Monday, October 27, 2014

Indie Corner - 10/22/2014

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

Jack's been in a rough spot these last few issues.  Here, things get both better and worse for him.  Aku has a way to find Jack, but Jack possibly has a way to fix his sword.  I suspect, without checking solicit info, Jack and Aku will meet on the final page of next issue and fight in 15.  This issue did away with my concerns at the beginning of this arc, and slid the title back over to the "recommended" column.

Starlight 06
Last issue, I was worried one issue wasn't enough to wrap up this story.  I wanted the adventures of Duke McQueen to continue because I was enjoying it so much.  But after this, the final issue, I'm more than pleased with the conclusion.  If you haven't been reading Starlight, I hope you'll pick up the trade once that comes out.  It's a great read.

Last issue (spoiler!) Luci broke out of prison.  This is what happens next.  The final words of the issue are "it's not over."  Of course it's not.  I'm not going to talk about what happens between those two events, except to say that it's good and you should read it.  Also, check out the well-written essay at the back.  There's even a special note in the credits, which I looked at only so I could write the next sentence.  Everything between the covers of this book is brilliant.  I hope you read it.

IDW's excellent Ninja Turtles series jumps dimensions into IDW's excellent Ghostbusters series (sadly concluded).  It's so brilliant, I don't know why it wasn't done sooner.  If you can't tell, I'm a huge fan of both series.  The two teams meet on the last page of the issue, so they haven't yet interacted, which will be the true test of believability.  Thankfully, the regular writers from each series are involved here, so I don't think there will be any problems there.  Three different art teams is a bit weird, but done in a way that minimizes the changes.  Recommended for anyone reading both or either series, or even just fans of the franchises.

Honestly, if the title alone doesn't do it for you, I don't know what to say.  Actually, the cover and title are a bit misleading, because the book is actually two stories - Dredd vs Predator and Dredd vs Aliens.  Still.  I've never read Dredd before but have been wanting to get into it for a while.  I've read very little Predator or Aliens comics, but I'd been similarly toying with the idea for about a year.  So seeing this on the rack, it practically leapt into my hands.

Predator vs Judge Dredd is from 1997, so the art is slightly dated, but I had no problem slipping into it.  Judge Dredd vs Aliens is from 2003, but the art has a much more modern feel and could easily sit alongside any indie title today.  Both stories are written and co-written, respectively, by John Wagner, so Dredd is definitely in the right hands.  I thoroughly enjoyed both and suspect many other fans of these franchises would as well.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Indie Corner - 10/15/2014

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.
I read volumes one and two of this series years back but Felipe's current stint on Ghost Rider reminded me I'd never finished the series.  So I corrected that.  For those unfamiliar, Felipe's art and writing blend serious and comedic, realistic and absurd.  The story of Peepo Choo, and his earlier series MBQ, are too much to summarize here, but I recommend them for anyone currently enjoying his writing on Ghost Rider.  Both series are relatively cheap on Amazon, and Comixology has MBQ.  They're both excellent.
Trees 6

Very little tends to happen in Trees, but it's the best book in which very little happens.  The trees go on treeing while some long, well-written conversations take place and some ominous new elements are introduced.

Mutant mayhem!  And not a single X-Man in sight.  Since it's right on the cover, I don't think I'll be spoiling anything by saying Bebop and Rocksteady run into Hob's growing gang.  The Turtles are on hand as well, minus Donatello, whom has "more important things to do."  Oh snap.  Literally nothing gets resolved, so next issue should feature a serious throwdown.  I eagerly look forward to it.

I'm at a loss for words in how to describe this series.  Things get worse, pretty consistently, for our troop of characters.  Even the ones where you think, "But what about -- "  Nope.  As you'll learn here, not even them.  And next issue?  Pretty sure things are going to get worse.  Again.  I'll be there.  Will you?

What an ending.  Ordinarily, I'm a fan of Jason Aaron, but the preview for issue one came out in the lead-up to the series launch... and it did nothing for me.  Weeks go by, and the manager at my comic shop mentions how crazy the book has gotten.  This is top notch Aaron and LaTour is equally brilliant on art.  But man, that ending.  I don't know where this series is going, but I'll be along for the ride.

There are times I think I know what's going on in this book.  And there are times when I'm utterly confused.  At this point, so near the end, I'm just hoping it makes sense once complete.  The last volume (Fables crossover) was fun and all, but it broke from the narrative at a rather critical time.  Now, we've come back, and have to remember what was going on before that.  As I said, I'm just hoping it makes sense in the end.

I've been trying to figure out what to say about this for a while.  The story is literally all over the place - there's a stolen car, a motorcycle gang, a circus, a few deaths... and did that guy really just let a stranger drive off in his car?  Really?!  Even mediocre Blacksad is still pretty good, but if you haven't had the pleasure yet, skip this and get the earlier work.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Indie Corner - 10/08/2014

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

There's a few reasons I love this series.  First, the art is great.  Next, the characters are unique.  Seems like a requirement, right?  But in a week where reviews complain about everyone's quips in Axis, the characters here each have his or her own motives and manner of speech.  And last, the story isn't spoon-fed to the audience.  Monumental things are happening in this story (especially this volume), and it's up to the reader to figure out the full implications and what's really going on.

I thoroughly enjoyed Battling Boy and was excited to hear more books would be coming.  One of those is now out, and I find I'm rather disappointed.  Rise of Aurora West follows Aurora and her father before the events of the original Battling Boy, but adds little to the characters or story.  There's also the art of David Rubin, whom I'm guessing was picked to compliment Pope.  While his art is well suited to some of the scenes, it really undercuts the violence with cartooniness instead of straddling the line like Pope did in the original Battling Boy.  Skip.

Annihilator 02
As I was reading this, I thought back to my recent words on Supreme: Blue Rose.  I greatly disliked Blue Rose, but Annihilator sits in almost the same spot of "divisive writer doing vague and weird."  Yet, for some reason, I'm really enjoying Annihilator.  The only thing I can figure is I think Morrison has given us a few more scraps to grab onto than Ellis.  I'm along for the ride.  Your mileage may vary.

I think I made it two issues into The Wake before I decided I'd rather read it collected.  (Still waiting for the hardcover!)  This was a good first issue, and one helluva cliffhanger, but it's just setup so far.  Things had just started to happen when it ended.  I'll be back for issue two, but it's hard to get a sense of the series with just this issue.

After a great first issue, I told my comic shop to pull issues 2 - 4 for me.  I read a lot of first issues and come back for issue two on about half.  In the case of Copperhead, I might be in for the long haul.  Great art and characters with plenty of intrigue.

Wow.  It's tough to pull family drama and high fantasy in a single story, but Birthright does it well.  I'll be even more vague than usual so as to not ruin any of the surprises, but it's hard to tell where the series will go from here.  I have some ideas, but given the surprises thus far, I'd rather sit back and enjoy the ride than speculate.  Recommended.

If you haven't picked up the first issue, you really should.  It's brilliant.  This picks up right where that left off, and quickly leads to a whole bunch of people dying.  The end of the issue leaves things in such a way that anything can happen .  If you're at all interested in seeing Walt Simonson do whatever he wants, get this series.

My feelings on this series are hard to put into words.  On the one hand, I enjoy it.  On the other, it's always at the bottom of my read pile.  Nine issues in, and I haven't converted it over to trades yet because I'm not not sure I like it.  The art is gorgeous, the characters are all well written, but the story... it's barely there.  I'm still reading it, but it's always hard to tell for how much longer.

Another book that's usually at the bottom of my read pile each month, though for very different reasons.  Sex Criminals is personal.  It's funny and dark, evokes emotions, and makes me think.  It's something I like to read in a single sitting and have to be in the right mood for.  And it's always rewarding.  Here, we meet a new character, check in with our usual cast, and our antagonists make a move.  A pleasure, as always.

Another number one this week, though this one doesn't have the same shocking cliffhanger ending as the others.  Still, it's a solid, atmospheric start.  Niles plants seeds for multiple stories and Worm's art sets the perfect tone for the dark series.