Tag: clem robins

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    The Shadow Knows, But He Ain’t Telling

    On the surface, it’s a match made in vigilante heaven. The two greatest crimefighters of the 20th century–Batman and The Shadow–have both stricken fear in the hearts of their adversaries for more than 75 years. Both have solved more mysteries than Scotland Yard and the Gotham Police Department combined.

    But when they initially meet in Batman The Shadow #1, it’s not as bats of a feather, rather as enemies. The two come to blows almost immediately. Mostly because it looks as though The Shadow, who supposedly died of cancer in the 1960s, has returned to Gotham City to kill one of his descendants. Coincidently, the deceased also bears the name Lamont Cranston, just like The Shadow.

    Unraveling the Lamont Cranston Mystery

    Batman auteur Scott Snyder teams with Steve Orlando to provide the compelling mystery. Neither is a stranger to the Dark Knight. And their fascination with the character continues. However, this time they are tying Bruce Wayne’s grandfather, Patrick, into some kind of relationship with Cranston. And the writing pair give Shadow fans something to enjoy as well. Batman interrogates Cranston’s known associates–all of whom are well past their crime-fighting prime.

    Artist Riley Rossmo is a great choice to draw this six-part limited series. Interestingly, he gives Batman a more rooted feeling, while The Shadow is more ethereal. The result is a combination of Jim Lee and Paul Pope pencils, which is a welcome addition to the Caped Crusader’s looks.

    If they’re anything like the premiere issue, the next five installments should be must-haves. Like Batman yells at The Shadow after their first fight, “Bats live in the shadows.”


    Batman The Shadow #1, DC Comics and Dynamite, Released April 26, 2017, Written by Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando, Pencils by Riley Rossmo, Colors by Ivan Plascencia, Lettering by Clem Robins; $3.99.

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    Review: Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #2

    Review of Lobster Johnson - Metal Monsters of Midtown #2

    Lobster Johnson Metal Monsters of Midtown #2In the second installment of Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown, the Lobster continues to dive – this time, literally – into the mystery behind the recent scourge of giant robot attacks on Manhattan. His search takes him underwater, off the city docks, where he discovers a freshly sunken automobile. What he finds therein further perplexes matters: an emaciated, bug-eyed corpse, clearly human, but with ghastly facial deformities.

    Following this discovery, we are reacquainted with Frieda Aliyev, the “ritzy dame” who is somehow connected to the earth-shaking events of late. Upon being identified by one of the Lobster’s crew, she attempts suicide, but is saved at the last second by Johnson. Back at her apartment, Frieda comes clean, revealing an intimate association with the corpse found earlier that evening. She recounts her husband Emin’s chance happening upon an ancient Hyperborean worksite while spelunking in China. B.P.R.D. fans will quickly notice the site’s resemblance to the one that, years later, spells disaster for Munich in The Warning story arc (in which the Lobster plays a spectral role). Emin’s encounter endows him with the genius — and mania — of those ancient engineers, inspiring him to construct the titanium terrors that are now wreaking havoc on the city.

    It turns out Emin was not working alone, rather, he brought in two partners to share in his maniacal enterprise. With one robot down and two to go, Frieda offers a suggestion of how the Lobster can defeat the remaining mechanical monstrosities. Moments later, their conversation is interrupted with a “KRASH!” that sets things up for the story’s concluding chapter.

    Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #2, Dark Horse Comics, released June 29, 2016, written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, art by Tonci Zonjic, colors by Dave Stewart, letters by Clem Robins, cover by Tonci Zonjic, $3.50.

    Review by James Florence

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    Review: Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #1

    Review of Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #1

    Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #1Mike Mignola and crew take us back to 1936 for another installment in the escapades of Lobster Johnson, the shadowy, hard-hitting vigilante spawned from the Hellboy Universe. This time, he must take on a trio of giant robots wreaking havoc on Manhattan — easier said than done, it turns out, as even his most high-powered artillery can’t phase the titanium titans. In lieu of using brute force (Lobster’s preferred method of dealing with baddies), he, along with his capable team, must take to the streets to unravel the mystery behind this mechanical menace.

    Returning artist Tonci Zonjic’s drawing style perfectly fits the period setting, imbuing the story with an authentic old-fashioned flair. In particular, I appreciated his versatile and liberal use of emphatic sound effects, with plenty of well-placed BLAM!’s and KRASH!’s. The giant robots are also really cool: big, clunky, steampunk-inspired beasts that look more like light fixtures with appendages than anthropomorphic automatons. Colorist Dave Stewart compliments the artwork with characteristically tasteful hues, resulting in a read that’s not only intriguing story-wise, but pleasing to the eye.

    Woven throughout the principle storyline is a side plot involving a well-to-do woman who seems excessively agitated as she listens to Cindy Tynan’s live reporting of the robot attack over the radio. Later, during the Lobster’s second encounter with the mammoth machines, we follow her from her upscale Manhattan apartment to a rundown part of town, where, wielding a revolver, she enters an unassuming shack. A moment later, a shot rings out; simultaneously, the robot that Lobster is straddling goes down cold. Clearly there’s a connection – but what could it possibly be?

    Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #1, Dark Horse Comics, released May 25, 2016, written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, art by Tonci Zonjic, colors by Dave Stewart, letters by Clem Robins, cover by Tonci Zonjic, $3.50

    Review by James Florence

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    Review: Hellboy in Hell #9 and #10

    Review: Hellboy in Hell 9 & 10

    hellboy in hell #9Hellboy in Hell saw comic legend Mike Mignola’s return to the helm of the Eisner Award winning franchise he created in 1993. Hellboy in Hell picked up right where Hellboy: The Fury left off. It was originally intended as a monthly ongoing series, but after premiering with a story arc in December 2012 that continued through four monthly installments, the chapters came sporadically, with many of the issues containing new arcs that wrapped up by the end of the issue. In December 2015, Mignola announced the series would end with issue #10.

    Hellboy in Hell #9: The Spanish Bride opens with three demons mournfully lamenting the events that have brought us to this point in the story. All hell has literally broken loose and it has fallen to Hellboy. Of all the Princes and Lords of Hell, only Beelzebub lives, locked away in his tower. These demons have each lost their masters and have little choice but to swear allegiance to Beelzebub, whom they detest. The only chance they have of being accepted into Beelzebub’s fold is to come bearing gifts, and they decide Hellboy’s head and hands should do nicely.

    hellboy in hell #10The three ambush Big Red and surprisingly get the upper hand on the demon solely responsible for the fall of Hell. Just when it appears that Hellboy is about to lose his head, a character from Red’s past appears and motivates him to stop messing around with these foot soldiers and return to the task at hand. The issue is a perfect setup for the finale.

    Hellboy in Hell #10 is narrated by a minor demon who witnessed the final chapter of the Fall of Hell. As he relates the story, we’re taken through a series of flashbacks that show the final battles for control of Hell.

    Hellboy has assumed his true form, a red giant, clothed in flame, massive horns atop his brow. Leviathan and Behemoth have risen to challenge Anung Un Rama, and both have fallen. Beelzebub and the remaining demons of hell have one shot left. They have decided to call into the pit and summon their lost brother, Pluto, from the depths of Hell.

    Mike Mignola’s minimalist style is used to great effect in both the story telling and the artwork of this story. It’s easy to follow the most important elements of the story when there aren’t any extraneous details. Every written word, every drawn line has great import to moving the story forward and bringing the reader into the world created by Mignola.

    Hellboy in Hell #9, released 5/4/2016, $2.69, Hellboy in Hell #10, released 6/1/2016, $2.69, published by Dark Horse Comics, written and illustrated by Mike Mignola, colors by Dave Stewart, letters by Clem Robins

    Review by Brendan Allen.

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