KINGSWAY WEST / RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS / NIGHTWING / ROM / SNOTGIRL [Reviews]: Back in the Saddle Again!
Dark Horse Comics spurs it deep for tha giddyup-and-go with their latest trailblaze from way out yonder with Kingsway West. Before we gin ‘em up and hang ‘em high, whataya ya say we break down who’s in cahoots in this here hellraisin’ posse, ya goddamned cowpokes? Greg Pak’s (Batman/Superman) spinnin’ them yarns ‘round tha campfire, Mirko Colak’s (Red Skull) drawing tha lines in tha desert sand, Wil Quintana’s (Exiles) laying down tha warpaint, and Simon Bowland’s (2000 AD) brandin’ them letters deep into tha cowhide, for all ya cattle rustlin’ dirty legs, hillbillies, and scallywags to suck on!!!
A couple a diff’rent factions a hooligans are hellbent on leatherneckin’ each other into oblivion, as they punish-spelunk their steeds into a priceless golden-red cache of rushworthy proportion deep within an undiscovered network of cavernous underbelly:
- We done got us a grimed-up gargantuan gulch a horrific heathens an’ hell-raisin’ heroes, twenty-one-gun-salutin’ each other’s headspace into heapin’ hordes a hot lead up in this here gamblin’ house!
- Ya got yer mysterious Chinese Queen of Golden City corralled up in NorCal with her conglomeration of green-dudded, gunpowder-chewin’ groundpounders, squaring off against the entire Gaucho Army de la República de los Californios who inhabit all of SoCal, the Southwest, and Northern Mexico.
- Finding themselves seemingly outflanked by these two dastardly factions are the good-fightin’ Freelanders, who maintain control a them hidden Red Gold Mines. Our sharp-shootin’ hero, Kingsway West and his Annie Oakleyian wife, Sonia, are a-gearin’ up fer a hellacious high noon showdown, right down tha middle a them punks!!!
And just wait’ll ya get a load a them steampunk-wieldin’ Yankees that’ll be heading out West directly, to blow all them outlaw smithereenies up to high heaven with their high-fallutin’ warships that fly upon them golden red wind gusts… Yippee-Ki-Yay muthrfukkrz!!! 4/5 Hollow-Tipped Wadcutters in the Wheelgun.
This one was pretty cool for the 1st half. I’ve never read anything about Red Hood before this–nope, not even “The Death of Jason Todd”–so I was following the origin story pretty excited from page one. The art from Dexter Soy (Mortal Kombat X) and Veronica Gandini (Fearless Defenders) here is OK. Nothing really impressive going on, but it’s far from the bottom shelf next to The Six Million Dollar Man. So, I was into it. Technically Scott (Superman) Lobdell‘s story flows really well and the dialog feels natural. The deal breaker for me was the line “I missed what happened next, because I was dead.” Like I said, I had never read anything about Red Hood before, so I don’t know if that’s a well known part of his origin story or not. However, I do know that my brain drops out of a story any and every time a hero dies and comes back to life. It’s just not my thing. I know this is called Rebirth, and I shoulda saw it coming, but I try not to judge books by their covers–ever so fittingly–and Moody held me at gunpoint (help me). 2.75/5 Biased Bibles.
I’ve always been a fan of Nightwing, so it was easy to get excited for Dick’s first chapter of his Rebirth. It’s a decent set up for Nightwing. He’s working with the Parliament of Owls, but not really; he’s just sort of pretending to while spying on them. Grayson gets a new mission, the parliament assigns him a new partner, Raptor, and of course they fight immediately. There’s no doubt there’s going to be some good back-and-forths between them, and it looks like Dick’s in for some rude awakenings about life–even likely a whole new outlook. Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash) does a great job of capturing the sarcastic little brat that Nightwing is and always seemingly has been, while Javier Fernandez (Magneto) linework–with Chris Sotomayor‘s coloring–helps give the comic that dark, gritty Gotham feel. 3.75/5 Flying Graysons.
What’s good, geeks. The Belser is here, back and in living color (no pun intended). Today’s selection is an old school relic brought into the modern era: ROM #1, the Spaceknight. Now, my first thought was “why the hell is IDW doing a run on a Marvel character?”. Then, I slapped myself on the forehead and remembered ROM started out as a Hasbro toy. Though ROM’s part of Marvel’s continuity, the comic was merely to promote it like the Micronauts.
Anywho, here’s the story: One night in southern Californ-I-A, two locals sheriffs are nearly ran over by a military convoy. Confused and curious, the sheriffs follow the convoy and its soldiers in the middle of a search. They are spooked by the sudden appearance of ROM. The sheriffs think ROM is a military robot but the truth is revealed. The Space Knight is hunting the convoy because its forces have been taken over by The Dire Wraiths, his shape-shifting arch enemies. After a skirmish, ROM goes about his mission: Find the Dire Wraiths on Earth and destroy them. However, their influence might make that pretty difficult.
As I’m a fan of robots and space aliens and what not, I enjoyed this story by Christos Gage (Spider-Man) and Chris Ryall (Judge Dredd). The art by Michele Pasta (Suicide Risk) and David Messina (The Bounce) was impressive as well. My favorite panel is something near to my heart: a veteran with PTSD talking with her family, with the twist being that they all turn out to be Dire Wraiths. It had a very “Terminator 2/ John Connor’s adopted family” kind of feel to it. 4/5 Bibles.
Snotgirl is written by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim) and drawn by Leslie Hung (Bee and Puppycat). You’re introduced to Lottie Person, a fashion blogger obsessed with having the perfect image. In reality, Lottie is deathly allergic to her surroundings, dislikes most people and things in general, and feels like her friends are horrendous people who don’t want to spend time with her. At almost 26-years of age and a blog that just turned eight, Lottie has a mid-life crisis of sorts and doubts herself but refuses to let her followers see how vulnerable she is. While you find yourself missing O’Malley’s comedic and cartoony linework, Hung has this beautifully smooth art style that capitalizes on the beauty aspect of fashion which also shines a different kind of light when the gross side of reality strikes like when mucous begins to gush from Lottie’s face spontaneously.
O’Malley’s writing has always had this genuine feel to it. Lottie’s thinking process is both rational and realistic in the sense that you could easily think in similar fashion if you were in her situation. Loneliness and self-doubt are factors most wouldn’t showcase when dealing with success and popularity. O’Malley has found the perfect balance between a somber existence, finding the humorous side to everything, and influencing with natural circumstances. Snotgirl shows potential early on, but its abrupt ending that you screaming WTF louder than Lottie does after Cutegirl avoids her hater’s brunch in order to feed her fish (which actually isn’t a goldfish btw). 3/5 Bibles.