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Double Review Day: Last Blood & Hero by Night

June 7, 2008

Today will be a treat I suppose. It’s double review day! Get excited! I dislike exclamation points. Nothing is this “!” exciting.  Not that exclamation points are all that exciting either. Moving on.

As I said on Wednesday, I will be reviewing two comic series that I found through Wowio

The first one up is Last Blood, a zombie/vampire series about zombies versus humans and vampires. Interesting premise? I think so.

The comic was written by Bobby Crosby, Owen Gieni, and Chris Crosby. I’m fairly certain that the Crosby boys are not related. At least, I couldn’t find any information that indicated that they were.

Bobby Crosby actually has two other series on Wowio at the moment. If you want to check them out they are +Ev,  a comedy comic about a man who quits his job to play professional poker,  and Marry Me, a soap opera about a pop star who marries a fan at random. Really different from the gore of Last Blood. Crosby also has a web-comic called Pupkin

Owen Gieni and Chris Crosby are the authors of the web-comic Sore Thumbs. They have placed a record 21 issues of this comic on Wowio. The most that I’ve seen after that is six. They also teamed up on another series that you can find on Wowio called WickedPower. Owen Gieni is involved in a series called Dead Sonja: She-zombie with a sword. Chris Crosby is involved in God Mode and XXXena: Warrior Pornstar.  I’m not going to lie reading the titles and descriptions of these three’s other comics made me really question how they were able to come up with a decent zombie/vampire series. Realizing the hilarity that could ensue from a porn Xena I did check that one out. Eh, don’t expect comic nudity despite the title and the story is rather slap-dash and a bit confusing.  All of the series that I’ve mentioned you can find on Wowio if you’d like to check them out.

The Comic: The intro was a bit long and I apologize but now we get to the actual review of the comic. 

Wowio provides the first five issues of the series and despite the brevity of the storyline Crosby and crew manage to shove a lot of information and characters into those five issues. Each issue is 25 or more pages with 01 being 36 pages in length. 

The story follows the idea that the world has become overrun by zombies and the last of the living are holed up in a high school in the Midwest. During a zombie attack two strangers help them fend off the ravenous horde. These strangers it turns out are vampires who are there to protect the humans from the zombies, being their food source and all. 

The series provides the requisite amount of action and conversational scenes to move the story along and despite an over-abundance of characters it does focus enough on a few to give the reader someone to care about. 

The Good: The art is great for a black and white comic and Chris Crosby does a great job with the action sequences. Zombie murder needs to be fun and gory; Crosby does nice work in those scenes. The dialogue is alright and does give a sense of the characters. There are enough explanation moments to give the reader understanding and like I said, you do end up caring for a few of the characters.

The Bad: However, there are way too many characters in this series. At last count there was at least 10 different vampires plus the 20 or so humans in the school. Despite the focus on a few of the characters you still feel like you’re following 10 people and this is only the first five issues. 

The dialogue is decent but at times a little stilted and it feels like something you’d hear out of b-movie about Vietnam. 

Honestly, I can forgive the character dilemma and the dialogue makes it semi-campy, which is always fun, but what I take issue with is the story. I enjoyed this comic but, from page 1 to the last page of issue 05 there is an entire history, character introduction, epic-battle to end all battles, good guy v. bad guy showdown, and a twist ending to one story line.  

The story line is an interesting one. I believe that firmly. However, I strongly believe that it is the kind of plot that could have taken up at least 20 issues. Just look at the Nightwing series with his “mafia” days that thing was like 10 issues long. 

Maybe you’re more forgiving than me of abrupt plot lines. I really do wish that they had fleshed it out a bit more even though it does mean that I wouldn’t be able to finish it for free. 

My Recommendation: If you like zombies, check it out. If you like vampires, check it out. If you like both together, definitely check it out. It’s good for a quick read but not much more than that. Mostly I just can’t get past my love of zombies. So, I’d like to say 3/5 but realistically it’s a 2, more probably a 1.

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

Next up is a series that I did enjoy and hope to keep reading despite some recent news that the author is stopping the series. 

This particular comic is by DJ Coffman. He runs through Platinum Studios, an independent studio that has used his Hero by Night series as a mainstay of their company for quite some time. He came onto the scene in 2006 by winning a competition put on by Platinum. Coffman began offering Hero by Night in book form in 2007.

Sadly, according to his blog, he is taking a break from producing the comic with Platinum due to late payment issues. Apparently, Platinum is having a rough couple of months. He wants to begin self-publishing or putting it online again but did not seem very sure of what was going to happen to the series. 

However, that doesn’t stop what he has produced from being good. Coffman describes the comic as being a homage to superhero comics of yore and it is a fun read.

The Comic: Again, Wowio provides the first five issues, plus some creator journals to bring the total to seven. They are a kind of “origins” set-up for the series. 

In a brief synopsis, a young man in his early 20s takes over as property manager of a run down apartment building for his dad’s real estate company. In the basement of the building he stumbles across the lair of the original Hero by Night (yes, that is his name). At first greed causes him to try and sell the Hero’s gear and journals on E-bay. One of the Hero’s old nemesis’s found out about the sale and kidnaps the man’s best friend who is selling the gear. Thus, he must decide whether or not to become the new Hero by Night. 

It’s a cliché and used plot line but I think that Coffman’s art and dialogue show that he has really had fun with this series. The Hero by Night’s powers follow something of a Green Lantern style. The powers are provided by a ring that the hero wears and this ring makes him almost literally invincible. For example, he gets shot by 10 rockets during one battle and comes out sans any scratches, marks, or even a smoke cough. 

My recommendation: I realize that not everyone likes the “tried and true” formula but I really enjoyed the first five issues of this series. However, if you don’t like cliché super hero stories and want something a little more innovative than you are not really going to find it here. As I stated earlier this is an homage to hero tales of the past. If you like comics where you can clearly tell that the author is having fun than I think that you’ll find Coffman’s offering very enjoyable. 

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ 

 

Scyo.

I do appreciate comments and critiques. So, if you want to rail on me for bad grammar, please do. If you want to say that I’m doing well, do that as well. Suggestions? Same thing. Tips? Yep, same thing. If the comments won’t work e-mail me at syscholar[at]blazemail.com 

 

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2008 11:55 am

    WOW, you’re actually a college student? Jeez. Um, basically everything you said about “Last Blood” was either wrong or retarded and you couldn’t even figure out who made it. Chris and I are brothers and that’s well documented all over the internet — insanely easy to google in two seconds. Chris had nothing to do with the writing of “Last Blood” other than co-creating the basic premise. I’m the sole writer of “Last Blood.” Then you talked forever about other comics we’re involved in and got the credits wrong on those as well. Then your biggest complaint is that you want a super slow moving, boring story, instead of an action packed, fast paced one. It’s incredible. Journalism student, jeez.

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