REVIEW: With Only 5 Issues, Is it Already the End for Deadpool the Duck?

REVIEW: With Only 5 Issues, Is it Already the End for Deadpool the Duck?

DPTD1When comic creators decide on doing a crossover, it’s pretty much guaranteed that shenanigans will ensue. When Marvel deemed that Deadpool and Howard the Duck should “join forces,” they might have taken that a little too literally.

Writer Stewart Moore and artist Jacopo Camagni have done a wonderful job in steering us down this Alice in Wonderlandish rabbit hole called a comic, where in which they filled the hole with anthropomorphic characters, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and nanobot filled barf. The idea of both Deadpool and Howard the Duck inhabiting the same body seems like a pure strike of comedic-genius, but Moore and Camagni took the zaniness a step further with the inclusion of characters like Doctor Bong (who’s been chasing the likes of Howard since 1977) and the familiar ball of “furry-fury” that is Rocket Raccoon.

The writing was a well-done marriage with the two worlds of Howard the Duck and Deadpool; The anti-hero talking waterfowl who is constantly drowning in all the crap the universe throws at him, and the anti-hero/mercenary for hire who takes all the crap that gets thrown at him and shoves it down said universe’s throat. The banter between the two characters alone, who find themselves inhabiting the same body, would have undoubtedly gotten tired and stale if it weren’t for the supporting characters that breathed fresh conflict and confusion into the over-the-top story. The fourth-wall breaks that are utterly Deadpool are all present, as well as perpetual disappointments that are purely Howard. As a fan of both characters (I was THAT kid who loved the 1986 flop that was the Howard the Duck movie FYI), I felt that every box was ticked.

Camagni’s artistry really pulls through, doing justice to nearly every Marvel character. I say “nearly” because I thought that Rocket Raccoon looked a little too “bottom-heavy” for my taste. His take on Doctor Bong is quite good as well, lending to the fact that Camagni is very use to drawing the male form. Bong should be truly flattered, as it appears that the artist gave him a little extra “padding” down there (he REALLY seems to like making men bottom-heavy). Even the coloring of Israel Silva was a proper balance of gritty mutes and shades of red. It could have been easy to mistakenly gone with the terrible color palettes that have plagued certain Howard the Duck issues in the past, but thankfully the colorist avoided that.

True, the ending was a bit anti-climatic, but I think that it’s ultimately befitting as nothing goes completely as the two anti-heroes would like. Violent, gross, and overtop are all words that describe the five-issue mini-series that is Deadpool the Duck, which means it’s creators truly nailed it. The biggest issue with this series is that it’s already over. Do I smell sequel, perhaps? Or is that just that nanobot-filled-barf again?

Coming out March 15th, find Marvel’s Deadpool the Duck at your local comic shop. Holding out for the collection? Issues 1-5 is slated to release on June 13th 2017.

PREVIEW: Body Parts Get Severed and Link Whines in “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” Manga

PREVIEW: Body Parts Get Severed and Link Whines in “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” Manga

liens-releases044The Legend of Zelda franchise has spread its lore far and wide since it’s 1986 Japanese release. Aside from being mistakenly called “Zelda” since the game’s 1987 American release, the protagonist Link is known by fans as “The Hero of Time, The Hero of Light, and of course “The Hero of Legend.” After thirty-one years, we have seen a slew of video games, cartoon adaptions, cartoon cameos, manga adaptions, and not to mention a ton of merchandise that has steadily helped to fill Nintendo’s coffers. It’s of no surprise that another product featuring our “forever-reincarnated” Link and Princess Zelda is releasing soon. No, I’m not talking about the upcoming Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild video game.

Following up his 2012 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time manga series, Akira Himekawa has released the much asked for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess manga. Those who played the game, the Gamecube version versus the Wii version, will agree it was a great addition to the mysterious Zelda timeline. The manga was first released in February of 2016 in Japan and is finally getting released in America this month by VIZ Media.

liens-releases046Himekawa’s artwork is done quite well, with all the emotion and detail that a good manga calls for. A reader can get a sense of movement with every panel. There’s a great deal of humor that gives a healthy contrast with the rest of the story. As to be expected, story details from the video game differ with Himekawa’s manga adaption. For those that recall, the game was visually darker than most of the other titles, as our main character finds himself trapped in the “Twilight Kingdom.” Shadows and mute colors were largely used in the art style. As a whole, the manga has a darker tone than that of the video game, featuring the likes of townspeople being wounded and killed, the daughter of the mayor being shot by an arrow with visual bleeding, and even the likes of Link having an appendage chopped off of him. Despite the humor that I mentioned, this story is strictly rated “T for Teen”.

Another departure from that of the video games is that Himekawa’s Link talks. Ever since his 1986 debut, the silent protagonist has been just that; Silent! Whether this is because Nintendo knows that this is part of the character’s charm or that they believe it would be as traumatic as when the hard-rock band KISS took off their makeup in 1983, the consensus in the video games has been that “Link doesn’t talk!”

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Sexy Midna?!

Despite this “Nintendo rule of thumb”, that hasn’t stopped the likes of those that have adapted the character for other medias. It’s difficult to have a story with a non-talking main character after all. Some bad examples of talking Links have been the thirteen-episode 1989 cartoon and the disastrously terrible Panasonic “CD-i” video games.

liens-releases047Sadly, Himekawa’s link wasn’t a successful adaption for me. Though visually appealing and utterly heroic in his deeds, Twilight Princess’ Link often comes across as whiney and more adolescent than his visuals make him out to be. It’s quite possible that Himekawa has given Link a case of PTSD, which is evident from a flashback featured in the story. Though I appreciate the effort that Himekawa is making with adding another dimension with the character, there are some things that shouldn’t be messed with.

It’s quite possible though that it isn’t Himekawa that is to blame for Link’s dialogue, but perhaps that of the English adaption team. There’s a scene where the townsfolk first encounter an oncoming hoard of monsters and one person simply responds with “YIKES!” When has anyone ever given a terror-charged exclamation of “yikes”? The English adaption is accredited to “Stan!” for goodness sake. No, I didn’t add the exclamation point. It’s there printed in the back of the book, with no last name to account for. Is “Stan!” someone like “Madonna” or “Cher”?

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Overall, I thought the story was entertaining and a nice read. Though the dialogue was nothing to write home about, the beautiful scenery and the wonderfully drawn action was what kept me going. In the end, isn’t that why we read adventure stories? If you want true Zelda storyline with no shenanigans, best to stick to the video games.

Akira Himekawa and VIZ Media’s The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess will release March 14th online and book retailers nationwide.

REVIEW: Two Capcom Franchises Battle for Supremacy in Street Fighter VS Darkstalkers #0

REVIEW: Two Capcom Franchises Battle for Supremacy in Street Fighter VS Darkstalkers #0

Arcade fighter fans won’t have a hard time recognizing Capcom’s respective Street Fighter and Darkstalkers franchises. Any and all storylines have been separate at best, surrounding their various video game iterations, cartoons, comics, and mangas. Last week however, the combat driven Street Fighter series and the spookier Darkstalkers series finally crossed paths in UDON’s new mini-series Street Fighter VS Darkstalkers.

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The comic by Matt Moylan and Hanzo Steinbech opens in the Darkstalker Dimension, where we are first see the likes of Jedah staging a coup. The art style is a cross between a cartoon and a manga, using a great deal of colors while maintaining a level of relative realism (as much as fighting demons and living mummy-kings can be real). The detail and shading work is well done, but perhaps a little more contrast with lighting and shadows and a little more texture would make it resemble an edgier comic of which the likes of the Darkstalkers franchise deserves. Street Fighter VS Darkstalkers #0 boasts 3 extra variant covers, the main story cover featuring Lilith sitting on a pile of Street Fighters, made by Edwin Huang, where the different variants are entitled “Homage Cover” by Panzer, “Poster Homage Cover” by Joe Vriens, and “Friend Pie Exclusive” also by Panzer.

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The writing is standard, but it’s not really the writing that fans come for with these respective franchises. The action feels just like one of their fighting games. The interest for this comic series will be how the two groups interact, and what plans Lord Jedah has instore for the Street Fighter characters.

Street Fighter VS Darkstalkers #0 is definitely worth a read for all Capcom and fighting game fans alike. Be sure to check it out and then watch for issue #1 which releases on April 5th of this year.

REVIEW: Adam Rapp and Mike Cavallaro’s “Decelerate Blue” Speaks Truth For Today’s “Go-Go” World

REVIEW: Adam Rapp and Mike Cavallaro’s “Decelerate Blue” Speaks Truth For Today’s “Go-Go” World

decelerate-blue-coverAdam Rapp and Mike Cavallaro’s graphic novel, Decelerate Blue, published by First Second couldn’t have been released at a more opportune time. Dystopian stories are seeing a renewed rise in interest lately, of which I personally believe can be thanked to the U.S.’s current political state of affairs.  Just last month, Amazon reported a rise in sales for George Orwell’s book titled 1984. The seventy-year old novel became the website’s number one top seller for several days following President Trump’s inauguration and subsequent “alternative-facts” regarding Sean Spicer’s claims of having the “largest audience” of any other U.S. inauguration.

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Timing aside, Rapp and Cavallaro have produced a fine piece of fiction which can stand on its own. The story revolves around a fifteen-year old girl, Angela, struggling with the fast-paced, consumer-driven world that she has grown up in. In this futuristic world, people busy themselves with all manners of distraction: Mall trips, advertisements around every corner, constant consumerism, and even increasing their own heartrates while the government is able to move on its own with little disruption. The only real concern for the people is protecting your “Guarentee,” seemingly a status symbol that marks you as belonging in this “go-go” world. If the tradeoff is being able to live in relative comfort, most people are glad to accept the “Go Guarantee, Go” doctrine.

The opening scene shows Angela sitting down to family dinner as her parents discuss their flavorless and non-consequential day, throwing around buzz words like “hyper” and “accelerate.” As Angela expresses a dissatisfaction  with the “Megamail” and the “really hyper movies” that run around fourteen-minutes long, her parents are concerned with her dissention.

As the female protagonist finds herself eventually in an underground colony of individuals who have decided to go “off-grid,” matters take on a new shade of dire for the future. In comparison to the “fastness” of the upper-world, the underground dissenters hold dear the ideals of slowness, of meditation, of slow breathing, and of living simply; everything that the “Guarantee Committee” speaks out against.

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At first, the art style and dialogue of the graphic novel threw me off. The simple black-and-white drawings with little detailing looked to me as lazy. Though as the story unfolded, I realized that the art was rather intentional. The fast-paced future in Rapp’s story prided itself with being succinct and efficient. Citizens were instructed to keep their sentences short and to the point, encouraging the use of contractions such as “can’t” instead of the slightly longer “cannot”, and avoiding as much as possible the use of adverbs. The art reflects this “to the point” attitude, being as efficient as it can to tell the story. There are panels where we are shown Cavallaro’s real artistic prowess, displaying the full range of emotions and thoughts that the main character is slowly awakening to. The writing was the same way as I had difficulty with how each sentence of dialogue ended with the word “Go,” of which I soon realized was intentional; another sign of how the Guarantee Committee was controlling the way citizens spoke, urging people to “use their Goes.” Luckily, we the reader get a reprieve from our “goes.”

What cuts truly deep about this story is that this where our society seems to be heading to now. We may not have chips imbedded in our arms, but we have cellphones that we check on average eighty-times a day. What’s to say we won’t be use to the idea of getting a tiny chip installed if it’s advertised as “timesavers” and “effortless.” There is always some product that some company is insisting we can’t live without and in turn always some technological device that we ourselves feel we could do better for if we had. This graphic novel truly is an important read, especially to that of our current generation of young adults who hardly know anything less that “instantaneous.” This is a great reminder that there are benefits to just sitting down, smelling the flowers, and perhaps taking the time in a world where there seems to be no time whatsoever to perhaps read a book.

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Check out Decelerate Blue at your local bookstore or online. While you’re at it, check out the rest of First Second’s library of great reads at their website, www.firstsecondbooks.com