Violence, violence, violence. We are bombarded by it in every sphere of our lives. Somehow, we even find entertainment through it! Sometimes, it’s also what you need to see how far one could go to make ends meet. 😉
This feature, published at an undetermined frequency (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, who knows), will present a couple of mini reviews on anything that isn’t in a physical format that I own (ebooks, comic books, TV series or movies).
Click on the covers to be redirected to their Goodreads/IMDB page!
Anything presented in this feature doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t get a full-review treatment in the future. That will entirely depend on how much I loved it, how interested you are in hearing more on it, and how much I have to still say about it! 🤣
The Boys Omnibus (Vol. 1) by Garth Ennis.
In a world where costumed heroes soar through the sky and masked vigilantes prowl the night, someone’s got to make sure the “supes” don’t get out of line. And someone will! Billy Butcher, Wee Hughie, Mother’s Milk, The Frenchman, and The Female are The Boys: A CIA-backed team of very dangerous people, each one dedicated to the struggle against the most dangerous force on Earth – superpower! Some superheroes have to be watched. Some have to be controlled. And some of them – sometimes – need to be taken out of the picture. That’s when you call in The Boys!
After the opening story arc introducing Hughie to the team (issues 1-6), Dark avenger Tek-Knight and his ex-partner Swingwing are in trouble (issues 7-14). Big trouble. One has lost control of his terrifyingly overactive sex-drive, and the other might just be a murderer. It’s up to Hughie and Butcher to work out which is which, in Get Some. Then, in Glorious Five-Year Plan, The Boys travel to Russia – where their corporate opponents are working with the mob, in a super-conspiracy that threatens to spiral lethally out of control. Good thing our heroes have Love Sausage on their side.
This kicks off perfectly, establishing the premise of a world filled with superheroes, many who are simply worthless scums simply playing the game for various vices within arm’s reach. Once the story arc focused on the recruitment of The Boys concludes, the pacing slows down immensely. The story doesn’t revolve much around the Seven and mostly looks into various secondary superheroes and the insane stuff they’re into. It’s the Batman-and-Robin satiric take that really dragged on for far too long for me, killing the main story’s intrigue quite quickly with a story centered around homophobia.
The artwork isn’t that impressive either, especially later on when it dramatically changes for no good reason.
For those diving into this series because of the Amazon Prime TV series, just go in without expecting the main story of the show. Some ideas come straight from the comics, but it mostly explores side-plots.
The Old Guard (Book Two): Force Multiplied by Greg Rucka.
Six-thousand-year-old Andromache “Andy” of Scythia, Nicolo “Nicky” of Genoa, Yusuf “Joe” al-Kaysani, and twenty-seven-year-old Nile return to the fight in the critically acclaimed mini-series by New York Times bestselling creators GREG RUCKA and LEANDRO FERNANDEZ!
When you’ve waged war as long as Andy and her squad, you’ve gotten your hands more than bloody. Now, the day has come to confront the sins of the past. But as Nile struggles to make peace with the team, the last person Andy expected ever to see again returns to challenge not only what Andy believes in, but what the team is willing to fight for.
Although it explores Andromache “Andy” of Scythia’s past, this volume seemed to have much less substance than it could’ve had. The concept of immortality doesn’t feel as innovative as it first was but there’s enough world-building to make it interesting as the story explores how these characters with their “gift/curse” can either decide to do good or bad.
The artwork remains constant with the style first introduced in the first volume, with a relatively monochromatic and rough art style. There’s very little detail to the world or characters but it works.
Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan.
In the spring of 2003, a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives. In documenting the plight of the lions, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD raises questions about the true meaning of liberation – can it be given or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live life in captivity?
The idea behind this one is quite interesting. Exploring the concept of freedom through the eyes of captivated lions is definitely not easy, to say the least too. I did have a hard time not thinking of The Lion King here and there, despite all the Rated-R content. The artwork is pretty good though, but there are a lot of plot holes that make this pride’s journey a bit rushed and hard to praise in the end.
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe by Cullen Bunn.
What if everything you thought was funny about Deadpool was actually just disturbing? What if he decided to kill everyone and everything that makes up the Marvel Universe? What if he actually pulled it off? Would that be FUN for you? The Merc with a Mouth takes a turn for the twisted in a horror comic like no other! Collecting DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1-4.
Absolutely ludicrous and wild. It’s painful to watch beloved heroes fall by the hands of Deadpool and his brutal methods. What I enjoyed most about this story-arc lies in him breaking the paper-fourth wall and bringing the reader to reflect on Deadpool’s character’s concept on a metaphysical level.
BRZRKR (Vol. 1) by Keanu Reeves.
A WAR WITH NO END. The man known only as B. is half-mortal and half-God, cursed and compelled to violence…even at the sacrifice of his sanity. But after wandering the world for centuries, the Berzerker may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else. In exchange, B. will be granted the one thing he desires – the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence…and how to end it.
It was fun to see what ideas Keanu Reeves had for this comic book series but, boy, did he rely heavily on violence rather than plot to get things going. I’m not surprised that it is already optioned for a live-action adaptation but I’m hoping that the next volume will give this series more substance.
Spawn Origins Collection (Vol. 1) by Todd McFarlane.
Featuring the stories and artwork (by Todd McFarlane himself!) that laid the groundwork for the most successful independent comic book ever published. Spawn Origins Volume 1 includes the introduction of not only Spawn, but also a number of other memorable and menacing characters, including Malebolgia and the Violator. Collects Spawn #1-6.
I’ve always been curious about this character as a kid but never really looked into it. Having finally seen what Spawn is all about, I can’t say that he’s as interesting as his reputation makes him seem. Sure, his design is nice, his powers are cool, and he clearly has some interesting and ugly enemies to obliterate in the most merciless ways. However, his character isn’t that compelling. While the first story arc is all about him having questions about his condition and his purpose in life, he lacks any true charisma. I guess if you overlook those flaws, he might grow into something more interesting much, much later on.