From this number, uBC offers the reviews of Bonelli books made by Brian Scot Johnson (from the Khepri Comics Online site).
the reviews of numbers 1
editors: Marco Gremignai & Fabrizio Gallerani
Text and logo by Brian Scot Johnson
(c) 1998-1999 Khepri Comics Online
Dylan Dog #1 (of 6)
Dawn of the living dead
Tiziano Sclavi (Creator, Writer)
Angelo Stano (Artist)
Mike Mignola (Cover)
THE HYPE: A household name in Italy, BONELLI COMICS erupts into American Comics publishing through an exclusive deal with Dark Horse. DYLAN DOG is the first of 3 series set to come out, all 6 issues in length. But each black and white issue stands alone, fitting into a larger continuity if the entire series is collected.
THE STORY: Sybil Browning is arrested for killing her husband John with a pair of scissors, but nobody will believe he was already dead - a zombie come back to kill her. Well, nobody save Dylan Dog, Nightmare Investigator and his goofy comedian sidekick Felix! Together, this trio uncovers the sinister plans of the immortal Dr. Xabaras - but can they rid the Scottish town of his Zombies, without contracting the disease themselves?
THE WRITING: Sclavi really puts together a nice story. The pacing is crisp and adventurous, while the dialogue is candid and concise. Excellent stuff, full of word-play and slap-stick. It's hi-jinx and horror rolled together in one.
THE ARTWORK: Stano works well in black and white, in a style that looks somewhat like Bill Sienkiewicz meets Kevin O'Neill - realistic, yet angular and stiff - perfect for rendering the Undead. Plus, Mike Mignola wraps it all up in a powerful cover (marred only by the intrusive UPC code).
THE BOTTOM LINE: DYLAN DOG should not be overlooked! At 96 pages of zombies and horror, this book is well worth 5 clams. It should appeal to the HELLBOY and X-FILES crowds, while also attracting those who enjoyed the Paradox Press mystery titles.
Martin Mystery #1 (of 6)
Destroyers of the past
Alfredo Castelli (Creator, Writer)
Giancarlo Alessandrini (Artist)
Dave Gibbons (Cover)
THE HYPE: The second of three Italian series that Dark Horse is releasing here in the States, MARTIN MYSTERY is the Detective of the Impossible. This first issue sports a Dave Gibbons cover, and deals with an Atlantis discovery, and the men in black (not Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones) who want to cover it up.
THE STORY: Martin Mystery and his Neanderthal friend Java uncover a manuscript that looks to be a map to Atlantis, describing machinations that made the ancient civilizations more advanced than today's. But will they be able to explore this new find, or meet their end at the hands of the mysterious men in all black?
THE WRITING: Like DYLAN DOG, the strength of these Italian books seems to be in the creator / writer. Castelli has a wonderful world at his disposal, full of colorful characters and exotic locales. Martin Mystery is a likeable enough lead, and the almost silent Java is a blast. In fact, this almost seems like a perfect story for a European-style Metamorpho tale (though Mystery doesn't have power over the Periodic Table...). It's this sci-fi, archeology, adventure gig that's really a fun romp - Indiana Jones meets Adam Strange...
THE ARTWORK: The artwork here is inconsistent. At times, it seems very Jim Aparo, then Keith Giffen, back to Aparo, with some sketchy Joe Kubert-esque pages thrown in for good measure. But somehow the story is so entrancing that the ebb and flow of art doesn't detract from the tale - it's only during a casual flip-through that this seems so blatant.
THE BOTTOM LINE: For readers that are interested in stories before flashy art, this book, like DYLAN DOG last week, is absolutely incredible. It mixes genres and styles, hearkening back to the fun days of Golden Age pulps and Silver Age sci-fi. On some week when the usual stack is light, seek out a Bonelli Comic for something different, and something fun.
Nathan Never #1 (of 6)
Michele Medda (Writer)
Nicola Mari (Artist)
Arthur Adams (Cover)
THE HYPE: Bonelli and Dark Horse kick out "Vampyrus" the first issue of their third series, translating NATHAN NEVER from Italian to English. Can Agent Nathan Never (of the Alpha Detective Agency) uncover the truth behind the brutal slayings aboard the space lab Demeter?
THE STORY: Nathan Never is called in to help Commissioner Ritva Kaurismaki uncover the truth behind the slayings of an entire space lab crew, as well as a rash of similar murders that have occured since the Demeter's sole survivor, Vlad Shreck has been released. What is Shreck's secret? Why does he cling to darkness and shadows?
THE WRITING: Michele Medda is an incredible storyteller. Wow. This just slaps readers in the face, an excellent wake-up call for fans of the supernatural mystery genre. Blending elements and inspiration from sources like Giger's ALIENS, Mignola's HELLBOY, Carter's X-FILES, and Bram Stoker's DRACULA, this book grabs the horror by the throat and chokes it into submission!
THE ARTWORK: The artwork of Nicola Mari is a perfect synthesis of Mike Mignola and Frank Miller. The use of solid blacks and shadow-contrast make for an intriguing atomosphere. Wolves, snakes, flies and vampire bats - toss in a couple of frogs, and this would be HELLBOY. In fact, it's somewhat odd that Mignola provides the cover for DYLAN DOG, given that this is so clearly inspired by his work (and that of Alex Toth).
THE BOTTOM LINE: Bonelli has another hit-in-the-making here in America, if only folks will give them a shot. The $4.95 price might seem like a high-risk investment, but all of these Bonelli Comics (the first issues) have told engaging, hour-long, 100+ page stories. Tired of the same old thing? Sick of waiting for the next issue of HELLBOY? Try NATHAN NEVER.