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  • atom | Male | Utah

"I have a lot of issues. . ."

I write comic book reviews that NOBODY has ever asked for!

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Welcome to Longbox Junk, where I write comic reviews nobody ever asked for!

 
The Longbox Junk 2022 Halloween Horror Party is still going strong, so this time out, how about we get Indie up in here?
 
Not so long ago here in Longbox Junk, I was spotlighting some of the ubiquitous bargain bin comics.  Those comic series you're practically GUARANTEED to find at least one issue of in just about any bargain bin you happen to dive into.  The series at hand is exactly that.  
 
I've seen so many of these Deadworld comics in bargain bins that I wonder just how many of them they printed!  For a 1980s black and white Indie horror comic, it sure gets around.  And yeah. . .I've bought a few of them for the covers, but (not being a fan of black and white comics in general) I've never actually READ one.
 
UNTIL NOW! Let's do it!

DEADWORLD #1

ARROW (1986)

 
 
COVER:  Vincent Locke
 
THE COVER:
 
The cover is basically the only reason I dropped a dollar on this comic, and it's great!  I'm a sucker for monochromatic backgrounds on comic covers and the stark black REALLY frames the supremely detailed zombie very nicely.  I also really like the gruesome greenish-yellow color on the zombie.  This is just a great horror comic cover. . .simple, but effective.  Let's get inside this thing!
 
EYE OF THE ZOMBIE
 
SCRIPT: Stuart Kerr
PENCILS: Vincent Locke
INKS: Vincent Locke
 
THE STORY:
 
In Louisiana, a group of teenagers are riding out a zombie apocalypse in a school bus, scavenging for food and supplies as they try to make sense of what has happened over the past month.  It's a situation made harder by conflict and bickering among the group.  They finally decide to travel through Texas and head for California.
 
 
Little do they know as they fight and argue with each other, they are being watched by a group of zombies. . .but THESE zombies aren't the mindless husks the kids are used to, these zombies are intelligent, making plans to attack the group.
 
 
Later that night, the group is attacked by a horde of zombies!  As the kids desperately fight and try to gather everyone into the bus, they are horrified to see a trio of zombies riding motorcycles and firing weapons at them!  
 
 
 
The kids manage to get the bus started and escape, but the leader of the zombies vows to follow them.
 
 
To be continued. . .
 
THE REVIEW:
 
Hmmmmm. . .okay.  There it is.  Deadworld #1.  Let's break it on down!
 
So, what we have here is a zombie apocalypse survival story with a twist. . .intelligent zombies.  To be honest, I didn't like it much.  Intelligent zombies sort of step on the whole appeal of zombie fiction, which is the fight to survive against a mindless, overwhelming enemy that never stops coming no matter what you do.  All you can do is run, hide, and hope to live another day.  Once you make the zombies intelligent, they might as well not even be called zombies!
 
The story itself is mostly made up of the group of teenage survivors arguing among themselves.  The zombies only show up for a few pages out of the whole issue.  This makes for a pretty wordy first issue.  The focus on conflict among the survivors works in something like the Walking Dead comics, but here. . .well. . .let's just say Stuart Kerr is no Robert Kirkman.  It gets a little annoying.
 
On the art side of things. . .this comic is a little hard on the eyes.  There's a lot of crosshatching that makes it kind of hard to tell what's going on.  The artist also has some trouble with human faces.  You can tell that he'd MUCH rather be drawing zombies than humans.  To be fair, I do have a few more issues of this series and the art is greatly improved as it goes on, but HERE the art looks pretty amateurish.
 

CONCLUSION

 
It's an interesting comic because I can see some of the things the creative team were doing in it were trying to step outside of the box of zombie fiction.  I can appreciate the effort.  But at the same time, it doesn't really work well.
 
Long, wordy passages of teenagers constantly arguing combined with artwork that is just sort of annoying and topped with an intelligent zombie twist that falls sort of flat all serve to let me know that this comic's constant presence in the bargain bin is deserved.
 
I can't really recommend this one to anyone except the most die-hard fans of zombie fiction.  In my humble opinion, the best thing about this issue is that awesome zombie cover.  
 
Up Next. . .
 
MORE Longbox Junk Halloween Horror fun!
 
Be there or be square.

- read more

Welcome to Longbox Junk, where I write comic reviews that nobody asked for!

 
What's that you say? 
 
I promised a King Conan series review and the title CLEARLY says nothing about King Conan?  
 
Fear not, Conan fans! That series review is in the pipeline, just delayed a bit.  I completely forgot that October is upon us.  October isn't Conan season. . .October is Longbox Junk HALLOWEEN HORROR season!
 
That's right, it's that time of year when I take a look at the spooky side of comics, and I try to pack as many of them as I can into the month of October!  So, settle back, turn down the lights, and let's have some Halloween fun!
 
I'm starting off this Longbox Junk spookathon with something brand spankin' new!  So, before we begin. . .

THIS IS A REVIEW OF A COMIC THAT IS ON THE STANDS RIGHT NOW.  THIS IS YOUR SPOILER WARNING!
 
Okay? Everybody in that's staying in? Let's do this!
 

SGT. ROCK vs. 

THE ARMY OF THE DEAD #1

(DC Horror - 2022)

 

COVER: Gary Frank
 
NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT
 
SCRIPT: Bruce Campbell
PENCILS: Eduardo Risso
INKS: Eduardo Risso
 
THE COVER:
 
Ah. . .There's the good stuff! My favorite WWII infantry dog captured in a freeze frame moment of action against a horde of the undead!  It's super-detailed and full of action.  This is the kind of thing that makes me want to buy a comic book!  Let's get inside. . .
 
THE STORY:
 
BERLIN: 1944.  As the Allies move in on the German capital, A-dolf H-itler becomes more and more desperate to turn things back around.  Operation: Regeneration is put into action.  A mad experiment in returning dead N-azi soldiers back to life, using a combination of chemicals and electricity.  
 
 
After an allied patrol is decimated by seemingly unstoppable German soldiers, Sgt. Rock and Easy Company are summoned to HQ for a special mission. . .infiltrate deep into hotly contested enemy territory, find where the re-animated soldiers are being created, find one Doctor Morell (the head of the project), and do what Easy Company does best.
 
To aid in the mission, Easy Company is issued some experimental equipment, including thermal imaging scopes, and are shown one of the re-animated soldiers. . .but during the briefing, the undead German breaks free and attacks!
 
 
 
Easy Company quickly discovers that the process doesn't just bring the dead back to life but gives them superhuman strength and ability to resist damage.  It takes the combined firepower of the whole squad to bring just the ONE undead German down! 
 
After seeing what it took to destroy the escaped creature, Rock isn't very confident about their chances on this one. . .
 
To be continued.
 
THE REVIEW:
 
I LOVED seeing this issue on the stands!  Sgt. Rock is one of my favorite comic characters of all, and it's been a while since DC gave us Rock fans anything new to sink our teeth into.  And then, it's a horror mashup with Sgt. Rock versus N-azi zombies? Sign me up!
 
This first issue is mostly setup for what's to come.  Most of the page space is taken up with various expository briefings, except for a bit of action bookending the issue with the zombie attack on the allied patrol at the front, and the captured zombie attacking at the end.  
 
Fortunately, in such a dialogue-heavy issue, Bruce Campbell does a good job at capturing a military feel and flavor in the character speech.  Unfortunately, he doesn't spend any time at all on introducing Rock and the rogues of Easy Company, sort of leaving new readers out of the loop and aiming this story at established Sgt. Rock fans.  That said. . .there's 5 more issues, so a little more background may be coming.
 
On the art side of things, I'm a BIG fan of Eduardo Risso.  Since I read 100 Bullets, I've gladly bought just about anything with his name attached to it.  I love his clean, dark artwork, his spare backgrounds, and his supremely expressive faces.  That said. . .I'm not entirely sure he's the BEST artist choice for a Sgt. Rock story.
 
Don't get me wrong. . .the art isn't bad by any means.  Risso is a great artist and there are certainly some great moments in this issue.  I just think a Sgt. Rock story demands a little grit, a little dirt.  Risso's art is super-clean and sharp.  Someone more along the lines of a David Finch or the like might have better served the dirty dogs of Easy Company.  But like I said about the story above, there's still 5 issues coming to prove me right or wrong.
 

CONCLUSION

 
It's a little strange for me to review a comic before the whole story is out, but I like what I see so far!  Beside the bare fact that DC has decided to throw us Sgt. Rock fans a 6-issue bone, I happen to really like when genres are mashed up. . .in this case, war and zombies.  Yeah, it's been done before, but it's still fun in MY book.
 
Bruce Campbell does a fine job with writing on this one, giving a good sense of military speech in the multiple briefing/ exposition scenes, but kind of leaves new readers in the dark as to who these guys are.  Without a little background, there's not much to tell the characters of Easy Company apart.
 
Eduardo Risso turns in a predictably great job on the art, but in MY humble opinion, he might not be the best artist for a gritty WWII story.  His art is just too sharp and clean.  This is the kind of story that demands some dirt.  That said, the art's not bad and Risso fans will definitely want to add this one to their collection.
 
Overall, I liked this a lot and can't wait to see what happens next.  If you're a Sgt. Rock fan, or an Eduardo Risso fan, then this is a MUST-BUY!  If you're looking for a good zombie/ war mashup, then this one is a good choice so far.  The first issue is a bit full of briefings and exposition, but if I know Sgt. Rock, it won't stay that way for long!
 
Up Next. . .
 
More Longbox Junk Halloween Horror fun!
 
Be there or be square!

- read more

Welcome back to Longbox Junk, where I write reviews of comics that nobody ever asked for!

Recently, the whole "nobody ever asked for" part has been more true than ever as I've been exploring a stack of one shot comics included in a purchase of 2 longboxes full of nothing but random NON-DC/Marvel comics.  I've gotta say. . .digging into those longboxes has definitely been a new experience in obscurity for me.  There's a LOT of stuff I never knew existed just in those two boxes of comics!

ANYWAY. . .

I've been letting my comic lovin' daughter pick the comics I review for these "Off-Brand One Shots" editions of Longbox Junk.  So far, she's done a pretty good job of mixing things up and giving me a nice variety of genres from horror to comedy and everything in between.  Let's see what she gave me this time, shall we?

THE ROCK

CHAOS! COMICS (2001)

 
THE PEOPLE'S COMIC BOOK!
SCRIPT: Steven Grant
PENCILS: Fabiano Neves
COVER: Photo
 
THE COVER:
It's a photo cover.  What can I say?  If you're a fan of Dwayne Johnson in his pro-wrestling "The Rock" persona, then this is probably an awesome picture worthy of being part of some sort of shrine.  To me. . .it's just a picture of a younger Dwayne Johnson giving me "The People's Eyebrow".

Moving along. . .
 
THE STORY:
The Rock is a simple man.  A man of the people.  A man who just wants a little peace between the times he lays the smack down in the wrestling ring.  When The Rock accidentally finds himself caught between two competing illegal underground fight promoters. . .one of which has a fighter pretending to be The Rock, it's time to teach some candy their roles!

The Rock invades the underground fight club and shows every Jabronie that dares to step up to him what it means to look upon the glory of the most electrifying presence in sports entertainment.  After defeating all comers. . .as was ordained the moment The Rock entered the building. . .he makes the crooked promoters smell what The Rock is cooking by forcing them to end their pathetic excuse for a tournament unless they want a piece of the people's elbow.

The End.

 
THE REVIEW:
I have to admit that I'm not a pro wrestling fan.  That said, I had a roommate in the late 90's that was rabid about it, so I'm familiar with it through a bit of osmosis from his constantly watching it.  There's also been a few wrestlers who have broken away from the ring and into the general public consciousness, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is probably the most successful of those, so I know him more than most wrestlers. . .and even then I'm not a big fan.  I'll watch his movies, but I don't go out of my way to see one just because he's in it.

What I'm trying to say is that I came into this comic not as a fan of The Rock, but as a comic fan who got handed a Rock comic by his daughter to review on its own merits.  I could care less about The Rock in general.

THAT SAID. . .

I liked this comic a LOT! Quite a bit more than I thought I would when I got it handed to me and I was like, "Really?"  It's the dialogue that makes this book great.  It's hilarious and over the top all the way through, from page one to page last.  Rock talking about himself in the third person and just blowing past everybody like a force of nature laser-focused on doing whatever the he wants to do is just FUN.  This comic is just entertaining fun from start to finish!  A very pleasant surprise.

 
On the art side of things, this is a pretty well drawn comic.  Not the greatest art I've ever seen, but it's good and at least it captures the likeness of the main character, which is a lot more than can be said for most licensed property comics featuring actual people (I'm looking at YOU Deep Space Nine a couple of reviews below).  There's also a great sense of motion during the action scenes.  The art here is pretty much perfectly matched with the story.
 
Overall, I was really surprised by how much I liked this comic.  It's fast, it's funny, it's over the top and just plain entertaining.  It's not thoughtful or deep in any way, but sometimes you just want a good simple FUN story.  This comic delivers just that.
 
THE VERDICT:
I give The Rock 4 out of 5 candy taught their roles.

A good start this time out. . .NEXT!
 

LADY ACTION SPECIAL

MOONSTONE (2009)

 
SCRIPT: Tony Lee
PENCILS: Jake Minor
COVER: Paul Gulacy
 
THE COVER:
I like a cover that tells a story and this cover tells me that there's a Lady and there's gonna be some Action!  I have no idea who Lady Action is, but without even opening this comic I can tell that her kind of action involves guns, fast cars, and possibly some sort of kinky uniform-oriented shenanigans when it's all said and done.  I like this cover a lot.  It's not the greatest comic cover I've ever seen (her face and gun hand both look a little strange), but it's nicely done and lets you know what you're in for with one image.
 
THE STORY:
Nicola Sinclair (AKA Lady Action), an agent of the British A.C.T.I.O.N. Directorate, infiltrates the mansion of crime lord "El Caso" during an exclusive party.  With the assistance of an American A.C.T.I.O.N. agent named Adam, she successfully hacks into El Caso's private computer files and discovers that he has information that only A.C.T.I.O.N. should have.
 
Nicola's fears of a traitor are proven correct when El Caso and a group of his armed bodyguards arrive to take the British agent prisoner and Adam shows up with them and admits that he's working with El Caso.  As the criminals discuss how to execute her, Nicola causes an explosion and flees the mansion with El Caso's men in hot pursuit.
 
Lady Action grabs a motorcycle and leads El Caso's men on a running gun battle chase through the surrounding woods.  Nicola encounters Adam and tries to regain the flash drive with El Caso's files on it, but the American Double Agent shoots and kills Nicola as El Caso hovers overhead in a helicopter.
 
EPILOGUE: Two weeks later Nicola and Adam meet in a Texas diner.  The information theft was a distraction and her death was faked so that Adam could infiltrate deeper into El Caso's organization.  
 
Adam gives Nicola the information the British Branch was REALLY looking for, gained by El Caso's trust in Adam.  Shortly after Nicola leaves with the files, Adam is shot in the head by one of El Caso's assassins and El Caso is informed that Lady Action is alive and has the stolen information.
 
To be continued. . .
 
THE REVIEW:
Not bad.  Not bad at all!  This is a fast-paced, well-written "infiltrate and escape" spy story with a (somewhat predictable, to be honest) double twist.  It makes me want to know what happens next.  That said, even though it's a good story, it's not perfect.
 
This is firmly connected to the continuity of the Moonstone Captain Action series, so there are quite a few references to characters and events that have taken place "off stage".  There is an assumption that if you're reading Lady Action, then you already know vital Captain Action-related information. . .like what the A.C.T.I.O.N. is in the first place! (I had to wiki up and discover that it's sort of like the Mission Impossible Force, but their main enemy are aliens who have infiltrated the world's governments) In other words, there is NO background information here.  This story hits the ground running and stays that way to the end.
 
On the art side, I like this style a lot.  It has heavy lines, chunky forms, and is just slightly exaggerated with nice bold colors and a great sense of movement.  It's a perfect fit for a fast-moving story like this.  Like a lot of these "Off Brand One Shots" there's a lot more effort and detail put into the female figure than anything else.  This isn't QUITE as -tastic as some of them, but you can definitely tell what the artist's favorite thing to draw was.
 
Overall, I liked this comic a lot.  It has a fun, fast-paced spy story backed up with some good art.  There's no background material, so there's references that don't register well with a new reader like myself, and it has a "to be continued" ending, but that didn't stop me from enjoying this little story.
 
THE VERDICT:
I give Lady Action 4 out of 5 menacing gunmen.
 
Two good ones in a row! Let's see if we can keep this going.  NEXT!
 

STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE -

LIGHTSTORM

MALIBU (1994)

 
LIGHTSTORM
SCRIPT: Mark Altman
PENCILS: Rob Davis
COVER: Rob Davis
 
THE COVER:
 
*Sigh* This again?  Why do you keep doing this to me, Star Trek?
 
I'm a HUGE Star Trek fan, but Star Trek comics (especially those from the 80's and 90's) have pretty much consistently disappointed me with their art.  It seems like the built-in audience and sales for Star Trek comics leads to a "Minimum Effort" standard.  This cover is no exception.  It's okay. . .but it doesn't look like the artist put any more work into it than he absolutely had to.  And when I see the interiors were done by the same guy, it doesn't give me much confidence.  Here's hoping that at least the story is good.
 
THE STORY:
After the newly-established Federation colony Gakora in the Gamma Quadrant comes under attack by an unknown enemy, the Klingon cruiser A'v Wi, under the command of Captain Krol, answers the distress call, but finds the colony destroyed and only one human survivor.  Krol decides to take the comatose survivor to the closest Federation base, Deep Space Nine.
 
Captain Krol is determined to find and destroy the attackers, while Katha, the Imperial Adjunct aboard the A'v Wi, insists on a more diplomatic first contact with the mysterious aliens.  Deep Space Nine Commander Sisko agrees and asks to join the Klingons, along with his science officer, Dax.
 
Shortly after entering the Gakora system, the Klingon cruiser is attacked, but the attacking ships are technologically inferior and pose little threat.  After opening communication, the alien commander seems to recognize the Klingons as allies and thinks that the humans he sees are prisoners.  He offers to guide the confused Klingon Captain to their base.
 
After arriving at the alien homeworld and meeting their ruler, Malek, Sisko and Dax are imprisoned and scheduled for execution.  Adjunct Katha and Captain Kol demand an explanation and are told that humans are the enemy of the Myvock people because they violated the ancient holy ground of the planet Gakora.  Katha and Kol become more confused as Malek tells them that he was informed by other Klingons that the alliance between the Federation and Klingon Empire had collapsed.
 
IN THE MEANTIME. . .
 
On Deep Space Nine, the human survivor of the Gakora colony regains consciousness and informs Dr. Bashir that after the attack, when the aliens were slaughtering the survivors, they were accompanied by two female Klingons who Bashir realizes match the description of Lursa and B'etor. . .dangerous Klingon sisters who have constantly attempted to erode the Federation/ Klingon alliance.  Doctor Bashir and Chief O'Brien volunteer to travel to Gakora and try to warn Sisko and Dax.
 
On the Myvock homeworld, Captain Kol and Katha are introduced to Hernai. . .the Myvock military commander who led the attack on Gakora.  Hernai is determined that the execution of Sisko and Dax be carried out as quickly as possible.  Kol and Katha arrange a secret meeting with the humans to tell them that they will not allow them to be executed.  Katha reveals that she's actually a Klingon intelligence agent trying to track down the Klingon sisters Lursa and B'etor and prevent them from selling explosives to Bajoran terrorists.
 
On Gakora, Bashir and O'Brien are almost immediately captured by Lursa and B'etor while back on the Myvock homeworld, Sisko, Dax, Kol, and Katha confront Malek and inform him that he's being used by Klingon terrorists.  Commander Hernai interrupts and they are all taken prisoner and scheduled for immediate execution, along with Bashir and Dax. . .which reveals that Hernai is working with Lursa and B'etor.  
 
The Klingon cruiser transports the prisoners out of danger, and they quickly head for Gakora.  Following a battle in mines beneath Gakora, Lursa and B'etor make their escape.  Hernai reveals to Malek that he allowed the sisters to mine beneath their holy ground in exchange for technology to improve their weapons. Malek removes him from military command.  Katha goes in pursuit of Lursa and B'etor while Sisko and Malek make peace between the Myvock and Humans.
 
The End.
 
THE REVIEW:
 
Well now. . .that's a lot of story!  And it's pretty well condensed too.  I left out a couple of sub-plots (Doctor Bashir and the Klingon First Officer Koleth's friendship, for one example.  The simmering conflict between Captain Kol and Katha for command of the Klingon ship is another) and there's STILL eight paragraphs.  So yeah. . .this double-sized comic is definitely on the dialogue-heavy side.
 
The good news is that the story is very well done.  The writer (who is a pretty prolific author and screenwriter. . .including a two-volume 50 year history of Star Trek) very accurately captures the voices and personalities of the Deep Space Nine characters in such a way that this comic reads like it could EASILY be the script for a Deep Space Nine episode set in the first season of the show.  You can almost feel where the commercial breaks are supposed to go!  This is great read for Deep Space Nine fans like myself.
 
Unfortunately. . .there's the art.
 
 
Once again, a Star Trek comic fumbles the ball with the art.  It's clunky and uninspired from cover to last page.  The artist mostly fails to capture the likeness of the T.V. characters and backgrounds are minimal to non-existent.  There's just a feeling that not much effort was put into this. . .which is a shame, considering the really good writing.  With a little more effort on the art, this COULD have been a great comic. 
 
Overall, this comic is the definition of conflicted.  On one hand, you have a good story that absolutely captures the essence and voices of established Deep Space Nine characters and reads like a "Lost Episode" of the first season of the series.  On the other hand, you have clunky, uninspired art that demonstrates a "minimum effort" standard that is just one notch away from being outright bad. 
 
THE VERDICT:
I'll give this one a half and half score of 3 out of 5 bowls of Gagh (served live, of course)
 
AND FINALLY. . .
 

ENTER THE ZOMBIE

ANTARCTIC PRESS (2010)

 
ZOMBIES OF SHAOLIN
SCRIPT: Fred Perry & Robby Bevard
PENCILS: Ben Dunn
COVER: Brian Denham
 
THE COVER: 
I wish I'd had this comic when I was pulling covers for my Halloween comic display on my office "Wall O' Covers".  It's chaotic and crazy in a good way.  I like the colors a lot, especially the plain green background that really sets everything against it quite nicely.  The gigantic nasty smile on the featured Kung Fu zombie is creepy and hilarious at the same time!  It's not the greatest comic cover I've ever seen, but I like it!
 
THE STORY:
A talented but impatient young American Shaolin trainee is denied the chance to take the initiation test.  His master explains that decades of training lie in front of the young man before he can take the test. After learning the location of a hidden forbidden chamber on the Temple grounds, the student becomes convinced it holds the secrets of martial arts mastery he needs to take the initiation test.
 
Disobeying the command of his Master to not disturb the chamber, the student opens the sealed door and accidentally unleashes 36 evil, undead spirits that quickly begin to possess the rest of the students in the Temple. . .turning them into Kung Fu Zombies!
 
A friendly guardian spirit also released from the chamber informs the student that only HE can return the evil spirits to the chamber, because he was the one who released them.  The student gathers his courage and sets off to prove that he's worthy!
 
After fighting his way through the possessed students to come to his teacher's aid, the student is surprised to find that his Master had used him to open the chamber's seal and betray the Shaolin Temple to the evil spirits.  The battle between them is short and the student is easily defeated, but the Guardian Spirit infuses the student with the power of the SENTAI SHAOLIN TIGER!  
 
Transforming into a heroic, armored figure, the empowered student defeats his former Master and the rest of the evil spirits before changing back into a powerless young man.  The Guardian Spirit tells him that he is now the Guardian of the Secret Chamber.
 
Years later, the student has become the teacher.  A young, impatient student of his discovers the location of the Secret Chamber. . .
 
The End?
 
THE REVIEW:
Not bad.  Not bad at all!  This is an extremely fast-reading and stripped-down story that moves quickly from Point A to Point B to Point C without anything to slow it down.  This is a lean story that is over before you know it.  I literally finished this comic in five minutes.
 
But even though this is an extremely simple and action-heavy story, I liked it.  It's quick and entertaining.  It's not a great story.  It might not even be good, when you think about it.  It's like comic book junk food.  You know it's not really great, but before you know it, you're done with the whole thing and you sort of want some more.
 
 
Ben Dunn is actually an artist I like a lot.  I'm always happy to see his name on a comic.  I appreciate his (and Antarctic) bringing the Manga style to an American audience.  It's not my favorite style, but I like it in small doses now and then.  This is a pretty straightforward, no-frills example of that American Manga style.  It helps the fast-paced story move quickly across the page, and it's very nicely done.  
 
Overall, this is pretty much what I call a "junk food comic".  Sure, there's better comics out there, but sometimes you just want a little bit of fun entertainment that might not be what other people would call great, but screw those people.  Not everything has to be great.  This is just a fast-paced, fun little story.  Nothing more, nothing less.
 
THE VERDICT:
I'll give this one 4 out of 5 poorly-dubbed episodes of One Piece.
 

CONCLUSION

 
Well now. . .THAT was an unexpected surprise.  This handful of "Off-Brand One Shots" my daughter gave me was actually pretty darn good!  Except for the extremely weak art on Deep Space Nine (But that's par for the course on almost ANY 80's or 90's Star Trek comic, to be fair) there's not much bad to say about any of these.  That doesn't happen very often.  
 
Up Next. . .
 
Plenty more Off-Brand One Shots in the pile. 
Let's see what my daughter hands me next!
 
Be there or be square.

- read more

Longbox Junk Halloween - DCeased #1

6610 views • Oct 29, '19 • (0) Comments

Welcome back to Longbox Junk. . .the blog packed FULL of comic reviews nobody asked me for!

Even though the witching hour draws close, we're still having a bit of Halloween fun here at Longbox Junk by taking a look at some of the spooky stuff hiding in the dark corners of my (and my daughter's) comic collection.

It's been a pretty nice Halloween season here at Longbox Junk if I DO say so myself. So far we've seen Vampires (Vegetarian and otherwise), Killer Easter Bunnies,  A sci-fi take on Jekyll & Hyde, Werewolves, Frankenstein's Monster, Spirits of Vengeance, Prairie Witches, and some generally nasty people doing nasty things (like burying each other alive).  So what's missing here?

Zombies.  We need some zombies!

And so here's some zombies.

What we have here is a fresh chunk of Longbox Junk that's on the stands even as I write this.  I only have the first issue because I basically bought it for the extremely Halloween-y zombie Batman variant cover and somehow have kept missing the following issues.  I'm sure I'll spot the whole set eventually in a bargain bin, but for now I just have this first issue, so let's take a look at it!

DCEASED

ISSUE #1

DC (2019)

 
 
So I bought this thing for the cover. Let's take a look at the cover, shall we?  
 
*shudders* Now THAT's some creep-tastic cover art right there!  Fransesco Mattina outdoes himself with a nightmarish vision of one of DC's greatest heroes gone straight to zombie !  Just look at the detail in things like Batman's nasty teeth and jaundiced eyes.  This is NOT the Batman you want to meet in a dark alley.  Very well done!
 
That's the cover.  Let's get into the story.
 

GOING VIRAL

SCRIPT: Tom Taylor
PENCILS: Trevor Hairsine & Stefano Gaudiano (pgs. 1-6, 15-26)
                    James Harren (pgs. 7-14)
COVER: Francesco Mattina (Variant)
 
The story goes like this. . .
 
We begin with the Justice League defeating Darkseid and forcing him to leave after he invades Earth. But as he goes, Darkseid gives the League an ominous farewell that doesn't quite sit right with the heroes. . .
 
 
Indeed, all is not as it seems.  Darkseid's invasion was merely a distraction.  His true purpose was to capture the hero known as Cyborg. . .now held prisoner on Apokolips.  Darkseid's search for the Anti-Life Equation has led him to believe that the second half of the Equation rests in Cyborg's technology. . .
 
 
Darkseid's scientist, Desaad, informs his master that although the combining of the two halves of the Anti-Life Equation is possible, the Equation will be lost entirely if Cyborg dies in the process.  To ensure that Cyborg doesn't die, Darkseid summons Death and uses him to slightly alter the Anti-Life Equation to make sure Cyborg survives the process. . .
 
 
The change that Darkseid makes to the Anti-Life Equation has disastrous effects as the corrupted Equation combining the physical and technological drives Darkseid insane.  Desaad quickly transports Cyborg back to Earth to try and stop the spread of the Techo-Organic Virus, but he's too late.  An insane Darkseid destroys Apokolips. . .
 
 
 
Cyborg reappears on Earth in Metropolis, and his internal systems immediately connect him to the internet and all surrounding online devices.  Cyborg is horrified to see the Techno-Organic Virus he's infected with begin to quickly spread among the people nearby.  He is unable to do anything to stop the Virus as people begin to go insane and tear each other apart. . .
 
 
In the meantime, Superman is putting together a plan with Big Barda and Mister Miracle to rescue Cyborg from Apokolips, not knowing that Cyborg has already been sent back by Desaad.  He hears the screams of people from the street and sees the spreading insanity.  Realizing  that the situation is already out of hand and getting worse, Superman rushes to his wife and son. . .
 
 
While Superman is busy saving his family from the spreading madness, the scene shifts to the Batcave, where Batman is monitoring the situation on isolated systems safe from the Techno-Organic Virus. . .and the news isn't good.  
 
The computer estimates that there are ALREADY 600 million infected people, and at the current rate of spread BILLIONS will be infected in a matter of days.  This is definitely a problem Batman can't punch a solution to!
 
 
 
Batman quickly sets off an EMP pulse in Wayne Manor above, but he's too late.  As the Dark Knight heads upstairs to check on things, he is attacked by an infected Nightwing and Robin (Tim Drake)!
 
 
After a brutal battle with his infected partners, Batman orders Alfred to escape and we are left with a cliffhanger scene of Batman being bitten by Nightwing. . .
 
 
 
The End.
 
Okay then.  There it is.  It's not a "Dead Rising Up And Slowly Wantin' To Eat Your Braaaaaains" sort of zombie apocalypse.  More of a "Virus Driving People Insane Enough To Kill You, So RUN!" sort of thing.  Despite the unique connection to the DC Universe by having the virus originate as a corrupted form of the Anti-Life Equation, it's still. . .well. . .it's just another zombie apocalypse.
 
Don't get me wrong.  It's not bad.  It's actually pretty good and makes me want to pick up the next issue.  The idea of a zombie apocalypse in the DC Universe IS an interesting one.  It's just that, do we REALLY need more zombies?  Okay, sure.  There's superheroes in this zombie story.  But really, hasn't that also been done before?
 
There's going to be inevitable comparisons between this and Marvel Zombies. . .but from what I've read of Marvel Zombies (which admittedly isn't very much, just a few issues here and there), they are two different things.  Sort of like how there's a definite difference between a Corvette and a Pickup Truck even though at the heart of it, they're both basically automobiles.  So despite what you may think, DCeased is NOT a copy of Marvel Zombies. 
 
The writer does a fine job.  I want to see what happens next.  There's nothing wrong with the writing.  The art is good, but not great.  I actually enjoyed the chunkier, darker look of the art during the Apokolips sections. . .it reminds me of the artist everyone else hated on the recent X-Force series that I liked (Dylan Burnett) enough that I pulled out an X-Force issue to see if it was the same guy.  I guess I just like that chunky, dark sort of style.
 
So nothing wrong with the writing or art.  It's just. . .zombies, I guess.  Maybe they could have told the story of a Techno-Organic Virus destroying the world without zombies? Maybe? I think they could have.  
 

CONCLUSION

 
What we have here is a well-written story with a DC Universe-specific angle on the extremely well-worn framework of a zombie apocalypse backed up with some good art.  It's interesting enough for me to want to get the next issue, but not interesting enough to make me want to order it if my local shop doesn't have the next one sitting there.
 
If you're a fan of zombie stories, then definitely pick this one up.  If you're getting a bit tired of zombies then this isn't really something you'll miss out on if you don't read it.  If you don't like zombie stories in the first place, then this won't change your mind one bit.
 
Up Next. . .
 
I think there's still time for at least one more piece of Longbox Junk Halloween fun!
 
Be there or be square.

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As I continue with my unnecessary reboot and renumbering of the Longbox Junk blog (All New! All Different! Pretty Much The Same!) in celebration of the landmark 175th post, I'm beginning to realize that (when it comes to comics at least) nobody gives a flying frijole about hitting 175.

I THOUGHT that since comic companies seem to be eager to push ANYTHING that will make collectors grab a copy of something they don't normally buy, that hitting the One-Seven-Five would be a little bit bigger of a deal.  It just seems sort of strange that it's pretty much ignored.

THAT SAID. . .

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Welcome back to the Longbox Junk Halloween party!

Please remember, ladies. . . just because you CAN buy "sexy witch" costumes in size XXL doesn't mean you SHOULD buy "sexy witch" costumes in size XXL.  Just sayin'.

Public service announcements aside, let's take a look at another Halloween comic!

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Lobo is one of those characters I really like. . .but only in small doses.  

Some of my favorite mini's and one shots of my entire collection are Lobo.  With a great creative team and done right, Lobo is one of the most hilarious characters out there.  Unfortunately, the character never really seemed able to sustain a regular series.  I guess it's hard to keep the right level of comedy and brutality going long term.

The series at hand is NOT Lobo as you might know him.  It's a highly-controversial reboot of the character done during DC's New 52 days that seems to be pretty much hated by. . .well. . .everyone.

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Longbox Junk - Mother Russia

10101 views • Nov 29, '17 • (0) Comments

Except for The Walking Dead, I'm not really a fan of black and white comics at all, but when I saw these three issues sitting on the shelf at my local comic shop for the measly cost of $1.50 each, I HAD to get them.  $4.50 for 3 new comics?  Heck, son. . . the first issue of Doomsday Clock costs $4.99 by ITSELF. 

So I bought these comics based on cover price and gave them nothing more than a quick flip through, enough to see there were Nazis and Zombies.  Other than that, I was coming in cold.  So did I get my $4.50 worth? Read on!

MOTHER RUSSIA

Alterna Comics (2017)

Script, Art & Cover by Jeff McComsey

ISSUE ONE - NO BETTER FRIEND

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