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.

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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.

Robert Venditti’s X-O Manowar Volume 1 Review by Eugene Alejandro

For anyone that want’s to start reading X-O Manowar (Valiants flagship title), Robert Venditti’s run is the perfect start. It is a brilliant revival of the character, and an awesome way for Valiant to come back to the comic book industry (along with the other titles they revived).

The first volume of Robert Venditti’s X-O Manowar run (which the story is named By The Sword) collects issues 1-4, and is a good first story arc to his entire run on the character.

The story begins in Italy 402 A.D., as we see the Visigoths fighting against the Romans in order to prevent them from taking over their land. The Romans prove to be too powerful for the Visigoths, so the Visigoths decide to retreat by order of their King (and Uncle to the primary protagonist).

Aric of Dacia (the primary protagonist of the entire X-O Manowar series and heir to the Visigoth throne) decides to disobey orders, and he (along with a few soldiers and his father) began fighting the Romans. While Aric is fighting the Romans, he see’s his father get stabbed by one of the Roman soldiers. Aric then decides to save his father, and retreat to the Visigoth camp. While at the camp, Aric’s father dies from the stab wound.

Afterwords, Aric hears news that the Romans are at the Western Barricade, and decides to join in on finding and destroying the Romans that are there in order to avenge his father. While Aric and the group of Visigoth soldiers make it to the Western Barricade, they see a transport ship and soldiers that they mistaken for the Romans. The Visigoth Soldiers and Aric attack the unknown soldiers, but end up losing due to the enemies advanced weaponry. Aric and the rest of the survivors are then taken to the transport ship and arrive at the colony ship in outer space.

Aric and another Visigoth break free and try to escape. While they are looking for a way to escape the colony ship, they see a ritual in which the beings that kidnapped them have chosen one of their own to wear “The Armor of Shanhara”. It seems to work at first, but the armor ends up killing the host. Aric and the other Visigoth are then caught by the strange beings, and are taken to a prison cell. 

Two days have passed, and Aric and rest of the Visigoths have been used as slaves by the strange beings in order to work in the gardens that the colony ship has. Aric tries to fight one of the unknown beings in order to help one of his friends, but ends up getting his left hand chopped off. Years have passed since then, and Aric has made a plan from him and the other Visigoth’s to escape the colony ship. The plan works, and Aric and the Visigoth’s begin fighting their way to freedom. Aric ends up encountering “The Armor of Shanhara”, the armor beings merging with him, it looks like he dies at first, but he wakes up now wearing “The Armor of Shanhara”.

Aric easily learns how to control the armor, he starts to understand the language of the extraterrestrial beings, and his left hand grows back. While the escape seems to be going even better now that Aric is wearing the Shanhara armor, the enemy detonate some bombs that end up killing all the Visigoth’s that were with Aric. This angers Aric.

Aric does what he can to fight off the beings that kidnapped him and the Visigoth’s, but he ends up taking too much damage from the enemies power. Before it seems like he’s going to die, Aric ends up teleporting to earth (specifically Rome, Italy). The Italian government see’s Aric as a threat, so they send their army to take him down. Aric of Dacia easily defeats the soldiers. After fighting the army, Aric discovers that he’s been aboard the colony ship for 16 centuries. He then flies off to somewhere else in the hopes of finding the answers he needs. I will not spoil the ending for it’s an excellent way to set up the next volume.

Robert Venditti has done a spectacular job on redefining X-O Manowar for the modern comic book readers as he has shown that a forgotten character can be brought back in the best way possible.

The art by Cary Nord is very detailed and fits the story well.

Robert Venditti writes Aric of Darcia as a very human character as the readers can sympathize with him as he has lost what he truly cared about. Which is why I think that Robert Venditti is a very good writer to be writing this character. He’s also done a great job on making X-O Manowar a truly awesome and memorable character that will be remembered in the comic book industry.

Robert Venditti’s run on X-O Manowar is a series that should never be missed, and X-O Manowar Volume 1: By The Sword is a good start. If your a fan of the old X-O Manowar series, a fan of the old Valiant comics in general, or someone that never read any Valiant comic, please start reading Robert Venditti’s X-O Manowar. You won’t be disappointed. 

I give Robert Venditti’s X-O Manowar Volume 1 5/5 Stars, and Two Thumbs Up.

The Autumnlands Volume 1: Tooth and Claw Review by Eugene Alejandro

If you are someone that wants to read a good fantasy comic, look no further. Kurt Busiek and Benjamin Dewey’s The Autumnlands from Image Comics is a good example of a phenomenal comic book series in the fantasy genre for it has well-written characters, great artwork, and an amazing story. The Autumnlands Volume 1: Tooth and Claw is a six issue story, and is an overall brilliant first story arc for the entire series.

The story in The Autumnlands Volume 1: Tooth and Claw is that in a world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals, also exists magic. The magic in the world of The Autumnlands is fading which will cause the world to die. In order to prevent this from happening, a group of wizards summon “The Great Champion” to help their world from facing destruction. I would like to explain more, but I don’t want to because I really want people to read this series without being overly spoiled about it.

What makes The Autumnlands an amazing comic is how well of a job it does at establishing it’s own universe (especially in the first volume).

Benjamin Dewey’s artwork is very detailed, and it show’s amazing work from someone that’s new to the comic book industry.

Kurt Busiek’s writing is very top-notch, and allows the story to be incredible with amazing characters, good twists, and lot’s of creativity. His writing is also very good because he allows The first volume of The Autumnlands to succeed in being a brilliant beginning to the entire series as it the characters and story are well-developed.

My one problem with The Autumnlands is the lettering. While the lettering itself is done well, the speech bubbles don’t have black lines around them. This means whenever there’s a panel with a white background, the speech bubbles blend in and it causes confusion for the reader as it looks like the characters are speaking in their mind rather than from their mouths.

What I really appreciate about the Autumnlands is the fact that a big name well-established writer like Kurt Busiek has allowed a rising talent such as Benjamin Dewey to collaborate with him. Hopefully this series will allow Benjamin Dewey to become the superstar artist that he deserves to be.

The Autumnlands is a brilliant fantasy comic and Volume 1: Tooth and Claw is a phenomenal first story arc. 

I give The Autumnlands Volume 1: Tooth and Claw Two Thumbs  Up, and 5/5 Stars.

Fairy Tail: The Manga Volume 1 Review by Eugene Alejandro

For anyone that wants to start reading manga, Hiro Mashima’s Fairy Tail from Kodansha is one of the many manga series that I recommend.

Fairy Tail is a fun fantasy story with great artwork, brilliant writing, and great humor that makes it perfect for everyone to enjoy. In order to start reading Fairy Tail, the best (and obvious) choice is start all the way from Volume 1.

Volume 1 of the Fairy Tail Manga collects the first 4 chapters of when it was being serialized in the Weekly Shonen Magazine, and is an overall great beginning for the entire series. What makes Fairy Tail Volume 1 work is how well it sets up the main protagonists, and how each chapter ends with the reader wanting to immediately read the next chapter (which is what almost all the chapters do).

Fairy Tail Volume 1 (and the whole series in general) is filled with brilliant comedic moments that add to the fact that it’s a story that doesn’t need to take itself seriously. It does however, have times when the story gets serious, but it happens so that the story can be engaging.

As I mentioned earlier, the artwork for Fairy Tail is really good and is very impressive for the first volume (later on, the artwork starts to become slightly even better with future volumes). I’ll go as far as to say that Hiro Mashima is the Frank Cho of manga as his art shows that he’s skilled at drawing Animals, Voluptuous Women, and Muscular Men.

Fairy Tail Volume 1 also has a very huge easter egg from Hiro Mashima’s earlier Manga Rave Master (I can’t spoil it. You have to read it to know what I’m talking about).

Before I forget to mention, the English language translation by William Flanagan is one of the best and proper translations I’ve ever seen in a manga, and I’m happy to see that this man is getting the work he deserves.

The bonus features at the end that volume 1 includes are very interesting with one of them showing that one of the main characters Natsu Dragneel was originally suppose to be a horned spirit instead of a human fire wizard.

Fairy Tail Volume 1 is a fabolous beginning for the whole series, and a start to a brilliant fantasy manga. 

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

Joe Keatinge and Sophie Campbell’s Glory Volume 2 Review by Eugene Alejandro

Glory Volume 2: War Torn which collects issues #29-#34 is a good continuation of Glory Volume 1: The Once and Future Destroyer, and is a brilliant conclusion to Joe Keatinge and Sophie Campbell’s whole run on Glory.

The reason why this Glory series only lasted for 12 issues (#23-34) is because it sadly didn’t sell well enough to keep going on. It does have a really good and surprising ending though (I won’t spoil the ending because I really want you to read this series).

The plot of Glory Volume 2: War Torn is that It’s discovered that Glory has a little sister named Nanaja. Nanaja hates Glory because she left to Earth many years ago. Nanaja decides to go to Earth in order to find Glory. Glory and Nanaja come face to face, and they begin fighting each other to a bloody pulp. They both recover from fighting each other and decide to put their difference’s aside so that they can stop their father Lord Silverfall from taking over the Earth. Glory, Nanaja, Riley Barnes, and the rest of Glory’s team find Lord Silverfall. But before they can stop his goal, he explains that he really doesn’t want to take over the Earth. The only reason why he did what he had to do was because he wanted to protect his family from a giant space monster called The Knight. Glory and the gang understand the situation and decide to help Lord Silverfall stop The Knight from destroying Earth.

With this volume being the last story of the entire series, Joe Keatinge does a fantastic job at ending his and Sophie Campbell’s run on the character of Glory.

Sophie Campbell’s artwork is still spectacular as we get to see her draw not only Glory and the supporting characters, but she also draws almost every other character that Rob Liefeld created.

The list includes Supreme, Suprema, Avengelyne, Diehard, Blue Shaft, Cabbot, Chapel, New Shogun, Red Shaft, Lethal, New Deadlock, Cougar, Sea Hawk, Battlestone, New Fourplay, New Tag, Even Newer Fourplay, Brahma, Doc Rocket, Byrd, Stass, Johnny Panic, Sharpsmooth, Seoul, Combat, Bloodwulf, Rubble, Psilence, Exit, Kodak, Wylder, Dash, Badbear, Kaya, Twilight, Troll, Dash, Thermal, Vogue, Badrock, Photon, Big Brother, Kaboom, Masada, Rein East, Coldsnap, and Riptide 5000.

I forgot to mention this in my previous review of the first volume of Joe Keatinge’s Glory, which is that even though it’s a phenomenal comic, it contains high amounts of graphic violence to which it’s not suitable for all ages.

Glory Volume 2: War Torn is an excellent conclusion to Joe Keatinge and Sophie Campbell’s Glory Run, and the series as a whole is a good example of how to re-define a character. 

I give Glory Volume 2: War Torn 5/5 Stars, and Two Thumbs Up.