Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

At some point, Keanu Reeves went to BOOM! Studios with an idea, and they hooked him up with creator Matt Kindt. The creative partnership was born that would kick off BRZRKR, one of the most highly anticipated comic books in quite some time. I personally have loved this period of both Reeve’s and Kindt’s careers. To see them team up is both unexpected and yet somehow perfect. Together, along with Ron Garney and Rob Crabtree, they have given us what may be the most violent comic book that I’ve seen since Kick-Ass, but also a character that reminds me of the heyday of Wolverine, near the beginning of comic book series. Our hero is drawn to violence, just as much as violence is drawn to him. Make no mistake: As with most of Reeve’s and Kindt’s work, amidst the chaos and blood-soaked panels beats a very human story.

Sometimes, there's a darkness inside of us that pulls us to do or think things we know to be wrong. For most, it’s a tickle. For some, it’s like trying to play tug-of-war with a rhinoceros. Nailbiter has always been about taming that darkness inside and dealing with the repercussions from those who have lost the battle. It’s what makes the title character as interesting as he is.

Drawn like a Don Bluth cartoon, Stray Dogs has an insidious central plot that I wish I hadn’t known about going in, but I also may not have said yes to reviewing it if I hadn't. If you wish not to know what the angle is, stop reading.

Something Is Killing the Children - this masterful, beautiful, gut-wrenching horror story about the loss of children in a small town in Wisconsin and the birth of a kickass, monster-killing hero with Erica Slaughter - comes to a bittersweet end, with the promise of a new beginning.

I was a little concerned after the first issue of The Last Ronin. It had been built up to such a degree as something more mature. I was hoping that it simply wasn’t because of the violence, but instead as a result of a more adult storyline. It turned out that the issue was a very well-plotted and elongated action scene. Beautifully rendered from one sequence to the next, I enjoyed the issue, but I struggled to connect on that deeper level. It never really slowed down for story until the final few pages, where a promise was made to me by the creators: that what I was hoping for was coming. That promise paid off in the immensely enjoyable, surprisingly emotional, best Teenage Mutant Ninja story that I’ve read in a long while with the second issue. Because of the depth of the second issue, in hindsight, the first issue now stands next to it on equal footing.

The Young Hellboy adventure is exactly that: a four-part comic book series geared towards young adult readers. A youthful, but no less impactful, Hellboy crash-lands on a mysterious island with his caretaker, Professor Bruttenholm. At this age, Hellboy is excitable and looking for adventure, and he - as well as the reader - will get plenty of that with giant crabs, gorilla-like creators, and the appearance of an unexpected ally!

Have you ever been in a toxic relationship… with a house? That may not be the main takeaway from the series, Home Sick Pilots, but it’s what our hero Ami is having to contend with. This terribly haunted house is gaslighting her to get what it needs (for what seems like nefarious reasons), and in issue three, her band members become even more embroiled in the proceedings than they thought they could have been.

Yes, Patton Oswalt - the comedian - has written for Black Hammer: Visions, and it’s wonderful. This is a gem of a series following my favorite character from the Black Hammer Universe (and probably the most heartbreaking character for me, as well: Golden Gail - the fifty-year-old who when she says, “Zafram!” turns into a ten-year-old with superpowers, the inverse of Shazam! Only now, Gail is stuck as the ten-year-old with all the needs of a fifty-year-old woman. There’s humor mined in this issue, but also a great deal of pathos. The original Black Hammer series was so heartbreaking every time it focused on Gail; she was angry and sad, frustrated and lost. Oswalt taps into that from a very different perspective.

Matt Kindt and Tyler and Hillary Jenkins have worked on three series together: Grass Kings, Black Badge, and now Fear Case. Once I saw that the series was coming down the pipes, I got very excited. Each collaboration between the three has gotten better and better, and it wouldn’t be an understatement to say that we’re off to a smashing good start with Fear Case.

I was left at the end of Nailbiter Returns #8 with a big question mark. The creators made a decision that could have sent the story spiraling off the tracks and into a ravine, but I’m happy to say that they wisely used a McGuffin to dig further into the past and who the characters are. I am also happy to report that writers Williamson and Henderson pushed further into a realm that I was hoping they would have explored in the original Nailbiter series: the supernatural.

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