Review by: TheNextChampion

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Avg Rating: 4.4
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Size: 80 pages
Price: 7.99

I really love anthologies. No matter if its trades or one-shots (like this baby right here) I just love to go seven to eight stories deep in a single read. So once again DC/Vertigo is giving us a big ‘ol one shot, with this having an emphasis on horror. So we’re right on time for Halloween and there is a wealth of stories in this one-shot. Time for another (patent pending) TNC PELLET REVIEWS!

Cover: (Rafael Grampa) Normally I don’t gush over a cover but this is an exception. Look at this cover, look at it! It is so beautiful in a twisted way. The insane amount of detail on the killer’s outfit, the blood, the background filled with goodies. This is an amazing cover/pin-up and I wouldn’t expect anything else from Grampa. Hell, let’s get a comic going on this one image! (5/5)

The Great Karlini: (Story and Art by Dave Gibbons) One of the legends of comics certainly has done his fair share of anthologies lately. This one in particular I found to be really, really strong. He tells the entire story in a simple, 2×4 panel grid and we get so much insight into this guy. It’s kinda like The Illusionist but without Paul Giamotti getting in the way. Or more seriously, you get a lot of background into the guy and get seriously invested in his story. His panels, at first, seem a bit simple; but I think there is a load of detail when it comes to how the characters react in each. You can see a lot of emotion in each panel is what I’m saying. Easily the strongest story in the whole anthology. (Story: 5/5, Art: 5/5)

Dogs: (Story by: G. Willow Wilson, Art by: Robbi Rodriguez) This is a very strange story. I’m not sure if I buy the reasoning behind it. Dogs rising up to their owners can certainly work but the way Wilson introduces it doesn’t make much sense to me. Okay, so they’re upset that a kid died and I can certainly see why that would provoke anyone (yes I am somehow relating to fictional, killer dogs). But wouldn’t it have made more sense for these dogs to act humor after seeing, I don’t know, a dog dying? If they have no problems enslaving the human race then why did they care about another human dying? The art certainly makes up for the strangeness with Rodriguez giving some beautiful designs. It probably wasn’t easy to make the dogs stand up on their hind legs but it kinda looks believable here. Plus everything has this dirty side to it which helps the tone of the story. A weird, but definitely enjoyable story. (Story: 3/5, Art: 5/5)

Look Alive: (Story by: Alex Grecian, Art by: Jill Thompson) I grew into liking Thompson’s art with that Hellboy one-shot so seeing more of her art is a boon here. She certainly made the idea of a zombie dressing herself up as a human believable. In fact the overall story is pretty cool in that I don’t think it’s ever been done before. It certainly leads to a predictable ending but the overall idea of it worked enough for me. (Story: 4/5, Art: 5/5)

The Land: (Story by: Josh Dysart, Art by: Farel Dalrymple) I like the slow burn of this story because I didn’t know what was coming. Dysart certainly made me feel sorry for the guy and he definitely did his research for this. Also, this new guy in Dalrymple has a nice, Lemire/Kindt style to his pencils. I certainly would love to see more of them in a future title. (Story: 4/5, Art: 5/5)

A Most Delicate Monster: (Story by: Jeffrey Rotter, Art by: Lelio Bonaccorso) Next to Gibbons story; this is definitely one of the best in the anthology. I loved how this was written because it goes back to the Warren Ellis’s message in Crecy. Just because someone is from a different period in time, with lack of technology like today, doesn’t make them stupid. The idea of a caveman seemingly smarter then today’s man might sound a bit corny, but it got me. I will say the ending did come out of no where for me, and the tone did shift dramatically as well. But it didn’t bother me all too much. The art by Bonaccorso is pretty good too; has a lite-Marcos Martin vibe to it. Like the last story I would love to see a comic by either of these two again in the future. (Story: 5/5, Art: 5/5)

Family First: (Story by: Mat Johnson, Art by: David Lapham) It’s been a while since Lapham has drawn anything so seeing him as artist, and not writer, did confuse me for a second. It certainly is good though, with a lot of nice panels like the girl’s perspective in the oven and the violence seems pure-Lapham. The story is a bit bland though and I did see it coming. Also, did anyone else think the dad at the end reminds you of Jorge Garcia? (Story: 2/5, Art: 3/5)

Alone: (Story by: Joshua Hale Fialkov, Art by: Rahsan Ekedal) This certainly felt ‘Top Cow’ didn’t it? Mainly because both the writer and artist have worked in Top Cow previously. It’s so weird because this certainly doesn’t feel like a Vertigo title thematically. It just feels too ‘hip’ and ‘sexy’ to be a dark and disturbing Vertigo story. Plus don’t understand what really happened here. Is he connected to technology? If so, why? Didn’t make much sense. (Story: 2/5, Art: 3/5)

Americana: (Story by: Brian Wood, Art by: Emily Carroll) This story certainly has a very strong, upbeat message for our future. Even if we go down the crapper in 2012 (or even more recent considering these days), there will always be a glimmer of hope even if it takes a hundred years to fix. Wood certainly has a great voice with women in his comics and this title is no different, and it feels fresh to see a mother/daughter angle here. While the story doesn’t really have an horror elements to it, it was charming enough for me to really enjoy it. Plus Carroll’s art has a great mix of Kate Beaton and Matt Kindt…and it certainly feels like people want to go into Kindt’s style of art (which is a good thing). (Story: 5/5, Art: 5/5)

Blink…Le Prelude a La Mort: (Story by: Selwyn Hinds, Art by: Denys Cowan) Easily the weakest story in the entire anthology; this is just a mere preview for a new ongoing title coming soon. It’s not that I don’t mind seeing a preview for a book, it’s just that I don’t really care for this particular one. Maybe it was just an odd placement in time to show a preview but I didn’t care for the characters nor did I care for the story hinted at. The art by Cowan is certainly good, but sometimes his layouts are a bit confusing to follow. Maybe in the future I’ll read this in trade, but it does make this anthology end on a whimper. (Story: 2/5, Art: 3/5)

While any anthologies will have some weak stories to it, and this one does, the ratio of great stories to bad certainly is outweighed here. There are some great short stories in this one-shot that anyone can just pick up, read, and enjoy. While it might not have continued the horror theme throughout I think you will care little because of how good the stories are. It might be a bit pricey at $7.99 to some; but this anthology is certainly worth your time and money.

Story: 4 - Very Good
Art: 4 - Very Good

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