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Haunt #1 [Review]

Co-creator/Writer: Robert Kirkman
Layouts: Greg Capullo
Pencils: Ryan Ottley
Co-creator/Inks: Todd McFarlane
Color: FCO Plascencia
Lettering: Richard Starkings/Comicraft
Cover/Variants Artists: Todd McFarlane, Ryan Ottley, Greg Capullo
Publisher: Image Comics

OK, so call me a sucker. This is a first issue, yeah. And I recently missed out on the debut of Chew, which had seemed interesting from an ad or two I’d seen. The Todd McFarlane and Robert Kirkman co-creation Haunt also seemed like a sorta interesting thing–again, from an ad. I’d pretty much forgotten about it entirely, though, until I received an email yesterday (the day before the comic’s release) about its release. I don’t know what landed me on this particular email list, but at least it was targeted, and did its job very, very well. Take these factors: two big names–creators whose books I’ve enjoyed recently, and a cheap-in-today’s-market cover price (this book’s only $2.99 cover price)–and combine them with “notice” or “attention” and you have a combination sufficient to get me to pick the book up. (Unfortunately, though I should’ve realized, there is the taint of variant covers, which I didn’t even consider…I wasn’t paying attention and am not particularly thrilled with the cover I wound up with).

So…what’s this Haunt thing all about? It’s only the first issue, so there’s plenty to wonder at. We’re introduced to a handful of characters and how they’re related to one another…and find out that one of them is actually dead, apparently a figment of his brother’s imagination. Only, there’s something more to it than “imagination.” When the surviving brother looks in on a woman both brothers had been involved with in the past–he’s got some less than wonderful history with her, it seems–he doesn’t think there’s anything to protect her from, though is soon proven wrong. When a couple of armed individuals enter the scene, a bit of a transformation occurs, and we meet the title character of the series.

I doubt much of it will stick as interesting to me long-term. But for the moment, there’s something interesting about the title character to me–the relationship between the brothers and the transformation that leaves one facing “Haunt.” I was put in mind of the Kevin Green transformation into Prime (for those few of you who remember the character). There’s also the slight twist on a quasi-archetype that I won’t get into as it’d be pretty serious spoiler territory.

The art team’s pretty familiar, and yet brings something new to the table. There’s a difference in visual style from Invincible and Spawn, but also a similarity to both…sorta like it has the grittiness of Spawn softened by the brighter style of Invincible. And honestly…works very well to me.

On the whole–for both the story and the visuals–this feels very much at-home in the same universe as Spawn (it remains to be seen if it is, actually) while not entirely out of place in a universe that has Invincible in it. With or without the comparisons…it’s got a fairly generic premise mixed with an intriguing twist sufficient to hook me and leave me interested in seeing what the next issue brings.

I bought this issue thanks to the initial hype/marketing and the names attached to it.

The package itself–the story, the hook–will bring me back for another look-see.

As something new, to get in at the beginning of what’s likely a major project with either Kirkman or McFarlane, this is well worth checking out…if only for this first issue.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8.5/10

Deadpool #16 [Review]

Want You to Want Me Part Two: No Man is an Island

Writer: Daniel Way
Penciller: Paco Medina
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Assistant Editor: Jody Leheup
Editor: Axel Alonso
Cover: Jason Pearson
Publisher: Marvel Comics

After the cliffhanger emphasis put on Deadpool’s decision last issue, this issue was rather abrubt to start out. Deadpool is flatly turned down and away. Upon further consideration, Cyclops sends Domino after him to bring Deadpool in to the team. This results in some misunderstanding between Deadpool and Domino, before Deadpool spills the beans on his plan to show the X-Men what “moves” he’s got to bring to the team.

This is my first new, bought-day-of-release issue of Deadpool in years. I vaguely recall picking up the final issue of Cable/Deadpool a few years back; prior to that, I don’t recall if I picked up the first issue of whatever the long-running solo Deadpool title became with that “reboot” back in 2001/2002ish. And before that, I’d picked up the first issue of the first 1990s mini-series (that came out the same summer as the first Sabretooth miniseries…guess which character’s ultimately had “legs”?).

The “previously” page lets one in on the bare essentials you need-to-know for this issue…I don’t even need to remember what happened in the previous issue (though I’ve enjoyed issues 15 and 12-14 [in that order]). This is one thing I definitely applaud Marvel on that I’ve long felt DC needs to do–especially the WAY Marvel does it, it’s something that adds to the single issue format, and is easily removed for the collected volume with zero loss of story or story pages. But it adds a lot to the issue itself…not to mention providing a consistent place to see which creator did what on a given issue.

Though there’s some dark, violent stuff to this series…there’s a warped sense of fun about it, too, that makes it simply an enjoyable book to read, with some amusing gags and pokes through the “fourth wall.” The art just plays right into this, as the visual style is very solid…and really quite good in and of itself. Cyclops, Domino, and of course, Deadpool all look quite good in this issue, and for that alone the art gets props from me. The visuals bring in contemporary looks for the various characters…and really makes ’em look about the best I’ve seen them in awhile–particularly Cyclops and Deadpool himself.

This issue and its story are grounded in the “Dark Reign” status quo the overall Marvel Universe is mired in…and yet thankfully keeps somewhat above it, in a way. There’s also the fact that the issue is a mere $2.99…which is QUITE a steal on a book from this publisher of late.

There’s plenty of backstory to be had in Deadpool as a character, even just from this current series. That context will add an extra layer of enjoyment to the reading of this issue. At the same time, short of another reboot or an issue specifically labeled on its cover or in solicitations as a jump-on point…this is about as good a jump-on point as one’s gonna get.

If you like the character and aren’t reading this book, I’d recommend giving it a shot. ALso, if you’re avoiding Marvel for all the $3.99 books and yet want a peek into the Marvel Universe of late…this seems an excellent title for peeking in on things at the already-high-enough $2.99 price point.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8/10

Superman: World of New Krypton #8 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Batman and Robin #5 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 2/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

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