Vamps and Spies: Jason’s Comic Reviews

Welcome back to my ever-evolving comic reviews. Each week I will review a few new releases you may have missed on new comic Wednesday. As things change, mostly my mood, so will this column. Some weeks may be several new comics from various publishers or sometimes just one. There might be a time when it’s a longer review for a book I’m really excited about, and every now and then I may throw in a review of a retro book from years past. You never know!

This week a spy learns the truth and a rebel fights against space vampires.

Amber Blake #3

  • IDW
  • Written by Jade Lagardere
  • Art by Butch Guice

After a failed mission, Amber and Matt, are chastised by their superiors and then sent on another mission. This time to infiltrate a modeling agency which just happens to be a front for a massive prostitution ring. Amber hopes this will lead her closer to get revenge on her former headmaster, who is seemingly connected to this ring. After successful infiltration, Amber discovers a photo closely resembling her best friend, who she thought was murdered. Amber does what she can to find out the truth, even if jeopardizes the mission. Things don’t go as expected. New alliances are discovered, old wounds uncovered and more secrets arise.

This continues to be my favorite series of 2019. The spy action is well done, but it’s the relationship nuances that keep me coming back. This issue certainly keeps up the suspense better than previous issues. When Amber tries to make the mission person, things get tense and you can feel it through the art and the dialogue. Also, as suspected the benevolent agency Amber finds herself working for may not be so benevolent. A lot goes down in this issue and it’s all fun. Plus some heartbreaking moments occur as Amber learns that people change and not everyone is what they seem. As always Butch Guice knocks it out of the park on art duty.

This series continues to be full steam ahead. We get some more answers, shocking revelations and new questions. If you’re not reading this, do yourself a favor.



Ascender #2 of 5

  • Image
  • Written by Jeff Lemire
  • Art by Dustin Nguyen

Issue 2 picks up with Mila discovering a robot dog that once belonged to him as a child. Before he can explain to much, they are discovered by vampire guards. Mila’s father reveals he still has some weapons from the old days to thwart their vampire attackers. Father, daughter and canine end up going on the run. Meanwhile, vampire witch, Mother, continues to gain more power across the galaxy. This time she tangles with the inept ruler of a planet that processes old robots. Mother wants to wipe out any remnants of robots in the universe.

This continues to be a beautiful-to-look-at book. The watercolor really adds to this vampire filled galaxy we are being introduced to. There are a lot of moments that work in the series. I really like the landscapes provided as well as the occasional  “mother loves you” that echos in the villages. Also, the interactions between Mila and her father are quite good as well. What doesn’t work is the villain, Mother. She is just your typical stereotypical evil despot. Her scenery chewing belittlement of your inferiors is unintentionally silly. Also, the henchmen are very one note, your typical dimwits. These could be better, however, the art and lead characters are strong enough to make this a solid read.

Ascender is off to a strong start still. Maybe we’ll get better interactions with the villains. The world building and our lead heroine are the reason to stay for the story.

I’ll be back with a new crop of reviews. For more comic reviews, insight, and commentary on comics old and new check out the Drawn & Paneled podcast wherever you get podcasts!

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