Hello all you Hogwarts loving Hogwarts. This is another edition of ONE OR DONE where we look at maybe not all, but a lot, of debuting comics this week. We’ve got Deloreans, demons, women in castles, and more this Royal Rumble week.
As always if you want the word on DC/Marvel #1’s check out the DC Reborn Round-Up and the Marvel recap on The Beat.
Slayer: Repentless #1 ($4.99)
Story: Jon Schnepp
Art: Guiu Villanova
Color: Mauricio Wallace
Letters: Nate Piekos
Cover: Glenn Fabry
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Being the most recognizable name in Internet memes and thrash metal, to say the least, Slayer has been influential amongst the pop culture landscape. Their latest album, Repentless, took years and several hardships to see the light of day. It’s now fitting that one of the most violent videos ever gets one of the most violent comic adaptations of the year. Slayer: Repentless tells the back story of the rampaging inmate going on a killing spree during a prison riot from the band’s music video for the single of the same name. Writer, Jon Schnepp pens a gritty narrative of betrayal and revenge. Focused around Wyatt, the eye-patched killer from the video, a man looking to escape his past life of violent Nazism by hiding in a middle of nowhere town. As his past catches up to rob him of his new found peace, Wyatt is set on a collision course with the man who wants him destroyed, his own brother Adrian.
Repentless shares the soul of the music it’s born from. This is not a comic you can show kids, it’s unapologetically primal when it needs to be. Schnepp could have easily turned this into a blood orgy vomited on the page, instead there’s some serious thought and device found in these pages. Every moment of violence feels earned because of the writer’s diligence. The tale of these brothers lives and their refusal of adopting the social contract society lives by taps into something deeply disturbing. It’s Slayer in comic book form.
Dark Horse has a track of finding artists who deal well in grime. Guiu Villanova is no exception, these characters all look deceptive, which is fitting for this kind of story. Instead of a cliche horror style the artist brings a more western feeling tone. Though at times the action sequences could have been better framed; fights feel hard to follow along at times but it does little to jar the reader out of the experience.
[WON] Slayer: Repentless #1 is just the start of the ride. Anyone who loves metal and revenge stories should be reading this.
Biff to the Future #1 ($3.99)
Story: Derek Fridolphs and Bob Gale
Art: Alan Robinson
Inks: Alan Robinson/Jamie Castro
Colors: Maria Santaolalla
Letters: Chris Mowry
Wow. Biff Tannen is a piece of shit. The neandertal who nearly blinked Marty McFly out of existence in Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future films, Biff gets a part of his alternate story told from the second BTF movie. Fans will remember future Biff stowing away in the Delorean and giving his past self the sports almanac causing an alternate future where George McFly is dead and Tannen is a wealthy criminal douche. Biff to the Future tells the alternate story of the gambling Biff exploited in order to accrue his wealth. Co-creator of the Back to the Future series, Bob Gale teams with Derek Fridolfs to pen a story that’s more of a dark straight tone than the coy underlining of the films we love.
In his extended story, readers get a look at just how deep the gene pool of shitbag the Tannen family is. Remember when high school Biff received the almanac he was still too young to be placing bets, so who does the goon get to do his dirty work? His dear old grandmother of course, who’s just as bad as he is. Things go even further south for Biff when a mysterious new “uncle” enters the picture. Issue one does a solid job of filling in the pieces of this film that couldn’t be told in its runtime. Though the book shares a similar trope as its film source material. You need a willing suspension of disbelief in order to accept Biff is clever enough to get a way with some of the things he did towards the end of the issue.
In a way, the art is deceptive from the book’s tone. Alan Robinson’s art is full of pop and expression which is highlighted by Maria Santaolalla’s bright lively color work. It blends in well to the overall look of the Back to the Future films while making this comic’s debut easier to take in more violent moments.
As debuts go, it’s somewhat of an interesting read, but laced with hiccups. There are a couple of fundamental problems which need to be addressed. At the top of the list, the story doesn’t give you anyone to root for. Any reasons to be sympathetic to Biff’s plight are pulled out from under you by the character himself. Second, if by some unfathomable reason you’ve never seen the Back to the Future movies, the series’ debut doesn’t explain anything about why this story would be important or even relevant. As someone who thinks Fridolphs is one of the best all-ages storytellers, second only to Katie Cook; I was a bit disappointed by this comic.
[DONE] BIFF TO THE FUTURE #1 feels like if the Delorean was stuck in second gear, it just ain’t gonna get up to 88. It earns the Miyamoto thumbs down award of the week.
Story: Delilah S. Dawson
Art: Ashley A. Woods
Letters: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Boom! Studios
There’s subtle nuanced diversity and then there is diversity that just hits you over the head with a story that goes against all the male hero traditions. They don’t always work, but Ladycastle is not just good; it…is…GLORIOUS! Delilah S. Dawson crafts an imaginative tale about women reclaiming roles dominated by men in
Delilah S. Dawson crafts an imaginative tale about women reclaiming roles dominated by men in medieval times. When King Mancastle (YES THAT IS HIS NAME!) and his mighty vassals ride off on crusade they end up getting eaten by dragon, leaving a curse that attracts monsters to the castle. In a straight up jab at all the mind conforming lessons Disney tried to impart on young girls, instead of some mysterious gallant knight swooping in to rescue these damsels; Merinor the rugged wife of a blacksmith becomes king and Princess Aeve takes over as captain of her army. Now the safety of this kingdom falls under the shield of woman leaders. Whatever will they do???
Ladycastle isn’t a great story because of its diversity focus. It’s a great story because these are memorable characters delivering something purely entertaining. The women in this story are aware of the ceiling they’re putatively under. It makes quick one-liners spouted all over the book funnier than they have right to be. My favorite of which goes on during the Merinor pulling the sword from the hand to become king.
Ashley A. Woods style of part anime, part fairy tale art isn’t just fitting it tells story of its own. It punches when it needs to with gesture and emotion many comics seem to forget when it comes to stories geared towards younger audiences. Color palette choice, scroll boxing, and onomatopoeia all just come together in an exquisite comic.
[WON] LADYCASTLE #1- The creative marriage in this book is something special to behold. It wins the prestigious prestigious Bobby Roode GLORIOUS Pick of the Week.
D4VEOCRACY #1 ($3.99)
Story: Ryan Ferrier
Art: Valentin Ramon
Letters: Ryan Ferrier
In the third arc of the acclaimed D4VE series, Ryan Ferrier crafts a quirky story. Think Manchurian Candidate but with robots and satire. In the wake of a robo-political assassination, D4VE begins a presidential campaign bid. Along the way he’ll have to deal with secret societies, radical extremists groups, and a reborn dead president. You know… usual political story stuff. The D4VE series is one of the most
The D4VE series is one of the most subliminal thinking man’s comics around. From his conversations with “God” to the way he’s depicted to process intangible things like grief and duty, everything about these comics is laced with idea forming propaganda.
D4VEOCRACY has the challenge of not only being a number #1 comic, but part of a bigger series of stories. It’s a wall that can be intimidating to potential new readers. Often comics in this position either go overboard on exposition or make themselves exclusive rewards to continuing readership. This debut gears more towards the latter of the two, however, doesn’t drop a massive update of information at the outset that can turn off new readers. In a way, it feels so stand-alone by letting you decide by the end if you’re on board or not. You may not even realize there were previous comics, that’s how easy it is to accept. My only minor complaint about the book is Valentin Ramon’s art feeling a bit too overcrowded in certain parts of the book. As a whole, it doesn’t hinder my enjoyment of this comic due to the rest of the entire package of words, art, letters, and colors being well combined in the end result.
[WON] D4VEOCRACY #1 won’t be for everyone but it certainly has enough of an intriguing story to make it worth a try.
GRIMM TALES OF TERROR V3 #1
Story: Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco
Art: Umberto Giampa
Colors: Robby Bevard
Letters: Fabio Amelia
Most times you see the word Zenoscope it’ll be followed by drawings of massive boobs and butts that are somehow intended to be a take on classic fairy tales. To each their own, but those comics weren’t for me. That’s probably why I find myself floored by how good Grimm Tales of Terror is. Self-contained stories doing takes on horror tales isn’t anything new, but here they’re done well. In issue #1, writer Ralph Tedesco pens a take on The Invisible Man. Instead of a scientist being cursed by an accident, the transparent man is a degenerate gambler who relishes being able to use this newly found power.
Artist, Umberto Giampa does a very un-Zenoscope job of drawing the book. That’s not a bad thing. The illustrator lets the story stand on merit, even going as far as to downplay hyper-sexual situations. One scene even takes place in a strip club and it remains blended in the background where it should be. Zenoscope can tell good stories when it focuses on the right things and as a result, Grimm Tales of Terror feels like something out of Tales From the Crypt or Alfred Hitchcock Mysteries.
[WON] GRIMM TALES OF TERROR V3 #1 even to my own surprise I find myself wanting to read more of this. With issue #2 being about a severed arm murdering sorority girls, I just hope they don’t fall back into old habits.
Kiss: The Demon #1 ($3.99)
Story: Amy Chu and Erik Burnham
Art: Eman Casallos
Colors: Omi Remalante
Letters: Troy Peteri
What’s the age range of the average KISS fan today? Sure, Gene Simmons is a legit fan of comics, but books based on the hall of fame rock band have never had the gravitational pull of the music. In KISS: The Demon, Amy Chu and Erik Burnham co-write rock n roll story of rebellion and tragedy. When Sam Blackwell has to take over the family mega-conglomerate after his father’s death, the KISS worshiping youngster has to give up his musical dreams. You know…relatable stuff. His bandmates Milo and Kimi also find themselves broken from the trio as the story unfolds recanting the events that will lead Sam to be a sad old millionaire.
It’s full understood that the overarching story of the series is the relationship these three will have, but there’s not really anyone to root for in the first issue. Blackwell is an unlikeable c**k while Kimi and Milo are just there. The debut lacks a proper hook for readers to decide on long term investing in this series. Usually, in a story like this, the artist tells much of it through drawing the acting on these characters, but I don’t quite get that here. Instead, several people have Gene Simmons current hairline and open mouth expression throughout. I will say though this is the best color job of any debut this the week. Colorist, Omi Remalante creates readable atmosphere and never lets special FX overshadow the story, even in the double page concert spread.
[DONE] KISS: THE DEMON #1 is in short, not great. The series debut asks readers to go too far out on the limb and doesn’t feel like there’s passion in these pages. If you want a great new book from Dynamite read Amy Chu’s new Red Sonja series.