December 30, 2010

Quickie Reviews: Illyria #2, Artifacts #4, Black Axe #1, & Victorian Undead #2

Illyria Haunted #2
IDW
Written by Scott Tipton and Mariah Huehner
Art by Elena Casagrande


This comic continues to impress the socks right off me. It's like I'm watching episodes of Angel that should have been. We jump back into the story with a heart to heart between Illyria and Spike. They have some common ground, but Tipton and Huehner have taken that and shaped it into wonderful chemistry. No, not that kind of chemistry. Spike is helping her learn about being human and helping her find her purpose. He's like a mentor. He takes her to see an old pal of his, Frellian Demon Sally because she can help Illyria in her search. There is a little action in this book, but it's mostly about the character development. And everyone makes huge strides. You also get to meet the cutest demon that ever was.

The essence of everything I loved about these characters on screen is right there in the comic plus new and wonderful facets. I really can't say enough good things about the writing and art in this series. Go buy it, go buy it now!

Mouse Guard: The Black Axe #1
Archaia
Written & Illustrated by David Petersen

I am happy to see the release of a new Mouse Guard series. I've enjoyed the stories and Petersen's illustration style since Mouse Guard: Fall 1152. In the first issue (actually a prequel to the book), Celanwe, a member of the Mouse Guard, embarks on a new journey. He was set to return to citadel, but he is surprised by a visit from an elderly female mouse. She tells him they must find the Black Axe. And so a new tale in Petersen's world begins. The world is beautiful. Each panel is a piece of art. The colors, the palette, the textures – the world is fully realized and I want to visit. You will be touched by some of the scenes and excited by others. There is no lack of action. I am excited to go with Celanwe on this quest. I think this story is perfect for children and anyone who likes legends and fantasy.

My only eensy caveat is: I like the font because it matches the style of the comic. It can be a little taxing on your eyes though.

Artifacts #4
Top Cow
Written by Ron Martz
Pencils by Michael Broussard


“The Magdalena stabbed me with the spear of destiny. Of course it hurts.”
Yes, that sentence is one reason why Artifacts is wonderful.
The tale of the thirteen bearers keeps twisting and turning in the latest edition of Artifacts. The fast paced story is already at the end of the first chapter. The bearers have chosen the side they will fight for. All but the thirteenth bearer has come into play. The dark side still has Sara and Jackie's daughter, Hope. She obviously plays a big part in what's ahead, and Aphrodite IV seems intent on keeping her safe. This giant crossover event is woven together tightly. Even with the small things you learn in this issue, mystery prevails. As ever, the character design and art is fantastic. There are two pages at the end with the dark and light sides on opposing pages that kept me staring for minutes. Then I had to go back to look again.

I'm thankful that they include a page that sums up what happened in the last issue. It's a tangled storyline, and I think it's almost necessary (of course, I'm forgetful so I might be a bit biased). I also love the Artifact origin stories in each issue; this time it's the riveting tale of the Blood Sword.

Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes vs Dracula #2
Wildstorm
Written by Ian Edginton
Art by Davide Fabbri


Take a great story, add wonderful art, and then mix in Sherlocke Holmes, Dr. Watson, Dracula, a plague, and Van Helsing. Yes, Virginia, it is the perfect recipe for a fantastic and fun comic. Issue 2 of the Holmes vs. Dracula story brings us closer to Dracula's ultimate plan. He is creating a small (and creepy) army of mind-controlled servants to feed him and protect him. Holmes and Watson discover his hideout and try to put an end to his plotting and undead life. Cue Van Helsing. I don't want to give away the details, but I will say that I am highly entertained by the pulp adventure aspect of this series.

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