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NUMBER 1 BULLETS: 05-20-15


Each week, we take a look at the new first issues from Dark Horse, Dynamite, IDW, Image, 12-Gauge, and Valiant Comics and share our thoughts to let you know what we think you should pick up. It's time to hang out with the insufferable Dirk Gently!

This week, Geoff Deen, Joe Kach, and Sam Moyerman review Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery #1, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency #1, Insufferable #1, Winter World: Frozen Fleet #1, Valhalla Mad #1, and Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella and Jennifer Blood #1.  




Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery #1 (Dark Horse)-


(W) Paul Hogan (A/CA) Steve Parkhouse
The stranded, curious alien known as Dr. Harry tends to patients in the sleepy town of Patience, Washington. Questions about the town's previous doctor arise when a strange briefcase is found. And does Harry's favorite mystery writer live in Patience too? Peter Hogan (Tom Strong) and Steve Parkhouse (Milkman Murders) return to their unique science-fiction/mystery series! 

Picking up where last month's #0 left off, the adventures of the undercover alien Dr. Harry continue. We get the start of a mystery here, but not a whole lot more. A briefcase is discovered hidden beneath some floor boards of Dr. Harry's office and sets off the next chapter in the saga. I struggle with this title: I really want to like it. But nothing really happens, in this issue nor the last. And I still get that feeling like I walked in late to a movie that ends abruptly. In fact, it's the "about" blurb on the credits page that gives me any real understanding as to what's going on. But the comic looks great, and the captions and dialogue are both well-written. But the flow of the story is a bet of a mess. (Joe)


Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency #1 (IDW)-


(W) Chris Ryall (A/CA) Tony Atkins
An all-new comic series based on Douglas Adams' beloved holistic detective! Dirk arrives in San Diego to face a new country, new cases and new threats: reincarnation, for starters...! 

Do I lose a ton of nerd cred if I admit I didn't know Dirk Gently was a Douglas Adams creation before reading this book?  Would I save myself some credit if I said that reading this comic immediately made me want to go out and read some of Adams' original stories?  I hope so, because it definitely did.  Dirk is a holistic detective.  What that means to him is that he has no real plan for life, he just follows along and believes that wherever the universe takes him and whatever it provides him is where he's meant to be and what he's meant to use.  And whoever he runs into along the way is the person who will provide him a case.  It makes for some really fun storytelling, especially because Dirk himself is such a fun character. He's full of confidence and never wavers one bit in what he believes.  Even when he doesn't even know where he's headed, he's sure it's the right place.  He's got to be one of the most fun characters to write.  The artwork of the book is wonderfully done, too.  Dirk has a trademark look that distinguishes him from the other characters, and each of the secondary characters is very distinguishable right away.  The creative team on this book has a daunting task ahead of themselves with everything they set up here - based on the story, there are going to be so many pieces to put together in a convincing way by the time it ends, but after reading issue #1 there is little doubt they'll be able to handle it.  Just like Dirk. (Sam)


Insufferable #1 (IDW)-


(W) Mark Waid (A/CA) Peter Krause
What happens when your crime-fighting sidekick grows up to be an arrogant, ungrateful douchebag who makes Kanye look humble? Worse, what on Earth could force the two of you together for one last case? Nocturnus and his former protege, Galahad, will find out-if they don't kill one another first.  

Mark Waid and Peter Krause take a new look at a dysfunctional dynamic duo in the latest number one from IDW comics, Insufferable.  What if Batman and Robin were out fighting crime today while using Twitter and Facebook?  What if their villains were using a terrorist version of GoFundMe to extort money from a city's populace?  What if Robin was a total dick?  The answer to all these question can be found in the latest from Mark Waid, and its off to a great start.  I really enjoyed this issue and the way it looked at the relationship between these two heroes, and the giant rift between them.  While Galahad initially comes across as the worst kind of person, as issue one progresses we as the reader learn the story is never quite as black as white as we would like.  This book hinges on the dynamic between the two main characters, and so far its great.  Solid art brings the package together and I am looking forward to issue number two. (Geoff)


Winter World: Frozen Fleet #1 (IDW)-


(W) Chuck Dixon (A) Esteve Polls (CA) Gerardo Zaffino
The Frozen Fleet begins! Scully and Wynn aren't travelling alone any more... but will secrets revealed turn tentative friends into certain enemies out on the Big Ice? 

A new number one comic from IDW is actually a spin off of the 2014 series Winterworld, written by Chuck Dixon.  Set in a frozen earth, Scully and Wynn are out on their own set against the coldest thing in this new world: the human heart. Frozen Fleet finds our two protagonists ambushed when they discover a large group of vessels locked in the ice, but what appeared at first to be a treasure trove of riches turns deadly when they are fired upon by unknown assailants.  The art for this series is being done by Esteve Polls, and I am loving it.  Mixing detail and a sketchy style that fits the mood of the book, the art is definitely the high point of this issue.  The story, however, left me wanting.  Maybe it is because I have not been reading the main Winterworld title, but there is nothing in this issue that makes me care about these people at all, so I feel nothing for the peril they are in by the last page.  Perhaps it will pick up with issue two, but I am not invested enough to pick that one up.  Post apocalyptic stories are a dime a dozen these days, and writers have one issue to make their case for why their interpretation is one I should stick with, and this book failed to do that. (Geoff)


Valhalla Mad #1 (Image)-


(W) Joe Casey (A/CA) Paul Maybury
Their names are legend: the Glorious Knox! Greghorn the Battlebjörn! Jhago the Irritator! Three warrior gods vacationing on Earth, just looking to get their drink on and have a good time! Join the drunken festivities with toastmasters JOE CASEY (SEX) and PAUL MAYBURY (SOVEREIGN). The new mythology begins now! 

The idea here is that Thor and His Warriors Three come to Earth form Asgard (here known as "Viken") to get wasted on special brew and party it up like there's no tomorrow for the Gluttonalia. That in and of itself sounds fantastic! But this comic is ... quite boring. It's 20 pages of talking and set-up with very little action or any real partying (no one throws up!). And the dialogue is lifted right from the days of Stan Lee and Larry Lieber's Thor comics in the '60s. This was one of the longest 20 pages I have ever had to sit through, let's put it that way. The art fit the tone of the story well, with a bit of a more modern take on the Jack Kirby style of comic book art, and was the highlight of the tale. The very last page had some forward motion to it, but by that point, I stopped caring. Disappointing execution of a very promising concept by a solid creative team. (Joe)


Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella and Jennifer Blood #1 (Dynamite)-


(W) Nancy A. Collins (A) Dave Acosta (CA) Billy Tan
A team-up set up by SWORDS OF SORROW's Gail Simone, featuring the writer that she hand-picked: Nancy A. Collins! Vampirella travels to Southern California to hunt down a supernatural serial killer known as the Pacifica Slasher, only to find herself transported to an alternate reality where there's no such things as vampires, demons, and magic. But, as the most dangerous woman in the world, vigilante Jennifer Blood knows, that doesn't mean monsters don't exist. Does the weirdly shaped sword presented to her by the mysterious being called The Courier hold the key to returning Vampirella to her own universe? Or will she be forced to live and die in L.A.? 

Written by Nancy Collins with art by Dave Acosta, this is the first issue of the Vampirella and Jennifer Blood crossover mini-series that is included in the Swords of Sorrow crossover event being headed by Gail Simone. There was quite a bit of world-building and setup crammed into this issue, and unfortunately it was done with some very heavy-handed exposition. The three-page complete recap of the entire run of Jennifer Blood might have been a bit too much, especially since the background for Vampirella was non-existent. I can only assume the writer felt fans would be more knowledgeable of the latter, but I would have preferred a better balance of the two. Once our story gets going, it flows along nicely, our two heroines chasing the same dark shaman across two worlds. We have the standard crossover trope of heroes at odds, but I was glad to see the typical route of a fight was avoided in favor of a respected understanding. Solid art and a fast pace kept this book interesting, I think the second issue can only go up from here due to the fact that the setting and characters are already established and the creators can get down to solid storytelling. (Geoff)


Don't just take our word for it ... pick up the issues yourself and share your thoughts below!


More Reviews on MightyVille:  

Number One Bullets Special: Hound Comics

Number One Bullet Reviews: May 13, 2014

Number One Bullet Reviews: May 6, 2014


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