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It's a strange week in the world of horror comics.  Heavy on the stuff from Dark Horse and Zenescope but nothing from BOOM! or IDW in terms of spooky books.  Let's check out what hit the shelves!


Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 6 01

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #6
Published by Dark Horse Comics

Written by Andrew Chambliss
Illustrated by Georges Jeanty
26 Pages, $2.99


After getting some major life-changing news, Buffy has some big decisions to make.  Spoilers if you haven't read the last issue, but you really should have because it was a critical one.  Buffy's knocked up.  She doesn't know who's the baby daddy, but it was probably someone at the big party she threw in the season premiere.  She just doesn't remember.  To help her figure out what to do, she reaches out to Robin, the only person that might possibly understand what she's going through as he was the son of a slayer named Nikki.  We're also given some flashbacks to Nikki's life when she found out she was pregnant and what she did about it.  The action is light in this issue, but the drama is heavy.  Buffy makes a big decision that is sure to cause some controversy.

This was a very subdued issue without much in the way of action outside of the Nikki flashbacks.  Considering the subject matter, it makes sense but I missed the fighting.  There's already a ton of controversy surrounding this issue and I'm sure it's just getting started.

I know I've said it before, but I'm not a fan of Georges Jeanty's art. The basics are covered and the vampires look good, but the noses look all kinds of weird.  They bug me and it takes me out of each issue.



Overall: Threeandahalfstars


The Strain 3 01

The Strain #3
Published by Dark Horse Comics

Written by David Lapham
Illustrated by Mike Huddleston
24 Pages, $3.50


Those seeds that were planted in the first two issues start to come to a head in this month's chapter of The Strain.  The old man with the wolf cane tries to reason with the CDC while the body count rises.  The dead are coming back to life and they're hungry.  These vampires are unlike any others I've ever seen and they're all the more frightening because of it.  I like the way that the book is broken up, giving peeks into the stories of each of the main characters.  Unfortunately, there's not a lot of space to devote much time to each one.  I would have preferred each issue centering around a different character, but I guess that wouldn't work with how the story has to be broken out. 

Although he created one sick cover, Mike Huddleston's interior artwork is a letdown.  It often felt rushed or unfinished and lacked a lot of detail.  He makes up for this a bit when it comes to the undead.  There's a full page spread of reanimated corpses that is just plain terrifying.  Similarly, that chubby guy on the cover who looks like a cross between John Goodman and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is certainly a character that I wouldn't want to run into any time soon.



Overall: Threestars


Lobster Johnson The Burning Hand 2 01 Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand #2
Published by Dark Horse Comics

Written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Illustrated by Tonci Zonjic
24 Pages, $3.50


Lobster Johnson closes in on mob boss Arnold Wald with the help of dame reporter Miss Tynan.  Wald invests in some protection in the form of mysterious couple Kamala, the beautiful spider woman, and Raimund, a man shrouded in shadow. 

This book is so full of pulp that it's bursting out of the seams.  When I read it, I like to imagine everyone talking in those 1920s gangster voices.  "Yeah, see?  You'll never catch me alive, copper!"  I'm really interested to see how the bits of the Hellboy universe tie in to this book because on the surface it's a straight forward vigilante book set in the past, but there's clearly so much more just waiting to come out.

Tonci Zonjic's artwork is top notch.  It fits the setting of the story well.  Mr. Isog, a short man in an all white suit, is introduced in this issue and he's a dead ringer for Peter Lorre.  This makes me want to flip through the first issue again to see if there are any other Hollywood faces. 



Overall: Fourandahalfstars


Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Neverland Hook 3 01 Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Neverland: Hook #3
Published by Zenescope Entertainment

Written by Joe Brusha
Illustrated by Rain Lagunsad and Jim Rodgers
26 Pages, $2.99


Nathan Cross (aka Captain Hook) returns to Neverland in search of his brother, whom he thought dead.  What he finds is death and destruction along with a group of people looking for his head.  Cross manages to escape to Tiger Lily and her tribe thanks to the heavy firepower he has instead of a hand.  Seriously, this is so much cooler than that lame hook.  It can turn into a laser gun, a grappling hook, and more.  I haven't read the original Neverland series from Zenescope, but reading this book makes me want to pick it up right away.  This is a story where Captain Hook is the hero and Peter Pan is the villain.  Pan is allegedly gone but there's a new tyrant spreading fear throughout Neverland.

The art on Hook is split between Rain Lagunsad and Jim Rodgers.  I'm not sure who handled which pages, but if I had to guess, one of them took care of the scenes in Neverland and the other drew the stuff in the real world with Belle.  The former looks a lot better than the latter.  Hook's panels look more epic in scope, which matches up with the action that he's seeing.  While Belle's scenes are much more subdued, the artwork looks rigid.



Overall: Fourstars


Dark Matter 2 01 Dark Matter #2
Published by Dark Horse Comics

Written by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Illustrated by Garry Brown
26 Pages, $3.50


The confused and amnesiac crew of this mysterious spaceship start to find their purpose.  This is the second issue of a four part mini-series and it gets things moving so damn quick.  I liked the premise that was set up in the last issue with the crew struggling to remember anything at all about their lives or why they were on this ship.  They manage to find their destination and head over to a planet that is clinging to life, waiting for the inevitable arrival of a blood-thirsty group of space raiders.  It was around this time that I thought Dark Matter would be a space-age version of Seven Samurai but I'm not sure that's the case.  The cliffhanger ending was jaw-dropping and filled me with all kinds of questions for the rest of the story.

Despite the awesome plot, I really am not a fan of the art.  Garry Brown has an interesting style, but it just does not work here.  Everything looks sketchy, almost like he went over it again and again in a rush to finish the pencils.  Characters often lack features or their faces are covered in what I assume is shadows but it looks like wolfman-like hair or horrific scars.  This issue would be perfect if the art was cleaner.



Overall: Fourstars


Grimm Fairy Tales Myths And Legends 12 01 Grimm Fairy Tales: Myths & Legends #12
Published by Zenescope Entertainment

Written by Raven Gregory
Illustrated by Juanan Ramirez
26 Pages, $2.99


The Beauty and the Beast arc kicks off with this issue. So far we've had Red Riding Hood and Little Mermaid in gruesome and bloody versions as only Zenescope can produce.  This is the first of these stories that centers on a male character, so I'm interested to see how this plays out.  Eddie is a powerful businessman in New York with a rough past filled with regret and an abusive father.  There's a beast lurking within him that's ready to break free.  We're given glimpses of Eddie's dark side, but for the most part he manages to keep that inner demon in check.  Now he's starting to let it out.  Somehow I don't think we'll get singing teacups in this story.

Aside from a few odd facial expressions, Juanan Ramirez's artwork is pretty good.  He manages to convey so much about a character just from the way they're shown in their first panel.  Eddie is confident but tortured.  His father is a lousy drunk.  There's a great effect that pops up throughout the book, too.  In certain scenes Eddie's shadow is that of a hulking beast.  It works very well in serving as a gentle reminder that there's something dark brewing inside him.



Overall: Fourstars


Pick Of The Week

Severed 7 01
Severed #7
Published by Image Comics

Written by Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft
Illustrated by Attila Futaki
32 Pages, $2.99


The terrifying mini-series comes to a close with issue #7 of Severed.  Jack Garron is held captive by a psychopath he knows as Fisher in the house he thought belonged to his estranged father.  Fisher is a cannibal that feeds on children and their hopes and dreams.  I can't tell if he's serious or crazy when he claims to have been doing this for centuries. Severed is scarier because you can see something like this happening, especially back in the day when the comic is set.  Fisher is a downright horrendous villain.

Attilla Futaki turns in some terrific art here.  The covers for each issue have shown Fisher peaking through the center of a beautiful image.  It isn't until the finale here that he finally breaks through with his blood-soaked shark-like teeth.  The realism of the story matches up with Futaki's artwork.  It's not over-the-top or cartoonish.  This is all true-to-life and it makes it much more tense. 

I didn't get a chance to read the first three issues of Severed, but the second half of the series can stand on its own.  There's a nice recap at the front of this issue that can get any new readers up to speed very quickly.  This is the kind of stuff that horror comics are made of.



Overall: Fivestars


Grimm Fairy Tales 67 01 Grimm Fairy Tales #67
Published by Zenescope Entertainment

Written by Joe Brusha
Illustrated by Paul Abrams
26 Pages, $2.99


Sela and Druanna battle Jack the Giant Killer in Limbo!  The pair fall victim to the queen of this dark area, but Sela will stop at nothing to save Erik's soul.  They encounter bizarre monsters and there's someone pulling strings behind the scenes.  I'm still getting into the Grimm Fairy Tales line.  I have some back issues to pick up, but I like the epic nature of the overall story.  This issue leaves a lot of questions, but I'm definitely interested in finding out more.

I really like Paul Abrams' art in this.  He's a definite improvement over the artist for the previous issue.  His work is clean and crisp.  I have a problem with some of the panels, though.  There are no less than three front shots of Sela falling on her ass.  It's practically the same panel each time.  Is she that clumsy?



Overall: Threeandahalfstars


Also out this week in the world of horror comics, but not reviewed here are:


  • House of Night #4 (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Frankenstein Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. #6 (DC Comics)
  • Dean Koontz's Nevermore #6 (Dynamite Entertainment)
  • Living Corpse Exhumed #6 (Dynamite Entertainment)
  • Spawn #216 (Image Comics)
  • Artifacts #14 (Top Cow Productions)
  • Fearless Dawn Secret Of The Swamp One Shot (Asylum Press)
  • Ferals #2 (Avatar Press)
  • Lady Death #14 (Boundless Comics)
  • War Goddess #5 (Boundless Comics)


And in graphic novel news...



So you've heard what I had to say about the funny books this week, but I want to hear what you thought.  Let me know in the comments!








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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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