If you have never glanced at the other installments, feel free not to start now, but here are links, just in case (also if you click on the Popgun Keyword, you will see all of both volumes so far):
Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five
- p263 Gamma Rae - Derek Hunter - The art in this is good, but not Hunter's best. It is cute and colorful with lots of dynamic scenes. It is just short of being all ages, but as it is right in the middle of an anthology that is not at all kid friendly, and doesn't want or need to be, it is fine. It's generic to some degree, but uses that as a joke in the intro to some degree. I enjoyed it, and could see this being expanded and tweaked for a youth audience. Super Heroine Gamma Rae is on Earth fighting monsters. She takes her orders from the President of the Moon. There is more mucus than I care for, but there are some pretty funny panels.
- p278 -Dan Hipp - Amazing Joy Buzzards interior page - As this is art, I can't really cite it as just another Mark Andrew Smith thing thrown in for? vanity maybe. I really do like Hipp's art on AJB, and I really like AJB for that matter, but this doesn't need to be in a comics anthology... but now I remember... it's not an anthology, it's a graphic mixtape...
- p279 Deadeye - Old Habits Die Hard - Leah Moore, John Reppion & Matt Timson - This is a cool, honest to goodness noir piece. It works pretty well for me, it drops us right into a gritty and grim landscape with mobsters and sort of gangster warrior nuns, and cops that look like zombies. The story is not really ground breaking, but like I said, the nun aspect is kind of cool. The art is really good, but it really looks in places like the people are zombies and demons. I don't care for that aspect so much, but overall it is a good anthology piece, and one you could certainly read more stories in that world with that character (main character detective).
- p287 Jenny Greenteeth - This is a prime scary book story. It is a good anthology piece, as well as the sort of thing that could easily find a home in a Creepy, or similar such comic/magazine. Lake house, superstitions from youth, a twist that makes you a bit cold in the spine... I am already creeped out by lakes and such. This comic sure doesn't help with that.
- p295 Rocket Racers - Michael Woods, Kevin Myers - This has a bit too much of a 'computer graphics' feel to it for me. I like the crisp, animation style graphics to some degree, Actually, the art itself is good, but I really hate blur effects, and this comic might not have any art at all if you removed every panel that had at least a good portion of it blurred. This is a nice little piece that reads like the setup to a standard racer story. We see the kid who wants only to fly, then we see him at the big race, his lady letting him know how much she fears for his safety when he races, etc. In long form this could be a good story. In short, it doesn't feel like a complete piece.
- p306 Triple Scoop - Chris French, Graham Corcoran - This is a strange piece start to finish. The art is distinctive and pretty different, and the story is just strange, but kind of awesome and joyous in a way as well. It succeeds in being child-like, which may have been it's goal.
- p315 Rex Onazuka, The Japanese Wasp, in: The Liberators - Mark Andrew Smith, John Ulcer Leroux. - Anthologies sure bring out the long titles, don't they? This comic has credits for colors, AND additional colors... The good news here, is that I will not make a dumb comment about that, as the art is pretty great, and the colors are absolutely perfect. The story, again, looks more like a setup for something else. I think that sort of thing makes this more like a previews catalog than an anthology... or um... mixtape as it were. I like the story, it's decent stuff. The art is great as I said, and there is a lot of mostly wordless action that works well, as well as some narrative and exposition that rounds it out.
- p329 Ellie Saves the World - Adrian Dominguez, Matthew Weldon - I LOVE the art in this. Matthew Weldon is brilliant. This is a big ol' 27 page story (that also isn't a complete story, but I really like this, and you get a ton of set up and characterization, so it doesn't feel like just an ad. The 'cover page' is absolutely terrific, and is by Khary Randolph, just a great piece. The story is intriguing, and the main character has a good natural 'teen' feel about her. She isn't Peter Parker, but it is a pretty decent character. Ellie is a loser at school, and a teen super hero at the same time. Our story opens with a ten year old turning into a giant monster, and ends with Ellie going to take him on. I would love to read more of this.
- p357 Soulless, Man Without a Soul - DJ Kirkbride, Anjin Anhut - This is a decent piece with very cool and pretty different art. I like it a good bit for the art and the style of it. The story is decent. It's about a literally soulless contract killer. We get more of this in Volume 2, and it continues to be pretty good there as well.
- p365 The Engineer in Eggcentric - Brian Churilla & Jeremy Shepherd(w), Brian Churilla(a) - This is a well drawn and well written humour piece featuring a difficult to please mad scientist and his robotic assistant and a giant chicken . It's very funny, fast moving, and looks great. I think this is another nice anthology piece.
- p375 Jazz - Moritat - Interesting piece. It's about an under-appreciated jazz artist, or an artist under-appreciated in his time and place. It's the usual sad story of the self destructive artist, or maybe the artist destroyed by the realities of their craft versus the possibilities of their genius. It is a well illustrated piece, a good anthology piece, and I like it, despite seeing this story too many times in reality and fiction both.
- p385 La Llorna - Marcus White, Ed Tadem - This is a haunting ghost story told with very few words. It is very deliberate and atmospheric. Most of the story is colored in blue washes, with other colors brought in to maximum effect when it makes sense in the story. This is another that I think is a pretty great anthology piece.
- p394 Conqueror Pinup - Carlos Lerma - It's a pinup, but the art is pretty awesome.
- p395 One Checkered Flag - Zachary Sherman, Aleksander Sotirovski - Not a bad piece. Unfortunately, when you read it now, it reads similar to the Ghost Rider movie. Not even close to the same thing, but similar. It is also similar to Rocket Racer in this volume. Similar, but not even close to the same thing. This would be a good fit in a horror anthology, and is a standard deal with the devil tale, only sometimes the devil collects way faster than you expect. It's drawn well, and is a decent enough read.
- p413 Kiss Of Death - Richard Starkings, Phil Yeh - I love this. It is stylish, the art is good, but if you buy into the style of the piece, it's awesome. The story is a very interesting
- p421 The Blind Monkey Style: Smoke & Mirrors - Robert Love & David Walker(w), Robert Love(a) - Supernatural Kung Fu in an urban landscape. It has an authentic feel to it for the genre. Blind Master out to avenge his father. Multi part quest is set up, and the first obstacle is encountered in the form of a little green woman, the jade dragon. Again, it is the lead in to something bigger, rather than a complete story, but It's pretty cool anyway.
- p436 The New Brighton Archeological Society In Souls In A Jar - Mark Andrew Smith, Matthew Weldon, Jacob Baake - Great art, great color, really cute story, actually fits nicely as an anthology piece. The kids relocate the ghosts they displaced when they moved into their headquarters.