Lady Mechanika Volume 1 Review by Eugene Alejandro

If you are a fan of Steampunk, please read the self-published comic book series created, written, and drawn by Joe Benitez known as Lady Mechanika. It’s a brilliant blend of action, mystery, supernatural, and of course Steampunk.

Lady Mechanika Volume 1 is a collection of issues #0-5, and is a good way to introduce comic book readers to the title character.

The main story in Lady Mechanika Volume 1 (issues #1-5) takes place in Victorian England in which Steampunk has become the dominant source of technology. A young girl from a gypsy family called Cirque Du Romani has been found dead and with mechanical experiments performed on her. Private Investigator Lady Mechanika decides to take on the case in the hopes of finding out who took and experimented on the gypsy girl as she believes the answer will help her discover who made her part machine as well.

Lady Mechanika #0 (The Demon of Satan’s Alley) is a stand-alone story that focuses on Lady Mechanika hunting down a small demon-like creator in Victorian England.

What makes Lady Mechanika a fun series is how much work and passion Joe Benitez put into both the writing and art of it as Lady Mechanika herself is an interesting and awesome character.

The main story of Lady Mechanika Volume 1 (The Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse) is a good beginning story arc as it perfectly introduces readers to the character and world Joe Benitez created (the same can also be said about The Demon of Satan’s Alley).

Joe Benitez has managed to write and draw the series very well as his storytelling brilliantly combines multiple genres into one whole series, and his artwork is phenomenal to look at as he draws the characters, and anything Steampunk-related fabulously.

The coloring by Peter Steigerwald is some of the best comic book coloring I’ve ever seen for it’s very bright and colorful, and matches well with Joe Benitez’s artwork.

The only thing that I wasn’t too fond of is that this story can sometimes become too wordy (meaning that the speech bubbles will have too much text in them). Don’t get me wrong. Josh Reed’s lettering in this is really good, and I understood that Joe Benitez wanted the characters to have lots of dialogue in order to develop them. It’s just that I’m not used to reading comics in which the speech bubbles have loads and loads of text in them.

So in conclusion, if your a huge fan of the Steampunk genre that want’s to read a good comic with good art in that genre, Lady Mechanika Volume 1 (and the whole series in general) is what I recommend to you.

I give Lady Mechanika Volume 1 4/5 Stars, and Two Thumbs Up.

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Descender Volume 1 Review by Eugene Alejandro

Published by Image Comics, and created by Jeff Lemire (the story) and Dustin Nguyen (the artwork), Descender is one of the greatest independent stories in the science fiction genre as it has beautiful art, amazing writing, great characters, and excellent foreshadowing and plot twists. This review of Descender is specifically of the the first trade paperback (which collects the first 6 issues) known as Tin Stars.

The plot of Descender Volume 1: Tin Stars is that 9 robots that are the size of planets called The Harvesters have been discovered orbiting the 9 planets in the universe that the entire Descender series takes place in. The Harvesters begin attacking the planets, and war ends up happening. The Harvesters vanish, and out of fear that all robots (as well as androids) in the galaxy could be connected to them, the 9 planets have become fascist societies that have destroyed and outlawed nearly every robot and android they can find. Years have passed and a android with the appearance of a very young male child named TIM-21 has woken up in a mining colony on a moon. Things seem alright for him at first, but bounty hunters suddenly appear to capture him. As it seems that all hope is lost for him as he gets shot by one of them, a robot who goes by the name of Driller wakes up from it’s slumber and kills the bounty hunters. While this is going on, on the planet Niyrata, a scientist named Dr. Jin Quon is recruited on a mission by two aliens named Telsa, and Tullis to find one of the androids of his TIM series that he created a long time ago before the Harvester war (that of course being TIM-21) because it’s believed that there is a true link to it, and The Harvesters. Jin, Telsa, and Tullis arrive at the moon that TIM-21 is, but end up getting attacked by Driller. They survive by stunning him, and finally find TIM-21 who’s still not active after the bounty hunter attack. They repair TIM-21 back on their ship, and tell him about why they need him. TIM-21 agrees to mission on the promise that they find his long friend who he considers to be his brother named Andy. Driller (who was also brought to the ship) is calmed down by TIM-21 to be friendly with Jin, Tullis, and Telsa, and the adventure of discovering the connection that TIM-21 has with the Harvesters is able to begin.

There is much more in this story, but I don’t want to say it because I really want to people to read this trade paperback without knowing way too much about it.

Descender Volume 1: Tin Stars is a good example of how to start an ongoing series as it doesn’t feel rushed in introducing the world, the characters, and the current plot.

Jeff Lemire has done a spectacular job at creating his own fictional universe, and his overall writing in Descender is very good as he perfectly allows the story to be filled with (like I said earlier) foreshadowing and plot twists that help make Descender fun to read.

The painted artwork by Dustin Nguyen (as I also said earlier) is beautiful to look at, and helps in creating Descender’s universe. This kind of art is also nice to see in a independent/creator-owned comic.

To me, Descender is the comic book equivalent of the Steven Spielberg movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence. While they are not entirely similar in characters, setting, and story, both are about protagonists that are androids with the appearance of young boys.

If you want to read a very good sci-fi story, please read Descender. It’s worth all your time and money.

I give Descender Volume 1 5/5 Stars, and Two Thumbs Up.

68 Volume 3: Jungle Jim Review by Eugene Alejandro

Just as the title suggests, 68 Volume 3: Jungle Jim focuses on a character who is named Jungle Jim that does his best to survive in Vietnam from both zombies and Vietnam soldiers.

While the previous two story arcs were set in the month of February, this story arc is set in March, and feels like a new jumping on point for readers. It’s set only in Vietnam where as 68 Volume 2: Scars focused on both Vietnam and the USA.

However, that doesn’t change my opinion that 68 Volume 3: Jungle Jim is one of the many reasons why Mark Kidwell’s is a spectacular writer of the zombie genre. This story arc has both outstanding storytelling, and outstanding artwork in the main story.

This collected edition collects issues #0-4 of the 68: Jungle Jim mini series, and while it features facts about the Vietnam War at the end of each chapter like Battle Scars had, there is no bonus chapter after the main story.

Jungle Jim #0 tells the main character’s origin story and while Mark Kidwell’s writing in it is great, it’s Nate Van Dyke’s artwork that didn’t impress me. I didn’t hate his art, but I felt that it didn’t fit the tone that 68 is known for (his cover art is really good though. It just didn’t work for me as interior art).

Jungle Jim issues #1-4 are the main story, and this is when the outstanding artwork of Jeff Zornow (the artist of Godzilla: Rulers of Earth) shows up. His art helps to carry the dark, violent, and gloomy tone expected in 68 (all thanks to Nat Jones).

One thing that I can say for sure from reading this story arc of 68 is that it’s by far the most violent and brutal arc in 68 that Mark Kidwell has written so far.  The zombies featured in this story look more disturbing with worms and maggots crawling all over their skin, an Elephant gets blown up by a rocket launcher, humans get chopped up, eaten, and blown to pieces with much more detail, and what I consider to be one of the best scenes in comic book history in which a Tiger shows up and starts slaughtering lots of zombies.

Overall, 68 Volume 3: Jungle Jim is a well-written and fun addition to the 68 series, and helps prove that the entire series is a good example of awesome zombie fiction.

I give 68 Volume 3: Jungle Jim 5/5 Stars, and Two Thumbs Up.

68 Volume 2: Scars Review by Eugene Alejandro

68 Volume 2: Scars is a good follow up to 68 Volume 1: Better Run Through The Jungle as it features even better storytelling that helps make the entire 68 series amazing.

This time, instead of just focusing only on Vietnam, the the zombie apocalypse stories jumps back and forth between Vietnam, and the USA. The USA portion of this story arc focuses on a Chinese couple living in New York Chinatown and their rescue and evacuation by the military.  The Vietnam story arc focuses on one of the characters from the previous story arc, Kuen Yam getting saved by a group of USA soldiers taking refuge in the Ton Son Nhat airport.

What’s so special about about this addition to 68 is that it changes the simple formula from just focusing on the characters that are trying to survive from zombies and Vietnam soldiers, to also focusing on characters trying to survive from zombies in the United States of America which is a good idea as it allows the reader to know what’s also going on outside Vietnam.

Mark Kidwell’s writing is still as phenomenal as ever as not only do the transitions from the focus on Vietnam and the USA work well, but he also did a good job at introducing the brand new characters that are featured in 68 Volume 2: Scars.

Nat Jones’s artwork is also still amazing to look at as he continues to draw both the humans and the zombies very well (as well as the action scenes and violence).

Another fun thing about this collected edition is that at the end of each chapter, there are facts about the Vietnam War in order to show what Mark Kidwell researched, and incorporated into the story (as opposed to just being extra features in the very end like in the previous collected edition of 68).

68 Volume 2: Scars also has one bonus chapter that’s written by Mark Kidwell and drawn by Godzilla: Rulers of Earth artist Jeff Zornow titled Hardship.

Just like the previous story, this one also has a lot of graphic violence which makes it not suitable for anyone who’s underage.

68 Volume 2: Scars is a fabulous continuation of Better Run Through The Jungle, and shows that Mark Kidwell is one of the best zombie writers of all time, and that his comic 68 is a really good zombie story worth reading any time.

I give 68 Volume 2: Scars Two Thumbs Up, and 5/5 Stars.

68 Volume 1: Better Run Through The Jungle Review by Eugene Alejandro

The Image Comics series 68 created by Mark Kidwell is a very unique and ambitious work of zombie literature as it does an excellent job of  combining fiction with a real historical event. The first story arc of 68: Better Run Through The Jungle collects the original one-shot, as well as the four-issue mini series.

The story in 68 Volume 1: Better Run Through The Jungle starts at the end of the Vietnam War, February 13th 1968. Just when it seems that things are going to be good, zombies appear in Vietnam, and to make the situation even worse, the zombie plague has also stricken the USA (and probably the entire world).  This story focuses on a group of US soldiers stationed in Vietnam doing their best to survive from zombie attacks, as well as enemy Vietnam soldiers.

Before I being to talk about how I felt about the story and artwork, the thing that’s important to know about this collected edition is that the one-shot is before the main story, and even though both them feature some of the same main characters and both drawn by the same artist, they stand alone from each other.

Better Run Through The Jungle is a good start to the entire 68 series as it brilliantly sets up the idea that zombies aren’t the only thing trying to kill soldiers in Vietnam.  Mark Kidwell decided to have the series take place after the end of the Vietnam War, and have Vietnam Soldiers included to be another threat for those trying to survive the zombie apocalypse that’s happening in the story.

The interior art for this collected edition of 68 by Nat Jones is outstanding and it perfectly fits the story’s violent, dark, and gloomy tone.

I recommend reading the bonus content at the end of this collected edition because it includes notes from Mark Kidwell in which he shows the facts that he used from the actual Vietnam War in creating 68. These are great because it shows that Mark Kidwell did very good research before creating this series.

More bonus content includes two short stories called Mouth of the Babe, and Sissy which while written by Mark Kidwell, feature artwork by Tim Vigil (the artist and co-creator of the independent comic book series Faust).

Another important thing to know before reading 68 Volume 1: Better Run Through The Jungle (as well as the entire 68 series in general) is that it contains high amounts of gore, headshots, dismemberment, zombies eating people, people being set on fire, and people being blown up. Which is the reason why I can only recommend it to anyone who’s 18 years and older of age.

Mark Kidwell’s 68 has done a spectacular job at introducing something new to the zombie genre by blending it with a real life event, and Better Run Through The Jungle is an awesome beginning to the series.

Please read 68 if you are a fan of Zombies, Comics, and the Horror Genre.

I give 68 Volume 1: Better Run Through The Jungle 5/5 Stars, and Two Thumbs Up.

My Top 10 Best Rule 63 Cosplays

(All the pictures belong to their respective owners)

This is my list of what I consider to be the 10 best rule 63 cosplays I’ve ever seen. To those that don’t know, rule 63 is a rule on the internet in which whenever there exists is a male fictional character, there has to exist a female counterpart of that character (same applys for an female character getting a male counterpart). Just to let you know, these choices are my own opinion. It’s okay if you don’t agree with some (or all) of the choices on this list, but it’s certainly not okay to respond to this list with unnecessary disrespect, hatred, and trolling. So please do not comment on this list that way. As with most Top 10 Lists, I will start from 10-1. With all that I said, let the countdown begin.

Raychul Moore as Kratos
#10: Raychul Moore as Kratos from God of War
Amie Lynn as Varric Tethras
#9: Amie Lynn as Varric Tethras from Dragon Age
Ryuu Lavitz as Inuyasha
#8: Ryuu Lavitz as Inuyasha
Vera Baby as Sonic the Hedgehog
#7: Vera Baby as Sonic The Hedgehog from the Sonic franchise
Stella Chuu as Kaneda
#6: Stella Chuu as Kaneda from Akira
Jennifer Van Damsel as Doctor Strange
#5: Jennifer Van Damsel as Doctor Strange
Jessica Nigri as Link
#4: Jessica Nigri as Link from Legend of Zelda
Tia Maria as Spock
#3: Tia Maria as Spock from Star Trek

 

Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay as Freddy Krueger
#2: Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay as Freddy Kreuger from Nightmare on Elm Street
VAMPY BIT ME as Frank Castle (The Punisher)
#1: VAMPY BIT ME as The Punisher

The Crow: Special Edition Review by Eugene Alejandro

James O’Barr’s The Crow is not only one of the best independent comics, but one of the best comics to ever exist in general.

If you really want to read The Crow, I strongly recommend the Special Edition from Gallery Books because it includes material that was never included in any other edition which helps make the story better.

The story of The Crow is that Eric Draven and his fiancee are killed by thugs. Eric has been brought back to life by a crow, and he now seeks revenge against the thugs to killed him and his fiancee. The reason why The Crow is an amazing comic is because it succeeds in being a good story about revenge, and has brilliant symbolism in it.

The black and white art by James O’Barr is really good, and perfectly fits the mood of the story.

The reason why James O’Barr made The Crow is because he wanted to deal with the tragedy of losing the woman he loved in a car crash caused by a drunk driver.

The Crow does a good job at representing James’s sadness as the main character Eric Draven (and him loosing the woman he loved) represents James O’Barr’s feelings towards the loss of his fiance, and how much anger and guilt he felt about it.

The Special Edition of The Crow is the version of the original Crow comic that I strongly recommend to anyone to who wants to read the original Crow comic because the Special Edition (as I’ve said earlier) includes material that was never in the previous editions such as pages that never got to be in the original editions.

The reason why the pages that I’m talking about are important is because they help add great symbolism to the story. An example of this is a part of the story where Eric is in a train and see a horse running in the grassfields. The horse ends up getting caught in barbed wire, and Eric feels guilty that he couldn’t do anything to save the horse.

The reason why this scene exists is because it’s symbolic to Eric’s guilt of not being able to save his fiancee from the thugs that took her life. 

I really don’t want to spoil the ending, but I will say though is that it’s very ambiguous.

James O’Barr’s The Crow is a true comic book masterpiece, and the Special Edition is the version that I highly recommend to readers who are new to The Crow. 

I give The Crow: Special Edition 5/5 Stars, and 2 Thumbs Up.