Comixology Submit - Comic Reviews
Awesome -- I bought it, too! I'll add my own thoughts and reviews to the list as I go. I'll probably be a little more haphazard than you, since I likely won't be going in alphabetical order, but more as to where my mood takes me.
Cool, the more the merrier.
I'm not sure I'm going to stick with alphabetical order either, but 'Twas the Night and 51 Serif Street have been staring at me every time I open up Comixology, so they have to be done first. :)
I'll be adding my thoughts as well. I'm glad some folks took advantage of this, because I thought it was the Deal of the Century. I finally went through my purchase list and added a few to my Kindle Fire HD, but I haven't started reading any of them yet. I downloaded $30-40 worth, so I figure I'm guaranteed to get my money's worth.
2. 51 Serif St V.1: The Breaking
Story and Art - Horatiu Radoiu
This was a 52 page picture book about a criminal who thinks he’s going to a glorified half-way house, but is actually sent to something more like an insane asylum.
This wasn’t really my thing, and probably wouldn’t appeal much to me if it was realized perfectly, so I’m not all that anxious to savage it. I will say, however, that its reuse of images and multiple spelling errors seemed a little unprofessional... perhaps I’m just missing some nuance it was meant to convey. In any case, it didn’t appeal to me, but if you enjoy works like Arkham Asylum, it might appeal to you.
Written by: Thomas Kovach and Nishan Patel
Art by: Thomas Kovach
This was a 32 page, black and white comic, about a group of astronauts that have been tasked with exploring a second moon that has popped up beside Luna.
This comic seems to be heavily influenced by 2001 and Childhood’s End, unfortunately, the ideas feel like they’ve gone through a strainer; any sense of wonder or menace is decidedly muted. Both the art and the writing are often hard to follow, (for the art, colour may have made things easier to differentiate), yet when they are clear, they both feel a little stilted. While I’m happy the creators are taking a chance and getting their work out there, this comic isn’t ready for prime time.
4. Blastosaurus #1
Written by: Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones
Art by: Richard Fairgray
This was a 26 page comic about a mutated triceratops who’s hunting some mutated raptors through the past, the present, and into the future.
I found this to be an enjoyable comic, much in the vein of Kirkman’s Super Dinosaur, (perhaps slightly older skewing). The script has a strong comic delivery and the plot is setup nicely. The jumping around in time part may be a bit overplayed, (I suspect this might be confusing for younger readers), and some of the face designs seem a little rough, but it still worked out to a fun read... a nice start to a wacky, light-hearted adventure.
5. Who Needs the Moon? #1
Created by: Todd McCullough
This was a 32 page comic about a werewolf visiting a town with a vampire problem.
Although not a lot actually happened in this comic, I thought it set up things well, developing the atmosphere and whetting the appetite for when the moon goes full. This is a town on the verge of a vampire epidemic, yet there’s more in play, capitalist interests have taken advantage of the vampire plague in the past and ghosts seem to be populating the town and fighting for the attention of our werewolf. So, while you can just feel the battle coming, one gets the impression things might play out very differently than expected.
The art truly shines while showing the landscapes; the detail and the moody colouring draw you in while setting the mood perfectly. The character work is a little rougher, but still expressive in a more simplistic fashion, often using a muted colour scale, (an effect that works well to show the contrast of the ghosts). Overall, a nice package that works with the story.
I enjoyed this comic and I want to see how the story develops. I’ll be along for the ride.
6. Minor Acts of Heroism #1
Written by: Kristen Van Dam and Adriana Ferguson
Pencils by: Adriana Ferguson
Inks, Colours, and Lettering by: Kristen Van Dam
This was a 38 page comic about a couple of heroes who arrange a play date for their sidekicks while they're off heroing.
This comic is a bit of a mash-up of manga and hero comics. The art style would be right at home in anything imported from Japan, right down to the effeminate boy and a hero who's a dead ringer for Sailor Moon's Tuxedo Mask. It brings in the western influences with some super hero action, the American setting, and the back page mock-ups of a newspaper's website. The two are blended together in this story of wards and sidekicks coming together, familiar, but with a twist... Teen Titans for the manga set.
Moth City #1
Writing & art by Tim Gibson
Technically not part of this package, but issue #2 is, and #1 is available as a free download. In fact I had already downloaded this before the package deal came along. I noticed it in the Free list on Comixology, accompanied by Mark Waid's enthusiastic recommendation.
It's a story about an unscrupulous arms dealer, set during the Chinese Revolution. He occupies an island off the Chinese coast, in a facility named Moth City. The color art is a bit rough, but effective: reminds me a bit of Matt Kindt.
This was designed as a digital comic. So first, it is formatted landscape style, which suits tablet screens best; second, it makes extensive use of Comixology's Guided View feature. Guided View brings in additional visual information with each tap. On my phone it was the thing that made comics readable without constantly zooming and scrolling. On a tablet a page displays fine without it, but Gibson uses it in creative ways. One thing he sometimes does is change a character's facial expression without moving to a new panel, something that would not be possible on a static page. He is also fond of fading text captions into pictures, again on the same page in the same panel space.
I found it a little annoying at first, like I was being led by the nose. But I got used to it, and came to appreciate the creative uses. I enjoyed it, and am looking forward to issue #2, which completes Season 01. One thing about the page count: 174 pages sounds like graphic novel length. But the Comixology paging scheme requires each tap to have a new page number. So the first page of story is actually five "pages" long.
7. Henchmen #1
Written by: Jamison Raymond
Art by: Ryan Howe
This 36 page comic follows the path of a recently layed off office worker who answers an ad to become a henchman.
This was an enjoyable comic about a white collar worker who thinks he’s sunk as low as he can go... then he applies to be a henchman. He’s immediately ushered into the costume set, becoming one of nine bowling pin employees working for a criminal who’s based his entire motif on being the arch nemesis of a bowling themed hero. Will our protagonist follow his handbook and bravely face the balls of justice in formation with the other pins or will he take off and become the lone pin standing?
Much like Common Grounds or Astro City, this comic follows one of the off centre participants in the super scuffles. It doesn’t try to get into the deep psychological underpinnings of these under appreciated minions, instead it’s a nice light romp. The art could easily fit in on an Image book and matches the story well. A fun little diversion.
8. After Twilight #1
Written by: Gary L. Watson, Richard Alvarez, and Sandra Yates
Art by: Douglas Brown
Colored by: Meagan Tanner and Chandran
This was a 28 page comic about a Texas that has been taken over by an ultra right wing, religious dictatorship.
Seemingly inspired by 1984 and Nazi imagery mixed with a distaste for Christianity, I’m not sure if this was a comic with a “message” that got away from the authors or if they don’t really know how to tell a well put together story in comic book form. The dialogue was stilted, the world was badly setup, and the art was clunky... not really a fan. This was no Handmaid’s Tale, not recommended.
Written by: Joey Esposito
Art by: Jonathan Moore
This 100 page, black and white graphic novel follows the adventures of Big Foot as he gathers a group of “cryptozoological deviants” to look into who murdered his brother, the Yeti.
I kind of have mixed feelings about this graphic novel. The art seems well done and professional, yet details and actions are often obscure and hard to follow, (probably another case where colour would have helped immensely). The dialogue seems well thought out, avoiding on the nose comments and giving most characters their own unique voices, yet a couple of the main voices are too close, undermining to some degree the uniqueness of the regional accent that’s meant to be conveyed. The story calls for locations that are separated by vast distances, yet one doesn’t get a sense of distance travelled, instead it feels like they’re chasing their tails in a bit of a run-around, (I’m not sure if I’d attribute this to the art, the writing, or both). The plot seems like a smaller, more limited riff on Watchmen, (although perhaps this is just a factor of the noir tropes, after all, the story is very noir... all the last page quotes say so ). In the end, I’d say this is a decent story, worth reading if you like delving into black and white art and you’re in the mood for an old style, detective yarn with a twist, but despite the unique characters and situations, it doesn’t really rise above the basic story form.