1.24.2015

1.28.15 [#PicksOfTheWeek]

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Image Comics is absolutely dominating this week! There’s new stuff! There’s old stuff! There’s returning stuff! I’m most excited for Danger Club #6, the long-awaited return of this Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones joint (last seen in April of 2013), which I’ve sometimes described to people as Warren Ellis doing a 1960’s Teen Titans riff. It’s got subversive intent with analogous heroes disappearing, and their ill-equipped sidekicks stepping up to fill the void, either trying to rule the world or trying to save it. I believe this incarnation will end with #8, and we’ll be seeing the forthcoming issues very regularly. Another book which fans have been clamoring for is Matt Fraction and Fabio Moon’s Casanova: Acedia #1, the return of everyone’s favorite universe-jumping agent. This time, Casanova Quinn comes to Los Angeles, with a back-up story featuring Michael Chabon and Gabriel Ba. This is can’t-miss shenanigans, and something I expect to see on Best of 2015 lists come the end of the year. I’m also excited to see more of Antony Johnston and Chris Mitten’s dark fantasy series in Umbral #12, a book which sneaks up on you with charming rogues, highly efficient world-building, and the most lush visuals steeped in sick sepia, bloody crimsons, and royal purples that sing with all the weight of the dread forces at work.

In the new department, there’s The Dying & The Dead #1, Jonathan Hickman & Ryan Bodenheim’s latest creator owned effort. Hickman has been a creator to watch ever since he burst onto the scene with his infographic-laced design sensibility in The Nightly News and (personal favorite) Pax Romana, and I love Bodenheim’s work, especially the rugged sci-fi of Red Mass For Mars. The new book promises an epic feel, spans multiple generations, and the first issue is an impressive 60 pages for just $4.50. I enjoyed the indie X-Men take of this series debut, so I’m also excited to check out They’re Not Like Us #2 by Eric Stephenson and Simon Gane, as well as the self-aware hilarity of Punks #4 by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Kody Chamberlain. The thing is, humor is subjective. It’s hard to do humor. It’s even harder to do humor in comics. But, these guys just nail the funny, with both quirky visuals and jaunty dialogue, and also manage to seamlessly work in wry social observations in the process. That’s really the role of “good” humor, not only to entertain, but to leave you with some little gem of social insight.

If you wanted some books with “sex” in the title, you could do a lot worse than Sex #19 by Joe Casey and guest artist Ian Macewan, a book I’ve sort of had a like-love relationship with, moving from bouts of fence-sitting flirtation, to eager lustful enjoyment, back to a lukewarm refractory period. But, the central premise of “what happens in a post-shared superhero universe concept?” is a good one, even if Casey sometimes leaves you with the feeling that he’s making it up as he goes for the exploratory ride, and doesn’t necessarily have a master plan with a fixed end-point in mind. Not enough sexy? Try Sex Criminals #19 by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky. I’m not sure this book is the “better” of the two, but it’s certainly more popular thanks to the antics of both creators and their willingness to eschew embarrassment, taboo, indoctrinated social mores, and other words I learned in my social anthropology classes in college.

Oni Press has Joshua Hale Fialkov and Gabo’s The Life After #6 available, a fun series set in a purgatory style land that is sort of equal parts What Dreams May Come and The Truman Show, with a scene-stealing Ernest Hemmingway helping the ostensible protagonist navigate this afterlife. Diamond is listing Chuck Dixon and Tomas Giorello’s Winterworld #7 as a release this week, which seems curious since #6 of the post-apocalyptic sojourn just came out last week, but perhaps this is a burst of issues to reestablish some sort of slipping schedule(?). It, um, may or may not be hitting the shelves this week, as I wasn’t able to confirm it at the time of this writing.

Books I might take a flip through, but aren’t necessarily guaranteed purchases, include Bitch Planet #2, Matt Kindt’s Mind MGMT #30 from Dark Horse, Multiversity Guidebook #1 by some young upstart named Grant Morrison and a whole host of artists (maybe a prohibitive price point depending on the content), and Vertigo Quarterly #1: Black. Basically, ditto my concerns about the price point on this one. While it certainly contains work by some creators I’d love to check out (John Paul Leon, Francesco Francavilla, Steven T. Seagle), for $8 I’d want to like every single piece, which basically never happens in these anthologies.

On the collected edition front, your choices are Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta’s Outcast Vol. 1, which, honestly, I could take or leave the premise from Kirkman, the book has been over-hyped in a vortex created by the wake of The Walking Dead success, an impending TV show, and the rage of the Creator Owned Renaissance at Image Comics, but the art from Azaceta is just gorgeous, full of inky goodness, something for fans of John Paul Leon or Danijel Zezelj, with a little of the old-school Jim Lee commercial appeal thrown in for good measure. The Life After Vol. 1 also arrives, great for catching up with the new issue this week, as well as the excellent Black Science Vol. 2, familial dynamics and high sci-fi adventure, which I sell to people down at the LCS as (pure speculation) Rick Remender’s rejected FF pitch that was too intense for the suits at Marvel. 

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