REVIEW: RV9 #1 Mad Cave

RV9 #1 opens with a dramatically striking front cover by Nicolas Salamanca, coloured by Mauricio VIllarreal. A young woman dancing, arms elevated, lit in red against a blue and violet background.
Part One of Five of this Mad Cave release is written by Ben Goldsmith. It’s the future, 2055 in fact, in Rome. The assassin Velveteen has ‘regrettably’ escaped the clutches of the Order of 9. And they want her back. The Order had abducted her from here family as a child, you see, and molded her into an assassin. Now, intent on revenge on the Order, Velveteen is helped in her quest by two men: an American hacker named Jasper and a rookie cop named Pazzi.
Created by Mark London, RV9 has promise. The concept of the abducted assassin seeking revenge is not a new one, but hey, it’s all in how you tell the tale. What storylines, which characters, and so on. Unfortunately, the telling here is confused, hard to follow. We are frequently confused by the twists, turns and just plain mysteriousness of it all. We need the synopsis and the libretto to understand the opera. Speaking of opera, there are scenes in RV9 that seem gratuitous, extra to the clarity of the central plot, which is: Who is Velveteen, who abducted her and why?
Penciller Travis Mercer and inker Miguel Angel Zapata put their best foot (feet?) forward in illustrating this story of the prodigal assassin, but again, things get off track. The drawing angles confuse us, we slow down to decipher strangely angled panel shapes, and some well-meaning closeups only disorient us. What is going on? On the plus side, the faces, hair, expressions are wonderful, and colourist Maria Santaolalla provides plenty of atmosphere. Santaolalla gives us dramatic environments, candy coloured buildings, moody shadowed alleys.
RV9 #1 is a mixed bag. Good concept, but a slow read, full of twisting threads that we need to unravel. Let’s hope issue 2 is a smoother yarn to work with!
Mad Cave Studios, RV9 #1, $3.99 for 34 pages of content. Assume Teen + Rating
@nsalamancaa, @spinneyalan, @MarkLondonMCS, @TravisMercer15, @MSantaolallart

Review: Savage Bastards #1 Mad Cave

It’s the Savage West where men were men and women were women. Oh, and let’s face it, they way history tells it, there was a lot of savagery all around!
Savage Bastards gets right to it in issue 1. Writer David Galiano brings forth the sixguns of blazing hot pistol drama to the dusty Mexican town of Guanajuato Mexico in 1873. The beautiful Rose Franklin is eating apples, laying low and aiming her pistol high. But then The Spider sits down beside her, and things get violently worse for Rose.
I like the gnarly, cussing feel of this story. Carlos Angeli nails down the dusty, the downtrodden horse-faced locals, the neighing and nodding of the themes and motifs of the old west. Whereever there’s a cliche at play, you can be sure it’s done right, “gol’darn it to tarnation”. Fun reading, I tell ya. Galiano’s dialogue rings true enough, the gun fights bring us back to Clint Eastwood and Alan Ladd, and the desperation sweat is everywhere. Plus, half brothers, Sam and Elliot, fight across a series of satellite towns in the Sonoran Desert in order to save Elliot’s mother from their sadistic, sociopath of a father,
There is great value, loads of great moments, and a great many panels of lesser men just trying to make a go of it. Sons of a Gun, check out this title!
Mad Cave Studios, Savage West #1, $3.99 for 21 pages of content. Assume Teen + rating
@MadCaveStudios, @spinneyalan,

Review: Wolvenheart #1 from Mad Cave

Wolvenheart #1, from Mad Cave Studios is enough to make your hair stand up! Or in my case, to make my former follicles quake in fear, wherever they may lie!

Creator and writer Mark London begins Part One (of Seven) back in the olde days: upstate New York, in 1858. An experiment is being conducted under a full moon at the Fairfield Psychiatric Facility.
A man is strapped to a gurney, insisting that he’s a werewolf. The doctor scoffs: we’ll just see! Just as things are starting to go really REALLY wrong for the doctor, enter Sterling Cross, legendary Werewolf slayer of Wolvenheart!!

The resulting tale is a time-travelling, multi-dimensional dive into an evil conspiracy that reaches as far as Queen Victoria’s royal family!

Mark London is clearly in his element in Wolvenheart. There is a joy and cackle ever-present in the proceedings; it’s part old monster movie, part Back To The Future. The dialogue is direct and dramatic, the scenes carefully choreographed for maximum impact. Alejandro Giraldo contributes wonderful optics: bad beasts, wicked women, plenty of period costumes dripping with daggers. The colouring is murky, atmospheric and delightful.

If you like your horror served with a side of science fiction à la Doctor Who, well, Wolvenheart may be just for you!

Mad Cave Studios, Wolvenheart #1 (of 7), $3.99 for 28 pages of content, Assume Teen + rating

Alan Spinney

REVIEW: Hellfighter Quin #1, Mad Cave Studios

The front cover of Hellfighter Quin #1, from Mad Cave Studios is a knockout. Literally a knockout, as we see the triumphant Quinlan Jones standing over his fight opponent. Let the bells ring!!

As we learn in the intro, Jones, aka the Hellfighter, is back, unwillingly. You see, there is a gem called the Azure Sun, and bad people want it. Quin is forced to fight for his life against some pretty rough baddies. And someone’s impersonating him!

Writer Jay Sandlin delivers the attitude and the dialogue here, as Hellfighter gets egged into battle. The tensions run high here!

The artist Atagun contributes plenty of visual drama to the mix: splash pages, angled panels, leaping figures. The figures are good, and the story’s progression is easy to follow.

Colourist Maria Santaolalla’s palette is richly rewardIng in deep colour. The environments, fight scenes and subterranean blues all ring true. Hellfighter Quin is off to a powerful start, so be sure to check out this issue!

Mad Cave Studios, Hellfighter Quin #1, $3.99 for 23 pages of content. Assume Teen+ rating

Reviewed by Alan Spinney @spinneyalan