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A pretty light week for horror fans in the funny books but a nice variety of titles.  Let's get to the goods.


Pick Of The Week

Angel And Faith 11 01
Angel & Faith #11
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Christos Gage
Illustrated by Rebekah Isaacs
$2.99, 24 Pages

Plot lines converge in this month's issue of Angel & Faith.  Willow shows up on Faith's doorstep holding the broken scythe and looking for help.  She's on a one-woman mission to restore magic to the world and she has an idea of how to bring it back.  It's tricky though, as she needs to access Quor'Toth, the hell dimension that Angel's son Connor grew up in.  This might be tough as the boy has a normal life now and Angel wants it to stay that way, even if it means not speaking to his own flesh and blood.

This issue was packed with so much content it was ridiculous.  This is a huge plot-moving comic and it touches on so many points while answering many questions about Angel's co-stars.  We finally get an update on Connor and Gunn, although it blatantly ignores the Angel: After the Fall series from IDW to do it. 

While Willow is on this quest to bring magic back, she's not doing it for selfish reasons.  I like how author Christos Gage has framed the loss that this absence has created.  Willow explains that there hasn't been a good song, movie, or book since the seed was destroyed.  Suicide rates are up.  People are losing hope.  It's not just witches and demons that were affected.  This is a great explanation for what magic was to not only the supernatural community but the entire world.

This issue lacked some of that signature Whedon wit, but it more than made up for it in the character growth.  What struck me throughout this issue was how adult everyone has become.  Willow -- drawn beautifully by Rebekah Isaacs -- is a woman now.  She's no longer that shy girl that we saw all those years ago on TV.  She's strong and independent and filled with convictions.  All of that is captured not only in her image, but in how she carries herself and stares Angel down.  She realizes that they've both made mistakes in their lives and although she doesn't necessarily agree with what Angel is doing (trying to bring Giles back to life after a natural death), she understands that she has to help him to get what she wants.  There are some fantastic pieces of dialogue throughout this book.

This is the chapter of Angel & Faith that you cannot miss.  So many pieces are put into place for the next several months of the series that you'll be kicking yourself if you don't get in on this.  This is where Buffy fans should be when they grow up.



Overall: Fivestars



Bprd Hell On Earth Exorcism 1 01 B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: Exorcism #1
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Mike Mignola and Cameron Stewart
Illustrated by Cameron Stewart
$3.50, 24 Pages

B.P.R.D. Agent Ashley Strode finds herself confronting a possessed child.  The demon within claims that he can put an end to this hell on earth if another demon is freed from its prison.  This leads her to Ota Benga, an incredibly old man and former Bureau consultant. 

The setup for Exorcism is very much like a proving ground.  Strode is very new to field work.  Sure, she's a soldier, but she's far from prepared to battle demons and spirits.  This could be the mission that puts her into the level of other agents like Abe Sapien and Liz Sherman...or it could kill her. 

The possession in Exorcism is presented in a matter-of-fact way.  Authors Mike Mignola and Cameron Stewart lay everything out very clearly.  It might lack a bit in subtlety, but it more than makes up for it with the story itself.  Mignola has perfected the short story, condensing arcs into just two or three issues, all the while adding to the overall mythos that he's created.

Stewart also drew this issue and he captured the characters perfectly.  Strode has this bright-eyed and bushy-tailed look about her with a very innocent face spotted with freckles.  She could be your kid sister.  It makes you instantly care about her and hope that she pulls through.  Similarly, Ota Benga is a shriveled old man that has clearly seen some shit over the course of his time on this planet.  Stewart says so much with the first panel that Benga shows up in.  He's almost doubled over his cane with his back hunched up and his fingers curled.  A strong wind could blow him over, but there's wisdom in those eyes.

Exorcism wraps up with the next issue but it's clear that Mignola is adding another layer to his Hell on Earth saga with this.



Overall: Fourstars



Fatima The Blood Spinners 1 01 Fatima: The Blood Spinners #1
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written and Illustrated by Gilbert Hernandez
$3.99, 24 Pages

With most zombie stories, we're rarely given a cause for the dead rising.  Fatima: The Blood Spinners makes it very clear what caused this mess.  A drug called "Spin" that would give its users whatever their heart desires, but after only one dose they turn into zombies.  I don't know about you, but no high is worth turning into a shuffling corpse, but such is the world of Fatima.  This is such a widespread problem that humankind is actually dying out.

This makes no sense to me.  It's not like people are using Spin so much that they're getting addicted and then turning into zombies.  They use it once and then BAM, zombied.  I heard about bath salts and that face-eating guy in Miami and I threw out all the bubble bath in my house just to be on the safe side.  How is it that a drug can literally kill you with just one dose and so many people are using it?  I know that humanity has gotten a little dumber over the years as evidenced by reality TV and the state of Florida, but are you serious? 

The main character -- who is not named, but I'm guessing is Fatima -- is a total badass who is setting out to ruthlessly kill as many zombies as she can.  This action is interspersed with flashbacks of how this all started. 

Gilbert Hernandez wrote and illustrated Fatima.  I was hoping that despite it's ridiculous story the art would make up for it, but that's not the case.  Hernandez's work is very flat and the characters look awkward.  You know when you were a kid in middle school and you'd doodle on your textbook?  That's the kind of stuff you're seeing here.  Lots of blood and gore.  Women with huge cans.  Soldiers who inexplicably where tightie-whities on the outside of their uniforms.  Just odd.



Overall: Onestar



Whispers 3 01 Whispers #3
Published by Image Comics
Written and Illustrated by Joshua Luna
$2.99, 32 Pages

Sam is faced with quite a moral dilemma.  Every night when he goes to sleep he becomes a ghost that can float around the world visiting people he has met over the course of his life.  If he tries really hard, he can influence their decisions slightly.  Sure, he could use this ability to spy on girls, but he has stumbled upon something dark and it's killing people.  He describes it as what he imagines pure evil to be, but real.  Now he's caught in between trying to get whatever semblance of a life he has together and stopping this mysterious entity that is ending lives.  But how far will he go to stop this?

Whispers brings up these great hypothetical questions.  Sam is really torn when it comes to his next steps.  It might seem simple on paper, but in practice it can be incredibly difficult.  His actions in this issue put him in a moral grey area. 

While I dig the overall story from Joshua Luna, I'm not blown away by his artwork.  It's pretty average.  The people are bland.  They're like any normal person you'd run into on the street.  I guess that works in a way because Whispers is supposed to take place in the real world so these are everyday people.  Sam's new friend Cali remarks on how horrible he looks and Luna definitely captures that.  He has dark bags under his eyes and he looks a little bugged out.

There are still a lot of questions that are in the unanswered column with Whispers.  We don't know why Sam has this power or what its limitations are.  I'm pulled in enough that I want to find out though.



Overall: Threestars



Witchblade 157 01 Witchblade #157
Published by Top Cow Productions
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Diego Bernard
$2.99, 32 Pages

Becoming a private eye in a new city is not the easiest thing to do when you're being distracted by a bunch of supernatural mumbo-jumbo.  Being the bearer of the Witchblade, Sara Pezzini shouldn't be all that surprised that her move to Chicago has uncovered something called the "Corruption Cataract" and numerous doors to other worlds scattered about the area.  She heads through one such door and ends up in Faerie, which looks like a steampunk version of your average fantasy novel.

I've really liked the Top Cow Rebirth of Witchblade...until this issue.  From what I've read of the series -- which admittedly isn't much -- the story works best when Sara is put against evil beings.  This can be giant monsters set on destroying the world or -- as is the case lately -- more street level supernatural stuff like ghosts and these weird life-sucking creatures.  The current arc, Portals, may lead into the big Corruption Cataract, but it just feels out of place.  Fantasy can fit with horror in certain cases, but this isn't one of them.  Now instead of fighting demons, Sara is squaring off against orcs and saving elves.  If I wanted to read Lord of the Rings, I would do that...and then fall asleep because those books are really boring. 

Although the story is somewhat ill-fitting, the art from Diego Bernard is great.  His pencils are incredibly clean.  The images are very clear and overall solid.  You can tell from the moment you see Sara that she's much more than just a pretty face (which she definitely has).  She's tough and she can take care of herself.  The land of Faerie is expertly designed as well.  When Sara first steps outside, Bernard sums up everything you need to know about this world in one huge image. 

I'm hoping that Portals turns around a bit.  Sara meets up with someone that could bring a more of the basics back to the comic, but I'm not sure how it'll pan out just yet.



Overall: Twoandahalfstars



Prophet 26 01 Prophet #26
Published by Image Comics
Written and Illustrated by Brandon Graham
$2.99, 28 Pages

Prophet just gets weirder and weirder.  I like the book...I think.  I wish I could tell you what it's about, though.  Each issue jumps to a different part of the universe and a different part of the story.  It looks great, but I have little to no idea what's going on.  This month we get a robot or a robot armor that wakes up and needs to contact John.  Why this is the case or what this thing is, I couldn't tell you. 

We're given more snippets as to the current state of the universe.  War has ravaged just about everything and creatures great and small are just trying to get by.  Brandon Graham wrote and illustrated this issue and I love the landscapes that he brings to the book.  There are these huge open shots that just fill you with desperation.  This is what the future holds.  It kind of sucks. 

I don't know if Prophet will be the kind of book where everything comes together in the end or if it'll just do whatever it wants.  I haven't read the first batch of issues from Rob Liefeld all those years ago, but I have a feeling that even if I did, I wouldn't be any closer to getting Prophet.



Overall: Twoandahalfstars



Resident Alien 2 01 Resident Alien #2
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Peter Hogan
Illustrated by Steve Parkhouse
$3.50, 24 Pages

An alien crash lands near the small town of Patience, presumably in Middle America.  He stays off the radar posing as a semi-retired doctor named Harry Vanderspeigle.  He can make just about everyone see a regular human when they look at him instead of a grey, pointy-eared alien.  Life gets a little hectic when a string of murders disrupt the town and now Harry is in the middle of everything and currently serving as the town's doctor.  Resident Alien is like a fish-out-of-water story but with an alien.  There are some humorous moments, but at its heart, it's a murder mystery.  Harry is empathetic towards these people and wants to solve these murders, with or without the help of the police.

Harry's carefully crafted life is on the verge of falling apart with these killings.  He's been able to avoid most human contact for three years while he waits for rescue.  Now he's meeting with people on a daily basis and that brings a lot of risk. 

Steve Parkhouse brings a down home quality to Peter Hogan's story.  He captures the essence of the small town in each character.  Whether it's the freckle-faced rookie cop or Harry's street clothes complete with plaid shirt, you would expect to in a town like Patience.  Things move a little slower here, even when it comes to solving murders.



Overall: Threeandahalfstars


Also out this week but not reviewed here were the following:


  • I Vampire #10 (DC Comics)
  • Justice League Dark #10 (DC Comics)
  • American Vampire #28 (Vertigo)
  • New Deadwardians #4 (Vertigo)
  • Fatale #6 (Image Comics)
  • Marvel Zombies Destroy #4 (Marvel Comics)
  • Dark Revelation #1 (Anarchy Studios)
  • Courtney Crumrin #3 (Oni Press)
  • League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century 2009 #3 (Top Shelf Productions)
  • Waking Dreams End #2 (Zenescope Entertainment)


And in graphic novel news...


  • House Of Night (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Fatale: Vol 1 - Death Chases Me (Image Comics)
  • Magdalena: Vol 2 (Image Comics)
  • Darkness Compendium: Vol 2 (Top Cow Productions)
  • Furry Trap (Fantagraphics)
  • Lovecraft Anthology: Vol 1 (SelfMadHero)


That about does it for this week's edition of Funny Book Splatter.  You've heard what I had to say about this week's comics, but I want to hear your thoughts.  Let me know in the comments!


Buy Buffy Season 9 comics at TFAW.com!







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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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