Staff Picks – Week of 14/11/18

The Terrible Elisabeth Dumn Against The Devils in Suits (One Shot)
Arabson (w, a)
Image / IHQ Studios

Chief says: This caught my eye, mostly because of the pink neon, Paul Pope-esque cover and the beautiful format (gotta love an unusual trim-size). Flicking through, I made a hasty decision to pass it up but luckily, I gave it a second look. This is the first collaboration between Image and IHQ studios, a Brazilian talent group. And when you read this, you immediately get a sense of the unique flavours that this sort of collaboration can muster.
A fable about a deal with the Devil himself, the story moves at a brisk, confident pace, introducing us to the black sheep of the family, Elizabeth Dumn, whose soul has been pre-packaged by her Father without her consent for Satan to claim. Rightly, she isn’t having any of it and escapes one hell (a boarding school full of abusive adults) and runs headlong into another, one that would have her as a permanent resident. Elizabeth is confident, strong and savage. Her line to the teachers at the school as she departs is killer.

Speaking of killers, Elizabeth is soon hooking up with another man promised to the devil, a musician whose guitar never goes out of tune and together they face a demon sent to claim her. It’s here the story really hits it’s stride. One gets the sense that Arabson is a fellow movie-lover, because the story feels in part a nod to Crossroads (the 80’s movie starring Ralph Macchio) and a homage to genius of Sergio Leone. In this book, the faces and bodies of the protagonists become the landscape and canvas on which the bloody meat of the tale is splayed. Limbs become disproportionate, enlarged and epic giving God-like dimensions to characters that should probably all go to hell.

The book is full of wisdom, too. I’m willing to bet the gems uttered in these pages were once told to a child who later grew to be creator of comics. They feel true and homely, whilst full of the warnings we might have been disturbed by as children. Oh yes, there’s plenty of sage advice in this story. Advice that you’ll want to remember and pluck out of your pocket someday, maybe for your kids or for that good friend that’s gone off the rails a little. You may even want to heed some of that advice. My advice is this: sometimes it’s better to take a chance on a book even if the first flick through doesn’t move your soul. Even if the devil himself might come for you for buying too many comics.

Thor #7
Jason Aaron (w), Tony Moore (a)
Marvel Comics

Scott says: In the interest of not becoming the guy with a reputation for only reading X-books, this week’s Staff Pick has nary a hint of ruby-quartz nor a whiff of brimstone. Thor #7 surprised me in more ways than one, not least of which is it being on this list in lieu of a debuting X-book out this week that I of course have heard nothing about and definitely haven’t read twice.

I’d decided, after finishing the previous issue of Thor, that this was undoubtedly a series I needed to be pull monthly rather than trade-waiting. Christian Ward’s art was that enticing; it’s melding with Aaron’s poignant script and dramatic story beats a true joy. So you can imagine my apprehension when the next issue, perched cutely atop my mountain of unread singles, listed Tony Moore on art. For half a second I wondered if my Ward Ship had sailed; if this new artist could give me that same cosmic grandeur; if Thor really was a title I should adopt?

That was a super dumb half second, because this issue, a self-contained tale of family feuding, doomed love and blood-covered smooches, is sublime. Moore’s art is joyful and wonderfully expressive, with his Young Thor handsome and cherubic. Paired with Aaron’s usual sharp scripting, this comic eschews shock reveals and gory action in favour of composed, gentle scenes. Heart-warming moments of infatuation for our hero are spliced together with smirk-inducing glimpses of him being bashfully awkward. This all comes together in a final four pages that pull on the heart strings with a strength only matched by that of my hands pulling open my purse strings for future work by both Aaron and Moore. Pick this book up. Buy all the back issues. Bathe in it’s majesty. Thank me later.

Wonder Woman #58
G. Willow Wilson (w), Cary Nord (a)
DC Comics

Adam says: New creative team, new direction, new tone – this issue should have been a #1, no question.

It’s wild that DC haven’t made more noise about this, scooping G. Willow Wilson of ‘Ms. Marvel’ fame, and also because this first issue is a perfect jumping-on point. A rare feat, this book is perfect both for long-time fans of Wonder Woman and newer ones who might’ve been drawn in by the frankly uplifting performances Gal Gadot’s given so far as the cinematic Diana.

Cary Nord brings a great blend of drama, humour, action and take-a-step-back-and-look-at-the-composition-of-this-panel iconic poses while G. Willow Wilson dumps a metric ton of topical, connective and promising themes on the table right from the offset. As artist and writer, they work together to move through a coherent, accessible first story with so much to look forwards to.

This is the start of a great run of switched-on, well-crafted superhero comics. Don’t sleep on it.

Seven To Eternity #12
Rick Remender (w), Jerome Opeña (a)
Image Comics

Mattia says: Well, what can I say that has not already been said of this amazing series brought to us by Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña?

The story is getting deeper, Adam Osidis is fighting to keep the Mud King alive to fulfill his promise after betraying the other Mosak Knights. Is quite hard for me to wait for a new issue every month to see what’s gonna happen.

Remender’s storytelling is clever, adding new characters every issue that make the story even more epic. Opeña’s artwork is probably the best you’ll see in comics at the moment. Go and pick up the latest issue if you are a fan of the series, and if you’re not…WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!