Monday, February 16, 2015

Indie Corner - 02/11/2015

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

ABE SAPIEN v5
I was all set to complain about this book... until the end.  This marks the third volume of Abe wandering around the country and while reading I realized I really miss the old Abe.  Old Abe was a man of action.  New Abe is unsure of what he's doing, where he's going, and generally aimless.  But as I said, at the end of the book, Abe gets yelled at by a new character and I think (hope!) it's the push he needed.

The first few issues here are fairly stand-alone, well-written, and interesting on their own, but served as a reminder that Abe has spent far too many issues just walking.  Interesting characters and events come and go, but aren't satisfactorily explored.  Almost everyone Abe encounters is more interesting than he is here, and that's a serious problem.  I hope to see more of these characters and I really hope Abe busts out of this slump.

Wytches 4
WYTCHES 4
Last week was such a huge haul of comics I wasn't able to write anything about this book before the column went up Monday morning.  Even now, I'm writing this Sunday afternoon because I'm not sure what I want to say or how I felt about it.

When I wrote about the last issue of Wytches, I mentioned how the step-by-step art process shown at the back of the book made me dislike the art.  I thought the art looked better at an earlier stage, before some of the final colors were placed.  Time has softened that somewhat, but the colors are something I remain aware of more than usual.

The story is definitely still creepy and weird, but between the scene at the coast and the other at the ferris wheel, it felt weird for the wrong reasons - disjointed.  The last page alone ensures I'll keep reading, but I don't hold this series in as high a regard as I once did.

HABIBI
I bought this years ago, based on the strength of Blankets, Thompson's previous work.  It's spent the intervening years on a shelf because the size of the book was a little daunting.  In reality, it's a much faster read than it appears, taking about a week of bedtime reading to finish.  On one of the first nights, I wife walks in and asks what I'm reading.  She sees the title and author's name while I'm trying to find the words to describe the strange combination of religion, language, and children forced to grow up too quickly.  She goes, "Sounds like a white guy."  I say, "He is!  And the book is definitely about the desert..."  That essentially sums up my issue with the book - it's good, but it doesn't feel like Thompson should be the one to tell it.  It's hard to recommend, but definitely worth checking out for the art.

CONAN/RED SONJA 2
Last time I joked that this pairing followed the traditional superhero crossover formula of meet, fight, and team-up.  Still, I enjoyed it enough to ask my comic shop to grab the rest of the series for me.  Well, the joke is wearing a little thin now.  An indeterminate amount of time has passed between the first issue and this one, but once again Conan and Red Sonja meet, fight, and team-up.  Other than that, I don't really have much to say... the characters are decently written, the art is well-suited to the characters, but the story is rather thread-bare.  I'll still pick up the rest of the series, but I can't recommend it any longer.  Hopefully the next two issues are better than this one.

GHOST FLEET 4
I'm making this my last issue of Ghost Fleet.  Things got weird, and not in a, "This new wrinkle will be interesting to see play out." kind of way, but instead a, "WTF is even happening?" way.  Until now, I thought this series was a pretty standard heist/revenge story with a little Ronin or Pulp Fiction thrown in for not knowing what's in the stolen truck.  This issue we learn more about our two main characters Cohle and Trace, but the center of this issue appears to be a hallucination or metaphysical event that significantly alters things.  In a book that was hardly explaining itself to begin with, this new mystery is one too many.