Staff Picks – Week of 31/05/2017

Wonder Woman by John Byrne Volume 1 HC
John Byrne
DC Comics

Thomas says: Just in time for the release of the flawed but excellent movie, DC has released the flawed but excellent run of Wonder Woman by John Byrne in the late nineties. This was a period of redefining classics by Byrne who had rewritten the origins of Superman and, to lesser acclaim, both the Doom Patrol and Spider-Man. Byrne was intent on doing the same for Diana of Themyscira with mixed results.

Much of my memory for this period of Wonder Woman revolves more around the work that Byrne did with fleshing out the character of Hippolyta, stating that she was the first Wonder Woman, serving with the Justice Society of America and fighting the Nazi menace during the Second World War. I think Time Travel was involved and I’m looking forward to a reread to remind me.

This wasn’t anywhere near Byrne’s best work but it was entertaining and his art is always fantastic to look at. There are better eras of Wonder Woman but this is far from the worst and is definitely worth the look.

Aliens: Dead Orbit #2
James Stokoe (w/a)
Dark Horse

Joe says: I know that #1 was picked just last month but I couldn’t help myself; this series is too good! Aliens: Dead Orbit captures the tone of the original (and best) Alien film like no other iteration of the property has and it’s brimming with genuine terror.

Stokoe’s art is, of course, gorgeous and he’s able to cram the pages with suggestive and unsettling imagery but it’s also the pacing of his storytelling and use of sound that emphasise the horror and suspense.

Stokoe is a master of his craft and here he has pushed the medium to its full potential to produce one of the most inventive comics I’ve read in some time.

Heavy Metal #286
Heavy Metal Media

Karl says: Heavy Metal, under the cool hand of Editor-in-Chief Grant Morrison, has returned somewhat to a Golden Era, and now regularly finds its way to my pull list. This issue in particular, as well as the new chapter of the feline drama he (GM) is creating with Gerhard – “Smile of the Absent Cat” – there appears a ten page treatise on Chaos Magic, clearly something Morrison is supremely knowledgeable about.
Indeed, this whole issue is magically themed with a demonic Tarot deck designed by Jim Pavelec and a colourful gallery and interview with Clive Barker. Interspersed between all this are ten or more splendid strips or new instalments in ongoing tales from some of the top talent working in American and European comics today. An article by Frank Frazetta Jr. about one of his father’s paintings provides fascinating insight into the work of a master and the issue opens with a glorious illustration “The Magician” by Rian Hughes. A while ago I was lamenting the end of Image anthology Island, however Heavy Metal is definitely ticking many of those comics boxes for me.

History of Dream Recorders
Sein Hong

Will says: Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting me before lunchtime is surely aware of my passion for sleep (“Sorry I’m late, I have a passion for sleep” is infinitely better than saying “I slept through my alarm”). If it was possible, both socially and in science, I think I could quite easily sleep for months. Other than relaxing and rejuvenating, sleeping lets us dream. History of Dream Recorders explores the wonders of dreams and their relationship with reality. Sein Hong has made an absolutely stunning book. Her illustrations are psychedelic and beautiful capturing everything magical about the dreamscape. Okay, I’m going to have nap.