Review of Cinema Purgatorio #1

345726._SX640_QL80_TTD_by Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Kieron Gillen, Max Brooks, Christos Gage, Kevin O’Neill, Gabriel Andrade, Raulo Carces, Ignacio Calero & Michael Dipascale

Alan Moore’s most recent work through Avatar has been mixed in terms of quality from the writers sky high ambitions against the companies lack of resources in the rest of their books production. Crossed +100 has proven to be more interesting then good while Providence is an incredible story that suffers from a subpar art team. Moore’s new horror anthology, Cinema Purgatorio, teams the writer with top flight creative talent like Kieron Gillen, Kevin O’Neill & Garth Ennis. While it’s still suffers slightly from inconsistency in quality, it’s high’s are better and more fully realized then anything Moore has done with the publisher since returning to ongoing monthly comics at Avatar as it is for his peers that join him on the books debut issue.

As a horror anthology, Cinema Purgatorio is as diverse a selection of comics as you’ll see in the genre and each has a distinctive hook that feel’s singular to the creators. Moore’s opening story with League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen co-creator Kevin O’Neill is a dark surrealist parody of a silent film that displays a brilliant allegory of power, authority and economics that is stunning and harrowing. Garth Ennis writes the beginnings of a vampire story that has the creator doing some of his most measured and satisfying work in years for it’s daft usage of humor and narrative, Kieron Gillen creates a post apocalypse dystopia comic that already feel’s awesomely epic, World War Z writer Max Brook’s has an interesting alternate history strip on the Civil War while Christos Gage goes full on big monster versus fighter jets that is loads of fun. The writing on Cinema Purgatorio is some of the strongest you could expect from it’s assortment of creators and while the art doesn’t always match up, it’s far superior then Avatar’s typical half assed approached. Partially because the comic is all black & white; more house style artists like Gabriel Andrade, Ingacio Calero or  Raul Caceres look much more interesting in their stylistic flourishes, technical details & visual narration. The overproduced digital sheen is gone with only the artists pencils which end up looking far superior to their past work when completely stripped down to the bare bones. Ignacio Calero in particular shines brightly with his technically precise but still cartoonish art for he & Gillen’s excellent Modded with deft storytelling and expressive design work. Kevin O’Neill is as strong as ever with Moore where his work has a detailed playfulness reminiscent of Saturday newspaper strips to contrast it’s bleak outlook. In fact, the only part of Cinema Purgatorio that really doesn’t work is Michal Dipascale’s contribution to A More Perfect Union with Max Brooks where the art’s flat lifelessness becomes even more accentuated without any color or inking. Still, considering the source and quality of material surrounding it, one poor element out of the bunch is a minor miracle.

The debut issue of Cinema Purgatorio is great and if they can keep the book going while adding to it’s roster with the same quality, care and diverse subject matter within it’s sub-genre, it’s an anthology that could be an excellent counterpoint to Rios & Graham’s art driven Island anthology. That might be a lofty expectations and considering the books sources, a comics writer that has gone from being one of the mediums most important creator’s to a bitter and out of touch old hermit and a publisher that’s traditionally valued shock, awe & bombast over quality in the comic’s it’s published, it’s probably not likely. Regardless, Cinema Purgatorio’s debut is excellent in it’s execution and with the talent Moore has assembled, that is pretty thrilling in and of itself.

Review of Weavers #1

370599._SX640_QL80_TTD_ (1)by Si Spurrier, Dylan Burnett & Triona Farrell

BOOM! and writer Si Spurrier produce yet another great creator owned series in the writers Weavers, a gangster horror comic that defies expectations throughout it’s debut.

Weavers is the story of a crime family with deadly spider powers that shoot out of their hands and mutilate their foes. It follows a new Weavers member that is inexplicably brought into the organization through no fault of his own and forced to prove his allegiance. Like the writers work on The Spire & Cry Havoc; Weavers is packed with content, ideas, story, character work and engaging dialogue. Spurrier’s writing is engaging in just about every measure for the debut with it’s mix of wonder, humor and horror that’s come to be expected from the writer. Weavers jumps out the gate with an expansive cast and intricately detailed plot but Spurrier makes the comic flow naturally and with ease in his trademark style. He’s quickly becoming one of comics most interesting writers and is doing so almost exclusively on his own creations. Artist Dylan Burnett has a loose and rough cartoonish style in his work that is equally affective in it’s monster design as it is in showing conversation between the books different actors. Colorist Triona Farell uses dark blue hue’s for the urban setting while contrasting it with a vibrant bright and sinister looking red that is a treat for the eyes and gives the book a level or pronounced excitement every time she mixes bright and muted color tones.

Weavers is another highly original idea that Spurrier and co execute to near perfection with his gift for writing comics and the art teams singular style of visual storytelling.

Review: Scarlet Witch #6

Scarlet Witch 6 David AjaBy James Robinson & Marguerite Sauvage

Following its strong debut, the Scarlet Witch’s new series has developed into a reliable pleasure. The potentially risky decision to have a new artist for each issue has proven to be a smart gamble. Each creator brings to the book a different sensibility which conjures a shifting atmosphere for the adventures of Wanda Maximoff. At the same time, these various styles complement each other, blending into a rich magical landscape. The consistent thread throughout has been James Robinson’s strong scripts, which explore Wanda’s heroic role. Her virtuous feats do not come without a cost, yet, she cannot help but continue pursuing them. It is in her nature after all, which is what makes her a true hero. For #6, Robinson takes a different perspective on this theme by offering a touching tale of grief.

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