Comics You Need To Read
KARMA POLICE – Vault Comics Seriously, Luchadore Demons … wtf else do I need to say? Tony Gregori is perfect to bring to life, visually, Chris Lewis’ story of soul searching. A young Buddhist monk is training to continue on from her previous incarnation until an ancient dagger that belonged to her previous incarnation makes a mess of things. Questions abound not only about the old Tibetan Monk, but about herself. The deep reach within isn’t easy though when there’s humanity to save and all. While it’s easy to get lost in the overt expressions of the characters, very witty dialogue, and the expansive visuals that really enhance the ‘flowing in and out’ that the book does to tell the story … the head on grappling with the Eightfold Path to reveal a wonderful story of self-enlightenment is very rewarding. People always beg for MORE and for MEANING and for things that aren’t the every day re-telling of some trope. HERE YOU ARE PEOPLE. The only thing this book borrows from, is the “search for self” and it’s only to ensure the reader has a place to plant their feet before diving in. Dive head first, with your eyes … and soul open, into this book.
KILLBOX – American Gothic Press Brutal, in your face, and full speed from the get go is what Killbox is. The darkest of reality shows takes place live (underground) right out in the open without the ‘real world’ even knowing it! The feature is a man doing the unthinkable/extreme to save his dying son and he finds himself in the deadliest game of chess that exists. Simple rules of engagement make the intricate game of life and death all the more hard to play (such as killing innocent bystanders not being against the rules BUT still possibly bad if it interferes with the game). Those paying for the entertainment are just as rotten, liable, and evil as those partaking. The monetarily elite have their own sick fantasy and agenda too! That’s just the first game in LA …. there’s a second in CHI and it’s even more “fun.” Tom Riordan gives us a blend of many dark/demented fantasy types like the Purge or Hostel (anything goes, elite pay for blood) but captures something different. There’s a reason, at least with our main character there is. It isn’t just for the sick entertainment of those with money. Those in the game have a choice, or have made the choice to participate and potentially get something out of it … but is winning really “winning?” Thanks to Nathan Goodan’s fantastic artwork the gritty and seedy underbelly of what is going on isn’t lost on, nor overpowering the story. Marco Ferrari picks up the second installment (CHI) and his style is perfect for the craziness introduced in this go round.
REDLINE – Oni Press It’s not the easiest thing to do, to take present day happenings and portray them as a realistic thing on a different planet. Redline makes this an easy transition through both the artwork of Clayton McCormack and Neal Holman’s writing. We’re on Mars here and eventually we’ll be dealing with very human issues. The first issue lands us in the middle of a neo-futuristic “expansion” as a BIG CORP (Vantage Solutions) is trying to get the reigns back around of its colonies (for mining). Imagine this though, the locals (martians) aren’t keen on what’s been happening nor are they liking the exploitation of their resources. Insert a very well done Military/Security support force and the connection is instant. While uniquely Martian in origin, the issues and plagues of passive aggressive resistance are all too real (such as the use of IEDs by the martians). The desolate but “important” landscape is a direct reflection of what our service members are dealing with right now. Toss in a reason to dig (mysterious explosion killing dozens of colonists – suicide bombing outside of Vantage) with the already weary of the damned place unit … and Holman gives us all to real interactions with the characters. That is the shining part of the book. Engrossed in a quite serious security investigation the humor of situations shines through. As in real life, the lighter side of the reality of things help steer the ship. In the end you get a very satisfying take and an even better story about the people within the pages of the book.
JAEGER – Ibrahim Moustafa/Stella App Ibrahim Moustafa crafts a new take on the spy world. Having done his research about the Nazi officials scattering after the war (where they went and how they got there), he drops right into the heart of a mission being undertaken by Idris (Der Jeager – The Hunter) to finally end this piece of history. It just so happens it’s his own piece of history as well. Extremely fast paced, but fleshed out, Jaeger goes straight to the point and just lays brick after brick of the story with no filler. The context is clear as is the mission. The Francavilla-esque art and tones make the espionage element really stand out too. There’s no pretense that our ‘hero’ is a superman or that he has all the answers as he needs saving (or is saved) more than once. We get more to that as the book wraps up and the parallel of his being saved to the reveal in the end makes it all the more powerful. The unique take on a very popular medium and subject is very refreshing. A tale of personal redemption and apology with the intrigue and adventure of hunting Nazi war criminals as the back drop? Yes and yes.
THE WAKE -Vertigo An Abyssian feel takes over as a group of specialized biological scientists descend on the “Ghost Rig” deep under the waters of the Arctic Circle. The secrets held in the depths of the ocean are even more mysterious than those that sit out in the stars. The Wake spins a tale of that mystery married to a common mythos about human history/other than human life. It’s not quite the science/religion headbutt we so often get but mythology is a more than capable substitute for religion in most cases. There are two stories told here but they’re not disjointed. We get a thrill filled horrified monster tale in the first part and it is followed by a world literally soaked in the aftermath set 200 years later. Scott Snyder does a phenomenal job on both parts as does artist Sean Murphy. His take on the murky depths as well as the sci-pop future bring you that much more into the story. Many people feel it is rushed, shallow (pun not intended), and cliche in its characters and scenes. I feel all of that is secondary to what is being done in the book. Archer and the rest are just vessels for the revelation eventually coming. Rushed? Dumped? I don’t think so as revelations are AH HA! moments and aren’t played out over detailed explanations in several issues. Revelations ARE hurried dumps of info/understanding. To me, it just seems like this was set up for MORE … which I wish we’d get.