Monday, January 30, 2012

What Lurks in the Longbox? #19

Omega Paradox Returns!

As most of you know, I recently reviewed the "zero" issue of Moonstone's new creator-owned sci-fi series Omega Paradox, both on this blog as well as in the pages of Comics Buyer's Guide Magazine.  This followed my interview with the entire Omega Paradox creative team (Mark Sparacio, Ian Ng, and Abe Rivera), which served as the cover story for CBG #1685.  Creator Mark Sparacio was kind enough to send me a review copy of the first issue of the ongoing series, so I was happy to get another chance to check out this exciting series!

Following up on the events from the "zero" issue, the alien team of Julian, Solarra, Malice, Gemma and Grinder continue their quest to rescue Quintoro and locate the Eye of Ancev.  As mentioned in the interview, the Eye of Ancev is an ancient artifiact that the team must find before it falls into the wrong hands, which would have catastrophic results.  Besides getting more familiar with the team members in this issue, we also learn a little more about Valerius, the leader of the group.  As mentioned on the Omega Paradox Facebook page, one of these characters "may hold the key to keeping the universe together," so the reader will feel a definite sense of urgency as they read each chapter of the series. 

The team uses the information provided by Quintoro to travel to a planet that promises to hold clues to the next step in locating the Eye.  However, some overconfidence from their earlier victory over their enemies may prove to be their undoing, when they fall into a surprise ambush in the Temple of Neak Prei.  Even worse, they find that none of their technology seems to work in this place. 

The issue ends with a great cliffhanger, with next issue's promise stating that "The artifact is within their grasp, if they don't fall for the distractions along the way!"  While Ian Ng gradually peels back each layer of the mystery, Sparacio and Rivera continue to deliver stunning art.  I'm looking forward to seeing where the story takes the team next.    

Dealers and retailers can also receive an incentive sketch cover variant free with the purchase of just 5 copies of an issue, which is a nice bonus for stores that support this creator-owned series.

Friday, January 27, 2012

What Lurks in the Longbox? #18

The Theatre #4
Writer: Raven Gregory
Artists: Robert Gill, Novo Malgapo, Michael Garcia 
$3.99, color, 29 pgs.
Zenescope Entertainment

Zenescope's The Theatre mini-series continues with an issue that gives plenty of food for thought, especially for those readers that are parents and/or guardians. 

As mentioned on the publisher's website, the series focuses on an old fashioned movie theater that releases horror on the victims that visit the theatre to watch horror movies themselves. 

"...This unassuming theater holds a deep dark secret, one that threatens the lives of anyone who dares enter it. And when an unsuspecting couple decides to visit the old movie house to watch some horror films, they soon will find that something full of horror is also watching them."

During each issue, the sadistic theatre owner "entertains" his victims by presenting a different horror tale.  In this issue, two best friends that live across the street from each other make a fateful decision for the sake of their families' safety, but one of the friends quickly realizes he may have made the worst mistake of his life. 

It also begs the question for all of us:  Could you commit a horrible crime if you felt it was necessary to protect your family?  Moreover, how long could you continue to justify commiting such an act if the guilt was driving you insane?  Secrets can be kept from those we love for decades, but you can never hide those secrets from yourself.

Things get worse between the two friends when one of them inevitably begins to crack under the guilt of what they have done.  The other man decides that his friend has become a weak link in their plan and needs to be dealt with permanently.  Unfortunately for him, things don't always go as planned.

The writing and art on this series is excellent, and besides being a horror story, it's also a great character study on how one person can influence another into doing a horrific act that they would have never committed on their own.  Episodes of the popular television series Criminal Minds often examine the concept of the "alpha," or the dominant member of a team of criminals, and this issue of The Theatre takes a close look at that type of relationship, while never losing the story's momentum.