Category Archives: UKERUPP’S REVIEWS

Son Of The Devil & Fight Club 2 Advanced Reviews

Don’t forget that in addition to Cosmo’s review of Divinity #4 we have advanced reviews of Son Of The Devil #1 by Brian Buccellato & Tony Infante as well as Fight Club 2 #1 by Chuck Palahnuick & Cameron Stewart. Click on the images below to read more.

Sons of the Devil 1
Click to read the review by Alex
Click to read the review by Josh
Click to read the review by Josh


Advanced Review of Archie vs Predator #1

Archie-vs.-Predator-1by Alex DeCampi & Fernando Ruiz

No spoilers.
Between this Archie/Dark Horse crossover and the recent Afterlife with Archie, the current trend seems to be to take the good-natured Riverdale teens and kill them off in any way possible. And I couldn’t be more excited! How many times have you rolled your eyes at the corny antics of Archie and the gang (which is usually the comic’s intent) and thought, Man, can we kill these guys already? Chances are, no matter if you are willing to admit it or not, that same thought has crossed your mind. But we’ve already seen that, you say? Jughead already got zombified and unleashed an undead shit storm upon Riverdale. What else can they possibly do? Introduce a predator, that’s what. Similar to the Archie Meets X, we have Archie vs Predator, written by Alex de Campi (of the upcoming No Mercy) with art by Fernando Ruiz.

Continue reading Advanced Review of Archie vs Predator #1

Review of Kanan The Last Padawan #1

cby Greg Weisman and Pepe Larraz
When the deal selling Star Wars to Disney was completed, fans learned that all the stories they’d read in the Expand Universe novels and comics were to go the way of Batman’s ability to sit. The first book in the all-new continuity was the lead in to the then forthcoming Rebels cartoon, A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, detailing Jedi Kanan Jarrus’ life in force exile. Order 66, as seen in Revenge of the Sith, turned the Republic forces against the Jedi and eventually the Republic into the Empire. All remaining Jedi lucky enough to survive the purge took to the shadows or back world planets such as Tatooine (Old Ben) where they would best remain cloaked from the Emperor’s reach. Kanan is one such Jedi.
Marvel’s newest Star Wars comic serves as a prequel to A New Dawn. During the Clone Wars, Kanan fought along side his master Depa Billaba while still using his given name Caleb Dume. When the issue begins, the Republic is sweeping the Separatists off the enemy – conquered planet Kaller, and all is relatively normal. What might as well have been one of the lesser exciting episodes of The Clone Wars, the issue has all the aspects fans have come to expect: snarky troopers, dimwitted Droids, the mentor who is beginning to question the Jedi council’s methods and decisions, and a sinister yet mildly generic villain who is cut from the story far to early to allow more time for the overplayed political debates over whether the Republic is really any better than its opposition.
While I’ve yet to see the show, I suspect the younger viewers of Rebels to be the target audience and the demographic most likely to enjoy the issue. Caleb is the typical kid hero that they’ve been forced to accept in far too many instances. His only saving grace comes in the form of the “beyond his years” existential awareness over where he belongs in the galaxy. Despite the countless lives lost in the war, he feels perfectly at home. Known for his unsatisfied hunger for questions, Caleb isn’t afraid to seek out the big answers. As the group sits around a campfire after having reclaimed the planet from the Separatists, the young Padawan bombards his master with questions. Luckily, when Master Billaba can’t answer them herself, she pulls a holocron out from nowhere (clearly on the list of materials required for going into battle). Fans of the saga know that things are going to get dicey from Jedi fairly soon, so that holocron will definitely come back onto play. While providing the main character with the device isn’t in itself a poor choice (in fact, it makes sense as his bridge to the soon to be destroyed order), he could have come about it in a more natural way.
The problem isn’t that there is no conflict but that the conflict is nothing we haven’t seen before. There just didn’t seem to be anything new or creative about this story. We’ve seen it done before and done better. And the clichéd dialogue does not help matters. When Caleb exclaims that “Life is pretty sweet,” the eyes can help but roll.
However, the issue is not without its merits! Billaba does have an interesting take on the Jedi’s militaristic role in the war. While she believes they should be helping, she does not agree that they should be ranking officials. The Clone Troopers then argue their perspective, coming from a life fully devoted to stopping the Separatists. Her view sides closer to Luke’s eventual stance on the Jedi Order’s involvement in political and wartime matters. (That is, those were EU Luke’s views.)
Now, the issue does end with the troopers getting their new orders from Palpatine to destroy the Jedi, which could be exactly what this series needs. A Jedi on the run from the Empire could prove to be exciting, but it could also turn into a rehash of Miller’s Knights of the Old Republic comic series.
The art was the best aspect of this issue. Larraz’ battle scenes were extremely well done and gave the issue a very cinematic appearance. The cartoon style will go over well with a younger audience. Even if the story was not up to par, the art was worth the price alone.
This is easily the second least inspiring of the Star Wars comics thus far (sorry Leia), but it could turn around. I don’t want to play the grouch. I love Star Wars, so I’d love it if every series was amazing. This one, unfortunately, isn’t.

Review of All-new Hawkeye #1

image by Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez

It has never been a secret that I wasn’t completely in love with Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye series. Don’t get me wrong, it was an enjoyable enough book to read, but I never drooled over it like so many of you here or those in the world of comics in general. The themes were not lost on me nor were the messages mixed in my reading; it just wasn’t my thing. And that’s okay. Read the things you love and don’t worry about the rest. However, when Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez were announced as the new creative team on the title, I decided to give the book another shot. Lemire has always been one of my favorite comic writers, and I’d never seen art from Ramon that didn’t look beautiful (though next to Aja, most artists would appear inferior).
Now, I should preface this review by stating that my Hawkeye knowledge is rather limited. Like so many of the characters Marvel is currently guilty of making me fall in love with (She-Hulk, Squirrel Girl, Ant-Man, Black Widow, etc.), Hawkeye was a character I’d only ever read in a team book or when he’d pop up for a cameo in another, more well established character’s title. Take that as having a positive or negative influence on this review, it could go both ways.
This issues opens and is tied together with pieces of a flashback detailing Clint’s time as a foster child. It is implied that he and his brother Barney are living with a nasty adult who treats them more like free labor than children. Instead of mowing the lawn before playing, the brothers take to the pond for a little frog catching. Here we see mention of Clint’s hearing loss beginning to become an issue. When the boys return home, the “caregiver” is enraged that the chore of cutting the grass has not been done. Barney tells Clint to stay outside, while he goes into the house to confront him. Through the use of blood toned colors seeping across the page, the reader understands that there has been a scuffle. Barney bursts through the front door and tells Clint they need to ride far and fast. They don’t stop until they reach Carson Carnival, where the two would eventually learn the bow and arrow.
Then taking place in the present, Clint and Kate Bishop (now also an archer and NOT in love with Hawkeye) are on a special mission for Maria Hill to infiltrate a Hydra’s supposed weapons depot. But what they uncover is much more when they find mutated children (my best guess as they were shadowed).
This book weaves together the two narratives, and both are a pleasure to read. The desperation felt in the family half brings the heart, while the action and humor in the mission half brings the superhero element readers come to expect. With the exception of Animal Man, Green Arrow, some of his Justice League Dark, and a few select issues, Lemire’s superhero work has always left me wanting, but Hawkeye is another to break the mold. Perhaps it has something to do with working for Marvel editors rather than DC, but whatever it is, it’s working!
Perez’s art keeps the playful tone set by Aja in the last series, but he makes it his own. The flashback portions are where his art shines the brightest. With coloring in those parts by Ian Herring, they take on a life completely unique.
Some people may have been expecting to see something similar to Lemire’s work on Green Arrow (I know I was), but the books are not even comparable. They each have their own tone and establish a different mood. This is something wholly new, and it is wonderful.
Without a doubt, this is a five star book that deserves those extra few bucks.

Review of Predator #2

Predator Fire and Stone 2Predator: Fire and Stone #2
Joshua Williamson & Christopher Monneyham

(Expect a longer article at some point on the whole of Dark Horse’s Fire and Stone event.)

It has been a long time since I paid any attention to what Dark Horse was doing outside of The MassiveStar Wars, and Hellboy. But with the former ending in two months and DH losing the galaxy far, far away, I’ve started checking in from time to time to see what the company was planning to succeed those lost titles. Other than Brian Wood’s upcoming revolutionary war series and Rafael Albuquerque’s Ei8ht, not much else tickled my fancy. But with my dwindling Marvel and DC numbers, I was ready to give anything else a chance.
That was when I picked up Predator #1 on a whim. I went back to my apartment and read it. Minutes after closing the cover, I emailed Tryke at my LCS, asking him to put aside all F&S issues for me. The issue had me hooked.

While Aliens is interesting and AVP is fun, Prometheus and Predator stood above. This issue follows suit, and even finds a way to improve.

The issue opens with a flashback showing how the seasoned veteran Predator aboard the Perses lost his right eye. This allows the story to naturally bring in carnage and adventure to an issue nearly void of both, yet you don’t find yourself missing them when they are not there. Somehow Williamson gives us the human/Predator buddy cop comic we never knew we wanted.

The story is simple. Galgo, pilot of the Perses and all-around scumbag, found a Predator gun. He is tracked down by a band of Predators during which everyone except Galgo and One-Eyed Willie are taken out. The predator retrieves the gun and shows Galgo what he is truly after: an Engineer.

Those of you who’ve seen Prometheus or are reading the series of the same name know that the Engineers are the god-like, malicious beings who created humanity on Earth. Some are big (the one seen in the movie), while others are HUGE (the one in Ridley Scott’s Alien as well as in the Fire and Stone series).

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot because I do HIGHLY recommend picking up the series, so I will just say everything is brutal. And the brutality is perfectly captured by Mooneyham’s art. Scratchy and raw, he depicts the world harsher than the other three artists, and it works beautifully in this context.

Review of Godzilla: Cataclysm #1

jun140360Godzilla: Cataclysm #1 (of 5)
Cullen Bunn and Dave Wachter

Having always been a Godzilla fan, it shocked me the other day while creating Cataclysm entry in the pull lists that I had never read a comic based on this most famous kaiju. Unfortunately, like so many other books I tell myself I should read, I pushed the thought aside. Luckily, while meandering through my local shop Tuesday afternoon, our favorite “comic book guy” Tryke was unloading the boxes recently delivered from Diamond. Sifting through the goodies was like Christmas come early! Set before me as we chatted were the books set to sell the following day, and one of them happened to be Godzilla: Cataclysm #1. I flipped through the first couple of pages, ensuring I at least liked the art. The opening scene blew me away, and I vowed to snatch it up the next day.
One of the reasons I had for not reading anything from this franchise was that I hadn’t read what came before. (As most of us know, that is an extremely stupid reason not to try out a comic, but I feed myself that BS all the same.) Fortunately, everything you need to know for this issue to work it provided in the opening sequence. Years ago kaiju came from the sea, fought each other, and wreaked destruction upon the world. The annihilation of modern civilization’s traditions threw the world into an unshakeable tailspin. Jumping forward, the main story is set twenty years since the last monster sighting, and society is still struggling to rebuild.
As was to be expected, the issue ends with a return of the kaiju…namely, Godzilla.
Overall, I really enjoyed the beginning of IDW’s next Godzilla miniseries. Sure, there was plenty of set-up, but the beautiful art makes it worthwhile. The scope, as best reflected in the panel with the humans walking through a monster’s gigantic footprint, is HUGE. These humans we are following are tiny compared to the whole event.
One complaint I did have was that the issue felt incredibly short. I felt myself wanting more, which is, of course, both a good and bad thing. Either way, I will be back for issue #2.

Review of Batman Eternal #2

Batman Eternal #2

Snyder, Tynion IV, Fawkes, Layman, Seeley, Fabok

Well, this issue topped the first!  We are only two issues into the weekly series and yet this world feels HUGE!  First we have Gordon’s plot.  Arrested for seemingly causing an accident which resulted in the deaths of possibly hundreds, we find that Gordon is sitting in a jail cell awaiting his punishment.  He doesn’t cause trouble or plead innocent.  In fact, he is starting to believe that he may very well have done that which he is being accused.  He blames factors such as age and exhaustion for leading to his mistake, but both he and Batman can’t bring themselves to believe that–though they can’t bring themselves NOT to believe that.  Bruce decides he is going to apply his resources to their fullest extent in order to clear Jim’s name.  His search brings him to Derek Grady, henchman of…

All the while: we get glimpses of the Bat-family (Batgirl, Batwoman, Reed Hood, Red Robin, Batwing, and Harper Row and her brother, Cullen); Selina snuggles her way into the picture; Vicki Vale struggles to begin the media feeding frenzy by dropping the Gordon story, but does so to appease her superiors; Bat-villain Dr. Phosphorus is hearing voices calling to him one name: Blackfire, an insane cult leader; one of my favorite men in green, The Spectre, makes an appearance, leaving us to wonder just how he is involved; and Mayor Hady is paid a visit from an old, unwanted acquaintance, the man behind Gordon’s framing, Grady’s crime boss: Carmine Falcone!

Didn’t I tell you this was huge?!?  It felt like a new character was revealed each time I turned the page.  And by showing off all these characters, hopefully this series will provide much-needed explanations for how they “fit” in the New 52 and which parts of the old universe they are keeping.  Carmine was killed during what may be my favorite Bat-story of all time, The Long Halloween.  Is his appearance in Batman Eternal a rise from the dead?  Unfortunately, I don’t think that is the case.  It appears Carmine was not killed, but rather ran out of town as Batman tells Catwoman.  His death was important to both The Long Halloween and Dark Victory (his corpse is dug up), so most likely those tales are no longer in continuity.  Perhaps portions of Year One are because of the scratches on his cheek which were given to him by Catwoman during the series.  We don’t know yet.

But that is the beauty of this series.  Batman Eternal offers a chance for DC and the slew of writers to provide readers with just that kind of information.

I decided to start using the rating system for those of you curious as to whether or not you should be picking this series up.  This will also be for my own benefit because if the rating drops to poor, I’m cutting this series.  It is just too expensive to buy if it is not good.  Now, I will be rating the series as a whole, and not by individual issues.  Let’s just say that for now you have nothing to worry about when it comes to picking this up!

Villains Month: Joker > Poor > Good > Great > Excellent 


Review of Batman Eternal #1

Batman Eternal #1By Scott Synder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, John Layman, Tim Seeley, and Jason Fabok

I’ve made a huge mistake.

If you remember back when Batman Eternal was first announced, then good because I don’t.  But I imagine my response would have been something along the lines of, “That sounds cool…Wait, it’s a weekly?  Never mind.  Nope.  Not getting sucked into that.”  To be honest, that reaction was more about the cost than the quality of the series.  I was afraid that if I started to read it, I would love it and would end up buy the whole damn series.  Well, I kind of went back on my word and bought the first issue.  To my immediate dismay, I loved the issue.

Let’s begin with that cover.  Jason Fabok did a superb job at conveying just what the entire series is meant to be about: not just Batman, but the entire Bat-Family.  Appearing in the cape are allies such as Red Hood, Batgirl, Alfred, Batwing, and Red Robin and villains such as Catwoman, Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, Riddler, and Penguin.  If all goes as planned, this title should have a HUGE cast.  And that is exactly what I am looking for.  Oh, and there is one character I forgot to mention.  He is standing at the forefront of the ensemble.  That man is Jim Gordon, and it is transparent in this first issue that he will have an extremely importat role in the overall story.

Flip to the first page.  This is the end, and Gotham is burning.  Destroying Gotham is nothing new in the Batman world, but once you get to that third panel, you realize that this is far more sinister than anything we have seen before.  Shackled by chains to what appears to be the Bat-Signal is Bruce Wayne.  Both from the voice telling Bruce that he/she has taken everything from him + the Bat symbol carved into his chest let’s us know that the villain may very well know Bruce is Batman.  Who does the voice belong to?  Did he/she know Bruce was Batman before this story or is this a new revelation?  Either way, after getting a good look at his eyes in that bottom panel, we see that despite looking weary, Bruce seems to still have some fight in him.  While his city burns around him, a fire burns inside of Bruce Wayne.

We then jump to present day where Jason Bard is first arriving in a pre-scorched Gotham City.  This may be Bard’s first appearance in The New 52, but his very first appearance came in a 1969 issue of Detective Comics.  Pre-N52, Bard was a cop working under Gordon while working for Batman.  Not much seems to have changed in his arrival to this new continuity, but this does signify that the creators are going to be reintroducing some seemingly forgotten characters (see the sneak peek in Batman #28 for a “spoiler”).  Jason feels very much like an analogue to Jim Gordon from Year One.  I suspect we will find more similarities as the story progresses.

I’m not going to run through the issue page by page, but suffice it to say that Batman and Gordon team-up to rescue children Professor Pyg is attempting to transform into Dollotrons.  The banter between Batman and Gordon as the dark knight rushes to the scene is prefect.  After B-Man arrives, the baddies run for it and they are forced to split up.  Batman takes down Pyg while Gordon goes after a henchmen named Spider Jerusalem  Grady.  Gordon chases Grady into the subway and seemingly causes the train cars to crash, killing many.  And even while we know the whole scenario was set-up to frame the commissioner, the fun part will be trying to figure out WHODUNIT.

Other than the ridiculous way Gordon’s arrest occurs and the glaring typo on the final page, this was a solid issue.  Fabok nails it on the art, creating a dark and mysterious tone for the series.  Being a weekly, I imagine there will be several issues which miss their mark.  But this was not one of them.  I understand that money is going to be the biggest deterrent to many of you reading this series, and I don’t blame you.  Half the reason I am pull this weekly is so I can let you know where or not it is worth it to check out (not that my opinion means all that much).  My recommendation: pick up this first issue.  As for the second…I’ll let you know next week.

All-New Daredevil #1

Daredevil #1By Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

I’ll admit I was late to the Daredevil party, coming in a few issues after Waid’s series began.  But once I was in, I was hooked.  The upbeat tone (sans Foggy’s cancer subplot) and beautiful cartoon-esque artwork, now by the wonderfully talented Chris Samnee, helped to deliver a unique experience–especially in today’s comic world.  Where so many series rely on a dark, forever brooding character, Daredevil focuses on a colorful and fun experience.  Contributing to the lighter tone is Matt’s move to California, as is now the setting for the All-New Daredevil.
This was the first issue in pretty much the same series–with only the numbering changed and the move from New York.  The issue opens by showing a side of Daredevil we don’t normally see: him playing detective.  Now that his identity is no longer in question (see last issue), Matt is spending some time helping the police department.  Using his heightened senses, Matt traces a ransom letter back to an abandoned theme park, where a young girl is being held.  This is one of my favorite parts of the issue.  Samnee does a fantastic job keeping Matt shrouded in the shadows, giving the reader brief glimpses at him as he works in the station.  The pacing and tone add to his “badassery.”  We clearly know who we are watching, but it is how he is portrayed that carries the scene.
Another great aspect to the issue is how Waid shows just how difficult it is for a blind man to navigate unfamiliar territory.  Matt admits that he lived in San Francisco for about a year a long time ago, but during his time in New York, much had changed.  He no longer knows every nook and cranny like he did back home.  Instead he has to rely on his “friend” and new law partner Kristen McDuffie to read him directions.  Matt will need to become acclimated to his new setting, and it is intriguing to take the journey with him.
I won’t give away too much about the overall plot, other than it is an extremely fun read.  And the end will keep your mind spinning and intimating at what could possibly be the fate of one of the beloved characters.
The only issue I had with this issue was the increase in price.  It seemed like Marvel renumbered the series for no other reason than to bump the price by a buck.  Four dollars is quickly becoming the standard for many series published by nearly all publishers.  I fear that we are on the brink of yet another price hike, as some Batman and Avengers issues have held a cover price of five dollars or more.  Hopefully, I will be proven wrong…