rapid reviews

This is the final wave before the Summer Komikon. Bring on the zombies.

Salmon Komiks issue 4 (Salmon) — It has gotten to a point where these girls could actually point me out when I pass and hawk their wares to a suki. Not that I’m complaining, because these girls continue to improve in such leaps it’s rather hard to believe. The only yuri thing ever about them is still just the cover (to my somewhat disappointment, but never mind me…), but their pacing of story, their inking, their paneling, their story timing is all worth the being begged to buy. All are funny in their ways. “U-turn”, all yaoi and yuri fangirls will relate to. “Interview” is their crazy Taglish take on Fifty Shades of Grey, and yes it’s as crazy as that sounds. “Flipperman” is the best illustrated of the three. All of them are examples of a threesome gaining confidence in their work, which is getting even better for it.

Catch! (Richard Arguilla) — These are the compiled comic strips usually released on their Facebook page. When compiled like this it’s easy to understand why Catch! has the following it currently has. All the characters are loud, funny, impulsive, and very likeable for being loud funny and impulsive. Their reactions to situations are very Pinoy, if taken to their logical extremes. The art style is quite a likeable simple one, too. Chard tends to veer toward being very colorful in his language, the only reason why you’ll probably never find this in the spreadsheets, but Catch! is quite the crazy and funny comic series to follow.

Codename Bathala 2012 special STGCC exclusive edition (Jon Zamar / Judd Abinuman) [Point Zero] — This is the version for the Singapore major comic convention, and is a rerelease of the first issue from 2011. Which is okay, because I’ve been seeing this but haven’t gotten around to reading it. Michael Divinahustisya is wheelchair-bound due to an accident as a pilot. He defends the peace now as something of an iron-man-type hero. This of course leads to a straightforward superhero Western-type story, even with the differently-abled-ness being a twist. But Captain Divinahustisya is a nice enough fellow with spunk and grit and nerve that you do want to follow his exploits. If Western-type is your thing, this is definitely up your alley.

West Side: Atsay is Born (Ariel Atienza) — West Side has had several compilations already. This is the one I picked up from GTMACC, not really knowing where to start. In contrast to the title, only several comic strips in this set are actually about the new househelp. THat househelp, though, is quite the character. West Side is about family, school, and work, especially when you’re a Filipino who started life in the States then had to migrate back to the Philippines. With the unique but not-so-unique outlook that it has, it finds humor in the clash of cultures, and that very well. The colored versions are more interesting to look at, but in their published form they’re nice to have in close succession.

Ambush: RIP; Indieket exclusive; Team-ups (Andrew Villar) [Core Studios] — By day Amber is your not-so-average smart girl who goes to college; by night and on-call she is agent Ambush, who fights crimes, otherworldly things, and such. The Ambush series is hard to keep up with, especially if (like me) Manila Bulletin annoys you something, erm, basta, ugh, and you just get it for the Sunday classifieds. This is a shame, really, because Ambush does have a good running comedic story about it, driven by a female lead that is more than able to kick butt and take names. This is also why the compilations are a welcome thing to have, because you get a chance to see the spreadsheet comics in close succession, thus understanding the running story and all the Komikon and pop-culture in-jokes that the series has. Of course color is lost to the self-publishing, but this is not a major loss compared to now knowing all about Ambush, what makes her tick, who her friends are, and what her parents were. It’s the compilations that made me take a second look at this comics I can’t understand, and will now follow like most other people.

Kamote Chunks volume 1 (Greco Milambiling) [Core Studios] — This is the alternate side of the guy who makes Aha! Hule! for the spreadsheets, and is unapologetically in-your-face. It’s a compilation of strips dealing with the raunchy and the risque, in a style that is surprisingly modern and updated. Yet for all the mature-ness of the content in these pages, there is a degree of restraint here that actually makes the puns hit harder than if it were all-out. Most hilarious is the final comic, the insight into the various kinds of Fine Arts students.

Battle Axe (DarkChapel) [Silent Sanctum Manga] — It is unfortunate, really, that my phones, while they do have cameras, don’t have negative effects. Chapel created a white-on-black comic that, while it is perfectly understandable as is, is even better in the negative-effects setup he intended. Battle Axe is this rather irritating hero that goes takes things into his hands without asking, thus creating havoc wherever he goes. Despite himself, he still gets things done, good kinda wins over evil, and all that. It’s more irreverent than Mona, but also less humorous than Mona.

Shatter space (Nelz Yumul) [Dark Bulb] — I got this one from Vinyl on Vinyl at The Collective, and I think it did make an appearance in an earlier Komikon, I just didn’t get a copy. Spaceman Slash Commando has traveled the vastness of space to re-locate the planet Ang Mundo after its destruction some time back. He may have found it, but will also have to deal with aliens and other spacemen that have already inhabited it. He does this with such crazy and absurd flair, using his Astig-Gun, that it hard to take seriously….and that is the point. Space Mando and his author just want to have fun. Nelz Yumul does this with an incredible and dynamic action-packed art style, one that makes it occasionally hard to understand the panels, but one that is hard to ignore and put down.

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