This trade paperback is the first in a series of graphic novel interpretations of the late Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series “The Eye Of The World”. I read the prose novel “The Wheel of Time”, upon which this graphic novel is based, about 15 years ago and really enjoyed it. Reading it in graphic novel format did not bring back any memories at all of the original book and I don’t seem to remember the original being quite so generic in it’s high fantasy plot lines. Even though the book felt very much like a Lord of The Rings spin-off I still really enjoyed reading it and it felt well paced and encouraged me to not put it down.
For a hardcover this TPB uses pretty cheap quality paper and the first 10 pages of my copy were crinkled. The cover art is a good indication of the art inside but when I first got the book I thought the colors had faded in the sun. This is not the case and the entire book has a unsatisfactory color pallete that is reminiscent of a color book that has been left in a shop window too long. My copy was from Amazon and was factory sealed so the color pallete is deliberate.
The art in The Wheel of Time isn’t to my liking and it seems very low rent to me. Even though it is not impressive It does do a good job of conveying the story. The art is not helped at all by the colors chosen and the inappropriate cartoony nature of some of character faces at times. I am not familiar with Chase Conley’s other work but this book definitely does not make me want to check it out.
The book has quite an extensive extras section with character sketches, cover art and biographies and in this section Conley’s work is much more pleasing to the eye. It is a pity the same level of detail could not be used throughout the book.
“The Wheel of time” is a good story with poor art and no real need to be a fan of the original novel to appreciate it. It should appeal to Lord Of The Rings Fans. ISBN-13: 978-0765324887. 7/10.
Filed under: 7 stars, Alan Weiss, Bill Wray, Colin MacNeil, David Wenzel, Don Glut, Howard Chaykin, Ralph Reese, Roy Thomas, Solomon Kane, Sonny Trinidad
This collection Includes:
- “Skulls in the Stars” written by “Roy Thomas” with art by “Ralph Reese”.
- “Castle of the Undead” written by “Roy Thomas” with art by “Alan Weiss”.
- “The Hills of the Dead” written by “Roy Thomas” with art by “Alan Weiss”.
- “Into the Silent City” written by “Roy Thomas” with art by “Alan Weiss”.
- “The Right Hand of Doom” by “Doug Moench” with art by “Steve Gan”
- “The Silver Beast Beyond Tinkertown” by “Doug Moench” with art by “Mike Zeck”
- “Rattle of Bones” written by “Roy Thomas” with art by “Howard Chaykin”
- “The Castle Of The Devil” written by “Don Glut” with art by “Alan Kupperberg” and “Sonny Trinidad”
- “Solomon Kanes Homecoming” written by “Roy Thomas” with art by”Virgillo Redondo” and ” D Nebres”
- “The Dragon At Castle Frankenstein” written by “Don Glut” with art by “Sonny Trinidad”
- “The Cold Hands Of Death” written by “Don Glut” with art by “Steve Gan” and “Dino Castrillo”
- “Retribution In Blood” written by “Don Glut” with art by “David Wenzel” and “Marillitz”
- “Blades of The Brotherhood” written by “Don Glut” with art by “David Wenzel” and “Duffy Vohland”
- “Moon of Skulls” written by “Don Glut” with art by “David Wenzel” and “Bill Wray”.
- “The Return of Sir Richard Greenville written by “Roy Thomas” with art by “David Wenzel”.
- “Wings In The Night” written by “Don Glut” with art by “David Wenzel”.
- “The One Black Stain” written by “Robert E. Howard” with art by “David Wenzel”.
- “Red Seas” written by “Jo Duffy” with art by “Danny Bulandi”.
- “Solomon Kane’s Homecoming” written by “Robert E. Howard” with art by “Steve Carr”.
- “Shattered Innocence” written by “John Arcudi” with art by “Steve Carr” and “Al Williamson”.
- “Satan’s Sanctuary” written by “Alan Rowlands” with art by “Steve Carr” and “Al Williamson”.
- “Deaths Dark Riders” written by “Roy Thomas” with art by “Colin MacNeil”.
I enjoyed this collection and it blessed by some really good black and white art. There are a huge variety of stories and styles but they are all readable. I particularly enjoyed the artwork of Alan Weiss and Ralph Reese and the story telling of Roy Thomas. My least favorite stories had David Wenzel as the author and I found them harder work to read. My least favorite artists were “Howard Cheykin” and “Colin MacNeil” but Colin’s art was still good and improved as the story progressed.
I am not a fan of prose in Graphic novels so I didn’t read all these sections but they may appeal to some people. This book represent a great taste of Solomon Kane with over twenty stories. ISBN-13: 978-1595823175. 7/10
Filed under: 7 stars, David Michael Beck, Jimmy Palmiotti, Jonah Hex, Jordi Bernet, Justin Gray, Phil Noto
Jonah Hex – “Only the Good Die Young” is the 4th TPB in the Jonah Hex series and it collects issues #19 to 24. It includes the following stories:
- #19 “Texas Money” with art by Phil Noto.
- #20 “Unfinished Business” with art by Phil Noto.
- #21 “Devil’s Paw” with art by Jordi Bernet.
- #22 “The Current War” with art by Phil Noto.
- #23 “Who Lives and Who Dies” with art by Jordi Bernet.
- #24 “All Hallows Eve” with art by David Michael Beck.
“Texas Money” and “Unfinished Business” cover one story arc and form a pretty average Hex story. I found Phil Noto’s art to be very inconsistent and I didnt warm to it at all. I really don’t like how he draws Hex either.
“The Devils Paw” featured Jordi Bernetts excellent art style that In my opinion fits Jonah Hex perfectly. It was a classic Hex story of revenge that has a very satisfying conclusion.
“The Current War” was an unusual Hex tale with a bit of a steam punk feel to it. Hex meets up with Thomas Eddison and the story explores Eddisons reputation for stealing other peoples ideas. Although it wasn’t a bad read I found the whole thing a bit unsatisfying. Noto’s art did nothing to add to the story.
“Who Lives and Who Dies” was the highlight of this collection for me with a really good story told through the eyes of a schoolteacher and blessed with excellent art by Jordi Bernet. I enjoyed how this story explored moral dilemmas and the end of the Native Americans without any misplaced sentiment.
“All Hallows Eve” featured impressive almost photo realistic art by David Beck. It was a bit of Horror Genre departure for Hex and I imagine this issue was released around October 31st . I really enjoyed this story and it was my second favorite story in this book.
“Only the Good Die Young” is a nice addition to the ongoing Hex series but with a slightly weaker overall impression than the previous three volumes. This book should still appeal to Hex fans and it took me a while to find it. ISBN-13: 978-1401216894. 7/10
“Dark Blue” is a pretty thin B/W trade paper back weighing in at only 72 pages. It is the story of a violent and disturbed cop, Frank Christchurch, who appears to be borderline insane. His partner is convinced that he’s mentally ill, his fellow officers are into all types of illegal activities and his commanding officer is addicted to drugs. Frank is in pursuit a serial killer that only he seems interested in catching. His mental decline leads to violent and psychotic outbursts spiced up with vivid hallucinations and to cap it all off, the world seems to be falling apart around him.
“Dark Blue” is a great short story with nice twists and turns and it is also very violent in nature. It features the artwork of one of my favorite artists (Jacen Burrows) although in this book his drawings are not as detailed as in his later work. Considering the use of simple B/W drawings with limited shading, Jacen still manages to portray some pretty gruesome images that wouldn’t be out of place in a something like Crossed. I don’t think it ranks amongst his best work but it does the job well. I am not very familiar with Warren Ellis’s work although he had input to one of my all time favorite TPB’s “Hotwire – Requiem For The Dead”. Some elements of “Dark Blue” remind me of Hotwire. His explanation at the end of the book of where he got inspiration for this story is fascinating.
It is a short read but worth picking up if you like your comic book action gritty and full of blood and gore. ISBN-13: 978-0970678430. 7/10
“Zombo; Can I eat you please ?” is writen by Al Ewing and illustrated by Henry Flint. It collects :
- “Zombo” originally published in 2000AD Progs #1632-1639
- “Merry Christmas Mr. Zombo” originally published in 2000AD Prog #2010
- “Zombo’s Eleven” originally published in 2000AD Progs #1678-1684.
Zombo is a half human half zombie prototype developed by the government to fight off another weapon that they developed to fix the aggressive sentient planets problem. Zombo is a polite zombie hybrid who asks first before he eats someone.
Zombo is classic 2000AD in as much as it is has a warped and sick sense of humor that is nicely garnished with a satirical poke in the eye of authority. There is violence a plenty, as you would expect in a Zombie comic, but it is much lighter hearted than something like “The Walking Dead. It also has a much more Sci-Fi setting than your average Hack/Slash Zombie comics.
“Zombo” is a “Lost” style story involving a Spaceship crash landing on a planet where everything is out to kill the survivors. As if the planet itself was not bad enough, the few people that do stay alive end up encountering a “Deliverance” inspired bunch of hillbilly cannibals. “Twister” will never be the same again.
“Zombo’s Eleven” is a send up of modern talent shows, Disney and Youtube with a humungous dose of Zombie gore thrown in for good measure. It is even less serious than the first story but just as over the top in the violence department. The strange bunch of EMO suicide freaks that Zombo met in the Christmas one shot play center stage in this tale.
Henry Flints artwork suits the story well and is brimming with ridiculous amounts over the top gore and violence. His art in the main strips is pretty good but his cover art, which is included in the Bonus material, is excellent. I especially enjoyed the cover of issue#1675. Henry also draws some inventive supporting cast in the shape of the Zombies, inbred cannibal hillbillies and the sentient planets themselves. I really like his art on Zombo himself and Zombee is pretty impressive too. He doesn’t seem to lavish the same amount of detail on the human extras but the over all affect is still pleasing (or do I mean sickening ?) to the eye.
This should appeal to 2000AD fans and people who are fans of stuff like Chew or the Goon. [ISBN-13: 978-1906735968]. 7/10
This book collects Garth Ennis’s “War Is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle” #1-5. It is the story of a mysterious American pilot who arrives at a British airbase with dubious papers and his own gaudily painted plane to join in the fight against the Hun. After an unfortunate mishap he bluffs his way into the squadron and quickly discovers the horrors of war and the high jinks of his fellow pilots.
The story follows a familiar formula to the one used by many British war comics (e.g. Commando) where a new recruit has to prove himself to his peers, becomes horrified with the reality of actually killing his fellow man and ends up being a bit of hero. It also follows on from great war comic pioneers such as Pat Mills in that it takes a real stab at authority and the Generals of the time.
It is a pretty violent book but generally seems to be toned a notch down from the horrors of Ennis’s other work . It’s actually pretty light hearted at times and seems to be historically sound too. My only real complaint is that it doesn’t really add anything fresh to the genre but it is still worth a read.
“War is Hell” has great art and the coloring of the scenes really captures the WW1 theme well. The art also jumps off the page thanks to the good quality glossy paper stock. Chaykin does a really good job of portraying action and the backdrops and weaponry are also very impressively rendered. Although the art is really nice to look at, I don’t really like the way Chaykin draws faces. His faces have an odd appearance and contain lots of scratchy lines and blotches that look quite strange next to the bold inking on the face outline. Sometimes it looks as if someone has shook an ink pen on the page. Despite this, the coloring and overall impact of the artwork is still great and the highlight of the book. There are some first rate splash pages.
I don’t think these Marvel Max 120 page hardcover books represent good value at $25 and would struggle to recommend it at this price. With a bit of searching you should be able to find the book at a much better price and then the book is worth a try for the glorious looking art and solid story. ISBN-13: 978-0785116431. 7/10
Filed under: 7 stars, Geto, Goran Sudzuka, Igor Kordey, Jean-Pierre Pecau, Leo Pilipovic
This omnibus collects books 1 to 7 of the occult alternate history themed series “The Secret History” written by French author Jean-Pierre Pecau:
- Book 1 – Genesis (illustrated by Igor Kordey)
- Book 2 – Castle of the Djinns (illustrated by Igor Kordey)
- Book 3 – The Grail of Montsegure (Goran Sudzuka & Geto)
- Book 4 – The Keys of St. Peter (Illustrated by Leo Pilipovic)
- Book 5 – 1666 (Illustrated by Leo Pilipovic)
- Book 6 – The Eagle and The Sphinx (illustrated by Igor Kordey)
- Book 7 – Our Lady of the Shadows (illustrated by Igor Kordey)
The book starts with Four siblings being entrusted with 4 runes by a dying shaman. The runes represent the houses of the Sword, Shield, Chalice and Lance. They are told never to use the runes at the same time or else they will bring about a huge cataclysm which is of course the first thing they do. The runes give each person special powers and grants them immortality (or at least very long life) and the four siblings (Known as the Archons) are instantly corrupted by these runes and so begins a struggle for power throughout the ages of man.
Each book is set in a particular significant historic time and loosely ties in dramatic events from the period to the power struggle of the 4 Archons. The idea is a good one but it suffers from an oversaturation of supporting characters that change from book to book. Although some of the supporting characters are well known (e.g. Moses, Nostradamus etc) I found myself quite overwhelmed in the first two books and didn’t really develop any sort of empathy for the main characters. Around the end of book 2 I started to get hooked and the 4 archons finally seemed to be standing out from the noise. From book 3 onwards the main story also started to fall into place and the bewildering number of locations and characters became much less of a distraction. Although the time periods are historically quite accurate the story itself is far from tied to any sort of reality (For example Moses using one of the Runes to part the sea). This was not an issue at all for me and I enjoyed it as a good fantasy romp with some elements of the real world thrown in for good measure.
The artwork is functional and depicts the historical periods well by using realistic apparel, weapons, and backdrops which are intertwined with a large dose of the supernatural. There were a few pages in Book 3 that were clearly drawn by a different artist that really stood out. It can still be quite difficult to identify the 4 main protagonists by their art alone but this is because their dress changes to reflect the historical period. There is some nudity, which is to be expected in a French Graphic novel, and it is pretty violent too.
I enjoyed this collection and look forward to reading the second omnibus. Chapters 3 to 6 really stood out for me but I found 1,2, 6 and 7 to be a bit of a challenging read and hence a score of 7 rather than 8. ISBN-13: 978-1932386783. 7/10