SUPERMAN / IMPERIUM / AMERICAN VAMPIRE / NAMELESS / CLUSTER [Reviews]: Stylin’ & Profilin’, Super Flare Style! Whooooo!!!

Superman hasn’t had this much press since he was found last summer teasing the silverscreen with Heat Vision against an armored up Oldbatman. But, now he’s got “Super Flair?”



Sorry, we meant Super Flare.

Throw in some indy highs and not-so’s, a few dozen vampires, and those who shall remind not-so ______, and you’ve got the 2015 return of our Fistful of Comics.

SUPERMAN #38 - DC Comics
SUPERMAN #38 – DC Comics
"Pope" Jason Sacks @jasonsacks
“Pope” Jason Sacks

The great Ulysses Saga wraps up in the way it had to wrap up: with everything back as it was, and with everything just slightly different from how it was. Much of this issue is a pitched battle between Supes and his counterpart, and the fight is vicious, energetic and sometimes even thrilling – there’s a few panels that contain some of the best artwork of John (Amazing Spider-Man, World War Hulk) Romita Jr.‘s career.

We witness Superman’s heroism and his leadership of people as he puts himself in the way of innocent civilians – and discovers that he has a new superpower that nobody suspected he had.

The new power seems right, in every manner in which it should make sense.

In his furious battle with Ulysses, energy flies furiously around both men, and we can almost feel the energy cracking round them. When Superman uses his new power, it flows from that event and seems logical, building on what we already know about him.

When Batman (of course it’s Batman!) reveals the essence of his powers, Supes’s reaction also seems right. The human moments are subtle, calm and interesting, and a wonderful example of Geoff Johns (Aquaman, Justice League) at his best.

Something like a Chevelle song.
Something like a Chevelle song.

Johns and Romita get all the details right here in this issue. There are lots of small gestures and moments that show everybody in character, and the climax of the issue is a totally logical culmination that changes decades of Superman’s history.

This is a fun, smartly delivered, take on our greatest hero. We need a good Superman comic and this is it. 4.5/5 Kryptonian Shields.

CLUSTER #1 - BOOM! Studios
CLUSTER #1 – BOOM! Studios
"The Priestess" Eva Ceja - @evaceja
“The Priestess” Eva Ceja – @evaceja

Creators Ed Brisson (Prophet, Sheltered) and Damian Couceiro (Sons of Anarchy, Planet of the Apes) really have the making of a masterpiece: A politician’s daughter, Samara, is taken to a sort of women’s prison in the distant future following a drunk driving fuck-up, to a different planet…with no escaping. When she meets an over talkative fellow prisoner, she starts to wonder if being sent to this place is a conspiracy. If you love The Terminator‘s Sarah Connor, then BOOM! has just the right intergalactic military comic for you.

Kudos to Brisson for writing yet another great female lead (hell, he writes a solid Gemma in the SOA comic) in Samara, who is as complex as they come. It should be interesting to see which route she takes among all the madness. Cluster #1 also left me with as many political questions, too, especially with the cliffhanger ending… And no, Sylvester Stallone doesn’t show up. This sci-fi venture is sure to be out of this world fun and a little bit trouble-making. Good. 3.75/5 bibles.

IMPERIUM #1 - Valiant
IMPERIUM #1 – Valiant
"Reverend" Ryan Ford @nayrdrof
“Reverend” Ryan Ford

Ever wish you could have superpowers? In the future, everyone can! (*Provided all freedoms are relinquished in favor of governmental servitude*)

Welcome to the world of Imperium, the utopian society created by “Psiots”: individuals with genetically activated superpowers. They differ from the X-Men because apparently everyone now has the gene, yet only a few choose to have their powers activated. Centered around one of the founding Psiots, we follow his birth and power activation in “old” Mumbai to a futuristic one straight out of Blade Runner, then off to an underwater suburb of Hong Kong, followed by a wartime flashback in Syria where a robotic soldier lectures the supers on civilian casualties. Joshua (Harbinger) Dysart‘s plot all happens before the old man boards a space elevator docking with a ship bound for Mars. If you’re baffled, that makes two of us. I read this comic twice before I got this much out of it. I still have no fucking idea what the main character’s name is.

That being said, let’s move on to the good stuff. Doug (Justice, Unity) Braithwaite‘s artwork – fantastic. Despite the literary portion being more confusing than IRS tax law, the penciling and color palate set the tone, providing much needed insight to the emotions of the scenes. The concept and visual quality are there, but the execution of it all falls a little short. There is potential in the series, mind you, in the way that general plot points would be better explained if SyFy picked it up for a movie-of-the-week. If that happens, call the Reverend. I have some suggestions. 3.25/5 Bibles.

"Sister" Jenn @JenniferFlatebo
“Sister” Jenn

I’m the kinda girl that is drawn to vampires. There’s something incredibly sexy about them. I mean, depending on the story — the rough-and-tumble-leather-not-syrupy-cookie-cutting-Twilight-kind… — I can get hooked relatively quickly. Like some of Scott (Batman, The Wake) Snyder‘s previous work, the second arc of Second Cycle started off a little slow for this Sis; but, hell, it’s super comic scribe Snyder, so the story is fascinating nonethless. And those demon-bats, who arrive in the North Atlantic, are as creepy a humanized vamp could look.

This is a new spin on the Cold War, a cover-up origin story of the evil demon: The Gray Trader. With Rafael (Robin, Blue Beetle) Albuquerque‘s ominous landscapes and far more ominous vampire story, American Vampire: Second Cycle #6 is a fine jumping-on point for those who want to learn the history of vampires (especially if you missed the titular series’ Skinner and Pearl), their secret-ops predators and the countless number of ways to go about it all!

Sink your teeth into this. 3/5 Bibles.

NAMELESS #1 - Image
NAMELESS #1 – Image
"Monsignor" Travis Moody @travmoody
“Monsignor” Travis Moody

Ever want to see 80s Kurt Russell in a psychedelic feature film frothing of psychosis, whimsical space horror, and…fish…men? Yeah, me too. The dynamic Batman Incorporated tag-team of Grant Morrison (Annihilator, The Multiversity) and Chris Burnham (Officer Downe, Nixon’s Pals) match grappling hooks and batarangs again with Nameless, a comic that takes Morrison back into straight “WTF” mode. But as straight-forward a multiple earths superhero series The Multiversity has been, Nameless‘ headfuck elements — at least so far — appear far more complicated than they are, allowing the comic to move at a brisk pace without simplifying matters to.. well.. Batman & Robin/Batman Inc. status.

Nameless also isn’t a horror comic in the Snyder/look-who’s-behind-the-covers sense. It’s chiefly horrific because of just how dense it is. What is going on? (“I’m here to see a man about a key”) Why does this Nameless guy appear both strangely passive and anxiously afraid at the same time? Why are all of these wonderful — and intensely hypnotic — panels stuck in my subconscious? Yet, all those questions can be answered with one simple answer: These guys are kings of adventure. For Morrison, Burnham and the violet violence of Nathan Fairbairn‘s palettes deliver a comic more rivettingly Lynchian from panel to panel than dream to dream. Nameless is still the Morrison we all knew before, dreaded, and couldn’t stop reading. 4/5 Dream Keys.

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