One Mad Dog

[Solomon Kane Volume 2: Death’s Black Riders] – (Scott Allie, Mario Guevara, Darick Robertson. Guy Davis)

“Death’s Black Riders” collects #1 to #4 of Dark Horses “Solomon Kane: Death’s Black Riders” series and the “All The Damned Souls At Sea” short story.  It is set in the Black Forest, just like the previous Dark Horse Volume (Castle of the Devil), and features the writing of Scott Allie and art of Mario Guevara.

“Deaths Black Riders” has more of a Conan or even a BPRD/ Hellboy feel to it than Solomon Kane. It is basically one long monster bash from beginning to end and lacks the more considered brooding approach that Solomon Kane normally has. From the moment the book begins the dialogue is confusing and hard to follow and the cluttered and muddy art makes it difficult to figure out just who is talking.  It was quite a way into the book before I actually realized which character was Solomon Kane. The story also suffers from poor pacing and some of the fight scenes and dialogues run on too long.  I quite enjoyed some of the interactions with the priest but the demons were a little too H.P. Lovecraft for my tastes.

Mario Guevara’s artwork was not as good as in the first volume and I found it quite difficult to follow at times.  I liked Guy Davis’s artwork in the short story better but I still struggled a little to follow what was going on once the boat started breaking up. If I hadn’t read the notes in the back of the book I would not have guessed that the boat turned into some kind of sea serpent. Even Guy Davis’s art seemed to be a bit off par. I enjoyed the Mike Mignola TPB cover and Darick Robertson’s excellent single edition covers in the special features.

Death’s Black Riders isn’t a bad book but it suffers from not being a particularly good Solomon Kane adaptation with art that in my opinion is a little substandard. It has some great special features and is still worth a read if you liked the first volume. ISBN-10: 1595825908. 6/10

[Asterix Omnibus Volume 1] – (Rene Goscinny, Albert Uderzo)
December 1, 2011, 8:50 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Albert Uderzo, Asterix, Rene Goscinny

This Omnibus collects Asterix the Gaul #1, Asterix and the Golden Sickle #2, Asterix and the Goths #3 in one pretty large format glossy papered volume. “Asterix the Gaul” introduces the main characters and the magic strength potion and sees our hero and friends defending their small Gallic village from the surrounding Romans. “Asterix and the Golden Sickle”  is the story of how Asterix and Obelix try to get a new golden sickle for Getafix so that he can attend the druids conference. Unfortunately the sickle maker has disappeared and our intrepid duo have to break up an organised crime ring of sickle sellers. “Asterix and the Goths” is the story of Getafix’s trip to the druids conference and Asterix and Obelix’s run in with the Goths who kidnap their druid friend.

All three books are light hearted with plenty of jokes at the expense of Asterix’s enemies. It can take a while to get used to the style of writing as there are quite a few latin references and jokes but after a while the language become transparent. Asterix is translated from the French original (I originally encountered Asterix in my French class at school) and at times the translation is a little uncomfortable but by the middle of the first book I didn’t notice it any more. The different accents are illustrated by using different fonts which can be a little hard on the eye but add a comedic element to the story. I haven’t read any Asterix since I was a kid but I had fond memories of the books and I am happy to report that it is just as good as I remembered.

The artwork and coloring is excellent and of a consistent high standard.  There are  tons of things going on in the backgrounds of the panels and the book is a joy to look at.

This is a great collection that should appeal to both kids and adults alike. It certainly doesn’t feel childish in any way and the sense of humor makes it a light read. The artwork is also great. ISBN-13: 978-1444004236. 8/10