November 12, 2010

Quickie Reviews – Illyria, Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula, I Am an Avenger

Since I’m picking up something at the comic book store every Wednesday now, I’m trying a new thing. Every week, I’ll provide some quick thoughts on the issues I picked up. I know that a lot of sites do this, so why am I adding to the list? Well, you probably won’t find a lot of Batman or Spiderman reviews (at least, not as of right now) here. It will be more like what you see below. Not exactly indie comics, but not exactly super mainstream. Sometimes it might be; it just depends what catches my eye on the new releases list.

Here are my thoughts on some releases from 11/10. I also have Spike #2 and Knight Errant #2 to review, but I need to dig the #1 issues of each comic out of a pile before I read the new ones.

Illyria Haunted #1
Written by Scott Tipton and Mariah Huehner
Art by Elena Casagrande

I really need just one word for this comic. That word is “Wow” or maybe “Love.” I am a big fan of Angel, and though I was heartbroken by the appearance of Illyria I was also fascinated by her. It was small, but I did feel pity for this being. This godlike creature wandered into a world of humans that is nothing like what she knew. She is resented in her current form because she embodies a girl that was so well loved. Yeah, Whedon is nice like that. From the first few pages, I saw that the writers were also fans of Angel. They have positively nailed everything I remember about Illyria down. I hear her voice in my head as I read her lines. The way she carries herself, proud but faltering is right there in the artwork too. It was like I had one of my favorite shows back in my hands. Illyria is looking for answers, trying to figure out where she fits into this bizarre world. She has so many memories of Fred that she doesn’t know how to handle. She seeks advice from Angel and Spike. It’s fascinating to see into her thought process, part creature-that-was but influenced by Fred. It’s all woven together. The art reinforces the character, and that’s important because so much about Illyria is tied into her striking appearance. I can’t wait for issue 2.

I Am an Avenger #3
The Hulk in “The Smashy Adventures of the Hulk” by Katie Cook

I’ll be honest; I picked up this comic solely because of Katie Cook. I love her work, and when I saw on Facebook that she had a story in this issue… well, I had to pick it up. The story is a one pager in the back of the issue, and it didn’t disappoint. Cook made Hulk insanely adorable. Hulk is kicked out of the Avengers, and we get to see how he handles the five stages of grief. As you might have guessed, he smashes things. But there are also cupcakes, laughs, and all over adorable. I’ll read the rest of the issue soon.

Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula #1
Written by Ian Edginton
Art by Davide Fabbri with Tom Mandrake

This is a follow up to Sherlock Holmes vs. Zombies (which I haven’t read yet). I like Sherlock Holmes; I like Dracula – why wouldn’t I pick this up? The tale begins at sea when a ship at sea is overcome by a mysterious schooner. All on board the ship die, and Holmes and Watson are asked to investigate what happen. As soon as they start investigating, everyone tied to the ship – the owners of the cargo and the charter party – turn up dead. They are killed by something that leaves them looking like bubonic plague victims. One odd clue remains; a hound jumped ashore after the ship came in. No one has seen it since. The characters are the comfortable Holmes and Watson you expect. We get snarkiness (though I’m sure Holmes would prefer a more elegant term), a little action, odd characters, and mystery. Count Vlad Dracul formally enters at the end of the issue. This issue is a great set-up for the series to come. It kept me engaged in the story, and I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough.


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