I write comic book reviews that NOBODY has ever asked for!
I've got a couple of GREAT ones this time out, folks!
THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (Dark Horse)
Where to start? I found this first issue to be excellent in every way!
The story is a fast-paced direct sequel to John Carpenter's 1982 horror masterpiece "The Thing" and maintains the movie's tense atmosphere, but not so much as in a "We're all locked in here together with a THING!" way as in a "There's a goddamn THING and I have to prevent it from escaping!" way as a team of Navy SEALS investigate the ruins of Antarctic Outpost 31 and find MacReady the sole survivor admitting to killing everyone and babbling about aliens and infections.
Of course, the alien latches onto these new life forms and the SEAL team is decimated one by one until only MacReady and Erskine (the commander) are left.
The art is beautifully painted by John Higgins (Who I knew mostly as a colorist) and is hyper kinetic and gruesome. The colors on this book are FANTASTIC! The bright splashes really pop in the dull Antarctic scenery.
Overall, this comic should have been filmed as the sequel to the movie. It's that good. Well done, Dark Horse!
In the second issue, the stakes get even higher as MacReady, Childs, and Erskine go to a large Argentine base with hundreds of people. An infected Erskine escapes the base after calling a submarine for extraction, MacReady and Childs corner it as it decimates the submarine crew and Childs sacrifices himself so that MacReady can escape to tell the tale before the submarine is sunk and destroyed, once again leaving MacReady as the sole survivor.
The art remains impressive in every way as the bleak Antarctic landscape changes to the base buildings and submarine interior. One sequence of Childs on a rope in a crevasse with the alien below him lit with a flare was unbelievable, how good it was! I tell you, the colors really make this book.
Overall, two completely outstanding issues. If you love horror movies or horror comics, don't miss out on this little two-issue gem!
As I said above, if you are a fan of horror movies or horror comics, you owe it to youself to find this great little two shot from Dark Horse's early days! This story really delivers where other horror comics barely show up. Even if you don't really like horror comics and want to know what a sequel to the horror classic "The Thing" would have looked like, take a look at these comics and find out.
THE PUNISHER: TRIAL OF THE PUNISHER (Marvel)
What happens when The Punisher just walks into a police station with a dead assistant D.A. in a duffle bag and gives himself up? The trial of the century! Of course, nobody wonders WHY Frank Castle gave himself up and is willing to stand trial. . .everyone just assumes he's crazy and leaves it at that.
I really liked this first issue a lot. You KNOW that Punisher is doing it for a reason, and so does his Public Defender, but this is an interesting take on the Marvel Universe legal system, where it's just assumed every superhero and supervillain is insane in some way.
The art in this book is especially impressive. Probably one of the top 10 best looking Punisher books I've ever seen. It's dark, gritty, and super detailed in such a good way that every page is a true work of art!
Overall, this one's a winner in every way. Nicely done, Marvel!
So we get an artist switch on this second issue, which would normally be a red flag not being able to keep a team together for TWO lousy issues. . .but this time, I don't even care because the art on the second issue is even MORE impressive than on the first (and the first was damn good)! It's super-detailed and dark. . .almost like Tim Bradstreet's cover work. There's a 4 page scene flashing back to Daredevil and Punisher fighting that was a true standout in a book where EVERY page is a work of fantastic art.
Storywise, Punisher finally makes his move. It turns out that he had a target that was on the Federal Witness Protection list that he couldn't find, so he needed to be in the courthouse on the day of THAT trial, and he knew the security would be so tight that there was no way he was sneaking in. It really showed the strategic side of Frank Castle, but I still couldn't help but think that they would have had a lot tighter security on THE PUNISHER than some mob boss.
All in all, I really enjoyed this story, even if it DID seem to be a bit of an excuse to put The Punisher into a legal setting instead of his regular combat scenarios. It was really worth it for the art alone.
Despite wondering why they didn't have a lot more security on a man known for killing hundreds and constantly escaping the authorities, I really liked this unusual little Punisher story. The art was more than worth the admission price alone on this one. If you like The Punisher, you'll love this story. If you don't, then it's not going to do a thing to change your mind. In other words, very well done, but pretty much for fans only.
So there they are. . .two GREAT little two-shots! I highly suggest both of them.
Coming next. . .
The comic book adaptation of the movie sequel to a comic book adaptation movie.
Wait. Did I get that right?
The Crow: City of Angels. Be there or be square!
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