Welcome one and all to the only comic book review column that offers unlimited refills, the Comic Roundup. This week I check out the first issues of Aspen’s Jirni and the latest Darth Vader miniseries from Dark Horse as well as the first print collection of the popular webcomic Kill All Monsters.
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #1 (of 5)
By Tim Siedell and Stephen Thompson
So far I have really enjoyed these Darth Vader-centric miniseries Dark Horse has been putting out. Each one feels like an event, like we’re getting a Star Wars movie once a year or so that stars everyone’s favorite Sith Lord. The latest follows a father who wants Vader to pay for killing his only son. So far eight assassins he has hired have tried and failed. Will the mysterious ninth succeed in taking Vader down?
Siedell does nice work here setting everything up and introducing us to the Ninth Assassin, who bears a striking resemblance to some of the Sith Lords of old. And the art by Thompson is solid, with great character designs and an adept skill at drawing Vader, which is not always easy to do. My only problem was that Vader was hardly in the issue, which is odd for a book called Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin. I understand that the plot has to be set up, but come on, I read these miniseries because I love Darth Vader. To paraphrase Christopher Walken “I got a fever! A fever for some Vader!”
Other than that admittedly minor gripe, I think Dark Horse has another winner here. These Darth Vader miniseries get better and better with each volume and the trend continues with The Ninth Assassin. And Lord knows what the Star Wars line of comics will look like a year or two from now once Disney decides to get more “hands on”, so enjoy them while they last.
Kill All Monsters volume 1: Ruins of Paris
By Michael May and Jason Copland
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the hit webcomic Kill All Monsters hits store shelves with it’s first print collection. Now, if I’m being honest, I had never heard of Kill All Monsters before discovering May and Copland on Twitter a few weeks ago. But since I’m always willing to try a new book, when they offered a copy to review I jumped at the chance. And am I glad I did.
Kill All Monsters follows a small group of people who are the last line of defense against gigantic monsters that have destroyed the world. How do they do this, you ask? Why, in giant robots, of course.
Yes, a few pages in I had distinct visions of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and wasn’t sure what I had gotten into. But once I really got into the tale May and Copland were telling, you realize that Kill All Monsters is science fiction storytelling at it’s best. You have robots the size of buildings beating the snot out of giant monsters in what’s left of Paris, while at the same time you get to experience a very human story of survival. Add in a conspiracy theory or two, some tensions among the pilots and dynamic art that is just a joy to look at and you have a prime example of why webcomics are so great.
Kill All Monsters volume 1 is a book the took me aback by how much I enjoyed it. If you are a fan of disaster movies, Godzilla or even Gundam, you’ll find a lot to like here. Take a chance and check it out. I’m glad I did.
Jirni #1 (of 5)
By J.T. Krul and Paolo Pantalena
The latest offering from Aspen Comics “10 for 10” program, Jirni is a new creator-owned series from J.T. Krul and artist Paolo Pantelena that introduces the reader to Ara, a warrior woman on a quest of vengeance and self-discovery that will take her to the farthest reaches of her world. It is fantasy in the classic sense, with swords, danger, beautiful woman and adventure to spare. And I loved each and every page of it.
I cannot stress this enough to you; I LOVED this book. Loved it. As most anyone knows, for some odd reason fantasy is very hard to pull off in the comic book medium. But when it does work, it works in spectacular fashion and Jirni is an example of just that. Krul has created a world that is at once both familiar to anyone who has ever seen a Frank Frazetta painting and yet brand new at the same time.
Ara is one of the most original, engaging characters I’ve met in years and I instantly fell in love with her. And Pantalena brings it all to life with a style that will make it hard to drag your eyes away from the page. He will no doubt remind you of Joe Madureira at first, but once you get a few pages into the story, the comparisons will disappear and all you will be left with is his gorgeous stylized artwork.
In case I didn’t make it clear, Jirni is an incredible comic that I want everyone to read. I’m literally jumping out of my chair waiting for #2. The first issue is only $1, so you have absolutely no reason not to buy a copy. Take my word for it, Jirni is all kinds of awesome.