Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday - My Weekly Stack

I generally don't buy comics I don't like, so that all my reviews are on the positive side, but I read a variety of titles from a variety of publishers, so I think you might be interested in reading these reviews, to learn of a few titles that you might want to bring home next month, or add to your pull at your comic shop, or on Comixology.

I'm going to start with Higher Earth from Boom Studios, written by Sam Humphries with art by Joe Eisma, colors by Studio Parlapa and letters by Ed Dukeshire. If you haven't been reading this, let me catch you up a little. There are multiple Earths and ways to travel between them, but this has been outlawed by the Highest Earth which seems to govern all the other ones. Up until now the focus has been on Heidi and Rex, Heidi being the character being dragged from her Earth into adventure and Rex being the one doing the dragging. It gets a bit complicated, but lets just say there are multiple versions of people, bounty hunters, robo-bears, dinosaurs and the like. Every issue seems to jump to at least one different planet, making the journey madcap and really quite fun.

This issue of Higher Earth is a little different from the others, it has taken a left turn, replaced series regular artist Francesco Biagini with Joe Eisma (Morning Glories, and reportedly one of the fastest artists alive). This issue we are introduced to Beatrice, who lives on a horrible world of starvation and war. The small tribe she lives with is very cult and has a leader who is hiding something from everyone...a portal to other worlds. Beatrice, through curiosity and determination, becomes the person to go through the portal and raid other worlds...but things go awry. I'll leave it there, but the issue is well done and is setting up a long game for Higher Earth. The world building here is done very well, and Humphries knocks it out of the park month after month with this book. Eisma is just as much on his game here as he in Morning Glories, he packs that pages full of detail and his storytelling and emotional moments are stellar. So...pick this book up already.

I am constantly surprised by Matt Kindt's ability to make comics that make me feel and MIND MGMT is another Matt Kindt tour de force in the comic's world, Kindt's watercolors on this book are powerful.  Equal parts spy story, mystery and human drama this book knocks my socks off with how damn good it is. The basic story so far...a woman is trying to crack a story about a secret organization and that has dragged her into a global adventure that has more at stake than she can even imagine. Pick this book up. This is a master class in comics storytelling, and in taking risks with the format. Each issue has a main story and oftentimes two mini stories that tell the formation of MIND MGMT, an organization that is behind the running of the entire globe, and the interesting people that work for them. On top of that you have the main story which this month focuses on Henry Lyme, his history with the company and with his family. It tells you of his unique ability to sway people's moods and the pressure that this put on him and his relationships, and the tragedy of what happens when power degrades the sanity of one man. SO GOOD. If this sounds like something you would like than make sure you pick this book up.

Prophet has been a book that I've been enjoying immensely since the relaunch, each issue has a million throwaway ideas that some writers would base entire books on. Brandon Graham and his co-creators (Simon Roy, Farel Darymple, Giannis Milonogiannis) are obviously having great amounts of fun doing something that no mainstream book would even dream of, making a mythology around a space-faring adventurer (Prophet) and his Earth-empire-controlled clones. The basic premise so far, Earth is bad, Prophet is a hella old and has been battling them forever, and his clones are working against him with the Earth empire for some reason unexplained as of yet. Graham and Darymple man the ship for issue #29, and it is another stellar chapter. Props to Joseph Bergin III on the colors of this book, the majority of the issue follows a Prophet clone that has been mind-controlled by a psychic character, and the color scheme is mostly gray for the book to reflect the mind-state of main character. The small splashes of color that Joseph uses have intense impact in the monochromatic background. Farel Darymple's art and layouts (are they really all his layouts? I don't really care, they're gorgeous) are knockout. His character design (he designs about a million creatures in this issue alone), his interesting establishing shots that rock the perspective grid, and his grasp on action and motion make this book a dream to look at. And Graham, the story is no slouch. Also, I would like to note that this book is doing some astounding covers, unlike anything else on the stands, they've had a lot of non-character-centric covers, which is something you just don't see much of.

Who starts a book with a rabbit eating a fox, it's mouth covered in blood with "chomp, chomp, chomp" sound effects? Terry Moore does, and he does it because he can and because it is disturbing as hell. Rachel Rising #11 is an issue filled with revelation and dread. I've read most of SiP and all of Echo, Moor'es previous works, and nothing prepared me for this from the man. Rachel Rising is one fucking disturbing read. Honestly, it is filled with enough creep and dread and horrible things to keep you awake for years. Being Terry Moore it also has little bits of humor and tender moments with strange characters, but this book reminds me of Twin Peaks mixed with The Witches of Eastwick mixed with original content that I haven't seen anywhere else. Honestly, if you aren't reading this, there is one trade, a second coming, get them you are missing out. I don't feel like hitting the detail on this because it will spoil everything when you do get it and read it. Seriously though, buy this book.

Art is something that I will pick up a book over, and I've been falling in love with Riley Rossmo's art more and more with every project that he puts out and Debris (#3) is an interesting departure for him from his "regular" style. If you have seen Rossmo's work in Green Wake, Cowboy Ninja Viking or various other projects you may have started to relate Rossmo with an inky, scratchy line and a color palette common among things that rot. With Debris Rossmo and colorist Owen Gieni are creating an absolutely lovely, clean style with abundant primary colors and superb rendering, bringing a world of giant robot creatures and isolated pockets of humanity to life. Kurtis Wiebe is writing a tale of growing up, discovering yourself and the world beyond what you know, a story of whimsy and robots. This is the type of story that you could easily pass into the hands of someone that never reads comics and tell them, "Read this, you'll love it."

Son of Tavern Tales is a Skullkickers (#18) book that you should purchase to get yourself into the universe, and to enjoy some crazy Dungeons and Dragons/Buddy Cop adventures. This issue has a bevy of indie talent, Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore (The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, Blair Butler (Heart), Charles Soule (27), J. Torres (Teen Titans Go!, Alison Dare), Rob Guillory and John Layman (Chew) and a slew of other creators. In all honesty, this issue had a competition attached for writers and artists that I tried out for and lost, and I wanted to see the story that was selected (smart marketing move from series creator Jim Zub). Turns out the story from Aubrey Sitterson is quite good, a mixture of brawling between guilds with the two main characters stuck in between, and the art for the story by Ivan Anaya is nothing short of flabbergasting. In fact, the whole package is top notch entertainment, with Blair Butler's story capturing a nice little spot in my heart for being a wordless and too damn cure for words.

Marvel brought me in with two books this week Ennis and Parlov on Fury: Max (#6) which is a bloody war story based in the Bay Of Pigs conflict. It that sounds like something you'd like to read, get it, if not it probably isn't your cup of tea. Parlov is something of a wonder on this book though. And Wolverine and the X-Men #16 cashed in on my X-Force/X-Statix nostalgia and amazing Allred art (Laura and Mike), with a story that was cute, and had Doop playing guitar against the devil (my highlight for that book.

And with that, I'm out.


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