One Mad Dog

Requiem Vampire Knight . Tome 4: The Convent of the Blood Sisters & The Queen of Dead Souls (Pat Mills, Olivier Ledroit)
February 14, 2018, 7:11 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Olivier Ledroit, Pat Mills, Requiem Vampire Knight, Uncategorized

Tome 4 collects

  • The Convent of the Blood Sisters
  • The Queen of Dead Souls

Another solid offering set in Mills adult vampire world that carries on the story of Heinrich and his plight in the nether world. Quite a violent an gritty book with lots of nudity and extreme violence.  The art work is again excellent although its complexity and layout sometimes makes some sections hard to follow. Although the story was well written I found you had to concentrate quite hard to keep up with what was going on.

If you enjoyed the previous 3 volumes I think you will enjoy this one.

8/10  (112 pages, November 2010, ISBN 1-84653-438-0)

Requiem Vampire Knight. Tome 3: Dragon Blitz & Hellfire Club (Pat Mills, Olivier Ledroit )
February 11, 2018, 4:52 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Olivier Ledroit, Pat Mills, Requiem Vampire Knight, Uncategorized

Book 3 collects two stories, Dragon Blitz and Hellfire.  These continue on from the earlier books which are reviewed on this site and there is no need to regurgitate all the back story here.  As the previous books this is a very solid tale with excellent art and great coloring.  The story is quite graphic in places and definitely more suited for mature readers.

Dragon Blitz picks up at the cliffhanger of the last series where Heinrich and Rebecca are making their escape through the dragon attack.  There is also a bit of a back story on one of the Protaganists Otto who is involved in a big dogfight with the pair at the beginning of the book. Other highlights of this story include the pirates hijacking of the Black opium train and the meeting of a new character in the shape of a vampire dragon hunter. I enjoyed this tale as much as the previous two books.

Hellfire club starts with a back story regarding the Crusaders who later become vampires fighting with the Russians. It mainly is based around the fight between Lindos and Dracula but has a subplot where Rebecca gets taken by the  Police to the sisters of blood. blood and Heinrich prepares to get her back. An enjoyable read and visual treat.

ISBN-13: 978-1846534577.  8/10.

[Requiem Vampire Knight Tome 1. Resurrection and Danse Macabre] – (Pat Mills, Olivier Ledroit)
February 13, 2013, 8:11 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Olivier Ledroit, Pat Mills, Requiem Vampire Knight

Volume 1 collects the English Translations of Tome 1 “Resurrection” and Tome 2 “Danse Macabre”. The original stories were published in France but were written by British comic book author “Pat Mills” of 2000AD and Charley’s War fame. This is the first of 5 volumes.

Requiem is the story of a German soldier named Heinrich Augsburg who is killed fighting on the Russian front during World War 2. He finds himself transported to a dark and twisted world (Resurrection) where evil souls are reborn as monsters.  In Resurrection people are re-incarnated according to their sins and find themselves as Zombies, Ghouls,  Vampires or several other strange creatures.  The actual type of monster depends how evil the person was in their past life. The most evil come back as Vampires who are the social elite and ruling class.

Resurrection itself is a backward mirror of earth where the seas are land and the land becomes huge lakes of fire.  People are transported to this world at the age they expired and they grow younger rather than older until they eventually cease to exist.  It is also a world where good is bad and archaeologists bury artifacts rather than dig them up to protect people.  My impression of the planet is that it is Pat Mill’s representation of hell.

Heinrich is reborn as Requiem, a member of the Vampire Elite, with a burning desire to find the woman he loved and betrayed during his lifetime (Rebecca).  Unusually, he has not entirely lost his sense of fair play in his transition to Vampire and this character trait causes him to be unpopular amongst some of his Vampire peers. It is difficult to know how to view characters actions in this book as the world is a reversed reality but there truly are some monsters. Heinrich seems to be one of the few hanging onto some sort of humanity but others are as sick as anything you will find in any horror fiction.

The subject matter is very violent with lots of S&M, Slavery, torture and even sexual content. Mills does a great job of slowly unraveling the complicated concepts of the reality whilst driving the story along. The reader is bombarded with a large array of characters to try to keep track of but the artwork does a good enough job to not make this a chore. I enjoyed the way our main character manages to begin to unravel his new reality and the pace of the book is anything but pedestrian.  People familiar with the writing style of Pat Mills will instantly recognize his style of social – political writing and this stands up well to his other work.

The artwork is very well put together with Grotesque characters, enormous complex backdrops and a great sense of movement (this is definitely not a talking heads book).  The style of the art reminded me of Nemesis the warlock in its level of complexity but this book is in glorious full color.  The complex page layouts and very heavy use of red give this book a dramatic impact. The only down side of this swathe of dark red is that the book does need to be read in a brightly lit room as the text is often barely discernible from the art work.  It is a visual feast for the eyes and the subject matter oozes with gore and nudity.

Requiem Vampire Knight is not a light read but if you are a fan of horror fiction and/or Pat Mills you should find this a good read. There are absolutely no translation issues that I found. ISBN-13: 978-1846534379. 8/10

[Unknown Soldier Vol. 3: Dry Season] (Joshua Dysart, Alberto Ponticelli)
January 25, 2013, 2:29 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Alberto Ponticelli, Joshua Dysart, Unknown Soldier

“Dry Season” collects issues #15-20 of the Vertigo “Unknown Soldier series. In this volume, Moses tries to settle in an IDP camp in hopes of capturing some sense of his past but his brutal alter ego has a different plan. This volume plays quite heavily on the “Jekyll and Hyde” nature of Moses and his attempts to subdue his darker side.

Like the other two Unknown Soldier collections, “Dry Season” is a brutal and violent book set in the real world of Ugandan poverty and oppression. It does an excellent job of portraying man’s lack of humanity to his fellow man and also the absolute desperation of the “Dry Season”. The book starts off as a sort of crime thriller and slowly builds up to a climatic and very destructive conclusion. I particularly enjoyed the unraveling of Moses character and the mystic aspects of this book.

Ponticelli’s artwork just seems to keep on getting better and better and the combination of great colors and dramatic subject matter make this a real pleasure to look at. He does an excellent job of capturing on paper the horrors of living in an IDP camp in a world riddled with corruption.

Book 3 in the unknown soldier series is recommended for people who enjoy action thrillers with strong political overtones that are based on real life events. If you liked the first two novels you should like this one too. It has the added bonus of some real world background material on the setting of the book.[ISBN-13: 978-1401228552]. 8/10

[Conan Vol. 4: The Hall of the Dead and Other Stories] – (Kurt Busiek,Cary Nord, Mike Mignola, Timothy Truman)
August 2, 2012, 8:45 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Cary Nord, Conan The Barbarian, Kurt Busiek, Mike Mignola, Timothy Truman
  • Chapters 1 and 2 : Kurt Busiek
  • Chapters 3, 4 and 5 : Mike Mignola
  • Chapters 6 and 7: Timothy Truman

“Hall of the Dead” is another solid Conan novel that continues the style and pace from the previous three.   Despite a change of authors throughout this volume it manages to have a consistent feel which is in doubt helped by Cary Nord’s great artwork.  It is easy to spot Mike Mignola’s work as he takes things off in a slightly Lovecraft direction (Dare I say plague of frogs ?) but this only adds to the books appeal.

Like volume 3 this book concentrates on Conan’s exploits as a thief and it matches him up against all manner of enemies and situations. It is essential that the reader has read the previous 3 volumes before reading this one if they are to gain maximum enjoyment.

“Hall of the Dead” is good value and has great artwork and story. There are also some nice extras from Mike Mignola in the back of the book which include cover art and a very interesting article on the relationship between Howard and Lovecraft.  (ISBN-13: 978-1593077754). 8/10

[Conan Vol. 3: The Tower of the Elephant and Other Stories] – (Kurt Busiek,Cary Nord, Mike Kaluta)
July 2, 2012, 10:38 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Cary Nord, Conan The Barbarian, Kurt Busiek, Mike Kaluta, Uncategorized

“The Tower of the Elephant” continues on at full pace from the previous two Dark Horse volumes in another enjoyable and well crafted Conan tale. Tower of the Elephant concentrates on Conan’s development as a professional thief and culminates in a strange encounter with an alien being in the Elephant Tower. This third volume also deals with Conans attempts to understand and integrate into big city lifestyle which seems totally alien to him. Just like the previous two Dark Horse Conan volumes this is a very easy story to read, has witty dialog and moves along at good pace.

Cary Nord’s art is top notch and despite his some strange aspects the overall look captures the world of Conan admirably. I particularly liked his backdrops and landscapes which are a key part of the book.  Sometimes Nord’s faces are a bit unusual with the characters looking like they have grotesque smiles (Not quite Steve Templesmith strange but strange non the less). I also noticed that Conan himself can look quite different from one panel to another but is still instantly recognizable.  This does not detract at all from the story especially as Nord seems to dedicate much of his bandwidth to rendering voluptuous scantily clad female supporting characters. The book also features Mile Kaluta drawing a several page flash back sequence and although the art is good it doesn’t shine like Nord’s work.

“The Tower of the Elephant” is a great read and is highly recommended if you enjoyed the first two volumes.  You might not like it if you are offended by nudity but as this is an integral part of the Barbarian lifestyle you probably wouldn’t have picked up a Conan book in the first place. ISBN-13: 978-1593075477. 8/10

[The Killer Volume 2 – H/C] – (Matz, Luc Jacamon)
April 8, 2012, 8:35 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Luc Jacamon, Matz, The Killer

The second volume of “The Killer” carries on directly from where the plot left off in the first. The story is not quite as dark and in this collection the killer affords himself the luxury of a few friends.  The result is a bit more of a straightforward crime drama that neatly ties up all the loose ends and open questions. I enjoyed the second volume as much as the first and found the flashbacks to be less jarring. I cant help feeling that opening himself up to a few friends (especially a Columbian drug dealer) is not going to work out good in the future.

The artwork carries on the high standards set in the first and remain just as unique. Some of the lettering is a bit sloppy and it makes me wonder if it was proof read before publication.

If you enjoyed the first volume you should enjoy this one. It is a little more main stream and accessible and as such lacks a bit of the punch the first one had but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. ISBN-13: 978-1932386561. 8/10.