Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I am no longer going to review many products here. I am aware of my limitations more than ever, I read someone’s work and if I like it, I like it, and if I don’t I try to find something good to say about it. That tends to make some people think I am giving a publisher a blow job , but, honestly, I just tend to think that way. We are all different, and I tend to either not try something, or I tend to like it.


Robert Venditti and Mike Huddleston

The present world is more and more under the eye of government, both for reasons of safety, and for invasion of privacy. Robert Venditti, of Surrogates fame, a near future dystopia, is best when asking the reader to consider the tough questions about our world. Before in Surrogates he did so asking the question “where are we going?” in the present work he asks, "if we are so very deeply mediated and watched, how can there be questions of who, where, or why?". The government in this work, and the conspiracies that fester deep within the state are the real villain here.

I liked this work very much.

Publisher Book Description Publication Date: June 7, 2011

As head of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Laura Regan is one of the world's foremost authorities on viral and bacteriological study. Having dedicated her career to halting the spread of infectious disease, she has always considered herself one of the good guys. But when her research partner is murdered and Laura is blamed for the crime, she finds herself at the heart of a vast and deadly conspiracy. Aided by three rogue federal agents who believe the government is behind the frame-up, Laura must evade law enforcement, mercenaries, and a team of cyber-detectives who know more about her life than she does - all while trying to expose a sinister plot that will impact the lives of every American. Set in the Orwellian present, The Homeland Directive is a modern-day political/medical thriller from Robert Venditti (creator & writer of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel The Surrogates).



MOSH GIRLS & MONSTERS: The Art of Josh Howard volume 2
Josh Howard

A couple years ago I asked Jessie Garza at Viper if I could get a copy of this, and apparently he had sent it, but I didn’t find it until this May, when I was going through my office and all the boxes from previous years of review products. Breaking down the box that Viper had sent, it appears that this book had become stuffed behind the bottom flap of the box. So it was like a hidden treat, and I am sorry to not have seen it until now.

Josh Howard’s work is special, because while he is able to draw in a purely animation influenced style, there is more character, depth and layers of quality about his work than most anyone who draws in a similar fashion. This book is a collection of sketches and works I think are quite nice to look at, and are quite amazing given the vast number of people trying to work in the style. Josh is quite good, quite unique in his ability, and someone who makes me want to know the story behind each of the characters.



Writer: John Wagner
Artist: Pete Doherty, Frazer Irving, Andy Clarke, Dean Ormston, Alex Ronald

Good lord. Judge Dredd and the various Judges are not nice folks. Face it, they live in a purely dystopic world without much hope to stop the crimes outside of blinding swift justice and mind numbing violence. Judge Death fulfills the role of a villain in this collection, and while it is thoroughly well written and illustrated, it is rather dark. I think it would qualify as horror, but being that it comes from the Judge Dredd millieu it is dark crime fantasy. I think this is very good, but perhaps not towards everyone’s taste.


Writer: Gordon Rennie and John Smith
Artist: Fazer Irving

This collection is best described with dark fiction, funky heroes, and some horror. The concept here of taking real life people who were famous and making them characters of fiction is well done. And the quality of story and characters, both in writing and art is good. Having said that, calling this horror didn’t work for me so much. For a work, say the Judge Death mentioned above, to be called horror it needs to evoke a feeling of dread, fear, avoiding the thing behind the door... And this work didn’t do that for me. However, it is very well done for what it is.

“In Necronauts, world famous escapologist Harry Houdini must join forces with novelists H.P. Lovecraft, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and phenomenologist Charles Fort to defeat an unholy force which has followed him back from a place beyond human imagination...”


Editor: Jonathan Oliver

Haunted House stories in general are considerably underwhelming to me. I read a great number of them in the past, and pretty much, I think, that there needs to be a factor of reality to go alongside what is very clearly fiction. As such, to me at least, most haunted stories don’t reach enough into believability of setting to make me feel the horror in the fiction.

However, House of Fear is a truly scary work. Jonathan Oliver as editor has clearly sorted through many entries, because the stories here are uniformly good. The quality of an anthology I think isn’t the subject, but how well each of those in the collection succeeds. That is, is there two good, three ok and four bad stories in the collection, and, if so why did you pay full price for the work? This is a good quality throughout product, and even if the subject isn’t my thing, I would say it succeeds on all fronts.



Ted Kilvington said...

"I read someone’s work and if I like it, I like it, and if I don’t I try to find something good to say about it..."

Since I pay for the things I review, I'll probably only review things I am predisposed to like. So my reviews will skew positive.

On the other hand, if I pay for something and dislike it, I am probably going to be far more negative than if I had gotten it for free.

alex-ness said...

Good point. I think that some reviews are very good in their unbiased view point, but most are not for the reasons you state.

At some point I think I'll return to reviewing, but I need to get a better handle on my motive for it and time to do it.