Hey again guys; you might have noticed I took a week off and didn't post any comics reviews last week, and for that I apologize; sometimes real life gets in the way. BUT Pulp Added and I are working on a little something instead that will hopefully make up for missing a week so stay tuned for that!
This week there are a lot of new series to choose from, and most of them were pretty strong, so I'll try to keep my reviews of each one brief, so as to be able to focus on them all. Get ready, there's a lot to look into!
Blind Justice #1, All Time Comics (Fantagraphics)
"I am no one. I come from nowhere - and disappear into nothing." By day, he is a patient in a trauma center. But at night, when he is needed, he rises. For he is Blind Justice, the Man Who Walks Through Bullets! Artist Rick Buckler Jr. makes his All Time Comics debut, together with writer/artist Josh Bayer and inker Al Milgrom, for a pulse shattering thriller. Justice can't die!
This is the fourth entry in Fantagraphics comics' All Time Comics line, their venture into their own roster of capes comics, along with Crime Destroyer, Bullwhip and Atlas. If you're unfamiliar, All Time Comics is a retro take on superheroes, with each issue printed on pulp paper, filled to the brim with fake ads, explosive art and outrageous stories. I definitely encourage anyone with a sense of humor and/or nostalgia about how ridiculous comics could be in decades past to check out these series. Of the four, Blind Justice has the most different feel, and I think that's largely due to the art; it still has a vintage feel, but it's generally more modern looking than the other All Time Comics series, and is far more colorful. Even the main cover, shown here, is totally tonally different from the rest. There's no deep plot here, it's basically as the description above states: good old fashioned justice prevailing with the squash of a club into some n'er-do-well's skull, and just as satisfying.
Dead of Winter #1, Oni Press
From the tabletop smash hit comes this new series starring beloved characters from Plaid Hat Games' Dead of Winter, written by Kyle Starks (the Eisner-nominated Sexcastle), and illustrated by GABO (The Life After). In the pantheon of heroes, none are more lovable and loyal than everyone's beloved good ol' dog, Sparky. Surviving in the wintery apocalypse of the undead, this former TV star turned zombie killing machine just wants to make friends and be a good boy. As his fellow survivors scavenge for supplies in the frigid wasteland, will Sparky be able to protect his companions from threats both undead and not yet undead?
This is a comic about a tabletop game, which I didn't know until I got to the end of the comic and there was an ad for it among the other end of the comic pages. If this is a comic meant to cash in on an existing franchise, it's doing its job well. Not only did I learn about a game I'd never heard of, the story is actually pretty solid. I'm kind of over zombie stories for the most part, but the characters introduced so far in this series are all likable enough, even though there hasn't been much time for development. I'm an animal lover so of course I'm drawn to Sparky, who serves as our vehicle for introducing new characters and moving the plot forward. The take on a zombie apocalypse here isn't totally devoid of hope, something I find utterly exhausting in other post-apocalyptic stories (and other genres, to be quite honest) and the characters, what little we get to see of them this issue, feel real and sincere, at least to me. I'm surprised at how much I liked this issue, especially since, like I mentioned, I'm bored with zombie stories, and was fully prepared to not enjoy this.
Elsewhere #1, Image Comics
COPPERHEAD WRITER JAY FAERBER TEAMS WITH RISING STAR SUMEYYE KESGIN TO UNVEIL ELSEWHERE: THE FANTASTIC STORY OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO AMELIA EARHART!
Mysteriously transported to a strange new world filled with flying beasts and alien civilizations, Amelia desperately struggles to return home. Along the way, she forges alliances and makes enemies as she goes from aviator to freedom fighter in a rebellion against a merciless warlord! "Get lost in this other world and you'll be in the best company." - KIERON GILLEN (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE)
While this is a story about Amelia Earheart, I didn't go into it realizing that. The first few pages actually follow some rebels against your typical tyrannical regime, escaping from prison. It's in a fantasy world, which has yet to distinguish itself from the hundreds of other realms out there, so I was waiting to be impressed. But once Amelia was introduced, and I caught on to where this was headed, I was far more interested in seeing what would happen next. Like most creepy little kids, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart was one of those real-life mysteries I was fascinated by, and have been ever since. And I don't want to spoil the end of issue twist, but if unsolved cases (particularly aeronautical ones) are your jam, you'll probably really enjoy this series. (Fingers crossed for Bermuda Triangle wierdness!) I look forward to checking out the next couple issues to see where this goes; I hope it continues to hold my interest because this is a story I WANT to read and enjoy.
Galaktikon #1, Albatross Comics
From Brendon Small, the man who brought you Dethklok and Metalocalypse, comes a high stakes intergalactic extreme rock comic. Based on his album, Galaktikon, we follow Triton, intergalactic hero of the universe, who will face the ultimate outer space struggle: getting over his divorce.
This is another one I didn't know how to feel about when I picked it up off the shelf. The cover looked like one of a million sci-fi hero stories that have come out, from the typeface to the title to the watercolor galaxy in the background. But what I failed to notice at first glance was the name Brendon Small, which should have alerted me to the humor inside. The comic reads like a snappy, well-written adult cartoon, which makes sense given who this is coming from. The art is complimentary to the story being told, a litte sketchy (like our hero) but colorful. I also liked that they decided to have his robot companion, T1 (short for T1T5, see what they did there?) speak in guitar tabs, which, while I know nothing about music, gives the brain something musical to ponder when "reading" T1's speech, and will give me something to pester friends who play music about later. This is only going to be a miniseries spanning 6 issues, but I sincerely found this a fun, funny story, and I'm in it for the rest of what's to come.
Generations: The Strongest #1 (Totally Awesome Hulk/Banner Hulk), Marvel
• BRUCE BANNER. AMADEUS CHO. Both have carried the curse of the Hulk. Now they come face-to-face at last - but will they meet as friends or foes? Fan-favorite Hulk scribe GREG PAK is joined by red-hot artist MATTEO BUFFAGNI (X-MEN BLUE) for a time-bending tale that will finally answer the question on everyone's minds: WHO IS THE STRONGEST ONE THERE IS?
This is the first in a series of one-shots titled Generations, that will lead up to Marvel's Legacy event (is it an event? I assume everything is a big event with Marvel these days, it's honestly difficult to keep track of). Generations and Legacy are, of course, a response to fans frustration with constant events, reboots, and character replacement. The fact that they attempt to mend this issue by introducing more one-shots leading to an event is...... somewhat tone deaf but ok. Let's take this issue for what it is, based on the description provided above: a one-shot that is intended to answer which Hulk is the strongest? If you wanted an answer to this question in this issue, you're not going to get it. I understand this is meant to be a one-shot, but there is no real set-up for what's going on, the character's dialogue together feels a bit off, and it ends on a fairly depressing note. I mean I know Banner can get a bit mopey, but this was fairly unexpected for me. Maybe the problem is that I'm not as familiar with the Hulks as I am with other characters? I read this issue yesterday, and later in the day, my coworker read it when he went to lunch. I wanted to talk to him about it, as he's older and has read a different variety of things than what I usually read, and I asked him what he thought of it. As I felt, he described it as "Ok" (another co-worker said it "whelmed" him - he was neither underwhelmed nor excited by it). I said, at the time, "With how the issue ended, lacking a sense of inspiration or hope..." before my coworker finished my thought: "That this feels a bit like the New 52?" which means I can't be the only person feeling this way. And boy howdy, Marvel, if you think taking a page from DC's playbook from 5-6 years ago is a good idea, I have bad news for you. HOWEVER I'm still willing to check out other Generations books upcoming, like I said, maybe this is just a bummer Hulk thing, some of my questions about story context will be answered, and I'm looking into it too much. It's just that I've been burned before (the aforementioned New 52 gave me trust issues about comic book publishers) so I'm already on high alert. Hope this isn't an indicator of what's to come with the rest of the one-shots.
Lark's Killer #1, Devil's Due/1First Comics
Lark is a runaway living rough on the streets of LA, when suddenly she's transported to an alien world of swords, dragons and magic, where everyone wants her dead. And she likely won't live long enough to find out why!
Lark's Killer is a new series by Bill Willingham, who is best known for Fables. This is very much a return to fantasy realms, although I'm not sure if it's effective. I feel like all the right elements are here, but the art is really what kind of detracts from the story to me. The first section of the book is done in one style, very neutral tones with a more natural feel, and almost a Disney vibe (looking at the Dragon, especially, made me think of animated movies I watched as a kid) The character designs in that first part actually made me think of an Americanized (as opposed to anime-style) look on the waterbending tribe from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Then the story switches to full color, and the art becomes so flat and...immature looking if that makes sense. It is a jarring change and really did affect me as a reader. I think all the elements are there for a good fantasy story, and if anyone can do it, it's Willingham, but I would honestly love to see this switch artists because I don't know how long I can keep being into it, with it looking the way it does. I'm normally not that bothered by art, and I typically don't think of myself as such a shallow reader; story and writing are typically the most important part to me. But I was really just not feeling the illustrations here.
Mech Cadet Yu #1, Boom Studios
Once a year, giant robots from outer space come to Earth and bond with young cadets from the elite Sky Corps Academy to defend the world from the terrifying aliens known as the Sharg. It's a great honor to be chosen, but this year...well, the wrong kid was picked.
Greg Pak (Totally Awesome Hulk) and Takeshi Miyazawa (Ms. Marvel) team up for an action-packed adventure perfect for fans of Amadeus Cho and Pacific Rim!
It's funny to see Greg Pak twice on this list; and for as much as I was "meh" about Generations, I really really enjoyed Mech Cadet Yu. It fits right in with the tons and tons of other mech stories out there, from Evangelion to The Iron Giant (I know it's not technically a mech story but whatever!) with even a hint of Harry Potter in there somewhere? Or maybe that's just me. I love a good social outcast kid is chosen by destiny, especially when it's a character that really deserves a chance but life is really keeping him down. Another not incredibly nuanced story, but I felt warm fuzzies after I read it. And the art really complimented the story well, definitely will be reading more of this one.
Spiritus #1, Vault Comics
A champion fighter convicted of murder, Kinju Dayal faces automated confinement: The transfer of her consciousness into a state programmed labor machine. But a ruthless underworld boss diverts Kinju into a vessel unshackled from its rigid programming. Only Federal Marshal Rueben Reveles stands between the armored warrior and sanctuary.
I really liked the premise of this book, although it wasn't entirely clear to me what exactly was going on until I read this blurb (which is also included on the back of the comic). However I think it's a really interesting story angle, and would like to see how it develops. I think it could go into a really interesting direction if, given that it's about a future prision state and how governments deal with incarcerated people, they touched on incarceration rates of men vs women, and of people of color versus white folks (having a presumably white woman facing a punishment delivered to us with all the gravitas of the death penalty seems like a rarity in the real world) but I don't feel like it's likely the comic will go down that path - maybe in the future we've fixed racism?? We can only hope. The art in this comic is awesome, especially the colors, and I'm interested in checking out at least the next issue or two.
So that's a wrap up! Hopefully you've found something new and interesting this week you might not have picked up before! If I had to choose a pick of the week, I might pick Mech Cadet Yu or Galaktikon! I'd love to hear what you're reading, and any recommendations you guys have so let me know what's on your mind! Til next week, signing off!