Published on March 1st, 2013 | by Mike Harding0
SONIC BOOM!! In your face, I’m on time this month
As promised, here is the now monthly review of the Boom Studios titles that I have chosen to pick up. As mentioned last month, I was particularly excited about this months releases, mainly due to the fact that there was a Planet of the Apes special being released.
So, on that subject, lets start the reviews with the afore-mentioned special. Written by Daryl Gregory, and drawn by Diego Barreto Boom have released this special as a way of continuing Gregory’s series. With a new artist in tow, the book picks up sometime after the ending of the series that I was a fan of. For those of you who can’t remember what happened in that series, here is a brief summary. When a human assassinated the Lawgiver, Ape City fell into a vicious civil war, which resulted in the humans fleeing their town and going into the wilderness. Voice Alaya took over control of Ape City, and raised Mayor Sully’s son Julian as her own. In the time since then, the child was returned to his mother by a former resident of the human town. Ten years have passed since the horrific violence and a fragile peace is emerging. Voice Alaya has been deposed and awaits sentencing in Ape City’s prison. Meanwhile, Sully has begun to rally forces, both human and ape.
The story is narrated by a mysterious person (who is suspect is an adult Julian), and chronicles the way in which all the various factions (Sully’s rebels, Nerises soldiers, and Golden Khan’s army). The book reveals the fates of some of the characters from the series, and then sets up a story, that’s ends with “To Be Continued…” Normally I hate it when a special doesn’t wrap the story up in the pages it has been given, but if it means that there will be another series, then I’m ok with that.
Next up is Fanboys vs Zombies issue 11, after the shocking ending to last issue, in which the gang watched from afar as San Diego was wiped from the face of the earth by a nuclear bomb, the survivors are now left in the desert, trying to find the facility that Kurt’s brother worked at.
It should be noted that this issue sees a change in creative team, and whilst the ever brilliant, Jerry Gaylord remains on art duties, we have a new writer in the form of Shane Houghton. Shane has written for Image with his series Reed Gunther, he has written the comic version of The Simpsons, Adventure Time, and the Peanuts, as well as being a talented film maker. I feel it polite to correct an oversite here,and mention that Shane has also written the last two issue of Fanboys vs Zombies. This issue also has a great variant cover based on the Harry Potter franchise.
This issue opens with a very ominous image of a zombies arm coming out of the rubble in San Diego. We then skip to the desert outside Las Vegas where the Wrecking Crew discuss plans, whilst Kurt and Amanda flirt outside, this is brilliant, as Kurt’s way of flirting is to comment on the stars, whilst Amanda’s immediate reaction is to ask him if he’s going to “Flashy Thing” her, making a great Men In Black reference.
From there on in, the story flicks back and forth from the Wrecking Crew, to San Diego in the moments before the Nuclear Explosion as Jenna and Brendan try to escape San Diego. We see Amanda vs Zombie Cowboys, and a brilliant panel of Jenna and Brendan embracing whilst on fire, only for Jenna to wake up and realise they have survived.
There are a couple of other great moments, one in particular involves a Zombie attack and the Wrecking crews van being destroyed. Kurt saves the day but then suggests leaving Burger behind, when it becomes clear that they can’t all fit in the only car they have left. The gang rebel against this, however, they do make sure that Kurt is able to leave with them. The issue ends once again with a cliffhanger so shocking, that there is no way I can reveal it.
Next up is Freelancers issue four, last month the girls fought the evil Drachman, who admitted to killing the man who cared for them as a child and taught them martial arts, the episode ended with rival Freelancer Kate shooting Drachman, who later escapes from hospital. The three girls then attend their former mentors funeral.
This month they are back to work after being hired to act as bodyguards for a rapper. It appears that this rapper has been telling lies about his life, and has been using the life story of a notorious gangster to make his background more interesting. The villain in question has now been released from jail and is seeking revenge.
There is also a random moment during the book, in which the girls put a film on, and we get to see the film drawn as a comic. Once again the girls bump into rival Freelancer Kate, who informs them that a colleague from Drachman’s group of Freelancers is working with her, and knows where Drachman is and where he is. It goes without saying this is to be continued. Now whilst this has been a good book, and is an enjoyable read, I’m finding Joshua Covey’s artwork becoming less interesting as the issues progress. This issue in particular feels more cartoonish than the first issue, I hope this is something that he resolves, as the book itself is really good.
Next is Deathmatch, now I missed the first issue of this and I can’t seem to find a copy of it anywhere. The book is written by Paul Jenkins, with art by Planet of the Apes own, Carlo Magno. The book is an action mystery, the mystery part is that a large group of heroes and villains have been transported against their will to a prison. Over the past three issues, the assembled group has tried to work out who their captors are, and why they want them. The second question comes quite quickly, those assembled will fight each other to the death, until only one victor stands. They also realise that any resistance is futile, as once in the deathmatch arenas they seem to have little control when it comes to not carrying out their captors demands.
The mystery deepens, when the detainees discover that they may also possibly be controlled outside the arenas as the worlds greatest hero kills his best friend. The group discover the identity of their captors, but it means little to the reader as this is not a world we are familiar with, there are references in flashbacks to key events within the universe that are having an effect on the relationships we see being played out, as well as the fact that something from that time is responsible for the current situation.
I’ve always liked Paul Jenkins as a writer, even if he was the man who created the Marvel mess that was the Sentry. He has crafted some great stories for the marvel universe including their Frontline story during Civil War. Luckily he is now working for Boom, and providing them with some great stuff, I will be continuing to pick up Deathmatch until the last survivor stands, or they work out a way to escape.
Paul Jenkins also writes our final review for this month, bringing along Spider-man super artist Humberto Ramos for the ride. Originally a Kickstarter project from the minds these two creators, Fairy Quest series is now being released in a single-issue format by BOOM! Studios.
The comic focuses primarily on Red Riding Hood, her Wolf, and their quest to get as far away from their ‘story’ and the Think Police as possible. As an issue 1 and introduction to a new universe, I think Fairy Quest #1 works really well. By the end of the first issue, I had lost track of the amount of “What the?” moments in the book. Lets be honest for a second, this by no means is the first time someone has used fairy tale characters in a twisted manner, in fact Sidekickcast’s own Rich McAuliffe, provided one of the better versions I have seen in last years “Into the Woods” anthology. That being said, this book is by far one of the more original uses of the characters used. The problem with the other books is that a lot of those updated or modernized fairy tale characters in popular media have added grittiness and realism, while Fairy Quest keeps its fairy tale adventure feel.
The dialogue was light-hearted and creative, and I really enjoyed the opening scene where they were talking about the script, as if Red Riding Hood could have possibly been performing an Old English variation of her story. The character interactions worked well to flesh out the plot and universe.
The villain of the story Mr Grimm and his Think police are genuinely frightening characters. Mr Grimm becomes increasingly more annoyed as the book progresses, with him being almost psychotically fanatical by the end of the first issue.
Humberto Ramos and the art team are the real stars of this book. The character designs are so creative that they jumped off the pages. I admire Ramos, as when using characters as old as time, it’s difficult to make them instantly recognizable and also unique to your own style. His interpretations, especially Red Riding Hood, were fantastic.
Even though it started as a graphic novel, Fairy Quest really lends itself well to the single-issue format and I look forward to issue 2. If you are a fan of adventure or the creators, then you owe it to yourself to pick up this extremely strong first issue!