Archive for Revival

Cold Fingers


Colder: The Bad Seed #1

Y’all may recall Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra’s wonderful horror series from last year, starring Declan, who can draw away people’s insanity, at the cost of his own constantly-dropping body temperature. They’re all back with a new series — Declan is back, dating his former caregiver Reece, and working as a mental health specialist, which gives him the cover to cure the insane in his special way. Everything seems peachy-keen — except for a new player on the scene, a tall, grim man named Swivel who has a thing for farming metaphors and fingers — mainly, he likes to cut people’s fingers off, and when we see his true form, he looks — well, take a gander of the cover. What does Swivel intend to harvest? And where do Declan and Reece fit into his plans?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice, creepy beginning to the new series. Very much looking forward to learning more about Swivel and his various disturbing gimmicks.


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #6

Lude and Annastasjia continue their stories. Lude tells about his misspent and incredibly horny youth, his stern but concerned guardian, and his quest to find his mother. Anna recounts how she killed off the men who wronged and deformed her, then fell in with the same traveling freak show that sheltered other members of the Nightbreed, until they were hunted down and chased away by frightened humans. But there’s one other important story to tell — the star of the movie, Boone.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This has come to be one of my favorite comics, because so many other licensed books like this take the easy way out and rely on an expectation that they can coast on their cult popularity — and this one is still working hard to tell fun, exciting stories about the characters, even if they were only minor characters in the movie…


Revival #24

Spring is coming, the snow is finally thawing, and things are going entirely nuts. More people are sneaking into town, hoping to somehow gain magical or divine healing from the waters in Wausau. Zombie wildlife have started to rise and attack people. Arlene Dittman, from clear back in the first issue, has finally completely revived, still spitting out excess teeth. We finally learn a little bit about the heavily-scarred Reviver who keeps roaming around murdering people. And Em Cypress has discovered that she may be pregnant.

Verdict: Thumbs up. So much weird, wild stuff going on in this issue. It had seemed like some of the mysteries had begun to get cleared up in recent issues, but this one makes it clear that there’s still a lot of scary stuff running around and a lot of secrets waiting to be discovered.

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The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #2

The Goon and his gang continue their war against the Zombie Priests, with the Goon reserving special dislike for the sadistic monster called Longfingers. But it’s a long war, the Goon’s forces are slowly weakening, and their other enemies are hoping the zombies will finally finish the Goon’s organization off. Meanwhile, the Goon may have finally found love, a vengeful ghost wreaks havoc on the life of his heartless ex-lover, and we learn the tragic backstory of happy-go-lucky slackjaw Willie Nagel.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really, really loved learning more about Willie Nagel — the zombie who doesn’t eat people has been more-or-less a mystery for years, and his background really is pretty interesting.


Revival #23

This issue focuses on two major confrontations between the Cypress family and their tormentors. Sheriff Wayne Cypress goes after Edmund Holt, nutty teabagging terrorist-wannabe, to get him to stay away from his grandson. And Officer Dana Cypress, visiting New York City, meets up with Anders Hine, psychotic reviver, who’s letting rich people eat his ever-regenerating flesh. They think they’re getting eternal life — they don’t know he’s been ingesting poison specifically to kill them all off. When he finds out the truth about what happened to the Check brothers, is he going to expose the secret, or will Dana let him get away to keep him quiet?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Slowly getting some open plotlines clipped shut, while others are opening up in more dangerous ways. It’s a great story for the supernatural elements and for the non-supernatural elements, too. Hope you’ve been reading this — it’s a great story…

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The Doom that Came to Riverdale


Afterlife with Archie #6

I’d initially skipped this series, ’cause it seemed like it was going to be nothing more than a publicity stunt series, but the buzz has been excellent, and I finally picked up the first trade paperback of this series. If you don’t know anything about it, the general idea is that Jughead’s dog Hot Dog is killed, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch decides to resurrect the mutt by casting a spell from the Necronomicon. Of course, this goes badly, and Jughead ends up being Patient Zero for a zombie plague. It’s a wonderful series, dark and grim and genuinely horrifying in all the ways a classic Archie story is not.

In this latest issue, we learn what’s happened to Sabrina since the first issue. Her aunts had learned that she’d dabbled in forbidden magic and cast her into a dimensional limbo as punishment. Here, she sees herself as an inmate at a mental institution, fighting delusions of having magical powers. Her fellow inmates include a musician named Erich Zann and an artist named Richard Pickman, and her counselors include Dr. Lovecraft and Dr. Machen — which is a really bad sign for Sabrina. Of course, they’re in league with the Great Old Ones, and as relentlessly pessimistic as this series is, there’s not much hope for Sabrina to get a happy ending…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic art and story, with lots of gloriously creepy stuff going on, both before the camera and off in the background. As much as I’ve enjoyed the zombified terrors of the previous storyarc, I think it’d be really cool for the rest of the series to have to deal with the perils of the Archie Gang facing the mind-breaking horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos.


The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #1

The Zombie Priests — yeah, there are more than just one or two — are moving in to Lonely Street, and the Goon, Franky, and all their allies have to face them down or watch everything get destroyed. Wrapped around this story is a tale of a beautiful but sociopathic woman and the vengeful spirit of a man who commits suicide over her love.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great to see a nice long Goon tale again. Some nice new villains. An absolutely excellent showdown scene. Wondering how all of this is going to end up getting tied together, but I also know I’m probably going to love the final result.


Trees #3

Two little storyarcs in this issue, one focusing on Italy, where the tough-minded gangster girl is trying to track down the mysterious vanishing professor, and one in China, where the talented rural artist is told he must get over his fear of the big city and stop locking himself in his apartment.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yes, there’s actually a lot more to the stories here, but I’d really rather not spoil them. And yes, the entire issue is focused on people having conversations. It’s great to have interestingly talky comics from time to time, right?


Revival #22

Lots of little things going on — Lester Majak catches a ghost; Em discovers her new reviver boyfriend Rhodey mutilates himself for online sickos and has been filming the two of them when they have sex; Dana discovers the secret society behind the troubles in New York and even meets up with murderous reviver Anders Hine; Ramin gets hypnotized; and Sheriff Cypress discovers that his grandson may be in danger from a teabagging militia terrorist.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of stuff going on, and all of it held my interest, moved the story along, and deepened the mysteries surrounding the revivers.


Velvet #6

Knowing she’ll never discover who the mole inside ARC-7 while out of the country, Velvet secretly returns to London, collects a new cache of weapons, makes a few contacts, considers the likely suspects, and makes her move on the superspy headquarters.

Verdict: Thumbs up. More great espionage storytelling. Wonderful characters and dialogue, outstanding action, mysteries, and much, much more.

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Midian is Where the Monsters Live


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #2

We continue telling the stories of Peloquin, as he must fight his way through a bunch of slaveowners and their slaves, all convinced that he’s the Devil, and of Shuna Sassi, whose human lover attacks her in a fit of jealousy. Not a good thing to do to a human porcupine.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good story and nice art — but it’s not the best dang thing in the world, either. I’d like to see this one up its game and prove it’s as awesome as the movie it was inspired by.


The Goon: One for the Road

The Goon and Franky run across a sailor on leave who’s lost his buddy — and if he can’t find him and get him back to the boat, they’ll both be AWOL. The three set off on an epic bar crawl to find the guy, and in addition to drinking way too many beers, they also run across a bunch of witches and a bad little boy, a squad of shellshocked Marines, infuriated cowboys, a bar full of movie stars, and a giant man-eating gorilla. But are they ever going to find the missing sailor?

Verdict: Thumbs up. If you love mayhem and violence and silliness and lunacy delivered the way Eric Powell does it best, you’ll want to get this one. Goon comics have been rare as hen’s teeth lately, so enjoy this bit of madness while it’s here.


Revival #21

Officer Dana Cypress has left Wisconsin for New York to investigate the possibility that a Reviver has broken the quarantine to head for the Big Apple. What she finds is that the rest of the world is obsessed with the mystery of what happened in Wassau — along with a dismembered murder victim with a gory secret. Meanwhile, her sister Em is hanging out with a fellow Reviver named Rhodey who’s decided that the way to fix her slow deterioration is to get her to embrace her undead immortality. And teabagging wannabe-terrorist Edmond Holt is trying to get his hands on Cooper, Dana’s son and the sheriff’s grandson, for nefarious purposes.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of smaller storylines running through this, and they’re all being advanced suitably and interestingly. That doesn’t sound like much, but moving multiple storylines forward in only a few short pages seems to be a dying art form in some corners of the comics world.

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Blue Plate Special

The most unexpected dose of fun this week came in a single comic book — or rather, two comic books crammed into one. Chew/Revival and Revival/Chew were two complete stories combined into one awesome flipbook. Let’s take a look at the menu…


Chew/Revival #1

So in the comic written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory — the guys behind “Chew” — Tony Chu, the FDA detective who gets psychic impressions from everything he eats, pays a visit to Wausau, Wisconsin with his partner, the cyborg John Colby. They’re investigating… something about a chopped-off hand? For some reason, that just led them to the Reviver capital of the world. That leads them to a morgue full of dismembered corpses and a recently sewn-together reviver, and then to a local chef with an extra arm.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a severely weird story, and it often doesn’t make a lick of sense. But it does everything that a “Chew” story should do — it delivers funny, morbid, slapstick weirdness, and that’s a good thing.


Revival/Chew #1

And on the other side, with Tim Seeley and Mike Norton handling the creator chores, John Chu is in Wausau on a different case — helping investigate some grave robberies. Chu is along on this one because many people think reviver parts could grant immortality to anyone who eats them. And Chu’s investigation leads to some weird stuff. He eats a little snow — and discovers that the ghosty-aliens around the county are actually human souls. And snacking on one stray fingernail leads to the discovery that someone is digging up all their old friends and holding a barn dance. When Chu, Dana, and Ibrahim investigate the barn, they find a grisly waltz featuring a bunch of bloody, stitched-together corpses.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Much more serious than the other story — and magnificently bloody and scary. Plus it features the epic crossover of Poyo the cyber-chicken from “Chew” with Lying Cat from “Saga.” Definitely worth the price.

Again, folks, that’s two excellent comics, slightly less than full-length, all in one package, for just five dollars. Go grab it, kids.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • To think — we could’ve had the brilliant Edgar Wright making a superhero movie for us — and Marvel went and pulled a DC Comics on us.
  • There’s a Kickstarter to bring “Reading Rainbow” back. I don’t even have kids, and I kinda want to back that one.
  • On a much more serious note: Basically, these people sit around all day and talk about their plans to write manifestos and kill as many people as they can. For some reason, no one calls this terrorism, and no one arrests these people making plans to commit terrorist attacks. Because they’re mostly white guys. And the people they hate with such endless, demented fervor is women.

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Your Own Personal Jesus


Revival #20

Dana Cypress is terrified that the FBI will discover that her sister killed the rotten Check Brothers, but it turns out they just want her expertise with Revivers — it looks like one has gotten past the quarantine zone and made it into New York City. The sheriff discovers that the mayor’s wife is a secret — and insane — Reviver. Lester Majak consults with an old friend from a nearby Indian reservation about the ghosts haunting the woods. And Em meets up with a daredevil Reviver named Rhodey Rasch who likes dressing up as Jesus just to freak out the squares — he thinks he can help cure Em’s slowly decaying body by jumping off bridges with her.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of bleak, glorious, freaky, gory fun. If y’all haven’t been reading this, could I suggest y’all go get the trade paperbacks as soon as you can? It’ll help you get caught up quick, and they’re absolutely grand to read.


She-Hulk #4

Jennifer Walters is frustrated by the fact that she was able to get Kristoff Vernard, the son of Dr. Doom, granted legal asylum, only for his father to kidnap him back to Latveria. After a chat with fellow superhero lawyer Matt Murdock, Jennifer undertakes a covert mission into Latveria to confront Dr. Doom — but does even the She-Hulk stand a chance against Dr. Doom — especially when he breaks out the giant robot to fight her?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The art is just phenomenal. There’s this one glorious silhouette midway through with Shulkie and Daredevil fighting crime in San Francisco that’s absolutely amazing. And the story ain’t at all bad either — I like the fact that Jennifer figured out a third way out of the confrontation with Doom.


Veil #3

The wizard Cormac is hiding out inside a deserted church making plans against the politicians who tried to use him, and he also manages to take control of Veil and bring her to him.

Verdict: Thumbs down. This series is so absolutely inconsistent. In the first issue, Veil was a quirky innocent who spoke in rhyme. In the second, she’s almost completely normal. In this issue, she does absolutely nothing aside from getting mind-controlled. It’s infuriatingly erratic.

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You Were Made to Be Ruled


Loki: Agent of Asgard #3

Teen Loki doesn’t really appear in this issue — what we’re treated to is a tale of the ancient past of Old Supervillain Loki. After Old Supervillain Loki walks out of his secret Asgardian prison, he travels in time to meet a young Odin. After befriending him, Loki kills a giant otter — and Odin only learns later that the otter was actually an innkeeper’s son who was able to change his shape. Loki agrees to get the innkeeper and his other sons a vast amount of gold to pay them back — and he gets that by finding a giant gar guarding a hoard of gold and blowing it up with a bazooka. But one of the innkeeper’s sons steals the gold and becomes Fafnir the dragon — and then is slain by Sigurd. What does this all have to do with Loki’s byzantine plans?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a fun story of Loki’s treachery — and it’s got the mad, anarchic, drawn-out lunacy you expect to see in old Norse legends. Nevertheless, I do wish we could focus on Teen Loki, instead of taking a detour to a villain spotlight only three issues in…


The Premature Burial

Oh, hey, you got a new comic by horror illustrator genius Richard Corben? Working on more Edgar Allan Poe adaptations? Well, do we know anyone around here who’d be interested in that?

What’ve we got here? Basically adaptations of Poe’s “The Premature Burial” and “A Cask of Amontillado.” Fairly straightforward, I think.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m a sucker for Corben — I love almost everything he does. I did have a bit of a stutter at “Amontillado,” which is, far and away, my favorite of Poe’s stories — and therefore, it didn’t quite live up to my mental image of EAP’s tale of cruel, cold-blooded revenge. Still, it’s hard to hold that against Corben — both stories are very, very good, and I reckon I shouldn’t blame him for not being able to read my mind.


Revival #19

Lots of little things going on — Lester Majak’s beloved dog has died and been possessed by a ghost, which then tries to possess Lester. The local rotten wingnut terrorist wannabe is antagonizing the sheriff while his minions get up to something shady undercover. Officer Dana Cypress tries to convince Ibrahaim to help her investigate Em’s murder. The mayor is up to something — he’s got his wife tied up in the bathtub, and he’s hiding something more serious from the Cypresses. And Em meets up with Skateboarding Jesus and the Easter Bunny — and at least one of them is a Reviver.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Some really weird stuff going on, some really ominous stuff, and some really creepy stuff, too — probably ain’t nothin’ creepier than Lester’s dog and his glowing eyes.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Here’s a really interesting long read about how one arrogant media schmuck single-handedly wrecked what was going to be a big-name independent video game jam.
  • None of the big movie critics understood the Black Widow in Marvel’s movies — in fact, they never even tried to understand her.
  • Marine Todd is really lame when the wingnuts do it, but really awesome when everyone else does it.

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Things Get Ugly


Revival #18

All kinds of stuff going on in this issue — Dana Cypress is trying to hide the fact that she took a shotgun blast in the back during her secret investigation. Her son Cooper is being stalked by a ghost. Dana’s dad, the sheriff, is heading toward a major confrontation with the local anti-government nut. Her sister Em, a reviver, is starting to have serious trouble keeping her blood inside her body. Lester Majak loses his dog. And we learn a bit more about the mysterious disfigured assassin of the last few issues.

Verdict: Thumbs up. An outstanding story, fantastic artwork, some really excellent stretches of dialogue, and a constant increase in the tension. This is such a glorious series — I hope y’all sre enjoying it as much as I am.


Day Men #3

David Reid is a day man — a mortal tasked with serving the needs of the Virgos, a family of vampires, during the day when they can’t leave their coffins. The Virgos have found themselves at war with a rival clan of vamps called the Ramses, and David was tasked to protect Calista, one of the Virgos in charge of a facility in Vermont. But things don’t go well — a squad of vampires assault the house, led by the Ramses’ day man, Jacob the Burner, and David is narrowly pulled to safety by a girl named Lera, one of Calista’s off-the-books staff — who’s been assisting her boss in a particularly unsavory activity called the Fang Trade, which appears to involve pulling the fangs from large numbers of other vampires.

Word gets out that the Virgos are involved in the Fang Trade, and the rest of vampire society cuts them off. David helps Lera escape the vampires’ wrath before he goes to warn the Virgos about what’s going on. They’re not real happy to see him — and they’d be even less happy if they knew they had enemies working against them they don’t even suspect…

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good action-packed story with lots of great art. But I do wish they’d define some of their terms. What exactly is the Fang Trade? What’s an unregistered I.T.K.? I don’t think these have been defined previously — and even if they had, this series only comes out every few months, and I can’t necessarily remember all the little minutiae of issues that came out six months ago or more…

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Wow, I picked up a grand total of one comic book this week. On one hand, this is good, because I didn’t spend much money, and a single comic won’t do too much damage to my way-too-overstuffed comic boxes. On the other hand, it’s gonna be way hard to fill the blog next week. Nevertheless, let’s get things rolling.


Revival #17

Officer Dana Cypress has had a narrow run-in with a masked, disfigured man who set fire to the office of Professor Aaron Weimar — a man who Dana suspects of murdering her sister Em (prior to Em rising from the dead as one of the Revivers). So Dana knows that someone may be after Weimar — and she can’t let anything happen to him, because otherwise she may never unravel the mystery of Em’s death.

And Weimar knows someone is after him, too, and he’s terrified that the mysterious someone is going to kill his wife Nithiya. He leaves her a note, then takes off, unaware that his wife had placed a tracker on his car because she was afraid he was unfaithful. So when Dana makes it to their home, she’s able to track his car.

So while Weimar’s wife reads his note confessing his life’s ambitions, failures, and shames, Dana tries to reach him in time to save his life. Can she locate him and salvage her investigation into her sister’s death and resurrection?

Meanwhile, Em is tracking down reporter May Tao, who may know that Em has killed a few people. And she learns more about what kind of people the Check brothers were. Did they really deserve to die? Will May need to die to preserve Em’s secrets?

Verdict: Thumbs up. We get the great art and great writing we’ve come to expect from this series.

But the real winner in this issue is the close focus on Weimar, a character who’s mostly been in the background, despite how close he’s been to the mystery of Em’s death. It’s nice to learn more about who he is, what he’s come to fear, and how he regrets what he’s made of his life. And May Tao’s monologue on just how absolutely rotten the Check brothers were is also very interesting.

We also get more mysteries. Who is the masked arsonist, and what are his motives? Just how ominous is the prison full of slowly deranging Revivers? How can Dana continue her investigation? And what’s with all the teeth?

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So Very Many Comics…

I’m still trying to clear space for more holiday gift recommendations, so I’m gonna see if I can clear all my regular comics reviews all at once. Strap on your seat belt, kids — we’re gonna do a review marathon…


FF #15

The Future Foundation has everything planned out, and they’re ready to take down Doctor Doom. They send in a bunch of robots controlled by the kids to distract Doom and his robots and to wreck up his Latverian castle, while the grownups and their allies infiltrate and sabotage Doom behind the scenes before finally moving in for the final confrontation. But will all their preparation allow them to succeed against Doom the Annihilating Conqueror?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great action, great humor, intrigue, drama — and thanks to co-writer and scripter Lee Allred, the story is jam-packed with in-jokes geared directly to fans of the late, lamented City of Heroes, the best dang superhero MMO ever. I loved it, and I want a lot more of it, so I’m crossing my fingers that the series will continue, despite its predicted demise.


Red Sonja #6

Sonja was prepared to duel Dark Annisia to the death, but they’ve both been surprised by the re-emergence of the genocidal tyrant Bazrat, who reveals that the plague that afflicted Sonja and the kingdom wasn’t actually a plague at all — it was all poison administered secretly to the populace. Can Sonja and Annisia stop fighting long enough to stop the madman?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent action, drama, and art, and a genuinely smart story, all wrapped up in a nice chainmail bow.


Itty Bitty Hellboy #5

Abe’s little sister Eve is having a birthday, and everyone is invited to the party! Hellboy, Liz, the Rogers, Baba (and her chicken-leg hut), Hecate, Lobster Johnson, Johann Kraus, and many more all show up. Presents are opened, seaweed cake is devoured, hot sauce is splashed on people, and Hellboy gets turned into a chicken. Just like every other day then, right?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very funny, very cute — it’s too bad this is the final issue, because Art Baltazar and Franco did a great job making Hellboy and his supporting cast look so adorable.


Young Avengers #14

Evil has been vanquished, and it’s time for the after party. A wide selection of artists are on hand to help document the first half of the Young Avengers’ last big party, along with most of the other young superheroes in the Marvel Universe. Wiccan and Hulkling reconcile for good, we learn more of Miss America’s origin and about her secret connection to Wiccan, and Kate Bishop decides where she stands with Noh-Varr.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A bunch of excellently crafted stories about relationships — both romantic and familial — all backed up by a bunch of cool artists. I’m gonna miss this series, but it’s nice to see they’re going out pushing the envelope.


A Voice in the Dark #2

Zoey is worried that her urges to commit murder are going to get the better of her, so she starts up a campus talk-radio show, hoping she’ll be able to quell her homicidal desires by basking in other people’s darkness. And her very first caller is someone who’s contemplating suicide. Can Zoey keep her from killing herself? Can her uncle and his fellow police officers find the girl in time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic art and a great story that does not go where we expect it to go. Is there anything Zoey can do to keep from getting completely washed over in blood? Maybe not — and it’ll be fun seeing how it all turns out for her…


Daredevil #34

Matt Murdock wants to strike a serious blow against the racist Sons of the Serpent — and he particularly wants to take their ally, the Jester, out of circulation. He’s managed to obtain the Darkhold, an ancient mystical book that the Sons consider their Bible, and he’s also gotten hold of a device that will allow him to broadcast to every TV, radio, and web browser in New York City. He enlists the aid of Kirsten McDuffie and then makes his broadcast, warning New Yorkers about the Sons and threatening to destroy the Darkhold if they don’t turn over the Jester. Can the gamble pay off? Or will the Sons kill McDuffie as revenge?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s an excellent story, with some real shining moments for McDuffie. The action is quite nice, and as always, Javier Rodriguez’s artwork is phenomenally beautiful.


Revival #16

The authorities are now exterminating the local livestock, which has gotten a serious dose of whatever is causing the revivals, and Ramin and Sheriff Cypress are the targets of a low-level terrorist attack. Dana Cypress enlists her ex-husband Derrick and her sister Em — a secret Reviver — to help investigate whoever murdered Em. And Derrick runs into a mysteriously deformed arsonist. What the heck’s going on?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The series is definitely trending away from horror right now and back toward noir. Not a bad thing at all — great characterization and art, and I’m still loving the story.


Pretty Deadly #3

Ya know, I’m not sure I could tell you the plot in a way that’ll really make sense. But we learn more about Ginny and Fox and Death, how they got the way they are, and what may be coming up for them eventually.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I liked this issue a lot more. It made a lot more sense, I could keep track of who the characters were, and there were multiple really good, really powerful scenes. I hope they can keep the quality high on this one.

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