Review: The X Files Annual 2014

 

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Publisher: IDW (2014)
Written by: Frank Spotnitz, Gabe Rotter, Shannon Eric Denton and Dave Sim.
Artwork by: Stuart Sayger and Andrew Currie.
Review: Kate

The X Files Annual has been highly anticipated by fans across the globe as it sees the return of series writer/producer Frank Spotnitz with an untold story from Mulder and Scully’s first time in the FBI.

The Priest written by Frank Spotnitz, Gabe Rotter and Shannon Eric Denton.

“When a man returns from the dead with a warning for his wife, the agents investigate and cross paths with a very peculiar priest.”

I loved this story, it was simple, engaging and everything you would expect from classic X Files. The story captures the spirit of the early seasons and is perfectly creepy in that way that fans of the show will love. Mulder and Scully were written true to character, which is no surprise with Spotnitz being one of the best writers from the television series. 

The biggest let down for me was the artwork. At times it drew me out of the story, as the expressions on the characters did not match what the dialogue was trying to convey. Mulder and Scully (especially Scully) were barely recognizable at times. Scully’s hair had been drawn so short, she reminded me of Det. Angela White from the S3 episode Syzygy.

One thing I did like about the artwork was the darker colouring of the comic which gave it that spooky X Files feel.

The second story, Talk To The Hand by Dave Sim finds Scully in the midst of a dream, having conversation with a grotesque hand covered in eyeballs. This is supposedly a dream she’s had many times before, with the monster-like hand claiming to be her high-school sweetheart Adam. “Adam” gives her a choice, when she wakes up she’ll continue working as an FBI Agent or have a perfect life with him.

I have to admit, its a strange story and I believe one I could wrap my head around better if I was more familiar with its creator. However I think the charm of the story lies in its quirkiness. You know the choice Scully is going to make but there is always that question of the life she could have had, if she just got out of the damn car.

Overall “The Priest” is a great addition to the X Files comics if it weren’t for the artwork. And “Talk To The Hand” was weird enough in way that I’m still thinking about it.

The X Files Annual is a must for any fans collection.

Review: Lady Mechanika #0 (The Demon of Satan’s Alley) by Joe Benitez

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Publisher: Benitez Productions
Written by: Joe Benitez
Pencils by: Joe Benitez
Colours by: Peter Steigerwald
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

The mysteries surrounding private investigator Lady Mechanika and her origin begin to unfold as she heads to a rundown city known as Satan’s Alley. Located on the lower eastside, it is an area of town under siege by the presence of a murderous creature of unknown origin. While a weapons manufacturer has issued a reward for the unknown slayer, drawing a crowd of bounty hunters looking to cash in, Lady Mechanika’s purpose is far more personal – information that could lead to the truth about her creation.

Steampunk has facinated me for a while, but I was unsure where to start with something that was easy to get into. By chance I came across this primer issue of Lady Mechanika and its everything I could have hoped for to ease me into the genre.

Issue #0 sets the scene for the series. We meet Lady Mechanika, famed private investigator in the 1800s. A young woman who is not only human, but also part machine. She has no memory of how she came to be this way but it determined to discover her origins. In this issue, we see her tracking a so-called monster that has been reportedly terrorising the east end of town. This creature has also gained interest from a weapons company and are tracking it for the same reason as Lady Mechanika – a report that the creature is part machine.

The story – though short – is interesting and flows nicely. It immediately immerses you in the world without a lot of unnesecary pre-able. The illustrations are amazing and the colour tones really set the mood of the comic.

Though perhaps drawn with rather generous endowments, the character of Lady Mechanika is well written and intriguing. She is ruthless but with a softer, compassionate side. She is kick-ass in combat and looks amazing while doing so. A much needed female hero when TV/Comics/Movies are so awash with males.

Its a must read for those who like badass females and looking to get into the Steampunk genre.

You can read Lady Mechanika #0 The Demon of Satan’s Alley free on Comixology. Then keep reading with issues #1-5 (reviews to follow).

Connect with Lady Mechanika & Joe Benitez:

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Review: Doctor Who 9th Doctor #1 (Titan Comics)

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Publisher: Titan Comics
Writen by: Cavan Scott
Artwork by: Blair Shedd
Release Date: April 1, 2015
Review: Kate @ All That Geek

The Ninth Doctor is back with a brand-new miniseries: Weapons of Past Destruction!

Leaving World War II behind, The Ninth Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack discover that Time Lord technology, lost in the wake of the Time War, is being sold on the intergalactic black market!

Now the threat of a new temporal war brews on the horizon. Can the Doctor stop history repeating itself?

When Titan announced their new Doctor Who comics, I was hopeful for a 9th Doctor series. After all, he’s the one who got me into the series this time around and he is my favourite of the ‘new’ Doctors. I couldn’t have been more excited when it was announced we were getting a five part mini series, not only with the Doctor and Rose, but Captain Jack rounding off Team TARDIS. The comic fits in nicely with the series as its clear when Mickey meets up with the trio in Cardiff that they’ve had many adventures together. The possibilities are endless. Perhaps the most interesting thing for me, is that this comic series sees The Doctor traveling with a very human, very mortal, pre-Torchwood Captain Jack. Its something we have rarely seen outside of the 9th Doctor series and something I want to see more of.

Issue one of this five part series plays out like the opening of an episode. Well paced action and exchanges between the characters as you would have seen on the TV show. Writer Cavan Scott has captured the voices excellently.

The Doctor is taking Jack and Rose to the planet Excroth, only when the TARDIS lands, he discovers the world is nothing more than rubble. While the Doctor is trying to figure out what happened to the planet, the TARDIS gets pulled aboard a ship that appears in space. There they discover to warring factions which they try to escape from with potentially devastating consequences. My only complaint is lumping Rose in the ‘damsel in distress’ role, its not all a female companion is there for. That being said, its a minor thing, something has to move the story along, right?

The artwork by Blair Shedd is absolutely fantastic, the likeness of our three heroes is spot on, easily the best I’ve seen in all of Titan’s Doctor Who comics so far. The attention to detail in each panel is phenomenal, with wonderful colouring to set the tone.

If you’re a fan of the 9th Doctor, you wont be disappointed by this first installment. Check out Titan Comics for more information.

Review: Doctor Who 10th Doctor #6 (Titan Comics)

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Publisher: Titan Comics
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Artwork by: Daniel Indro
Release Date: January 14th 2015
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

 

STONE HANDS STALK THROUGH THE CRATERS OF THE SOMME…

When Gabby and the Doctor arrive by accident in No Man’s Land in July, 1916, they’re met by Corporal Jamie Colqhoun – a soldier who knows from bitter experience that there are worse things than the Jerries out in the rat-strewn trenches.

Things that drift through the smoke of a thousand cannon shells, and move only when you look away. Shadows that flit over artillery-blasted field hospitals and throw their terrifying wings over the living. Statues that steal your life in an instant.

The Weeping Angels.

But in a conflict where the life of young men is cheap, and thousands die every day – are the Angels actually offering salvation?

Trapped in the midst of a flock of starving Angels, the Doctor faces his most challenging and terrifying moral dilemma yet!

 

A new team comes on board for a lacklustre issue #6 of Titan’s 10th Doctor Comic series.

Perhaps I already had subconscously built a bias against a weeping angel storyline, as I find them one of the most uninspiring monsters of the Who franchise and ‘Blink’ is my least favourite episode of the 10th Doctor series.

However, I did put those notions aside and approached the comic with an open mind. I hoped that with the unlimited creative opportunities a comic provides, there could be something interesting written for these tedious monsters. Sadly, Robbie Morrison’s WWI setting failed to maintain my interest and he didn’t capture the 10th Doctor’s voice quite the same way previous writer Nick Abadzis did.

There is a lot of focus on the soldiers in the story and very little time on the Doctor which aided my disinterest for this issue.

While the artwork by Daniel Indro is wonderful, detailed, and the Doctor easily identifiable, perhaps there is such a thing as too much detail. The harsh lines on the Doctor’s face give him an angry expression in most of the panels and he appears to have much better muscle tone than David Tennant could ever hope for.

I’ll go into issue #7 again with an open mind in the hopes the storyline becomes more interesting, but at this stage, I don’t feel too hopeful.

I was unable to obtain a physical copy of this issue through any comic store as it was apparently placed on back order before it even came out, as much as I want to collect all in the series, I cant say I’m all that disappointed. Its a definite buy if you’d like to collect all the issues, but I don’t recommend you start your 10th Doctor comic journey here.

Check out the previews after the cut and then purchase your copy of the comic.

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Review: Doctor Who Tenth Doctor #4 (Titan Comics)

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Publisher: Titan Comics
Written by: Nick Abadzis
Artwork by: Elana Casagrande
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

In exchange for the invaluable assistance she offered defending New York – and to say sorry for dropping into her life like a tornado! – the Doctor has promised Gabby one trip – just one trip! – in the TARDIS.

With the whole universe laid before her, all of time and space, where will Gabriella Gonzalez choose to go? What will they find when they get there… and can one trip in the TARDIS ever be enough?

More importantly, the Tenth Doctor has been hurt by the fate of his companions before – and recently! With Donna still fresh in his mind, can Gabby convince him that he shouldn’t travel alone, for just a little while longer?

 

Nick Abadzis embarks on a different kind of storytelling for issue #4 of Titans new adventures with the Tenth Doctor. Much of the issue is told through a letter from Gabby to her friend. The normal comic panels are integrated with wonderful sketches (from her sketchbook) and Gabby’s thoughts along side them. Its a fun, creative way to tell the story and I really loved the style.

The story itself is very entertaining and I would go as far as saying I enjoyed it more than the previous arc. The Doctor takes Gabby to an alien art gallery, with some amazing pieces to see. Of course, being a Doctor Who adventure, its not without its mystery and monsters. The story moves along at a good pace and is quite interesting.

I didn’t expect I would like a comic companion as much as the TV counterparts, but Gabby is wonderful. Abadzis has written her with the same bravery and humanity as any of the on-screen favourites. He also continues to capture the 10th Doctor’s voice perfectly.

The artwork continues to be fantastic, with special mention to the wonderful drawings from Gabby’s sketch book. I hope the style of art and storytelling continues throughout the arc otherwise it may feel a little strange going back to a ‘regular’ comic on the next issue.

Be sure to check out the preview below, including the wonderful cover variations and then purchase The Tenth Doctor #4 From Titan Comics or at your local comic book store.

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Review: Sally of the Wasteland #4 (Titan Comics)

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Publisher: Titan Comics
Written by: Victor Gischler
Artwork by: Tazio Bettin
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

Victor Gischler (X-Men, Angel & Faith, Noir) and Tazio Bettin’s trigger-happy heroine reaches the climax of her post-apocalyptic pursuit in this epic penultimate issue.

New Orleans ain’t what it used to be… Long gone are the jazz bands, boutiques and Mardi Gras mayhem, leaving only rubble and mutants in their wake. With their goal in sight, Sally and her crew are gonna need a little more than luck if they’re hoping to navigate the city in one piece. Better get those guns loaded, ladies!

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Review: Doctor Who Tenth Doctor #3 (Titan Comics)

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Publisher: Titan Comics
Written by: Nick Abadzis
Artwork by: Elana Casagrande
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

Terror has gripped Sunset Park, Brooklyn on the Day of the Dead, in the form of Cerebravores, manifesting as people’s worst fears! The Doctor’s investigation set him on a collision course with the irrepressibly curious Gabriella Gonzalez, and, after saving her from a Cerebravore on the Subway, the pair tracked the incursion back to Gabby’s father’s laundromat, where strange vibrations had opened a wormhole! The Doctor left Gabby to keep the bizarre wormhole open, while he traveled to the other end of the dimensional bridge. Both now find themselves under attack!

 

In the dramatic conclusion to the first Tenth Doctor story from Titan, we see The Doctor save the day (of course!) and acquire himself a new companion.

I found this issue more exciting than the last, not weighed down by heavy dialogue. Though there certainly was a lot of it at times, it seemed to flow better in this issue and the story kept moving at a good pace. There was equal attention paid to each area of the story, explaining where the Cerebravores came from, interaction with Gabby and the dramatic action sequences as The Doctor once again saves the day.

There were some nice exchanges between The Doctor and Gabby, particularly at the end where The Doctor is reminded of something from his past and it ultimately makes him change his mind about letting her travel with him. Its little references like this that really make me enjoy the comic and feel Nick Abadzis has taken the time to get to know the Tenth Doctor and write him as we’ve seen him on screen.

There isn’t anything I can say about Elana Casagrande’s art that I haven’t said in my previous reviews, it continues to be fantastic, capturing perfectly the essence of the 10th Doctor and those wide-eyed expressions we loved so much. Every panel is drawn beautifully and detailed.

Overall an enjoyable issue with a satisfying, exciting ending and I am looking forward to see where The Doctor and Gabby’s adventures take them next!

Doctor Who Tenth Doctor #3 is avaialble from Titan Comics.

Review: Sally Of The Wasteland #3 (Titan Comics)

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Publisher: Titan Comics
Written by: Victor Gischler
Artwork by: Tazio Bettin
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

Southern Louisiana, 82 years after the Fall. The apocalypse has come and gone, leaving behind a withered, ravaged landscape of wreckage and mutant crawfish. Still, you gotta laugh, and Sally does, often using her beloved shotgun, Bertha, as the punchline!

Inspired more by lust than common sense, and by a teenage desire to protect Tommy, the object of her desires, Sally leaves her bar job and joins the deranged crew of the Mississippi Duchess on a mission into the remains of New Orleans.

Saving the remains of civilisation plays second best to keeping her sweetheart safe as our smart and sexy princess of the wild frontier runs a gauntlet of gigantic genetic freaks and roving gangs of blood-hungry barbarians!

I expected Sally of the Wasteland to be far from my tastes of reading material – given that the style of the comic which was not overly appealing to me. With gratuitous nudity and scantily-clad women drawn in unrealistic proportions, I wasn’t expecting a lot, but this comic surprised me.

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Review: The Flash Season Zero #2 (DC Comics)

 

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Publisher: DC Comics
Story by: Andrew Kreisberg
Script by: Brooke Eikmeier & Katherine Walczak
Pencils by: Phil Hester
Inks by: Eric Gapstur
Colours by: Kelsey Shannon
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

While I enjoyed issue one of The Flash Season Zero, even though it was mostly setting up background on our hero and the evil circus arc, the second installment felt a bit weighed down by Barry’s unrequited love.

Issue #2 picks up after Barry’s confrontation with the Strongman as he heads back to S.T.A.R Labs to explain what happened and have his ankle set (or rebroken and set). Its a great few pages, the banter between the characters is great and I expect to see that interaction replicated on screen. When Barry goes back to his other job, we see him spend a lot of time pining over Iris. I suppose its necessary to show, as its part of who Barry is, but it feels like there are a lot of panels devoted to it and it adds no value to the story. I want to be reading a superhero comic, not a love story. Barry’s identity crisis is something I can see him struggling with, though perhaps if we saw of his Flash-life conflicting with his regular Barry-life in some way, it might feel a bit more warranted.

The villain for this issue is a snake charmer who not only charms snakes, but all the animals at the zoo, sending some of them on a rampage. I like her better than the Strongman, though her purpose for getting all the animals under her thrall remains to be seen, hopefully we’ll find this out in the next issue.

The art bothered me a little more this time, with Barry being drawn way more bulky than the actor who plays him on the series, it feels odd. But I like the style of the art and the panels with the snake charmer are by far the best, especially the page with all the animals from the zoo.

One thing I have to mention is the title of this issue “Who Let The Chimps Out” and at the end we’re told next issue “Who Let The Cats Out” surely the creative team can come up with something better than a play on a tiresome early 2000 phrase?

Overall, a good issue, but I am hoping for more in number 3.

Have you read the second installment of The Flash Season Zero? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Buy The Flash Season Zero #2 from Comixology.

Review: Arrow season 2.5 Issue #2 (Blood part 2: Descent) (DC Comics)

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Publisher: DC Comics
Written by: Marc Guggenheim
Pencils by: Joe Bennett
Inks by: Craig Yeung
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

In issue one we left Roy falling unconscious from a plane at 30,000 feet, will Oliver save him in time?

Spoiler alert: He does. With the help of a handy new arrow which opens like a parachute.

With the boxing arrow in issue one, and now the parachute arrow, I’m now keeping a tally as to how many elaborate and creative arrows Marc Guggenheim has come up with for these comics. I’m expecting great things.

As Oliver takes Roy to safety and tends to his gunshot wound, issue two gives us a look at where the TV series left us with Quentin Lance. Seeing him in the previews for season 3 of Arrow, we know he survives, but I’m glad the inbetween parts have been addressed without us having to suffer the tedious hospital drama on screen.

We also see Caleb again (the young man introduced in issue one) now presumably homeless and finding comfort in the bottom of a bottle. He is picked up by a well dressed stranger who you instantly know is up to no good. He takes Caleb to a rundown building – “a refuge for the lost” – where he shows him their saviour and who will be our main villian for the comics.

There isn’t a lot I can say about issue #2 that wont feel like I’m repeating myself from my review of issue one. Once again its a wonderful read, penned by Arrow writer Marc Guggenheim with more story to sink your teeth into. There are some great moments from Felicity, where she awkwardly offers Oliver her bed for the night – which feels exactly like it would play out on screen.

Just like issue one I love the full page action panels, particularly where Oliver jumps out of the plane. The artwork again is just fantastic and the colours have that dark moody feel from the show without being dull.

If you’re not reading Arrow Season 2.5 you’re missing out. But if you are reading it, tell me what you think in the comments below!