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Sheltered #4 (Image): I teased Ed Brisson and Johnnie
Christmas on Twitter about being a couple of heartless bastards last night. They pull a
move in this book that is fairly shocking, but it’s perfectly in tune with both
established characterization and the harsh environment of the world the
creators have quickly built in this series. It’s hard to discuss without
spoiling outright, so let’s just say it has to do with man’s relationship with
animals. Ryan K. Lindsay’s no-frills direct-injection backmatter continues this
theme by examining how the animal kingdom will likely exert increased influence
over man post-pandemic. I will say that some of the art looks like it might
have been hurried in spots. There are a few instances where characters appeared
short on detail and precision, flat in the foreground, or with minimal
backgrounds, which I think is a result of the typically exquisite eye of Johnnie Christmas
maybe just trying to hit deadlines and the rigors of a monthly schedule(?). It
also bothered me that the scale of some of the weapons wasn’t in proportion to
some of the characters, it just felt off. Those gripes aside, though not much
of the macro plot was advanced, I still love the series, and think this was an
interesting examination of Lucas and his ability to casually manipulate others.
#TeamVictoria. Grade A-.
Bloodshot & H.A.R.D. Corps #15 (Valiant): Man, I was
really hoping that Barry Kitson would stick around on art. One of the primary
issues I’ve been having with some Valiant books in general is that I don’t feel
the art is strong enough to stand up to the strength of some of the writing.
That’s basically still the case with this issue and this title. Essentially,
PRS wants to reclaim the lost Bloodshot nanites at any cost, so Bloodshot has
to find common ground with H.A.R.D. Corps and learn to work together. That part
is fine (though I could do without the Matrix-style “downloads” from an operator and the “Skyhook”
rescue straight out of The Dark Knight), but the art is just so basic and
lumpy in places that it tends to push me out of the story. I did, however,
really enjoy “IK.” It’s a moment which stands as an example of the sheer “balls”
these books have, doing things that Marvel and DC would never dare. Can you
write a comic book review with just one made-up word? If so: “IK.” Grade B.
The Auteur: Premature Release #1 (Oni Press): This book from
Rick Spears and James Callahan isn’t slated to come out until March, but this
edition was offered as a variant at NYCC and I was able to get my hands on a
copy. I remember them discussing it briefly at the SDCC Oni Press panel and it
had piqued my interest then. I do like this model that Oni Press has been using,
similar to the Letter 44 process, putting out con preview editions of books early
in order to help generate some advance buzz.
The “insider” qualities of a down-on-his-luck movie producer are enticing, but
the over-the-top humor and story didn’t really gel for me as well as I’d hope
it was going to. Obviously humor is a very subjective thing, I also fully admit
that “funny” books aren’t really my thing, and I think it will be very
difficult for anyone to top the understated irreverence of Todd The Ugliest Kid On Earth
right now. That said, I’m all for trying new creator owned books that spark an
interest, and the art (including the colors) in The Auteur is really worth a
look all on its own. For me, it called to mind the style of the late Seth
Fisher. Grade B.