Happy Mid-Week-Mini-Christmas, Geeks and Geekettes! It’s Comic Book Wednesday and that means COMIC BOOK REVIEWS-VIEWS-Views-views-views-ews-ews….
…Echo for dramatic effect didn’t work out like I’d hoped. Oh well. This week we’ll be focusing on a couple of first issue books, Hinterkind from Vertigo and The Occultist from Dark Horse. As always, be sure to check out out Facebook fanpage at http://www.facebook.com/GeekinPodcast and hit us up on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Geekin_Podcast or drop us a line here on the blog. If there’s something you’d like to see, or you just want to tell us how awesome we are, we’d love to hear from you. Now then! On to the reviews!
Hinterkind from Vertigo
Writer: Ian Edginton
I’ve always had a soft spot for Vertigo comics. Darker, weirder, and more mature than what usually comes out of the Marvel and DC camps. Hinterland is everything you could learn to love and expect from Vertigo. We’re not given much information in this first issue; though we are told that the end of the world happened, in a sense. Our world as we know it has ended. Humanity is an endangered species and the rest of nature has taken back what we built over; buildings covered in plants, wild animals roaming once was streets and cities.
The story starts off with a camp, obviously having been trashed, the people killed and their CB radio going off; they’ve been communicating with someone else and the sudden radio silence has the other party worried.
Flash to the woods. Two teenagers hunt a wild zebra in hopes they’ll get picked to be on the hunting party instead of “planters”, though the male of the couple expresses concern that they’ll just get into trouble for being outside of the camp without permission, the female assures him that he just worries too much – This is a sure thing! Panel zooms out to reveal them walking through Central Park, completely covered in wild vegetation.
The elders of the teenager’s group argue over one of their members going to check on the group who’s gone silent, though he insists he’s going with or without permission. Turns out, the elder going, “Doc Asa” they’re calling him, is the grandfather of the female teenager, “P”, who immediately begs to go along. Doc refuses, telling her it’s too dangerous, and she needs to stay with Angus, the male teenager, where it’s safe. She reluctantly agrees and goes to inform Angus over what’s going on. Barging into his room, she finds Angus nude – and with a tail he didn’t have before. Shocked, but keeping her friend’s secret, the two later see her grandfather off on his journey. The next day, Angus decides to head out on his own, afraid someone might eventually learn about his secret tail, and afraid of the consequences. P insists on following him. Not long after leaving camp they’re approached by a pride of some sort of lion/tiger. Before the cats can get to them, a giant, many-armed, pink creature appears and begins to grab up the cats, yelling “yum!” We leave the teenagers with the giant exclaiming “FFFIFUFHM! IZ SMEHLL BLUD OVA HUMUN!”
Next we see a group of these giants, though each looks quite a big different from the others, roasting human heads on a spit. A giant creature with faerie-like wings shows up, angry that the others have eaten her “prisoners”, just then the CB radio goes off, Doc Asa’s group informing their assumed silent associates that they’re sending help to check on them.
So giving us far more questions than answers, the books gives us just enough information to leaves us bewildered and itching for more. Really looking forward to the 2nd issue of this, which will really decide the direction of this series. The art and the story go very well together. I don’t really feel like we’ve been given enough information to say “yay” or “nay” on this yet, though check back for our review of issue 2 for the follow-up and deciding opinion.
The Occultist is a book I really want to like, but seems to be falling flat for me. A teenager with a mysterious magical artifact, trying to prove himself worthy. The punchline don’t hit hard enough, the main character seems to come across a bit too whiny, and the potential love interest is your typical oblivious-to-her-admirer, all-round pretty-girl. (Whew! That’s a lot of hyphens!)
The story starts off with Rob, the Occultist, and his partner, Detective Melendez, investigating an old building where there’s been reports of people’s pets and local farm animals being eaten. Those are all the details given, which is kind of frustrating. Were the farm animals found IN or AROUND the building? What is the building exactly? We’re never told for sure, but our protagonists wander into what Rob declares the “nursery”. After consulting The Sword, his magical book, (huh?) he decides what they’re facing is a Wight, the ghost of someone who starved, hoping to feed their hatred by consuming living flesh. As they stumble into the nursery they come face to face with dozens of infants. Infant wights, to be exact. Now, this is just me personally, but I really hate stories about dead babies. It just doesn’t sit with me. It’s the line I don’t like crossing. But as Rob fights them off, Melendez finds out that they lady who ran the place was excepting government checks and wasn’t feeding the babies. Records are from the 1920s. Rob summons her ghost and feeds her to the babies, declaring them fed and justice served, and exorcises them, which I’m assuming lets them move on to whatever-comes-next. Alright, so they handled it with tact and class, and so I won’t bitch about the dead babies. It was a good call, I enjoyed it.
After attempted a kiss and Melendez seeming to completely be unawares, they go home, Rob stopping by what seems to be, his mentor’s house. There’s an awkward conversation, where his mentor, James, chastises him for his crush on Melendez, has some weird stomach pains, and finally suggests that Rob use The Sword to find out how Melendez feels about him and runs his off. As soon as Rob’s out the door, James start vomiting blood and heads to his basement for another confusing conversation with an old man in a cage. James complains about “this body” and how it’s decaying inside. Which begs the questions, is the person inside really James? Has the person inside always been Rob’s mentor, just in a “James” suit? Did the real James start off mentoring Rob, but this other person has taken him over since? He questions the old man about spells to keep his body going and is irritating when he doesn’t get the answers he wants. He does, however, claim that Rob isn’t worthy of The Sword and reveals plans to steal it from him. James returns upstairs as makes a phone-call demanding some life-extension technology, which he’s immediately refused and shut down over.
Meanwhile, we follow Rob on an odd trip home, where he stumbles into what appears be be his ex, drunken, and out with friends. It’s a brief encounter, the ex saying that she had an odd dream about Rob, where he wore a red cloak and ho he kept saying that she couldn’t ever leave him. Then she stumbles off with her friends. He’s accosted outside his dorm room by his next-door neighbor who mistakes him for the R.A.
Rob goes into his room, listens to his voice mail, takes off his shoes (but leaves on his coat and scarf?) and, what I’m going to assume is, ‘astral travels’ to visit Melendez in her room. This is where the comical moment falls flat for me as he comes face to face with her posterior and it’s just… awkward. He enters her dream, finds her “happy place”, and attempts communication. But these odd strings come out of the walls and keeps her from going to him. She says they hurt, and thanks him for being there, telling him what a good friend he is. He just sits on his knees. That’s it. Really weird scene. But not like “dream weird”, just… weird-weird.
Back to James, who uses a cellphone he’s broken and bled on to make another phone call. This time a blonde girl laying in a chapel answers the phone and asks to call him back. She’s busy. Pans out to show her on the floor with two other people and bird (dove?) in-between them, with a knife sticking out of it’s chest.
I’m just left going “What? Wait… What?” Maybe the next issue will clear things up, but I’m left entirely underwhelmed here. The art’s good! I like it! The dialogue isn’t cheesy or anything, just the over-all plot seems a little cliche to me. Predictable.
I’m thinking of coming up with a rating system instead of solely having to read my opinion of the entire book. Leave a comment here, on facebook, or twitter, and let me know what you think I should use for a rating system. 1-10 Geek Points? 1-5 stars? A-F grade rating? Let us know!
Also, keep your eyes peeled, next Monday we’ll be starting Weird West Week on the Geekin’ Blog, celebrating everything in the Weird Western genre! Until then, KEEP GEEKIN’!