Two weeks out from SDCC, things are finally (slowly) starting to creep back to normal on the comics Internet. I’ve been able to pry myself away from all the toy announcements long enough to really dig into current comics, and we’re back down to a more rational number of exclamation points in press releases. It was really weird how all the IDW press releases had ? punctuation marks.
This week in comics, we’ve got ?2? Cronenbergs, ? villains saving the world, and e webcomic creators. But first, 1 robot man gets a new series.
Cyborg #1 (DC Comics)
Fresh off of his Glyph Award win and a fantastic run on Shaft, David Walker gets an A+ list art team in Ivan Reis and Joe Prado and the chance to launch the first solo book ever for the most prominent black character in the DC Universe right now.
The world that Walker is building for Vic sounds really interesting, a very original take on a character who’s been around for a long time, but was never really the focus of any of the stories. I’m a little Robin crazy when it comes to Teen Titans (and by the way, We Are Robin, also out this week, is very good), but I really enjoyed Cyborg’s spotlight season on the old cartoon. In interviews, Walker sounds like he’s going to look at Cyborg through the lens of our rapidly advancing technology-insane world, how a guy constantly plugged in but not of his own choice deals with being in a world where everyone else is trying to get to his level of connectedness. Honestly, Shaft was so good that I’d give Walker an easy 4 issues to find his sea legs, but I don’t think he’s going to need them. This looks good right now.
The Fly: Outbreak #4 (IDW Publishing)
Our Hall H gnome Bryce turned me on to this, and I’m glad he did. I never really paid much attention to the ’80s movies, but from what little I know about them, this is a neat twist on the original concept.
The high concept for the series is that Martin, the original Fly’s son, is trying to fix the problem he created in The Fly 2, and in doing so, inadvertently releases a plague of Flyness (flyishness? Not flyness like being fly as hell, more flyness like being The Fly. Whevs.) on an island full of people. Then everyone starts shooting at each other, and Martin has to solve that problem too. This issue, the second to last of the miniseries, focuses mostly on the Army’s efforts to contain the plague.
Brandon Seifert (whom we’ve talked to before) does really good work here – body horror is kind of his wheelhouse, and he builds on Cronenberg’s story quite well – but Menton3’s art is the real highlight. His painted artwork is like a photoreal Jae Lee/Richard Isanove, and it’s gorgeous. It takes real work to make not having backgrounds an art plus, but that’s the case here. Everything’s obscured in mist and hard to see, which is perfect for the tone of the story. I’m looking forward to seeing how the series wraps up.
Magneto #20 (Marvel Comics)
The best and the worst thing about Marvel Unlimited is the information overload. There’s like, no risk to keeping up with a bunch of titles when you’re paying for them in bulk, and the hardest thing to do when you’ve got access to everything Marvel is publishing is knowing when to stop. So about a month back, I realized that there were a handful of series that I was reading more out of obligation than anything else, so I cut several of them. Magneto wasn’t on that list.
I’ve talked before about how much I’m enjoying Magneto, but it bears repeating with the news that Cullen Bunn will be joining Greg Land for an Uncanny X-Men comic with Magneto, Sabretooth, Mystique, Psylocke, and Fantomex after Secret Wars wraps up. Bunn’s Magneto is a badass, a force of nature even without his powers at full capacity.
I just crossed the supervillain convention, where victims of cape attacks trade stories and videos, and that is such an incredible idea, something that would so obviously happen in a world where super attacks are as common as bad days on the stock market, but one that would never find a way organically into a story if it weren’t a book focused on the periphery of supervillainy, and I love that Bunn did that. Paul Davidson handles art on this issue, and I loved his stuff on X-Club, so I expect the same expressiveness and subtlety here. I’m really glad that Bunn is getting more of a push come October. It makes me excited to keep coming back.
Power Up #1 (BOOM! Studios)
Kate Leth and Matt Cummings launch their new “magical girl” series this week, and the first issue is pretty good. I talked about it a little bit when I covered for LYT a couple weeks back – I described it as “Scott Pilgrim if its nerd baseline was Sailor Moon,” and that’s certainly the case.
It’s a roughly standard first issue. There’s lots of introduction and not a ton of plot. Amie, a wiseass twentysomething whose life is a little bit of a mess, has to deal with her and her goldfish Silas being “chosen,” and that only takes a couple of pages. We check in with Sandy, a mother, and Kevin, a Canadian lumberjack (FIE ON YOU, AMERICA’S HAT) who looks like he’s getting Sailor Mars’ powers (and outfit), but we spend the most time with Amie. The series promises that it’s going to look at what happens if the “chosen ones” weren’t supposed to be chosen, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they’ll be the right ones anyway. And mystical super-powered goldfish are really always winners for me, so despite this comic being propaganda for the Canadian lumber industry, I’ll be sticking around.
Rick & Morty #4 (Oni Press)
Another comic that I’ve gushed about before, but I wanted to check back in ahead of the new season of the show (which starts this Sunday and sounds insaaaaaaaaane).
Zac Gorman’s writing continues to nail the tone and voices of the show, and CJ Cannon’s art is perfectly on-model. I have to imagine that it’s very difficult to translate this show into print, considering how reliant on Justin Roiland’s outstanding voice work the show is for its humor, but Gorman does a great job of picking up the cadence and rhythm of the show’s dialogue and letting the reader’s imagination fill in the rest. That’s pretty much the highest compliment I can give a comic – “it’s working exactly the way it’s supposed to work.”
This issue features a farmworker revolt against Rick. I can’t describe it any better than that without stepping on the comic’s jokes, but it’s perfect for me. I’ve been a huge fan of farm uprisings ever since I taught my 3 year old niece her new clean up song, “Mommy’s Farm.”
|Dark Horse Comics|
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja volume 3 (Dark Horse Comics)
At this point, Dr. McNinja is sort of the old man of the webcomic world. I mean, I can remember reading this not too long after I “graduated” college (fun story for another day), and that was like, 10 years ago. That means the comic has been in continuous publication for approximately *counts on fingers* two internet millenia. Even when you’re a free webcomic, there has to be something to it if it can last that long. And there is!
Dr. McNinja‘s comedic sensibility is timeless, and it makes perfect sense that Chris Hastings would land runs on Deadpool and Adventure Time based on that sense of humor. It’s about a doctor who’s also a Irish ninja and his adventures with Judy, his gorilla receptionist, and Gordito, his sidekick, as they struggle to keep Cumberland County, MD, clear of supernatural threats from astronauts and the ghosts of the founding fathers. Dark Horse is collecting them in print, but you can read them for free on the web – this volume collects “A Cumberland Ninja In King Radical’s Court.” If you like his work on Adventure Time, you’ll love the webcomic. One thing that you don’t really get from his scripting work is how talented Hastings is at pacing and blocking fight sequences – every action scene is terrific. I would definitely love to have copies of this on my shelves.
ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Every week there are way too many comics for me to read and keep track of. So in every column, I’m going to take a look at a book that came out in the last few weeks, but that I only just had a chance to read.
This week, it’s Come Prima by Alfred, one of the first wave of French comics brought here by the Comixology deal we talked about right before SDCC.
Fabio is kind of a scumbag. He sucks at boxing, ignores his girlfriend and dodges his bookie. His brother Giovanni is the dutiful brother who stayed home in Italy to deal with his family, and he shows up in France one day to tell Fabio that his father is dead. Then the two head back to Italy on a road trip to scatter their father’s ashes. It’s a simple story done exceptionally well by Alfred.
The art is stunning – the flashbacks are painted with heavy blue shadows and washed out yellow sunlight. The pencils are loose, capturing the European countryside beautifully while maintaining a dreamlike quality that’s gorgeous to look at. Part of my conversation with Delcourt was about the translation, and there are spots where it’s a little rough, but the words are really secondary to the art, which communicates the emotions of the story wonderfully. And despite the minor problems with the translation, the mood and tone set by the conversations between Giovanni and Fabio are crystal clear: this is a deeply sad story about a man whose life got away from him and whose problems rippled out to his family members, who is now coming to terms with the hole he left.
Alfred’s art is really excellent. There are a couple of tricks that he uses that highlight what an excellent grasp of graphic storytelling he has. His pacing is methodical, which works perfect for the travelogue portions of the book – the reader loses time while Fabio and Giovanni are on the road the same way that they would, with whole pages dedicated to the passing countryside. And then there’s one sequence towards the end where Fabio gets drunk and stares at the sky, and the panel layouts switch from the standard grid he used for most of the book to a nontraditional, patternless geometry. It’s as disorienting to read as it would be if you were actually hammered. This is a really masterful book, and a great choice for the first wave of Delcourt comics.
That’s what I’m reading this week. What are you picking up?