Review: Evil Ernie: GodEater #3

By Kaleb Herbert

God-Eater is quite the fitting name for the grotesque, gigantic creature that was trapped on Earth and is now free. Through the artwork of Worley and Razek the reader can really get a sense of how immense the God-Eater truly is and how SOL Ernie is in terms of facing off against this monstrosity. Besides the big reveal of exactly who the God Eater creature is this was a rather slow, dreadfully uneventful, somewhat disappointing issue in comparison to how the first two issues went. The first two issues had great character build-up, a solid pacing in terms of events taking place, and this issue just lacked any kind of real motivation to progress the story. From what Jordan and Davidsen delivered previously, maybe there was just a high expectation for them to keep following up with better and better material. Perhaps this slower issue will lead into greater things which is expected from what the past issues have delivered.

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Review: Jackboot and Ironheel #3

By Mike Badilla

In issue 3 of Jackboot and Ironheel, we find our hero, Eddie, has been recaptured by the Nazis and returned to Lungotz prison camp. For those that missed my review of issue 2, Eddie was given a chance to escape from the camp by some of the nuns working there. However, he was unable to make a run for it as he was confronted by something creepy in the surrounding waters. A Nazi soldier is recounting the capture by radio to his commanding officer, including that one of the soldiers was lost to the threat in the water, called "Muggenthaler," by the soldier. 

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Review: Brooklyn Nine-Nine S4 E.01 “Coral Palms – Part-1”

By Dustin Cabeal

I only have one friend that watches this show which is a damn shame. It is one of the funniest shows on TV and the only other comedy besides Modern Family that makes me laugh like a raving idiot. To put it plainly, I loved this episode. I also worry about its writing constantly. To explain that I will tell you that this episode picks up six months after the end of last season which is something they’ve done each season. I appreciate that because it gives a real sense of time passing. People can look different due to other roles they’re working in the “Biz,” and it’s fine because time in their world has passed.

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Review: Augmented #1

I'm feeling burned out on negativity. Not that I feel too terribly unjust in feeling negative so much of the time, but we all feed various engines within ourselves at any given point in the timeline, and getting back onboard reviewing here on Bastards hasn't fueled many productive ones. Despite the few standout exceptions, 2016 has been pretty uniformly a bunk year for media for me. All the good music I've listened to this year came out last year, save for that made by recently dead artists. I've only seen one genuinely great film this year, with an overwhelming amount of disappointments and skipped trips to the theater, despite making a personal promise to see more. And comics...well, let's face it. Outside of two or three vets who keep plugging away at the medium, most comics are a crapshoot for me. I don't gamble on DC or Marvel anymore, only ever reading them on an extraordinary recommendation or out of critical obligation. I don't know if it's about getting older or just being tired, but this isn't fun anymore. Most of the time I'd rather have a quiet night in talking about anime or Grant Morrison comics with a few friends than going to a convention just to be amazed at the ocean of premium priced novelty clutter. I don't know, like the old song says, "if you're bored then you're boring." Well, I am bored, and it's only getting to feel more like it's a part of me every day.

Augmented is...well, not as bad as the last two comics I read I guess. The story concerns a fighting match where fighters are sponsored by the wealthy to be enhanced with cybernetic augmentations, pitted against each other in a fight to the death. A prisoner is given a chance at a life beyond bars by being selected to be the latest fighter in the competition, but at what cost?

Augmented_1Did any of the wording I just used in the synopsis sound a bit awkward? It felt awkward to write because I realized how many big chunks of plot information are just completely absent from this book. There's actually one part that feels like a page might have been missing from the review copy, but here's a rundown of what we don't know. We meet our protagonist in prison. What was he imprisoned for? No idea. What did he do before he went to jail? Boxing, maybe? All we get is one line about someone having seen his "fights." The fighting tournament. Is it illegal? Doesn't seem like it, but we're never given any sort of motivation for why it exists. Our douchebag CEO antagonist seems really concerned about it but never explains if it's a matter of TV ratings, a la The Running Man, or an overly elaborate way to test out the technology he's developing for other means, as in D.O.A.: Dead or Alive. Nothing. Our protagonist makes a really dumb deal with really obvious dumb downsides, and we're not even provided with a horrible stock tragic story about how he just wants to get back to his wife and kid or girlfriend or terrier. He's just angry he got tricked in an obvious way but won't get to do anything about it until, oh, say issue #4 or #5. Probably the biggest piece of missing information: who are we supposed to be rooting for in the upcoming fights? The lead isn't sympathetic. The goals of every institution in this is unclear. So, where's the hook?

The one thing that helps elevate this a little is the art. It's by no means great, but it fits the popcorn storytelling well with exaggerated energy and 90's-esque ambitions. The colors are also decent, extremely saturated, but poppy enough to make the art look like what it is trying to look like. Everything flows nicely, save for the weird gaps in the narrative, making this book at the least seem a competent attempt at the limited premise. The nicest thing I can say about it is for a book about fighting tournaments, they at least did better than Kevin Eastman's Cage Hero, and that man created the Ninja Turtles.

Maybe I am boring. It is nearly midnight, and I'm in front of a computer at home, being unhappy about a comic that never really had a chance in appealing to me. I ate too much of the wrong things; the beer has worn off, and now I'm left trying to put words to the lack of anything I feel when I read these books. But there it is, isn't it? Beneath the ambitions to be art, to be personal, to capture imaginations, inspire controversy, or puppeteer the emotions, the simplest goal of media, the most primitive function, is simply to entertain. To provide an escape from the computer, and the job, and the aching shoulder. To be somewhere else that is just more interesting than here. Haven't found it here. I'll keep looking.

[su_box title="Score: 2/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Augmented #1 Writer: Bill Stoddard Artist: Chris Royal Colorist: Nimesh Morarji Publisher: Tenacious Comics Price: $3.99


Review: Grimm Tales of Terror vol. 2 #11

SHOCKING! TERRIFYING! BLOODY HELL! This week, I’ve decided to review Zenescope Entertainment’s Grim Tales of Terror Volume 2 #11. This title caught my eye for two reasons. For one, I like horror titles; I like seeing what’s on the market and how other people make horror comics. The second reason was that a friend of mine had drawn stories for this title previously and from the quality of his work, I thought this book would be ace… I might have picked the wrong issue to review here, ha-ha.

This issue’s story has a well-trodden trope; you should guess that from the story’s title, “Vanishing Hitchhiker.” Ghost of a hitchhiker haunting a road, looking for the person who killed them. Done. I’ve seen this story done across various forms of media a few times, so it would’ve had to have done something really special to impress me. I think this is the first comic I’ve seen in a long time that has someone who came up with the story and someone who’s written it credited to two different people… Joe Brusha came up with the story, and Marco Lopez has written the issue (I think this is the first time I’ve encountered anyone on this title’s work.)

Grimm Tales of Terror v2 #11It’s a pretty bog-standard tale, and I’m sure it could have been done in far fewer pages. Some of the dialogue is pretty stilted and Marco… he… really like using those ellipses. The main character is like a less charismatic Captain Kirk, who happens to be a home security salesman and also, a really cheap bastard.

The artist for this issue did alright I guess. Though Roger Bonet’s art at times is a bit hit and miss, there are some nice panels in here; it’s just a shame that there’s some duffers in there too because it drags down the rest of the art in the book. The color work is lovely throughout from Sonia Moruno, though, even on the panels that aren’t drawn particularly well. So well done, Sonia!

There’s not much else I can really say about the story in this issue. It wasn’t really scary or horrific in any way. There was some gore and some swearing. Overall, a pretty disappointing introduction to the series for me. The variants are probably the highlight for me. I have a guy who buys a lot of Zenescope titles from my shop who I’m pretty sure doesn’t even read them, ha-ha. He just buys all the covers. So keep doing the variants, Zenescope. I have a customer who loves them…

If you collect the series, I’d like to know what you thought about the issue in the comments section. And if you do collect the title, tell me about previous issues for that matter. Maybe I just picked a bad issue, eh?

[su_box title="Score: 2/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Grim Tales of Terror v2 #11 Writer: Marco Lopez Artist: Roger Bonet Colorist: Sonia Moruno Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment Price: $3.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital[/su_box]