11.26.14 [#PicksOfTheWeek]

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What a huge week! It feels like every book I’m into has stacked up and is arriving on the same day. I’ve read an advance of The Massive #29 and it’s great. Writer Brian Wood has promised “it’s all about the end,” and the big “thing” that occurs in the series to define itself, well it really starts to occur in this issue and coalesce in a way that the audience can begin to parse. It’s about altering our perspectives at times, literally, as we see in the opening sequence. With Garry Brown’s rugged lines, we see so many great points of transition or efforts to connect the dots and address the many theories that have been flung at the series, from Mag shedding his old life and reaching a turning point about his faith in someone like Mary, to the transition of audience POV to little Yeva, to the building of a new creation myth at the beginning of a mass exodus event. It really is Can’t Miss Comics.

Image Comics is on fire this week, sending us their best series as far as I’m concerned, with Lazarus #13 arriving from Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, continuing the impressive fleshing out of the world that is the “Conclave” arc. Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski have Sex #18 out, a title which I’m honestly starting to be on the fence with, but I’ll likely at least see this arc through. There’s the underrated C.O.W.L. #6 from Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis, about unionized noir supes in 1960’s era Chicago. I’m very curious to see Sheltered #13, Ed Brisson and Johnnie Christmas’ baby, featuring explosive confrontations as things come to a head in anticipation of final issue #15. If you need your requisite Warren Ellis fix for the week, you’ll want Trees #7 with artist Jason Howard, a series that has gotten very introspective about its mass social observations in the wake of the mysterious “other” injected into the world. Umbral #11 by Antony Johnston and Chris Mitten is also hitting shelves, a series which refuses to be ignored, full of infectious world-building, high adventure that never forgets to have heart or pause for a laugh, with startlingly good visuals, from the pencils on down to the unique approach to coloring and lettering. I think quite a few people are amped for ODY-C #1 by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward. For me, I find that Fraction’s more “out there” high concepts (Casanova, The Five Fists of Science, Sex Criminals) tend to be the best, so this gender-bent Homer-ian sci-fi looks very promising.

Did you know there are other publishers besides Image Comics? Shocking, but true! Oni Press is giving us Letter 44 #12 (which still has one of the best pure-pitch high concepts I’ve seen in the last, oh, five years?) by Charles Soule and Alberto Alburquerque, as well as Stumptown Vol. 3 #3 by Greg Rucka and Justin Greenwood. This run of Stumptown has been a slower burn than previous, a deeper dive into subculture(s), but I always enjoy it because there’s an authenticity to the context that the strongly developed characters operate in. IDW has one of my favorite books currently being published, and although it’s a licensed gig, Tom Scioli and John Barber are just killing it on the series. It’s Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #4, which essentially functions like an indie comix invasion of my Gen X childhood. It’s equal parts self-aware send-up, earnest adaptation, and adventuresome action figure playsets come to life under Scioli’s detail obsessed line.

My last recommendation is a proverbial oldie, but a goodie. Dark Horse Comics is putting out a collected edition entitled Arkwright Integral Hardcover. This is it. This is Brian Talbot’s absolutely praises-of-which-are-undersung multiversal generational epic, intertwining destiny and fate and pulp adventure with ornate baroque visuals, a UK tour-de-force housing both The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and the dizzyingly impressive series Heart of Empire. If you’re unfamiliar with these works, this is a tome that deserves a place in the great pantheon of respected industry works. It’s something that every fan of the medium should immediately be immersed in. 


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