Casa Nostra by Chris Sarracini

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Casa Nostra by Chris Sarracini is another example of comic books stretching the boundaries of what mainstream comics expect them to be. Beautiful artwork and good storytelling make this independent graphic novel an interesting read.

It is 1933 and the gangland wars are rampant in Chicago. On the outskirts of town four women run a safe house where the criminals can lay low. But when one of those criminals turns violent and betrays the women, everything changes. Now the girls are out for revenge against the most violent and brutal men in Chicago.

I loved the artwork in this comic and the characters where in depth and the story was interesting and engrossing. A crime noir told from the point of view of the Moll. If I have a knock against this graphic novel at all it would be in the pacing. It moved slow in parts, but the overall tale will keep you flipping the pages!

A pretty good read.

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The Death of the All New Wolverine – issue #33

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All New Wolverine #33 ushers in the death of the Wolverine. No, not Logan, he is just coming back from death right now. No this time, Marvel is killing off Laura Kinney, X-23, the New Wolverine.

Far in the future, Laura Kinney has a degeneration in her genetic code, a problem in the original cloning process. None of the other clones has this issue but Laura will be dead in just months. But before she dies she wants to complete one last mission. To find one of her clone sisters; Bellona and make one final kill.

Is this Laura’s Old Man Logan storyline? Why is she only infected? Why does she need to kill this one target and why now?

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Perhaps the bigger question is why does Laura have to die at all? After the tour de force that was the movie Logan, all things X-23 should be on a huge rise. Perhaps with the return of the original Wolverine, there just isn’t enough room for more than one Wolverine in Marvel. Wished they took that to heart when it came to Spider-man. Seriously, who gives a crap about Spider-Gwen?

That is too bad, X-23 deserves better. But I will admit, issue #33 is a really good start to this story.

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Pride of Baghdad by Brian K Vaughn

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Pride of Baghdad by Brian K Vaughan proves once again why Vaughn is one of the more creative and original writers in the comic book world or any genre in literature. This graphic novel tells the tale of the fall of Baghdad through the eyes of four lions, but in doing so it also tells the tale of survival and tragedy in a war torn country.

It is the spring of 2003 and the bombing of Baghdad has begun in earnest. The bombing not only takes a human toll but in the lives of all living creatures. As the bombing ends, the gates and enclosures on the Baghdad Zoo are destroyed and four lions roam the destroyed streets of the city. A male, two females and a cub. What they find is a world they could never have fathomed. What follows is a battle for survival in a jungle where they are far from the Kings.

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Based on actual events, Vaughn has infused his tale or war and the casualties involved with a heart rending tale of tragedy, loss and innocence. This is a morality tale. This is an adventure. This is the simple and stark reality that winning a war does not always make you the victor. It also, and without apology, shows that freedom comes with a heavy cost.

I have not gone deeper into the story or the characters because to do so would rob the reader of the pleasure of reading this graphic novel. Because to enjoy the brilliance of this book, you have to pick it up and open it.

A terrific book. Enjoy.

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The Damned Vol 2: Ill-Gotten by Cullen Bunn

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The Damned Vol 2: Ill-Gotten gains by Cullen Bunn is a reminder why I fell for this supernatural horror detective noir comic when I read Vol 1. Cullen Bunn is one of those comic creators whose witty originality is lost on the mass produce Marvel and DC lines and falls perfectly into the realm of the independent comic.

In prohibition era America, crime families are actually being run by demons that only some people can recognize behind their human disguises. Eddie is a mortal who can recognize them but Eddie is not quite what he seems either. First of all he isn’t exactly mortal. Eddie can’t die. He can, but he doesn’t stay dead for long. He keeps being brought back, as long as someone takes his place and this is usually when the demon mob bosses want something. And that is never a good thing.

Eddie runs his club called the Gehenna Room with a strict no demons allowed policy. But when an old friend shows up, the demons come looking. Eddie knows that not all is as it seems and he finds that he cannot trust anyone, especially not his friends. Its cross and double-cross and though Eddie knows he cannot stay dead, he would like to not have to die over and over again.

This is what comics do so well and what other mediums fail at so miserably. The blending of genres and the creation of a world that moves seamlessly. The Damned is Sam Spade. It is The Untouchables. It is what Lucifer tries to be and every B-Movie (by the way I love B-Movies!) on the Sci-Fi channel tries to be. And it does it without breaking a sweat.

Ill-Gotten is about love, about devotion. about betrayal and about one man’s desire to save the woman he loves. It is also about demons and killing and hillbilly moonshiners and well, you get the picture.

Cullen Bunn may be one of those comic book stars whose shine you do not see as of yet but that is only because he works in a galaxy you can’t see yet.

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