DC vs Vampires #1 Review

(W) Matthew Rosenberg, James Tynion IV (A) Otto Schmidt

A new supernatural DC event from the creators of Hawkeye Freefall, with Tynion thrown in for good measure?  Sign me up.  Hopes were understandably high for this one, and I’m glad to say that it didn’t disappoint!

These are always great titles to enjoy for the simple fact that no-one is safe in these Elseworlds tales, as evidenced by the character deaths straight out of the gate in issue 1.  There’s always something great about taking the safety blanket away in terms of knowing your heroes will always come out on top, and win in the end, surviving to see another day. Titles such as this, and DCEASED, take that feeling of safety away and replace it with a feeling of dread…

Bringing back Andrew Bennett, the protagonist from the absolutely brilliant and criminally underrated I, Vampire series from the New 52, is an inspired choice, as is suggesting that these plans for the undead to overthrow civilisation have been in the works for a while.  This is no sudden occurrence, or change to the status quo brought about by an apocalyptic event.  Vampires have always been there in the background, and you don’t know who they’ve got to, or which of the heroes we can trust.

This is always a great set up, similar to John Carpenter’s The Thing, one of my favourite movies, because it engulfs this horror tale with a mystery as well, and a large sense of distrust.  We find out in issue 1 that a longtime legacy character is in league with Vampires, and it’s quite a shocking moment.

This was simply a fun ride, and a maxi-series of 12 issues seems the perfect length for this tale, in which there’s enough time to flesh out the story and characters, but that it won’t outstay its welcome.

That Texas Blood #11 Review

(W) Chris Condon (A) Jacob Phillips

Time for our monthly mention of one of Image’s very best ongoing titles…

When it comes to noir comics (one of my favourite genres), atmosphere is everything. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are the masters of this.  And Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips are fast becoming masters in their own right.  I mean, just look at the cover alone of this issue, dripping with atmosphere.

We are approaching the end of the second arc with issue 11, with Joe Bob and Eversaul locating and getting ready to confront the Cult of Night.  A thunderstorm rages; a couple of guys getting ready to do the right thing, when they should clearly wait for backup; a young girl in danger; a promise made by a man to a mother that he will save the child; a ticking clock.

All these tropes and staples are utilised, and because of how great the character work is, both from a writing and artistic viewpoint, we are invested.  We are genuinely fearing for these characters, and there may just not be a happy ending.

We’ve said it many times, but will happily say it again.  If you are not on this, you are missing out on one of the great modern comic runs.  Whatever these guys are working on, I’ll be picking it up day one every time.


Time Before Time #6 Review

(W & A) Declan Shalvey

It was a shame we had to rearrange the Declan Shalvey signing.  It was for very understandable reasons and hopefully we can reschedule for January so we can tell him face to face just how good this issue was.

Time Before Time has been another great series from Image Comics so far, and now the first collected trade is available, which contains the first 5 issues.  With this one, Shalvey is taking the reins on art for one issue to tell a standalone story in this universe, which is a treat for us single issue readers given that this won’t appear in the trade collections.

This one-shot focuses on just how lucrative a business that time relocation has become, and the desperate lengths that some people will go to in order to escape their past and get that elusive fresh start.

The bulk of the action is set in 1994, as a family has bent some rules to get relocated from 2140.  The courier who helped them bend those rules is on the run from his employers, and we also spend some time with members of The Syndicate, who are chasing this agent who went against the rules.

I’m all for this one shot format as a way for the creators to take a break from the main narrative and build upon the mythology they are establishing.  This is a great start for these one shots with a story that’s exciting and heartbreaking all at the same time.  Regular series artist Joe Palmer is great on the main series, but it’s always a treat to see Shalvey’s noir sensibility in sequential art.

Highly recommended, as is the trade paperback to get you caught up in this world.