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AWAKENINGS #1-#2 (8th Day Studios) -- This debut offering from 8th Day Studios hits some satisfying points, but misses others entirely.
AWAKENINGS is a murder mystery set in the near future and tells the story of TerraCorp Law Enforcement officer Spencer Straight as he's on the trail of Ray O'Connell, suspected serial killer. We're presented with the story as told by Straight, but what's not known at this time is what has happened to Ray O'Connell, nor how Straight's son was killed. Eric Hobbs pens a story with a lot of potential, but unless the rest of the series delivers one heck of a twist, it appears from these two issues that that potential won't be realized.
Hobbs does an excellent job of developing the relational tension in Straight's home life, but when it comes to the actual murder mystery and how Straight's son dies, that's where the story lacks, leaving too much to be assumed and not enough clues. To give credit where credit is due, Hobbs has found excellent additions to the creative team in penciler Gabe Pena and inker Chris Dreier. Pena has a clean, detailed style that fits the tone of the story and reminds me of Paul Pelletier, one of my favorite artists.
Overall, this is a decent start for a debut series and I see potential in Hobbs' writing and feel that given more time and experience, it will be realized. Grade: 3/5
SMALL GODS #1 (Image Comics) -- SMALL GODS is one of the best Image debuts since POWERS. We're dropped into a world very similar to our own except that in SMALL GODS, science has accepted the fact that psychic abilities are, in fact, real. In this first story, we follow Detective Owen Young as he experiences his precognitive abilities and how even seeing the future doesn't always change it.
Writer Jason Rand introduces mood, atmosphere, and information seemlessly in this first issue and the strength in the writing is refreshing to see. Just as strong as the writing is the art by newcomer Juan Ferreyra, who provides all of the art for the issue, from the detailed greytones to the washed tones for the precognitive scene. Ferreyra has an excellent sense of storytelling which is reflected in what many artists would consider unimportant details, making the story that much more rich.
SMALL GODS is no sleeeper hit, it's an outright must read for any fans of intelligent, dramatic, well crafted stories. It's a good thing #2 is waiting on me at my comic shop. Grade: 5/5
BLOODHOUND #1-#2 (DC Comics) -- BLOODHOUND was a big "maybe" for me. I'd heard of Dan Jolley and seen Leonard Kirk's work before and just wasn't sure if BLOODHOUND would even be remotely interesting to me.
Glad I was wrong because it is easily one of DC's best titles, even only at #2. Travis Clevenger was an Atlanta police detective (why are all of these reviews about police officers?) who had a perfect record for collaring metahumans, but is now doing time in the pen for allegedly killing his partner. Clevenger is being offered the opportunity to have his time reduced in exchange for his services in apprehending a serial killer who has his sights set on Clevenger's ex-partner's daughter, or was it Clevenger's ex-partner' daughter?
Jolley has created an excellent character that is fierce and brutal, but hides a past hurt as well as skeletons in his closet, skeletons that the serial killer could now be after. From what I've seen of Kirk's previous art, BLOODHOUND is the book that he was meant to draw. Dynamic storytelling, intensity, and characterization are delivered each issue with ease by Kirk and Jolley delivers a solid story from every angle, devoid of any gimmicks or attachments to the regular DCU. Grade: 4/5
-- Chris Hunter