Thursday, April 2, 2015

So Graphic!!!

I'm catching up on reviewing here and how about those graphic novels!

The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath, by H.P. Lovecraft and I.N.J. Culbard

This was the last big Lovecraft story I had to read. I've had a tattered copy zebra copy somewhere and I had read sections of it before (I was cheating to get more on Nyarlathotep) and I am pleasantly
surprised at how much I truly enjoyed it - I gotta admit the cover for the Zebra edition I had was off putting and I wasn't sure how much I would like the long form of Lovecraft's work in regards to dreams rather than say The Dunwich Horror which is a favorite of mine. I would say Culbard's art is not the best but it does have a minimalist power to it that I do enjoy. He conveys a lot with dark and light that like Mignola is powerful. On the story side of things, I found that there was an upbeat positivity to it that I did not expect especially compared to other Lovecraft tales. This was a great book all the way around, I shall have to read the novel and I look forward to another adaption by Culbard The King in Yellow coming out next month.

Red Sonja: The Black Tower, by Frank Tieri and Cezar Razek

Right off the bat I gotta say Razek's art is great, he has that savage fluid motion and great character representation, he really brings the action to life. Tieri's writing which I have been a fan of for years is tight here - maybe too tight for a four issue limited series but with each closing issue I am glued and Need to know what happens next. Its all unexpected from the Sonja stories I've read before and I gotta see where this goes...
and when it does get to the finale, I am...disappointed.
It seemed a little too convenient and unexplained, perhaps I missed something but if I did it sure wasn't an easy miss. Still I haven't lost any faith in Tieri's writing because everything else has been so good.

Conan: The Phantoms of the Black Coast, by Victor Gischler and Attila Futaki

I read this quick, it has a fast pace and good action. I would not say its a great REH tale - Conan is not quite the Conan we know but he is close as pastiches go.
Conan is king of Aquilonia now and though it has been more than a decade he suddenly needs to be sure that he can put Belit's spirit to rest. OK, sure why not?
We have a mysterious sorceress and two acolytes that for the most part I thought were shoe horned in as I couldn't see what difference they truly made to the story - everything would have been just the same with or without them.
In a lot of ways it reminded me of your basic Savage Sword of Conan tale - that's not good or bad, but you know its just not great. The art is good and I liked the design work but this wasn't anything to call Crom about.

Hellboy: The Midnight Circus, by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo and Dave Stewart

I am so far behind in my Hellboy reading - I still need to review/reread Hellboy in Hell - just not here right now. I wasn't expecting great things here with Midnight Circus in part because the young little Hellboy stuff is good but has never been my favorite by comparison, I've never been as interested in the little guy getting into mischief compared with other world shattering events, so my expectations were low.
Maybe that was a good thing, because this pleasantly surprised me. The art is fantastic ( a good second for Hellboy is it can't always be Mignola himself, and the mystery of the circus captivated me, Mignola keeps that esoteric charm alive, he has demons reciting Lord Byron at one point! I love the references in the Hellboy universe that give it that expansive charm, we are talking everything from Ray Bradbury, Pinocchio to Lobster Johnson and all those dark things keeping tabs on Red himself. Great book for Hellboy fans!

The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie and Chuck Dixon and Andie Tong

I already love the original book and Chuck Dixon has been a favorite comic writer of mine for some time, Andie Tong is new to me but his art is good stuff. I've been wanting to get my hands on this collection for some time and I think it only became available domestically a little while ago, I've heard nothing about the series continuing but I sure hope it does.
We begin with basic introductions of our three main characters and like all of Abercrombies work - it ain't boring. We like people we shouldn't like and are excited to go on the journey with them. If anything I was truly disappointed that it ended so soon as I wanted to see more - I was waiting for Jezal's fight with Bremer Dan Gorst and I was hoping to see a little more of Fenris the Feared - not to mention everything with Logen Ninefingers that could fit into the book. Good stuff! Just too short!


Paul R. McNamee said...

Great to see some graphic novel reviews!

I'm glad to hear that Sonja tale was rather good. Aside from Gail Simone's writing, I find it hard to get captivated by the Red Sonja tales, though Dynamite's Queen Sonja got me a bit more interested than usual. I still need to move onto the second volume of that.

I'll have to watch for that Lovecraft and King in Yellow books.

I have a lot of Hellboy universe reading to do!

Charles Gramlich said...

First law looks pretty cool.

David J. West said...

Thanks Paul, some of these were brand new and some had been meaning to get reviewed a long time ago.

It is Charles.