Comic Review – Reborn #3 (Image Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

I had a (relatively) small stack this week, but I have been meaning to review Reborn for a while now. This week issue #3 of this fairly new Image Comics series came out, created by Mark Millar and Greg Capullo, with Millar on writing duties, Capullo on pencils, inks by Jonathan Glapion, colours by FCO Plascencia and letters from Nate Piekos.

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Cover by Capullo, Glapion & Plascencia

Reborn stars Bonnie Black, a previously 80-year-old woman who has been reborn as a 25-year-old warrior queen, fated to defend the world of Adystria against the forces of Lord Golgotha and The Dark Lands. When she awoke in this new land, she found the world populated with long-lost loved ones and was reunited with her father. Now the pair of them, along with Bonnie’s childhood dog Roy Boy (now a huge armored beast), are travelling Adystria, while hunted by her now anthropomorphic cat Frost, who is working for Golgotha and bears a serious grudge against her. But Frost isn’t the only danger they need to worry about.

Everything I just said probably sounds pretty crazy. Which is fair. Reborn is kitchen-sink crazy with everything that populates this weird after-life plane. It is high concept fantasy and is a hell of a lot of fun to go along with it. Millar’s dialogue and plot move at a breakneck pace in this latest issue, and while it still may not be clear where the story is actually going, it is compelling enough to lose yourself in. A few character beats and choices felt a little out of step, with a particular moment of blind and idiotic trust in a stranger being difficult to believe from anyone without serious head trauma, but mostly this is very strongly written.

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Art by Capullo, Glapion, Plascencia & Piekos

Millar has been on somewhat of a roll of late with the artists he pairs up with, and while I was sad to see Capullo leave Batman after such an incredible run with Scott Snyder, it is nice to see him stretch some fantasy muscles in Reborn. The result is something truly breathtaking, with dynamic and visceral action being the real strengths here. The standouts in this issue are the terrifying excellence of the monstrous second and third pages, and the gorgeous Black Wish Mountain towards the end of the issue. Glapion and Plascencia have been working with Capullo for a while now, and clearly know how to really make his pencils stand out. The result is an art team producing work that is worth the cover price alone, regardless of the story.

Reborn is a great looking, huge and insane fantasy book that you should be definitely checking out. I can’t wait to see where the series goes, and what weird and wonderful creatures Capullo is going to get to draw along the way. Check it out at your local comic book shop or digitally now!

Score: 8 Political Prisoners out of 10

Indie Comics Review – Land of the Rats

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

_1613385_origLand of the Rats is a series from writer and artist Mark Nasso, published by The Underground Forest, and it follows the story of Jack Natari as he traverses the Great Southern Vastness of Blask. Jack is a rat-man from the Kingdom of Raelak, miles from his home in Rat City. I read the first two stories from Land of the Rats, ‘Gastrolithicus’ and ‘The Woman from Iltharra’, which follow Jack as he winds his way home.

In ‘Gastrolithicus’ Jack escapes from prison, only to be captured and enslaved by the mysterious South Men. While trying to run away, he runs afoul of the monstrous Gastrolithicus that dwells near the territory of the South Men. In ‘The Woman from Iltharra’, he loses two people he was protecting to a woman hailing from a state at constant war with his homeland. He confronts this murderous barbarian, and a vicious battle ensues.

One of the strengths of Land of the Rats is Nasso’s world-building. Blask feels lived in and complete, with plenty of potential for hundreds of stories taking place there. While at times it gets a little heavy on the exposition, the mystery of the world that Jack interacts with works well. The stories themselves are well written and interesting, although there are a few instances where the dialogue feels a little out of place, with phrases like ‘ass-kicking’ interrupting the flow of the otherwise standard fantasy-style dialogue.

_317087_origThe other real strong point in these comics is Nasso’s art. The heavy and bold lines and shading create a unique and stylised black and white book that is a real pleasure to look at, despite the subject matter largely being fairly grotesque. The most striking example of this is the titular Gastrolithicus from the first book, which is terrifying to behold but wholly original and striking.

Land of the Rats is well worth checking out for the art alone, but Nasso’s world is full of potential and these stories are compelling. The first four, including Gastrolithicus and The Woman from Iltharra, are collected in Land of the Rats IV which can be found here. All the comics can be found on Comixology. You can also find more information over at theundergroundforest.com.