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Incarnate #1
by Nick Simmons and Nam Kim
Published by Radical

Wow, what a ride I've had for the past few weeks. So around a year ago, I was sitting in a theater with a few friends, when one of them turned and asked me to sing in her wedding ceremony. I don't think I've ever mentioned this on here before, but I'm actually a classically-trained vocalist. I'm not some kind of up-and-coming Pavarotti or anything, but I can keep a tune and have a decent tone. I won't be winning any awards for it, but I was pretty honored to have her axe me to sing. I've been friends with her since we were kids, so I committed to it right then and there. Plus, she mentioned the wedding would be in Hawaii, so, hello, excuse to go to Hawaii. Skip forward a few months to like January or so, and I found out BlizzCon was going to be the weekend after the wedding.

In addition to writing comic reviews for J!NX, I'm also the Operations Manager on the side. BlizzCon is one of those operations that I'm supposed to be managing every year. It's tough, and tedious, and exciting, and invigorating, and frustrating, and rewarding all rolled into one massive 30,000 person project that I have to be at. I flew out to Hawaii on 8/14, sang at the wedding on 8/16, went kayaking at Kailua on 8/17, then flew back into LAX at 6:30am on 8/18. On 8/19, we drove what ended up being a total of 5 huge trucks from San Diego to Anaheim for BlizzCon. It was a wild ride, and worth every single minute of effort that I put into it. While I'm at it, I just want to throw at a quick thanks to everyone who came out and worked our booth. Also a big WAZZUP to all the Blizzard staff that I was able to spend some time with out there. Much love to you all, and much love to all fans that came by the booth to either pick up some gear, or throw down in our IRL PVP booth. I'm sure Jinx will write about it all in more detail on his glog at some point soon.

Oh, yeah - I got to see Ozzy MOTHERF***IN' Osbourne during his rehearsal for BlizzCon. Seeing the Prince of Darkness with only about 100 other people? Yeah, as awesome as you'd think.

Because of all the time that I've been spending working out the details for this show, I've missed updating this column as frequently as I'd like. Long-time readers know that one of my goals is to get more people reading comics, and how can I do that if I'm not showing you fine folks the good stuff that's out there?

That being said, I have to come back, bigger, stronger, faster, and hungrier than ever! And so I bring you Incarnate #1 created by Nick Simmons. If that name sounds familiar, it may be because you've watched him on Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Yes, he is the son of the legendary Kiss frontman. Much like my feeling about The Umbrella Academy by the lead singer of My Chemical Romance, I was very skeptical about how good this book could actually be. And also much like my reaction to The Umbrella Academy, I was pleasantly surprised.

What the young mister Simmons is able to create here is an entire world where immortal beings have been living among us for centuries. That in itself is not an entirely new concept, but the strength of the story comes in how he plays with that basic premise and introduces some fresh, interesting characters to the mix. At first, I thought these guys were your basic vampires, but there's more to it than that. They got some wicked powers, and don't necessarily get along with each other all too well.

I can get behind that, as hanging with the same dudes over and over for a few weeks can get pretty tiresome. You try that over the span of centuries, and I can understand being irritable around each other. I might end up shooting someone in the face, which does happen in this book. "Sup, dude, long time. How about this bullet in your forehead? Aw, whatever, man, you're already healing. QQ more."

You can tell from the few images that I've posted here that the artwork is definitely manga-inspired. On the credits page, Simmon is listed as the penciler. If he did most of this stuff, that's pretty damn impressive. I've mentioned on more than one occasion that I have a lot of respect for guys that are able to handle the writing and art on a comic book. However, much like real manga, there are a bunch of people listed as "assistant artists". That's how they manage to crank out digest-sized volumes so quickly. So I don't really know how much each of those people actually contributed and if Nick did the bulk of the work, but it comes off pretty solidly. There's no point in the book where you go "oh this guy worked on this page, and this guy did another." What I particularly like about the art style is whenever the main character, Mot, gets his crazy eyes. It's a technique totally derived from anime/manga, and he uses it really well here. With immortal monsters and clandestine army hunting them down, don't think that you're going to be getting some terrifying horror story. No, this is more of an action ride along the lines of Underworld or Van Helsing, just not as corny as either of those. There's definitely tongue-in-cheek humor, or at least that's what I think Simmons is going for with his overly-prosaic inner monologues.

To close out this week, I want to throw out a quick plug. Breast cancer sucks. A ton of women, probably one of whom you know, suffer from it all the time. My wife is walking in the Breast Cancer 3-Day in San Diego in November. You can help in the fight against breast cancer by supporting her team, Team Save My Rack, by donating a couple bucks if you have it to spare. Thanks, everyone.

Who should read this book:
People who liked Blood The Last Vampire.
People who liked Underworld.
People who wear a mohawk on the weekends but then flatten out their hair for the work week.

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Nooch's Comic Reviews

More people should be reading comic books, dammit. As the resident comic book elitist, Nooch has made it his personal quest to get more noobs heading into their own dimly-lit comics dungeon every Wednesday to peruse the vastly under-rated world of sequential art.