August 17, 2014

Introductions - Who is the GeekFreak? I Dunno But He Thinks He's Funny

Greetings and salutations, bloggers. I am GeekFreak, and I’m a nerd (to put it likely); a mixed stewpot of just about the majority of fandoms both mainstream and not so mainstream. Anime is my bread and butter, movies are my passion, video games a hobby, and smartassery is my trade. I started this and other blogs as a way to branch out and start getting some gears moving in life. Warning I tend to be blunt and swear a lot so don’t let me catch you crying about it.

I’ll be posting reviews of just about anything on TV or maybe video games if I get bored enough. Expect puns.

I also have a tumblr, Geek-Freak-Reviews-Crap as another branch. Same reviews, just tumblr format and the benefit of attracting social justice warriors to troll.

I would like to thank Poe for letting me join this and pretty much have the right to bitch about anything I want.

So yeah, introductions are out of the way. As I said before, I’ll be first posting some old reviews of stuff I've already done until I get something new.

TL;DR: I’m an ass who reviews cartoons and movies. Sit back and enjoy the ride. 

May 21, 2014


Hello, and welcome to The Ramblings of Poe Ohlin, version 3.0. About a month ago I announced that the blog would be undergoing a graphical overhaul so that it had a bit more of a professional feel to it. This is indeed an underground blog, but that does not mean it can’t look pretty. I personally felt that it was time to give it a new breath of life, which resulted in the new design. Hopefully you all will enjoy it as much as I do.

But this isn’t the only thing that will be changing. Anybody who has been a reader of this blog since it began has come to known that the quality in the articles written can change dramatically from one post to the next. Along with that, the amount of content while a good size isn’t as big as it should be, or as I’d like it to be. Not to mention the fact that articles are at times few and far between. I’m not going to sugar coat it; I’m a lazy person and sometimes have stuff planned but never get around to doing them. I also get tired at times from writing and like anybody needs a break. As for the quality that is something that is only natural. The more I write the more defined I become, which in turn leads to bigger and better articles.

While I cannot guarantee that things will pick up and shift into turbo, I would like to say that I will try to have articles out more and more. If I can at least get two or three out a month I would be content. This may not always happen, but it’s something that I feel like I should push for. I don’t have a lot of readers, but the ones I do are fairly loyal to the blog, and they deserve to have a semi steady flow of content for their eyes to intake.

The subject of the content itself is something that I also wish to bring up. As you have all seen, the content is mainly focused on oddities within pop culture, as well as trying to keep a focus on underground culture itself. While it is fun to spotlight those things, it can sometimes lead to the well being dried. So with that I would like to announce that the blog’s content will move into more familiar territory, and that you all will see a few articles that spotlight things that are in the mainstream more. This does not mean the underground content is going away, it will still be there. But I think it’s only fair to spotlight it’s sister culture.

I’ve also mostly been spotlighting things from the past unless it’s from the music world. This also changes now. Slowly and surely you will all see articles about more modern things seep into the pool of content. It’s about time we got with the times fully. We can live in the past, but sometimes we need a vacation to the present and future.

And while this should not be something I need to bring up if you are a long time reader, it is something that I probably should for any new reader who may be reading this. The content of this blog usually deals with things that are more suited for adults. If you look at the banner for the blog you will notice that it sports the tag of R-18. R-18 is a rating used in many countries for different types of media, the rating itself acting as their version of the NC-17 rating we have in America. All it does is give the readers a notice that this blog contains material that may not be suited for younger readers. Now I will never be one to censor somebody, but I will at least advise that readers go on here at their own pace, and only read what they feel comfortable reading due to what may be lurking in an article. Now while I can age restrict the blog in the settings, I will not. Everybody progresses with what they are allowed to intake, or choose intake at their own pace. So even though some may not be ready for what all this blog holds, I at least want to give them the option to see for themselves instead of telling them they have no choice in the matter. So please, exercise viewer discretion when reading the blog. You have been warned and I will not and cannot be held accountable if something you see here has a negative effect on you.

To try and wrap up the content discussion, reviews are what take up a good chunk of the content here. An article pops up every now and then and I have posted some of my poetry here at times. Well in an effort to give you all even more reading material, the blog will feature more debate/ramble like articles, and more creative content such as poetry, short stories, and eventually a full blown series exclusive to the blog. With this I hope to give you all much, much more entertainment from this simple little blog.

Outside of that, I don’t really have anything else to say. So in the end I hope you all enjoy the blog’s new appearance and are looking forward to some of the new content that is on the way whether they be reviews, rambles, creative posts, or all of the above combined into a theme month, which we will have. Hell-O-Ween will be returning with it’s friend Blackcember, and come summer they’ll be bringing a new friend with them. So clearly you all are in line for some greatness.

Thank you all for being readers of this blog. Without you I’d virtually have nothing and this blog would not be going two years strong. I may have a small audience, but the smallest numbers can turn into the most loyal of followers. So once again, thank you all.

To stay in the know with any future projects here at The Ramblings of Poe Ohlin, do feel free to follow any of the links below.

Facebook – Poe Ohlin

Twitter - @XW1n5t0nX

Tumblr – Wonderland of Insanity

May 12, 2014

Warground - The Agony of Profound Loss Review

 Warground - The Agony of Profound Loss
Release Date - 3/5/2013
Country of Origin - Canada
Genre - Funeral Doom Metal/Drone/Ambient
Number of Tracks - 7

You want to know the cool part of being tapped into the underground metal scene? You tend to make friends with the bands or at least some of the members of a band. With this you get to know about stuff currently happening with the band as well as form an actual friendship. Now when you throw in the reviewer aspect, you also tend to get music for both listening and reviewing pleasure. It’s always a joy when you get a new album in the mail from one of these bands and it makes you feel all special considering they’re usually limited to a few copies. So basically it’s a helluva a cool relationship (who needs a significant other when you gots friends online to send you music nobody knows about?).

Randal Thorson is one of those types of pals I’ve made within the scene. We met on the always informative (and equally asshole filled) site Metal Archives. We became chums and have become comrades in the ever so popular genre of heavy metal that we are both very passionate about. Late last year/early this year, Randal was kind enough to send me some of his band Warground’s releases, as well as a Suicide Forest tape. The intention of this being for me to give them all a good review and give him some promotion. Well it’s time to finally start getting these puppies reviewed (as well as lower my stack of metal albums to review that I’ve been given/asked to review). So thus I present to you all Warground’s first full length album The Agony of Profound Loss.

1. In the Absence of Light
2. By the Hand of God
3. The Agony of Profound Loss
4. Ties That Will Never Fray
5. Your Holiness Has Failed
6. The front
7. Funeral Winds of Sorrow

Being that Warground is a doom metal band, you’d expect the music to match that very dark, bleak, and well doom like feel. Well worry not true believers, for it does indeed have that feel. The album has an atmosphere to it which is and should be present with any doom metal record. A listen to this at night is quite fitting, as the darkness of the outside world mixed with the atmosphere of the music can paint a beautiful picture. Of course that doesn’t mean you can only listen to this at night, it still is a great piece if listened to during the day, it retaining all of the moody goodness in it. It’s just a case where night can truly suck you into a world and help engross you even more with the music here.

Music wouldn’t be music though if it did not have somebody to play it all, and Randall does a good job at playing it all. Everything sounds correct and fits well with the genre that the music belongs to. Along with the great musicianship of the instrumental bits come some great vocals. Like it’s instrumental brethren, the vocals are performed very well and help build the atmosphere of the album. All around, Randall did a great job in performing both the instrumental and vocal bits of the album.

The quality is what you would expect from an underground release, which isn’t a bad thing. While it’s true these types of releases can feature some shitty quality, I’m usually forgiving of them since there done at home a good chunk of the time. I only really complain about it if I can’t hear a damn thing at all. Luckily that is not the case here. The quality while typical is still good and everything is audible. Well except the bass a good chunk of the time, but that’s typical in metal. Poor bass. So in the end the quality of the album is as good as the music on the tape.

At the end of the day, The Agony of Profound Loss is a great album from a really great band. It’s some real kick ass music to it which is some of the best music I’ve heard from the underground scene. The quality of the album is good in that always fun homemadey sort of way, and the tracks flow into one another nicely. All around, it’s a great album and if you ever find yourself a copy I’d say pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.

A +

April 15, 2014

6 Questions #4

Welcome to another edition of "Learn Shit About Poe." Or as I tend to call it "6 Questions. The segment where I answer six questions that deal with myself. Why are you all my fine readers getting a new installment of this segment? Because I am bored and needed filler till the next review.

Today's questions...come from Tumblr. Yeah since nobody has asked me anything for this segment lately, I decided to grab a few questions off of one of those FAQ things people share around on Tumblr. These will probably come off as generic questions but hey, they were the ones that I felt like answering. So deal with it.

1. What would you name your future kids?

This is one of those things that I truly believe everybody without kids thinks about. Even at a young age I remember that we kids would sit around and talk about our dream lives and what we would name our children. It’s just one of those things we all do, like playing house and what not.

If I ever have a girl I plan to name her Violet Mable Ohlin (you don’t need to know my real last name). I chose Violet because it is my favorite flower, and the name of one of my favorite literary characters. Plus I just like girls with flowers for names. Mable would be the middle name. Why? Mable was the name of my mother’s grandmother (I can’t recall at the moment if it was her great or regular) and she was like a second mother to my mom. So because of that, I decided it would be a nice gesture to incorporate it into her name. As for a boy, I actually don’t really know. There are names I like such as Erik, Tobias, Seth, and a few others, but I’m not sure what one I would use. The same goes for a middle name.

So now you sort of know what I would name any future little Ohlins.

2. Is there anyone who can always make you smile?

There are a few people. Most of my friends and I exchange a lot of pictures we find funny, so they tend to make me smile that way. I do have a friend though (I will not say his name, however you know who you are) that makes me smile on a daily basis when we converse. He tends to botch words and it makes me smile when he does so with simple words. He’s also a pretty funny in general and his comedy can make me smile. But I think what really does it is because he’s always there for me if I need to talk, the same way I’m always there for him. I’d actually consider him my best friend. Even funnier is that he’s bi-sexual and has confessed to me. I’m not going to lie, if I was bi or gay I would probably date him. He’s a nice guy and we have a lot of common interests.

So yes, there are people (and one in particular) that always make me smile. I suppose that’s a lie since nobody can make you smile constantly. But these are the people that tend to make me smile the most.

3. When was the last time someone of the opposite sex hugged you?

If we’re counting family members, a couple of days ago by my mother. If we are not counting a member of my family, about two years ago by a friend. I don’t get hugged all that much. Part of it is because I’m not all that big on being touched and the other part is because not many people offer me a hug or do it out of pure random.

4. Have you ever wanted to tell someone something but you didn't?

All the time. I usually don’t speak up to either be nice or because I’m not quite sure on how to word it. Sometimes I wish I would speak up to people about stuff, but I tend to hold a lot of stuff in mostly by choice. It probably isn’t healthy to do that but sometimes it’s just better to be quiet then to speak up. If you can’t word what you want to say in the way you want to, don’t do it. If you can’t say what you want because you want t be nice, that’s fine as well, though I do promote ripping into people sometimes when they really deserve it.

5. Are your friends mainly girls or guys?

Most of my friends are girls. Why that is I have no bloody clue. I have guy friends, but not a whole lot compared to the number of girl friends I have. So yeah, most of my friends are female.

6. Do you currently have a girlfriend or boyfriend if you’re into that?

I do not currently have a girlfriend nor do I have a boyfriend. There is a girl I would like to date, however I am not going to pursue it anymore due to it now being a lost cause. It’s a case of she’s willing to give me a chance and puts the ball in my court. But before I can even make a move, she ends up entering a relationship with a guy. It lasts a month, they break up, and I get the same old shtick, rinse repeat. I would enjoy being with her, but I don’t want to wait for a formula to stop or even become part of some formula. As much as I like her, it isn’t worth my time and I’d rather just wait for somebody who is not cycling through guys. It may mean I have to wait to be in a relationship, but it would probably be the best thing to do in the long run.

That wraps up another edition of 6 questions. I hope you all enjoyed it and found my answers as informative as they always are. If you would like to send in questions for a segment of 6 questions, you can like the official Poe Ohlin page on Facebook (Poe Ohlin), follow me on Twitter (@XW1n5t0nX), and even follow me on Tumblr (Wonderland of Insanity). Until next time, continue being the sick demented twats that you all are and keep on playing the game of life.

April 12, 2014

Skull Man Review


Skull Man A.K.A. スカルマン (Sukaru Man)
Release Date - January 1970
Country of Origin - Japan
Written by Shotaro Ishinomori
Artwork by Shotaro Ishinomori

Many people who are fans of manga A.K.A Japanese comics (manga actually does mean comics in Japanese and is used to describe all kinds of comics, not just what we Westerners refer to as manga) like to debate who the best mangka is (the Japanese word for a comic artist or cartoonist). The names thrown out in said debates can honestly range all over the place. Somebody might say that Osamu Tezuka is the best while somebody could say Akira Toriyama is the best, or maybe even Masahshi Kishimoto will get a mention. To put it simply, while people may share the same opinions on who is the best, it is not uncommon while discussing the subject of who the best mangaka is to hear a variety of opinions.

So who do I your esteemed critic say is the best person to ever hold the title of mangaka? Why it is quite simple my darlings. Shotaro Ishinomori. ‘Nuff said. Okay maybe I should explain a wee bit more.


Shotaro Ishinomori (石ノ森 章太郎 Ishinomori Shōtarō) born as Shotaro Onodera (小野寺 章太郎 Onodera Shōtarō) before changing his family name to Ishinomori in 1986 has quite the pedigree in Japanese entertainment. Ishinomori has created many long running series in Japan in manga, anime, and tokusatsu (Japanese for special effects). His career started in 1963 with the series that gave Japan it’s first team of super heroes: Cyborg 009 (サイボーグ 009 Saibōgu Zero-Zero-Nain). Super heroes would become Ishinomori’s thing as he went on to create many popular dramas (mostly for the Toei Company) such as Android Kikaider (キカイダー Kikaidā), Hneshin Ninja Arashi, Inazuman (イナズマン), Kaiketsu Zubat (快傑ズバット Kaiketsu Zubatto), and countless others. However his main source of fans and everlasting impact comes from being the creator of the hit tokusatsu franchise Kamen Rider (仮面ライダー Kamen Raidā), as well as creating Himitsu Sentai Gorenger (秘密戦隊ゴレンジャー Himitsu Sentai Gorenjā) which is the first entry in the equally big franchise Super Sentai which would later lead to the creation of Power Rangers in America (Ishinomori also created the second sentai called J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai). In short Shotaro Ishinomori is a beloved and much (and rightfully so) admired mangaka whose work has had an everlasting influence on both Japanese entertainment, but also American entertainment.

So it is at this point that it becomes quite obvious that we are going to be looking at one of Ishinomori’s works. The work we are looking at today is a simple one shot, a story which was told in a single volume and left at that (well until 1998 that is). But this is also the story that is considered to be the grandfather of Kamen Rider and in fact, the original Kamen Rider is an adaption of this story. Today we look at Skull Man (スカルマン Sukaru Man).

Skull Man first appeared in 1970 in Weekly Shōnen Magazine (週刊少年マガジン) and upon release became an immediate sensation within Japan. Skull Man is actually one of the first antiheroes in manga, and along with how dark the story is made the short so successful. Think of Skull Man like Batman, except he dresses like a skeleton (not really though) and has a gun, and kills people, on purpose. Can you see why in 1970 this would have been successful? I’m not the biggest reader of old school manga but from what I have seen, Skull Man is definitely quite the oddity considering most series back then were either romantic, comedic, and while action packed, they weren’t as in your face/dark as Skull Man was.

Now as I mentioned, Kamen Rider is an adaption of Skull Man…sort of. Skull Man was used as the basis of the show, however Toei and producer Toru Hirayama made several changes to the story, as they felt it was too dark and gruesome for a children’s television show (this coming from the company which has a kid’s show about a Battle Royale esque story where people fight to death). So the story was changed to be more kid friendly and Skull Man lost his skeleton appearance and took on the appearance of a grasshopper (supposedly the image of a grasshopper was picked by Ishinomori’s son after seeing some doodles). However Ishinomori through the changes and all considered Skull Man to be his preferred version of the story, which isn’t shocking if the rumors of Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue being his favorite Kamen Rider is true. Anyways I think you get the picture. I’ve rambled on long enough; let’s dive into the story that started it all! Fair warning, there will be spoilers. Lots and lots of them. So if you don’t want the story ruined for you, you may want to just stop reading this review (perhaps even check out another review from the Poe Ohlin library).

Japan is in a state of fear as a string of mass murders happens. Investigating the case is the police, specifically the Tachiki Detective Agency. As they investigate the most recent crime (a laboratory that was assaulted and blown up) a survivor of the attack reveals to them that the person behind the crime is Skull Man. Skull Man is a man dressed in black attire (including a cape) and wears a white mask/helmet on his head. He carries a gun with him and apparently can hypnotize people with the eyes of the mask (they glow but I’m not 100% positive it hypnotizes people, they could just glow for an eerie effect). Along with Skull Man comes his aide Garo, a man who has the ability to shape-shift into different animals, though we only see him turn into a bat, werewolf, and alligator man throughout the story. A police chief named Tachiki recognizes the name, as apparently Skull Man and Garo have been behind all of the recent killings.

Soon after the investigation into the latest case begins, a young man named Tatsuo Kagura barges into their office, he carrying a detective in who died. As it turns out, Tatsuo is the son of the man behind the Kagura Gang, he even acting as the gang leader when his father is away. Tatsuo is a bored little boy and demands to be put on the Skull Man case so that he has some entertainment. Tachiki is hesitant at first but allows Tatsuo into the detective agency after performing a background check. The two begin working on the case together, Tachiki even telling Tatsuo the background of Skull Man.

The back story of Skull Man goes that when he was three years old his parents were killed. According to Tachiki, they were pretty dangerous people. Since then the police have been looking for that boy, they believing him to be the man behind Skull Man. To try and track him down, the agency investigates every three year old in Japan. With every year that passes, they investigate a new age group. All they know is that since Skull Man’s reign of terror has gone on for 15 years, he must be 18 since the prime suspect disappeared 15 years ago when the crimes began.

While Tachiki and Tatsuo continue to investigate, Skull Man strikes again. A body is found with a gunshot to the head, they recover a car from a river, four people were murdered in a forest, and a commercial airplane is blown up. Tatsuo ends up not coming to work for a week, he soon returning though. His absence comes a bit suspicious to Tachiki, as Tatsuo was missing when the most recent crimes (the four murders in the forest and airplane explosion) happened. Tachiki has actually been suspicious of Tatsuo for a while, especially considering how he randomly popped up and asked to be a part of the detective agency.

Tatsuo leaves the police HQ that day and returns to a mansion hidden with the woods/swamp (it’s kinda both), the same mansion where we the reader saw Skull Man and Garo emerged from earlier. This confirms what the reader already knew (seriously I’m not even kidding. You can tell its Tatsuo from his first appearance if you pay attention to how he and Skull Man speak); Tatsuo is Skull Man. Tachiki already knew this however, for as quick as Tatsuo arrives at his hideout the police surround the place. Garo ends up bursting out of the mansion to fight the guards, as well giving Tatsuo a chance to escape.

Tatsuo doesn’t escape though; he ends up appearing behind Tachiki dressed as one of his guards. Tatsuo then explains that the reason he killed everybody is because he is trying to find the man that murdered his parents (Tatsuo was adopted by the Kagura family). Tatsuo learned that certain people were connected to his parents’ murderer, and thus decided he would kill all of them and work his way up to the killer. After hard pressing Tachiki for a bit, Tachiki gives up the man’s name. Tatsuo kills him and heads off to the home of a man called Kogetsu Chisato.

Once there, Tatsuo and Garo come across a blind mute girl named Maya, as well as Chisato himself. The sight of the man responsible for the death of his parents sends Tatsuo into an intense rage, he threatening Chisato as well as explaining his plan. Before he can kill Chisato however, Maya uses telepathy to persuade Tatsuo to not kill Chisato. She also reveals some big news to our antihero. This news is major, this is the news the whole comic was…not really working up to. So what is the big news? Well it turns out that Maya is Tatsuo’s sister and Chisato is their grandfather. But oh wait, that isn’t all.

Turns out that Tatsuo and Maya’s parents were (get a load of this) mutants. Yes you read that correctly, mutants. Tatsuo’s father and mother were really smart when it came to science, so smart that Chisato describes them as inhuman geniuses. The couple was also conducting experiments that if they wanted to, could destroy humanity. Scared of this Chisato killed Maya and Tatsuo’s parents’ right after Maya was born. He planned to kill Tatsuo as well; however Garo took Tatsuo and escaped. He also thought about killing Maya but could not bring himself to do so. With Tatsuo gone, Chisato took Maya in as his own and raised her.

After dropping the bomb, Tatsuo starts freaking out and Maya tries to calm him down. Chisato however brings the four into a room with glass walls and traps them there. He sets the place on fire and eventually the four die in the inferno in a tragic, horrible fashion. The end.

So that was Skull Man. How was it? Well let me dive into my thoughts about the work.

The story of the manga isn’t really all that bad, especially for a one shot. One shots being one volume long sometimes tend to not succeed well in the story department. That’s not to say all are like this, but it isn’t uncommon. Skull Man though has a nice story which fits the one shot format really well. It moves along quite well enough so that everything builds onto each other. When you get to the final sections of the comic, you’re pumped and ready to see how it all resolves. It has a (somewhat) clear beginning middle and end. It’s also easy to see why Toei wanted to change the story around for Kamen Rider, as it’s a pretty dark story. I rarely ever see the darkness in stories people tell me are really dark, but this is a case where I see it fully. Tatsuo is definitely an anti-hero in all senses of the word here. He has a goal of revenge which has taken over his life. A goal that he wants to reach so much that he will kill people to achieve. And not just people involved with the person he seeks revenge against, he’ll kill innocent people such as the couple in the woods, passengers on the plane he blew up and the train he derailed, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to reach his goal even if he has to sacrifice the lives of innocent people to do so. That is why the story is so dark. Tatsuo’s main goal which is the driving force behind the story is simply revenge and that he’ll tear through anybody who gets in his way or just happens to be around when he acts. But enough of the darkness how is the story in the end? Well as I said when I started, it’s a really nice story for a one shot, and it fits that format very well. It has good pacing, memorable moments, some nice lines; it’s just an all around good story, albeit a really dark one.

But what is a story without its cast of characters? Probably something really boring, but luckily Skull Man has an interesting cast of characters. I pretty much already talked about Tatsuo n the last paragraph and the only other thing I can say is that he’s a nicely done character. So what about the other characters? Tachiki comes off as your regular old detective. But like Tatsuo, he’s obsessed with his end goal, the goal being to capture Skull Man. Because of that he falls into the typical character that an obsessed cop has, however he doesn’t get overly obsessed to where he shuns everything to work on the case. So for that I congratulate Ishinomori for not writing him that way. Overall, he’s not that bad of a character. As for Chisato and Maya, they aren’t really in the comic long enough to have developed characters to speak of. They come in right at the last minute and the only purpose of them seems to be to drop the information bomb. I would have preferred it if Tatsuo and Chisato fought for a little bit and then Maya came in and dropped the bomb of information on Tatsuo. It would have made for a better ending to me as well as given Chisato at least some more purpose other than being the giver of news. And as for Maya, yeah I don’t think her role here could be improved unless she was older, dated Tatsuo, and then in the end they pulled an Oldboy on the reader. But that’s just a little too much out there, so Maya is pretty much worthless as a character to me. And outside of those four, the other characters (including Garo) are just worthless and throwaway characters. Now out of the four, only Tatsuo and Tachiki really shine through as being good characters. Chisato had potential to be a good character, but he ended up being a missed opportunity. And as for Maya, she’s as pointless as the rest of the characters. So I would have to say that the characters here are pretty poor outside of Tachiki and Tatsuo.

Finally we come to the artwork. Ishinomori’s artwork is very similar to that of Osamu Tezuka, which makes sense since Ishinomori did in fact study under Tezuka. It’s a very distinct style when it comes to the way people are drawn. The human character designs are pretty nice, though some do look really similar (especially when you first are introduced to the detective agency). Skull Man’s design is very nice; I especially love the jacket part with how regal it looks. There’s just one thing though, he doesn’t looking like a skeleton! Serious how can he be called Skull Man but not look like a skeleton, or at least have a helmet that looks like a skull? Thankfully though, the 2007 version rectified this. But I digress. It is a good design; I just wish it looked more like the character’s namesake. However the true beauty of the artwork comes from the set pieces. My God do these look amazing. The scene in which Tatsuo and Garo ride through a swamp are some of the best pieces of artwork I’ve ever seen in a comic. The opening pages are also great and just scream good old gothicness. Once again, they’re some of the best I’ve ever seen. So as a whole, the artwork in Skull Man is really good. The character designs are good and the landscape/set piece artwork is just perfection.

Well after all of this, is Skull Man the dark grotesque masterpiece it is praised to be? Not really. First off while the story is in fact dark nothing is really all that grotesque. There’s some blood but not enough to be considered gory. While the artwork can be scary at times, it never comes off as gruesome. So I’d have to say that the comic is in no way grotesque, but it is as dark as people say it is. But darkness and grotesquery aside, how is the total package? While it isn’t the masterpiece some people make it out to be, it is a very good work in the realm of comics. Its story is nice and compact (though I do have one gripe I’ll go over in a minute), it has some phenomenal artwork, and while its character amount is small, the ones that are meant to be important are…slightly important. Maybe I should get to my criticisms now.

As I mentioned I do have a gripe with the story. I think they throw way too much at you in the final pages of the comic. First we are told that Tatsuo is Skull Man and given his reason for being Skull Man, that’s fine. But just a few short pages later the reader is hit with another twist about Tatsuo’s past. All of this comes too quickly right after each other in my opinion. Plus, I really don’t like how the final twist is rushed to where it’s just blurted out. I honestly do believe it should have been dragged out a bit with a fight between Tatsuo and Chisato before it was revealed, not immediately when Tatsuo arrives. The other complaint I have is in fact about the characters. We have four characters that play an important part in the story: Tatsuo, Tachiki, Chisato, and Maya. The problem is that only two of them are treated like major deals. Chisato doesn’t show up until the end and he doesn’t really do anything except spill knowledge that affects Tatsuo in a major way. He should have been portrayed as a really important character but in the end wasn’t. As for Maya, she’s pointless. Utterly pointless. She’s like Chisato but handled even worse with no purpose at all except for adding a bit of shock value. But that doesn’t make her a character; it just makes her a plot point. This along with the seemingly rushed/back to back twists just sort of bring the whole product down some, at least to me they do.

However those are my only strikes against the book. Everything else is great stuff to me. As a fan of Kamen Rider, it was really great getting to read the story that gave birth to the franchise I love so much. Plus it allowed me to finally read some of Ishinomori’s work that wasn’t a Kamen Rider story. So personally, I found it a great ride for those reasons. Critically I found Skull Man to be a really nice little comic. It’s a got a nice compact (If slightly muddled) story with great artwork to back it up. The original Skull Man has not been released physically outside of Japan yet. However it was released digitally in 2012 by Ishinomori productions and can be found online on a few manga sharing/reading websites.

The Skull Man is a must read in my opinion for any fan of Shotaro Ishinomori’s works, or is a fan of Kamen Rider. If you’re neither of those things, I’d still say it’s definitely worth a read. In the end, it gets my seal of approval and is one of the better comics I’ve read in recent years, regardless of what time it comes from.


*Images courtesy of Google*