Monday, January 26, 2015

Indie Corner - 01/21/2015

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

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES 42
Krang!  Shredder!  The Turtles!  Hob!  Stockman!  Fugitoid!  This issue features nearly every member of the cast, as everyone's plans come into figurative, if not literal, conflict.  Judging by the events of this issue and the cover to the next issue, there should be at least three major slugfests next issue... but there are a few notable absences.  Hun is on the cover but not in the issue.  Casey is similarly absent.  Could Alopex and Nobody be aces up someone's sleeve?  I hope so, because neither is on the scene yet and I'm sure they'll be needed somewhere soon.  Rat King puts in an appearance for one flashback panel, just long enough to remind me we haven't seen Kitsune in a while.  Everything we know is happening or about to happen is explosive enough, but factoring in the remaining characters means the scales could tip in anyone's favor.  There's a reason I can't stop talking about this series, and it's because this title is consistently great.

Zombies vs Robots 01
ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS 1
So here's a surprise: the usual comic backmatter actually shows up on page 13.  Page 12 ends with "to be continued...", Page 13 is the backmatter, and I hadn't even hit the staples at the center of the book yet.  In a move that certainly surprised this reader, this issue is actually three short comics set in the Zombies vs Robots world.  Two writers, three artists.  I dig it.  The "backmatter" I mentioned earlier explains what came before and how this series came about.  It was rather informative since I haven't read any of the previous series.  The actual back of the book lists those previous series, including ISBNs, for easy ordering.  Which I think I'll do.  To sum up: humanity is dead, robots fight zombies for control of the Earth.  This is what happens next.

THE AUTUMNLANDS: TOOTH & CLAW 3
I read this yesterday and have been struggling to figure out what to say about this issue.  I enjoyed it, so there's that.  It's mostly a picking-up-the-pieces issue for our cast.  A city fell out of the sky in the first issue and everyone's still recovering from that, trying to figure out what to do next.  It feels a tiny bit like Walking Dead since everyone is trying to find shelter, food, supplies, and generally survive to see tomorrow.  The Champion decides he'll play along, even if he does think all these animals are a dream.  It's good, and I think I might be in it for the long haul.

CONAN/RED SONJA 1
The only Conan I've read is the Brian Wood series, which I generally enjoyed.  The only Red Sonja I've read was the free first issue I got from Comixology last December that I haven't talked about yet.  When this series was first announced, I thought, "Great!  People love Gail Simone writing Red Sonja and I enjoy Brian Wood writing Conan!"  Then Brian wasn't working on it anymore, and I really didn't hear anything else until the book was out.  I use all of that as preface because I don't actually have much to say about the book itself.  It's well written and looks gorgeous.  The title characters meet, team-up, and fight as per the standard rules of engagement of any crossover.  I'll be picking up the rest of the series and would recommend you do the same if you're a fan of either character.

INVINCIBLE 116
This is a pretty quiet issue, checking in with various characters and the new status quo of Earth given the events of the previous arc.  I found the conversation with The Immortal particularly interesting, and am glad to see Mark knows himself well enough to come to the decision he does at the end of the issue.

I had this whole other paragraph planned and partially written, speculating about upcoming events.  But I decided to scrap it.  When it comes to Kirkman, my speculation is never accurate.  He always manages to surprise me and come up with something even better than I expected.  I await whatever new amazing, and likely horrific, story elements will follow.

P.S. It's a little weird seeing Bulletproof still wearing Invincible's costume.  What's up with that?

RUMBLE 2
I can't tell you what happens in this issue.  A few of my reviews this week include the line "not much happens."  That's not the case here.  The story gets moved forward, but there's so much vagueness and weirdness that I can barely tell you what happened.  Ordinarily, that might be seen as a negative.  In this case, I love it.  The script is full of humor, and the art is amazing.  I could look at this all day.  I'm primarily familiar with Arcudi and Harren from their work on B.P.R.D., a series which is consistently great, and Harren drew two of my favorite stories.  He conveys a sense of movement and speed exceptionally well, but everything looks awesome.  Anyone even remotely interested should pick up the first issue to check it out.

SAMURAI JACK 16
Samurai Jack is definitely written for the trade, with a trade equating to one or two TV episodes.  This is the beginning of a new arc, so the stage is set.. but otherwise, not much happens.  Still, this issue features the return of a favorite character of mine (probably a genuine fan favorite, but I don't have confirmation on that).  It should be a really fun arc, though I think the end is pretty obvious from the outset.  Still enjoying it, still recommending it for anyone that was a fan of the show.

SPREAD 5
This issue is a turning point in the series, and all the characters know it even while it's happening.  As if things were bad enough before, they'll be worse once this present situation is resolved.  That situation?  The big multi-faction everyone-versus-everyone that started last issue is still going here and will continue into at least into next issue.  It is, in just about every way, worse now than it was at the end of last issue.  Which is to say, this issue was fantastic, and I can't hardly wait until the next one.

THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE 7
Not much happens this issue, but just as it was with Trees, it's the WAY not much happens that counts.  While I love the way Gillen and McKelvie tell this story, the story itself is getting a little tired.  I sincerely hope this whole Luci thing doesn't stretch out for the next two years of comic-time, because it frankly doesn't have the legs to support it.  That said, Laura continues to be amazing and the gods continue to be fairly uninteresting assholes.  Luci was great but she's gone now.  I'm really going to need someone or something else to care about, and quickly.

WILD BLUE YONDER 6
It all ends here.  Most of the issue is a giant firefight between various types of aircraft and airborne people, with bullets flying and things exploding on just about every page.  There is a brief origin story, or sorts, and a brief epilogue, but again, most of the issue is taken up by the fight that's been brewing since the first issue.  It's intense mayhem, and I loved every second of it.  While the series was slow to come out as single issues, a collection is scheduled to come out real soon.  Anyone wanting to get into the series should try that route since it will likely be easier.  Meanwhile, I'll be looking forward to whatever these creators come up with next.