here we are, at the end of the road.
It’s been a long, interesting journey that has gone from eager
anticipation of each new episode to kind of a hate-watch relationship (this
season’s cast was the worst) to a quiet acceptance that cataloguing this season
of madness was my solemn duty. How did
it all end? Let’s find out.
first thing we need to do is determine who is joining squeaky voice in the
finals. Mr. Mohawk and skinny black girl
were the last two chefs awaiting their fate.
And the chef that will be going up against squeaky voice is…skinny black
girl! Okay, a couple things about this
selection. First of all, Mr. Mohawk got
screwed, I know it and he knows it.
Ramsay does let him down easy by telling him to keep his jacket and to
keep his ears open as something will come up soon for him, but he should have
absolutely been in the final. Also, it
took me all damn season to figure out what I hate the most about skinny black
girl, but I did. She speaks in sound
bites. That’s it. She obviously knows that she’s on camera and figures
that the more blatant she speaks in sound bites, the greater her chance of
landing in the recaps. I can’t stand
that because not only does she speak in that way, but the volume is always
elevated. I will say though, that as
much as I don’t like the final two, it is fitting that it’s an all female
finale as the guys were dogshit this year (even Ramsay made a remark to that
if I was to handicap the competition at this point I would put squeaky voice
ahead slightly, but it’s way too close to call right now, especially when I
haven’t seen each finalist’s brigade for the final service. The next stop, as in pretty much every
season, is Las Vegas. The chefs get to
their massive hotel room and begin to devise their menu. Quite a few things happen next, and I
honestly do not remember the exact order so I’ll give you a short rundown. Ramsay’s Sous Chefs come in to help them
refine their menus, they meet the president of the hotel in Las Vegas where
Ramsay’s new restaurant will be, and they sit down with Christina, the winner of
last season’s competition for a little one-on-two question and answer period.
then get back to Los Angeles and settle in to work on their menus some more,
thinking that they will have some quiet time to do so. You girls are so silly. The best part is that every time something
like this happens, they both act so surprised, like they’d never seen a Hell’s
Kitchen finale before. Give me a
break. They are told to pack for another
trip and they are taken to a train station.
Here they meet their families, which is surprise number one. Skinny black girl’s mother and sister come
out to see her, while squeaky voice gets a visit from her mother and
husband. The second surprise is that
they are not there to go on a trip, they are there for their final challenge in
Hell’s Kitchen, the menu presentation.
They have to each create a hot appetizer, cold appetizer, beef, chicken
and fish dish. Each dish will be judged
head to head and then whoever has the most points at the end of the competition
will get the coveted “first pick” of the chefs.
this competition ever not go down to the last dish? At this point, you rarely see a dish that is
poorly executed between the two chefs so I wouldn’t be surprised if Ramsay
requires the chefs doing the judging to draw out the process as long as possible. Either way, the result comes down to the
final dish (duh) and skinny black girl wins (to which she replies with some
sound bite). Usually at this point in
the competition, the chefs retire to Hell’s Kitchen and choose their teams,
well not this time! They have to pick
their teams in front of the audience that gathered to watch the
cooking/judging. Because skinny black
girl had first pick, she went with mixed up Cyndi, with squeaky voice picking
Mr. Mohawk with her first pick. The
picks went pretty much as you would expect with snooty stringbean one being the
last picked. I didn’t think it was
possible for his attitude to get worse, but it has. Where many chefs on here are raising their
profile considerably by showing up and working hard, I can’t see that guy as
employable at all based on his attitude.
There is even a secret surprise that Ramsay gives the finalists; the
opportunity to trade one person from their team with the other. Of course squeaky voice tries to use this on
snooty stringbean one to no avail. At
this point, I would give the odds to skinny black girl because she has the
stronger brigade, but it’s still close.
get to cooking and all the little hiccups you assume would be there when you
place chefs that couldn’t cut it in the opening rounds of the competition into
something much more difficult are there in spades. The finalists do a decent job of keeping
their brigades on track and they don’t get too bogged down. There was a major issue for each chef though
as skinny black girl’s team was getting behind and not responding to her
leadership. Instead of wilting, she
started barking out orders like a shorter, slightly less tan Gordon
Ramsay. Her team got back on track and finished their
service. Squeaky voice was getting shit
from snooty stringbean one (surprise, surprise) over in her kitchen and instead
of taking it, she kicked him out. I
personally think she put up with his shit longer than she should have, but the
fact that she would rather go through dinner service a man down than deal with
his shit showed me that she has the instinct to lead a kitchen. Where that good faith came in, it quickly
started to evaporate when she started losing her mind on the pass. She would keep asking for food that was
already in front of her face, or that she had just plated. That lack of organization, even with the
ability to send your weakest link packing, will not be looked upon very highly
by Ramsay when he makes his decision.
After this, it was incredibly close, and I would give the slight edge to
squeaky voice, but that might be because I don’t like skinny black girl and her
damn sound bites.
winner is…skinny black girl, because of course it is, they had to get a couple
more sound bites in there before the end of the season.
this was an interesting experiment. If
you have any shows on “regular” television that will be starting soon that you
want to see a recap of, let me know.
I’ll take them into consideration.
Thanks for reading and joining me on this strange adventure.
I have to say that the worst smell in the world is the odor created by pureeing white fish. That was my least favorite duty, and even though it didn't happen often, it was something that I dreaded when I read the menu for the day.
going to have to bear with me for a few weeks as the funds are getting tighter
than normal around here. I’m going to
have to stick to reviewing comics that I would normally have bought anyway as
no comic shops in the area seem willing to pony up a $4 floppy every week in
exchange for some free publicity.
Seriously, if you want to see more in depth reviews of different books,
just call up the comic shops in the Syracuse area and tell them to loosen up a
bit. That being said, the next few
months we’re going to see a lot of Transformers reviews as that is the bulk of
my purchases now. We start it off with
the one book that I have yet to review, Transformers
Prime Beast Hunters.
the covers to this series are produced by Ken Christiansen and they all have a
certain feel to them like they are right out of the Transformers Prime television show.
Obviously this is a huge plus as the comic touts its connection to the
show from the get-go. None of the covers
to the comics (this one included) seem to have much in common with the story
being told, almost as if they gave Christiansen a bunch of characters and told
him to go nuts and they would fit the covers in wherever. As far as covers not
pertaining to the story go, these are incredibly solid though. This current cover features three of the Dinobots
surrounded by Decepticons that are masked by shadows. You can tell that they are Decepticons
because of the symbol on their chest as well as the fact that they are glowing
purple (the popular Decepticon color-scheme).
the lack of holding lines on the artwork itself can lead to some muddled
moments in terms of the artwork blending together, there is enough variation
using light to make the characters separate ever so slightly from the
background. The movement within the
three figures on the cover shows a great design sense as your eye moves fluidly
throughout the image. One would think
that with the way that the characters are colored, combined with the blocky
nature of Transformers in general that it would be a bit more difficult to
achieve that kind of movement but Christiansen does it easily.
8/10 – I have to give it a knock for being a bit generic,
but it has its own narrative qualities and a phenomenal design sense.
general story of this series is that the Dinobots are left on Cybertron after
everyone else leaves (which you can see the lead up to in the video game, Transformers War for Cybertron and the aftermath
in the Transformers Prime television
show) and they are not only trying to hold society together, but also to find
out more about themselves as they have been subjected to numerous experiments
at the hands of the Decepticon Shockwave.
The first two issues were more along the lines of keeping the peace on
Cybertron while this issue starts to deal more with the basic origin of the Dinobots
themselves. While I am intrigued as to
where the story will go, there is not much to this issue itself and it turns
out to be a pretty quick read.
Storytellers Mike Johnson and
Mairghread Scott (and specifically Mike Johnson who actually wrote the issue) may
have something bigger that this is leading up to, but after the last two issues
that had a lot going on and felt like they really lived up to the Transformers
moniker on the cover in terms of quality, seem to fall a bit flat here. The big reveal at the end, where Grimlock and
Swoop are fighting against actual dinosaurs is probably a bit of fanservice as
who doesn’t want to se Grimlock fight an actual T-Rex, but it raises more
questions than answers in terms of carbon-based life forms and their ability to
exist on Cybertron. Considering the fact
that this brawl happened at the end of the issue, I will give Johnson an issue
to work out the details of atmosphere, time (as the Dinobots have been in
operation in their current iteration for a little while in the comic universe,
so how did the dinosaurs survive, much less know how and when to break out at
this convenient moment) and overall luck as Grimlock and Swoop just happen to
be patrolling near Shockwave’s lab that spawned the Dinobots.
I will give Johnson the benefit of the doubt that after the dust settles we
will start to receive answers to these questions and that everything won’t seem
as “convenient” as it is presented here.
Other than that, the dialogue is good, with the interaction between
Grimlock and Swoop staying true to their character and really playing up their
own distinct “roles” within the Dinobots.
6/10 – The quality dips a bit in this issue, especially
after the very well done first two, but it does set up a lot of questions to
add to the mythos and keep us coming back for more. I just wish it took longer than ten minutes
Padilla provides the art here and while it is miles away from the art we see in
other Transformers comics nowadays,
it is still very good. The ability to
consistently draw these characters in all their glory, both in robot and their “alt”
modes cannot be understated, and while the Dinobots don’t turn into vehicles
(which would be the bane of my existence) drawing the robotic dinosaurs is no
easy task either. Padilla handles this
admirably and adds his own bit of flair in making the art darker and grittier
than his counterparts in the other titles.
Padilla does draw everything well, robots and actual dinosaurs alike, my main
problem is the utilization of space on the page. There are many times where Padilla will leave
a lot of space around the figures, almost as if he is expecting a lot of
dialogue to be added and he was making room for it. When that dialogue is not added it just looks
like poor pacing on his part as the panel could have usually been shrunk while
others were expanded. Now, don’t get me
wrong, there is a background in nearly every panel, so even though there is a
big space, it is not necessarily devoid of something,
however looking at a large metal wall that has no bearing on the story is not
really useful in any way. I am not sure
if this is the fault of Padilla or Johnson, the writer just not filing the
space (I don’t know the scripting method used so can’t make that determination
with any certainty).
7/10 – The art is a nice change of pace from the clean lines
and open figures of most of the other Transformers
titles. Padilla does a great job of
breaking up the different surfaces with a variety of textures as well.
Overall: 8/10 – While this isn’t the best issue in the series,
if you have even a passing interest in the franchise or the Dinobots, you
should be reading this series. It’s easy
to see how Transformers stories have
been told for nearly thirty years now.
past few weeks, my choice for the final two has been Mr. Mohawk and mixed up
Cyndi. They both seem like the most
ready, the best fits for Ramsay’s restaurant at this time. Was I correct in that assumption? We’ll see, but first we have to get through
the individual challenge. This one
started out with a puzzle, an actual puzzle that the contestants had to put
together. The team of Mr. Mohawk and
squeaky voice completed the puzzle ahead of the other team of skinny black girl
and mixed up Cyndi pretty easily and wins…nothing. Of course. The real challenge is the now infamous “Taste
it Now Make it” challenge in which Ramsay brings out a fairly simple dish with
multiple components that each of the contestants need to get right. The dish this year looked a little busy in
terms of plating, but I’m sure it was delicious. The three components of the dish that the
chefs need to correctly guess is the protein, the puree and the vegetable. Everyone thinks that the puree is butternut
squash, which is incorrect as it is carrot puree. So no one gets eliminated there. The protein is what usually trips up the
chefs in these competitions and this one is no different as Mr. Mohawk and
squeaky voice are both eliminated because they didn’t choose venison as their
protein. Mixed up Cyndi chose venison
and buffalo but only plated the venison so she lucked out. It all came down to the vegetable. Mixed up Cyndi had turnip while skinny black
girl had parsnip I believe. Mixed up
reward she gets a $1000.00 shopping spree at a kitchen supply store in which
she purchases a stand mixer for her mother, among other things. She also gets a one on one lunch with Ramsay
at his new restaurant “Fat Cow”. The
other contestants have to not only clean the dorms, but actually move stuff
out, all the beds and everything and then set up for dinner service that
night. There aren’t too many surprises
in the cleanup, except someone left their thong laying in the corner
somewhere. They didn’t say anything
about it being able to tie a boat to shore so I’m assuming it wasn’t fat black
girl’s but I could be mistaken.
up Cyndi returns to the kitchen and dinner service begins. This is the night that each chef gets to run
the pass, expediting and plating food while being the “last line of defense” as
Ramsay likes to say. First up is mixed
up Cyndi, who does an ok job of running things.
She does miss the fairly obvious blemish of crab substituted for lobster
in the risotto, but she does keep food moving at a steady pace.
Mr. Mohawk on the other hand gets
his ass handed to him. He misses the
white fish substituted for the scallops in the appetizer. That is ridiculous though as I don’t know how
anyone could really tell without tasting the dish, or squeezing the “scallops”
and having them fall apart in your fingers.
He also was thrown a curveball by Jean Phillipe as a diner requested
that the prosciutto not be included in the Beef Wellington. That’s all well and good, except the
Wellingtons are all pre-wrapped, so there’s no way that’s going to happen
without them tearing apart a Wellington (which isn’t going to happen). I think Mr. Mohawk got screwed here, is what
I’m trying to say, and if he went home after this service I would be
disappointed, but not surprised.
Skinny black girl is up next and
does a decent job of running things.
There’s not much to say because I think she caught the mistake by Chef
Andy and ran a pretty tight ship. The
same can be said for squeaky voice as she caught a big screw up where the Chef
Andy sent up a Veal Wellington instead of a Beef one. She also caught many of the smaller mistakes
presented by the other contestants, something that Mr. Mohawk was unable to do in
his time at the pass. That voice of hers
served her well in this instance as she was able to be heard among the din of
the kitchen and her orders were carried out correctly, probably to shut her up
but I’m sure that was okay for her.
Elimination time came next, and the
first person to make it into the finals was squeaky voice! She wasn’t my first choice but she did show
that she could run the pass and improved every single service for the most
part. I’m okay with that choice. Of course this meant that at least one of my
frontrunners wouldn’t be going through to the final round. We are treated to the revelation next as
Ramsay sends home mixed up Cyndi. This
was a surprise to everyone as I was sure that not only was she going through to
the finals, but that she would win the whole thing. Ramsay mentioned her lack of assertiveness to
be her downfall, which makes sense, it’s just kind of sad to see her go after
she has done such a good job up to this point.
That leaves one spot open for two
people. Who’s going to face squeaky
voice in the finals? No one knows, at
least not until next week when we get the whole finals experience. The trip to Vegas, the choosing of new teams,
the final reveal (though I wouldn’t be surprised if they expanded the finale to
two weeks). We’ll see!
When I was a line cook at the hospital for the maternity floor, this would happen every single night. The dietitian didn't want o walk from his office to the kitchen more than once or twice a night so he would horde orders for a good half hour to forty-five minutes and then drop them on me all at once.
This is actually how I got the chef's job at the hospital as well. I started out working in the cafeteria (I wasn't a volunteer like Shrimpy, I actually had a job there) and one night they were short a guy on the line and asked me to fill in once my shift in the cafeteria was over. I said yes of course because, duh, overtime, but also because I love to cook (it was mostly for the money though). Well I subbed that day and never went back to the cafeteria full time after that. They kept me in the actual kitchen, mostly cooking on the line for the maternity floor, with other assorted duties that come with cooking in a large kitchen like that as well. It would have been a feel-good story if it wasn't in a hospital kitchen for a couple bucks an hour. That goes to show you though, if you get an opportunity to advance, take the reins and do it. Knock their socks off and they will find a place for you.
a short preview of Red Sonja about a
month ago. It looked intriguing at the
time, so I decided that when it was actually released I would give the whole
comic a shot. While I find it odd that Red Sonja is a Dynamite Entertainment
property while Conan the Barbarian is
still under the Dark Horse umbrella (meaning the chance of seeing these two
characters in the same comic, even though they technically live in the same,
area is slim) I did find the premise interesting enough to give it a look. Any time I can find a comic that takes me out
of the traditional superhero realm, or at least the traditional superhero tale,
I’ll do so.
my own rule on alternate covers for this one.
Usually if there are multiple covers for one issue, I’ll grab the one on
top of the pile so I don’t have any preconceived judgments about the cover
other than the fact that it is the first one I see. For this issue, I knew that there were a
multitude of covers and I searched for the one by Amanda Conner. There are a couple reasons for this. One, she is a tremendous artist who has only
gotten better as her career has progressed.
Two, as a former Kubert School student herself, it’s nice to be able to
see someone make good on that “education”.
Three, I met Amanda at a small local convention back when I was going to
school at the Kubert School and she was one of the nicest, most accommodating people
I have met in the comic business (I met Tom Raney there too and he was just as
cool). So even though me buying that
cover probably doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, it’s nice to
know that I supported one of the good people in the business in some small
And finally, the cover is just beautiful. The linework is clean and crisp, and the
coloring is expertly crafted to reflect not only the light from the moon above
but also the light from the fire behind.
There is so much detail in the cover and each different item has its own
feel, its own texture to it. The hair on
her blanket and boots has a different feel than the foliage behind her and the
leather of her boots and wine skins. Not
only that, but the hair on her head has a different texture than the other hair
in the picture. The more I look at the
cover, the more I notice in terms of little bits and pieces of texture here and
there within the piece. Plus, and this
can’t be overlooked, Conner drew a scene from the book itself. This is not something you usually see from a
variant cover as many in the past have tended to stick closer to the spot
illustration of the main character kind of formula. The fact that Conner took the time to craft
her cover based on something that happens within the book shows more of a
reverence for both the source material and the comic book medium than just
simply slapping a figure of Red Sonja on the page and mailing it in.
10/10 – Conner shows why she is so sought after in the
business and still (in my opinion) the best female artist working in comics.
Simone, mostly known for her DC Comics work, has crafted a story that not only
shows how ruthless Sonja is, but how she got to be that way. Yes, there is plenty of room left to expand
upon her history and I am sure that Simone will do that, maybe even as early as
issue two, but she does an excellent job of setting up not only the story she
is trying to tell, but also the history from which the story is springing
not intimately familiar with the original story of Red Sonja, so I’m honestly
not sure how this telling of her origin compares, but I do know that what we
have here at this point is a very good story that makes Sonja’s expert
swordwork and brutality plausible. I’m
not saying that it’s not a little generic (the woman that has survived the
dungeon and the arena as a captive and unwilling combatant only to come out of
it a ruthless fighter) but it is well presented. I think it would have been less effective if
we had seen the full story right away, from her capture to her incarceration,
release and the immediate aftermath of that release. Instead, we are shown snippets, only the
essential bits to get the story rolling, and that helps to keep everything
fresh and not make it seem like a recycled plot. 90% of stories are the same, it’s how they
are told that makes the difference, and Simone has found an effective way to
tell this one.
dialogue is not the best part about the story in my opinion. It may be the inflections that Simone tries
to give the characters in the way they speak in order to show that they are
from a foreign land, but there is very little flow to it. It clears up a bit when the two women
prisoners are released and we get to see what happens in the aftermath, however
even then I’m not sold on the dialogue itself.
Also, the twist ending was met (by me at least) with an “of course it is”
reaction. Again, I have no idea if this
is following the original story closely or not, but it’s pretty easy to see the
8/10 – Simone does a good job of world-building and
progressing the story at the same time.
The issues with the dialogue are minimal at best, and some of the
telegraphed plot devices seem like they were mandated from the source material
more than Simone’s own personal style (at least I hope).
Geovani handles the art duties on this book and he does a fine job at it. For the most part, the storytelling is good
and the anatomy work is spot on. Anatomy
is obviously a big concern when you are dealing with a titular character that
wears little clothing, but he handles it well with her and all of the other characters
in the book. His female faces all look
incredibly similar, but that’s really one of the only knocks against the
artwork. Geovani does an excellent job
of transitioning between a battlefield to a dungeon to a forest to a city and
back to a different battlefield while making them all stand on their own in
terms of design. His backgrounds are
adequately spaced out, he doesn’t overload the page with panels chock full of
background, but he also doesn’t limit the use of backgrounds. Geovani finds that happy medium that not only
tells the reader where they are (and continues to do so throughout the duration
of the book) but he also reels it back a bit, allowing the figures to breathe a
bit and stand on their own without being cluttered on the page. This also allows the reader to take a small
respite and not be overwhelmed by all of the detail, which could get confusing especially
in the battle sequences.
8/10 – The similarity of the female faces is not a huge
problem, and hopefully one that Geovani avoids in the future, but I will say
one thing, the guy can draw the hell out of a horse.
Overall: 8/10 – This is a good book and looks like it will
be a good series. If you want something
a little different than your standard superhero fare than I suggest you give
this a shot.
Alan is a very real guy, and was one of the head chefs when I worked in the hospital kitchen in New Jersey. Pretty much everything he says here in the strip, he uttered to me at one point or another. Stay tuned for those nuggets of wisdom.
someone finally be sent home for the love of all things Ramsay!? It’s been nearly a month since an elimination
(seriously, between last week’s repeat and the fact that this is part three of
“Five Chefs Compete” it feels like forever since someone was sent
packing). Let’s see if Ramsay has
finally had enough of his current crop of chefs and starts to whittle down some
of the dead weight.
with an individual challenge in which each of the chefs had to make their own
gourmet burger. Ramsay prefaces this
challenge by showing them his own gourmet burger that he casually mentions can
sell for upwards of $100.00. Go back and
read that again, I’ll wait. That’s
right, a $100.00 hamburger. Holy shit
what has happened to society when we are selling burgers for $100.00? It’s not even that a chef would put that rich
of a price tag on it, it’s the fact that we have people out there willing to
shell out their hard-earned cash to keep it in demand enough for it to stay on
the menu. This thing had better be made
out of endangered baby seal meat with an orphan-tear aioli and tomatoes grown
in the ashes of holocaust victims (too soon?) for me to even consider paying
that much for a hamburger.
over, I feel better now. The competition
itself is not just a standard “make your burger and Ramsay will judge it along
with one of his colleagues” though.
Instead, Jean Phillipe, the snooty Maitre D has invited a bunch of his
friends to the restaurant. They will all
taste the burgers and vote on their favorite.
Upon completion of the tasting, Ramsay reveals everyone’s least favorite
burger (blonde girl, which is not that surprising) and then states with forty
percent of the vote, which based on the fact that there were five people
competing is a crazy number, Mr. Mohawk wins.
His reward is a spa day and he is allowed to bring one of the girls with
him. He chooses mixed up Cyndi because
(as he says) “She’s one of the guys”.
This kind of makes sense, because I have no doubt the other three would
be talking his ear off the whole time.
Well played Mr. Mohawk. Not only
that but these two are the strongest chefs and most likely to land in the top
two, so banding together now would help them in the long run.
Mr. Mohawk and mixed up Cyndi get their facial on (it’s not as dirty as it
sounds) the rest of the chefs have a laundry list of stuff to do as Ramsay has
given Jean Phillipe and his staff the day off.
This includes steaming the tablecloths, setting up the dining room and
even washing Jean Phillipe’s car. Not
only that, but then they have to set up for dinner service that evening. That’s a lot of work for only three people in
the time allotted, but through the magic of television they get it all done.
dinner service is a mess compared to the previous one where the chefs narrowly
lost out to the returning champions. It
is not really as bad as where the chefs came from (they completed it, so that’s
a plus) but it is still not up to par with where they should be and far below
Ramsay’s standards. Mr. Mohawk and mixed
up Cyndi have a solid outing (maybe because of spa day, I don’t know for sure)
but the other three are train wrecks.
Squeaky voice sends up shitty fish, skinny black girl sends up risotto
that elicits a reaction I’ve rarely seen from Ramsay. When he tastes it, it looks like a baby shit
in his mouth, his reaction is that pronounced.
Blonde girl decides that she wants to be “Top Chef” for the day and
starts firing tickets. The main problem
is that she is firing the entrees on tickets in which the tables are still
waiting for their appetizers. Ramsay
hands her his apron and walks out of the kitchen, leaving her to run the pass
and her garnish station. I will give her
a little credit, she actually does it. I
mean, food goes out and we don’t see any of it coming back. How much of that is her leadership as opposed
to everyone else just upping their game, I don’t know for sure.
time comes and Ramsay asks for two nominees.
Everyone is in agreement that squeaky voice should go up. She’s a good chef but this was by far her
worst service. The last spot has a split
vote between skinny black girl and blonde girl.
The only problem is that it’s impossible to have a split vote when you
have an odd number of people. I have no
idea how that happened, and Ramsay apparently doesn’t care as he calls up all
three of the chefs and sends blonde girl home.
Before she goes, he does state that he may have a job for her in the
future if she keeps cooking and keeps her passion. This is news to me as I didn’t think Ramsay
was really into the McDonalds franchisee thing, but to each his own I guess.
time, with the four strongest chefs left in the competition, two get eliminated
after they each get their chance to run the pass. Is there sabotage, intrigue, bad food in
store? We’ll see next time (or we
probably won’t). Only a couple more
episodes to go!
are not travelling back in time to 2001 today.
That was when the original Boneyard
#1 premiered from NBM Publishing. This
one, from Antarctic Press, picks up where that original series ended (for the
most part), with all of the same characters and the same humor that made that
original series pretty damn perfect.
Will this one live up to its predecessor? Let’s find out.
Richard Moore comic book, so there’s a great chance that there will be a
scantily clad woman on the cover. This
one doesn’t disappoint as Abbey, one of the main protagonists of the book is
shown in an actual scene from the story, trying to keep her dress from flying
up over her head while she is fighting a monster. The expression that Moore has placed on Abbey
says a lot about the character herself (and Moore has always been a master of
conveying emotion through facial expressions) in that she is obviously fed up
with having to play the heroine when all she obviously wants to do is enjoy a
the expression is well done, the pose, while accurate, seems a bit wooden and
stiff. If it wasn’t for the fact that
Moore tilted Abbey a bit on the page itself, she would be incredibly
distracting. When Moore paints his own
work, he usually tends to follow a very monochromatic palette. Unfortunately here it is not as effective as
in the past. While Abbey tends to pop
based solely on the amount of black utilized in her overall design, the rest of
the cover tends to wash out. There is
little variation in the color scheme used here, so it is more difficult to
discern the different parts of the monster behind her. Everything is a greenish-purple blob for the most
part (especially since most of the monster is off the page anyway, so we can’t
really see anything too clearly or make much of an educated guess as to what is
what on the monster).
6/10 – Not Moore’s best cover, but it hits on all of the
bases. If know that showing Abbey was
the most important thing, but he sacrificed clarity in order to do so. A little more of a varied palette in terms of
the coloring might have helped as well.
waited quite a while (since the original series ended in 2009) for the return
of these characters. This was probably
my first favorite comic book after I got out of the whole “superhero phase”
from high school. I found this series
when it was still pretty much in its infancy so I was able to watch it grow and
wait on each quarterly installment with baited breath (I was a super nerd) and
this was the only comic book that I actively kept up on after I stopped buying
comics altogether a few years ago. There
was anticipation as well as a little trepidation when I picked this up. Would this be as good as the past issues? Would Moore be able to pick up where he left
off in terms of the tone of the book after such an extended layoff? Was he a good enough writer to keep the “voice”
of the series even after such a rough breakup with the original publisher,
which must have left him a little bitter at the very least?
read it. Everything was as it should be. The writing was just as good as I remember it
from the original series. The humor and
the heart is still there and even though the romantic tension that was a
highlight of the original series (that whole will they-won’t they dynamic that
Moore expertly crafted) was gone because of the pairing of the two main
characters at the end of the original series, Moore still was able to take that
transition to a different level, focusing on their problems as a couple (and
one in which one of the participants is a vampire with an age of many thousands
of years). This makes for the main push
of the story as Michael (the non-vampire) is trying to live up to the
reputation of the many boyfriends that his girlfriend Abbey (the vampire) has
had in her loooooong lifetime. Hilarity
the plot of anything that Richard Moore creates is always well done, I find
that the way he handles the in-story interactions, and the smaller jokes to be
where he really shines. Something as
simple as a conversation between Michael and Abbey could seem clunky and
unrealistic in less adept hands. The
part where Abbey admits that on their date she wore her “fuck-me boots” and yet
any time the word “fuck” is uttered a small bat flies over it obscuring the
word. While it’s not necessary (Moore
has never shied away from more adult interactions both verbally and visually)
having that bat obscure the word fuck just adds to the humor level of the
comic, something you rarely find nowadays.
Every once in a while, something like that is a welcome diversion, and
the fact that the joke rears its head at the end of the comic is perfect.
only thing that I could have asked for is the inclusion of more of the
supporting characters. They are what
really filled out the original series and made it memorable. I realize that it would have been difficult
to add everyone in, given the fact that it is only a standard sized comic book,
but hopefully we can see what everyone else is up to in the near future. That being said, as thin as Macabre was last month content-wise, Boneyard is bursting at the seams. It feels as complete of a comic as I have
read in quite some time.
9/10 – There’s a reason that I pick up everything Richard Moore
puts his hands on, and this issue of Boneyard
is a microcosm of that.
changed his style up a bit. Okay, let me
clarify that. If you’ve been following
Moore for over five or six years you will notice that he has gone from a
straight pen and ink/black and white style to more of an inkwash-heavy art
style. I’m more of a fan of his earlier
work in that respect, but his inkwash work is just as good, and the fact that
he tends to combine the two here on Boneyard
has made it even more palatable. I think
the reason that I liked his artwork in the past so much was just how clean it
was. Every line had a place and a
purpose, much like Doug Baron’s work on Jump
Back Adventures (which, if you’ve never seen it before, you need to check
out, Doug is a good friend and a phenomenal cartoonist).
after the long layoff between the end of the original series and the start of
this one, Moore has kept all of the characters on model, just with the addition
of inkwash. The backgrounds are both
complete and ever-present in practically all of the panels, perfectly rendered
and providing the mood along with the setting for the story. The monster in the story looks like a fairly typical
Richard Moore monster. It is well
crafted and looks both humorous and menacing at the same time.
9/10 – I am glad Moore is able to just do his work without
having to adhere to a Marvel or DC deadline or editorial demand. That being said, my only complaint about Richard
Moore is that there isn’t more of his work.
Overall: 8/10 – Hopefully
we get more of these Boneyard books
in the future as this has reclaimed its rightful place on the top of my “favorite
No Hell's Kitchen recap today because there was no new Hell's Kitchen last week (probably because Thursday was the fourth and everyone was outside lighting things on fire). Have no fear though. I scoured the internet for Hell's Kitchen memes that seem to be popping up more and more nowadays and bring you some of the better ones to tide you over until the recaps resume next week. Well done to the individuals that created these and put them out there for all of us to enjoy.
And now, my three personal favorites, in no particular order.
bands played at Gigantour this year. For
those of you uninitiated in all that is Gigantour, it is the (usually) annual
concert festival headlined by Megadeth.
Kind of like OzzFest, but on a smaller scale and usually with less bands
that you don’t want to see. Last year,
my brother and I went to Gigantour way out in Glens Falls, New York. It was held at a hockey arena in February,
and the experience was…shall we say…less than memorable. The lineup included Volbeat, Lacuna Coil,
Motorhead and Megadeth. While Volbeat
and Megadeth were good, Lacuna Coil was terrible and Motorhead fell under the
“let’s crank the volume, who cares if it sounds bad” umbrella that seems to
plague bands at times. Not only that,
but because it was indoors, the acoustics weren’t as good all around and all of
the stage tricks like fake smoke and bright lights hung around a bit longer
than they should, masking the experience of actually seeing the concert. This year’s show was in an outdoor venue, in
the middle of summer, so I had higher hopes that everything would come together
and make this a more enjoyable experience.
brother and I rolled up to the show about thirty minutes before it started and
got a decent parking space. Instead of
going right in, we hung out and tailgated for awhile, soaking up the fairly
tepid tailgating atmosphere. We had
actual seats, so going early and standing in the lawn to get a good spot wasn’t
necessary. We are both getting way too
old to stand for that length of time, and my brother was just getting over a
cold, so the fact that we could sit down between sets was a godsend. That also meant that we didn’t have to listen
to the opening bands. If a show has one
or even two openers before the headliner, I’ll usually take a listen, even if
I’m not in general admission seating.
When a concert boasts six bands, with a few that I have never heard
of…not so much. Not only that but my
general fickle nature when it comes to metal music makes finding new metal
bands that I like very difficult. I like classic, older metal bands. Any of the newer stuff, the screaming,
unintelligible metal bands are not my cup of tea for the most part. That being said, my brother and I skipped Death
Division and Newstead. While it would
have been interesting to see Jason Newstead in a non-Metallica roll, we heard
the music from our parking spot, it was not something that we really wanted to
partake in anyway. We headed in after
that though, and I’ll run down the four bands that we did see. This was amidst a cloud of sweat and body
odor so forgive me if my recollections are a bit hazy as the smell of Campbells
chicken noodle soup tends to mess with your senses a bit (yeah, I’m looking at
you green-haired girl two rows up).
The seats were better than I anticipated. What you don't see here are the fancy Hellyeah rugs they had on the ground for the guitar players to stand on.
mind Hellyeah, at least up until their most current album. Unfortunately, the crispness of their first
two albums was completely lost during their forty minute set of live music. Ninety percent of their set was
unintelligible. This was not only due to
the frontman’s screaming/slurring delivery, but also the fact that the double
bass on the drums was the loudest sound on the stage. I realize that a huge part of Hellyeah’s
credibility has to do with the fact that Vinnie Paul is behind the drum kit,
but that doesn’t automatically require you to make his sound the only thing
heard. Beyond that, the rest of the
instruments were unintelligible as well.
There are two guitars and a bass in the band and they pretty much all
came across as one big wall of sound. That
lack of separation, combined with the too-loud drums and the vocals (if you can
call them that) made for a poor opening experience. The fact that Hellyeah
needed an extra guy in the back, screaming (just fucking screaming) into a
microphone seemed incredibly silly to me, and it’s not something I would ever
pay full price to see again. I will give the frontman a little credit as he
was definitely full of energy, jumping around the stage and running around
without losing his breath (a bigger feat than you would imagine considering the
way he was screaming pretty much the entire time). Other than that though, you can color me
unimpressed with Hellyeah.
about taking yourself too seriously. I
know, David Draiman, you used to be in Disturbed, but come on. You were in Disturbed, not Led Zeppelin. From the fact that he came out on stage
wearing what can only be described as Dracula’s bathrobe, to the posturing
while he was singing, and the way he barked at two women to leave the pavilion
during his set because they didn’t stand up, really dude? You look like Phil Collins and Kevin Spacey’s
love child. The fact that he kept
referring to Device as “his band” was a little odd as well, and it was quite
clear that regardless of the skill of the other musicians, Draiman wanted all
of the headlines and glory. Speaking of
the band, there was no bass guitarist.
At all. The sound was okay though,
and I could detect some heft to the music, which means that the sound was
probably piped in, making it feel almost “Guitar Hero”-esque in that there was
music already being played that the band had to synch up to. For someone that was at the show to see
Megadeth and, more importantly, Black Label Society, you can understand my
disappointment with that kind of “non-traditional” delivery.
give Draiman credit in that he noticed a nine year old kid in the audience and
pulled him on stage to give the child the spotlight for a moment (the only
spotlight he shared for his forty-minute set) as he acknowledged the importance
of the child rocking out. The child had
noise cancelling headphones on, so he wasn’t being injured by the volume, and
he seemed to be having a good time. I
know we can have a debate about bringing kids to concerts (I’ve had that
debate) but as long as you take precautions and are not afraid to leave early
if necessary, I don’t see a problem, and musicians will gravitate to kids in
the audience, making them feel included and giving a special air to their
best part about the Device set was the Nine Inch Nails cover that they ended
with. Playing “Wish” was the highlight
of the set for sure, even though I’m not as enthralled by Draiman’s vocals as
many people appear to be (but that may have a lot to do with the fact that I’m
not a huge fan of him as a person). All
of the problems I had with Device were magnified by Black Label Society as the
next band, who was basically the anti-Device.
The anticipation was palpable in the air as that banner unfurled over the stage.
Black Label Society:
been a BLS fan for years and this is the first time I have gotten to see them
live. You can imagine my excitement as
Zakk and the boys took the stage. While
I have been disappointed in the past when my “bucket list bands” have not lived
up to my expectations, BLS surpassed those expectations with ease. The set list was expansive, covering pretty
much every album in the catalog (save Zakk’s solo stuff, Pride and Glory, and the underrated and underappreciated Hangover Music Volume VI album). That being said, everything fit well
together, with Zakk barely stopping his fingers from moving the whole
time. Seriously, the only time he
stopped playing was to change guitars, and usually during those times an
“intro” to the next song was playing.
All in all, Zakk played for just about sixty minutes straight, not
stopping to chat up the crowd like the frontmen from Device and Hellyeah did
(and they did it a lot), and only giving a small thank you at the very end
before closing out the set with “Stillborn”.
They tore it up, and Nick (who you can see to the right with the bandanna) was fully engaged with the crowd the entire time.
This is a short snippet of the lengthy solo that Zakk performed halfway through the set.
was so much that BLS did right during their set. The song selection, the bare bones setup,
showcasing just the music and nothing else, it definitely ranks very highly in
terms of the best live bands I have seen.
The setup was as simple as it could be.
Four guys playing instruments, two guitars, a bass and a conservative
drum kit (compared to the other bands that played with them anyway). There were no lights, no smoke, no
flash. Just a huge stack of Marshall
amps behind the guys. The only thing
that could even be deemed “flashy” is Zakk’s microphone stand which was crafted
to look like a heavy chain and has three skulls hanging off it.
The best part of the set was the
end of it though. Not in the same way
the best part of the Device and Hellyeah sets was the fact that they ended,
no. The best part was that when the set
ended, each member of the band, from Zakk on down to Nick Catanese (more on him
in a second) to the drummer and bassist (who looked like he rolled out of the
Shire and picked up a bass guitar) came together in the center of the stage,
congratulated each other for a show well done, gave each other a hug and turned
to thank the audience and take a bow.
There was no pretension, no feeling of anything but gratitude. Based on the amount of BLS shirts in the
audience, it was pretty obvious that most people (myself included) came out to
the show to see that band. They could
have ended the set, tossed a couple guitar picks and walked offstage, but they
celebrated, they were thankful, and they were real.
This is how you end your set. Everyone was thankful and ecstatic, and Zakk led the charge.
the band left the stage and the stagehands worked to tear down the BLS set and
put the Megadeth set together (which they did quickly and efficiently – more
than I have ever seen in fact) Nick Catanese strolled out of the backstage/VIP area
and milled around by the seats to my right.
As soon as people noticed him he was mobbed and did the best he could to
take as many photos and shake as many hands as he could before he walked
backstage. Then, he proceeded to come
back out and head up the aisle, shaking hands and probably stopping for more pictures
along the way. He showed that BLS is
full of the right kind of guys, musicians that are for the people that
appreciate their fans and work to give them what they want, even if it’s just a
quick cellphone pic. BLS proves that
fame, notoriety and legions of devoted fans don’t have to make you prima
donnas. That kind of action basically
cemented my return to a BLS concert and comfort with spending my hard-earned
cash on a quality product created by quality people.
was one thing that Megadeth had to do this year to top last year’s show; use
less fake fucking smoke. Last year, my
brother and I had tickets along the side of the hockey arena in the seats, deciding that general admission
standing room areas just would not work for us anymore as our knees and backs
age and creak along. We were not that
far from the stage last year, but the sheer amount of fake smoke covered the
stage, and that combined with the lighting made it nearly impossible to see the
musicians at times. The quality of the
music itself was great, so by improving the visual aspect of the performance,
it would have created the complete package this year.
My phone was dying by this point, so the pictures here aren't as crisp because I couldn't utilize the flash, plus Megadeth loves putting bright lights at the front of the stage.
Megadeth often does, they delivered. Not
only was the music itself of the same quality as it was last year (a pretty
similar set list as well, just with the incorporation of three new tracks off
their most recent release Super Collider)
but they had little to no fake smoke.
I’m not sure if something malfunctioned in the mechanism or what, but
the band started out with a little fake smoke and after that dissipated it was
not really replenished. This left for a
clear and clean viewing experience, and also an ample opportunity for someone
to film portions of the show on their phone.
That’s kind of the cost of doing business nowadays though. I could have done with all of the visuals
that they had going on on the three screens behind the band as I found it
distracting at times. I Came to the show
to watch Dave Mustaine shred, and if they had left it at that it would have
band was incredible, as always, playing all of the hits and pretty much
focusing their attention on all of the songs that people wanted to hear
(ignoring anything past Risk except
for the new album). Though a
heavy-hitter like “Moto Psycho” would have been fun to hear, its absence in no
way reflected poorly on the rest of the set.
The band itself, much like BLS was courteous and thankful of the people
that showed up, and while Dave Mustaine interacted with the audience more than
Zakk Wylde did, it was way more accepted and welcome than that of the leaders
of Device and Hellyeah. It really looked
like Mustaine was having a good time on stage (which could be due to the fact
that this was only the third show of the tour) but he, and the entire band
seemed loose and happy, which always translates well during the course of the
show. Mustaine even stayed out for a few
minutes after the rest of the band left the stage and people started to file
out, saying good-bye and thank you to everyone that had their eyes still
transfixed on the stage. It’s impressive
that a member of the “Big Four” is still humble enough to do that.
This was early on in the set as my phone was dead by the end, but needless to say, the guys killed it the whole time.
BLS and Megadeth, it proves that your stance in the music community and your
history therein is not a reason to treat your fans like they owe you
something. BLS and Megadeth are doing it
the right way and should be commended not only for their contributions to the
art form, but for their character.
World War Z starts off as a creepy
pandemic-movie, morphs into a zombie thriller for about twenty minutes and then
Oh, you wanted more of a recap than
It was a solid movie with good
acting and a decent plot. For the
record, I have not read the novel by Max Brooks, so I have nothing to compare
it to, but as far as zombie movies go, it was ok. The camera work was actually incredibly well
done, mirroring the pace dictated by the script. When the scenes were calm and more of a
talking head variety, they camera was slow and “normal” but when the action
kicked into high gear (and by action I basically mean people running from
zombies) then the camerawork was frenetic, often losing the main focus of the
scene (usually Brad Pitt) but showing everything else around him.
One thing that I really enjoyed was
the realism that was shown in the reactions to the pandemic. It definitely felt like the writers tried to
stay as true to human nature as they could.
Oftentimes when you see any kind of post apocalyptic movie (and this
qualifies) you are shown extreme examples of behavior to drive home the severity
of the situation. In World War Z, everything feels organic in
nature and relatively believable (though the “tenth man” discussion in the
Jerusalem sequence was a bit far-fetched).
The main issue I had with this
movie though was the fact that it didn’t really know what it was, or what kind
of movie it wanted to be. It was almost
like the producers took 28 Days Later,
any traditional zombie movie, and Indiana Jones and put them in a blender. At times, it worked. The individual pieces were well crafted, but
when you put them all together, it was easy to find something that was
lacking. For example, if you are making
a zombie movie in any respect, you would think that it would have a bit more
gore to it. I realize that they probably
had to trim that out to maintain the PG-13 rating, but I would have to ask why?
Why was that rating so essential to this project? You’re making a zombie movie, with a big-name
movie star, based on a very popular book.
You can’t tell me that those three factors wouldn’t have got you your
desired audience and you could have still made things a bit more
authentic. It doesn’t appear like any of
the zombies really eat their victims; they just bite them and run away, so I
can understand not showing any gore there.
However there is a sequence where Pitt’s character cuts the hand of a
soldier off to stop the infection from spreading after she is bit. It looks like, in that sequence as well as
the part where he changes her bandages, that they are going to great lengths to
not show you that injury, even from a profile view. I’m not some bloodthirsty bastard that needs
to see the bone and blood pouring out of the wound, but the camera work in
those sequences is almost like the director said “whatever you do, don’t show
the wound”. It’s an insult to anyone
that came to the movie looking for a real zombie movie. It’s just too blatant-looking of a move to be
anything but mandated from someone and not just a conscious decision of the
Speaking of the zombies, I liked
them…to a point. I know they aren’t
traditional zombies, but I don’t think that is what the filmmakers here were
trying to convey. This wasn’t a
traditional zombie movie at all. It was
a pandemic movie, where that pandemic was something that turned the hosts into
zombies. I would have liked to know a
bit more about what caused it and, more importantly, how it kept them
going. The zombies were dormant when
devoid of outside stimulus (like noise, they apparently hate noise) but when
they get riled up, they go batshit insane.
While they don’t really run any faster than a normal human would, they
keep going without an end in sight until they reach their prey. Even then, it’s usually a bite and then they
move on. How in the hell are they able
to do that? If they aren’t actually
eating any of their victims then they aren’t receiving nourishment (not that
traditional zombies could really metabolize their victims, but they weren’t
moving at an enhanced speed) so how could they keep up that pace? I would think that after that initial push,
their bodies would start to break down.
Yes, they wouldn’t stop, and would probably eventually turn into the
slow moving zombies we all know and love, but it would be more believable. Not only that, but early on in the movie we
are treated to the hypothesis that this comes from a virus, and that is what
creates the zombies. Later on, when they
are trying to devise a defense, we are informed that the zombies, not being
alive, cannot carry a virus or bacteria around their bodies (and therefore
can’t be stopped by biological warfare).
So which is it? Is this not a
virus, or is the virus only what kills them initially? If that is the case, what reanimates them and
keeps them going? In short, I could have
done with a bit more science and a bit less zombies walking around with their
teeth chattering like a naked guy in the arctic circle.
While part of me was happy that
“patient Zero” was not found, and the origin of the virus (if it was actually a
virus) was never completely figured out, leaving the ending so open-ended it felt
like a cop-out in a way. I realize that
finding a way to fight back (I’m trying to do this without spoiling anything
for anyone, bear with me), and not actually fighting back, was probably the
main conflict all along and therefore the climax of the story revolved around
that. However, a more comprehensive
denouement than “we fought back” should have been utilized. How much of the world’s population was
infected? What happened to the
survivors? Hell, what happened to the world when the zombies were
eradicated? How could they be sure they
had all of the zombies eradicated anyway?
Obviously if there was one left it could transform the world in
months. What about the people that were
infected by the camouflage, any side effect to that? None of these questions were sufficiently
answered, hell the movie ended before answers were even available in the
timeline of the movie itself. It almost
feels like we were cheated out of an additional twenty minutes of movie. If they had provided a more succinct and
comprehensive wrap-up it would have put a nice bow on the movie and made it a
memorable chapter in the pantheon of zombie fiction. Instead we are left wondering.
I saw a
pre-release interview with Satellite Sam
creators Howard Chaykin and Matt Fraction a couple weeks ago and the premise
looked incredibly interesting. I love
stories that transport us back in time, even if it’s only a few years, and with
this one sending us back to 1951 it really piqued my interest. Let’s see if it lives up to my expectations.
cover pretty much tells you all about the inciting incident of the series right
off the bat. While we don’t know who any
of the characters on the cover are, we have an idea that the “spaceman” is
Satellite Sam, so it’s pretty obvious that this starts with his murder at the
hands of this random scantily clad woman.
The imagery of blood spatter inside the helmet with just a single bullet
hole is gruesome and intriguing at the same time. It is 100 times more effective of an image
than if Chaykin had drawn it more realistically with the mangled face of the
corpse visible in the helmet.
couple issues I had with the art were not dealbreakers by any means, but made
me pause a bit when I was looking at it.
Satellite Sam himself looks a bit flat.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of weight and depth to the character
(which is in direct contrast to all of the revelations we are going to find out
over the course of the series). The foot
of the woman is also planted firmly on the hand of Sam, and yet her leg is
straight and her foot is flat, as if she is standing on the ground itself. Chaykin could have moved the hand up a bit
and it would have worked better in my opinion.
I would have thought that maybe, just maybe, the suit was empty, but
there is no indication that is the case given the weight provided to the gloves
8/10 – A striking narrative cover can’t be spoiled by a few
graphic missteps. The woman is well
drawn (what little we can see anyway) and the coloring is great. The attention to detail is incredible as
well, especially in the undergarments of the woman. Chaykin could have made up some silly design
that didn’t look as realistic but was easier to execute, yet he went a more
best thing about the story is that it starts with Satellite Sam already
dead. That sounds a little morbid, but
the reaction to his death, from thinking that he just hasn’t shown up for his
job, to realizing that he is gone but his job still needs to be done, is more
impressive than a linear narrative that included the act as well. Being on the periphery of the murder and
experiencing it along with everyone else gives us a closer tie to the living
than it would if we had just seen the murder happen because we are finding out
with them without being desensitized to it.
Their reactions are our reactions and we are sharing something with them
as opposed to just reading about them. The
fact that this story starts off with the death of the title character (or at
least the guy that plays that character on the television show) serves to throw
many wheels in motion that will most likely reveal more mysteries than resolutions
for some time to come.
the plot and the overall craft of the story is excellent. The first twelve to fifteen pages, up and
through the reveal of Sam’s death, does not feel like a comic book. The feel of the story to that point is almost
like a movie script. The frenetic pace
coupled with the way that the characters are speaking would feel more at home
in a movie setting than in the static world of a comic book. It almost feels like Fraction is trying to
control the pace by throwing as much dialogue as possible at you from the get
go, except it’s not really saying much.
I’m not against dialogue heavy comics (hell, I grew up with the X-Men in the early nineties for Christ’s
sake) but that dialogue seemed to have a purpose. The opening half of issue one of Satellite Sam feels like the opening of
a movie, before the title card. You
almost expect the names of the “talent” to scroll across the page as if you
were watching it unfold on the big screen of your local movie theater. While I understand what Fraction was trying
to do to a point, it doesn’t have the desired effect on me, so I would have to
say that it was unsuccessful.
6/10 – The story is good, I’m just not too sold on the
delivery system as of yet. Obviously
there is a possibility that it will even itself out (and it kind of did after
we got out of the television studio) but if it dips back into that break-neck,
throw all these words at you kind of pace, it will revert to the unimpressive
nature that it was for the first half of issue one.
of all, I’m all for black and white comics.
Love them. Second, Chaykin is a
master of creating textures in this medium.
Where many comics nowadays are eschewing texture for clean, crisp lines
that leave plenty of room for the colorist to work, Chaykin has instead filled
up the entire book with texture and character.
This is done in all manner of ways, from zipatone backgrounds to ink
splatter, grease pencil and straight up pen and ink textures. I love it all. Everything is detailed and realistic, with
just a hint of cartoony in there so you realize you are reading a comic book.
The characters are not stylized but they are not to the point where they look
traced out of a magazine. The
backgrounds are beautifully done and look just like a legitimate backdrop of 1950s
New York City.
the art gets a little odd in terms of proportion (hands being too small and
things like that) but the only reason that is inherently noticeable is because
the rest of it is spot on. When you have
something that looks incredible, any little wart is going to stand out. The warts here do not detract from the overall
product though, as Chaykin has done an incredible job of utilizing all of the
traditional comic-making media to his advantage in crafting a period piece that
feels like a period piece. This is not
an easy feat given that it is all in black and white, but he does it, and does
it better than I have seen in a long time.
9/10 – Chaykin delivers, showing that he is still one of the
better artists out there and that a no-frills, back to basics approach to comic
making can work well in the hands of a master.
Overall: 7/10 – The saving
grace of the first half of the book is that it is pretty to look at. When The story catches up to the writing it
makes the book incredible.