Monday, October 26, 2020

Witchblade vs. Frankenstein: Monster War #3 of 4

 Halloween Post-A-Day 2020, Day 26

Tie-Ins and Strange Team Ups

Witchblade vs. Frankenstein: Monster War #3 of 4

 


Top Cow “Universe” gets even crazier

 

Writers – Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski

Penciled – Vitor Ishimura

Colors – Scott Kester

Letterer – Troy Peteri

Editor – Jim McLauchlin

August 2005

 

And…Occasionally the Crapbox spits out the rare issue that causes me to go WTF in technicolor with sprinkles. The “Monster War” series qualifies for that.

 

Now, pitting your heroes against movie monsters is as old an idea as can be. I’ll even throw one out to you in just a day from Marvel in the 70’s.

 

That isn’t as surprising to me as the fact that there is a “Top Cow Universe." I knew that The Darkness and Witchblade had crossovers, what with Jackie Estacado having the hots for Detective Sara Pezzini that goes pretty far back in their shared history. And I guess the Magdalene was introduced in The Darkness, so that fits. What I hadn’t gotten to in my read-throughs was that Lara Croft of the Tomb Raider video game franchise somehow got glommed on to this as well. Then we add in the Universal classic monsters and…I don’t know. Seems like a house of cards that is already got some leaners in the mix. Let’s take a look.

 

We are approaching this at issue number three of a four issue miniseries so the book isn’t wasting any time setting things up for us. Our first page is the Platinum Kiss brothel, where beard-o and the sexy “model for every woman in a Top Cow comic book” have just boned. He’s leaving and making plans to return, when they inspect a noise heard downstairs.

 

Where the pair find Dracula is in the hiz-zouse, and he’s killed all the other prostitutes. I’m not certain if I’m more upset by the murdered females or by the fact that they all look like Victoria Secret models. I mean, can’t one of them show a different body type? No? Fine. I guess this is a high-dollar house of prostitution. Carry on.

 


Moving on, the book introduces detective Sara Pezzini who is the current possessor of the mysterious supernatural gauntlet-slash-uberweapon known as the Witchblade. She’s pulled in on the case of the “lotta dead hookers”. All the while her icky romantic bad-boy love interest Jackie Estacado watches from across the street. Jackie is also a holder of supernatural power, being possessed by or the possessor of some kind of demonic force known as “The Darkness.”

 


Sara warns Jackie to stay out of this while his crowd of demonic darkness entourage-creatures look on. Jackie steps out for 24 hours so he doesn’t make things messier for Sara, but warns that after that he’ll be coming for answers because this threatens his protection rackets. Which gives us our one-on-one battle in this book.

 



Then we flip over to Lara Croft and Dr. Henry Jekyll who are trailing The Magdalena. Seems she got a little too close to the vampire she was fighting in her part of this cross-over and now The Magdalena has got herself all vampired. Our pair is hoping she leads them to Dracula, who is conspiring with Jekyll’s subconscious Hyde persona. Hyde appears to have been split from Jekyll….and I’m feeling like issue 3 was no place to walk into this series at and I’m not even to the staples in the book.

 


But we have to keep plugging on in this mess that is beginning to sound a bit derivative of something they stuck in the bastardized movie version of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: a formula from Hyde’s blood. But never mind that, here is The Magdalena looking more naked than normal (which is quite a bit anyway) as well as kinda of Fang-tastic. We are just doing this to meet page count for mid-drift-baring women, because as soon as we see she’s completely under Drak’s control…

 


…we switch back to Sara at the morgue. She’s with this friendly morgue worker discussing the bodies and how they’ve been drained of blood. He lets slip that they have a male John Doe too.

 


And that turns out to be Frankenstein, who rips through the wall and breaks the guy’s neck. Also notice they guy pees himself and I don’t know what is wrong with him, because most of us don’t urinate tan paint. What kind of pee soaks through dark colors in such a way that they make the OUTSIDE of the pants turn orange? Frank killed the guy, but don’t kid yourself. He would have been dead in a month from whatever is going on in his kidneys.

 


Anyway, Sara “Venom’s out” and we get four pages of fight scenes…





 

And then Frank admits he just wants a bit of the Witchblade, doing something to break a piece off.

 


This creates a feedback response in Sara and she curls up in pain. Frank takes his prize and meats up with The Vampire-dalena and they stroll off into the moonrise to give Dracula his little present. Appears they are working toward making the night eternal or some such.

 


Meanwhile Sara comes to just in time for our band to start getting together. Lara Croft and Jekyll pop in to hear Sara’s tale of how a dead guy took a chunk of her superweapon, which allows Jekyll to be all cryptic and stare out from the corner of the panel. All the while musing…

 



…as a lead in to the exposition from our Dracula and Hyde about what their true plans are and what stakes are being set (before stakes get stuck through hearts, I’m certain) in the next conflagration-ending issue. Appears Hyde is using all these elements to create a potion that makes vampires…

 




…Do THiS…wtf? I guess it splits people into an evil vampire and a…bald, hairless Captain Picard? What. Does. This. Do? I can only make assumptions as I am NOT digging more of these out of the discount bin. My thought is it’s transporter-failure Kirk: one side emotional and a vampire, the other side logical and a human. Hyde’s final words support that conclusion.

 

Anyway, that’s the end of this one. I believe The Darkness was up next to face some classic monster, but no matter who got next shift there was certain to be a lot of side battles with the other “Top Cow Universe” characters. Lolz. Later for you, Top Cow.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Fistful of Blood #1

 Halloween Post-A-Day 2020, Day 25

Fistful of Blood #1

 


A refreshing little break

 

 

Story – Kevin Eastman & Simon Bisley

Colors – Tomi Varga

Letterer – Nate Piekos

Editor – Bobby Curnow

October 2015

 

Occasionally the Crapbox spits out the rare issue that surprises me with its inventive take of things. Fistful of Blood qualifies.

 

Originally based on a Heavy Metal story by Bisley, the tale was seen by Keven Eastman of “Turtles” fame. Eastman wanted to expand the story out into a four issue mini series and got Bisley to sign on.

 

There is a bunch of confusion as to who did what on this. The first issue afterward makes it sound like much of the art was Bisley’s originally but then Eastman jumped in and redrew it and expanded the story. I am not certain how it all went down, to be honest. The panels look to be bits of both artists, in a good way.

 

As for the story, well it is bat-shit crazy with a side of a Fistful of Dollars/ Yojimbo. It opens in an odd perspective flyover of an old west town…

 


…only we are told this is in the distant future, instead of the wild frontier past. Out of the desert walks a beautiful blonde in fishnet undergarments and nothing else in the Clint Eastwood role of the Man with No Name.

 


She stumbles into town and passes out in the street. A gaggle of townies go out to see if she’s alive…


 

…only they seem a bit off. While they mention doing the unmentionable to her (and the bottom panel after they’ve pulled her into the saloon shows rape is on their minds), they also appear to want to eat her.


 

She wakes in time to pull one of their guns and prevent both things from happening, although…


 

…blowing holes in these folks isn’t what stops them. They don’t quit coming until she puts one in each cowpoke’s brainpan. That makes them zombies.

 


Now packing dual pistols, our supple young thing wanders down to the town hotel. She is being watched by person or persons unknown.

Once she gets there she encounters the one kind face in an two full of zombies, it appears. He chucks his hotel’s lost and found at her…

 



…and watches as she suits up.

 


Once our butt-kicking broad has moderately more clothes on, the hotel proprietor tells her tales of how this backlot of a movie studio they are in was used in all the big budget westerns of the past.

 


And as they are waiting on the porch, more zombies show up to offer the chick a truce and a job opportunity taking out the competition.

 



 

When our silent siren doesn’t answer in time, one of the zombs decides to challenge her to a duel.

 





Worst idea this undead flatfoot ever had. She hands him a serving of lead between the eyes.

 


And is ready to do more, but his stopped by the zombie leader, not looking to end up more dead than he is already.

 



So the hotel manager puts her in a room for the night…

 



…and we await the other gang terrorizing this fake western town. This one is decidedly “fang-tastick”.

 



I love this idea and am now actively looking for the rest of these. Eastman and Bisley make astonishingly great graphical sense together and you couldn’t crib a better story to rework. Kudos all around. Look for these, folks!

 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Strain: Mister Quinlan – Vampire Hunter #1

 Halloween Post-A-Day 2020, Day 24

Tie-ins

The Strain: Mister Quinlan – Vampire Hunter #1

 


Not what I thought this was about

 

 

Story – Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Writer – David Lapham

Penciller – Edgar Salazar

Inker – Keith Champagne

Colors – Dan Jackson

Letterer – Nate Piekos

Assistant Editor – Kevin Burkhalter

Editor – Spencer Cushing

September 2016

 

It’s on the shelf.

 

That’s what I say when some property comes out that looks promising or is by a writer/director/actor that I enjoy. It’s on the shelf. I’m going to get to it. Eventually.

 

The Strain TV show is one of those, although this comic did dampen my spirits for it greatly.

 

And by on the shelf this time, I mean that literally. Season one was on sale last Black Friday and I picked it up for a song. And there it sits. On the shelf.

 

I like del Toro’s works. He has a few misteps (not a fan of say... Crimson Peak), but his hits are far and away good enough to keep blind-buying his horror properties. And The Strain looked like some kind of weird Slither meets Contagion type thing.

 

Then I pick up this book and find out it is vampires. Again.

 

Now there is nothing wrong with a good vampire story…I just had hoped for the other. (course now that seems like we got the “live action version”, I’m pretty much virus-storied out.).

 

And this book (like one of my other tie-ins that didn't make the cut this time: Grimm) doesn’t really deal with the television series much at all. It deals with one person on the series, who I assume is like Blade, some kind of half-vampire that hates them and tries to kill them.

 

We begin in the Roman empire under Caligula. Seems Caligula had this boy called THRAX…(just like that, in all capitals and everything).

 


Thrax…er, sorry…THRAX was carrying the vampire known as the Master inside him and he was a favorite of Caligula, so nightly he got seven virgins to suck dry.

 


Only one night, one of the girls wasn’t a virgin. She was pregnant. THRAX had to kill her kid before it could be born because…something, something …it’s a problem. Or I don’t know. It’s Blade. He had to or the kid would be Blade. But then the guard broke in because someone tried to assassinate Caligula, so THRAX left the girl guarded by humans and she “transmorgrofied” (don’t ask me, it’s on the page) it a killer vampire, and overpowered her guards.

 


She gave birth in the Roman sewers to a bouncing baby vampire.

 


They lived off stray people who got too close to the sewers, mother caring for her child. Meanwhile, Caligula was finally killed and Claudius chased THRAX away with some silver weapon carrying warriors.

 

This allowed our nascent Mister Quinlan to mature for the next decade…

 

…however, he still had to feed. He wasn’t injured by the sun like his mother because the writer of this mess had Blade comics as a child. Oh, dear god this is such a rip-off. Ha!

 

But he did get cornered by some warriors and then his mom had to come save him.

 



Only she did this at the cost of her own life but he did learn how to chuck a spear. (so, yay?)

 


Thus, his dying mom sends him away to bring back blood from the unknown eastern realm.

 


What our protagonist doesn’t realize is that his mom sends him away because THRAX is BACKX! And he is stalking her so he can rid the world of another rival.

 

 

When Son makes it back with lunch, THRAX has decapitated his mother, but due to the daylight, he can’t snag the son. Sonny gets away

 


But stops to snack on this small child. Not much of a meal, if you ask me. More like a lite snack.

 


Anyhoo…this gets Sonny caught…

 


And naturally he is sent to the arena to train at fighting alongside the other X-Men. Or whatever you call these freaky looking guys.

 


Sonny makes friends with the super tall NBA player that wandered on set that day…

 


…who trains him well enough for our boy to become a super slick arena champion.

 


Thus, it should come as no surprise that THRAX hears about this pale-skinned gladiator, and pays his fellow freaks a visit.

 


Sonny and Basketball Jones are awakened by the ruckus and step out to find the cast of the first four Resident Evil games populating the arena hallways.

 



And that’s where our prequel’s first issue ends. I made fun of this, but truly it is a solid story. Just not very original. Enjoyable and has me looking to check out the show now. Once I can find which shelf I put those blu-rays on.