Welcome to Episode 162 of The Orbiting Pod!
This week, we hit shuffle with Dark Horse Presents #1, sing lullabys with Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #1, go on a road trip with Multiversity #1, turn out the night with Dark Ages #1, and much more.
Please note that new comics are out on Wednesday as usual this week, but due to the bank holiday, we’re expecting the delivery that same day, so the comics will not be available in the morning.
The Killer Omnibus V.2
Matz (w), Luc Jacamon(a)
Thomas says: I haven’t finished reading this volume yet but so far it’s shaping up to be as good as the first. The Killer focuses on the life of the nameless Killer of the title as he comes out of retirement and into a conspiracy of oil and politics. The writing is solid, engaging and exciting while the art is once again hampered and, for me at least, ruined by the creators insistence on using computers. Sometimes the colouring works beautifully but often there is just this horrible . . . sheen to everything. Regardless this book is great.
The Fade Out #1 (Magazine variant)
Ed Brubaker (w), Sean Phillips (a)
Joe says: I’ve never read any Brubaker and Phillips before but they’ve been on my radar for a while as a creative team I must check out. ‘The Fade Out’ #1 left me with no excuse to ignore them any longer, especially when I saw the gorgeous magazine variant edition.
The story itself is a well told noir, set in ‘40s Hollywood, with fantastic art. Phillips uses a range of styles to create atmosphere and the mood is tense. It’s a solid start to an intriguing murder mystery.
It’s the little touches that I like; being introduced to the cast of characters at the start of the book is reminiscent of pre-film credit sequences. The issue feels of its time, with Brubaker unafraid to use, but not exploit, devices like racial epithets or sexism to subtle but great effect (although he does feel the need to apologise in his closing essay). This capturing of the era is only aided by the magazine format, designed to imitate a film magazine. The design is interesting and the reader is treated to extra back matter where we see some of Phillips’ design processes. The only downfall of the larger format is that the art has not been blown up to match; because of the very different aspect ratio, readers of the magazine format are treated to a lot of white border.
Overall I felt this was a great start to a new series and even though the variant format is a bit of a gimmick, it’s one that works well. I look forward to the unraveling of this mystery.
The Fade Out #1 (regular)
Ed Brubaker (w), Sean Phillips (a)
Chris says: I know Joe has already picked the Magazine Variant of this (which happened to be the one I bought as well), but there was no way I could resist making The Fade Out my pick of the week. This feels like the refinement of everything Brubaker & Phillips have done before – exploring familiar scenes and characters, while building on previous iterations. It takes the glamour and period setting of Fatale, then grounds it with the premise of a classic Hollywood murder mystery. The key ingredient is character, and that’s where you see just how well Brubaker & Phillips work together. Brubaker creates well-rounded, fully-formed characters, but it’s only by Phillips’ hand that they’re really brought to life. I should also mention the incredible Bettie Breitweiser, who further develops the characters and lends a sense of tone and mood to the story. This is as near to perfect comics as you’re going to get, and it’s made me want to go back and read Fatale all over again. As always, the guys offer an added incentive to check out single issues thanks to all the generous back-matter contained within. There’s even more (in terms of process and history) within the Magazine version but, however you choose to consume it, this is a book not to be missed. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Winter Soldier: The Bitter March TBP
Rick Remender (w), Roland Boschi (a)
Liz says: Considering how dense the Marvel mythology has become over seventy odd years, it’s amazing how much rich terrain there is yet to be explored, as Rick Remender proves in this stellar miniseries. Bitter March provides valuable backstory for not one but two characters: Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, as well as the villainous Iron Nail. In 1966, when Bitter March is set, the Iron Nail was known as Special Agent Ran Shen, operative of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury’s right hand man. Agents Shen and Fury are tasked to collect a pair of Nazi scientists key to winning the Cold War. But the Soviets have their own plans for the scientists and have unleashed their secret weapon: the deadly Winter Soldier. The story is a pastiche of great sixties spy thrillers that channels Ed Brubaker’s famous run on Captain America that spawned the Winter Soldier, with beautiful and distinctive art by Boschi. A revealing look into the past of two characters and a turn of events that cements both of their futures to poignant, devastating effect.
Manifest Destiny #9
Chris Dingess (w), Matthew Roberts (a)
Ryan says: Manifest Destiny has been a stunning series that blends the beautiful with the grotesque, and the historic with the fantastic. It turns a pioneer’s America into a tropical and dangerous undiscovered land full of creatures you’d never imagine, and presents us with a cast of characters we can identify with in this foreign world, which makes for some thrilling storytelling. I’d highly recommend picking up the first volume in trade paperback if you haven’t already been reading it, and getting on board with what I believe to be one of Image Comics’ unsung titles.
The Search for Catbug
Pendleton Ward (c), Joel Enos (w), Alan Brown (a)
Camila says: Catbug, the playful little companion to the Bravest Warriors, sure is one of the most endearing cartoon characters around. I mean, how could one not fall in love with a teleporting part-cat-part-ladybug round-faced sweet little thing that? He first appeared on the pages of the Bravest Warriors comic, made his way into the cartoon, quickly became one of the main characters of the series, and now he’s everywhere. This week alone, he stars at Catbug’s Treasure Book and The Search for Catbug.
Part seek-and-find, part Where’s Wally, part artbook, The Search for Catbug features 28 double-page spreads of outlandish scenarios, crazy landscapes and epic battle scenes where you can spend hours trying to spot where the cute little guy is hiding. Each piece is by a different artist, making the book a gorgeous collection of Bravest Warriors art.
To coincide with the new tale appearing in the relaunched Dark Horse Presents, Robin chats to Damon Gentry & Aaron Conley, creators of Sabertooth Swordsman. They talk about how they met, why they chose to develop Swordsman, digital release, video games, staying hungry, & making a career in comics work around a day job.
Astro City #14
Kurt Busiek (w), Brett Anderson (a), Alex Ross (covers)
Thomas says: I’ve been a fan of Astro City for Zod knows how long now. It’s one of those rare comics that has maintained it’s high level of quality since the beginning and doesn’t appear to be changing that fact any time soon. I don’t think that it’s any kind of a coincidence that it’s been the same creative team working on a book that they created and own between them throughout it’s various runs. This issue sees the start of a two part story that relies heavily on the drama/melodrama and has the distinct feel of a soap opera. With giant Robots. I liked it but then I am a fan.
Gerry Duggan (w), Matteo Scalera (a)
Ryan says: The “Zero Year” arc marked the end of the infamous Snyder-Capullo run that brought hope to the New 52’s rebooted timeline, but now we’re being treated to a new creative team who hope to continue the stunning success the series has had, and frankly I couldn’t be more excited! Gerry Duggan (of Deadpool and Nova fame, who also happens to be coming to Orbital in September this year) takes on the responsibility of writing this new arc, a story he and Scott Snyder collaboratively crafted together. Meanwhile Matteo Scalera (who magnificently illustrated Image’s Black Science) dons the artist’s cap, and wears it very VERY well. The result of this new partnership means that issue 34 feels both fresh but familiar, and while it pays great homage to what has come before, it also saves the series from becoming stale. This is a must-read for any Batfan, and a perfect jumping on point if you’re just itching to start reading a good gritty title. Simply put… pick it up!
Blookd Blokes #4
Adam Cadwell (w/ a)
Camila says: Another great issue on Adam Cadwell’s mini series about a group of housemates in Manchester. Who happen to be vampires. I’m not generally into vampire stories, but even though this is a key element in the story, it’s so not what makes this book great, that it doesn’t even matter.
Check out some preview pages here, and then get yourself a copy of all 4 issues.
Sex Criminals #7
Matt Fraction (w), Chip Zdarsky (a)
Rubber drawn at dawn,
For a dungeon coup d’etat?
Sex Criminals, man…
Welcome to Episode 161 of The Orbiting Pod!
This week, we get crafty with Howtoons: Reignition #1, wallow in the darkness with Nightworld #1, get stuck in the shade with Moon Knight #6, find the solution with Genius #1, and much more!
God Is Dead: Book Of Acts Alpha
Alan Moore, Si Spurrier, Mike Costa (w)
Gabriel Andrade, Facundo Percio, Rafael Ortiz (a)
Chris says: I was pretty excited when I first heard about this one-shot featuring a new story by Alan Moore. I’m not one of those people who loves everything he does, but when he’s good he’s very very good – and for me his contribution to this book was simply great. In addressing the subject of his own ‘god’ Glycon, Moore is able to look at the wider issue of religion and deities – forcing us to consider what they mean and why they’re so important to us. It fits with the established tone and style of the book, while gently subverting the rules and doing its own thing (which is something I love to see creators do). As for the other stories, the tone and style is a little more in the typical Avatar vein, which is starting to wear a bit thin for me. They have such great writers on their books these days, that I don’t see the need for pandering to the lowest common denominator. I think their readers are more sophisticated than that now, and don’t require titillation to make things interesting – in fact, I think it has the opposite effect and becomes a distraction. This is most evident in Mike Costa’s story, which feels like it’s trying too hard to incorporate certain crudities at the expense of the writing. The actual story he’s trying to tell is fascinating – and you can just about recognise that through all the ‘noise’ – but I feel the time has come to ditch the fluff and concentrate on the main event. As for Si Spurrier’s story, that rings a little truer (at least for me) … If you’ve ever met Si or read his stuff before, then you’ll already know he’s a little perverse and edgy. So the idea of a cute, innocent cherub who harbours dark thoughts and a wry sense of humour is very much in keeping with the man himself. Although that aspect of the book fits well, I still feel certain elements are played up more than necessary because it’s an Avatar book. For me, Avatar came to mean something else a long time ago. It’s a shame they haven’t come to that realisation themselves yet … I keep hoping one day they will.
Star Trek New Visions: Time’s Echo
John Byrne (w/a)
Thomas says: I hate Fumetti, I absolutely loathe it with a fevered passion that you wouldn’t believe but I am grudgingly enjoying this series of Photonovels by the legendary John Byrne who’s love for Star Trek is well known and deliciously applied in this series. Each story so far has felt as if it truly was an episode from the original series, a testament to Mr. Byrne’s supreme talent as a creator that he is able to pull that off with carefully selected photographs and the occasional photomanip. The stand out for me has to be the short story at the back of this entry detailing the departure of Janice Rand, a short and bitter sweet little vignette saying goodbye to a character who was in the show one week and gone the next featuring a fun little cameo from Marla McGivers the future wife of Khan Noonien Singh.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe Volume 5 (Color Edition)
Bryan Lee O’Malley (w/a)
Will says: We all remember Scott Pilgrim, right? The 20-something lazy bassist, who had to fight for the heart of Ramona Flowers by battling her seven evil exes? I may be very biased, but if this is news to you, you must read this now! It’s been four years since the final volume was published; yet Scott returns in colour for the penultimate fifth volume of the series. It could be argued that the series was designed to be read in its’ true black and white form, however, the colourist Fairbairn (Batman Incorporated) has done an incredible job. He has used a warm and vibrant palette, succeeding in bringing the panels to life, yet has kept it simple to keep it honest to the original black and white printings. The result makes this a very different experience to the first time I read this series, and it brings me great delight reading through them again. Oh, the book is also complete with a bunch of extra goodies in the back, as a deluxe edition of a book should have, which were not present in the previous installments. These hardback editions are slightly larger too, but not so much that you cannot keep them in your bag, still making this the most perfect series to read on the move.
The Superior Spider-man #32
Dan Slott & Christos Gage (w) Giuseppe Camuncoli (a)
Liz says: He’s bold, he’s brazen, he’s bigheaded and… he’s back! Here to kick off the Spider-verse event is my favourite Spider of recent times, the one and only Superior Spider-man. How could I resist? For all the time travel that’s been going on lately in Dan Slott’s Spider-man and the Marvel universe in general, it’s more than appropriate that Slott’s story should break down dimensional walls to bring all possible versions of Spider-man together for one epic escapade. Here’s how it happens: A temporal implosion transported the Superior Spider-man to the year 2099, and in an attempt to return home he discovers a number of parallel timelines whose versions of Spider-man are being executed by a mysterious assailant. The obvious course of action? Bring together every remaining version of Spider-man to create a Spider army and bring down the killer! It’s a great premise for what looks likely to be an awesome event, and one last ride with the Superior Spider-man. Bring it on!
Lords of Infinity Exhibition
Featuring works by Andy Poyiadgi, Cristian Ortiz and James Harvey
Camila says: In our latest exhibition you can view the work of three of my favourite artists currently making comics in the UK – James Harvey, Cristian Ortiz and Andy Poyiadgi. The pieces on display are a combination of prints and original artwork, and give a great insight into the
Welcome to Episode 160 of The Orbiting Pod!
This week, we sign off with Hawkeye #19, do a bit of crime travelling with Bodies #1, prune the hedge with Supreme: Blue Rose #1, sink to the bottom with Low #1, get barbaric with Groo vs Conan #1, and much more!