Dream Master #1

Written by Jonathan Hedrick
Art by Luigi Barricelli
Colors by Rubin Curto
Letters by DC Hopkins
Editor Dimitrios Zaharakis
Published by Blackbox Comics

“There is a forgotten paladin who protects us from our nightmares while we sleep. Without him, we may never wake up again. He is the Dream Master. His curse is to guard our unconscious bodies from an evil entity who wishes to enter our reality, collapsing it for all eternity.”

Buckle up for a kaleidoscope dreamscape, featuring a protagonist with one of the coolest character designs in comics. Dreams are a scary place where monsters are real and if you die in your dream, you die in real life. Reading this story really hit me hard. I’ve known some people who have died in their sleep without much of an explanation. Seeing this comic explore that concept a bit is awesome. Tack on a bit of heroism from our paladin, Dream Master, and we’ve got one hell of a tale here.

Luigi Barricelli’s artwork is phenomenal and he spares no expense to background details and designing interesting aspects of the dream world and interesting creatures to be defeated and get a dreamer back safely in the waking world. I could stare at the beautifully insane dreamscape for hours and continue to find new and intriguing details. I expect we will see a lot more from Luigi in the years to come because this is top notch artwork.

Rubin Curto’s colors complement the lines and further flesh out both the beautifully fascinating of the world and the morbidly horrendous. The most impressive part about Curto’s work is the colors displayed in Dream Master’s mask and clothing. The vibrancy of the universe appears to be seen in ever changing colors of pinks, purples and blues. Outside of that, the colors are sometimes drab, but this tends to draw the attention to the characters moreso. As always, letter DC Hopkins nails it with both the dialogue and sound effects seen throughout the story. The use of different colors for Dream Master’s text makes me think that they must speak a very with a voice that is at times very ethereal and mystical.

This story hits hard, dives deep and really gets you thinking about beauty in the world and just how many times have you personally been saved by the Dream Master when you’ve awakened with the sensation of falling. If you’re looking for a story packed with action, monsters, horror and deep conversations about the nature of dreams, then get ready for Dream Master #1 releasing in shops on November 30th!

Rating: 9/10

Killchella #1 Review

Written by Mario Candelaria
Art by Serg Acuña
Colors by Katherine Lobo
Letters by Matt Krotzer
Edits by James Ferguson, Andrea Lorenzo Molinari
Published by Scout Comics

“A group of friends drive up from Los Angeles to attend an ultra-trendy music festival in the Coachella Valley desert. They soon face a bloody night of terror when a reclusive pop star making her big return after five years recruits her most fanatical devotees to assist in a massive human sacrifice ritual.”

Where do you go to get your socks rocked off? The Coachella Valley, of course. Where do you go to get your mind rocked, visually socked, and heart stabbed repeatedly? Killchella, of course.

Killchella is a really fun story that takes a dark turn rather quickly as the fanatical devotees of a reclusive pop star begin human sacrifices for a massive ritual. Mario’s dialogue choices feel so real and authentic that you immediately get immersed in the world. Mix that with some banging artwork from Serg Acuña and Katherine Lobo and we’ve got a hit new story with a well-built world.

This was a page-turner and nail-biter that spends just enough time letting you get to know and like a character before they get ripped right out of the story and meet their abrupt end. The suspense is building up nicely as we see followers leave behind a call sign to show who this kill was for and this builds up the real horror of the series.

Matt Kritzer knows how to make dialogue and sound effects pop off the page and into your ears as he brings life to the letters. Serg Acuña’s lines and character designs accentuate the horror and fun of this world. Katherine Lobo shows just how good of a command she has on colors with transitions between the bright shining colors of the valley during the day and the dark horror of the fanatical followers.

If you’re looking for a slasher that will give you some emotional whiplash and new fears about going to music festivals, definitely check out Killchella for one hell of a rocking time!

Rating 9/10

Cover the Dead with Lime #3 Review

Written by Jonathan Chance
Art by Hernán González
Colors and Design by Damián Felitte
Letters by Drew Lenhart
Published by Blood Moon Comics

“Trapped among a cellar of corpses and the living dead, Jack sinks below as his past treads upon the origin of his beginning and the fate of his son just a year prior.”

Just when I thought this comic couldn’t get more horrific, the creators take it up a notch in issue 3! Jack finds himself trapped and surrounded by corpses that are both dead and undead as he tries to rescue Annabeth from a basement full of death. Each scene feels so cinematic, with thoughtful shots and angles of the action and smooth scene transitions that you don’t often see in comics.

I can’t speak more highly of Hernán and Damián’s artwork as the line and color team hit a one-two horror punch with every single panel. It’s gritty, it’s bloody, and it’ll chill you to your bones. And when I say the transitions are *chefs kiss* level of good I mean it. Check out these examples:

If you felt a slight lull in the action last issue, don’t worry about that continuing here because it is nonstop action, fighting, running and trying to survive for Jack. We learn more about Jack’s recent past and how this lead him down the path to become a plague doktor and protector of the people, as his son tries to fight off infection. The real emotion poured into these scenes is truly felt on and off the page.

This is the sleeper horror hit of the year and you do not want to miss checking this one out. We’re still early in this 8 issue series, so I’m hoping to see some big twist coming up that will take Jack through a series of unexpected challenges and what else may happen with the monstrous undead.

Rating 9/10

Cover the Dead with Lime #2 Review

Written by Jonathan Chance
Art by Hernán González
Colors and Design by Damián Felitte
Letters by Drew Lenhart
Published by Blood Moon Comics

“Leaving Wivensea, Jack Teller, the lone plague doktor, has discovered the plague has shifted into an aggressive unearthly state of epidemic: the victims are coming back to life to further spread the disease. By request of Annabeth Williams, Jack sets out to the neighboring town of Arlington as Teller’s past begins to be explained.”

I’m still in the spooky season mood and want to talk about another epic zombie tale that is proving it deserves a spot at the table by bringing something new to the genre. This time we’re dealing with a plague causing a zombie apocalypse and our Plague Doctor has to have a bit of gray morality and become the person that fights off the zombies while protecting those that are well.

Jack Teller’s character gets more fleshed out as we see the origins on the plague in his city and the effects this has on his family. There are some great cinematic transitions between flashbacks and present time in the story that are skillfully executed by Hernán González and Damián Felitte. Speaking of the artwork, if you’re looking for visuals that are so bloody and gruesome that they would even give George A. Romero pause in seeing them, then you’re in the right place.

The story and the art take you to twisted places of horror inflicted not just by the zombies, but by humans as well. These aren’t your mom and dad’s zombies – they are smarter, more organized, and way more brutal than you could ever imagine. Our intrepid plague doctor is thrown into some impossible situations and forced to find a way out in order to get to his final destination. Jonathan and company tease us with a huge cliffhanger at the end of this issue that finds the doctor in yet another impossible situation of epic proportions that leaves me wondering how he will ever accomplish this task.

There is so much twisted, horrific imagery in this epic zombie tale thanks to Hernán and Damián’s incredible artwork. These are some of the most dreadful zombies I’ve seen depicted in comics and the setting of this world enhances that so much more as the world is in darkness without the technology of today. If you’re looking for horror, gore, and a book that won’t bore be sure to check out Cover the Dead with Lime!

Rating 8.5/10

Cover the Dead with Lime #2 is out now!

Dead Kingdom #2 Review

Written and art by Etienne Derepentigny
Letter by Jerome Gagnon
Published by Red 5 Comics

“After the shocking discovery and the loss of his fellow soldiers, Kain with the help of another survivor must find the strength to carry on and get back to his love Alice. Let’s hope he gets to Field Valley before the undead does. The second issue of a 5-part story arc, Dead Kingdom is a multi-layered saga that will explore a world where sorcery, brotherhood, and love collide with the rising nightmare of the living dead.”

This issue keeps the momentum going as we get a glimpse into what drives our protagonist Kain – his love for Alice. The world continues to be built up as we meet new characters who have had their own encounters with the undead and those that come out alive appear to be prepared to do what it takes to end the zombie apocalypse or die trying. Etienne takes time building up Kain’s character and then throwing him, yet again, into the fire – sometimes literally – to fight the undead and save the living.

For those that were a fan of the gore seen throughout issue 1, have no fear, because this continues to be a mainstay in the artwork as zombies reach their end. Etienne’s command of using colors for a purpose really stands out in this issue with complete background color swaps in moments of battle and as ways to accentuate the action taking place. This is a fantastic action-packed gorefest that keeps you guessing as the mystery builds around the origins of this plague that is causing the undead to exist. We get left on a cliffhanger that will leave you begging for the next issue to be released sooner rather than later.

As I said in my review of issue 1, the artwork definitely is giving us hints as to some important pieces of information. Take the axe that Kain now carries – it is intricately designed in a way that it stands out from the rest of the weapons used. I am loving that Etienne is utilizing the artwork to build more mystery in the story and does a great job of consistently letting the art tell the story when words are not needed. With the incredible linework and coloring, the reader is going to be drawn to the artwork anyway, so it becomes even more effective. I really enjoy thick lines so Etienne’s art style is awesome to see.

As always, Jerome Gagnon makes Etienne’s words shine like a knights armor using top notch lettering. The sound effect lettering helps the reader to feel more immersed into the world and helps the story to flow smoothly. This is a must read entry into the zombie genre. I cannot wait to see this story fully explore the magical side of the world that gets hinted at throughout the first two issues and could be a huge thorn in Kain’s side going forward.

Rating: 8.5/10

Dead Kingdom Issue 2 will be out 11/9/22!