Welcome to the 16th installment of Graphic Content and the third in almost as many weeks. We’re returning to the machinations of Alien‘s Weyland-Yutani and the kaiju chaos of Ultramega this time around. I’ve been very critical of Alien‘s first two issues. Can the third issue redeem the series? Will Ultramega continue to impress? Let’s find out.
Alien #3, continuing an untitled story-arc, takes place immediately after the Xenomorph attack on Gabriel’s woefully small strike team. The previous issue had the team encounter a survivor whom Gabriel seems distrustful of, be it corporate paranoia or deeper. We continue to get a trickle of the backstory of events 20 years prior, emphasizing the role of Bishop, the android. Throw in some ugly alien goats, a double-cross, a surprise character reveal, and you wind up with a fairly decent story.
The writing feels better here. Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s storytelling feels more focused and seems to be leading to something. I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what will happen, but I won’t spoil that here. Predictability isn’t a bad thing, though. If the direction of the comic is what I think is being set up, the series may actually be doing something interesting with the Alien concept. Too bad Gabriel is just so bland as a protagonist, and the surviving marine is just a Hudson-lite.
Salvador Larroca’s art, still, is a huge problem. What should be exciting action scenes feel devoid of motion. Gabriel still looks like Jeffrey Epstein at times, and the Xenomorphs, while technically drawn, have virtually no menace to them. In truth, cover artist Lee InHuyk, who has done the covers for the first three issues so far, would be a much better choice for the internal artwork. At least the covers depict actual menace, motion, and a Gabriel who doesn’t look like a murdered sex trafficker. The coloring by Guru-eFX does a lot of the heavy lifting in creating menace and atmosphere. But the shading style still does not work with the inking style of Larroca.
Potentially interesting lore developments have kept me reading past the third issue, my normal “drop point” on a title. The art is still the weakest component of the book and does not make for a pleasant read.(3.5 / 5)
Ultramega #3 continues the repercussions of the Masked Ultra’s (actually a kid named Noah) actions. Now is sold out by the people of Avalon for his actions against Red Gara, a Kaiju enforcer. Now Noah finds himself in the “Koliseum,” where he must fight to survive wearing an oversized Ultramega head. Beth, dumped in a pit the last issue, encounters a group of not-so-hostile Kaiju. Red Gara, injured and delirious, has his belongings picked through by his underlings. We learn more about the relationship between the Kaiju and Ultramega. This time from the perspective of the Kaiju in their elaborate ceremony.
It’s a fascinating world of Kaiju politics. The monsters are practically humans themselves in their motivations. The grasping and grubbing for power and influence – almost like Game of Thrones. And just like Game of Thrones? Anyone can die.
The series is good, but I’m noticing the pacing is a bit scattershot. The issue breathlessly tosses in developments. Some of these cool moments could benefit from some additional context. I think the writing is fine, and I expect I’ll be getting the explanations I want by issue #4. But honestly? This issue felt exhausting in a way. A lot happens in one storyline, but some characters only get the briefest of check-ins. I think my greatest concern is that we don’t really have a point-of-view character. Someone who is inexperienced or can at least serve as an entry point to the world. Many readers are bound to get lost.
Visually, Ultramega is still a real winner. The art is gory, ridiculous, and the monster designs are incredible. The action is well done. You get a real sense of physics and motion in the panels. Not much else to say here that hasn’t been said in the prior two reviews.
Ultramega #3 continues the streak of brilliant storytelling, worldbuilding, and art established in issue #1, but the pacing and number of developments may throw some readers.(4 / 5)
Check back later this week as we finally get back to covering the first run of Swamp Thing. Exciting times ahead! I also hope to add a new book into the rotation after we wrap up Ultramega. I may include the most recent Swamp Thing run.
Creepy Comics Collages by Jennifer Weigel, Part 5
Well, you won’t get rid of me that easily… Ha ha, I lied about coming to the end and the afterlife in the Creepy Comics Collages segment, it was just an opportunity for rebirth. Besides, it’s World Collage Day! So having come into another comic book to rework, here we go again…
Creepy Comics Story 9: The Voice (of God or Reason or perhaps an homage to my ex)
“Come to me my children, the voice of God awaits!… Don’t let them escape!” Please beam me up out of this weird comic collage alternate reality. “God I am your hand! Lift me… to your place. I commend my spirit!” I want to go back to dreaming about starfish.
The computer programmer behind the scenes turns to face us and smiles. “Guardians! This is a place of God!… Come to the true voice of God!” “I am everything.” “Come to the voice!” And the horrific AI generated creatures abide by his every coded word.
Just like last night in the — signs posted for Nightmare, No Exit. The deer spirit faun screams in surprise, “Eeek!” “No! I defy you!” She returns to the form of a little girl with arms outspread to the open sky. “Y’know, a day like today makes all the stuff that happened last night seem just like a bad dream!” The dream seems so real…
Somewhere in the city, the computer programmer sits up at night in pensive monologue, “You try to make a difference… But it doesn’t really matter.”
Creepy Comics Story 10: The City (Metropolis becomes self-aware)
This segment is brought to you by Dead Artists and Talking Dinosaurs. No really, wait for it…
Woooooo Uhhhh Wooooooo Uhhhh… Wump! Uff! Wump! Uff! “She belongs to The City!” The Glenn Fry 1985 hit single looms ominously overhead as Metropolis becomes self-aware. “The City… will live!… The City… will breathe!” The City gasps for air, “Got to… breathe!… Got to… Breathe!“
Her breath is the wind… Her eyes are windows. Her heart pumps fluid through buried plumbing… “I’m The City!” Her mind is The City!
And we have a celebrity appearance by Rich Koz “Son of Svengoolie” WFLD 1973: “I take a nap for 10,000 years and look what happens… some-body builds a city!” Kerwyn chimes in, “Geez! Somebody’s been busy!” And we cut out to a scene of Svengoolie standing alongside his coffin.
Well, that’s all folks. Or is it? For now, any way… until I get more comic books… Duh duh DUHHHH…
Creepy Comics Collages by Jennifer Weigel, Part 4
Wow, I can’t believe you’ve stayed the course through four whole strange story posts of these creepy comics collages. But this is the final frontier, the last segment, the standing ovation as it were. So here goes…
Creepy Comics Story 7: The Grave (shallow enough for ya?)
“It should take longer, it seems to all of them. Such holy flesh should not give before a blade so easily.” “His brow is growing so cold.” “Yes it would be. He’s dying.”
“My god… I’m not dead.” Put the shovel down. “Life is a no-win situation. Besides… You’re already dead!”
“I’m not dead. I’m not dead!… Oh, Oh my god… I can’t move… What’s happened to me?” Buried alive. Or maybe not.
“Dead?” Perhaps I am actually dead. I was expecting something… I dunno… different.
“I’m not hungry, I’m dead. I’m not sure what I’m doing here, in fact.” At least I’m not a zombie. That seems a small consolation right now though. “My organs are shutting down. It is a relief.”
“Three days have already passed.” We’re just sitting here, rotting. Like Norman Bates’ Mother. At least someone was kind enough to supply a rocking chair. “Oh, one last thing before I go… You’re doing my fucking head in.”
Creepy Comics Story 8: Adrift Afterlife (why you save the best gold coins for the ferryman)
How’d we get here? “I do not stand alone. I am sat in a boat.” “.. to be millions of miles away from any care in the world.” Was that the Ferryman? “Only liberty I know.”
“He does not remember arriving here, or if he has been here before. It is not the island he grew up on, though it feels so very familiar… He has been waiting for the night tides to come in, for they will bring starfish. He has always liked watching them cling to the beach before the current pulls them back into fathoms.”
“And the ocean brings him starfish… Perhaps his father had nothing to do with this place at all.” The ferryman stands on the far shore. It makes no difference now.
“Beneath the ocean, razor-sharp coral grows and plunges towards the surface, sent by a green place that would not like to burn.” “The sand is soft between his toes and he is not ashamed of anything.” The ghosts are here, contentedly it seems.
Thank you for joining us for these creepy comics collage art stories. But here’s where we have to leave it off. Trust me, it’s best that way. Besides I’m out of creepy comics to collage with.
Creepy Comics Collages by Jennifer Weigel, Part 3
We’re ba-ack… Are you ready for the next creepy comics collages graphic story overload? After the last time and the intermission I wasn’t sure I’d see you again, but here we are, together again. You’d almost think we put something in the water – wink.
Now where were we? Oh yeah, the world was going to hell… or was it?
Creepy Comics Story 5: Alien Invasion (A Fist Full of Physics!!!)
“Elsewhere… months… earlier…” “It begins as a flicker pin-point of light getting closer ever closer until it takes form.” The sky is falling, damn you Chicken Little.
“…unconfirmed rumors of extraterrestrials have surfaced this evening following reported sightings in upstate New York earlier today.” There’s the news for you. Always blowing things up to increase viewership ratings.
“Then I would suggest a test immediately.” ‘K Doc, we get it; maybe there’s cause for concern. Guessing these aren’t friendlies based on intel, or that the government pissed them off. “Where’s William Shatner when you really need him?”
“Next morning… City Hall…” “A Fist Full of Physics” Blamm-o! “As if that’s some kind of homage.” It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I was feeling fine but now I’m not so sure. “All of this is on your head.” You can thank the world governments with their shoot first, ask questions later policies for that.
“The act was deplorable. It’s ramifications were permanent.” Doc looks unamused. “And the doctor drones on in his cold monotone… ‘Then we all die.’”
Creepy Comics Story 6: Werewolves (Londoners, eat your hearts out)
“Fables Werewolves… no one can hear you howl.” So now we’re elbow-deep in lycanthropy? This story just keeps getting weirder and weirder…
“… I feel so… disoriented… is this vertigo?” No, you wouldn’t be so lucky. Once bitten, twice shy. It’s The Change. Prepare yourself for the transformation.
“What now?” Enough with the damned interruptions already, can’t you see I’m at work?!
“Shall we start a war?”
“No! No! Leave me alone! Leave me alone! No!“
“I know one thing.” “Never will you suffer the indignity of this animal’s touch again.” The wolf seems somewhat offended by that statement. No really. And probably rightly so.
“Maybe it’s just an excuse, a fucking cop-out for when we inevitably fuck-up our lives and hurt people… We’re not cursed, we’re rotten, or mad or…”
“I don’t deserve this!” he howls. Stop blaming the werewolves for your own human indecencies. Teacups get broken and the London werewolves get angry.
Thank you for going all in with us over this series, there’s… one… more… final… huzzah… In the meantime, check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites.