Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.
EAST OF WEST vol. 3
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.
RISE OF AURORA WEST
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.
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.
BLACK SCIENCE 9
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.
SEX CRIMINALS 8
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.
OCTOBER FACTION 1
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.