Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia (Starburns Industries Press, Suspicious Behavior Productions)
In book 1, we meet our protagonist. I'd call him our hero, but he seems like quite the pompous douchebag both inside and outside of the ring. Rock "N" Roll Rory Landell feels like a combination of several great big personality wrestlers from the past 30-40 years. Imagine if the Ravishing Rick Rude, The Rock, Razor Ramon and AJ Styles had a singular hybrid child. The outcome would definitely be Landell.
Book 1 opens on the verge of the AWF's Summer-SLAM-A-Bration with Landell cutting a promo anticipating walking out of his match with the title. However, much to his dismay, he learns he is leaving with nothing but a hot L.
Spoiler alert....he goes off script. During his promo, he doubts the legitimacy of the World Championship, and unveils the newly-self-created "Galactic Championship."
I lost my shit at this page. The pizza box taped to the title belt creating the new title is hilarious, and I laughed because it seems so poorly designed and as terrible as an idea when the WWE first revealed their newly minted "Universal Championship."
This also is not just a match for galactic bragging rights...but between rival wrestling promotions as well. With each book, the stakes keep getting higher and higher, and I am DYING to see how it all ends.
I honestly don't want to say anything else about books 2-5 because I don't know what I will spoil, but YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!
Thank you to Suspicious Behavior Productions for bringing your book to my attention. It feels like this book looked at all of the random memorabilia I have stored in my classroom and house, and said, yeah, we have the perfect book for this guy!
I'll be reaching out to SBP to see if I can follow up with an interview, because if you are reading this book you may have questions about where it all came from, and if there are broader plans for this title once book 6 drops. God, I hope so. This is the kind of reading I needed to distract me from the depressing reality we are living in now, and makes me want to re-subscribe to the WWE network to see what kind of good nostalgia matches I can find to keep the energy of this book fresh in my mind!
The Immortal Hulk Director's Cut #1-6
By: Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Paul Mounts (with some additional art talent on books 2 and 3)
He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
The first book that piques my interest, is book 3. Book 3 is where we see the tale of the Hulk intervening in a hostage situation in a church, which may be nothing special. However, the way this story is told is amazing. There are several people who are interviewed (a bartender, the old woman, the priest, and a local detective) and each of their interviews are told in a drastically different artistic style. My favorite may be the James Dean-obsessed old woman. What really drew me in, was the use of each artistic style throughout each narrative, and how they really wove together quite beautifully to tell a seamless story from multiple accounts.
Books 3-6 seem to establish the primary story arc, someone has possessed Sasquatch's gamma form, and has it out for the Hulk, and in book 4 we discover, after a quite epic brawl in the hospital that Bruce's father has come back through the "green door" to possess Sasquatch. However, as Hulk stripped Sasquatch of his gamma form/power, the evil Dr. Banner Sr. is trapped within the hulk form which Bruce is unwilling to unleash until the end of book 6....
I'm glad I picked these books up, and now it seems like I have another 25 or so to pick up! I really like these Directors Cut books for the same reason I love a lot of TPB purchases I make, I love seeing the creative process unfolded, and these first 6 Directors cut books pay off in spades for two reasons:
1. You get to see the full book in sketch form, which is something I absolutely love, and I spent considerable time flipping back and forth between the finished and sketch forms.
2. Most books also include script elements, outlines, draft notes which also help show the evolution, and to the curious new-ish reader like me, it is something quite satisfying to read.
What should you do? Even if you are not a Hulk fan, I think any of these books are worth purchasing if you want a prolonged peek behind the curtain.
By Night #1-4 (Boom! Box)
By: John Allison, Christine Larsen, Sarah Stern
This book seems to be on trend for a lot of otherworld-fantasy-discovery types of titles. You have two young women (post college) who end up exploring a now-abandoned corporate property in their small South Dakota town, and they decide to film their exploits. In exploring the owner's (who had been missing for 25 years now) office, they discover a "secret movie theater" which, when they turn on the "projector" it opens some sort of inter-dimensional portal, but it only works at night. To where or when is not yet clear, however this is a goblin-esque man who is obsessed with 80's pop culture (my guy loves the A-Team) who serves as the guide around this area. And apparently he's been told to be wary of humans who show up....
Final Thoughts? I think this is an interesting storyline, but 4 books in, I've been left with more questions than answers, so I may try to hunt down books 5 and 6 (to complete the first half of the run) to see if I want to finish it. My interest is piqued, there is something going down at the Spectrum campus, but it is still very unclear! Anyone else read this and have any feedback/thoughts?
Archie vs Predator II #1-5 (Archie Comics)
By: Alex de Campi, Robert Hack, Kelly Fitzpatrick
This is a doom and gloom Riverdale, which is what I assume the series looks like, so seeing dark Riverdale is hilariously refreshing. But book 1 begins with our heroes fleeing a destroyed Riverdale to arrive in......Riverdale....And the Predators arrive when someone wants to turn an old e-bay based predator mask into a daft punk helmet (cool). What ensues throughout the remaining books is a lot of blood, gore, and predators who speak in Emojis. At some point, there is a summoning of what appears to be the devil (in 4-5). It is great watching the citizens of Riverdale experience the multiverse, it is entertaining in watching some predator-on-predator violence, and it has intrigued me enough to explore the goings on of dark/sad Riverdale, and not cheery "Archie meets the B-52s" Riverdale.
What should you do? Look, if you want a campy Predator story, or some odd emoji speak, go for it! I don't know if I'll ever pull this out of my box again to read, but it was fun to take the ride.
Money Shot #1-5 (Vault Comics)
By: Tim Seeley, Sarah Beattie, Rebekah Isaacs, Kurt Micrael Russell, Crank!
Having friends who have gone into several research-driven fields, I know how competitive fighting for and/or justifying funding for your projects are. I understand how crazy grant applications are, and I get how one person's project is initiated at a colleague's expense. I also understand how politics can impact the pool of available funding.
All of the above are in play in Money Shot. An anti-science administration has limited the pool of research funding, and at MIT everything was put on hold for Dr. Ocampo's Star Shot project. Star Shot attempts to create a bridge with other planets to create human-alien contact. Several of her colleagues were frustrated their research was nixed because Ocampo's project was for the name of humanity.
Star shot gets the loving nickname "Money Shot" because it "blows its load like a pro." The high price tag of keeping Star Shot operational has lead the research team to become desperate. So what do they do? Have sex with everyone on the team AND any species they encounter and stream it live, and use the subscription fees to cover the cost of their scientific research.
In the first arc, they land on a planet where they are forced into combat, and if victorious, they can meet with the leader. Also held captive on the island, is a guru who can teach you to orgasm so powerfully, the energy is equivalent to a nuclear reaction! After getting themselves into a bit of a jam by helping the leader unleash orgasmic power onto her enemies, the question is, what will this sex-crazed team get themselves into next...for science, of course!
What should you do? This is a book that I liked for the same reason I enjoy SFSX (Safe Sex), its an odd story, that sure it is sex-driven, but its a story I'm unsure you could tell any other way. I think this is a must read, if you can relate to the science content, if you like an odd alien adventure, or you just want a book with some sex in it (no judgement from me!)
The journey of a 30-something father of three who's trying to break into the world of reviewing comics after a loooooong hiatus...
Rimmey is a high school history/government teacher & speech and debate coach in Kansas. He has slowly been rediscovering his love for comics since June of 2019.
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