Sunday, October 20, 2013

Indie Corner - 10/23/13

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

Coffin Hill #1
Great first issue, though I do particularly enjoy non-sequential storytelling.  We're presented with Eve Coffin, daughter of a powerful family she doesn't want any part of, yet can't manage to escape.  Events unfold in both 2003 and 2013, with a page filled with hints and glimpses of what happens in between.  In one era, she's a rebellious youth that gets into more trouble than she was expecting.  In the other, she's a rookie cop that solves a major crime, garnering unwanted attention from press and co-workers alike.  I'll definitely be picking up more of this.

This issue is creepy.  Taking an early look at Zero's training as a child, we're shown some disturbing events in his early life.  While each issue is supposed to be stand-alone, the final page actually follows up on the fallout from last issue.  The writing remains top-notch and the art from Tradd Moore is just as good as his work on Luther Strode.  Recommended.

Trippy and amazing, this issue changes everything you thought you knew about the series.  The bulk takes place in our antagonist's head, but a crucial scene is happening simultaneously back on Earth.  While I still recommend the series, at this point you'd be better off waiting for the trade so you can hold the entire story in your hands.  With only one issue to go, I expect things will go out with a bang.

Battle Beast!  Battle Beast remains one of my favorite characters, and it's always good to see him again.  From the final pages, it appears we should be seeing more of him in the near future.  What seems like a relatively quiet issue dinner with Mark, Eve, and his parents, is actually filled with future plot threads.  What's Robot really up to?  Is Mark stronger than Nolan?  A villain we haven't seen in awhile returns!  And, of course, the aforementioned Battle Beast is given a mission.  There's quite a lot going on here.

This issue made me realize I had chosen a similar setting for a personal project, and I now have a hard time looking at it without thinking about my own story.  Anyway, people do bad things while Lono tries to remain good.  That's about all the summary I can give you.  The dialogue, if possible, is even better here than in previous issues.  The art from Risso is similarly fantastic.  While I have a hard time calling calling anything _100 Bullets_ without Agent Graves, this is Azzarello and Risso playing to their strengths, and I love it.

Each issue, I find myself wondering about the long-term prospects of this series, with the cast ever-dwindling.  I'd say, "things aren't going well" but at this point that should be a given.  Lucas deals with another member of the group that has questions, while the girls in the bunker mull over what to do next.  The drama and characterization remain very good, but the constant question in the back of my mind is, "where is all this going?"  Lucas has an idea, one that necessitated his actions in the first issue, and as crazy as it sounds, I'm wondering if that's exactly what's going to happen.

I can't tell if I like this book or not.  It's interesting, and I'll probably pick up the second issue... but I'm not convinced it's good.  The main character, Dayoung Johanssson is a 15-year-old cop from the future (2013) that's gone to 1986 to fix time.  The thing that bugs me is the reaction other characters, especially the 80s police officers have to her.  The scientists she first appears to are justifiably surprised, but the police seem to take her at her word despite her age and strange attire.

Good first issue, not great, but I'm interested enough to keep purchasing.  An unpopular outgoing president leaves a letter for his replacement that tells of something, not of human origin, being constructed within our solar system.  We secretly scramble a mission to investigate, and the new president is sworn in just as the crew in space approach the object.  Most of the issue is spent introducing the cast, setting the stage, and scenes of politicians talking to one another.  I'll probably pick up through issue three to see where this is going.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Indie Corner - 10/16/13

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

Shaolin Cowboy 01
Jay and Adam's time in the pocket universe is quickly coming to an end, but is there enough time left for everyone to get out?  What's really going on and there and why?  This issue answers these questions and more, including the fallout from the mission, and a surprise ending that sees one character leave the FBP.

This series is nuts and I love it.  Great writing, crazy art that both looks and works great (when Rodriguez bothers to include backgrounds).  Next issue should serve as a jumping on point for anyone interested in the series.

Geof Darrow and Shaolin Cowboy are back!  Fans of the original series will rejoice at the return, but new readers shouldn't fear picking up the story from here - this is the beginning of a brand-new story.

The book opens with Shaolin Cowboy digging his way out "from the center of the earth" as the short prose opening tells us.  Unfortunately, there's a horde of zombies fast on his trail.  Beautifully disgusting mayhem ensues as he first runs from, then confronts the undead.

The Shaolin Cowboy has never been a talkative character, that role has always been left to the rest of the cast.  The same holds true here, with much of the story being told through Darrow's art rather than the titular character.  Near the end of the book, however, we'e shown a few pages worth of unfamiliar characters that have seemingly been in search of the cowboy, indicating some larger storyline at play.  I can only assume we'll be treated to additional details in issues to come.

While Jackson's team tries to formulate a plan, one of their members goes missing.  Unfortunately for them, that's just the beginning of their trouble as things get much worse for everyone involved, leading to the climactic final page.  Oh, and that thing Jackson's been talking about not doing for the last few issues... it happens.  They stay in the house after dark  There's really very little else I can say about the issue without spoiling things, so I'll simply suggesting picking up the series and giving it a try.

Honestly, after the first issue, I didn't think I'd be reading the series for all that long.  The premise is good, writing is good, art is serviceable... but it didn't really hook me.  Yet I've consistently come back for more and after that last page, its hooks are in me.  Supernatural + Heist makes for a good comic.

This issues picks up exactly where the last left off.  Winston is still in Las Vegas, attempting to quietly deal with a ghost in the hotel while on vacation with his wife.  Egon continues to investigate himself for changes following recent events, but will he find anything more than his own paranoia?  Peter, Ray, and Kylie are all on the frozen ship off the coast, only to make a bad situation worse.

This storyarc wraps up faster than I had expected.  For one, I thought we'd see more of Winston on vacation and the relationship with his wife.  Instead, he spends much of his time trying to trap the ghost, and when he's unable to do it discreetly, has some strong words for the client.  The tension on the ghost ship, seen in the last few issues, quickly builds, but luck and a brainstorm resolve the issue without difficulty.  It's hard to understand why so much was building toward this.  Egon, meanwhile, still hasn't done much of anything.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Indie Corner - 10/09/13

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

Lazarus #4
I hope this book lasts a long time.  Its hooks are in me deep, and Rucka has created a world with plenty to be mined and explored.  It helps also that it's incredibly good.  Issue three ended, pretty spectacularly, with Forever and her Morray counterpart Joacquim getting blown up.  Fortunately for us, it's pretty hard to kill a Lazarus.  As soon as those plotting against her realize this, new plans are set in motion.  Plans within plans, and everyone's got a secret.  Like I said, I hope this series lasts a long time.  Recommended.

Brian Wood and Ming Doyle's story of sports and powers comes to a close.  It's been a bit longer than usual since the last issue, but it ended with the nuclear weapons of the world pointing down at it from space.  Since having Mara explode those all over the planet would make for a very short book, it's safe to assume that doesn't happen.  Instead, we're treated to a look inside her mind as she tries to deal with what she's become and the world she's tried hard to leave behind.  Definitely one of the best world-without-superpowers-suddenly-gets-them stories.  I recommend picking up the trade, which should be along any time now.

As if our cast weren't in enough trouble after the first issue, they're in now much deeper after the second.  Cops are getting killed all over town there aren't any leads.  After checking with an informant, Slater and Sticky head to an off-shore casino boat in the hopes of learning something.  Though walking away a few grand richer, they get little more than a name - Domino.  Meanwhile, Bonnie proves just how much trouble she can get into, and we end another issue with a dead body.

The team of Bryce Carlson and Vanesa R. Del Ray work perfectly together to capture the setting, mood, characters, and time period to create a fantastic noir book.  The cover says "2 of 4" but I'm hoping for more.  If not more _Hit,_ than at least more from Carlson and Del Ray.

Like a trailer that misrepresents a movie, the solicitation text for this book doesn't do a good job of selling the story found inside.  Billed as a book about a couple that stop time when they have sex and use this ability to rob banks, what's found inside is far more than that.  While, yes, that _does_ happen, the book is actually an intimate look at a young girl discovering and exploring death, her power, sex, and herself.  Not since _Blankets_ have I gotten such a look into the make-up of a character, which is one of the best compliments I have give.  Fraction's writing is superb, and Zdarsky's art helps keep even heavy topics light, while still packing a punch.  The best advice I can give is to pick the book up and flip through it.  Recommended.

This book upsets me a tiny bit, mostly because I wanted to do something similar.  There's too many stories of supernatural beings hiding within our world.  I wanted to flip it, making a world of supernatural beings with humanity in the minority.  Still may.  Anyway.  I'm off topic.  Possibly because I don't actually have much to say about the book.  The art is serviceable, though the landscapes are better than the faces.  The writing is... well, I'm reminded of the _Revolution_ TV series, partly due to the setting, and partly due to the main character being annoying and not caring about her in the slightest.  I won't be picking up more.