Hey, MONDO readers. We’re keeping up with our new format for MONDOcomics because it’s awesome. In case you missed it, every week the writers of MONDOcomics pick a book or two that they want to talk about that week. It might be a rave, it might be a hit piece, it could even be a giant tangent — writers call. This Miles and Owen love Image Comics and Isaac gets into the Christmas spirit. Enjoy.
Every time an issue of Chew comes out I am reminded of why I love this book so much (I’m also reminded of how happy I am that I switched to issues.) In some ways it reminds me of Preacher: it’s rather dark, can be fairly gross at times and is very, very funny. But, like Preacher, amidst all of this is a great story that keeps the focus on its epic plot and its engaging characters.
This issue gave us a great sense of the scope that this comic is covering. In a fantastic first few pages we’re given our first hints of the tragic past that lead to the world we’re exploring. Guillory’s artwork is on full display and it is spectacular. His attention to detail and top-notch character work make for a rich and expressive comic that is a lot of fun to go back to. I keep looking at his panels again and again noticing something new each time.
Layman’s plotting on this book is meticulous. Seriously, this book is juggling so many plot threads at once while still managing to keep each issue as a rewarding experience in its own right. I don’t know how he does it. This issue alone gives us flashbacks, new characters, new plots and developments on old plots. And it’s great. Extremely great.
What makes it all work so well, though is the characters. Amidst all of the craziness you care about Tony Chu. You care about his family and friends. Heck, you even care a little about his enemies. To bring it back to Preacher again, what made it work wasn’t the gross-out aspects of the book, it wasn’t the biting social satire (although both of those things were a lot of fun), it was the characters and the relationships. They drew you in and kept you coming back. I guarantee that if you were to give Chew a try it’ll keep you coming back as well. – Owen Craig.
Ah, well, this is a bit weird for me. I haven’t yet made it out to the comic store this week. Well, it’s that time of the year, I’m sure you understand. But wait! What is this? A review in spite of this apparent lack? A Christmas Miracle! Or else a friend of mine dropped by the house with some books that I got to read. I guess that’s more of a “Miracle on 34th Street” type of miracle.
It may come as no surprise to you, but there are a bunch of Christmas specials in stores now, the type of affair that takes the opportunity to try out some new talent, often has some pretty loose characterization, and is pretty unsatisfying; generally it makes you appreciate the value of five dollars… AFTER you’ve spent it on that Holiday Special. This Larfleeze Special avoids all those pitfalls.
It’s the story we all knew was coming. It must be about six months since the Green Lantern issue after Blackest Night when Green Lantern sees Larfleeze is still hanging around the planet for the sole purpose of getting stuff from Santa Claus… and Santa Claus didn’t give him stuff! Naturally, Larfleeze is outraged, he goes off and terrorizes some mall Santa’s- hilarity ensues.
The story went in an interesting direction when Hal Jordan showed up, it shifted gears from the comedy to a more standard shmaltzy special, and than went and included a bit of a tear jerker ending. It’s nice to have that all in one package, with a cohesive story. Oh, but here’s a weird thing that jumped out at me: Hal Jordan tells Larfleeze that Santa isn’t real. Straight up. Hal doesn’t even go the “spirit of Santa Claus is what’s real” thing. It was pretty cold… especially when I’m 75% sure Santa Claus exists in the DC Universe.
It’s a Christmas Special with a bit of an edge to it, and it’s about time. Yes, I’m aware of the Paramilitary Christmas Special, but that was a long time ago. – Isaac Mills
For me, 2010 is the year of comics and board games. It was the year I involved in the Toronto Comic Arts Festival and went to the San Diego Comic-Con; but it was also the year I played a lot of Battlestar Galactica The Board game, Runebound, Settlers of Catan, and a Marvel Universe game that my buddy Adam Bourett made. And I discovered Dungeons and Dragons.
Yeah, D&D. It’s a divisive topic — I imagine you either read that and thought “D&D FUCK YEAH” or “NEEEEEEEERD. That’s lame.” To that last point I say, “Dude, you’re reading my comic book review. You are already on the nerd train, come up to some first-class nerding.”
Skullkickers is a D&D inspired world where, like the game itself, the deeper you get into it the better it gets. With each issue Zubkavich is able to squeeze in more tropes of the fantasy world and then make them a) awesome and b) hilarious. It’s all about awesome action and big laughs — it’s a great mix.
This issue we get necromancers, traps and hot elf lady assassins — what more could you possibly want?
Well, if you insist, there are also some fantastic actions scenes, laugh-out-loud jokes and a plot that is thickening.
And to top off the fantastic package, in the back you get D&D builds of our skullkicking protagonists so you could add them as allies or enemies to a D&D game. They are deadly, just as they should be — expect to see them in a game I’ll run soon. It’s that kind of neat extra that make this a book that you need to be picking up in issues. — Miles Baker