April 24, 2015

reviews by Tania J! "Mono: Pacific" #1 Brian Wood; Sergio Sandoval

It's understandable if you overlooked last year's "Mono: The Old Curiosity Shop" (Sharp and Wolstenholme); it didn't seem to have gotten as much buzz as other independent titles. But trust me: it was special. The juxtoposition of this incredibly strong, hairy human/non-human/superhuman ape born of military experiments with his introspective, gothic narration was just gorgeous to behold; not to mention the fantastic dynamic and cinematic art.
I digress. This latest installation of Mono's story paints him as more of an action film star...a human film star. Yeah he's hairy but he's like, "viking" hairy, not "non-human" hairy. And he doesn't have a tail! (Personal tidbit: non-human apes are some of my favorite creatures; specifically gorillas and chimpanzees; which are the two apes the previous incarnation of Mono looked most like. Except for the long prehensile tail....) Fine, I can deal with a more human-like Mono; the art is still good. The spy thriller story set in the Pacific war theater of the 40's is pretty consistently engaging. There is never a dull moment and we get to see how military ape experiments fare in other armies. I think this was my favorite thing about this book. Mono is faced with these apes who are more like him than any other creature on earth. It's an interesting opportunity to see what that stirs within him. Also, GORILLAS!! Or are they?! Not really. But they look like gorillas and they are so cute and Sandoval does not fail to do these magnificent creatures justice. Whether naked, in kimonos, shooting rifles, screaming in Japanese, mouths agape with incisors gleaming, Sandoval renders these creatures as every bit the regal beings they are. I FREAKIN LOVE APES.
This issue is more of a straight spy story than the gothic monster/traghic hero one of the previous run, but I liked it. Brian Wood and Sergio Sandoval make a great team and I will be picking up the conclusion to this short run.

April 16, 2015

Sabrina #2 Review by Tania J.

AHHH FINALLY. Freegin' finally. I have been waiting for my sweet Sabrina since the first issue came out like fifty years ago in October. If you've kind of dismissed "Sabrina" as a "Sugar, Sugar", sassy-talking-cat-accompanied-by-laugh-track, high-school-dance, teenage-beach-party kind of Sabrina, you are mistaken. When I read the first issue I was not prepared for how dark it was. 

In this series we really get to see Sabrina for what she is and where her roots are. She is a witch. A witch's life is not usually glamorous (except when lounging by a pool in Hollywood with Ann Margaret in #2) or easy to stomach. #2 is a fascinating look into the story of Madam Satan, a witch jilted by her beloved: Sabrina's own father. With (like, the gnarliest!) death begins the second bitter part of her chapter, dangerously driven this time by pain and humiliation. 

I love the art in this book. Hack's watery, muted, sienna-tinged colors and true-black shadows work with Aguirre-Sacasa's slightly gothic writing to give the whole work a finely aged feel that nods to Sabrina's brighter days of the sixties. The art in this is so freaky sometimes I found myself examining pages long after I'd read them.
I am so pumped for Madam Satan! Poor Sabrina...

April 9, 2015

"Rat Queens" #10 Review by Tania J.

I must say: I mourned the departure of Roc Upchurch. I've loved Stjepan Sejic since "Death Vigil"but I was really not ready to give up the perfectly expressive, neat, hilarious style and paneling of Upchurch. I wasn't sure how Sejic's pretty, glossy ways would jive with these wild ladies, but it's growing on me.

So: the art. The dewy beauty of Sejic's work highlights the magic of this ratty world; and is it just me or did this issue seem more magical and emotional than the previous ones? The only thing that really bothers me is Dee's hair. Why, Sejic? Why did you dull down Dee's glorious regal crown of fluffy tendrils? He has beat it down into a jheri curl situation, folks. It's terrible.

As for the writing: we dive into some real heavy stuff in this one. Hannah's sour exterior, Violet's and Dave the Orc's affections for eachother, Dee's personal and complicated spiritual grapples, Betty' seems like this issue touches upon very human stuff that we as a "Rat Queens" audience are not used to.

The whole experience is wonderful. I love these crazy broads and all but sometimes it feels like they are too cool to be real. Obviously they are mage elves and smidgens but one likes to think that if you can play like a human you can hurt like a human, no?