So this right here is my first review from a major publisher, and I was asked by Tim Seeley (the books writer/creator) not to reveal to many interior pages, so this im gonna try to keep it bit shorter than my full reviews, just because I put quite a lot into them, and to be honest after reading this I think it is gonna be a huge hit for image comics, and that this could be the next big book to be released from them.
Zyklon B [zy-klon bee]
A cyanide-based pesticide infamous for its use by Nazi Germany to kill human beings in gas chambers of extermination camps during the Holocaust.
An independent horror comic book created and written by Adam B Cheal with art by Joel J Cotejar, colours by Mike Summers and letters by Mindy Lopkin.
The world of independent comics has never looked better. With websites like Kickstarter and indiegogo, creators can now get their work funded (by the public, no less) without having to go through publishers. This relatively new system works particularly well for possibly controversial projects, such as Adam Cheal’s Zyklon B. The title itself brings controversy and, combined with the language used and often gory artwork, the book has a sinister feel that may not appeal to some audiences. However, the book is clearly not intended for all audiences and the dark content is not used simply for it’s own sake. Cheal uses the strong language, particularly bloody kills and subjects such as Nazism and black magic to tell an interesting and horrifying story.
The story moves at a consistently high pace and it tells a complete story, something rather unusual in a world full to the brim with cliffhangers. Visher’s origin tale could have easily been told with a series unto itself, instead Cheal chooses to cover all the necessary points in issue #1 and allows for the rest of the series to expand in to a larger world of Zyklon B. This swift storytelling definitely helps maintain the reader’s interest at all times but sometimes lends itself to feeling rushed. There seem to be no truly good people in this world, a compliment to Cheal’s unconventional characterisations. The man turned into Zyklon B gas, now known only as Visher, is clearly the focus of the issue and is the most fleshed out member of the cast but he’s no hero. For the vast majority of the book, he is little more than a literal a force of vengeance. The most intriguing man in this tussle is Caleb Montana, seemingly Visher’s only friend before he becomes cursed with his gaseous form. He is not heavily featured in the book but every panel that the practitioner of powerful dark magic is featured in is a highlight. I know that he will be returning in the next three issues and I can’t wait to see where Caleb is taken, even more so than Visher.
Overall, a good balance of action and dialogue is struck but unfortunately, a few lines of dialogue feel unneeded and ham-fisted. More subtlety around the Nazi elements and characters would have been a nice touch but it doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the writing.
Joel J Cotejar’s illustrations and Mike Summers’ colours compliment the twisted nature of the script brilliantly. Every drop of bloody violence is extremely well detailed and the expressive close ups of faces particularly stand out. The panel layout is always fresh and never difficult to follow, something that can bring down even the best writers/artists.
An always unsung and under-appreciated member of a comic creative team is the letterer. Well, I’m glad to say that Mindy Lopkin’s work on Zyklon B is some of the best lettering work I’ve seen in quite some time. Unique bubble styles are expertly used, allowing the read to follow the script freely between character perspectives without hesitance. Lopkin’s letters emphasise the professional level of work of everyone involved in this project.
Despite the aforementioned lack of a real cliffhanger, Zyklon B #1 leaves you wanting more when you’re finished. Cheal’s writing is brave and powerful, Cotejar & Summers’ artwork is bold and striking and Lopkin’s lettering is simply superb. I’m proud to have helped the team on their way to seeing out their vision and I’m very happy to find that my time and money were well worth it.
Zyklon B would not look out of place on a shelf next to horror comics of the highest level. Bring on the other three issues!
To contribute and support Zyklon B on indiegogo: http://www.indiegogo.com/ZyklonBComic
Official Zyklon B website: www.zyklonbcomic.com/
Follow Zyklon B on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zyklonbcomic
I know there's been some delays/trouble getting the Footprints collected edition through your local comic shops for some of you, so now you can cut out the middle man if need be. The trade is available for sale at the 215 Ink Shop, direct from the publisher.
Please drop me a line if you order it and let me know what you think!
1. Do not let an attractive French boy you meet in a taxi queue know where you live
2. If you forget step one, make sure your Dad is either...
a) Liam Nesson
b) An ex spy
3. When Liam Neeson tells you he will find you and kill you, believe him*
4. When chasing a boat along the Seine, make sure you steal an Audi, they are very fast and have excellent gears…
Sorry for my recent lack of posts (one review last week, no reviews this week).
My exams are coming up in 5 days so I’m currently really busy with revision and the last pieces of coursework. But with every storm cloud of university unpleasantness, comes a silver lining.
In exactly two weeks, I will be a free man and able to greatly increase my writing output! Hooray!
So please bear with me over the next two weeks and I’ll more than make up for it after that.
So this is going to be my first review, but also a preview to you guys because I know there is only a couple of issues of Xenoglyphs out in the WORLD, I feel very lucky to get the chance to do this so early before actual release.
I actually won this issue as part of a twitter competition run by the creator…
The majority of DC’s New 52 relaunch have been both financially and critically successful: from Aquaman to Wonder Woman, Batman to Animal Man. Unfortunately, some of the books have been far less successful and DC decided to drop 6 of the worst selling titles. But every cloud has a silver lining, and with these cancellations come 6 brand new titles. Earth 2 #1 is part of this Second Wave and it brings a fresh & interesting alternate-Earth (hence the name Earth 2) to the latest incarnation of DC Universe.
The opening section of this book has Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman kicking more ass than the entire 8 issues of the current Justice League series. Every blow thrown by the trinity of superheroes is gorgeously displayed by the art team of Nicola Scott (Birds of Prey, Secret Six), Trevor Scott (Superman, All New Atom) and Alex Sinclair (Batman: Hush, 52) and the details of all the characters, even when dozens are on a single page, are never lost. With so many things going on, the dialogue could easily get messy and unclear but well executed captions and bubbles prevent this from ever happening. Even the alternate costumes for the well known characters, which could have also easily gone wrong, look great.
The writing of James Robinson (Justice Society of America, Starman), while not as striking as the artwork, is solid throughout. Superman and Wonder Woman are fairly typical and don’t appear to be particularly different from their main universe counterparts. The differences in the Bat-Family, however, are apparent straight away. The most obvious being that Earth 2′s Robin, while still the child of Bruce Wayne, is not Damian Wayne but Helena Wayne. Some of you who know the previous Earth 2 stories will recognise this name as the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, who will later be known as Huntress (as it says in the book, her adventures as Huntress are continued in World’s Finest #1). Also, this Batman seems far less pathological and sociopathic (he unusually refers to himself as Bruce and says “I love you” to his child, two things Bruce Wayne never does) than his Earth 1 counterpart.
A nice link to the current Wonder Woman series is the direct inclusion of one of her gods Mercury. However, like Robin, there is a quite difference between the two incarnations of the same character. In Earth 2 he is known by his Roman name of Mercury and shown as a golden man with a recognisable winged helmet while in the current DCU he is known by his Greek name of Hermes and is a considerably less godly looking man-bird hybrid. Mercury’s inclusion is key in setting up the second section of the book where the origins of the Justice Society of America are put in to gear. Jay Garrick is well written and, as a 21 year old man who’s about to graduate myself, is particularly relatable. In the last page, Mercury makes his way to Garrick and is seemingly about to bestow his godly powers of superspeed to the man who will become Flash. It’s safe to assume that Garrick will serve as the centre of the Earth 2 series and will be experiencing new things in this new universe much in the same way as the reader.
Earth 2 #1 isn’t entirely positive however. The swiftness with which DC’s three most established characters are taken out plus the fact Super Girl & Huntress are transported to another universe is rather jarring. This seemingly leaves only Jay Garrick (who isn’t even Flash yet) to defend Metropolis against Steppenwolf and the Parademons. I’m left wondering if Robinson will go back and explore the history of Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman or will strive to build the Justice Society of America back to it’s former glory. Only time will tell.
Overall, Earth 2 #1 is a good reboot and a nice addition to the New 52. It serves as a nice jumping on point for people new to DC’s multiverse and an interesting take on Earth 2 for fans of the previous series’.