Staff Picks – Week of 25/01/17

Space Trash #1
Lydia Butz

Will says: Space Trash follows our young protagonist at a new job who’s there for the monies but stays for the hunks. Lydia assures us this is “totally not inspired by true life events because it’s set in space”. Oh yeah, it’s in space! Therefore space cats! This alone will obviously win my heart. Lydia has created a charming, relatable and incredibly hilarious comic that has left me overwhelmingly excited for the second issue.

Spider-Woman #15
Dennis Hopeless (w), Veronica Fish (a)
Marvel Comics

Joe says: Another fantastic issue in one of the most consistently entertaining and emotionally affecting comics on the shelves today. Hopeless makes a very interesting choice in this issue and I’m looking forward to seeing its pay-off; the entire story arc has been building to something and I’m very excited for it.

The Black Monday Murders Volume 1
Jonathan Hickman (w), Tomm Coker (a)
Image Comics

Adam says: In light of…where the Western world appears to be for the moment, this book has begun to feel like a crucially urgent read. A sprawling murder mystery and conspiracy theory thriller, The Black Monday Murders deals with the murky depths [heights?] of Wall Street cabals, and the use of arcane magick in these hidden and highest echelons of American society, with a sprinkling of the confusing and ever-shifting legacy of the Cold War peppered in for good measure.

This book is incredibly-but-satisfyingly dense and another rare, exceptionally fine example of ‘total comics’ in the vein of Mind MGMT (Dark Horse Comics). What really works here is that Hickman and Coker have used non-comics materials, in-world documents that range from simple memos, to wills and hierarchical schematics for banking dynasties, all presented within and in-between the issues, with such effectiveness that they don’t disrupt the flow of the comic itself and brilliantly prevent any possibility of over-exposition or over-writing in the main text. And as for the comic itself, Coker’s artwork as coloured by Michael Garland conjures a noir-ish and moody tone [post-modern noir?] with a tense and ever-present sense of coiled violence. Hickman meanwhile hasn’t lost his uncanny ability to drop in occasional lines of transcendent dialogue alongside his nuanced characterisation and always-clever marshalling of the plot.

Cougar and Cub #1
Nick Marino (w), Daniel Arruda Massa (a), Rosie Knight (w-Back-up)
Action Lab: Danger Zone

Thomas says: I’ve been looking forward to this since the excellent Holy Fked and it doesn’t disappoint.

Arruda Massa’s art was already great but has improved showing an even greater confidence and expression in terms of action, characterisation and colour palette demonstrated in the subtle shift in his style for the stylised back-up.

Marino’s writing is, of course, lovingly mocking the 60’s Batman tv show but is subverting the clichèd homosexual relationship that tends to be the norm with these satires and flips it with the rarely seen older woman/younger man mentor dynamic and feels all the fresher for it.

And then we come to the back-up written by sorely missed, former Orbitalian, Rosie Knight. A tongue in cheek silver age pastichè, the back-up offers an adventure that gleefully embraces the absurdity of superhero villainy with a deliciously silly character and his petty motivation.
This is a great first issue and I’m looking forward to the next.