Archive for Dethklok

Cheer for the Home Team

Morning Glories #7

Our focus in this issue is on Zoe’s history, from her childhood in Mumbai, orphaned but gifted with bizarre intelligence and insight, to her present, angry at the world, craving the popularity she used to enjoy, and stuck in the deeply psychotic Morning Glories Academy. We also get some flashbacks to a year ago, when she was living a seemingly normal life. And things start getting nasty when the Morning Glories cheerleading squad gives her a really simple tryout — she just has to answer a few simple questions about the worst moments of her life.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely done — after last issue’s future shocker, it’s nice to reconnect with the students. And it’s especially nice to see some character background and mysteries for the previously shallow Zoe.

Dethklok #3

Dethklok’s next tour is going to be something amazing — they’ve had an immense train built — the Dethtrain — and they’re going to perform their next concert on top of it. Of course, there are some problems ahead. Pickles, quite sensibly, doesn’t trust the scheme at all and thinks they’re all going to die on the train. Elderly bluesman Mashed Potato Johnson appears with a warning about an evil spirit that’ll be stalking the train and a request that the band help save him from the Blues Devil. Can anyone stop both the Train Ghoul and the Blues Devil? And just what perils are waiting at the end of the Dethtrain’s line?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nasty, brutish, and funny — everything I expect from the most brutal death metal band of all time.

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Speed Kills

Green Lantern #60

Well, the Flash has been possessed by Parallax. You know what that means, right? It means Hal Jordan is gonna get his butt kicked almost the whole issue long. By the time Hal finally convinces Parallax to leave Flash’s body and try to possess him again, Parallax’s new captor makes his appearance, and we finally find out who he is — turns out he’s yet another terrifyingly powerful cosmic villain — can’t the Green Lanterns ever catch a break?

Verdict: Thumbs up, but mainly because the Parallax-possessed Flash is so entertainingly depicted. Other than that, there’s really not that much story development.

Chaos War #4

The Chaos King is the most powerful being in the universe, and he’s extremely close to destroying everything. Unfortunately, he’s so powerful, he actually ends up losing Hercules and his allies because they’ve gotten to insignificant to him. They still have the power to stop him, but he has an important friend on his side — Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom!? The few remaining gods have gathered with Gaea herself in Hawaii to await the end, but Amadeus Cho realizes that with Hercules’ new power as the All-Father, he could move everyone on Earth to Hera’s empty pocket universe — but Herc thinks that means giving up, so he refuses. Is it too late to save everything? Or can Gaea show Hercules how to master his powers once and for all?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This has been an unusually good crisis event — lots of stuff happening, and it still makes pretty good sense. The dialogue suffers a bit, but the action is very good, and the stakes keep getting raised higher and higher. Looking forward to seeing how this all turns out next issue.

Dethklok #2

The boys from Dethklok are heading back to Finland, where their last concert ended when they summoned a giant troll that laid waste to the countryside before they accidentally knocked it back out with a cell phone. While Toki tries to prove trolls exist by calling the never-very-reliable Dr. Rockzo the Rock and Roll Clown (He does cocaine!), Murderface reminisces about his mostly rotten childhood, and a cult dedicated to the trolls harvests their own testicles as an offering to the monsters. This is all going to end in disaster, isn’t it?

Verdict: Thumbs down. Despite a few very good moments (Murderface’s description of a minotaur is pretty awesome), it’s mostly pretty dull. I think this probably would’ve been pretty funny as an animated cartoon, but it just doesn’t work right in comic form. Sorry, guys…

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Long Lost Batman

Batman: Hidden Treasures #1

What’s this? Basically, DC found an unpublished Batman story in their archives. They’re not entirely sure why it wasn’t published, because it featured beautiful artwork by impossibly freakin’ brilliant artist Bernie Wrightson! The full story, probably created in the late 1980s or early ’90s, is told in splash pages, alongside text by Ron Marz, as Batman tracks Solomon Grundy, who has abducted a man off the street. The second story is from Swamp Thing #7 from 1973 — written by Len Wein and illustrated by Wrightson, it spotlights a confrontation between Batman and Swamp Thing as the muck monster tries to sneak through Gotham City to rescue Matt Cable and Abigail Arcane.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yes, it’s five dollars, but it’s worth it for this beautiful, crisp, clear artwork by Wrightson. And it’s not even like that’s all you’re getting — the classic Swamp Thing story is a fantastic bonus. If you love Wrightson’s art, or if you want to see why you should love his art, this is definitely worth picking up.

Dethklok #1

Huzzah! An ongoing series for the world’s most insanely popular death metal band! Dethklok is starting their own line of frozen vegetables. The Tribunal is wary, fearing that the world will come to rely on Dethklok for all their food. While awaiting the official unveiling of the frozen food, we get treated to Dethklok playing golf, Murderface’s complete ignorance of evolution and his rotten school life, Toki’s angst over killing his father, and Dr. Rockzo the Rock and Roll Clown (He does cocaine!) and his horrible flashbacks about bananas. Can the band assure that frozen food can be properly metal? Will their concert and the frozen food line go off without a hitch? Or with a whole lot of hitches?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The only way this could be more perfectly Metalocalypsian would be if they included actual heavy metal tracks for the concert at the end of the comic.

Secret Six #26

There are two Secret Sixes invading the underground fantasy kingdom of Skartaris — Bane’s group includes Jeannette, Giganta, King Shark, Lady Vic, and Dwarfstar, while Scandal’s team includes Deadshot, Ragdoll, Black Alice, Catman, and a government operative named Tremor. Catman tangles with an ugly water monster, Black Alice loses her powers, Spymaster lays a surprise on Amanda Waller, and Scandal and Bane’s fight comes to an unexpected conclusion.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wow, that monster in the lake is really creepy! Tremor is starting out as a fairly interesting character, and Black Alice gets some great moments.

Madame Xanadu #27

Our story opens in 1964 with a supermodel named Neon Blue. Impossibly wealthy, beautiful, and aloof, she’s acclaimed worldwide, dislikes everyone, and prefers not to be touched. And when she does touch someone, they tend to die horribly. But eventually, she runs across a fortune-teller who can see what she really is.

Verdict: Thumbs down. The story wasn’t all that great, and I thought Celia Calle’s art was distracting in all the wrong ways. Sorry — can’t all be winners.

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Heavy Metal Thunder

Wow, I am really, really late to the party with this one, but I love heavy metal, I loved their first album, so I really think I’d better get with it and review this one.

Dethalbum II by Dethklok

Let’s recap: Cartoon Network runs a late-night programming block called “Adult Swim,” devoted to more grown-up cartoons like “Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law,” “The Venture Brothers,” and “Robot Chicken.” One of their recent hits has been “Metalocalypse,” a show created by Brendan Small and Tommy Blacha, focuses on death metal band called Dethklok, which is, amazingly and awesomely, the most popular musical act in the world, with the 12th largest economy in the world, billions of insanely devoted fans, and the menacing attentions of world leaders terrified of their influence.

The band members include brooding lead singer Nathan Explosion, Swedish guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigelf (the fastest guitarist in the world), Norwegian guitarist Toki Wartooth (the second-fastest guitarist in the world), self-loathing bassist William Murderface, and balding, dreadlocked drummer, Pickles. That’s all, just Pickles. The entire show parodies heavy metal, but it’s very affectionate parody — metal fans and musicians love this show, and a lot of performers — band members from Metallica to Cannibal Corpse — have signed on to do short, silly cameos in the cartoon.

Well, a couple years ago, Dethklok released an album called “Dethalbum.” Yes, a fictional band releasing a real CD. Most of the music was provided by Brendan Smalls, with Gene Hoglan of Dark Angel, Death, and Strapping Young Lad working the drums. It was a fantastic album, and it was actually the highest-charting death metal album ever. Smalls and Hoglan even took a few other musicians on the road, performing (behind a screen) as Dethklok in live shows.

So now they’ve made a sequel — “Dethalbum II.” Smalls again provides all the vocals, guitars, and keyboards, with Hoglan back on board as drummer. It didn’t beat the first album’s record showing on the charts, but its respectable showing would seem to indicate that there’s still a lot of goodwill for Dethklok among the world’s metalheads (and Adult Swim fans, who probably picked up quite a few themselves).

Is the sequel as good as the original “Dethalbum”? No, probably not. The first record benefitted from having some of the band’s best-known songs from the cartoon series, including “Birthday Dethday,” “Awaken,” and the epic “Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle.” The new album doesn’t have any songs of that caliber.

The new album is also a lot less funny, with a ton more emphasis being placed on pure metal. This actually ends up harming it in comparison to the first one, because a lot of what made it stand out was the gleeful lunacy of a band that sang about how much they hate their fans, about murderous mermaids, about Vikings who get lost because they won’t ask anyone for directions.

The original “Dethalbum” had song titles like “Bloodrocuted,” “Briefcase Full of Guts,” and “Hatredcopter” — and while those are fairly silly titles, they’re also absolutely true to the death-metal spirit. The new album’s titles are relatively tame in comparison, with the notable exception of “I Tamper with the Evidence at the Murder Site of Odin,” which is an epic and fantastic title for a song that, while pretty darned good, isn’t really epic or fantastic.

Is this a bad album? Absolutely not. Again, it’s a vastly more metal album, and if you love heavy metal, that’s great news. Lots of the songs here are great rockers — “Bloodlines,” “The Gears,” “They Cyborg Slayers,” and “Murmaider II: The Water God” are some of my personal favorites and are guaranteed — like, to be honest, most of the other tracks here — to get your head banging good and hard. Smalls’ devotion to heavy metal thunder is pitch-perfect, and Hoglan is a monster on the drums — if you can stop thrashing around for a few minutes to actually listen to him, he’s a revelation. If the cartoon Pickles can drum anywhere near as awesomely as the real-world Hoglan, Dethklok isn’t paying the dude near enough.

So it’s not as good as the first album — big deal. Being almost as good as the most popular death-metal album ever is still pretty fantastic. “Dethalbum II” is a brutal, merciless, metal-clad fist-to-the-face, and you should go out and buy it.

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Death and Death Metal


Dethklok versus the Goon

Oh, mercy. Someone up there must like me.

Who do we got here? We got “The Goon,” Eric Powell’s crude, hilarious, hyper-violent, horror-noir pulp, and we got Dethklok from Adult Swim’s “Metalocalypse,” Brendon Small’s crude, hilarious, hyper-violent heavy-metal cartoon. It’s all written and illustrated by Powell, with Small stepping in to help. We start out with an evil plot to control the world using William Murderface’s inbred brain, combined with a brainwashed Dr. Rockzo the Rock and Roll Clown (He does cocaine!) trying to kill Dethklok. But things go improbably awry, leaving Dethklok’s gigantic headquarters Mordhaus stuck in the same dimension as the Goon’s Lonely Street. So the Goon and his pals initially mistake Dethklok for some of the new girls at the local brothel before some hijinx get started. Skwisgar does the nasty with Mama Norton, Rockzo introduces Franky to cocaine, Dethklok plays a concert, and the Goon slaughters untold multitudes of Dethklok’s henchmen.

Verdict: You gotta ask? Thumbs up. This ain’t deep storytelling, but if you love Dethklok and you love the Goon, you will love the bleeding screaming snot out of this. Powell is a lot better at drawing the Goon than he is at drawing Dethklok, but he’s absolutely got the cartoon’s brand of humor down perfectly. Tons of hilarious moments and lines here — I won’t spoil the best line in the comic, but you’ll know it when you see it. I also loved Murderface’s reaction after their manager questions the wisdom of promoting the band’s new album by shooting a thousand bald eagles out of a cannon and into George Washington’s face on Mount Rushmore: “Well, I’m sorry! I didn’t know you hated America!” And Dethklok’s concert is just brilliant, as is Franky’s critique of it — “What’s that sound?! It tells me my skin is alive and it hates me!”

Repeating for emphasis: LOVED IT.


Green Lantern #44

The Blackest Night has started, as one of the black rings revives the Martian Manhunter, who goes after Hal Jordan and the recently resurrected Barry Allen. Do they have a chance against a shapeshifting telepathic zombie Martian Superman? I wouldn’t bet on it. Meanwhile, the evil Guardian called Scar reveals to the other captured Guardians what’s going on — emotions are the cause of chaos in the universe, so she plans to bring order by extinguishing all emotions and killing all sentient life. And John Stewart is about to find out what happens when the black rings zombify an entire planet.

Verdict: Thumbs up. J’onn makes an excellent villain here — tossing buildings, shapeshifting, reading minds, and decisively knocking the stuffing out of a couple of DC’s heaviest hitters. The rationale behind Scar’s plot is good, too, and I’m looking forward to seeing what a Black Lantern Planet is going to be like. And yes, Doug Mahnke really is the perfect artist for this — he does great action, he does wonderful square-jawed heroes, and his monsters and zombies are the best in the biz.

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Friday Night Fights: Hit Him with the Musical Chairs!

Time for a new 12-round series of Friday Night Fights, and Spacebooger has a new theme and set of rules that I’m not real thrilled with — music lyrics. The rule is that I’m supposed to tie my panels of punishing pugilism to a song title or lyric. Well, great, but I’ve got a lousy memory for song titles and even worse for song lyrics. I really doubt I’d be able to consistently come up with songs that match the fights… so I’m gonna go ahead and plan on breaking the rules as often as I need to. Like, for example, today.

So here we’ve got a panel from January 2008’s The Goon #20 by Eric Powell, in which the Goon punches some oversized doofus across the chops:

So I wracked my brain trying to come up with a song to match up with that. I can’t find any lyrics for “Dude, I punched some guy who was taller than me” or “Lookit those teeth fly”. The closest I could come up with was that old kids’ song “Little Bunny Foo Foo,” but the bit where the Good Fairy saying “If you don’t behave, I’ll turn you into a GOON” isn’t even sung, it’s just spoken.

So instead of specific lyrics, let’s just hit the trailer for the upcoming “Dethklok vs. the Goon” one-shot. It’s about the Goon, and it certainly includes music by Dethklok, the most brutal death metal band ever. So I’m calling it a win. Huzzah!

QUICK UPDATE: Hey, I just realized that the music played at the end of the “Dethklok vs. the Goon” trailer is Dethklok’s “Face Fisted” — which actually appears to conform to Spacebooger’s rules. Nevertheless, I’m still declaring this to be a rule-breaker, just to emphasize that I’ll be breaking that rule pretty often, and that none of youse sorry mugs is tough enough to stop me.

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The Most Metal Thing Ever!

Dethklok vs. The Goon! Let me repeat: Dethklok vs. The Goon!

Yes, the Goon, as in “The Goon,” Eric Powell’s incredible noir-horror masterpiece of zombie fighting, toilet humor, and big guys wearing cloth caps.

Yes, Dethklok, as in the insanely brutal death metal band from the twisted and head-banging “Metalocalypse” cartoon on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.

Yes, it’s coming out in July, with Eric Powell and “Metalocalypse” creator Brendan Small rocking the comics pages.

And yes, it’s still the most metal thing ever, even though it’s gonna be in a comic book and won’t have any actual heavy metal music playing.

Yes, I’m gonna get it. Don’t you get in my way, or I’m stickin’ a shiv in yer neck.

(Via here, here, and here)

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Maximum Metal Mayhem!

I’m taking another short break from comics stuff to review something that’s not a comic book.


The Dethalbum by Dethklok

A little background — because, yes, you need to know some of the backstory here to really appreciate this CD. Cartoon Network has a late-night programming block called “Adult Swim” for cartoons that are designed to appeal to grownups more than kids — some anime programs like “Cowboy Bebop,” “FLCL,” and “Paranoia Agent,” some syndicated rebroadcasts from other networks like “Futurama” and “Family Guy,” even some live-action shows like “Saved by the Bell” and “Peewee’s Playhouse.” But most of what they do is original cartoons like “Space Ghost Coast to Coast,” “Sealab 2021,” “Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law,” “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” and “Robot Chicken.”

One of their recent hits has been a show called “Metalocalypse,” which features what is my — and probably your — ideal dream world: a world where the greatest and most influential cultural force on the planet is a death metal band called Dethklok. As the 12th largest economy on earth, with billions of fans so fanatical that they’ll sign “pain waivers” to absolve the band from any liability if the fans are horribly mutilated or killed during their shows, the members of Dethklok are free to spend their days being impossibly rich and utterly incompetent, but still 110% metal and brutal.

The band members include brooding lead singer Nathan Explosion, Swedish guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigelf (the fastest guitarist in the world), Norwegian guitarist Toki Wartooth (the second-fastest guitarist in the world), self-loathing bassist William Murderface, and balding, dreadlocked drummer, Pickles the Drummer. The show, created by Brendan Small and Tommy Blacha, is chock full of cameo appearances by heavy metal musicians and seriously awesome heavy metal music.

Which leads us to this CD. It’s not a soundtrack of the show — it’s a bunch of the music snippets we have heard Dethklok play, but expanded to full length, and there are some brand new songs, too. The regular CD has 16 tracks — I got the deluxe CD, which has an extra seven tracks, plus a music video and an episode from the show. You may have already heard that this CD debuted on the Billboard charts at #21, making it the highest charting death metal album ever.

So how is it? It’s good. It’s really, really good. Yes, the songs are often pretty humorous. You’ve got “Fansong,” which is a song about how much the band hates its own fans, you’ve got “Dethharmonic,” which is a tribute to greed, backed by a symphony orchestra. It’s got “Murmaider,” which is about mermaids and killing people with a wide variety of deadly weapons in the depths of the ocean. It’s got songs with titles like “Hatredcopter,” “Castratikron,” “Briefcase Full of Guts,” and “Bloodtrocuted.”

And despite some of the goofy content, this stuff will absolutely rock your face off. It’s brutal, it’s unrelenting, it’s everything you want from a metal album. Every metal fan who listens to this is gonna be banging his or her head by the time the first song is over. And believe it or not, it’s also catchy as hell, which means, if it gets any kind of mainstream play out there, it’s almost guaranteed to manufacture more metal fans.

And I’m amazed that this whole album was blasted out by only a very few musicians. Brandon Small, the show’s creator, does the vocals, guitars, bass, and keyboards, while Gene Hoglan (from Dark Angel, Death, and Strapping Young Lad) works the drums. Heavy metal violinist Emilie Autumn performs as the entire symphony on “Dethharmonic.”

To make a long review short: If you’re a metalhead, you should go get this album. You will love it. If you’re not a metalhead, you should probably get it anyway, because this CD will turn you totally metal, and the world needs more metal heads. If you can find it, grab the deluxe edition, just because it has the “Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle,” which is the most metal coffee jingle ever, but if you can’t find the deluxe edition, get the regular version, which is still metal enough to shred the meat from your bones.

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