Life With Archie #36
Paul Kupperberg (w), Pat & Tim Kennedy (a)
Chris says: Although the ‘Big Two’ may grab the headlines more often, no one has made a more concerted effort to promote diversity and change across their line than Archie Comics. Under the stewardship of Jon Goldwater, and with top-flight creators like Dan Parent and Roberto Aguirre-Sacas at the helm, Archie have made Riverdale a place that better reflects the world today while maintaining the core values they’ve always ascribed to. They’ve even introduced some more mature elements for those who want them, with books like Afterlife With Archie, and the upcoming Sabrina and Dark Circle titles. This week, however, saw the beginning of the end for Life With Archie, as our red-headed hero faced his final moments at the barrel of a gun … Originally started as a magazine-format series, Life With Archie took the approach of a soap opera, looking at what might have happened if Archie had grown up to marry either Betty or Veronica. Over the last 3-4 years the book has explored these opposing scenarios and given long-time readers the opportunity to see Archie Andrews mature at last – and it all culminated with issue 36 this week. While this is only one possible future for Archie and the gang, it deftly merged the two storylines that have been running through the book since the beginning and provided a poignant end to the life of Archie. It’s heartening to know that even in death, Archie is more alive than ever!
Star Trek Starship Collection #25
Thomas says: Not a comic and, of course, I have picked an issue of this series before but I’m thoroughly enjoying the increasing level of detail in the thin magazines that come with the excellent little models. Anyone who has bought anything from Eaglemoss before knows just how little substance is to be found in most of the accompanying material but this series keeps improving with each issue and is actually starting to feel as though the format/budget is beginning to hamper just how much detail they can cram into each one. A fantastic look into the design process of an effects based TV show.
Through the Woods
Faber & Faber
Liz says: On the recommendation of one of my colleagues, I had a flip through Emily Carroll’s new book, and needless to say I’m impressed. Through the Woods is a collection of beautifully illustrated short horror stories that will haunt you long after you’ve finished them. They remind me of the supremely creepy fairytales my parents used to read to me as a kid (the ones that kept me up at night quivering in bed, convinced every shadow was about to materialize and murder me. Thanks, Mom and Dad). Carroll’s work became famous online and you can sample it here with the superb and disturbing Face All Red, which is collected in this edition; it should help you decide whether or not you’d like to own a lovely hardback filled with her eerie brand of folklore.
Silver Surfer #4
Dan Slott and Michael Allred (w), Michael and Laura Allred (a)
Will says: The Silver Surfer returns with his companion Dawn Greenwood for the start of a new story arc. This time the two meet up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and although a brief encounter, is plenty to keep us getting excited for the upcoming movie. This issue also greets us with a cameo from a long time favourite of mine, Doctor Strange, who never fails to entertain with his articulate mannerisms. The writing is consistently humorous with a hint of mystery, which overall delivers a peaceful and easy read. A thoroughly enjoyable experience. However it is Allred’s artwork that entices me to buy this series. I fell in love with his work ever since reading Vertigo’s iZombie and have consequently been looking forward to any of his future work. It is great to see his warm and colourful interpretations of our many loved characters from the expansive Marvel universe. A great issue for those already reading Silver Surfer, but also to those new to the series.
Kek-w (w) Shaky Kane (a)
Karl says: Once again into the Shakyverse! The stunning opening page of this wild new romp has a man falling from the sky, the real mystery being that he has been drowned! Enter our hero and his sidekick and we’re off on a crazy nightmarish adventure featuring an array of villains who appear to have been ordered from the advert pages of a silver age comic.
Captain Dino finds himself up against most of the Universal Monsters, Sea Monkeys and a mad criminal mastermind, how can he make it through all this? The script and dialogue are in a very pulp/ noir style and this works perfectly with Shaky’s dynamic artwork. For fans of The Bulletproof Coffin and That’s because you’re a robot this comic is a real treat! BAM!!
This week, we go further down the spiral with Grayson #1, fight off infection with Spread #1, bury the truth with Daredevil #5, swing back with Spider-man 2099 #1, fall for the silver screen with Reel Love #1, and much more.
Keeping with the movie mumblings, Robin give’s his verdict on the latest installment of the cinematic simian series, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Chris reports on some early footage of the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy.
Justin Jordan (w), Kyle Strahm (a)
Chris says: There’s a lot to like about Spread. From a cursory glance you can see it’s a rich and visually interesting world brought to vivid life by the art of Kyle Strahm and Felipe Sobreiro – but as you start to probe beneath the surface there’s even more to discover. What at first seems like a blend of Lone Wolf & Cub crossed with John Carpenter’s The Thing and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, quickly exposes its potential for so much more. In comics terms, it takes the kind of global outbreaks seen in The Walking Dead and Crossed, then gives them a fresh spin with plenty of room to shock, surprise and terrify you. If you’ve read any of the Luthor Strode books, then you already know how great Justin Jordan is, but if this is your first experience with his work then I’d recommend giving it a chance. Jordan plays with the ideas of name and identity just as easily as he conjures up some of the gross ideas brought to life by co-conspirator Kyle Strahm. In short, it’s another great Image #1 that deserves your support and attention. Comics can be a tough business, so when something good comes along you need to grasp it with both hands. You can hear more about the book and what’s coming up in my interview with Justin Jordan here.
Tim Seeley & Tom King (w), Mikel Janin (a)
Liz says: To quote the Midnighter: Damn. That was pretty cool. I’ve been looking forward to Grayson. A lot. I love the character to bits, but it’s been a while since I actually looked forward to his titular book. While the new 52 Nightwing book wasn’t wholly objectionable, it suffered from the same limitations that most of DC’s current output does. Safeness. Sameness. If I had to pick a word: Dull. That’s why Grayson feels like such a breath of fresh air. Taking one of DC’s most beloved and established characters and turning his status quo upside down in a meaningful way was a bold, unexpected move and frankly the last thing I’ve come to expect from DC these days. So, y’know, touché. To lay out the premise, Dick Grayson is presumed dead by everyone but Batman, who gave him the dangerous mission to go undercover as a double-agent for shadowy international espionage agency Spyral. Writers Tim Seeley, Tom King and artist Mikel Janin prove right away they’re up to the task of taking Dick into unexplored territory while keeping his personality intact. Dick’s dialogue retains it’s quippy light-heartedness as he goes through with his mission, and along the way we become acquainted with his super-cool new spy toys, teammates and setting. And there’s a great cameo from Midnighter! It’s all very fun, but there is a lot of information to take in along the way. And since Spyral aren’t the only ones Dick is working for, there may be a major conflict of interest coming up. How’s that for a first issue?
Metabarons Genesis: Castaka
Alexandro Jodorowsky (w), Das Pastoras (a)
Adam says: If there is a single publisher whose output is consistently worth examining with each and every release, it might just be Humanoids. Stunning, artful classics (and instant classics) of the European/Continental persuasion, their books feature a sensibility unlike anything else in contemporary comics publishing. Another lovingly produced, limited and numbered edition, Castaka sees Jodorowsky team with Das Pastoras, whose style is perfectly suited to presenting a thoroughly brutal and emotive prelude to The Metabarons. For those who enjoyed his recent one-shot on Thor: God of Thunder, this might be a perfect sampling of his long-form storytelling.
Ricky Miller (w), Julia Scheele (a)
Avery Hill Publishing
Camila says: Metroland #1 was one of the four new titles launched by Avery Hill last Friday. It’s the first issue in an ongoing series, and it did exactly what a first issue must do – introduced characters, set the tone, and left me dying to find out who those people really are and how the story is going to unfold.
It is filled with music references and I’m pretty sure there’s some time-travelling going on, possibly through the bathroom mirror of a London club I used to know really really well, just like a sci-fi ode to pop culture (or maybe the other way around?).
Waid (w), Samnee (a)
Robin says: Power Man & Iron Fist. Spider-man & Human Torch. Archie & Jughead. Some of comics greatest bromances. But, if you ask me, they pale in comparison to the greatest bromance of them all: Nelson & Murdock.
With issue five, the formula one car that is Mark Waid & Chris Samnee’s* Daredevil, pulls in for a pit stop, and we take a moment to catch up on the “Death of Foggy Nelson”.
Before relocating to San Francisco, Matt & Foggy take a stroll through Central Park, discussing the recent outing of the hero’s civilian identity, and the repercussions it will have on those around him: those he loves the most. Forget Karen, Elektra & Milla: Matt’s heart belongs to his best friend.
The Foggy cancer storyline has been incredibly well handled (see the back up in Issue 26 of the previous run), with the real world weight of the illness in a world where “I’d have to take off my shoes to count the number of times Spider-man has been dead”, never being played cheaply, given an easy out with a miracle cure, or blasted away by a ray gun. Yet, given the potential for an overly sombre tale, the team brings to this one-and-done issue the same, swashbuckling, humour & suspense that has made the Waid/Samnee run a hit to date.
Comics being comics, we know that eventually Foggy will recover, and the team even wryly acknowledge this, but this issue delivers real heart that even Daredevil wouldn’t know is lying. Matt gives Foggy a taste of the life that he has chosen, but allows him a hero in a way that Daredevil could never be: making him to be a true man without fear. Matt may be the face & Foggy may be the brains, but there’s a reason that it will forever be Nelson & Murdock.
This week, we shoot for the stars with Rocket Racoon #1, ride solo with The Legendary Star-Lord #1, make our move with Robocop #1, upscale with Enormous #1, kick out the jams with Exit Generation, & much more!
Tim Daniel (w), Medhi Cheggour (a)
Chris says: I’ve got to be honest, I was pretty spoiled for choice this week … Maybe it was because I’d had a few weeks off from the podcast and was coming back all enthused, but there was so much out that was deserving of wider attention. Skottie Young absolutely nailed it with Rocket Raccoon #1 and I couldn’t be happier! So did Joshua Williamson, who totally owned the week with the dynamic duo of Nailbiter #3 and Robocop #1. But ultimately I had to pick something a little less obvious that may not receive all the attention those other titles did (and hopefully will), so I opted for Tim Daniel & Medhi Cheggour’s Enormous #1. Some of you may remember Enormous after it debuted as a Treasury-sized one-shot through Image’s Shadowline imprint a couple of years ago – but now it’s back as a new ongoing series from indie publisher 215 Ink. If you’re a fan of kaijus, compelling storylines and gorgeous art, then you’re gonna love this! Tim & Medhi have crafted a real-world drama in the midst of all the fantastical elements, which really helps you to buy into the concept. And the art, well … It’s stunning. If you’re going to pursue the photo-realistic route, then it had better look like this. And backgrounds? Yes, we have those too. Medhi doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to telling his story and it shows. I should also mention there’s 46 pages of story in issue 1 – with no ads – for just $3.99. Do yourself a favour and check out Enormous! You can hear more about the book in my recent chat with writer Tim Daniel.
Weird Love #2
Various (w/a), Craig Yoe & Clizia Gussoni (ed)
IDW Publishing/Yoe Books
Chris says: Okay, so I’m being greedy this week … Like I said, there was a lot of good stuff out and it was too hard to pick just one. I didn’t even mention the surprise that was Max Brooks’ Extinction Parade: War #1 from Avatar Press or the genius that is Weird Love #2 from IDW Publishing – so I’ll correct that now. Carefully curated and deftly designed by the team at Yoe Books, Weird Love is a love letter to the quirkier romance comics of the Golden & Silver Age. Issue 1 was a blast, and this new issue features some real corkers including: “Yes, I Was An Escort Girl”, “Too Fat For Love”, “Ronald Reagan: Dream Beau of the Month”, and the brilliant “Mini Must Go!” If you’re not already a fan of Yoe Books’ commitment to repackaging and representing the best of yesteryear, then you will be after this. Why not check out their other great series Haunted Horror, which presents the best of pre-code Golden Age horror tales? You won’t be sorry.
Camila says: As the title suggests, Safari Honeymoon is about a newly wed couple on a Safari. In comparison to Jesse Jacob’s two other books (Even the Giants and By This Shall You Know Him), it has a much more linear (and even more conventional) narrative, but the astonishing world it depicts, filled with gorgeous landscapes and outlandish creatures, is still as weird and fantastical as it gets.
My favourite of Jesse Jacobs’ books, and another treasured addition to my Koyama Press shelf.
The Maxx Maximised Volume 1 HC
Sam Kieth (w/a), William Messner-Loebs (script), Ronda Pattison (c)
Thomas says: This beautiful hardcover reprints the first four issues of the recolourisation of Kieth’s classic 90’s series. I’m not really a fan of digital colouring since those doing it tend towards the incompetent. At best. Ronda Pattison, however, knows exactly what she is doing; her colours are both vibrant and subtle despite having that horrible digital sheen threatening to destroy her good works. I’m not entirely convinced that The Maxx needed to be recoloured at all and prefer the original if given a choice but the quality of Pattison’s work stands out head and shoulders above most of the crap that came out this week and most other weeks too for that matter. And of course I don’t think that anybody would be surprised by the fact that Kieth and Messner-Loeb’s work is awesome. The only reason not to buy this volume is the fact that they will inevitably release a huge complete volume. Which I will buy.
Rocket Racoon #1
Skottie Young (w, a)
Liz says: I can think of very few creators more qualified to craft the adventures of everyone’s favourite galaxy-guarding space raccoon than Skottie Young. It looks amazing; that’s pretty much a given. The fact that it’s a total blast is practically just icing on the cake. Working together with brilliant colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Young’s story is wildly energetic, engrossing and hilarious, with a great setup for the next issue. If you’ve never read a story featuring Rocket Racoon, the time to do it is now. With the Guardians of the Galaxy film coming out in a few weeks, you’ll want to be ahead of the curve and inevitable tsunami of Rocket love. Get to know him here first!
Guardians of the Galaxy #001
Will Corona Pilgrim (w), Andrea Di Vito (a), Laura Villari (c)
Rossetti says: A sentient tree with a trash-talking raccoon for a best friend? Shut up and take my money. It truly is a wonderful time to get into Guardians of the Galaxy if you already haven’t. With the upcoming film set to release in a matter of weeks, we’ve seen some great series gracing the shelves, amongst them this week Corona Pilgrim’s “Guardian’s of the Ga;axy, Galaxy’s Most Wanted”. If the punchy storyline and hilarious writing weren’t enough to make this the most fun comic I’ve read this week, then the combined artwork and colouring of Di Vito and Villari certainly made it the most delicious to look at. (And even better, this issue features some hilariously dated Thor #312, with Drax the Destoryer and the mysterious Mood Dragon. Short of folding it into a novelty hat, I can’t imagine how they could have made this issue any more enjoyable to read). I came for the Racoon and the Tree, and I was not disappointed.
This week, we rev up with Ghost Rider #4, shape up with Ms. Marvel #5, follow the doctor’s orders with New Avengers Annual, question solitude with Superman #32, get possessive over Outcast #1, break out the keg for House Party, and more!