, Mother’s Milk, The Frenchman, and The Female are The Boys: A CIA-backed team of very dangerous people, each one dedicated to the struggle against the most dangerous force on Earth – superpower! Some superheroes have to be watched. Some have to be controlled. And some of them – sometimes – need to be taken out of the picture. That’s when you call in The Boys!
After the opening story arc introducing Hughie to the team (issues 1-6), Dark avenger Tek-Knight and his ex-partner Swingwing are in trouble (issues 7-14). Big trouble. One has lost control of his terrifyingly overactive sex-drive, and the other might just be a murderer. It’s up to Hughie and Butcher to work out which is which, in Get Some. Then, in Glorious Five-Year Plan, The Boys travel to Russia – where their corporate opponents are working with the mob, in a super-conspiracy that threatens to spiral lethally out of control. Good thing our heroes have Love Sausage on their side.

This kicks off perfectly, establishing the premise of a world filled with superheroes, many who are simply worthless scums simply playing the game for various vices within arm’s reach. Once the story arc focused on the recruitment of The Boys concludes, the pacing slows down immensely. The story doesn’t revolve much around the Seven and mostly looks into various secondary superheroes and the insane stuff they’re into. It’s the Batman-and-Robin satiric take that really dragged on for far too long for me, killing the main story’s intrigue quite quickly with a story centered around homophobia.

The artwork isn’t that impressive either, especially later on when it dramatically changes for no good reason.

For those diving into this series because of the Amazon Prime TV series, just go in without expecting the main story of the show. Some ideas come straight from the comics, but it mostly explores side-plots.

The Boys Omnibus Vol. 1

The Old Guard (Book Two): Force Multiplied by Greg Rucka.

45009929
Publisher: Image Comics.
Pages: 128.
Format: Digital Comics.
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†.
Six-thousand-year-old Andromache “Andy” of Scythia, Nicolo “Nicky” of Genoa, Yusuf “Joe” al-Kaysani, and twenty-seven-year-old Nile return to the fight in the critically acclaimed mini-series by New York Times bestselling creators GREG RUCKA and LEANDRO FERNANDEZ!
When you’ve waged war as long as Andy and her squad, you’ve gotten your hands more than bloody. Now, the day has come to confront the sins of the past. But as Nile struggles to make peace with the team, the last person Andy expected ever to see again returns to challenge not only what Andy believes in, but what the team is willing to fight for.

Although it explores Andromache “Andy” of Scythia’s past, this volume seemed to have much less substance than it could’ve had. The concept of immortality doesn’t feel as innovative as it first was but there’s enough world-building to make it interesting as the story explores how these characters with their “gift/curse” can either decide to do good or bad.

The artwork remains constant with the style first introduced in the first volume, with a relatively monochromatic and rough art style. There’s very little detail to the world or characters but it works.

The Old Guard: Force Multiplied #1

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan.

105703
Publisher: Vertigo.
Pages: 136.
Format: Digital Comics.
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†.
In the spring of 2003, a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives. In documenting the plight of the lions, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD raises questions about the true meaning of liberation – can it be given or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live life in captivity?

The idea behind this one is quite interesting. Exploring the concept of freedom through the eyes of captivated lions is definitely not easy, to say the least too. I did have a hard time not thinking of The Lion King here and there, despite all the Rated-R content. The artwork is pretty good though, but there are a lot of plot holes that make this pride’s journey a bit rushed and hard to praise in the end.

Pride of Baghdad: Deluxe Edition

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe by Cullen Bunn.

15789310
Publisher: Marvel.
Pages: 96.
Format: Digital Comics.
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†.
What if everything you thought was funny about Deadpool was actually just disturbing? What if he decided to kill everyone and everything that makes up the Marvel Universe? What if he actually pulled it off? Would that be FUN for you? The Merc with a Mouth takes a turn for the twisted in a horror comic like no other! Collecting DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1-4.

Absolutely ludicrous and wild. It’s painful to watch beloved heroes fall by the hands of Deadpool and his brutal methods. What I enjoyed most about this story-arc lies in him breaking the paper-fourth wall and bringing the reader to reflect on Deadpool’s character’s concept on a metaphysical level.

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe #1 (of 4)

BRZRKR (Vol. 1) by Keanu Reeves.

55169755
Publisher: BOOM! Studios.
Pages: 144.
Format: Digital Comics.
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†.
A WAR WITH NO END. The man known only as B. is half-mortal and half-God, cursed and compelled to violence…even at the sacrifice of his sanity. But after wandering the world for centuries, the Berzerker may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else. In exchange, B. will be granted the one thing he desires – the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence…and how to end it.

It was fun to see what ideas Keanu Reeves had for this comic book series but, boy, did he rely heavily on violence rather than plot to get things going. I’m not surprised that it is already optioned for a live-action adaptation but I’m hoping that the next volume will give this series more substance.

BRZRKR #2

Spawn Origins Collection (Vol. 1) by Todd McFarlane.

26889238. sy475
Publisher: Image Comics.
Pages: 160.
Format: Digital Comics.
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†.
Featuring the stories and artwork (by Todd McFarlane himself!) that laid the groundwork for the most successful independent comic book ever published. Spawn Origins Volume 1 includes the introduction of not only Spawn, but also a number of other memorable and menacing characters, including Malebolgia and the Violator. Collects Spawn #1-6.

I’ve always been curious about this character as a kid but never really looked into it. Having finally seen what Spawn is all about, I can’t say that he’s as interesting as his reputation makes him seem. Sure, his design is nice, his powers are cool, and he clearly has some interesting and ugly enemies to obliterate in the most merciless ways. However, his character isn’t that compelling. While the first story arc is all about him having questions about his condition and his purpose in life, he lacks any true charisma. I guess if you overlook those flaws, he might grow into something more interesting much, much later on.


Have you read any of these?

Share your thoughts on anything and everything with me! 😁

TILL NEXT TIME,

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20 comments

  • I guess I never though about how violent comic books could be. The only one that calls to me is about the Lions in Baghdad, but perhaps it is also really violent. Nice concise reviews Lashaan.

    Liked by 2 people

  • You must be in quite a mood to pick all this voilent content, Lashaan. πŸ™‚ I still have an unread copy of The Boys vol 1 (not the omnibus, mine’s super short). Not sure why I bought it back then, long before there was a show. Probably because it was by Ennis. Too bad The Old Guard isn’t doing better. I do like much of what I’ve read of Rucka but haven’t yet tried this one. Pride sounded fascinating. Reminded me vaguely of We3 in regards to creatures that escape (though beyond that I suspect the stories are very different). But it’s unfortunate it didn’t quite live up to its potential. Not sure why but I’ve always avoided Deadpool, whether in comic or movie form. I remember when I first heard about Brzrkr. Couldn’t help but laugh, especially after seeing the cover. I guess that’s a bit rude, but it is how I reacted. I wonder if Spawn was a product of its time, where you really had to experience it when it came out to fully appreciate, especially if the hype was much less at the time. Though not sure how small the hype could have been considering the name who created it. I’ve yet to read any of the Spawn stories, and there’s a good chance I likely won’t, just too much else to read. Can’t wait to see what you have lined up for the next set of mini reviews.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahah! Violence doesn’t deter me from exploring it, hence my field of study in criminology! πŸ˜‰ I discovered The Boys through the show first and thought the show did a very good job in exploring Ennis’ character and world while giving it an overarching story that keeps things glued together, unlike the comic. I like Ennis’ violent and unforgiving exploration of humanity and still look forward to reading through his past stuff (Preacher was awesome but I haven’t made time to continue that series yet). I discovered The Old Guard because of the movie but I can’t say the comics got a lot going two volumes in… Maybe future movie sequels will draw me in better. Younger, I wasn’t much interested in Deadpool since he was a mockery of Deathstroke (DC Comics) and as DC fan, I didn’t care for Deadpool hahaha With the Deadpool movies and my open-mindedness (yes, I grew up hahaha), I checked out some of the comics so far and I can see why some enjoy his crude humour and violence. Hey, don’t worry, I too judged covers before anything else! BRZRKR just looked like Keanu Reeves fusing John Wick into an immortal modern spy warrior thing hahaha I do look forward to a future trailer of a live-action adaptation of it just to see who will play the protagonist (he looks too much like Wick for him to not play it on top of being a producer and whatnot). I too think Spawn is a product of its time… There’s a new live-action movie in the works for him where they plan to do a proper horror movie out of it so we’ll see more of him soon and we’ll see what the world thinks of the character today soon enough. Thanks for reading, Todd!

      Liked by 1 person

  • Brzrkr seems like John Wick in just another form. One is enough for me, thank you very much.

    Ennis has never struck me as actually talented as a story teller (from synopses, not actually reading him) so it doesn’t surprise me that he goes down all sorts of rabbit trails with The Boys instead of going for a big theme story. People like him seem to revel in the little pointless mediocre stuff that everyone instinctively knows to avoid in general.

    Finally, Spawn. Yeah, you’re not missing a thing. How you feel after 6 issues, it doesn’t change by issue 15 at all 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what I thought too when BRZRKR first appeared on Kickstarted (which is a funny strategy considering how Keanu Reeves could probably pay the whole project easily). It just looked like a John Wick with immortality and in a covert operation team thing. There are already plans to make a live-action Netflix movie/series out of it, so we’ll see how that goes…

      It was indeed rough in The Boys. Then again, I tell myself that maybe the omnibus edition just highlights that issue better than smaller trades. I don’t know if I’ll take the time to read the next omnibus but it should give me a better idea of the origin of my issues. I did, however, enjoy his Preacher series but I also remember your big NOP on my review for it back in the day hahahahahaah

      Yep… I might try volume 2 someday because of how short and easy it is to read but for now, I’m in no rush, especially with what you’ve been sharing lately.

      Liked by 1 person

  • I really enjoyed the Boys, but I actually agree with your critique of it as well. I’ll keep your warning in mind since I’ve only read volume 1, I think… now I can’t remember lol.
    Deadpool Kills Marvel!! I wanna read that. I’ve only tried one Deadpool comic so far and would like to try another one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I remember that you read and enjoyed the first volume (not sure if it was the trade paperback or the omnibus though). If it was only the first trade, I hope the 2nd volume won’t ruin it for you. I felt the pacing so slow and off in it (and soooo wordy to, if I remember correctly).

      I totally recommend it if you’re a fan of Deadpool. Then again, it’s a love or hate it type of deal. It’s crude in its premise and it really goes all out in concept. It’s a short one too (under 100 pages) but I think it’s a trilogy (haven’t read the other 2).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, it was the first volume of the trade paperback. I’ll see how it goes when I return to it πŸ™‚ I need to dedicate a month or something to nothing but comics.

        Liked by 1 person

  • I only half-want to read only The Boys from this list, sorry Lashaan! πŸ˜‰ Most looks like mindless violence-porn, and the art actually looks bad in all of them πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

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