7.25.12 Reviews

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Prophet #27 (Image): One look on the inside front cover at that credits page, and you know this is a creative team having fun. Not to sound hyperbolic, but I still think Brandon Graham is some sort of 21st century quirky Ernest Hemingway with this sparse and lyric prose. For example, we see Prophet “backed by brothers he’d earned,” when lesser writers would have struggled with “his friends were with him” or “he brought his allies” or whatever. Giannis Milonogiannis delivers some magnificent two-page spreads, sensual alien sex, and unflinching brutality in action, all lending this sense of an effortless, but monumental bout of world-building. The thing I like the most about Prophet isn’t the slight line weight of Milonogiannis, the visual wonder of floating graveyards of ships, the balance of organic life with regressed technology, the obtuse callbacks to the worst of 90’s Image Comics (Badrock, Diehard, etc.) made fun again, oh, those are all great, but it’s a very specific sensation I get that’s the real hook. It’s the sense of the unexpected. I have absolutely no idea where this sucker is going to go from moment to moment, and that’s one of the best feelings I can feel when I’m reading comics at this point in my life. This book comes along and still has the power to surprise and delight. My joy is conflicted as I try to reconcile lingering on every panel to absorb and enjoy the craft, yet also wanting to race ahead to the next sequence to satisfy my own sense of curiosity. Grade A.

Manhattan Projects #5 (Image): It feels like Hickman’s humor chops are getting better and better with every issue, because so much of the effect is the deadpan result of big incongruous ideas. I like the way the script wrestles with age old philosophical quandaries, like every problem starting to look like a nail when all you have is a hammer, and wondering if you should do something just because you could. As someone who has been with Hickman since his start at Image Comics with The Nightly News, through Pax Romana, all the Marvel Comics work, and now back to Image, I loved seeing the return of his trademark infographics depicting the spiral galaxy of The Milky Way. Things really start heating up with a surprisingly thwarted interstellar incursion, with the “Pulling Way” in contention, the FTL drive (sounding like it’s cribbed from BSG?), and the whole idea of the “stargate” vs. more conventional travel via ships. The odd cabal of scientific minds and military leaders hits its stride with “We remain grounded, while angry space gods look down on us from the heavens.” Nick Pitarra seems to be hitting a career high in terms of consistency and an outright melding of Geoff Darrow’s detail and Frank Quitely’s sinewy lines. Another great asset of this title is that it seems to be the antidote to decompressed storytelling; the thing moves fast, the group debates options for a page or two, and before you know it, they’re already through the gate committing genocide. The sense of sci-fi irreverence and serious examination of the motivation necessary to survive makes for a really fun time. Grade A.

Debris #1 (Image): This book immediately shows off a beautifully garbage-scaped set of imagery thanks to Riley Rossmo, who seems to be an artist jumping more onto my personal radar with every successive project. He and writer Kurtis J. Wiebe are helping Image Comics continue to create new worlds left and right, while Marvel and DC continue heating up their own leftovers ad nauseum. Here we have some sort of post-apocalyptic future Earth literally covered in garbage, with sentient refuse mechs rising up to threaten the existence of the last remaining band of humanity. With the isolated setting, food and fresh water shortage, along with mentions of a lost mythic land, I’ll be honest, I started thinking about Waterworld (sorry!), but quickly snapped back. The action is clearly choreographed with very little exposition, places like “Maiden” and people like “The Five” are introduced without belabored explanation, trusting the audience to just keep up and figure things out in context during the fun ride. For me, things got a little fuzzy when the protagonist Maya has her uniform shift from blue to green intermittently and some sort of electrified lightsaber-y edged weapons magically appear. I wasn’t sure if these were mistakes or done purposefully, and if so, why and how? I generally liked the issue, but I didn’t feel a strong enough hook to come back for the second installment. This is something I could see myself revisiting in trade form though. At a discount. Heh. Grade B.


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