The Short Stack

As we grind our way through various comic series, we often think to ourselves, “Maybe we should tell people what we thought of this book.” Then memories of writing countless reviews where it’s a struggle to come up with more to say about a book for the sake of well-rounded paragraphs snap us back to reality. No more, we say! This ongoing column will offer you quickie reviews with simple ratings of comic books. We will point out details that stood out and made a book awesome or details that made it feel crappy. We’ll help you shop for better books because we love you. (Well, we like you a lot.)

A - Awesome
B- Better Than Most
C- Crappy in Some Parts
D- Doo Doo Mostly
E- Everything is Not Awesome, At All

Baby Teeth #1: Aftershock Comics. Donny Cates - Writer, Garry Brown - Artist, Mark Englert - Colorist, Taylor Esposito - Letterer

Donny Cates is on a tear. Buzzkill was the first comic I read written by Cates (it was a collaboration with The Toadies drummer Mark Reznicek) and I loved it. That put Donny on my radar and I made sure I picked up everything he was writing from that point on. Baby Teeth is his latest and it starts off very promising. A teenage girl is recording a message for her newborn son, recounting the story of his birth. Her contractions cause earthquakes and once the child is born we get the feel that he is pure evil. There’s a lot of mystery in this first issue that makes me want to definitely pick up the next one. This should be your first Aftershock Comics book! Rating B+

The Unsound #1: BOOM! Studios. Cullen Bunn - Writer, Jack T. Cole - Illustrator, Jim Campbell - Letterer

Xerxes cosplay!

Xerxes cosplay!

Any horror fans out there need to get to know Cullen Bunn and quickly. He writes what I consider the best horror comic out there, Harrow County (with amazing art by Tyler Crook), and in the past month he’s thrown two new horror titles at us (see the Regression review). The Unsound starts with our lead, Ashli, getting a new job at a psychiatric hospital that appears to be haunted. I love when new series kicks off with an iconic character or look and The Unsound introduces Xerxes who walks around with a mask made from a paper plate. Cullen ran a little Twitter contest for those that created a Xerxes mask - and that’s me with my own take! I’m really excited to see where this series goes. Rating: A

Reborn #6: Image Comics. Mark Millar - Writer, Greg Capullo - Penciler, Jonathan Glapion - Inker, FCO Plascencia - Colorist, Nat Piekos - Lettering/Design

I’m a sucker who will pick up everything that Mark Millar puts out and since this was his first team-up with Batman artist-extraordinaire Greg Capullo, this was a must have. After waiting for many months for this Millar-sized final issue, I was a bit disappointed by the finale and overall series. The story explains about where we go when we die; it’s not heaven but this magical place with fairies, dragons and mystical powers.  Aside from cliche' silliness, like our heroine's anthropomorphic childhood cat who's now her enemy because she neutered him, it was an overall uninspiring read. Capullo’s art worked great with this subject but I wasn’t happy with the overall story. Rating C-

Regression #2: Image Comics. Cullen Bunn - Writer, Danny Luckert - Artist, Marie Enger - Colorist/Letterer

Calling all David Cronenberg fans! This is the second book by Cullen Bunn that I’m looking at this week and it’s not for the faint of heart, especially if you have an aversion to bugs and maggots. Adrian Padilla is having terrible hallucinations; bugs pouring out of his friend's eyes and a creepy, naked man ripping his chest open. To no one's surprise, it is affecting his life. His best friend Molly tries to help by getting him some regression therapy but that just seems to make everything worse. If you’re looking for a new gross-out horror book definitely pick this up, as it seems to be a promising start. Rating B