THE HILL AND VAPOR REVIEWED

From Newsarama's Best Shots. Thanks to Mike Lorah for his honest takes on my books. Good, bad, or ugly honesty always helps me. I take pride in the good stuff and learn from the bad. So here they are:

The Hill (Markosia; by Mike): For fans of snappy one-liners and relentless action, The Hill should be a fun ride, but it’s one that unfortunately has little going for it beyond those surface elements. Government assassin Jill and genetically engineering monster Jack are products of The Hill, though the nursery rhyme connection doesn’t go much deeper than that (Jack can only be killed by a head shot, which is about as far as the connections go). Although Jack shows a compelling emotional range, from confusion to rage, love to regret, Jill seems capable of only unending bitter anger—the abuse heaped on Jill by her father, for his scientific pursuits and government contracts, goes beyond the pale into the realm of ludicrous. The art is mostly solid, though occasionally cluttered and one of the action sets was particularly hard to follow (Jill loses a limb, which I didn’t realize until three pages later).

Vengeance of the Vapor #1-2 (Markosia; by Mike): Another offering from The Hill’s creative team, this one shows much considerable creative growth: A mix of western and masked vigilante genres, writer Sal Cipriano and artist Jok’s series shows some promise. A brother-sister tandem (Kate and Brooks), searching for their sheriff grandfather, visit a western town under the thrall of homicidal gold hunters. The dialogue is stiff and the villains’ treatment of Kate is misogynist in the extreme; however, Cipriano does tease a question about Brooks’ ultimate loyalty, and even offers potential nuances to bad guy honcho The Heavy. Jok’s art is sometimes muddy with too many lines, but his storytelling is mostly clear and the character designs— though not imaginative—show enough variety to keep the characters distinct.