Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'American Monster' #1 by Brian Azzarello and Juan Doe



★★★★☆ (4/5)

If you're familiar with Brian Azzarello's work you know besides his wonderful mainstream work, his relaunch of Wonder Woman was epic, he likes to embrace his dark side. In his creator-owned comics, Azzarello enjoys examining what makes people do horrible things to each other and then puts them on display for the world to see while he laughs maniacally behind a keyboard somewhere, I assume. 

Making his first title for the up-and-coming publisher AfterShock Comics, Azzarello is given free reign to create some gritty magic with 'American Monster.' It's another smart move by AfterShock who's been adding one big name after another to their stable of creative talent. It's like a fantasy team of the industry's best and brightest. Not surprisingly Azzarello and artist Juan Doe deliver a great first issue. 

The book is about more than one thing and ultimately an expansive look at this small Midwestern town where the characters we meet aren't all that likable and either in outright danger or its just bubbling at the surface. The thugs who kidnap a married couple in a financial deal gone wrong reveal no one is clean. It turns into a bloody mess from the moment they break into the home and visciously punch the wife in the face. 

Elsewhere, a group of kids hanging out on a playground appear innocent enough until it's not. Here is where Azzarello shows off a great sense of timing and pacing that elavates the shocking reveal. A girl on a see-saw is going up and down. She's conversing with friends. It all seems fine- wait, what did she do that for? Something seemed off- who's that guy? And Juan Doe, as he does throughout the issue, soaks the scene in dark colors, resulting in a menacing undertone of unease as we watch these kids in what should be a safe situation but is anything but. 

At the center of the issue is the mysterious man with a scarred reddish face who blows into town. He comes across some obnoxious idiots at a rapair shop but appears stuck in town for a while. A war vet who doesn't appreciate the kindness of strangers but his time in the military gets a flashback. Again Dow does a great job of painting these scenes from a different palette. Black, brown, hazy sandy colors transport the reader back to the frontline of the war. We're not sure of his motivations just yet but he's certainly got the attention of the townsfolk. 

'American Monster' allows us the chance to spend time in the dark scary regions of Azzarello's mind and it's gripping and irrestible to look away at even the most uncomfortable scenes. In Juan Doe, he's found a kindred spirit who loves to wallow in humanity's filth by framing this world in heavy lines, unique layouts, and bold designs. Who is the monster in the title? The thugs? The scarred man? Or is it Azzarello himself? I don't know but I can't wait to see more of this thrilling new series. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

All-New Mythological Thriller GOD COMPLEX Coming from Top Cow

Writers Paul Jenkins (Inhumans, Wolverine: Origin) and Bryan Lie team up with artist Hendry Prasetya (Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers) for an all-new mystery thriller in GOD COMPLEX, an ongoing series launching from Image/Top Cow this October.


GOD COMPLEX is set in the futuristic city of Delphi where a young digital-forensics investigator named Seneca finds himself embroiled in the bizarre murders of three church acolytes. Guided by his cryptic mentor, the Ruler named Hermes, Seneca uncovers a stunning conspiracy and a mystery that will turn his entire world upside down. 

Join the GOD COMPLEX team on a unique vision of a digital future powered by mythological gods. GOD COMPLEX is the first original toy line-up from Jakarta-based GLITCH. It features sci-fi and high-fashion reimaginings of mythological gods from various beliefs/regions like Greek, Egypt, China, and Japan. The toys first released in 2012 and are available for purchase at www.glitch-store.com. GOD COMPLEX is created by Brya…

REVIEW: 'Crosswind' #2 by Gail Simone and Cat Staggs

Chicago hitman Cason Bennett and mousy Seattle housewife Juniper Blue have inexplicably switched bodies and lives. A mysterious stranger has called them each to tell them they have to play the game. 'Crosswind' by Gail Simone and Cat Staggs is a juicy satisfying crime fantasy that sizzles with intrigue.


CROSSWIND #2 Story: Gail Simone Art / Cover / Variant Cover: Cat Staggs Published: July 26, 2017 Diamond ID: MAY170671 Digital : $3.99 Print: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
The mind-breaking crime fantasy continues! Slick Chicago hitman Cason Bennett and mousy Seattle housewife Juniper Blue have inexplicably switched bodies and lives, and a heartless, relentless killer seems intent on killing them both. Don't miss this edge-of-your-seat thriller by fan-favorites GAIL SIMONE and CAT STAGGS!
Cason and Juniper are forced to play their new roles in their new bodies. Juniper has to clean up a bloody crime scene from the end of the last issue and Cason has to make a killer dinner for Jun…

REVIEW: 'Genius: Cartel' #1 (of 5) by Adam Freeman, Marc Bernardin, and Rosi Kampe

"Seventeen-year-old Destiny Ajaye took on the LAPD in her South Central Siege and paid for it-not with her life, but with her freedom. Now, Destiny is sequestered in the Madrasa Institute, a government school for prodigies. But will she use her gifts to wage war at the military's behest-or is she already planning another revolution?"


GENIUS: CARTEL #1 (OF 5) Story: Adam Freeman, Marc Bernardin Art / Cover: Rosi Kampe Colorist: Brad Simpson Letterer: Troy Peteri Published: August 16, 2017 Diamond ID: JUN170655 Digital : $3.99 Print: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
As you can imagine it hasn't been an easy transition from street-level revolutionary to government think tank subject. Destiny Ajaye is frankly too smart, too many steps ahead of the class to find the black ops simulations stimulating. It also drives her crazy that her field boss doesn't listen to her suggestions resulting in disastrously executed operations. But what is a teenage prodigy to do when your only ch…

RAVEN YEAR 2 Begins: The Teenage Lesbian Pirate's Quest for Love and Vengeance

RAVEN is a pirate revenge adventure, a soap opera full of messy teenage love stories, and about a dozen coming of age stories set on the high seas. Think "Legend of Korra" at sea with an all female cast.


This series has one of the most diverse and exciting casts of any comic on the market. It's full of action, adventure, and revenge - but even more full of love stories and soap operas. RAVEN is one of the first YA comics with an openly gay leading lady. But on top of that, it has a cast of women who represent a wide spectrum of the LGBTQ community. It's equal parts soap opera and actual opera.
Writer Jeremy Whitley hopes readers experience "Joy, connection, and love" when reading this book. He goes on to say that "It's a book where different types of people are heroes than what we're used to, especially in YA fiction. I feel like everybody should be able to find at least one character they either relate to or fall in love with in the pages of t…

KICKSTARTER SPOTLIGHT: 'Death Metal Zombie Cop' Issue #1 by Felipe Smith

A Superstar LAPD Rookie (Marco Miranda) & his disillusioned Training Officer (Rhonda Riley) discover that a corruption-plagued Justice System and the tightening stranglehold of the Drug Cartel are just the tip of the iceberg when L.A.'s deadliest Urban Legend reveals itself to be very REAL.


The creator who brought Robbie Reyes, the All-New Ghost Rider, back to life for Marvel is back with another high-octane adventure with his Kickstarter passion project, Death Metal Zombie Cop. If the title alone doesn't grab you then check out the amazing art. 


DEATH METAL ZOMBIE COP is an Action/Horror comic originally conceived in Japan (shortly after ending serialization of PEEPO CHOO with Kodansha) & now made in Los Angeles. It's infused with Dark Humor, real LAPD situations, West Coast slice-of-life antics, and over 5 years worth of development and HEART! 

ABOUT THE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN
"All pledged funds will go towards DEATH METAL ZOMBIE COP #1 production costs and bac…