Comic Review: Trees #2

Trees #2
Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated by Jason Howard
Lettered by Fonografiks
Cover by Jason Howard
Image Comics
Release Date: June 25, 2014
Cover Price: $2.99

Trees #2 by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Jason Howard is all about discovery and advantage. Characters we were introduced to in the first issue continue to uncover new aspects of the Trees and their surrounding areas; new characters hope to use the Trees for personal gain, plotting political maneuvers and power grabs; and more questions arise throughout the world.

I am not quite sure what to make of this series. The concept, in and of itself, is odd yet interesting: extremely tall, alien cylindrical structures land on earth, positioning themselves like trees. In the onset of the initial invasion, humans themselves caused global chaos. Ten years later, the Trees have done nothing. They don’t consider humans to be intelligent, or even alive for that matter; thus, humans have adapted. The Trees along with humanity’s restructure after the early fallout, have become commonplace amongst all cultures.

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Comic Review: Saga #13

Saga #13
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by Fiona Staples
Lettered and designed by Fonografiks
Covers by Fiona Staples
Image Comics
Release Date: August 14, 2013
Cover Price: $2.99

It’s difficult to imagine a better return to creator-owned comics than Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) has had with Saga, the science-fiction/fantasy series described as a cross between Star Wars and Game of Thrones. Heavy on subtext, but just as rich in characters, world building, adult themes, and surrealistic humor, justifiably impressed everyone who picked up the first issue or the first trade. Not surprisingly, Saga received Eisner nominations for Best New Series, Best Continuing Series, and Best Writer just last month. It won all three awards. What Saga isn’t, however, is a series that can be picked up and read at random. Readers would have to go online for a recap and even if they did, their reading experience would be limited to only a superficial understanding and appreciation of what Vaughan and Fiona Staples have managed to accomplish with Saga.

Vaughan was (and is) nothing if not ambitious, setting Saga against a long-running interstellar war between two planets, Landfall and Landfall’s moon, Wreath. Vaughan based the appearance of Landfall and Wreath’s respective inhabitants on Judeo-Christian iconography, a fancy way of saying Landfall’s inhabitants, of which Saga’s female protagonist, Alana, is a member, resemble angels (they have wings and can fly), while the Wreath’s inhabitants, including Alana’s lover, Marko, resemble demons or devils (they have horns and antlers and wield magic). Alana and Marko initially met under inauspicious circumstances: She was his jailer, but over the course of twelve hours, they connected and fled.

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Comic Review: The Legend Of Luther Strode #2
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The Legend of Luther Strode #2
Written by Justin Jordan
Art by Tradd Moore
Colors by Felipe Sobreiro
Image Comics
Release Date: January 9, 2013
Cover Price: $3.50

This is my first time reading any Luther Strode at all, so you’ll have to pardon any ignorance I have when it comes to this book. The Legend of Luther Strode #2 takes place 5 years after the first series, and honestly, after reading this issue, I could wait another 5 years to read another issue of this book.

Writer Justin Jordan turns out a book that’s not quite sure where it’s going. The character of Luther Strode is basically the Punisher Max with some sort of super powers. Strode is putting his fist right THROUGH people, pulling theirs heads literally off their bodies, and other such violence. Now, I am the LAST person that has a problem with graphic language, violence, or anything like that, but it just doesn’t work here. Jordan tries too hard to make everyone say the F word or any other colorful language that he can come up with. Also, Jordan takes a cue from a bunch of action movies, and has a young girl try and be the voice of reason for Strode. Again, it just doesn’t work for me.

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Comic Review: Saga #5
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Saga #5
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Fiona Staples
Letters and Design by Fonografiks
Cover by Fiona Staples
Image Comics
Release Date: July 18, 2012
Cover Price: $2.99

Any comic that starts off in a bathroom is obviously going to be a lot of fun. Saga #5 delivers that fun and does it with some superbly written dialogue. This is my first look at this series, but I can definitely see why it has gotten so much hype. With a wide array of characters, this series seems to have a lot of stories going at once.

Without spilling the beans, so to speak, I can say that Prince Robot IV receives some stunning news. But even so, he has a mission to complete…one that directly involves Marko and Alana, forcing them to almost cross some personal boundaries. In other news, The Will has a bit of a personal crisis of his own, one that leaves him discontent. But personally, my favorite in the whole comic is Stalk, though we see very little of her in this issue. I cannot say too much, unfortunately, for fear of dropping a spoiler. Trust me, there is a lot going on in this issue.

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Comic Review: Saga #3

Saga #3
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Arty by Fiona Staples
Letters by Fonografiks
Image Comics
Release Date: May 16, 2012
Cover Price: $2.99

Within the arguably isolated realm of comic fans, mostly everyone has heard of Saga by Issue #3 and my awesome local comic shop cannot even keep it on the shelves. Even without the unintentional controversy over the first cover, the huge amount of press it has received is almost infamously positive. While there is a rebellious streak in me that doesn’t want to like what everyone else likes, with this title I am honored to join the happy choir.

Why does Saga engender such good feelings and good reviews to match? Honestly, this series does not break exceptionally new ground in terms of premise. Fans of Firefly are no strangers to intelligent soap operas being played out in space, and fans of Game of Thrones are familiar with fantastical kingdoms vying for supremacy where the personal is political. Feel free to insert many other references of your own, because as far as settings go, many would apply. What makes writer Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona StaplesSaga such an imperative to check out is the nuanced blend of sci-fi and fantasy. The series also seems interspersed with enough politics, sex, drama, and action sequences to catch all the other folks who may or may not care about either of those genres.

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