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Mitchell, Brian John – Worms #2 (with Kimberlee Traub)



Worms #2 (with art by Kimberlee Traub)

This is damned near the perfect tiny suspense comic.  Things happened in the first issue of which we’re quickly and efficiently informed in a succinct one page synopsis, then it’s off to the story.  A woman wakes up with someone trying to get a gun away from her and quickly finds herself captive in a hospital.  Or, at least, she thinks it’s a hospital, although a bit of exploring on her part makes her question that assumption, or at least question that it’s as easy as all that.  Kimberlee’s deceptively simple artwork somehow manages to ratchet up the suspense, Brian more than holds up his end with the words (and throws in an excellent cliffhanger to boot), and I’m liking this format of tiny books with one panel per page more and more.  What’s this, five of his books reviewed now?  I can safely say that anybody who sends this guy $5 or so for a small pile of comics won’t come away disappointed.  $1


Mitchell, Brian John – Just A Man #3 (with Andrew White)



Just A Man #3 (with art by Andrew White)

What the hell?  Sorry, us “professional” reviewers need to give you readers more to work with but… what the hell?  Brian has expertly flipped the motive behind our hero completely around with this issue, and he caught me completely by surprise.  In this issue our hero takes off towards the whorehouse, at the request of a man in town who says that his daughter is working there and he wants to get her back.  He makes his way to the whorehouse, finds the girl in question, and manages to grab her and head her towards the door… when his wife calls his name.  She’s at the whorehouse too, and she has a gun on him.  His reaction to this is, well, a little odd.  It’s my personal (and constantly changing) rule that everything after the midway point of a book is a spoiler, so I can’t say too much, but this naturally sets our hero to wondering about everything that has happened in the last couple of issues.  He has McTeague’s men after him (looking for revenge), men from the whorehouse after him (looking for the woman he basically kidnapped), and then he’s confronted with another moral dilemma when the woman he’s taken says that she is not the daughter of that man after all, just somebody he wants as his own personal whore.  This is by far the best issue of the series, and the other two were pretty damned good already.  It takes some talent to make a straightforward western revenge story into something else entirely, and Brian did it flawlessly.  Check it out, it’s a tough competition but this may end up being his best series of all.  $1


Mitchell, Brian John – Just A Man #2 (with Andrew White)



Just A Man #2 (with art by Andrew White)

Hey look, it is a series after all!  If you’re confused go back and read the review for the last issue, where I kvetched endlessly about the merits of this as a one-shot versus as a series.  Judging from the most recent pile of books sent my way this isn’t his only new series.  If the man keeps up this ridiculous pace he might want to put together some sort of index so we can all keep up.  This time around our hero has finished off the people who killed his wife and child and is left with an understandable emptiness.  Adrift, he goes to sleep on the back of his horse and lets it take him to his next destination, wherever that may be.  He’s also on the lookout for some of McTeague’s men who may be out looking for revenge, although he’s at a bit of a loss to explain why he should go on living.  He eventually has a reason to live drop into his lap, or at least a way to have a meaningful death, which we’ll learn more about the next time around.  Feels like I may have spoiled too much with this one, but the pacing of these makes it a bit too easy to summarize.  That’s right, it’s somehow Brian’s fault.  Sure, I’ll stick with that.  Anyway, my opinion of this series went up considerably now that I know it IS a series, as who doesn’t like a good western about a man on the run?  It’s officially worth a look as far as I’m concerned.  $1


Mitchell, Brian John – Just A Man #1 (with Andrew White)



Just A Man #1 (with art by Andrew White)

If there’s one thing that Brian needs, it’s clearly another series.  As sarcasm doesn’t come across well on the internets, let me just make clear how very sarcastic that was.  The man is already a machine, it seems ridiculous to start up another series.  More power to him if he wants to keep four series going at once, although it’s hard to tell if this one is going to be more than one issue.  This is the story of a simple man who works the land to feed his family until he comes home to find his house on fire.  His infant son is dead, his wife is missing, and he has a pretty good idea who’s responsible.  I may have my westerns mixed up, but isn’t that the plot from Unforgiven?  Except that the Clint Eastwood character at least had a history as a gunslinger.  Anyway, a confrontation occurs (sort of), things end, and I’d think this was a one-shot if it wasn’t for the gaping bit of story that remains unresolved.   All told the story didn’t do a lot for me, as it seemed like something I’d seen before, and even the dialogue got cliched every once in a while.  Granted, that’s probably hard to avoid with a western, so he doesn’t lose any points for that.  Still, that gaping plot hole (I’m trying to avoid spoilers), the lack of resolution with what should be a central character, is annoying.  If this is a series, fine.  If not, it ruins this as a one-shot.  Time will tell, but start with his other series and work your way over to this one.  Oh, I should mention that the art perfectly suited the mood of this book, to end on a positive note if nothing else.  $1


Mitchell, Brian John – Marked #1 (with Jeremy Johnson)



Marked #1 (with art by Jeremy Johnson)

Hey, why not one more series?  He already has 4 going strong.  If you make comics and this guy doesn’t make you think that maybe you should be a little more productive, I don’t know what would do it.  Productive and consistently entertaining, all while using different artists for different projects, is impressive no matter how you look at it.  In this issue an old monster fighter comes out of retirement after his girlfriend’s sister is brutally murdered at a local park.  No, I’m not sure what being a monster fighter entails either, but I’ll bet we learn that over the course of the series.  Anyway, he manages to lure the murderers out of hiding by pretending to be a drunk (i.e. dousing himself with booze), but the fight doesn’t go well and he’s forced to take a desperate and drastic action.  I get the fact that I’ve been praising all these books for months now, so this probably won’t have much impact, but this comic sings.  The cadence of the dialogue, the fight scene (even with it being all scrunched up in this tiny comic, it didn’t suffer a bit), and that ending were all pitch perfect.  These comics are all ridiculously affordable, and you’d have a hard time going wrong trying any of them.  Today this has the potential to be my favorite of the bunch, but talk to me tomorrow and I’ll go with a different series.  That speaks to some serious range, and if he’s able to do another five series at this high level I say go for it.  $1


Mitchell, Brian John – XO #3 (art by Melissa Spence Gardner)


XO #3 (art by Melissa Spence Gardner)

Here’s another tiny mini by Brian, as it looks like he enjoys sticking with that matchbox format. This is a fictional (I hope) tale about a young man’s first murder, as he sees another man with his girlfriend and snaps. Smashing a head in is generally a sure way to kill somebody, and the man spends the rest of the tiny issue methodically dealing with the body and the consequences, slight as they are. It’s a thoroughly creepy book and Melissa does a great job with very little space to convey a complex range of emotions on these characters. This is probably $1 like the other issue and you could still get all of these comics for a pittance, not to mention the ridiculously tiny envelope they could all fit in…