Review: John Carpenter’s “Tales of Sci-Fi Vault” Will Give You Chills

Rachel Moulden for The Pit

By: John Carpenter (Writer), Andres Esparza (Artist)

Publisher: STORM KING PRODUCTIONS, INC

Release Date: July 26, 2017

Synopsis: When the moon-bound crew of Gaia stumbles across an enormous alien vessel, more technologically advanced than their own, priorities change. The mystery deepens when the crew discovers the name of the vessel along the hull…

*Vault (#1 of 3) is the first story of John Carpenter’s monthly anthology series Tales of Science Fiction.

Review:

Vault #1 takes its readers into a Sci-Fi space universe that is out of this this world. The story follows the crew of the Gaia as they trespass into an giant alien ship, and soon they find out they’re not alone.

The beginning of the story starts off in the present where they are investigating the alien ship, and then shifts to the past events that led us to that point in the story. We get a small introduction of the crew in Issue #1, and a small glimpse of their personalities. I was hoping to see a more personal background of each character, but the story only gives a general backstory of the crew mission. Hopefully, we will gain more insight into each character as the story moves along.

Usually, I’m not the biggest fan of hardcore Sci-fi stories, but Carpenter’s writing along with Esparza’s artwork has me immediately engrossed in the story. I found his characters to be interesting, the world building was smooth, and the suspense kept me on edge.

Esparza’s artwork felt so realistic, especially the way the characters emotions were drawn, you could feel their evident fear of the unknown and that helped to increased the story’s tension. On top of that, the use of vivid imagery and color, helped to make it a fully immersive experience.

I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen next in this three part series and I highly recommend reading this comic if you like galactic space stories.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Review: “Escort” Entices Readers With a Futuristic Dystopian World

Rachel Moulden for The Pit

the-escort-1

Escort #1 by Iggy Michniacki

Publisher: Project Nerd Publishing

Release Date: February 15, 2017

Synopsis: Audiences have been waiting for the follow up to Barrens, Project-Nerd Publishing’s first title to go to second print on two different covers, but the project came to a halt after Chapter One. With the creative team moving on to other projects, it left the door open for Esme Ford to return in a different capacity.

Set in the not too distant future, The Escort follows Esme Ford as she proves to be the best guide through the barrens as she transports goods and people between the few remaining fortified cities left in the world. Ford will open up a brand new mission with the debut issue of The Escort in January 2017.

The Escort is written by Esme Ford creator and Project-Nerd Publishing Founder, Iggy Michniacki, and will feature the pencils and inks of J.C. Grande (Johnny Monster, Necessary Evil) and colors from Esteban Salinas (Deviant Apple Studios). Erin Lei will return as Esme Ford for a cosplay cover variant of the first issue with Salinas also creating the series’ cover art. (description from Project Nerd Publishing)

Review: The story of Escort follows main protagonist, Esme Ford, a transporter of goods in a barren wasteland. Not too much is said about her character in the first issue, but based on her interactions with other people she is well-known and revered around the land. She’s sassy, resourceful and skilled in fighting, which makes her an interesting character. Her mysterious aura is key to drawing readers into the story.

As for the story’s setting, there are small glimpse of what the futuristic setting is like here and there, but there was not enough description for me. I would have enjoyed more of the world-building process and want to see more of the setting that Esme lives in.When looking at the artwork, I wished it had a smoother, more detailed look when it came to the characters and background settings. But I did love the variety of colors and textures used to give the characters definition and depth.

Overall, the first issue of Escort says enough to get readers attention, but raises a lot of questions about its main protagonist, secondary characters, and setting. I hope the next issues goes more into depth about the setting and Esme’s backstory.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Book Review: “Klaw” by Antoine Ozanam

Rachel Moulden for The Pit

Klaw by Antoine Ozanam and illustrated by Joël Jurion

Synopsis:

Teenager Angel Tomassini has been hiding a dark and scary secret: when threatened he involuntarily turns into a violent and vicious Weretiger. He doesn’t know why, how, or what to do, because when he transforms, he loses control and people end up badly hurt. As if this isn’t enough for a kid to deal with, Angel is slowly learning his father is one of the biggest organized crime leaders in the city. And there are more like him… different creatures too…

Review:

Klaw is a story about a teenage boy named Angel Tomassini, who discovers that he can transform into a tiger. Amidst the chaos and confusion of trying to figure how to handle his newfound powers Angel struggles with trying to find himself. He is tired of being constantly bullied in school, wants the girl he likes to fall in love with him, and doesn’t know what to think of his less than normal family.

While stories similar to this have been written many times, Klaw is still an exciting story that keeps its readers entertained. It has a lot of supernatural and fantasy elements, but among that is a strong focus a on a teenage boy’s coming of age story. That particular aspect makes the story relatable to readers who have ever felt like they don’t know where they belong in life. It also reminds readers that self-discovery can be a long, and complicated process for people of all ages.

The comic reads like an epic superhero saga because of all the action packed scenes. It’s very fast paced and I love how it was set against the backdrop of Chicago. I also thought the idea of the people transforming into the animals of the Chinese zodiac was very clever and the suspense of discovering whether they would all be found or not gave the story a heightened aura of suspense.

On top of all of this, I enjoyed Angel’s character smooth character development over the course of the story. He learns how to control his tiger’s power with the help of others and in doing so, he also learns how to grow into a more confident and courageous person. All of these things combined with the colorful artwork by Joël Jurion, who makes the story leap off of the pages makes Klaw a fun read.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Book Review: “Love: The Lion” By Frédéric Brrémaud

Rachel Moulden for The Pit

Synopsis:

A young lion wanders the Serengeti in search of a pride to call his own. But being alone, he is watched with cautious eyes by those families he encounters along the way, including a coalition of rival males in search of their own pride to conquer.

So the nomad searches patiently, waiting for the opportunity to claim his territory and find a new family. But loneliness can breed ferocity…

The third volume in the lavishly illustrated, award-winning series of wildlife graphic novels, each depicting a day in the life of different wild animals, told through the dramatic lens of Disney-esque storytelling, like a nature documentary in illustration.

Review:

Love The Lion is the third installment in a series of wildlife graphic novels. It tells the tale of a young lion who wanders the African Serengeti who tries find his place in his homeland. Told in visually stunning pictures without the use of words, the reader relies on the artwork’s vivid detail in order to follow the story.

The reader is first introduced to the lion at a young age. He seems somewhat vulnerable and struggles to find a family to call his own. At the beginning of his journey he lives a lonely life where he must only rely on himself. Over the course of the story, the reader sees the young cub transform into a strong lion that will eventually stake itself at the top of the food chain.

While reading the story I was reminded of Disney’s The Lion King, however, Love The Lion, is a bit more realistic. It’s more graphic and depicts an accurate description of the circle of life that lies within in the animal kingdom. Readers will see firsthand, the relationship between predator and the prey. On top of that, the artwork is so lifelike it’s like watching aNational Geographic documentary on TV.

When looking at just the plot itself, I appreciated that it was simplistic and easy to follow since there was no narration. The use of picturesque details in the natural landscapes of the Serengeti allows the reader to transport themselves into the wild. I could tell that the illustrator, Federico Bertolucci, put a lot of work into the drawing each animal, especially focusing on their facial characteristics in order to convey the emotion of each scene.

As beautiful as the artwork was and even though the story line was well-written, I just thought that this comic was all right. I felt some kind of connection to the main character (animal), but in the end I wanted more from the comic. The plot wasn’t particularly gripping (for me) and I didn’t find the theme very interesting.

Overall, I’d recommend this to fans of wildlife/nature stories or readers of dramatic graphic novels.

Rating:

3 out of 5 stars

Book Review: “The Call of the Stryx #3: Traps 1/2” – Eric Corbeyran

Rachel Moulden for The Pit

Release Date: September 9, 2015

Synopsis:

Kevin Nivek, head of the Secret Service and in charge of security for the President of the United States, is fired after an assassination attempt almost succeeds. While investigating what he believes is a conspiracy among the various American intelligence services, he meets Debrah, a mysterious and formidable young woman who works for a secret organization. He learns that for centuries, and from deep in the shadows, the Stryx have influenced human destiny.

Review:

After getting even closer to finding out what kind of monstrous creature the Stryx is in the last issue, I was very eager to read the new installment. My closest guess from what I read so far is that the Stryx is some kind of mutated oversized bird-creature. But the heavy suspense surrounding its origins definitely fuels the reader’s interest and keeps them pulled into the story.

The comic is moving at a much faster pace now and has greatly improved from its initial start where the plot seemed to drag at certain points. There are more action scenes and the addition of plot twists have added to the intensity of the story.

Readers will see more glimpses of the certain characters back story, but there still seems to be an overall lack of character development. Each person has been more motivated to complete their task, whether they’re on team good or evil, but they haven’t seemed to change much.

On the plus side, I do like the attention to the detail in the artwork used in this military sci-fi story. The shading and drawing techniques make the story look and feel realistic while the style of artwork is reminiscent of a 80s/90s comics giving it a slightly nostalgic feel.

Though we start to get closer to revealing the secrets surrounding the Stryx and the mysterious assassin female character, there are still many secrets waiting to be uncovered in The Call of the Stryx.

Rating: 3/5 stars