COMIC TITLE: G.I. Joe #1 (2019)
Chris Evenhuis – Artist
Paul Allor–Writer
September 18, 2019
IDW Publishing

IMG_5406 (1)Spoiler Alert Warning: There could be potential spoilers in this article so reader discretion is advised. As a child, one of my favorite action figure lines and cartoon was the G.I. Joe series which followed a special forces team that battled a terrorist organization named Cobra. In the comic book world, we know that G.I. Joe had it’s first run with Marvel Comics (155 issues plus 28 issues of a side G.I. Joe title) before making it’s way back to life with Devil’s Due (for 79 issues). Devil’s Due lost it’s publishing rights from Hasbro and the comic then moved to IDW Publishing for 243 issues before relaunching G.I. Joe once again for this very day and we have it here for you in G.I. Joe #1. The issue was written by Paul Allor (Uncanny Inhumans) and illustrated by Chris Evenhuis (Wynonna Earp) and it features a world where Cobra is ruling and the G.I. Joes are fugitives in this strange world. Things get even worse for the Joes when their fearless leader Duke is executed right from the start by Major Bludd leaving a giant sized hole in a team that is already dwindling. One man who goes by the name Tiger witnesses the execution of Duke and he wants to make a change so he seeks out Scarlett and the rest of the Joes, but a bombshell is about to shock their world even more.

IMG_5405So let’s get one fact down right now and that is no matter how many weapons the Joes had int he cartoon series they never killed anyone. And I mean EVER! The fact that Stalker freaks out in the comic after killing a Viper is kind of hilarious to me and I think it was a fun way to poke fun at that by Paul Allor so kudos to him for doing that. I also want to give him kudos on the execution of Duke because that really came out of nowhere and I was like, “holy sh** they killed Duke!”  So once again kudos to Paul for throwing that monkeywrench (no pun attended) into the comic right from the start. I will also give him credit because he did the one thing that I enjoy seeing and that is he left a bombshell right at the end which will make me come back for more. When I read a comic, I need something that entices me to want to come back for more and he accomplished that. My one issue with the comic book itself is that I am not 100% a huge fan of the artwork. Now, I am not saying that it’s terrible with that statement, I think it’s really good just not great. It has it’s moments when it shines, but there are some panels that I was like well that’s OK. Other wise, I really liked the comic book and if you are a fan of G.I. Joe then I suggest you check this one out because it may surprise you. Check out my grades below:

Grades:

Story/Plot: A+

Artwork: A-

Character Representation: A+

Entertainment Value: A+

MFSL1-442-2On Sunday September 15, 2019, the rock world and the Boston music scene lost one of it’s greats in Ric Ocasek who was one of the singers and rhythm guitar player of Boston rock band The Cars. The Cars were a very important band to the identity of Classic Rock in the city of Boston and they were a band that I grew up on. For today’s album of the week, I have decided to cover the band’s fifth studio album in Heartbreak City because it was the album that introduced me to the band. The album was released on March 13, 1984 which marks this as the 35TH anniversary of the album’s release and it was produced by famed producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange who was known for producing albums by AC/DC and Def Leppard to name a few. The album once again featured Ocasek (Rhythm Guitar and Vocals), Ben Orr (Bass and Vocals), Elliot Easton (Guitars and Vocals), Greg Hawkes (Keys and Fairlight CMI programming), and David Robinson (Drums). The album was a huge success and it bounced the band back as it peaked at number three on the Billboard Top 200 Charts making it only the second album to reach this high on the charts (Candy-O also peaked at 3). The album would also chart at number 12 in 1984 and 49 in 1985 on the Billboard Top 200 year end charts as it sold over four million records.

the-cars-heartbeat-city-6-cd1. Hello Again– A new wave rocking hit, but it definitely was experimental as well for the band at the time. I always loved the key and synth opening of the track and we’ve seen the vocal intro effect before with Def Leppard. 5/5

2. Looking For Love– Even though this wasn’t a single, I always thought this was an awesome song for a deep cut on the record. It does a nice job treading on the line of ballad and synth pop single very well as she looks for love. 5/5

3, Magic– The second single released off the album and a number one hit on the U.S. Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart. You can hear the Fairlight CMI programming being put to use in the beginning before the keys take over. The track has a great charging rock sound to it complete with awesome bass riff from Orr. The track is all about when you find that true love, everything feels like magic, but it doesn’t last forever. 5/5

4. Drive– This is probably my favorite song on the whole entire album and one of the band’s best ballads. This is a track that is sung by Benjamin Orr and his bass riff dominates this great track. The track is all about how anyone can say they love you, but there is one true person who will “drive” to the ends of the earth for you. 5/5

5. Stranger Eyes– I love the intro to this song because it’s so 1980’s with the synth they are using I love it. I could see this song on a soundtrack to an 80’s horror film. A very bass driven track that is once again sang by Orr. 4.5/5

the-cars-602962-2-cd6. You Might Think– The very first single released off of the album that peaked at number one on the US Billboard Top Rock Tracks. I love the balance of it being a rock track with the keyboard playing and the nuances of the synth playing. 5/5

7. It’s Not the Night-a keyboard and synth heavy track that was written by both Orr and Ocasek and it features vocals from the both of them as well. When it comes time for Orr to sing, it turns into more of a rock song with the keys and synths still there. 4/5

8. Why I Can’t Have You– another Keys and Synth drive track whose tempo is a little slower than the other tracks that has that person in distress kind of mode (described as a lush ballad) especially since the song is about a guy who wants this woman, but he can’t have her. 5/5

9. I Refuse– a more upbeat synthpop track from the band in this track about a guy who refuses to be used by someone. 4.5/5

10. Heartbreak City– The last track on the album that was originally titled Jacki on the US cassette release. It’s a synthpop track that is a little bit on the darker side as it has to do with two lovers who can’t seem to be together because Jacki is obsessed with big lights of Hollywood or Heartbreak City. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– I love this album and always have since the first time I heard it and that was thanks to MTV who used to play music videos. There’s really only one song on the album that I never really cared for, but other than it’s a solid release. I am giving the album 4.75 stars out of five for a final grade. R.I.P. Ric Ocasek

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The album cover when you unfold it

Enslaved-E-SmallWhen one thinks of metal and the country of Norway, the first thing that comes to mind for most is the Black Metal genre that essentially took off from there. Very few realize that Black Metal is not the only genre that breeds bands to the world as we have seen in the 80’s with TNT or even in the last 15 years in Extreme Metal band Enslaved. So, I have decided that for this week I would check out an album from the band and I thought that I would start with E which was released on October 13, 2017 via Nuclear Blast Records and the album featured Grutle Kjellson (Vocals/Bass), Ivar Bjørnson (Guitars, FX, synthesizers, Piano), for the last time Cato Bekkevold (Drums),  for the first time Håkon Vinje (Keys, Organ, Vocals), and Ice Dale (Guitars). While it may have failed to chart in the US, the album was a success for the band as they took home the 2017 Spellemann Award for best metal album which is Norway’s equivalent to the Grammy beating out Satyricon. The album may only contain six songs total with two bonus tracks depending on what version you get, but it’s 50 minutes of intensity.

CS663979-01B-BIG1. Storm Son– It’s back to their Viking roots with this track as you hear the chants, the horses, the blowing of the horn, etc before a very melodic riff comes in to this 10 minute epic. Ivar explains to Loudwire that the track, “Storm Son’ deals with the duality of man and nature, how important and basic that relationship is.” The track is incredible especially with all the tempo changes and changes in vocal style.  5/5

2. The River’s Mouth-an in your face double bass smashing track that pays respect to Bathory and kicks ass as Ivar explains, “The theme here is your relationship with the “future”, as we describe it: The sensation of time moving along is a construction of our brains – physics claims all time to already have been “rolled out”; try wrapping our brains around that one!” 5/5

3. Sacred Horse– An 8 minute epic from the band that features one part with the organ playing that makes it sound like a heavier version of Deep Purple. The track is great and it has to be talking about Sleipnir who was an eight legged horse that was ridden by Odin. 5/5

R-10839532-1507817949-3685_jpeg_grande4. Axis Of The Worlds– I feel like this is a track that is referring to the fact that no matter what you do whether in life or death there will always be good and evil. I know they make references to Eihwaz which is kind of like a tree that is considered the passage way to another world through death. 4.5/5

5. Feathers of Eolh– a very entrancing track from the band that is another eight minute epic that takes you on a journey. The last track may have spoken about the Eihwaz and what it is, but I feel like this track talks about the other side. 4.5/5

6. Hiindsiight– I love how they transition from melodies right into doom like metal so easily and it especially is true on this track as they able to bounce back and forth. I love the different instrumentation that is present int his track as well. It was a bold move adding the sax to the track, but it works. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– I had honestly never listened to Enslaved before this experience and I have to be in honest in saying that I absolutely loved it because their seems to just be so many layers to this band that makes them more than just an Extreme Metal band. Kick back, relax, and just let the music take you on the journey. I am going to give the album 4.8  stars out of five for a final grade.

COMIC TITLE: Deadly Ten Presents Blade The Iron Cross #1 (2019)
Yusuf Idris & Jason Strutz – Artist
Shawn Gabborin & Brockton McKinney–Writer
September 11, 2019
Full Moon Comix

JUL191943As you have already seen from some of my past selections, I am a huge fan of anything that is horror related. Whether it be an original idea like Ice Cream Man, Teether, or a comic based off of an existing entity like this week’s comic book of the week in Full Moon Comix Charles Band’s Deadly Ten Presents Blade The Iron Cross #1 which apparently is the first in a series of ten stand alone comics that Full Moon is going to be putting out. The very first issue is based off of a guilty pleasure horror series that I love in Puppet Master, but it focuses on one character in particular as it was written by Shawn Gabborin (Dollman Kills: The Full Moon Universe) while the art was done by Yusuf Idris (Grimm Fairy Tales). When the comic starts, it looks like Andre Toulon has either put the finishing touches on Blade or he is amusing the boy making him think they are sleeping. Well, everyone is except for Blade who infiltrates the Nazis and finds out that they have plans for his master. What is Blade going to do about it and can he stop them?

D10_BLADE_BodegaBox_900webThe comic is actually very good and I have to give the guys at Full Moon a lot of props because it felt like a scene straight out of one of the Puppet Master films. Essentially, if I am going to the comic book shop to pick up a title like this then what is contained inside this one is exactly what I want and what I am looking for. I loved the story and how it played out because there were so many twists and turns within one group that it kept you guessing and never fear because the action scenes were amazing as well. When it became time, the action scenes were almost as gruesome as the films and sometimes it looked better in my opinion. Yusuf Idris did an awesome job stepping in and making it as close and true to what we have seen in the past. One of the things I liked as well was the Tales From The Crypt like intro we get in the beginning and the end because it felt like we were watching a show. Credit belongs to Jason Strutz and Brockton McKinney for the intro and outro with Tapehead who strings us along into our journey into terror in the smallest package. I am interested to see what the rest of the ten comics will be, but we do know what the next one is and I look forward to it. So, if you love horror and Puppet Master then check it out and check out my grades below:

Grades:

Story/Plot: A+

Artwork: A+

Character Representation: A+

Entertainment Value: A+

cattle decap singleIn a world where bands come and go just as quick as the fad sub-genres of metal come and go, no other has had the kind of staying power as San Diego’s very own Extreme Metal kings Cattle Decapitation. There are quite some few that slip under the radar, but these guys have been grinding it out on the road for years and fans of the band should be excited. I say that because the band has just announced that they are going to release their long anticipated ninth studio album Death Atlas on Black Friday in November via Metal Blade Records. It’s the band’s first effort since 2015’s The Anthropocene Extinction and it promises to be epic and we here can not wait to hear it. So to get us ready for the album’s release, the band has unleashed the single One Day Closer To The End Of The World. The track itself is punishing and in your face as it should be as they grind your bones into ash. The album has some incredible pre-order packages that you definitely need to check out and you can do that here. You can catch the band in Europe for most of the fall just before they return to the states for The Geocidal Tendencies Tour with Atheist, Primitive Man, ands more that leads right into the release of the album. Check out the single below:

Opera Snapshot_2019-09-08_212205_www.facebook.com

take what you wantI know that this is going to be a highly contested entry due to the backlash the track is already getting online. The worst part about the backlash is not about how good or bad the actual song is, but due to the lack of knowledge on his fan base. I want to first start out by giving Post Malone a lot of credit for putting the Godfather of Heavy Metal Ozzy Osbourne on his track and while it’s not a new concept, it still deserves a lot of props. The song that I am referring to is the track Take What You Want which is featured on Post Malone’s newest album Hollywood’s Bleeding. The track not only features Ozzy Osbourne, but it also features one of hip hop’s hottest artists in Travis Scott as well. The track starts off with that semi-acoustic, clean channel guitar playing that is very similar to Ozzy’s Mama, I’m Coming Home, but it is definitely not. I meant more in the way the track starts, but Ozzy kicks off the song singing the chorus before Post Malone takes over with the verse and then it’s forward from there. The track itself is very catchy and Ozzy does an amazing job lending his vocals to the track. The one thing that I am wondering though is who is the guitar player at the end that shreds an amazing guitar solo because it sounds like Zakk Wylde’s playing. Anyways, I am sure we will find out soon enough who the guitar player is, but I do know that Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers is playing drums on the track. I wanted to end this article by saying that even though most of his fans do not know who Ozzy is, this is a good opportunity for them to learn just who he is. So, check out the track below and enjoy.

COMIC TITLE: Spawn #300 (2019)
Greg Capullo, J. Scott Campbell, Jason Shawn Alexander, and Jerome Opeña – Artist
Todd McFarlane and Scott Snyder–Writer
September 4, 2019
Image Comics

spawn 300You all know that I am definitely a sucker for history especially when it’s history in the making. You’re probably asking then why are you making a big deal out of a comic with a 300TH issue since you covered two that made it to a thousand? The answer is very simple and that is that they made history as it becomes the longest running independent comic book in history and it was the series McFarlane worked on when they created Image Comics back in the early 1990’s. Alongside Scott Snyder (Batman: Endgame), the art was done by Greg Capullo (Batman), J. Scott Campbell (Danger Girl), Jason Shawn Alexander (Abe Sapien), and Jerome Opeña (Uncanny X-Force) for Spawn #300. In the last issue, Spawn was struggling with the forces from Heaven and Hell as they both wanted him gone especially since he revealed his true identity. Now, the race is on to try and catch Spawn before he can complete his plan of bring both Heaven and Hell to it’s knees. In this issue, he is confronted by an old foe in that dastardly clown after discovering that someone in Albania has been contaminating the water sources forcing the world to go crazy. Now that his enemies have been revealed, he has to reveal his army because he is not messing around and we even get the debut of a new Spawn to match.

spawnThe opening scene in the comic book is just absolutely nuts, but it introduces us tot he effects of what is being poured into the water system as a little girl murders everyone in her family. It definitely helps set the tone for the rest of the comic as the war rages on and we have a front row seat to it. As I said in the above paragraph and that is this was a very special comic because it helped spark a revolution as a bunch of writers and artists took a chance on themselves and left their cushy jobs at Marvel/DC to start Image Comics. That is also why I was proud to have this as the comic book of the week for this week. I love the use of different artists for all the different chapters because they got to inject their look for Spawn in this very special issue so that was very cool. Capullo had a huge chunk of the beginning of the comic and it was very noticeable that it was his style. McFarlane had the second chapter and it was very fitting because it was sort of a rebirth/true reveal of Spawn. Campbell had chapter 3 which was a very epic today’s style look while Alexander took chapter four which had a very different look in that it had the look of it being a painting. Opeña handled the last chapter of the comic and his kind of had a throwback look to all the 90’s comics like Barb Wire, etc. If you love Spawn then what are you waiting for, pick this one up and be a part of history.

Grades:

Story/Plot: A+

Artwork: A+

Character Representation: A+

Entertainment Value: A+