Battlestar Galactica / Shaft / Army of Darkness [Reviews]: Comics Get “The Treatment”

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Stash, all you purveyors of comics’ cache! Once again, the elite cadre of geekologists, geekolytes, geekofiles, geektranauts, and geekinators here at The Church of Cool have scoured the sluice of last week’s comic book excavation and brought forth an assessment of your upcoming purchase agenda!

It’s ADAPTATION TIME! And we FILL IN ALL THE GAPS as the worlds of Battlestar GalacticaArmy of DarknessShaftCrossAsgard, and Planet of the Apes all get the treatment of new forms.

So read on! Rush to judgement, and then rush to your nearest shop and pick up the recommended titles BELOOOOOOOOOOW! —

(clockwise from top left) Derek "Divine" Vigeant; "The Apostle" Lance Paul; "Abess" Jackie Henley; "Cardinal" Robert Bexar; "Sermonizer" Ryan Scott; "Pope" Jason Sacks
(clockwise from top left) Derek “Divine” Vigeant; “The Apostle” Lance Paul; “Abess” Jackie Henley; “Cardinal” Robert Bexar; “Sermonizer” Ryan Scott; “Pope” Jason Sacks

Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Apollo #1

BSGDOA01COVCRAMONDELLIThe question I ask Dynamite is: why? The fan base for the original BG has to be minimal at best, why create a comic based around a waning fan-base? This doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate the story by Dan Abnett (Knights of Pendragon), or the illustrations by Dietrich Smith (NEXT). I did. I was just stuck in that awkward moment of never clicking with the source material and pushing myself to finish 22 pages of the comic.

The shinning light here is the storyline. Though I may have been unfamiliar with the gist of what was happening, Abnett exceptionally handles the delivery of significant developments by the end of the issue.  The slow reveal and pacing that Dan is so well known for will help deliver this story to original Galactica timeline fans.

But hey– if you’re a fan of the toaster glory of Galactica 78, you will absolutely enjoy this in-continuity comic. 3 (out of 5) Cylons agree!

— Lance Paul


Comic book companies have always had a knack for licensing random, seemingly nonsensical properties and adapting them into comics. Enter SHAFT, by Dynamite Comics. David F. Walker (Number 13), Bilquis Evely (Doc Savage), and Daniela Miwa (The Shadow) have taken on the task of bringing the famous 70’s bad mother f***er to the world of modern comics.

"He's a baaaad motha--"
“He’s a baaaad motha–“

The art in the book is exactly what it probably should be and the story is loaded with lots of racial slurs, stereotypes, and, oh yeah, boxing. As one might expect. The story follows John Shaft as he tries to figure out his life following the war. Licensed properties are often surprisingly fun in the comicverse, but something feels a bit off when reading SHAFT.

Walker has done no wrong, but it is perhaps the source material itself that just doesn’t seem like it’s right for comics. Then again, perhaps this is just the result of having a nerdy white boy review a comic such as SHAFT. In any case, this may not be the best of reads on stands this week; however, the creators did include a pretty sweet playlist to go along with the book. 2.75/5 Bibles

— Ryan Scott

Army of Darkness #1 / Wolf Moon #1

comics-army-of-darkness-01THIS! IS MY BOOMSTICK!!– (or at least I wish this was said in the issue).

I had the distinct pleasure of reviewing two #1’s this week: Army of Darkness and Wolf Moon. Both of which set up, or at least try to set up, their respective stories in new and exciting ways. Also, both are written by Cullen Bunn (Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, Sixth Gunn).

Let me begin with the comic that tried something new and tripped up — Army of Darkness. I know, it sounds blasphemous and I even read it with Bruce Campbell’s voice in my head, but the book just didn’t keep me interested. Cullen and artist Larry Watts (Grimm Fairy Tales) take Army of Darkness and Ash to where very few have been before… space. But only after spending the first few pages recapping the events of The Evil Dead and Army of Darkness. Maybe it’s the fact that comics have been edging towards a sense of realism lately (oxymoron, I know), but there are a few scenes that feel just a bit over the top for a normal human being to handle, boomstick or no.

Thankfully, the art saved the book, leaving a hint of realism in the issue.  But, throwing Ash into space seemed a bit contrived to me– almost as though the powers-that-be were just sitting around trying to think of something, anything, else to do, so Cullen just went, “Let’s do space!!” The other problem is that I didn’t feel a real connection to Ash. And I love Ash.  By the end of the book, even with the OMG moment that’s supposed to hook you for issue 2, I was left feeling “Eh.9hOaOqu-wolfmoon1b

Juxtapose that with Cullen’s other book out this week, Wolf Moon. This book takes a classic horror icon and has a lot of fun with it. The curse is no longer passed on by a bite or a scratch, but by a roaming spirit that inhabits a new body every month for 3 days. Wolf Moon‘s art is by Jeremy Haun (The Darkness) and good sweet Lord, faithful followers, it’s magnificent in this book.  The end will leave you with your mouth agape, wondering just what the hell is going on.

Both books rely heavily on inner monologue and, overall, it seems Cullen was just trying too hard in Army of Darkness, while it seemed to just flow in Wolf Moon. I will say, though, having read Cullen’s other books, he seems to have only two modes when he starts a book: either he starts off slow and builds to something much bigger, or he just jumps right out of the gate.  In these two instances, I would wait for Army of Darkness to come out in trade, but go out and get Wolf Moon. Army of Darkness: 2.5 out of 5 Boomsticks/Wolf Moon: 4.5 out of 5 Silver Bullets

— Robert Bexar

Cross + 100 #1Crossed+100-1-designsketch2-600x463

I don’t know what I expected from the first new comic in years by the great Alan Moore (Watchmen), but it wasn’t this brooding, slang-filled and oddly beautiful post-apocalyptic meditation with deeply detailed art by Gabriel Andrade (Lady Death).

Moore and Andrade deliver a story that takes place a century after the world that Garth Ennis created in his seminal, Crossed. It’s a post-civilization society that appears long after the zombies have taken over the earth and then started to fall away, in which the people on the planet have given way to marauding packs of wolves and other animals, and a kind of wilding has happened to humans left alive. Civilization is just a distant memory, and the small band of travelers that we meet are doing their best to keep the memory alive in some small ways.

Moore spices this adventure with some interesting touches, especially the slang that our protagonists use. It’s invented, obviously, but it’s also rich and evocative of times gone by, technology that’s half-remembered. Relationships seem complex and fluid, and death seems to be well accepted as part of life. Andrade’s meticulous art reminds me a bit of George Perez (The Avengers), with a fine-line approach to character and deep, thoughtful backgrounds that give readers a thorough view of the dark vision that this team have produced.

This is an odd Alan Moore comic, but it’s a fun comic that promises many thrills in future issue. 4/5 brains

— Jason Sack

Red-headed step-child.
Red-headed step-god.

Angel of Asgard #1

If there’s anything that men learn the hard way between the ages of 17-22, it’s that red-headed women are all nuts.

Angel of Asgard is no exception to this rule, and the comic starts the story in the middle of a raging (and probably hormonally-fueled) identity crisis. The art and story are both good but take a level of concentration that didn’t feel seamless or easy to read and understand at times. But the end of the story drops a bomb so big you’ll see why the “angel” of the title is definitely winning the award for craziest bitch in charge.

Overall a 3/5, and I’d be interested to read a few more of these for good character development, and maybe to just keep reinforcing that theory about crazy red-heads.

— Jackie Henley


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes #1

Do you ever watch all the movies in a trilogy and kind of wonder “I wish I could see what happened in between each one?” Me too! It seems like there’s so much great story we’re missing out on.dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-1

Well, Boom! Studios was thinking ahead and are filling in the 10 year gap between Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Written by Michael Moreci (Hoax Hunters) with art by Dan McDaid (Vandroid), we’re once again thrown into a world where humans are not in charge anymore.

McDaid’s illustrations of the apes are amazing. He uses just enough facial expressions to convey emotion on their faces while striking a perfect balance between the primitive and the evolved.  Moreci’s story is two-fold. One storyline follows Caesar and the assembly of his group to eventually become the force that will wreak havoc. The other follows human Malcolm and his family as they are escaping in the aftermath of the disastrous Simian Flu. The kicker is that it’s with his first wife who, in the events of the movie, had already passed away. Sorry Keri Russell fans!

Interesting to see some of the apes, including Maurice and Koba (and Rocket has already been mentioned), together, since we know which ones will betray Caesar down the line. But even with all of the talk of peace in the movie, Caesar is shown to be a leader that knows he must make his group stronger in order to continue on and have a lasting future. Malcolm’s storyline shows him as brave and intelligent, just trying to make things better for his family.

I really look forward to what this series has to offer. 2.75/5 bibles

— Derek Vigeant

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