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Home  >  Features  >  Number One Bullet Reviews: July 15, 2015

NUMBER 1 BULLETS: 07-15-15


Each week, we take a look at the new first issues from Black MaskDark Horse, Dynamite, IDW, Image, 12-Gauge, and Valiant Comics and share our thoughts to let you know what we think you should pick up. Open up the Book of Death and take a ride to Hell with Godzilla!

This week, Geoff Deen, Joe Kach, and Sam Moyerman review Death Head #1, Godzilla in Hell #1 (Twice!), Book of Death: Legends of the Geomancer #1, and Book of Death #1. [Editor's Note: We were unable to review The Island #1.]



Death Head #1 (Dark Horse)-


(W) Zack Keller, Nick Keller (A) Joanna Estep (CA) E.M. Gist
Zack Keller (cocreator of Dick Figures, the Streamy, IAWTV, and Annie Award-nominated web series with 650 million+ YouTube views) and Nick Keller (Turner of the Century) deliver a supernatural-horror thriller about family and creeping, terrifying murder! When Niles and Justine Burton go camping to get a break from their stressful lives, they expect to find peace . . . not an abandoned village hiding an ancient evil. In a turn of events ripped straight from a horror movie, a brutal killer wearing a plague doctor's mask begins hunting Niles, Justine, and their two kids.

A new horror comic from Dark Horse, Death Head is written by Zack and Nick Keller with art by Joanna Estep.  A couple is out for a hike and stumbles across a ritualistic church complete with furnace that seems designed for human sacrifice. As one would expect, things do not go well.  While this setup is rather routine for the opening of a horror movie or story, this main plot is peppered with two flashbacks; one to a girls' school with a rebellious teenager and another to a small boy trapped in the sewers supposedly stalked by our killer from the main plot.  The details are thin in this issue but I do find it compelling enough to see what happens next.  Who is this masked killer? What is the tie to the little girl ghost in the sewer? What is the connection to the Catholic school? How long have these murders been going on?  These questions along with very solid art from Joanna Estep will definitely bring me back for issue #2, I suggest you check this one out, especially if you are a fan of horror comics. (Geoff)


Godzilla in Hell #1 (IDW)-

(W/A/CA) James Stokoe
Godzilla meets his greatest adversary of all time-the impossible tortures of Hell! Each issue of this special miniseries will see Godzilla enter a new level of the underworld to do battle with the impossible.


IDW's latest #1 issue is a surrealist silent issue that sees the worlds most famous Kaiju falling through the literal depths of Hell.  With art and story by James Stokoe, the issue opens with Godzilla endlessly falling until he hits the bottom of a fast cavern.  When face to face with a monolithic structure that reads "Abandon all hope ye who enter here", he destroys it in true Godzilla fashion.  It was this exact point in the story that I knew this book was going to be good.  The art is very well done; its two greatest successes are assigning emotion to Godzilla's eyes and giving the reader a fantastic sense of scale.  Panels zoom far out to both give a sense of Godzilla's size as well as the vast emptiness of hell.  Confronted with giant demons, clouds of angry lost souls, and a mutated version of himself-- which I can only assume is some play on the idea of facings ones inner darkness-- Godzilla is rewarded with nothing more than another fall into a deeper pit of Hell.  This was really a great read, especially when you consider the fact there is zero dialogue.  The art conveys the story so very well and I really enjoyed the idea of this monster facing off against the worst the pit has to offer.  Fan of Godzilla or not, every one knows who and what he is, so this book will appeal to all readers. (Geoff)


It certainly wouldn't have been my first choice for where to set a Godzilla book, but James Stokoe somehow makes putting Godzilla in Hell a fun read.  This is pretty much what you want from a Godzilla book, namely, Godzilla destroying things.  Even Hell can't stop him from doing that.  The only real question is how much it needed to be "Hell".  Outside of a few small markers and words at the beginning of the book, there really isn't anything in here that screams "Hell" to a reader.  There's no stereotypical demons or devils and barely any humans in the book at all (and no real reason to think they were living eternal damnation).  And speaking of words, this book has very few.  There is no dialogue at all, which makes for a nice fast read.  Stokoe's artwork and storytelling are really the stars here.  Well, that and Godzilla.  He's the real reason you'd read and enjoy this book.  If there is an 8-year old in you somewhere who loves Godzilla, this book is for you. (Sam)


Book of Death: Legends of the Geomancer #1 (Valiant)-


(W) Fred Van Lente (A) Juan Jose Ryp (CA): Marguerite Sauvage
A special BOOK OF DEATH retailer incentive! The true history and lineage of the Geomancers – revealed here in an all-new series of never-before-seen stories from New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (IVAR, TIMEWALKER) and artist Juan Jose Ryp (Ghosted) that won’t be collected for the trade paperback! Out of the pages of BOOK OF DEATH, the genesis of the very first Geomancer and the sacred pact that swore them to the service of the Earth can finally be told…but, with it too, the source of the divine mysteries that have haunted their line for centuries. Has their mission redeemed or corrupted the world that followed in their wake…and will the ultimate secrets of the Geomancers’ book doom us all in the end?

This issue is a retailer exclusive based on orders for Book of Death #1 (I think). I am not sure how many were distributed much this issue goes for due to that, but I imagine not every fan was able to get their hands on one and will be reluctant to purchase the rest of the series. But I digress (hey, the cool folks at Valiant sent us one!). This is a great issue. Fred Vane Lente does a fantastic job telling the tale of the Earth's first Geomancer ( I think) who's name is Anni. She is thought of as a witch and is on her way to be sacrificed to the gods. Along the way, one of her captors offers her kindness and offers a nice Easter Egg of things to come for fans of Eternal Warrior or Archer & Armstrong. The barbaric dialogue is handled well, the sense of emotions is strongly conveyed in both art and dialogue. This is also Juan Jose Ryp's first work at Valiant, and it's a home run. Why this guy doesn't get more attention baffles me. He's so freakin' detailed, you can spend an hour analyzing each page. My only real complaint is that the issue is pretty decompressed, so not a whole lot happens, but there's a killer ending that'll make you want to come back for more. So, it's ashame if not everyone is able to get their hands on this issue, for both quality and the fact that it ties in pretty heavily to the main Book of Death series. (Joe)


Book of Death #1 (Valiant)-


(W) Robert Venditti (A/CA) Robert Gill
"A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once." 
The Valiant heroes. X-O Manowar. Bloodshot. Ninjak. The Harbinger Renegades. Unity. This is how they lived. This is how they died.
Now we know. The Book of the Geomancer has recorded it all. But only a young girl - the last in a line of the enigmatic mystics who protect the Earth known as Geomancers - has seen this future come to pass, from the coming cataclysm to the dawn of the 41st century. Alone with her sworn protector, the Eternal Warrior - a soldier battle-forged across five thousand years of combat - the duo must defy their allies to stop the Dark Age that now threatens to eclipse our world.
Together, they are the number one target of every hero and villain on Earth. Either the Eternal Warrior hands her over... or they take him down. But can even he single-handedly protect one child when the entire Valiant Universe wages war against him?
The blockbuster Valiant event of 2015 starts here as New York Times best-selling writer Robert Venditti (X-O MANOWAR) joins superstar-in-the-making Robert Gill (ARMOR HUNTERS: HARBINGER) and visionary artist Doug Braithwaite (ARMOR HUNTERS) to begin a thousand-year journey into the future of the Valiant Universe... and rain, fire, blood and war on the heroes of today.

Valiant's much-touted and ominously named summer event is here! Gilad Anni-Padda, the Eternal Warrior, is hiding the Earth's last Geomancer from a number of opposing forces, and the U.S. Government along with the forces of G.A.T.E. are none too happy about it. We're introduced to a creepy antagonist who is a great foil to the world of the Geomancer and is sure to turn the Valiant world on its side. X-O Manowar is sent to dispatch the perceived threat, but not without going through the Eternal Warrior first. This is a solid story that almost feels like a Spaghetti Western in a Sci-Fi/Horror setting. Venditti once again shows his master hand when it comes to handling these characters. I had two complaints. First, this is a follow-up to something that I feel I missed and was not alluded to in the recap/title page. Why, how, and when the Eternal Warrior became this Geomancer's protector is unknown to me right now, as are the circumstances. So it was difficult to get into the story on that loose footing. But a bigger issue was the art. It wasn't bad art, it was serviceable, but it lacked the polish that most of Valiant's titles carry. Even with Doug Braithwaite's finishes, it still felt incomplete. Still, a strong start to a very promising event. I am excited to see where this goes. (Joe)


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


More Reviews on MightyVille:

Number One Bullet Reviews: July 8, 2015

Number One Bullet Reviews: July 1, 2015

Number One Bullet Reviews: June 24, 2015


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