Thursday, 31 March 2016

Gold Digger 05

Gold Digger 05 

Summary : Jetta is back. 
Did we miss her ?
No ?  Oh alright then.
And she  laments that she has become soft  and lazy  in  paradise, as she puts her son down to  train. 
However  her son is  kidnapped by Cheetah  who escapes with the  mewling mutt, through  a  teleportation portal, which stays conspicuously open. 

Off course this isn't Brittany, but Tanya masquerading as Brittany. Setting her plans in  motion, knowing that Jetta in her rage will follow. 
The next  part of her plan is to lure Brittany away  from Strype  and teleports Brittany  to  the catacombs of the palace, right in the  path of Jetta.
Who is off course in no mood to talk, or listen for that  matter. 

While Brittany and Jetta  work over their grievances. 
Tanya  masquerading as  Brittany  has a few choice words to sabotage Strype and Brittany's relationship.
Unfortunately for her, she has  counted outside of  Dr Diggers presence who can see through her disguise. 
And gets a bead on Brittany in the catacombs. 

He materialises  in between Jetta and Brittany and Jetta  kills him with out a second thought.
This enrages  Brittany  to the point that Jetta is no match for her anymore  and Tanya is forced to bring Thabian, Jetta's husband in. 
Who is more then match  for Brittany, but is also more level headed then Jetta and  concludes that Brittany did not  abduct their son.
Jetta is in no mood to listen.   
As Jetta wants to finish Brittany off, Dr Diggers interferes, being not  quite as dead as previously thought. 

Credits :
Writer artist Fred Perry
Editor : Doug Dlin 

And you can read along with this link.
Best way to read it, is to download Comic_rack
And install Ghostscript
But Adobe Reader works fine too

Notes : Released on 1 November  1993
This is nominally issue 9, if  the mini  is  included.
Second appearance of Pojo.

Review  :

Like Gina  before her, this time  Brittany gets the spotlight. 
But is it  just as good  ?
Almost, but no quite.

Well no, that's not entirely true. It's a perfectly  fine issue. It's just Tanya's  motivation that  let  it down. 
Her motivation is both cliché and one dimensional  and not befitting the rather serious  tone of issue  5.
Because  it is serious, the  poor motivation of the main antagonist not withstanding.
We also see the  return of  Jetta and her husband Thabian.
A return  I wasn't really thrilled  to  see but  Jetta is a  worthy  opponent of  Brittany and probably  one of the few  physical  opponents that can actually stand up against her, at this point in the series. 

Most of this  issue is  a fight scene between Jetta and Brittany where Brittany is  hopelessly outclassed, despite training. 
While Tanya  plays the rest of her  hand. 
It's her doing  to  kidnap  Jetta's son  disguised  as  Brittany to move Brittany in  a  kinda  angry Jetta's  vincity. 
And to  try and destroy Strype and Brittany's relationship again disguised as Brittany. 

We also get to see  DR Diggers in action and  its obvious that he is a lot more powerfull, the he has ever let on  thus far.
This is a perfectly fine issue.
It's a great issue  actually. A show case of  Brittany's  personality with out  completely assassinating her character  and turning her in to a ditzy  valley girl, like later issues  will do. 
As well as reintroducing  Jetta and her husband  and showing  how dangerous  both Brittany and Jetta can be, when pushed  to their limits.
Brittany however is  more reluctant to kill, even when driven to a rage. 
As well as setting Thabian up, as the reasonable one. 
Then again in issue 4 of the mini he was already  the  more level headed of the two werewolves and  is a powerhouse, able to take out Brittany with  ease.
As well as  putting two and two  together  and  coming to the conclusion that Brittany  is not  the kidnapper. 

But Tanya's  motivation is flimsy. 
Thankfully however  she  immediately plays her hand right away,  and this  wont be a long running  plot poin.t
Unlike later issues,  where Perry  really  plays it  for the long run. 
There is very  little levity and very little humor here. 
Much  like  issues  3 and  4. 
Which is  actually,  what makes it  a  great  issue. No humor for the sake of humor no  gags or pop culture  references.
Just a story that can stand on it's own two merits.
And sometimes I wish the series was more like this. 
But then if it was, it wouldn't be Gold Digger.

issue 5  also  gives  a single page  to  Brianna,  Genn and  Gina interacting. Which is the only source of levity in this issue and even  this  page  is not as over the top,  as will become  customary in this  title. It's fairly lowkey  and mostly  just world building.

Issue 5  keeps the same high  quality issue 4 did, albeit with a slight misfire in Tanya's motivation. 
But  her idea is actually sound, nor does  the storyline linger.
It gets  going  immediately. 
The other misfire is not  the comic's fault. The scan  quality in the Gold Digger online archive is deplorable and hard to read. 
But it's a great issue non the less and  the third in a string of great issues. 

The Savage Dragon 12

The Savage Dragon  12

Summary :

Faux Frank's back  !
He gets blown up by Overlord  !
In the mean time Dragon's colleagues read his fan mail  out loud  after his appearance on the jerry rivers show. 
He had hoped it would lead to  anything about his past, but as it turns out its all just crackpot mail.
Including one from a girl named Amy Belcher, who wants to become his partner in fighting crime. 
A new vigilante with the name Justice,  is doing the rounds  in  an  "specatcular" manner.

While discussing Mace declining  the offer from the police force with Alex, Dragon gets a call  from  dispatch about a super freak  tearing in to the guards at Donner electronics. 
Both Justice and She Dragon  noticed something was up and assumed the other is the culprit. 
And naturally a fight ensues, until Dragon  appears on the scene and tells them to knock it off or he will knock their heads. 
He tells Alex to  shoot the two dimbulbs  if they move while he  goes  looking around to see if the  intruder is still around.

And he is, and he bites Dragon's head  !
Dragon in turn, repays Openface in kind by ripping his tongue out. 
In the Visceous Cricle tower a creepy scientist examines  the remains of Faux Frank. 
And he  concludes that this was neither human, nor Frank Darling.  

Credits :

Writer-Artist : Erik Larsen 
Letters : Chris Eliopolous
Colors  : Reuben Rude
Editor : Jannie  Wong

Josh Eichorn title : Brazen Hussy

Notes : First  full fledged  appearance  of She Dragon as She Dragon.
First  appearance of Justice.
First appearance of Openface  and  Octopus

Review  :

Well the cover says it all  doesn't it  ?
But first, we get  a very familiar  looking opening page, one we have seen before in issue  7. 
To Larsen's credit he doesn't  lay dumb with us he doest play the  audience for a fool. 
The opening narration tells us exactly, what's going on here. 
The Frank we see here is a fake, a robot  and he is here because his last  command was to  arrest Overlord. So he will. 
This nicely explains what's been going on, recaps the previous few issues.
Brings new readers up to speed and doesn't play the  audience for a fool. 
The story has already been  blown wide open in issue 11, so there is no  sense in pretending and Larsen doesn't bother to obfuscate.  It's dealt with right away.  

Overlord doesn't  really  deal with it that well  and starts to  think that something is wrong after he  blows  Faux Frank to atoms again.  ( Gee ya think  ?  )

The scene that follows is Dragon's  colleagues reading  some of the  "fan" mail, he received after the Jerry Rivers show. 
Which is the usual crackpot mail you can expect, but what makes this  scene amusing and worthwhile is that some of the  letters are paired up to  the faces and reaction shots of  his name colleagues. And for a moment  you  are suspended in disbelief, because they just might actually be saying that.  

Most of this issue is given over to the  big introductionary fight between Justice, who  runs around in super patriot's old pyjama's.  (  Justice is  Superpatriot's son. He  also has a  daughter, Liberty. 
Yes Liberty and Justice this will be revealed in Superpatriot's second mini series.  )
And She Dragon,  over a misunderstanding. 
It's about as thrilling as it sounds, even though Larsen portrays it  with his usual enthusiasm. The heroes fight each other, to fill pages trope was as tired  in 1994  as  it is now.
One could argue it's because of She Dragon and Justice both being  totally inept and new at this job.
 ( See  Justice over shooting  two drug dealers, while jumping down and landing in a  dumpster  )

Remember She Dragon ?   The green skinned, blond haired woman, who was a back ground character way back in  VS Megaton Man 1  ?
No  ?
Well here she is again,  She Dragon  ( not at all a pun  on She Hulk  )  is re introduced here and she will  remain to be a major player in the series.
Right now  however, she is a bit rough around the edges and that's a polite way  to say inept and useless. 
Pretty much  the same like Justice then. 

There is also a  rather gruesome scene where  the  burglar, who caused all this jumps  on Dragon and  turns out he can split his face in half, to reveal a huge  maw with  even bigger teeth  ! 
Naturally he decides to  clamp his big jaw on Dragon's, head who tend proceeds to rip his tongue out with his own teeth. 
Just to give the comic that  touch of savage, that the  title proclaims. 

Savage dragon 12 is a  perfectly  fine  perfectly middle of the road  issue of the title. 
It introduces new  characters. 
Offers up some  action, a few gross out moments and some humor. 
Other then the introductions and the opening scene, it doesn't really move the story forward in any way shape or form  but  they don't all have to do that.  

Except the last page where  the remains of Faux Frank are being studied and the  creepy  cyber engineer concludes that its not human  or Darling, and it never was.
Which is our cue for the unravelling of Frank and Dragon's dashingly  fiendish scheme.

Issue 12 is neither monumental  (  bar that tongue rip scene  )  nor exceptional, but its at least  not a misfire  like 9 was. 
But perfectly middle of the road  and  you can do a whole lot worse then that.
Released during a time when the Image bubble started to deflate a bit. Where at least  one Image founder  was a decent writer and willing to keep pushing his title forward.
Because unlike other comics, The Savage Dragon is never content to linger too much in the same status  quo.  

Sunday, 27 March 2016

The Savage Dragon 11 Review

The Savage Dragon 11  Review 

Summary :

Meet Doug Herman, he hates. He hates because he is told to hate and has no  real opinion of his own, which makes him perfect Fiend fodder. 
In the mean time Dragon is channel hopping and he doesn't  like what he sees, since it's mostly about him. 
And Mrs Harris  also doesn't  like what she is seeing, to the point  of making her TV fly.  

As Mace takes down a Visceous Circle goon send out to  recruit him, he is approached by Alex Wylde of all  people, who is send to  recruit him for the police. 

In the mean time, Rapture drags Dragon off  for a date, where in the middle of the restaurant, Vanguard and Wally  appear to pick up Lurch. 
The morphbot, which was posing  as Frank Darling and who was  blasted to atoms.  

When Rapture  sets  Dragon off  at his apartment complex  and leaves,  Dragon is attacked by  the new Fiend and  actually struggles.
Untill  his beeper goes off, Dragon is needed and doesn't give a damn about The Fiend  he is needed to save lives.
At this point Doug Herman realises that Dragon is  trying to do good and  he stops hating. 
Which id the end of him  and his role as The Fiend. 

Overlord  in the mean time knows Cyberface hes been brought back to live and he is not happy.
Cyberface alone, knows who Overlord really is.  

Project born again, is from Marc Silvestri's Cyberforce title and was  responsible for  Cyberforce's creation.
They have been mentioned previously in the mini series. 


Writer-Artist : Erik Larsen 
Letters : Chris Eliopolous
Colors  : Reuben Rude
Editor : Jannie  Wong

Josh Eichorn Title: Dullard   

Review  :
As if you couldn't tell yet from the cover.
The fiend  is back and from the looks of it, Larsen agreed with,  him needing a redesign. 
Or what's  also possible is that his  design changes with each new host.
The Fiend himself, looks more  like a wisp of  red smoke.  

We also get to see something we don't often see in this title. 
Text boxes !  And a slightly vindictive, but no less true  exposition  on human nature and  today's Fiend's vessel Doug Herman. Who is a follower a man with no opinion of his own, he just follows the  opinions of others.
And try as we might to deny this, this is true for a lot of us, who  have no strong opinion of our own. We just follow the mass or somebody who has a strong  opinion. 
Larsen ties Doug Herman's lack of  backbone and taking everything he hears at face value, in with Richards screeds about Dragon which, are half believed  by the publisher. And mostly created  for controversy and to sell news papers, which is again an all too real condemnation. 
Truth and news be damned, it's controversy news really thrives on.  Clickbait  and views  nowadays, anything to get people to read the  article. As long as they don't think for themselves, just reiterate what they  have just read.  

So after those heady concepts, we switch to Dragon who is  channel surfing and  most  of what he sees is about himself, oh joy. 
This  is a stab  at superheroes treated as stars trope, which is so often  pinned on Youngblood for some reason, but dragon 11 on it's own does it better then Youngblood ever did. 
The 5 issues of that rag I read anyway. The later issues by Alan Moore  and  the reimagined version by Joe Casey are, so I heard better.
But then, the only way for Youngblood would be up anyway. 
And hey it's not Aunt May ! 
I mean Mrs Schwartzblatt and she has been hitting the talk show circuit. 
Other then Mrs Schwartzblatt, the others on the panel  are  one of those the truth is out there people.
A priest who thinks Dragon is a gift of god.
And another priest, who says he is da debil  !!! 

Mrs Harris is back too ...hooray 
she is watching the same show and gets a bit irate, when some  brainless bimbo talks about how happy she is with Dragon. 
Irate to the point that she throws her TV out of the window.
Sure hope nobody got hit by that thing. 
Mrs Harris also let her self go. 
I'm not exactly thrilled to see Mrs Harris again and she will continue to be a thorn in my side, for the coming 21  issues.  
While people do  strange things in their grief. Her irrational hate for Dragon borders on a comic book cliché and I still hold this book better then that. 

Dragon's and Rapture's relationship also picks up steam, Rapture practically drags Dragon off  on a date.
Where Vanguard appears  in the middle of the restaurant to  come and retrieve Lurch. 
And  this is where we  get some awnsers  about, what the hell Frank is doing still alive. 
A bit unexpected that.  
But we have already seen Frank alive in issues  8  and 10 and  Larsen wisely doesn't  yank our chains around or plays dumb or has fake out, non awnsers.  

Vanguard entrusted one of  his morphbots, Lurch, to Dragon for one reason or another.  Dragon and Frank used it to disguise it as Frank.
So Frank would stay out of shot.
Things didn't go as planned, as Overlord  blew Lurch up  and  kicked Dragon's ass. 
Vanguard warns Dragon that if he plans to get away with this charade, he better make damn sure Lurch is dead. 
well that was something  ! 
Issue 8 already showed us  that Frank was still alive, but  it doesn't quite diminish the impact of issue 7, where Frank or Lurch in this case, was obliterated. 
It's a fake out with out making it feel like a fake out and unlike certain other  90's comics, this mystery doesn't treat its readers like idiots, nor does it drag it out  for a prolonged period of time. 
And Larsen does seem to have a goal in mind.  

Speaking of goals, that subplot from last issue about the Viceous Circle trying to recruit Mace goes as well as you expect. Mace says no  with a spiked ball  to the face. 
Oddly enough, for whatever reason the police force  decided to  try and recruit Mace as well and send Alex Wylde out to recruit him, of all people  !
Well at least it's not Howie. 
That wouldn't have gone well I'm sure. 
The rest of the date  goes without a hitch, would you believe and Rapture  leaves Dragon in front of his apartment complex. After all they are supposed to take it slow. 

And that's where The Fiend comes in having been given an upgrade in both strength  and outfit, and Dragon clearly struggles with him this time. 
Also, fingers shoved  in face must hurt. 
The fight actually goes pretty badly for Dragon and it's good to see him struggle once in a while. The last few issues the fights were relatively easy, even when messed up or he was just too evenly matched. 
This time however Dragon seems to be in real trouble. 
Untill The Fiend overplays his hand, by claiming he is evil and that Dragon is good and he can't have that. 
Doug Herman realises that Dragon is actually trying to do good and he stops hating, which  is the end for him and The Fiend.  

This  comes over as a bit contrived but it works well enough.  Dragon seemed to struggle with The Fiend and it's not another gratuitous fighting scene.  (  hello Jimbo and Superpatriot, hey get back here  !  ) 
But actually furthers the plot, since there will be another vessel for The Fiend one that  hates him more then anybody. 
No prizes for guessing who that is  !

And finally we get to see Overlord again, killing  yet another underling because he failed to kill Cyberface. 
Thanks to project born again, Cyberface lives ! He lives  !!!
Overlord isn't exactly happy with this and does what he does best, strut around pompously and arrogantly proclaiming he is over and lord. 
Saying that when he kills somebody, they stay dead.
Ah irony. 
We will see  that  little proclamation to come back, to bite him on the ass very soon. 

Issue  11 is a return to form. It's everything issues 8, 9 and 10 want to be. 
Not a page is wasted. The fight scenes are integral to the story, instead of just there to eat  pages.
And the  subplots, that were rather haphazardly strewn around in the previous issues,  are  brought to the foreground again. While we get  inklings about new ones too. 
And the Frank mystery is tied off too ! 
Not that Larsen is done with this storyline, not by a long shot.
A fine issue ,the title is  climbing back up from the slump it found it self in.  



Saturday, 26 March 2016

Transformers Escalation 2

Transformers  Escalation 2

Summary :

9 month ago a senator and a general meet  to discuss reassurances,  unbeknownst to them  the senator is being targeted by Runamuck in car mode.
In the present,  Prime and the Autobots  are  on their way  to perform damage control,  by  retrieving  Sunstreaker's remains. 
While reviewing Ironhides report  again.  Prime orders Ironhide  to not engage  the Decepticons in any way shape or form,  because a knee jerk reaction might be just what they want
Instead, Ironhide is ordered to return  Jimmy and Verity  to  the ark 19. 

The Decepticons in the mean time  put their own machinations in motion  and they involve  facsimiles

Writers : Simon Furman
Artist : EJ Su
Colors : Zac Atkinson
Letters : Neil Uyetake
Editor: Chris Ryall Dan Taylor

Notes :
The reporter on the news report on the last page, is named Archee Andrews. A  reference to Arcee from  G1. ( or possibly IDW Arcee, but this is debatable. )
Released 20 December  2006, Escalation 2 will be  one of the  last Transformers issues released in  2006 by IDW.
Nominally Transformers\New Avengers takes place during this issue and issue 1,
but the placement is rather sketchy.  

 Review  :

Escalation 2  has the  second major battle between  humans  and  Transformers 
and  humans, once again  come out victorious. 
But again, this is  not a problem. 
Jazz and  Wheeljack clearly underestimate  the  threat  of the humans.  ( and we as the readers do likewise.  ) 
Both sides  come out well  though, the humans as  well  prepared  and resourceful. 
While the Autobots manage  to get  away, mostly unscathed after being  hit by the unexpected. 
In other words, they come out alive.  

But the real big  scene  is small in it's depiction, but huge in its scope.
It's the  scene  where  Optimus Prime  stops  the  truck  with the  remains of  "Sunstreaker."
With his legs  !
Prime lets  the truck crash against his lower  legs. 
Possibly killing the  driver and if not killing him,  injuring him severely. 
And this is a huge, huge change in the  character of Optimus  Prime.  

The original  G1 Optimus Prime would never even contemplate doing  something  like this. 
Let alone actually doing it. If he would  do this, and possibly  kill  a  human being there would be no end of  angsting  and handwringing. 
And that  is fine for  G1 Optimus Prime.
This however, is not  G1 Optimus Prime, this is a  reinterpretation of  Optimus Prime, who, while he has the same core values as the original Optimus Prime, is a totally  different  being. 
A far more pragmatic  leader who is willing and able,  to resort to questionable  tactics and not above getting his hands dirty, or to  make morally  questionable decisions.
As demonstrated by Prime's  non reaction to letting the  truck crash against his shins. 
This scene is  nicely under played, but shows the  humongous difference between this Prime and  his  other  incarnations.

This Prime also  show cases an icy grip upon things, when he  absolutely  does not allow  Ironhide  to  retaliate against the Decepticons for the attack, in the face  of the uncertainties  they  encounter. 

The rest of the issue is mostly a holding pattern, with Jimmy and Verity reacting  to  Hunter's possible violent death.  
As well as Ironhide  going  in to  more details about the infiltration protocol,  explaining what exactly  the facsimilies are supposed to  do. 
Which boils down  to  destabilizing  geo political hotspots,  to the point of all out war  and letting humanity wipe themselves out.  
And the Decepticons  plotting  and  Megatron   keeping his house on order,
but  its still more of a holding pattern. 
Sadly, a  subplot involving  possible facsimiles  and  American senators,  which takes up the first and  last page,  goes nowhere.
Not just in this mini series, but in all up coming  issues of  Furman's storyline
the subplot is brought up and then unceremoniously dropped never to be addressed again. 
And after All Hail Megatron runs roughshod  over everything, the plot point is never even mentioned anymore.  

But I would be remiss  not to mention the  plot point that  sets this whole thing in  motion. 
Reclaiming Sunstreakers  remains  and  then coming to the conclusion that  the  remains are fake, they are in the end just a car.
The whole attack  from  issue 1 was staged. 
Which means that Sunstreaker and possibly Hunter are still alive. 
Which  is the note we end on. 

Escalation 2  is partially a holding pattern  ( the Decepticon  segments  )  but  other then that,  it's yet another high point.  
Especially in show casing  how different IDW  Optimus Prime is.  ( For the time being, sadly he would slowly  be seen  to revert to his G1  incarnation. )
It's just a shame that  it opens and closes  with a subplot that's cast  drifting in the wind.
Because despite all the build up and ominous foreshadowing, the facsimiles subplots  really go nowhere.