Sunday, August 5, 2018

Heavy Metal # 290

This is the Deadly Special.  I got the cover "A" at the bookstore, with "Hydra" by Dan Quintana, which I liked, with the three faces similar but unique, and the wrinkled gold look of the logo, so I'll give it a 7. 

Issue #290 Cover A - Dan Quintana

The other covers are noted on the contents page, but not shown, so I would have had to see them on one of their media feeds, but I don't remember that.  I looked at the HM shopping page, (where I got the image for "A") and saw the covers "B" and "C", but not the "D".  I'm not much of a fan of the multiple covers thing anyway.

I'll pause here for a moment to moan about the HM website.  I've had snarky complaint about it before, but it existed and made improvements and helped me out over time, even through the transition across the Eastman to Morrison eras.  But it's been months since it's been touched, anywhere I could see, and I lament the stagnation of the Cover Gallery for the last couple years.  The Cover Gallery is especially missed.  For me it complemented Lostboy's Heavy Metal Magazine Fanpage and its Magazine List as a reference, and it picked up the slack for a while when Lostboy stopped doing updates (and thanks Lostboy for keeping your site up still), to help me enjoy my little HM thing of reading all of them and the growing endless chances of connections of stories and creators.

But it's been a while.  I know the media landscape is dynamic, and nothing lasts forever in this world, and stuff happens.  For me it's worrisome to think how much this reflects on the status of the operation, along with the paltry nature of their media feeds, and this being only the second issue this year.  It makes me think "what's going on?"  Fortunately it's not about me (except for this blog, this is about me) and maybe things are just cruising merrily along as one does in these times, producing a mag that I have quite enjoyed for the most part for the past few years.

So, done with whining for now, on to the mag.  Inside the front cover is an ad for the Taarna books, which may be interesting if I ever come across them.  They should really have more of this in the mag to promote it.  The contents page has a novel bit of art, with a collage of scenes from inside the mag in a skull motif, that seems uncredited.  There's a Justin Mohlman listed as a Contributing Editor, and that Jett Lucas guy is still there as Creative Executive.  Mr Morrison's editorial finds the humorous path meandering among the stories in no particular order, describing their miserable and/or fanciful deaths.

"Queen of the Crawlers" by Vincent Kings - 6 - prefaced as "an atomic fairy tale".  Starting "In the end, there was no one but the woman..." she is shown burying a skeleton with a bashed-in skull.  We are left to speculate the cause of her solitude with only few clues, but she soon takes to training the Crawlers, insects that resemble giant hissing cockroaches, building their short-lived generations into powerful civilizations in their own right, until her own end.  While I thought the concept could possibly been told as a more engaging story, there are several aspects that impress.  Painting the pages must have been time-consuming, and left me with less detail than I may have liked, but it had some really nice effects, like mottled shadows through her tattered shawl, and the radiant glow fitting the sentiment when "She felt a parent's pride in beng surpassed by her children."  Overall much to like.

"The Savage Sword of Jesus Christ" Part 2 by Grant Morrison & the Molen Brothers - 6 - There's some sophomoric sarcastic fun to be had, and I am curious how the Jesus Christ - Superhero movie concept by and for Hitler, will turn out, since it is "to be continued."

"Murky World" Part 3 by Richard Corben - 7 - Our dimwitted hero Tugat stumbles from saving an escaped slave to mourning his master's death to being enslaved himself.  The story seems to imply nefarious doings beneath the surface, and the strangely morphing proportions in the art, make me even more confused than usual.  But I am still enjoying the lovely Corben-ness of the thing, and the mere fact of having more of his stuff in the mag at this time in its history.

"The Door" Chapter 2 by Esau Escorza & Michael Moreci - 7 - Our young protagonist keeps up her search for herself in the confusing world not of her making.  Some introspective dialog and nice looking and perhaps a bit less pervy, this may go somewhere, or may just go in more circles.

"Edbook" by Irvine Welsh & Dan McDaid - 7 - A killer reminisces.  The story is mostly about how his childhood survival of an attempted murder-suicide made him the man he is today.  A big feature that is maybe even noir, the art is stark but not detailed, and the story considers human nature and mental illness, in a similar fashion.  Are they not the same?

"Near Death Experience" by John Bivens - 6 - An addict wakes up in what must be a seedy drug den, since there's a poster peeling off the wall that says "Heavy Metal" on it.  She flees a hallucination, only to see more, little green anthropods, that seem attracted to death.  Death that surrounds her. 

Dotty's Inferno "The Ex" by Bob Fingerman - 7 - Love and romance and fascism in the 2nd Circle of Hell.  Actually pretty fun, and maybe part of a series.  And I'll admit I like seeing some dicks hanging around with the tits and butts, a whiff of the old days of the mag, and a bit more equal opportunity exploitation.  Though erections are still hard to come by...

Artist Spotlight:  Matt Bailey - 7 - with an interview by Rantz Hoseley.  Some nice looking woodcut-like art, with skulls.

"The Color of Air" Part 7 by Enki Bilal - 8 - The characters come together, confused and disoriented.  I feel the same way, I'm hardly making a bit of sense of it, and I'm so enjoying it.  Compelling use of light and dark and color.

"Murder House" by James Harvey - 7 - After a murder is done in her house, woman builds an empire selling tours.  Told briskly with lots of exposition, I enjoyed all the words and fine lines.

"Tohko" by Peach MoMoKo - 7 - Gruesome death, fantastic rebirth, ironic death.  Pretty.  Arty.

Gallery with Dan Quintana - 6 - With a brief interview by Rantz Hoseley.  Some obviously nice work that doesn't excite me much.

"Lead Feet" by Tómas Wortley and Rodrigo Lujan - 7 - A guy jumps off cliffs, for fun.  To try to fly.  He's the last one that didn't fly away during "The Ascension".  The art and storytelling are ok, and work well together, though I have misgivings about logical gaps and the somewhat gratuitous upskirt.  Despite that there's enough emotional weight to be satisfying.

Gallery with Rob Prior - 6.5 - With an interview by the busy Rantz Hoseley.  More obviously nice work that is maybe a little more exciting for me, with all the blood and/or fire.  Though sometimes splattery or drippy paint seems to add the effect of literal gravity, when maybe it's trying be more kinetic?  Hmmm.  But it was amusing to see the first image titled "Jeff Krelitz's Dream".  Hmmm again.

Inside the back cover is an ad for The 49th Key in a trade paperback, which I didn't enjoy when it was in the mag.  The back cover is an ad for the Iron Maiden Legacy of the Beast games, which I will likely never see.


  1. Comicvine usually shows all the covers.

    It also mentioned an all-new Frazetta Death Dealer story.
    Which one was that, Fred?

  2. thanks for the hint on comicvine, though I don't know where they got the idea of the new Frazetta Death Dealer story, it's not in this issue (they also called the Bilal "the weight of air", wtf?). In HM #288, the piece by Mr Frazetta Jr mentions a new Death Dealer story, but I haven't seen it (my review: )

  3. It's not a fake news. Previews advertised it, and they are a reliable source:
    meaning, the blurb came from HM headquarters.

    Wonder what happened to the Death Dealer story?
    I'm intrigued for no explanation was given.

  4. with the same reference to "the weight of air", it looks like they got the same bad info as comicvine. not encouraging.