Reviews: Graveyard of Empires #1, Deadlands: The Devil’s Six Gun, Invincible #80


I’m running a day late this week, so sorry about that. However, I did get a HUGE review of Congress of the Animals up on Tuesday, so I think that excuses me Find that review here.

As my “day job” is an evil night/third-shift schedule (11 p.m. - 7 a.m.), I can never make it downtown during the week, because I mostly sleep during daylight hours, like a Vampire. However, due to the magic of the internet, and publishers who are living in the 21st century, I now get sent digital copies of many the week’s releases. Not all publishers do this, so you can mostly expect to see stuff here from: 2000 AD, Archaia, BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics, Fantagraphics, Image Comics, Oni Press, and Radical Comics.

If you work for a publisher, and want to get your books to me for review, please email me at [email protected]!

This week’s reviews (click the title to skip to the review):


When I first read the premise for this series, I was a little worried that it would be treading some of the same ground covered in ’68, another current Image series, which tells of a zombie outbreak during the Vietnam war. However, I am glad to report that this is quite a different beast, though both are equally brilliant! Mark Sable spends the bulk of the issue introducing us to the main characters, and setting the scene for things to come. He spares no details in depicting the horrors of modern warfare - the squadron of soldiers that the story centers around have to deal with all manner of threats, including suicide bombers, insurgent attacks, and hostile villagers and local officials. In the midst of all this, morale is at an all-time low and there is dissension brewing in the ranks. It’s a grim and gritty opener to the series, and things are only going to get worse for the soldiers, as the dead begin to rise. Paul Azeceta’s artwork is a brilliant fit for this story, and really helps conveys the “war is hell” aspect of the story, with dark and gloomy artwork that gives the book a claustrophobic feel - really making you feel like you are trapped in this desperate situation alongside the soldiers.

I haven’t played the Deadlands RPG before, in fact, I’d never even heard of it before this. However, I picked this one-shot up on the strength of the creative team involved. David Gallaher and Steve Ellis are the team behind DC’s award-winning High Moon comic series, and certainly know their stuff when it comes to ‘weird westerns’! The duo do an amazing job here, telling a smart done-in-one tale about a man tasked with building a gun that could kill the Devil. What starts as merely a job quickly becomes an obsession, as the man becomes enthralled by the mystical powers of the enigmatic Ghost Rock. The tale is brought to life through Ellis’ gorgeous artwork, which gives the story a feeling of adventure and mystery. One of his best scenes is the one where the power of the Ghost Rock is first harnessed, and horrifying fanged skulls float out of the green mist filling the page. Creepy stuff!

The solicitation doesn’t mention this, but there is also a back-up story in the comic, written by C. Edward Sellner and with art by Oscar Capristo. Titled “Showdown”, the story tells the first part of a four-part story about the early adventures of Billy the Kid as a werewolf hunter. It’s a fun little story, which is set to be continued in the other three Deadlands one-shots.

Despite how it looks from the cover image and solicitation text, Dinosaurus only actually turns up in the last few pages of the issue. However, the results of his actions really are quite catastrophic, literally leveling Las Vegas - though some might say that’s not entirely a bad thing! The rest of the issue deals with Mark getting back into the flow of life as a superhero, catching up with old friends, and dealing with the fall out of last issue’s bombshell. The latter was really my favourite part of the issue, as it features some wonderful emotional scenes between Mark and Eve. Robert Kirkman’s writing really shines on character work like this, turning Invincible from just another superhero book into something truly special. Ryan Ottley’s artwork on the issue is colourful and vibrant, giving the book a fun, larger than life look, which suits the story perfectly.

Oh, I also want to say that I really like the fact that Kirkman’s had Eve put on weight over the year that Mark was gone. It’s a great little detail that helps us imagine the depression that she’s been dealing with while he was absent. It’s also nice to have some realistic looking women in comics for once. I’m sick of seeing covers featuring women with ginormous boobs and impossibly thin waists!

Related posts:

  1. Mark Sable and Paul Azaceta Return to Image with Graveyard of Empires This June
  2. Graveyard of Empires #1 Sells Out and Gets a Second Printing!
  3. Image Explores the Deadlands
  4. Reviews: Super Dinosaur Origin Special, Soldier Zero #8, and Drums #1
  5. Reviews: Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors #1, Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth #3, Irredeemable #25

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