Jay Faerber lifts up new a high-flying fantasy with ELSEWHERE, this August

“What really happened to famed airwoman Amelia Earhart? As it turns out: a lot. “

Image Comics will bring a new fantasy comic series this August, with Elsewhere, a new adventure by writer Jay Faerber (Copperhead, Zoo) and rising star artist Sumeyye Kesgin.

SEE THE SIX-PAGE PREVIEW AND COVERS BELOW!

Somehow transported to a strange new world filled with flying beasts and baffling alien civilizations, Amelia desperately struggles to return home. Along the way, she forges alliances and makes enemies as she goes from aviatrix to freedom fighter in a rebellion against a merciless warlord!

“ELSEWHERE is the kind of series I’ve wanted to tackle for a long time, with exotic characters, fantastic creatures, and huge scope,” said Faerber. “But I needed a relatable character to hang everything on. I found that character in Amelia Earhart—she’s inspiring, courageous, and most of all, real. And I’ve found the perfect partner to help me navigate this thrilling adventure: artist Sumeyye Kesgin. She’s incredible and absolutely vital to bringing this world to life.”

“It’s an incredible experience working with Jay Faerber!” said Kesgin. “He’s one of the best writers I’ve ever known, and I was really fascinated when he first showed me the outline of the story. I am having fun while creating the entire ELSEWHERE universe because of my love for fantasy and aerial concepts, and I feel really honored, as a female artist, to draw Amelia Earhart.”

ELSEWHERE #1  will have two covers, Cover A by Sumeyye Kesgin and Cover B by Andrew Robinson. Both are set to arrive in comic book stores on Wednesday, August 2nd.

 

Preview Pages (click on each pic for full image and slideshow options):

 

Special thanks to Image Comics for providing access to preview pages. You may follow them for more info and other great books on their official site at www.imagecomics.com.

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2017.4.14, Exciting Times…

The first week of April brought much joy to the comic stores around the world, with some damn fine reads. Some of which were fresh, exciting, and different. I also picked up continuing favorites, for which I always look forward too. Nothing bad, though the picks are not for everyone.

Below are my further notes on the following books (with minor spoilers). Read on!!!

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 4/5/2017:

 

Extremity #2 (Image) by Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spicer

“Thea has taken her first step toward vengeance against the Paznina warlords who ruined her family. But this world offers more than vengeance as she discovers a new ally in the wreckage of the Rising Plains.”

A good followup to an excellent first issue. The second issue expands a bit more on the unforgiving world of the Rising Pains, expanding on the background losses of the first issue, an apparent retaliation for something yet clear. It would be almost depressing if not for the awesome fantasy visuals and mystery building. Though we get less of Leah during this issue, I am happy to see a bit more expanding on the character of Rollo. We also get a bit of the other side and deeper look at the ruling class. There is much development at play here, and looking forward to what may come of it. I also love the map at the end, putting the board in a sensible perspective.

Eleanor & the Egret #1 (Aftershock) by John Layman, Sam Keith

“The most daring art thief in Paris has struck again, and the police have assigned their best detective to the case. His only clue? A single white feather left at the scene. Could this feather belong to the thief? To the thief’s accomplice, an oversized talking egret? Or will his investigation lead him to somewhere even stranger? (Answer: all of the above.) Presenting a peculiar and unforgettable tale of birds and banditry, paintings and pets, larceny, love and… lamprey-wielding assassins?

I love the hell out of this first issue, which combines the best of Layman’s narrative, meta-writing style with the gorgeous storytelling visuals of Sam Keith. I didn’t think this would work, but this first issue found me eating my words. The character of Eleanor is a fascinating and mysterious one, as an art thief that only a persistent detective could expect. The egret is a fantastic avian criminal, with the taste in art (heheh). The introduction to the key players is perfect, without giving too much away. I leave myself to only guess where this story could go; as also the first issue ends too soon, leaving me begging for more. Definitely check this one, if wanting something a little different.

Paper Girls #13 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang

“Trapped in the distant past, KJ discovers something shocking about the future.”

More adventure, more mystery, more intriguing pieces to a very big puzzle, with more questions than answers. And also, more character development than the last arc for sure (especially with that ending). But, I think what is really working for me more than ever is the outstanding art by Cliff Chiang, combined with some truly superb coloring. There seems some very deep thought put into each panel, with each stroke rather thick or thin to have some additive into the surreal situation of our misplaced Paper Girls. 

Rock Candy Mountain #1 (Image) by Kyle Starks

“SERIES PREMIERE Eisner-nominated comic creator, KYLE STARKS (SEXCASTLE), would like to invite you to enter the magical world of hobos. The world’s toughest hobo is searching through post-World War II America for the mythological Rock Candy Mountain, and he’s going to have to fight his way to get there. Lots of hobo fights. So many hobo fights. A new action-comedy series full of high action, epic stakes, magic, friendships, trains, punching, kicking, joking, a ton of hobo nonsense, and the Literal Devil. Yeah. The Literal Devil.”

Another pleasant oddity for this week in comic reading. Rock Candy Mountian has a bit of classic cartoonism to it, with a sort of play on familiar caricatures mixed with brilliant action at the end. The package is a ton of fireworks, with humorous and fun dialog sequences. Jackson the hobo is a great character, who comes off as a sort of guide to this strange world of hoboing. The color and inking speak for itself, adding thrills and excitement to the otherwise drab world. Such the book may not be for everyone, but those who enjoy great sequences with momentary meanings and humor may find it most welcoming. I do enjoythis.

Black Cloud #1 (Image) by Jason Latour, Ivan Brandon, Greg Hinkle, Matt Wilson

“Zelda was born in a world of dreams, and hers burned bigger than anyone had ever seen. Now she’s on the run in our world, the dreams broken in her hands. But the pieces are for sale, the rich and the powerful are buying, and suddenly her world isn’t the only place Zelda’s running from. From the creators that brought you Spider-Gwen, SOUTHERN BASTARDS, and DRIFTER, and the incredible colorist of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, comes a place where dreams come true–and today, they go to war.”

This is an interesting book, for what it does to the reader in terms of narration and story dissection. It’s a story of someone born from a bigger story, and we meet Zelda; someone who others consider of no importance; yet through the narrative has great ties into something otherworldly and deeply imaginative. Zelda connected the two worlds together, for reasons not quite clear other than a sort of escapism into a sad exile of sorts into a world of modern sadness. Her and us readers fall into what could be mistaken for dreams but know there is something more. The art is special, though the sequences, later on, can be tricky; leading the reader to slow down and comprehend the strange structure of things. This can be a good, for many issues. We shall see.

The Flintstones #10 (DC) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

“Bedrock is in ruins and its citizens believe their mayor, Clod the Destroyer, is to blame! Meanwhile, Bamm-Bamm develops his first crush. Can his best friend Pebbles help him get the girl?”

The most topical issue yet, with the usual hard-hitting satire. Clod the Destroyer seeks to make Bedrock great again by declaring war upon the tree people. The result is hilarious connecting stuff from the earlier issues, as Clod seems to struggle with common sense and the repercussions of his actions. We also cut to the more local happenings in between, being the discovery of cinema and its impact upon daily lives. There is less emphasis on Fred’s personal struggles as he does his best to do the right thing while indulging in personal pleasures. But, the real heart string is the incredibly saga of Vacuum Cleaner, coming to a very sad end (though judging from earlier issues could mean the start of a household item revolution). The end is a tear jerker, leaving this reader feeling a bit emotional.

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That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2017.3.17, Of Recent Actions…

More comics!!!

Here we got new series, mixed withs some recent favorites, and mostly a lot of action throughout.

Below are my further notes on the following books, mostly released in mid-March (with minor spoilers). Read on!!!

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 3/8/2017:

AmeriKarate #1 (Action Lab/Danger Zone) by Corey Kalman, Brockton McKinney, Devin Roth

“Sam Kickwell was the best of the best–until a terrible karate accident involving his brother and ninjas convinced him to hang up his black belt. Now he and his appendage-less sibling have moved to a town that has outlawed martial arts; a place they can finally be at peace—until the fateful day his enemies arrive, forcing him back into the only life he’s ever known: Karate fighting for America. Featuring artwork by Devin Roth, lead character designer for the hit animated series, BOB’S BURGERS!”

What the hell am I reading here? It’s different and not quite what I expected. The satire is there, and I get the wacky lost nostalgia of the 80s heyday of action films. But there are some twists that build too much upon the silliness of the overall set-up. There is a bit of raunchiness and overviolence that also feels a bit unwanted and could be toned down a bit. Yet, I love the art style and unique feel of the book. It may be not for everyone, but for the someones that do, will find AmeriKarate a stand-out treat.

Justice League/Power Rangers #3 (DC Comics/Boom! Studios) by Tom Taylor, Stephen Byrne

“Evil begets evil when Brainiac and Lord Zedd partner to destroy their mutual Earths! Can the Justice League withstand the dark terrors of Lord Zedd? Will Angel Grove survive Brainiac’s archival aspirations? Co-published with BOOM! Studios.”

Absolutely every bit ridiculous as I hoped. I can almost hear the insane guitar riff from the classic Power Rangers television show, meeting up with the majestic tone of the Bruce Timm stylized Justice League animated series. Here, the Justice League seem a bit over their head in the sudden alien invasion from the the Rangerverse. Yet, Brainiac’s involvement adds a balance for them, and the often overly optimistic Power Rangers. Batman’s reaction has been the most fascinating of all, with hopes that somehow this will lead to some Bat-modified Zord. Anyway, great fun with the best of both worlds balanced. I’m loving this!

Grass Kings #1 (Boom! Studios) byMatt Kindt, Tyler Kenkins

“From The New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) and Peter Panzerfaust artist Tyler Jenkins comes a rural mystery series chronicling the tragic lives of the Grass Kings, three brothers and rulers of a trailer park kingdom, a fiefdom of the hopeless and lost, of the desperate poor seeking a promised land. Eldest brother Robert leads a grief-stricken life, having lost his daughter to a tragic accident, followed by his wife disappearing one morning never to return. When an enigmatic young woman named Maria flees to their community in search of safe haven, Robert takes her in. Will his decision lead to ruin and retribution dooming the Kingdom? Perfect for fans of Justified or The Fade Out. Oversized first issue featuring 30 pages of story!”

PICK OF THE WEEK! A splendid first issue, with a very stylized visual and storytelling style. The art is a many-paged cascade of beautiful watercolors and stylish inks, with an unrestrained setting that put me into a funhouse mirror of mundane small-town life. But the story warps it around, with a strong beginning giving the reader a larger history of the setting transformed by violence and conquest. The characters we now meet want something better, yet there is an unsettling darkness that feels like part of the town which feels engulfing. Then, there is murder, and perhaps something worse that feels like a long time in the making. I feel as a reader, that I can’t escape either, as the creative team made it all so damn captivating.

Copperhead #11 (Image) by Jay Faerber, Drew Moss

“Critically acclaimed COPPERHEAD returns with new artist DREW MOSS! Sheriff Clara Bronson’s past and present collide as an old friend arrives in town while Clara investigates the murder of Copperhead’s mayor.”

I have missed this series since its last issue in October, and now it’s back and I am happy. The new artist carries over the style and visuals of the sci-fi western, very well. I also really like panel transitions, especially with the character interactions, which makes the story flow nicely. The story is also taking on an interesting new arc, which shows a surprising directional twist for Deputy Boo, and a new mystery for Clara. Overall, a nice new arc for this series. However, not a good jumping on point, of which I suggest going back to the earlier issues for new readers.

Motor Crush #4 (Image) by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr

“Domino’s injuries threaten to force her out of the big race. Meanwhile, Team Swift uncovers the secret origin of the “machine narcotic” Crush. Featuring Part Four of ISOLA: PROLOGUE by BRENDEN FLETCHER & KARL KERSCHL!”

With this issue and the last, the overall series is accelerating into a fast favorite for me. The mysteries, rivalries, interesting side-characters are making the overall story a step-above the speed-racer I thought where this was going. The flashbacks expand adds meaning to the story, guiding the reader deeper into the present. The art also continues to grow on me, especially with the emotion facial expressions and body compositions. The ending is abrupt, with a cliffhanger crash. I look forward to the next issue.

Cinema Purgatorio #8 (Avatar Press) by various writers, artists (see below)

“A deep seeded dread spreads over you as you sit in the otherworldly movie theatre. The smell of burnt popcorn is tinged with something else, something coppery… blood? As the first film starts to dance across the screen you hear a strangled choke from behind you. What have you gotten yourself into? This is the theatre of the surreal from the imagination of the one and only Alan Moore! Prepare yourself for twisted tales from the masters of the art form. Now showing: Cinema Purgatorio by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, A More Perfect Union by Max Brooks and Michael DiPascale, Code Pru by Garth Ennis and Raulo Caceres, Modded by Kieron Gillen and Ignacio Calero, and The Vast by Christos Gage and Gabriel Andrade..”

Another great issue that will have things you will like and not like, understand and not. The first story being such (by Alan Moore, Kevin O’Neill), with a cartoon character, suddenly dealing with a coming finality. It’s funny and dark, leaving the spectator (and myself) in an unsettling state. The following story by Garth Ennis is a ghost story, with a very unglamourous twist. The next two stories by Max Brooks and Keiron Gillen are also darkly humored, but also with some depressing angle to them (or perhaps I was very brought down by the first story, it just echoed throughout). I couldn’t make it to the last story with Cristos Gage, for which I apologize. I instead desperately went for a nice walk outside.

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That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2017.3.10, New Goodies

Here we go, with newish (still catching up) and returning favorite comics.

Dive right into these following books worth checking out (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 3/1/2017:

Cosmic Scoundrels #1 (IDW), by Matt Chapman, Andy Suriano

“Space-fairing bachelor scalawags Love Savage and Roshambo – along with a little mothering from their ship’s AI, Mrs. Billingsley – shuttle from job to job and continually find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Despite their best efforts to look out only for themselves, they usually end up involved with alien crooks, shady black market baby schemes, and space sickness-inducing drugs. They’re on the loose and on the run – from everyone!”

Something a little different, for sure. There is a lot of good fun here and often missed from the overall genre of the new cosmic science fiction. The story doesn’t take itself too seriously, especially with the tiny captions that are necessary to explain some of the lingo and strangeness. There is much fast-paced action. However, the main characters are a bit hard to relate, for the first issue. Maybe that takes time. The ending of the first issue looks to deliver the direction this book needs. But the art is a bit rough and not for everyone. It’s necessary for the book, to delivery the crookedness and chaotic coloring to an otherwise boring universe. I like it, for now.

Paper Girls #12 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson

“Growing up can be deadly..”

So the adventure into a strange new world continues for our young delivery dolls. For now, there feels an extension of the campfire scene of the last issue. But now, there are new players with yet more questionable intentions and direction. There are more questions, and more tragedy…something the writer does well in his work. There is a mix of otherworldly and danger, yet the sudden reminder of who are Paper Girls are in this overall story. They are growing through delicate changes, leading to a very awkward moment for one. Mac remains my favorite of the bunch, with perspectives toward her future death are amusing and oddly poetic with her smoking habit. The colors continue to help define the art, making the unreality of it all a beautiful experience.

The Flintstones #9 (DC) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

“In an effort to cheer Fred up after he loses his job, Wilma buys him a new armadillo bowling ball. There’s just one problem: it’s terrifying the household appliances! Meanwhile, across town, the Bedrock elite join a shadowy prosperity economic cult.”

Another great issue full of humor, development, and social commentary. But this issue more develops the Bedrock town far more than previous issues. Much of the side characters and subplots of past issues are showing signs of development and things to perhaps come for the following issues. Only in Mark Russell’s Bedrock can a vacuüm cleaner and bowling ball show a real change in relationship towards each other and the world around them. Their facial emotions by the art are excellent, telling much more in their reactions to the sudden changes, giving a moment of fear in my eyes for a possible tragedy, eventually averted. Meanwhile, Fred’s boss is awesome with his own new gadget, a giant bird named Brutus. He makes life easier through simple commands, but not a flawless form of technology. Such relates to our mobile devices, and how we bury our happiness in their convenience; only to be feel betrayed when they become useless and loss to us. Overall, an issue full of heartwarming moments near the end. However, a bit creepy on that last page.

Extremity #1 (Image) by Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spicer

“Thea dreams. Not of a better life, but of revenge on the clan that ruined her family. With ferocious battles between man, machines, and monsters ahead…who knows where her quest for vengeance will take her? Creator DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON (Space Mullet) and colorist MIKE SPICER present a bold new vision, where the beauty and imagination of Studio Ghibli meet the intensity of Mad Max, in this all-new Skybound Original.”

PICK OF THE WEEK. I love this first issue. I am not sure why, but I needed to read it again to look deeper into it, leading me to enjoy it more. As to why is hard to pinpoint, as there as there is nothing particular mind-blowing or brilliant just yet. I think it’s just the balance of great characters and world-building not getting too ahead of itself. I love the set-up, with a family transformed by violence, driven by vengeance, except one. Rollo is resistant to the darkness in a situation where his father calls upon him to be cruel. The result is a hopeful light in the end for what humanity may have left in a brutal world. Thea the sister, is a bit of the opposite in her badass and hardened reactions. The siblings I feel will need each other, in what I hope will be a long developing tale. The art is well-defined, with awesome details. Overall, a well-balanced book that focuses more on character and situation, rather than overwhelming backstory. However, there is a much in imaginative concepts, that looks towards a great and possibly epic fantasy.

Royal City #1 (Image) by Jeff Lemire

“NEW ONGOING SERIES written and illustrated by JEFF LEMIRE (DESCENDER, A.D., Sweet Tooth). ROYAL CITY charts the lives, loves, and losses of a troubled family and a vanishing town across three decades. Patrick Pike, a fading literary star who reluctantly returns to the once-thriving factory town where he grew up, is quickly drawn back into the dramas of his two adult siblings, his overbearing mother, and his brow-beaten father, all of whom are still haunted by different versions of his youngest brother, Tommy, who drowned decades ago. ROYAL CITY is a return to the literary and thematic territory of LEMIRE’s breakthrough graphic novel Essex County and is his most ambitious, and most personal project to date.”

Jeff Lemire is back, in the original form of which we knew him by; hard personal storytelling brought about by a combination of emotional writing and stylized art. We also get that return to the way he makes a setting as important to the story as the characters. Here, we have a number of characters given much time and detail throughout the book, for Lemire to share their personal struggles and relationships. Then, bring them together in a wonderful display of warmth and family love. There are hints of many wonderful moments, not mistaken for mere exposition to a larger plot. The art and beautiful coloring invite the reader to live each moment, through Royal City. Take time through the curious and beautiful moments, and look forward to whatever may come next.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the new shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2017.2.28, More Recent Reads..

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Hey, some more comic read from the previous weeks!

Here are my notes on the following books worth checking out (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 2/15 and 2/21, 2017:

Animosity #5 (Aftershock), by Marguerite Bennett , Rafael De la Torre

“A safe haven looms on the horizon, but the walled city will not take all of Jesse and Sandor’s companions. Who will live, and who will die to save the pack?”

PICK OF THE WEEK! I love this particular issue, which practically reinvents the series to where I thought this going. This is a good thing, as I was hoping the writing would stay away from the novelty of talking animal apocalypse melodrama, and straight into something oddly more serious and emotionally driven. This being the relationships between humans and animals, now that we have this surreal understanding. Everything about this issue is great, from the intro of philosophizing shrimp to the chilling foreshadowing hinted ahead. In between, are fantastic moments and thoughtful character development, especially of Sandor the dog; who comes off as a badass, yet caring. Jesse also develops, in more than ways than I expected (a very surprise moment I best not spoil). The art and coloring continue to give this series set the tone, with an added touches that flesh the world of Animosity into a strangely believable one.

The Old Guard #1 (Image) by Greg Rucka, Leandro Fernandez

“Eisner-winning writer GREG RUCKA (LAZARUS, BLACK MAGICK, Wonder Woman) and critically acclaimed artist LEANDRO FERNÁNDEZ (THE DISCIPLINE, Deadpool, Punisher: MAX) team up together to introduce THE OLD GUARD, the story of old soldiers who never die…and yet cannot seem to fade away. Trapped in an immortality without explanation, Andromache of Scythia—“Andy”—and her comrades ply their trade for those who can find and afford their services. But in the 21st century, immortality is a hard secret to keep, and when you live long enough, you learn that there are many fates worse than death.”

A good concept from a favorite writer. There is something about the set-up that seems bothering. The soldiers after living the long runs, seem somewhat unfulfilled on what to do with it all. I would hope there is some direction in the way of making sense of it all. Though, they find themselves easily manipulated. For what reasons, we shall soon see. The problem is not having as much to identify with the characters, in an ugly horrible world of war and death around. I like the art and interesting use of panel storytelling, especially the high point of intense violence. I feel there is something worth a payoff in the overall story, but not visible yet.

Star Trek: Boldly Go #5 (IDW) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

“The hit new ongoing series continues with this special story focusing on Jaylah, the breakout alien heroine from STAR TREK BEYOND! Learn the secrets of Jaylah’s past as she prepares for a bold new future at Starfleet Academy!”

The Star Trek Beyond film is my favorite of the new Trek films. Much of that because I liked the character of Jaylah, but felt there could have been more to her. This particular issue delivers her back story, and strengthening her character further. To what direction could this mean? I wish she did not join Starfleet, and kind of continued on a sort of anti-hero or rebel. Still, I hope for something new and fresh from her in this new Star Trek series, and not rehashing old elements (like recent Borg storyline in the previous arc). The art was all right, but hoping for something a bit more vibrant in the coming issues.

Drifter #17 (Image) by Ivan Brandon, Nic Klein

“Pollux has been searching for the truth ever since he arrived on Ouro. But now the truth finds him, and sometimes that’s the worst thing that can happen to you..”

Finally, comes a satisfiable explanation to much of the mystery of this great series. Its time was very much due, and such is more than expected, all with the usual awesome coloring and art. Pollux’s back story prior to the series is interesting, towards a reaction of where emotions can vary, depending on the reader. Pollux sudden actions to an impossible situation ends tragically. The fact that he lives through it all and not succumbing to regret and despair; enabling a good hero for the tough times ahead. I look forward to seeing where his character and overall story arc heads and ends. Then, I will reread the entire series to fully appreciate the added dimensions, which felt a hidden in the earlier issues.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2017.2.27, More Wonderful Strangeness…

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Some new comics from last week, yes!

Below are my further notes on the following books that caught my interest (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 2/15 and 2/22, 2017:

Rough Riders{ Riders of the Storm #1 (Aftershock) by Adam Glass. Patrick Oliffe

“Three years have passed since the Rough Riders’ last adventure, but when an assassin’s bullet takes President William McKinley’s life, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt is thrust into the role of Commander in Chief. As a country mourns the loss of their leader, Roosevelt believes that the assassin is part of a bigger conspiracy, one whose tentacles reach back to Europe and whose intentions are to destroy humanity through world- wide ANARCHY. To stop them, Roosevelt must convince Harry Houdini, Jack Johnson, Thomas Edison and a surprisingly very alive Annie Oakley to band together again. But time has strained the bonds that once united them and the ideologies of their enemies may have already seeped into one of their own. Welcome to ROUGH RIDERS: RIDERS ON THE STORM.”

A great jump-on point for those missed out on the first series. I further think this issue might be better for jumping on, than the first series. Anyway, this true guilty pleasure of historical science fiction is back, and much of the issue is spent with ol Teddy seeking out the gang (though some seek him out). Some great characterization that feels more like the creative build than likely the true-life versions, and that’s all right. I see some tense trust issues among the protagonists, where anything can happen in this series. I enjoy much of this new setup, plus the art. The characters feel more defined, with nothing too artistic or over the top. The dramatic angles and use of action at times bring me back to the older Bronze Age Marvel comics. That is also good.

Sun Bakery #1 (Image) by Corey Lewis

“Sun Bakery comics anthology features the following stories: “Dream Skills,” about a city where guns are obsolete and the social culture is swordplay; “Arem,” a space adventurer on a quest to photograph the most beautiful galactic vistas; and “Bat Rider,” a supernatural skateboarding comic.”

Three very stylish stories, with sweet and diverse choices of color and ink styles. Much feels a bit surreal yet imaginative in very different directions. Such, I feel unprepared for, along with the subtle takes on game and pop culture. “Dream Skills” was my favorite among the stories, which emphasizes the absurd choice of swordplay in futuristic, sci-fi worlds with role-playing elements.  I love the characters and brilliant dialogue throughout, leaving me in hopes for more. The other stores are good in their own way but felt they were best kept short and sweet, as they are. Overall, a joy to read with a bonus story and commentary for this happy reader to further enjoy.

The Few #2 (Image) by Sean Lewis, Hayden Sherman

“As Hale and the Boys run further from Herrod they find themselves taken in by the father of the militiamen. Hale’s past comes more and more into light as we discover how these boys are as good at guerilla warfare as they are.”

The second issue expands upon the first greatly, on the social and political aspects of this fictional post-apocalyptic drama. The art truly drives the story, with a fantastic use of earthly tones and complex lines that are either a bit disorderly to emphasize intensity, or structured perfectly to establish setting and situation.  The tense danger and stresses of the rising dystopia bring about the character in Hale; which develops hs character and purpose along the way of the story. The contrast in the flashback is also well-done, building upon intriguing developments both personal and broad. To where all this goes, leaves no promises. I remain interested at least for the art and the interesting puzzle of world building being done.

Motro #4 (Oni Press) by Ulises Farinas, Ryan Hill

“The nefarious Reptoids, defeated and relinquished to hidden outskirts away from the Northern Kingdom, abscond with the human race’s final hope for survival—the last of their children. Motro convinces the city’s elders to sacrifice themselves to reveal the Reptoids’ location so the children may still be rescued, but they’re met with a horrifying discovery. Motro, with great warriors and a squadron of tri-tankerbeasts at his side, must decide what it means to save humanity when faced with extinction or a grisly new future.”

I love Ulises Farinas art and visual style, from much of his past work (Transformers, Gamma, Judge Dredd). Issue #4 is an another awesome balance of the complexity of his pencils, and the deeply imaginative story developed. For this issue, there is much happening with twists and turns, thrills me much. There lies an epic heroism on display here, especially toward the end. The result is another underrated classic from the mind of Farinas, in line with my other favorite work of his in Gamma. While there is excitement in seeing his work from licensed properties, Motro shows far more potential gain in greater work from his own creative visions.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things. 

 

Details on the Image Comics 25TH Anniversary Blind Box

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Image Comics continues its silver anniversary with a very special Image Comics Anniversary Blind Box, available this July.

Only 1,992 of these boxes shall be available, only in retail comic shops on July 19th. What’s inside will be 25 black-polybagged Image comics highlighting 17 new series for 2017, featuring limited edition variant covers available only for available in the “Blind Box.”

Possible variants are:

  • 25th anniversary variant cover
  • B&W 25th anniversary cover
  • Virgin 25th anniversary cover 
  • Virgin B&W 25th anniversary cover 
  • Blank wraparound sketch cover
  • Extremely rare sketch covers drawn by each series artists—25 copies per series of the 17 selected launches
  • Exclusive THE WALKING DEAD: HERE’S NEGAN! #1 limited to 500 copies—the first 24 pages of Negan’s origin story printed in single-issue-format for the first and only time.

Recently, Image comics added some teasers of some pull possibilities..

A Ig Guara ROSE #1 sketch cover.

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A rare Geoff Shaw GOD COUNTRY #1 sketch cover.

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A rare Leandro Fernandez OLD GUARD #1 sketch cover.

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If interested, you should contact your local comic store retailer soon. Cost of the Blind Box is set at $125.00

Personal thoughts:

I love this idea, and hope Image continues with this perhaps as an annual tradition. I also would love to see other comic publishers to push similar blind boxes of the sort. Blind boxes are fun and addicting. But, I would like to see them exclusive to comic book stores and share the excitement with customers. I will be curious about what the variant covers look like, and to what series and artists are involved. The only drawback is the cost, for which I am hesitant in spending that much on variants. I still may get one of these, and share/review it here on strangerworlds.com.

– Orion T

Special thanks to Image Comics for providing access to preview pages. You may follow them for more info and other great books on their official site at www.imagecomics.com.

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2017.2.12, Some Catching Up Done..

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Well…

Some time has been lost and we have some catching up to get done. After a month of absence, I found myself needing to target my eyes upon some personal favorite titles (and maybe yours too). Now is the time to share my thoughts.

Below are my further notes on the following books, mostly released in mid-January (with minor spoilers). I plan to catch up, with further recent reads in the following weeks…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED BETWEEN 1/11-2/1, 2017 :

Karnak #6 (Marvel) by Warren Ellis, Roland Boschi

“The end of “The Flaw In All Things.” Karnak has it in his lethal hands to save humanity – or end it. And nobody knows what he’s going to do.”

The end to a very underrated mini-series. Warren Ellis is at his best when it comes to underused characters, and developing them with as much richness as any top-tier character, for development and establishing an identity for his characters. For Karnak, his quest is at an end, as he finds himself with the boy sought after from the beginning. The result is troubling to himself, the boy, and others. He is bothered with his own sense of morality, I think. In the end, we see he has found the flaw in himself. Though the last issue much delayed, I find the overall arc worthwhile. I just hope there will be more to Karnak, with perhaps Warren Ellis back in control of his mind, and power.

Paper Girls #11 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson

“A BOLD NEW STORYLINE STARTS HERE! The Eisner and Harvey Award-winning “Best New Series” from BRIAN K. VAUGHAN and CLIFF CHIANG returns, as Erin, Mac, and Tiffany finally reunite with their long-lost friend KJ…only to encounter some horrifying new threats in an unexpected era. “

Many happy returns for this fan (and personal) favorite. Also, a bit of a reunification and on to a new displacement. Where or when are they now? I doubt for any solid answers, as we find this story likes to take its time. We meet a couple new characters, one a native and the other not-so-native. Where all this goes, we shall see. But for much of the issue, we get some character bonding between 3/4 of the gals in a good old-fashioned campfire moment. Such is calm, not quite realizing that Mac is in some potential danger. Such feels troubling, for not being paranoid enough in a strange land, time, possibly dimension. The art is distinct as usual, bringing additional mood with each establishing shade and defined stroke.

Flintstones #8 (DC) BY Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

“While Bedrock’s new mayor, Clod the Destroyer, goes to war against the Lizard People, Betty and Wilma decide to take a vacation in the country to visit something called a “farm.” With the women gone, Fred and Barney are left to face the greatest threat of all…their teenagers!”

Another fantastic issue filled with brilliant social satire and brilliant characterization. We also catch a more of Fred Flintstone’s assertiveness as the moral compass and everyman of the Bedrock town, defining man’s proud nature in service to women and children. But what really got to me, was Wilma’s back story as a runaway teen avoiding her being traded away for goats between two men. The heartbreak is with her mother, who feels for her daughter having a life of her own. The later reunification is sweet, and joyful, especially toward the end where the mother sees how her daughter as happy, with a wonderful family of her own. And, she appreciates the passion in Wilma, through her art. It’s an emotional issue, that still retains its humor and light-heartedness.

Saga #42 (Image) Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

“END OF STORY ARC: “THE WAR FOR PHANG,” The Epic Conclusion! Hell is war, as Hazel and her family learn the hardest way.”

Finally the end of the seemingly lengthy war for Phang, which didn’t focus much on the details of winners and losers. You just need to know, that losses are heavy and hurt the ones less deserved of such pain and suffering. This issue is a very sad issue, of which is so much of an emotional twist, that some pages are blank; leaving the reader to process the sadness of death on a small and grand scale. Such is sad, and a continuing theme I have felt since the beginning; of the troubling effects of widespread violent conflict.  What will this mean for Hazel and her surviving family? Hopefully, a rewarding both in the long run with more than this climatic depression.

Animosity: The Rise #1 (Aftershock) by Marguerite Bennett, Juan Doe

““The Animals thought, spoke and took revenge. The dust has settled and the blood has dried, but a new force is rising in the West, ready to help Animal-kind seize power in the dark new world to come…” Spinning out from Marguerite Bennett’s hit new series ANIMOSITY is this special one-shot, illustrated by AMERICAN MONSTER’s very own Juan Doe! Witness the devastating effects of “The Wake” and how it affected other parts of the world on that terrifying day!”

A nice entry into volume two that somehow makes a good jumping on point also, though it would be best to pick up the first volume. Here, continues the dark violent new human sides of nature, yet with wider implications of a sinister direction. Also, some developments on how the revolution started and an interesting anti-hero wolf creature with plans to up the dark science into something even more ridiculous. The art is awesome, with much dashes of dark humor mixed in with apocalyptic overtones.

Ether #3 (Dark Horse) by Matt Kindt, David Rubin

“Boone is investigating a murder mystery in another dimension. The Blaze was a great hero of the Ether, sworn protector of the weak. Her murder was an attack on the Ether itself. As Boone hunts for clues to solve the crime, he makes powerful enemies and unexpected allies.”

A great third issue, though feeling deeper in its own unique world. There is a uniqueness to Ether, more from Matt Kindt’s writing, though I enjoy the visuals. The settings, creatures, bizarre situations feel like an escape as our main hero takes the reader along. As after a Golem encounter, Boone and Glum end up in the Faerie Kingdom, a land of fresh odd visualizations for the eyes to get carried away with. After a troubling meeting, there is a sudden flash to the past; leaving the reader to ponder the meaning of it all and expecting answers soon. The structure of the story and style is different, intriguing; and for that, I shall look forward to seeing the story unfold.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things. 

 

New comic series preview – ROYAL CITY #1, by Jeff Lemire

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ROYAL CITY #1

  • Writer/Artist: Jeff Lemire
  • Published by: Image Comics
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2017
  • Notes: Monthly ongoing series

Jeff Lemire’s latest written/drawn creative work since his award-winning Sweet Tooth series. This looks to bring back the dramatic, emotional feels of the rural, family conflict better remembered from his other well-known, award-winning story. Essex County. Overall, a promising read for the winters end, and into the spring reading season.

Synopsis:

“ROYAL CITY follows Patrick Pike, a fading literary star who reluctantly returns to the once-thriving factory town where he grew up and is quickly drawn back into the dramas of his two adult siblings, his overbearing mother and his brow-beaten father, all of whom are still haunted by different versions of his youngest brother, Tommy, who drowned decades ago.

As each member of the family struggles to keep themselves above water, it quickly becomes clear that Tommy’s death isn’t the only dark secret tearing the town, and this family, apart at the seams. Can each member of the Pike family come to terms with their own guilt over Tommy’s death, and make peace with the many versions of Tommy that still haunt them, or will they all be dragged down below the river along with his lingering ghost?”

Preview Pages (click on each for full-size image, slideshow options):

Special thanks to Image Comics for providing access to preview pages. You may follow them for more info and other great books on their official site at www.imagecomics.com.

– Orion T

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.12.13, To Keep Going..

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Some new comics from last week, yes!

Below are my further notes on the following books that caught my interest (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 11/30/2016:

Uber Invasion #1 (Avatar) by Kieron Gillen, Daniel Gete

“Kieron Gillen’s reimagining of superpowers and history is back with America under attack! In the waning days of World War II, the Germans discovered a way to enhance soldiers into unstoppable monsters. With these weapons Hitler conquered all of Europe and now has set his sights on the United States. This is Uber: Invasion! The German battleships are on American soil and with the allies struggling to make up lost ground in Enhanced Soldier development; the young country is facing the possibility of annihilation!”

I am unfamiliar with the earlier Uber series, and quite unaware until looking up this title. With that in mind, there doesn’t seem much to figure out. Nazi’s have a lot of terrible technology and they are winning the Second World War. For much of the issue, there seems to be a lot of grim exposition. There is a frightening element on where the worst real-life villains in all of history suddenly given unreal power; a sort of opposite from the Golden Age of comics of its day. Much of the first issue takes a while to set-up, with a terrifying ending that delivers the horror to come.  The art and exposition does it function well, in the meantime; especially with the last pages. Where does it go, and can this world be saved at all from this Uber Invasion? I suppose I must read the next issues to find out.

Motor Crush #1 (Image) by Brandon Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr

“The team behind the critically acclaimed revamp of Batgirl returns with an exciting sci-fiction-adventure series! By day, Domino Swift competes for fame and fortune in a worldwide motorcycle racing league. By night, she cracks heads of rival gangs in brutal bike wars to gain possession of a rare, valuable contraband: an engine-boosting “machine narcotic” known as Crush.”

A solid first issue, that really brings out a perfect balance of pencils, inks, colors, story, sequential flow, and overall atmosphere. Much of it feels like a lost animation classic with a mix of Speed Racer and Death Race 2000. The panels of Motor Crush gives much detail in text and visuals for the readers to process, and delve into. Yet, there are moments of motor action, with high-fuel turbo-charged action. The sequence of the story feels like a crazy ride, with some shocking crashes and apparent danger. Then, there is a dead stop with the cliffhanger, leaving the reader to ponder what’s next for the protagonist and her place in all this. I look forward to finding out.

The Flintstones #6 (DC) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

“The Great Gazoo is working on his report card for the human race, and so far humanity has earned a big fat “F.” When the Church of Gerard starts selling Indulgences, Bedrock descends into violence and debauchery. Meanwhile, a miner gets trapped at Slate’s Quarry. Might there be an honest citizen in this burgeoning civilization willing to come to his rescue?”

Another great issue for this very underrated series. Here, it seems Bedrock (and the rest of the world) is facing its own doomsday scenario, as the latest in primate science makes a terrible discovery of extinction-level proportions. The reaction is terrifying and fascinating in its satirical take mirrors our society, about how fast our social norms in what’s wrong and right and where religion dogma is questioned, then goes to hell. The hysteria is hilarious, whole others take a more somber approach. Is it about time for this world to end? I hope not, as I love this series and hope to see many more issues (which looks good toward the end, I think). Plus, there is an incredibly touching moment involving Fred’s bowling ball and vacuüm cleaner, as those sentient creatures discuss their sad lives. I felt my eyes water a little reading that.

The Electric Sublime #3 (IDW) by Maxwell Prince, Martin Marazzo

“The only sane response to imperfection is to destroy the imperfect thing…” While Margot investigates the most recent art crime, Arthur and Manny dive into a familiar painting to visit an old friend. And at the institute, in a blank white room, Dylan sketches something horrific.”

A strange little series so far, that I think rewards those who want something a little different in their comics. I love the weird use of real art, mixed into the story. The use of panels, and switching between white and black, and then the balanced and unbalanced edges; is brilliant in displaying the mental effects of the real world and the art our protagonists delve into. There are some very original ideas going on, with some unique characters and twists at play. I think, however, I should know more about the art references being used here, to better understand the bigger picture of the story.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things.