Category Archives: oni press

Review – Resurrection #10 (Oni Press, 2010)

Things pick up a bit this issue. The ‘Acolyte’ and his ‘Disciples’ find themselves at the mercy of those infected with the alien parasite that makes them look like they are covered in cement and moulded into gargoyles. There is a death (I think, it happens off panel but seemed to imply a death) of one of the major characters and it seemed a bit throwaway as the guy is apparently a bit ‘mysterious’. I had no feelings about the guys death. But I don’t think Guggenheim (in this series) writes sympathetic, likeable or particularly involving characters. What he does write, on occasion, is some great action set-pieces. This is what elevates this issue above the mundanity of the last few Resurrection installments. I was no clearer about anything about Resurrection at the end of the issue. If that helps. It’s just sort of there, mildly entertaining – but I have stuck with this ‘reboot’ for about a year now and I feel compelled to see where it’s going. Not an inspiring review is it? It’s not an inspiring title either.

Review – Resurrection #9 (Oni Press, 2010)

Great cover this month. Nothing to do with the contents inside, but it is a great cover.

The contents inside are okay. I persist with this title because I am genuinely intrigued where this is going. There are some bad episodes, some middling episodes and some great episodes. This falls between ‘middling’ and ‘great’. Maybe ‘griddling’ is an appropriate description. One major character has been ‘chosen’ to receive a ‘gift’ from the alien invaders, and their outcome does not look great. Depending how churlish and immature you are feeling when you read this issue, the ‘gift’ ‘received’ by this character could just as well be a ton of alien ejaculation. It made me smile anyway. There is a bit of running around where people manage to talk long and coherent sentences at the same time – something that always jars with me. Do people have long and coherent conversations when running with purpose?

I thought the reveal at the end was pretty good.

Bill Clinton must be wondering what he is doing in this issue though. He just seems to impress on people he is just an ordinary guy now and that people should call him ‘Bill’. Wonder if the real ‘Bill’ reads it and what he makes of it? He may wish he was in The Walking Dead or Sweet Tooth, because when it comes to post apocalyptic comic titles this one, Resurrection, is well behind the pace of those other 2 titles. But it still has something that draws me back. I just wish I knew what it was. Maybe the knowledge that it has the potential to be a great title.

Also, I could have done without the opening panels reflection on humanity, how we are ‘all’ Road Agents etc. That just felt preachy and turgid, and took away the air of menace about these characters. Ho-hum.

Next time – Resurrection makes it into double figures!

Review – Resurrection #7 (Onipress, 2010)



SPOILERS

The cover of Resurrection #7 boasts the comment;

“Does for Aliens what Walking Dead does for Zombies” (Blair Butler, G4’s Fresh Ink)

which is quite a bold statement. I tend not to agree with this – though Resurrection has its moments, it simply does not have the quality and consistency of Kirkman & Adlards post-apocalyptic epic. That is more in evidence in the current installment, where, despite plenty of action, it all feels a bit flat. The ‘end of chapter one’ of ‘book two’, is certainly not without incident, but it all feels a bit daft really. Our protagonists encounter a new bunch of survivors, who all wear hooded cloaks. Whatever could that signify? I would give you one guess and you probably would be correct. Yes, our survivors have encountered religious zealots, and we are whisked away to a pristine community (in Baltimore, apparently) – where all the buildings and surrounding area are intact (there is some symmetry here with the latest installment (#69) of The Walking Dead). For example, one of ‘The Righteous’, a follower of ‘The Acolyte’, reacts too strongly when one of the survivors mentions ‘bugs’ in the same sentence as ‘the enlightened’. The big reveal of who (or what) ‘The Acolyte’ is at the end, and it is somewhat predictable, but it is executed well enough.

I think the problem with the issue is that it is a lot of people arguing and plotting against each other, and then we meet some people in hoods – and their ‘god’. And a lot of it (specifically, the bickering) is not all that interesting. This issue is a bit of a drop in quality compared to the last few issues. Felt like a bit of a chore reading it. The dialogue is very clipped, monotonous at times, and the cartoon-like art becomes a problem again – probably because of the lack of action etc is not diverting my attention from the illustrations. There is also a mistake in the lettering on page 17 when a characters dialogue is incomplete (the speech ends with ‘the .’).

Let’s hope that this title gets back on track for the start of Chapter Two.

One highlight – a fantastic cover which is the best of the series yet. Don’t see how it relates at all to the contents inside, but it is a stunning image nevertheless.

Review – Resurrection #6 (Onipress, 2009)

The end of book two. About half of this book of six issues have been worth the effort, and luckily if you are reading the singles like I am, the good stuff was all in the latter part. It was so slow to start, seemed to be heading nowhere fast, and then, towards the end of issue #3, something clicked in to place. Since then, it has been an absorbing and well told post apocalyptic tale. I now think that overall, this ‘reboot’ (ie ‘Book Two’) is better than ‘Book One’.

This issue takes it’s foot off the gas, in order to allow characters to regroup and to prepare for the next chapter in this saga, but the way that Guggenheim brings it all together is still fascinating. There are little asides that may have significance, there is now a purpose for the survivors – like The Walking Dead characters, they too are off to Washington DC – and the aftermath of the attack on Red Lion is explored. Someone familiar to readers of Book One makes an appearance toward the end – and this is a signal that both books characters will now begin to converge, and that should present a whole new set of challenges (and threats) for former President of the United States Bill Clinton, his security detail, and the likes of the Lisco’s and Susanne Cooke.

Finally, I just want to say that the inclusion of Bill Clinton in this does not feel like a gimmick – it makes perfect sense in the tale that Guggenheim is telling. This is a story of survival, of rebuilding – of ‘resurrection’. Why would there not be survivors who held office? Why not tell a story where they are involved, where the process of trying to restore order out of chaos is detailed? By including Clinton, Guggenheim has made this story more real, not ridiculous. It is, maybe, his masterstroke.

Review – Stumptown #2 (Oni Press, 2010)

Sassy private dick with a gambling problem gets in way over their head in gambling, has to pay off the debt by undertaking a job to find a young women who has disappeared. Said young women, it turns out, has more then one interested party who are in a hurry to find her, meaning that the private dick gets even further out of their depth….

I am sure some, or all, of these elements sound familiar to those who read Detective / Crime fiction. Stumptown, the new title from Greg Rucka (Queen & Country, Whiteout), and from where the above synopsis is taken, is firmly rooted in the crime genre, and does not stray too far from convention – but there are little twists, and it is with those twists, and the overall storytelling, that lifts this title above the mundane to something that is effortlessly entertaining.

The main twist up to now is that the protagonist is a female. Dex Parios is her name, and the other twist is that, despite initially being portrayed as down-at-heel, she actually manages to support herself and look after her brother, Ansel, who has downs syndrome, an Xbox addiction and a job to try and keep down.

The mystery is thick with intrigue, and well paced – the 2 issues so far sizzling, the tempo occasionally flaring up, then settling down again. Lots of smart dialogue. Matthew Southworth is an artist I have not heard of before, but he really hits the mood of the piece with unnerving accuracy – grainy, grimy and well realised characters.

And although the website isn’t up and running just yet, you need to go and check out the front page – it’s a classic;

http://onipress.com/stumptowninvestigations/

Looking forward to more of this – the plan is to have each case last 4 issues, then ‘Stumptown Investigations’ will take on a new job. One to consider for the pull list.

The Top Comics of 2009 countdown! Number 9 – Resurrection Volume 2 (Oni Press)

Resurrection was nowhere near my top 10 of the year until last month. When the reboot (and god only knows why it was ‘rebooted’, the previous volume seemed perfectly able to continue) of this title launched in the summer, it started off well, but quickly lost my interest. There were some redeeming factors – the addition of the ‘Burns’ (humans who were experimented on by the Aliens aka the ‘Bugs’) and the ‘Road Agents’ (human brigands basically, who seem to like attacking with bows and arrows). Most tellingly, this second volume began with Bill Clinton, back during his Presidency, announcing via an emergency broadcast that the Earth was being invaded. This initial scene packed a real punch, giving the story a footing in reality and quickly engaging the reader. For most of the rest of the issue, it was pretty much ‘so what?’. Issues 2 & 3 were pretty lame, so bad that I couldn’t even be bothered to review them, barely touched when I received them through the post. One sticking factor was the art of Justin Greenwood, which seemed overly stylised (I described it at one point as being ‘filtered through that old Dreamcast game ‘Jet Set Radio’. I could make no connection with it as a way of telling this story of survival on a devastated Earth.

However (and I better get onto the good stuff before I give the impression that this title is utterly without merit) things improved drastically. There was a glimmer of hope at the end of issue 3, where a Father has to make a terrible choice. This was a short story, seperate from the main story, but hinted that there was some hope that Resurrection Volume 2 was not going to be an unmitigated disaster. Issue 4 continued the recovery, with a gripping ‘Road Agent’ attack on a human ‘sanctuary’ called Red Lion (which sounds like a typical British boozer, which itself can be seen as a sanctuary).

Then issue 5 came along, and Resurrection completely (*ahem*) ‘resurrected’ itself. The fact that Bill Clinton, who really saved the first issue, was back again, in a central role was a key factor. You may not think that having an ex-President of the United States as a central character in comic book is a good idea. I beg to differ. Clinton has enough real-life charisma that his inclusion is a bonus to the comic, and the fact he is in it places all the characters in an era-defining event. This is the World trying to get back on its feet. A few key survivors are in one place, with one intention – to stay alive and try and bring order to the chaos that the Alien invaders left behind. The other characters are now being fleshed out, and some tough choices, all concerned with survival (both the individual and collective) are having to be made. Tensions are running high, and the threat of the Road Agents is ever present.

This title is now something I look forward to. It took a while to get going, but Resurrection Volume 2 is telling a gripping story (and the art has grown on me) that promises much in the near future.

Review of issue 1 here

Review of issue 4 here

Review of issue 5 here

Review – Resurrection #5 (Onipress, 2009)

Wow – this is more like it. After a run of interminable issues (beginning with #1 of this reboot of the title), #4, reviewed last month, began to pick up the pace. This time round we get the goods right from the start….

Kicking off with a flashback to 1998, with the White House under alien attack, Benjamin Delacroix makes a fateful decision. The tension and drama are fantastic, really cinematic with a feeling of time running out and quick decisions having to be made. Delacroix’s choices on that day directly effect the way this issue plays out, as the survivors in ‘Red Lion’, including Bill Clinton and Delacroix, try to plan an escape after ‘Road Agents’ (a cross between the Dawn of the Dead Bikers & Mad Max 2‘s Humongus-led band of savages) invade. What follows are a series of running battles as those under attack try to get to a security van that can get them away from the Road Agents.

My previous criticisms of this series included the art. Maybe I am just getting used to the style, or because the plotting and pacing is so exciting this time round, but the art actually worked. The illustration of the flashback scene is especially well executed, especially the perspective of the devastating attack on the White House.

The other criticism, the lack of ‘character’ in the characters, is not as prevalent. Delacroix comes across as a man who under extreme pressure made a choice that, depending on your moral compass, was either justifiable or reprehensible. His actions invest him with more humanity, and make him a more compelling character. Brad, meanwhile, one of the White House staff who was with Delacroix on that fateful day in 1998, reacts in a very human way, his motivation completely believable. His actions lead to a shocking conclusion, where the art really comes into its own, with effective use of panels on a gripping final page.

I have stuck with Resurrection, did not take it off my pull list, even when I could barely get through issue 3 (it was really bad, I could not even muster a few bad words to put in a review). However, this series seems to be on track now. I am glad I stuck with it. Exciting, tense and action packed, Resurrection is a title I am going to be looking forward to next month. If you have not checked it out, then issue 5 is probably a good jumping on point. In fact, I urge you to check out Resurrection. Issue 5 is where it gets very good indeed.