Jok and Santullo’s unique style was evident in Aces Weekly Volume 34’s “Merlin and Hector – Excalibur”, which provided a magically fantastical landscape for an Arthurian tale in the Dark Ages.
But REFLECTION is a step into darker puddles, messy cityscapes and a realistic neo-future that emanates the best of detective mystery crime stories with a hint of Philip K. Dick and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner thrown in.
The degradation of the setting only magnifies the violence and emotions of the characters living in the world.
The following review of REFLECTION, from Aces Weekly Volume 39, will contain mild Spoilers*, but since the serial book has not released its finale on Aces Weekly, what is sure to be a compelling ending is wholly absent here.
We start with a grizzled Detective Reynoso is panting as the middle-aged vet searches frantically through a garbage-strewn alley, his handgun – a massive mix of a giant barrel and rifle – is drawn.
Sweat beads on his head.
The heavy breaths are emphasized with both visuals and lettering.
An oddly shaped machete pierces the seasoned, alarmed man wearing a trench coat, and stops him dead.
The woman, who had risen silently from a dumpster, forced her blade through his back and out his chest.
The next day, the detective’s old partner, a tall, foul-mouthed, gray-haired cop named Walsh barges onto the murder scene and refuses the order and rule to not work on a case for conflict of interests.
The red-headed woman, Baffo, and her lanky partner, Kirby, are the detectives put in charge of the case.
She is silent as they purvey the scene.
The night before her phone woke her from a nightmare.
In that dream, she had been the one murdering Reynoso in the rain with a machete, and upon waking her reflection seems to haunt her.
Her odd silence is even noted by her partner as they work.
The story provides many traditional film noir and detective crime tropes and fun.
In terms of quips, threats, and heads being slammed into tables as a method to coax information about the murder from slimy criminals, the reader is fed hard-boiled-ness.
The use of language and art to show the emotion, in fury, fear, and puzzlement on the part of the nervous potential murderer in Baffo makes for a truly impactful experience.
REFLECTION is riveting and does not stop to pump the brakes on the intensity!
POWKABAM Score For REFLECTION = 10/10
“REFLECTION: Bleak Tomorrow’s Detective Tale Of Visceral Noir” was written by R.J. Huneke.
OUTRUN This Cyber Punk Future Car Chase From Aces Weekly 10/10 rated, reviewed and rasterized by POWkabam.
OUTRUN by Matteo Filippi and Marco Morale is a claw into your seat thrill ride into the grim future!
There are a few vague similarities to Tank Girl here, in that we are in a post-apocalyptic future where areas outside of major cities, or the cities themselves, are ravaged from war, but that ends them.
OUTRUN is utterly unique in its bright, visceral style.
The art and writing take on cyber punk, burgeoning tech that is still shaping the future and one hell of an upgraded muscle car named Gyro – possibly a 68 Camaro RS merged with a 60’s Chevelle – complete with a stick shift, voice command, and a clutch pedal!
ACES WEEKLY Comic Art Magazine sparks digital revolution with its riveting comic book and graphic novel short stories delivered every Monday!
For £1 per week, in any currency, readers get volumes of up to 150 pages in seven weekly parts.
ACES WEEKLY is the seven-card stud of e-comics!
To paraphrase David Lloyd, the idea for the award-winning ACES WEEKLY came down to comics looking better [than paper] with fewer limitations [and myriad possibilities].
In the very first volume of ACES WEEKLY, the gem Valley Of Shadows takes a black and white noir tale down new twisting alleys hereto untraveled.
More on Valley Of Shadows [Plot by David Jackson and David Lloyd, and the Script and Art by David Lloyd] later after we examine the cards, I mean the ACES.
When David Lloyd, co-creator of V For Vendetta and author/artist of Kickback (and a whole lot more), first launched ACES WEEKLY, very few comic books were available in a digital format.
Those that did come in a digital form required the paying of an extra dollar to the paper version, making a $3.99 book $4.99 in your LCS for the same 21 pages of content.
Now e-comics are in the mainstream, but none have the formula of six different works delivered every Monday night in an innovative set of seven serial installments.
At a buck a week, and adding that up, seven pounds for seven weeks of stories, you get 21+ pages for each of the six titles.
That is up to 150 pages, or six or seven comic books, for less than the price of two paper comic books!
Value aside, the proof is in the product, and ACES WEEKLY’s continuous stream of e-comic books are incredible.
The art is mostly in traditional comic form and looks STUNNING on screen!
Just like the serial installments of Superman of old, in the newspaper funny pages, the ACES WEEKLY tales are mostly told on horizontal pages.
The books are, after all, only bound virtually, in Cyberspace.
There is no limitation of the reader having to hold a vertically stapled comic book.
This means that you can read in a more natural line of sight akin to watching a movie on a widescreen, in the theater or at home.
ACES WEEKLY combines different widely appealing genres masterfully.
An omnivorous reader, like myself, loves the funny, the dark, the thrilling, and the wildly creative varying in voices from one comic book to the next.
ACES WEEKLY delivers a smorgasbord of quality each and every week!
Examples of this diversity are evident in the noir classic Valley Of Shadows by David Jackson and David Lloyd, the epic Santa Claus VS the Nazis by Benjamin Dickson and Gavin Mitchell where Santa Claus becomes a prisoner of the Nazis and the elves are enslaved, and then . . . on a planet in the middle of the Andromeda System . . . there is the powerful science-fiction book Dark Utopia by Mark Montague.
You could not ask for a better hand being dealt.
Think about it: Santa must break free of the Nazis to save the elves! What bigger stakes are there?
The art is unique, the writing top-notch, and the creations are made to pop out at you from the screen, no matter where you wish to enjoy the tales.
Each week you look forward to the latest installment of scintillating reading.
And in Volume One, Valley Of Shadows is one hell of a gripping whopper to kick off the experience.
Buddy Chaplin hasn’t got much going for him.
His marriage has failed, he’s in a dead end job, and he’s stopped looking for more.
But life is about to take an unexpected twist….
The art from David Lloyd is full of shadows, emotions, long blacks and stark whites.
The vivid scenes could easily make the silver screen.
The innovative use of comic book panels and art surrounding and behind the panels makes full use of the reader’s eye and the horizontal page layout for incredulity at every turn of the e-page.
The story, dialogue and plot of Valley Of Shadows are intricate, tight, and unique.
Security guard Buddy is dragged into helping someone, committing murder (in defense!), and racing against malicious and resourceful forces to save a stranger’s little girl from a horrible fate.
The villain is a megalomaniac bent on destroying a valley if that is what he needs to do to get an organ donor for his dying son.
And Buddy is just a normal guy who gambles too much, lost his own little girl and wife in a divorce, and gets caught up in a fight he should not be able to win.
The tale is utterly brilliant and it only scratches the surface of all of the ACES WEEKLY offerings.
The art is amazing, the creators on board ACES WEEKLY are extraordinary, like David himself.
For the cost of less than two paper books a reader can feast on six full length high resolution comics formatted and built for any type of screen, from a Smart TV, to a tablet, or a smartphone.
This reader is subscribing for life, and POWkabam will look to cover at least one of the many tales in each volume going forward.
“ACES WEEKLY Comic Art Magazine Sparks Digital Revolution” was written by R.J. Huneke.
The grit of V For Vendetta creator David Lloyd’s Kickback is a welcome overtone unleashed across a thrilling tale of crime, mystery, and the spotted soul of a haunted detective unraveling, as he battles to persevere. This is our inaugural POWkabam Comics Review, and it could not have been for a more impactful graphic novel. Today, of all days, is November the Fifth, and the co-creator of V For Vendetta David Lloyd is a visionary whose works of art are an innovative reflection of the human condition.
Kickback is David’s baby, and he is proud to have been able to focus a lot of time and energy in cultivating a truly remarkable tale, as he wrote the story, as well as produced all of the art for the book.
The main character is Joe Canelli, who is a detective tormented by his own involvement in the department’s kickbacks.
Joe is as real as real gets, and his slow deterioration, as he fights to press on, does little to stymy his quests for mental clarity and to solve a black case.
Two things are immediately apparent in the book: One is that Joe is literally haunted; fleeting dreams from his childhood speak to his terror, as he stands aloft in the body of some skeletal aircraft, and his guilt from morally bereft decisions to look the other way.
The character is fleshed out, and has misgivings from childhood as well as his decisions along a pothole-marked path as an adult and the psychological aspects make for a very unique and relatable character in Joe.
The second aspect that stood out was the use of integral female characters in Candy, Joe’s girlfriend, and McLean, a reporter, who both have resonant personalities that make for interesting conversation and intense additions to the plot as the story unfolds.
Candy struggles to learn enough from Joe’s past to place the source of his incessant nightmares, and her dealings with his family are truly warming, funny, and at times, alarming.
McLean is a reporter for the ages, combining brains, courage, and impulsiveness in an awesome mix.
Though the character of Lois Lane is a phenomenal example of a strong woman in a (quickly deteriorating) boy’s club of the comic book world, McLean would likely go much further kicking ass and collecting hard evidence in bringing about the conclusion of a story, than Lois would.
But Lois has Superman to back her up, and McLean has only a rattled and hopelessly in over his head, mentally and physically drained Joe, who is all too mortal.
The style of the words amidst the world building are entirely new here, and offer a fresh conglomeration of noir, as fans of Raymond Chandler’s classic character Philip Marlowe will be delighted to see elements that are reminiscent as influences, yet this noir and this writing are wholly David’s.
The timeless nature of the story combines some of our contemporary times, i.e. cell phones, with a glimpse into a gritty fictional city rotting with corruption and dank with the oily barrels of many guns.
The art of David Lloyd has always been stark and unique in its way to attribute a bevy of emotions to the characters involved, as well as make the world itself a character, and this is very true in Kickback, where the city is capable of overshadowing its inhabitants in a realistic and yet surreal way with incredible feeling.
Interestingly enough, David was interviewed for the French magazine Bahniwé, and he spoke on his delight at being the creator of Kickback, on the process for making the work and his use of computing to enhance some of the color.
David Lloyd: But the greatest thing about Kickback for me is that it’s all mine. I like writing my own stuff, but the problem is that when editors like what you do as an artist, and see how well you illustrate various writers’ scripts, they always want you to keep doing that. It’s very difficult for an artist to get to write his own stuff because he has to make an effort to do that, and take time out from paying work he can get doing other stuff to develop his own ideas—in effect . . . I wanted to get that pleasure of working back for myself.
Kickback is set in a mythical US city—not a real place at some specific time. Franklin City is in the state of New Plymouth. It’s a fictional state but as familiar in all aspects as any other real city you’ve ever seen portrayed in a film or an album. But nothing, absolutely nothing—apart from the revolvers—is completely accurate in structure to the real objects and settings of the contemporary world around us… the cars are just regular basic cars that could be Fords or Chryslers, or whatever.
Bahniwé: In Kickback, you use a computer in your drawing. How do you see the evolution of your style?
David Lloyd: I don’t think my style has ever ‘evolved’ in the usual sense of the term. I’ve always just chosen to use different tools or techniques according to the needs of a story.
I didn’t actually plan to use any computer effects at the beginning of Kickback, but it just occurred to me to use them while I was doing it. I know some comic purists hate them. But I don’t overuse them. It’s very important not to overuse them. I use them in very specific cases. I think they’re valuable tools. I didn’t have a computer for many years. I got my first one in 2000 and discovered it had great value to me.
What I do with Kickback is scan in my black and white art, reduce it to the size of the printed page, print it out in black and white, then use colour pencils to colour it. Then I scan that using a Photoshop filter tool—smart blur. You can turn the texture of the colour pencil work into a pure colour shade, or keep some or all of that texture depending on what you want from a page or panel. Copy and paste the black. Make tifs, put it on cd. That’s it.
To read more of this insightful interview check out the David Lloyd Interview by Bahniwé, conducted at the Festival Quai des Bulles à St-Maloon.
Writing/Art By David Lloyd
As for David Lloyd’s newest creations, he is now a founder for a revolutionary digital publishing agency named Aces Weekly.
Writing/Art By David Lloyd
ACES WEEKLY is an exclusively onscreen comic art magazine: a weekly anthology of serial episodes and short stories in seven-week volumes, featuring some of the world’s finest creators of sequential art.
Readers can tune in to each volume and hundreds of comic pages, for as little as $9.99 (US)!
David spoke to me briefly about Aces Weekly at the New York Comic Con and felt compelled to embrace the digital age where more readers could be reached.
David provides some of his own work in the first volume (and it is damn GOOD), and in others.
What is truly remarkable about Aces Weekly is the sheer amount of great writers and talented artists that have come together to make top-notch comics for a bevy of audiences across myriad genres.
The remarkable list of artists includes: JOHN MCCREA, PHIL HESTER, MARK WHEATLEY, MARC HEMPEL, DAVID LLOYD, SHAKY KANE, DAVE HINE, KEV HOPGOOD, YISHAN LI, HERB TRIMPE, BATTON LASH, VAL MAYERIK, JAMES HUDNALL, KAT LAYNO, HENRY FLINT, PAUL MAYBURY, ALAIN MAURICET, LEW STRINGER, DAVID LEACH, RACHAEL SMITH, LAURA SCARPA, and many more.
Upcoming creators being added to the team (and the 19th Volume of Aces Weekly approaches on November 9, 2015) are Steve Bissette, Dylan Teague, Colleen Doran (the artist on some of the best Sandman issues), Arvell Jones, John Kaiine, Pete Docherty, Shane Oakley, Fumio Obata and Warwick Johnson Cadwell.