Saturday, August 25, 2012

Reviews: VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS VOL. 4 and STYX AND STONE

VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS VOL. 4
Collects Vincent Price Presents Nos. 13-16 (cover dates November, 2009- March, 2010)
Writers: Adriano, Clark Castillo, Mel Smith, Paul J. Salamoff, and others.
Artists: Adriano, Najda Smith, Manuel Moreira, Osmarco Vallado, and others.
I was lucky enough to get free digital copies of several Bluewater titles to review, and this was the first one that I dived in to. I bought the first trade paperback upon release and pre-ordered Vol. 2 every time that it was solicited, watching it be delayed, Diamond cancelling it, etc. I believe that it was going to be called the Vincent Price Presents Omnibus at one point. In any case, Vols. 2-4 will see physical releases sooner than later thanks to Bluewater entering into a new distribution deal with Comic Flea Market.
I am thankful for that, because VPP offers an interesting take on the Horror anthology, which each issue being a complete story. The creative team changes with every issue, so things are never the same. The first story deals with Anton Phibes, a 1920s criminal who has left a trail of victims across the pond. Inspector Trout from Scotland Yard comes to New York in the final days of 1999 to help his nephew, a police detective, unravel the mystery and nail Phibes.
The second story deals with alternate realities and the schizophrenic mind. The third chapter/issue are about a charlatan antique dealer and a tale of revenge. In the final, and best story, a scientific breakthrough in the quest for a cure for Alzheimer's turns out to be the creator's undoing. This device, the Oscillator, “re-threads” one's memories using a photograph as the impetus for reliving the memory in every detail. When the creator relives his past, it proves to be his undoing in the present and, ultimately, the future.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.5 out of 5.
 STYX & STONE
Original graphic novel by Stefano Cardoselli
Detective Melvyn Stone and James Wyatt, whose spirits joined together when The One spared Wyatt from death, are on a mission to try and balance out good and evil. The premise is reminiscent of both Haunt and Brother Voodoo. Styx is a demon that wants the soul of Wyatt. There is also a serial killer afoot, and watching Detective Stone try to solve the case while dealing with his “shadow” Wyatt was interesting. I didn't see the ending coming at all. 
The writing in dense and there is a lot of story here. The artwork is not my cup of tea but conveys the story clearly. This isn't the best comic that I've read, but it is certainly worthwhile and provided me with some solid entertainment.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This section is normally reserved for ultra-nitpicky commentary on paper and binding. Since this was a PDF, I will instead comment on the digital reading experience. I had never read more than a few page sneak preview of any comic book on an electronic device before this. I spend too much time staring at screens and prefer the physical, escapist pleasure of reading comic books and their collected edition counterparts. Still, with zoom one can read a page in almost the same fashion as a regular comic book. It's not my cup of tea, but there are certainly a several advantages to this format. The clear advantage of digital is ease of storage and durability. No paper to damage, no bags and boards. Digital is ultimately not for me, though. I will gladly plunk down for a physical copy of this book even though I have a digital copy. I hope that publishers will at least offer print on demand books in the all-digital future.
 
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