Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.
ETERNAL WARRIOR 1
As I write this, Sunday morning, the Valiant website is inaccessible. There was some information I wanted to verify, but I'll just work from my spotty memory instead. When Valiant re-launched last year, I read a preview of X-O Manowar and was intrigued enough to pick up the first issue. I only made it to issue two before dropping the series, but I've continued to hear good things regarding Valiant ever since. Once again, I read a preview and was interested enough to pick up the first issue. Eternal Warrior 1 is a good first issue. Great art and Pak's writing mean I'll be picking up issue two and seeing where things go from there.
A friend of mine has mentioned Hun a few times from his appearance(s?) on the Turtles show. I was unfamiliar with him, so learning his identity here came as a shock. I'm having a somewhat difficult time reconciling what I knew before with this new information. It certainly wasn't the path I imagined things would take. Still, this new wrinkle should make things very interesting.
LOCKE & KEY: ALPHA
Despite being an oversized issue, this feels rushed. Or at least the beginning does. The opening pages check in with our scattered cast of characters, but does so in the least informative way possible. From there, Dodge explains explains practically everything for a large chunk of the book, before the tables turn and people start dying left and right. I can't help but feel slightly disappointed in this. This feels like it should have been left in the oven a bit longer. It's just doesn't feel the same as the half dozen mini series I've enjoyed so much.
Issue two just came out two weeks ago. I don't know what's up with this book's shipping schedule, but I'll take it. The book opens with a brief look at what led Adam to become an FBP agent before quickly resolving the cliffhanger from last issue. The mission continues in the bubble universe while an investigation is underway about what's really going on in the main universe. We're then left with another cliffhanger and if things weren't kicked into gear already, next issue has the clock seriously ticking. This may be one of the rare books I buy monthly and in trade form.
I don't know anyone that's read BPRD and said, "Eh, it's just not for me." As far as I can tell, there's people that are into it, and those that haven't read it. 1948 is a great example of the series at its best - great story, amazing art, thrilling, touching, and somewhat heartbreaking. While there are some slight references to the 1947 series, this is an almost entirely stand-alone story that I would easily recommend to anyone interested in the BPRD series. For those long-time Hellboy and BPRD readers, there are moments (like the final page) that hit home that much harder.
EAST OF WEST: vol. 1
I picked up the first four issues of this before switching from buying the single issues to trades. It was good enough that I knew I wanted it on my shelf instead of a box in the closet, and I thought I'd be better able to keep track of the various characters and plots. So this morning I sat and read the whole thing. And it was awesome. But crucially, I found retained more information and pieced more of the story together than I had when read as issues. Recommended, and very much looking forward to future volumes.
Things aren't going well for anyone in this series - The Girl, the DJs, Korse, the droid, and though he doesn't realize it yet - Val. Things are escalating toward... something. What, I can't tell, but definitely somewhere. We've already had one confrontation between the Killjoys and scarecrows, that didn't really result in much change, but it appears another is on the horizon. Maybe things will go down differently this time. I'll stick around, though mostly for Becky Cloonan's art and not the barely coherent story. With two issues to go, maybe it ends well.