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 2016.8.9 – Up the Weirdness…

Photo Aug 08, 12 23 09 AM

Last week was a bit weird, with chances taken on the unfamiliar while engaging the usual strangeness I love. I have a few interesting books this week, and added a couple oddities from the recent past. Such is the good time, when one can try new things; adding favorites upon favorites.

Here we go (with minor spoilers)..

NEW COMICS FROM LAST WEEK:

Paper Girls #8 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang

Another great issue with a little more character development and action than the usual. I love how Mac continues on with her smoking, knowing her fate lies elsewhere. Erin converses with her future self with little worry on the impact of her life, though such reveals deeper complexities and questions to her character. Meanwhile, the future keeps getting stranger, which leaves me to ponder what is truly going on, and how much do the subplots of the Paper Girls personal lives really mean on the developments on the bigger picture. Such is great storytelling, though I can’t even begin to guess on where is all goes. Also, great coloring and art as usual.

Cinema Purgatorio #4 (Avatar) by Alan Moore, Kevin O’Neill, Kieron Gillen, Garth Ennis, Max Brooks, and more

An all right issue, with writer favorites paired with great artists taking advantage of the black and white medium. The opening story with Alan Moore, I had trouble grasping the meaning of it all, as there is some sort of presentation of a familiar ape of classic cinema, revealing a much more complex personal story. The conclusion left me scratching my head. Perhaps, I should read that again, because the visual sequence by Kevin O’Neill is awesome. The other stories are all right, with my favorite being the one by Kieron Gillen, carrying on a sort of gaming motif with a sort of metaphysical approach. Overall, I love the varied art styles which come together to tug at the imagination by mixing familiar settings with fantastical situations. I feel this latest result has been the most experimental.

Animosity (Aftershock) #1 Marguerite Bennett, Rafeal  de Latorre

This is off to a kickass start! The premise is simple, yet endless in possibilities; where the animals of the world are suddenly intelligent and speaking English. The results are shocking, touching, violent, emotional, violent with sudden personas taking over. Many are instantly evil, while others become compassionate; mostly depends on their current situation. The situation turns into a survive or die for a young protagonist and her dog, as they fight together to survive. The pacing is high, with great action and drama. I love the art and coloring, very modernist but sticking to a classic comic panel format. The only big problem is the book being over too soon, leaving me begging for more.

TWO FROM PREVIOUS WEEKS:

Kentucky Fried Chicken presents: Colonel Corps (DC) by Antony Bedard, Tom Derenick

NOTE: A free comic digitally available through DC’s online app and Comixology service, or in print to the lucky attendees standing round the DC booth at the recent San Diego Comic Con.

Wow, just what did I read?! How does one even think of such a ridiculous over the top story about a fast food icon traveling the multiverse collecting alternate realties of itself to fight a an evil mirror universe mastermind? Such is packed with many DC Multiverse eggs for the hardcore fans out there. As for Colonel Sanders fans not so much on the DCU, get ready for odd references to the Kingdom Come universe, Teen Titans Go, Bizarro World, and more surprises. The creepiest of them, is one Colonel Sanders joining the fray as an actual chicken variant (!). Such overall is a hilarious ad awesome treat, which somehow ends up as original and crispy.

Heart of Weirdness by Seth Andrew Jacob, Michael Lee Macdonald

NOTE: Digitally available via the Comixology Submit program. Click here if interested.

A nice little gem for those who love a short story with no limits. Here, a soldier risks his sanity in traveling to another universe to find a madman whose taken over. The story takes the reader through otherworldly landscapes with strange life and bizarre tech; which overall makes sense is and is not too weird when the reader’s mind accepts. I love the art, with a throwback to the classic Heavy Metal mags and cool indie sci-fi of yesterday. I wished much for the story to have lasted longer, to go deeper past its abrupt end; leaving the reader to ponder what really happened. For the 99 cents price of the digital format, Heart of Weirdness is a worthwhile read.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss anything on the shelves, that is a worthy read?  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.