Savings Bin Sunday: The Silver Surfer vs. Dracula #1

The Silver Surfer Vs. Dracula #1

Story: Marv Wolfman

Art: Gene Colan, Tom Palmer

This weeks trip to the savings bin brought me The Silver Surfer vs. Dracula (SSvD). First published in 1993, SSvD is a tale that is as convoluted as it is unnecessary. The first five pages feature Dracula deciding that cretins aren’t worth his time, appearances by Blade and Deacon Frost (who have a fight and then are never mentioned or shown again), and a summoning of a very angst-y Silver Surfer. We learn that a mysterious group of five want Dracula dead because there is “no need of him anymore”. The only problem is that they need someone mighty enough to challenge him, so logically they draft the first person anyone would think of…The Silver Surfer. Upon summoning him they knock him out with “a mystic force” and then brain wash him, while he is unconscious, into thinking that Dracula is the greatest evil of all time. When the Surfer awakes he feels compelled to find this “Dracula” and dispose of this evil. Conveniently, and unexplained, The Surfer knows exactly Where Dracula is and confronts him. In the ensuing battle we learn that Dracula can control weather (ok that’s new), and animlas (what?). Both of these forces he uses against the Surfer in an attempt to appear like a foe that could potentially harm him (which he’s not). All of this torrid action culminates in a physics defying punch by Dracula that knocks The Surfer to the ground.

How could you hope to hear the mist in the breeze

“How could you hope to hear the mist in the breeze”

At this point I was thinking “alright, time to use some of that power cosmic and send a power blast into his chest”. Instead The Surfer and Dracula decide it’s a tie and Dracula Bat-forms and fly’s away. Wait, what? The Surfer is endowed with the power cosmic, he was the herald of Galactus, he held his own against the entirety of the Fantastic Four. He once stood eye to eye with Thanos, and yet one gust of wind, an attack by a small clan of rats, and one punch from Dracula is enough for The Surfer to call a truce? Yeah, I’m not buying it. They tried to explain it by saying that he was “sluggish” from the brain washing of the mysterious five, but even still he should have been powerful enough to finish off Dracula. C’mon. Throw in uninspired art, dialogue such as “Dracula needs sustenance this night, and you shall supply it”, and several glaring grammatical issues and you have what may be the worst comic I have ever read.The best part of this comic was the Howard the Duck short story in the back. Perhaps in the early 90s Dracula was more popular than he is today. Maybe this was just an attempt for a cash grab. It sure feels like one. There’s no way I would have ever payed the original $1.75 cover price. I paid $0.50 and I still feel robbed.

Rating: 2/10

-Andrew Horton

Savings Bin Sunday: Time Warp #1 (One-shot)

Today my weekly trip to the local savings bin yielded me Time Warp #1 (One-shot) put out by Vertigo comics. Time Warp is a collection of short stories revolving around a similar theme: Time (as the name might suggest). This title Boasts a star studded creative team featuring the talents of, Jeff Lemire, Gail Simone, Jordie Bellarie, Peter Mulligan, Dan Abnett and the list goes on. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed a short comic form. I feel like it gives the writer enough time to bring an idea into the readers mind, but leaves enough to the imagination that the reader can draw their own ideas from it. I also enjoy when comics explore the idea of time, and time travel. I feel like comic books are a great medium to really delve deep into the nooks and crannies of the idea. This is exactly what Time Warp does.

Time Warp is a collection of nine short stores, all about 9-10 pages long. For sake of length
I am only going to review 2 of these stories. I will give a brief synopsis, an analysis of story and art of each story, and impact value of the comic for me. So let’s begin.

It’s Full of Demons (Story: Tom King, Art: Tom Fowler)

-There’s no such thing as Demons (Paula)

This story opens up on a field in 1901 where a boy and a girl are playing  pretend war. The boy, who’s name is Addie, pretends to soot his sister, Paula repeatedly. Out of nowhere a time portal opens up and a strange figure in an orange futuristic suit steps out. The orange suited figure yells something in German and shoots the small boy in front of his sister. Later she swears to her father that demons did it. To which he responds there are no demons. The story skips ahead to 1935 and we find that Paulas family has admitted her into an insane asylum. While she is receiving Shock Therapy she hears the guards talking about the impending threat of Russia and a vote on a mysterious League of Nations. The story again skips ahead to 1946 and Russia has the same time Paula has escaped and the scene is of her on the street yelling at the parade that it’s full of demons, that her brother Addie told her so. The last scene we see is set in 1956 and Paula is an old woman, she is watching a television program in which Eisenhower is being interviewed about the success he has achieved as the head of the league of nations. Eisenhower goes on to say that peace isn’t attained in a moment but rather it takes millions coming together. All the while Paula stands on her chair and fastens a rope to the ceiling. We see that her landlord is banging on the door saying she can’t stay unless she pays. In the last frame Eisenhower says “We have, all of us, earned this peace” as Paula takes her own life and the landlord yells out “Miss Hitler, Miss Hitler, you must pay”.

The story and art in this one were fantastic. The unveiling at the end that the boy who was killed was actually Adolph Hitler blew me away. The theme of who would it affect if you changed the past was very intriguing. The art was solid and kept me visually entertained and interesting. I also liked the touch of the bright orange suit on the time traveler, it provided a nice contrast to the rest of the coloring (excellent work once again by Jordie Bellaire).

I give this short comic 8.5/10

R.I.P (Story: Damon Lindelof, Art: Jeff Lemire)

-I always thought being eaten by a dinosaur was the coolest way to die (Rip)

This comic opens up on the title character Rip running away from a T-rex. We learn that Rip is a time master and that his time machine was somehow damaged and he is stuck in prehistoric earth with no way to escape and a T-rex hot on his heals. What we also learn is that while Rip thinks being eaten by a dinosaur is the coolest way to die, he’s not ready to die just yet. All hope seems lost though until he runs into a slightly older (and clean shaven) version of himself. This version of himself helps him ford a river to elude the T-rex for slightly longer and reminds him he needs to travel back to this time to help himself cross a river in the future after a big quake or the fabric of the space time continuum will be thrown off. Rip of course agrees with Rip (why would he not?), and continues fleeing from the T-rex. He then runs into a slightly older, older version of himself who gives him a repel gun to scale a large wall to try to evade that darn T-rex still. He tells Rip he needs to come back to this time at a specific date. Rip scales the wall, thinking he has at last evaded the T-rex. It turns out that this T-rex can also scale walls and is traveling up it in pursuit of Rip. Rip turns around and runs into another version of himself, this time as an old man. The old man version of himself lets him have his time capsule, to which young rip says “But there will be two of us and one sphere, that would be a paradox we can’t both go” to which old Rip replied “When I was in second grade a bunch of us used to ask ourselfs what was the coolest way to die. I didn’t even have to think about it: Eaten by a dinosaur”. The old rip turns toward the dinosaur and says the last words of the comic “I’m ready now”.

I really enjoyed this story. I felt like it was an analogy for life and time it’s self. We all have a dinosaur chasing us, and that’s time. We maybe able to elude it for awhile but eventually it will catch up with us and we will succumb to it. The story was well conveyed and put together by Damon Lindelof. It was concise and easy to understand. The Art work by Jeff Lemire was outstanding. The perfect compliment to the story telling. All in all this was a fantastic short comic that makes me want to find more things written by Damon Lindelof. While it was a little predictable, and lacked a huge wow factor ending it still was very enjoyable.

I give this comic a 7.5/10.

Of the 7 remaining stories I really enjoyed “I Have What You Need” by Gail Simone an Gael Bertrand, and “She’s Not There” by Peter Mulligan, and M.K. Perker. Those two I would rate a 6.5/10.

Overall Time Warp #1 was a fun pick up from the savings bin. It was a bit of a surprise because I did not expect to like it nearly as much as I id. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fine story telling, Sci-Fi, time travel, or adventure.

-Andrew Horton