Monday, March 30, 2015

Indie Corner - 03/25/2015

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

I love this series, so I find it especially surprising that it's taken me this long to read the latest issue.  Goes to show just how into my other project I'd become.  That said, I can't actually talk about much that happens here.  It's all incremental progression of what's come before, so my summary would wind up being longer than if you just read the issue yourself.  Which you should, because it's quite good.  Not as great as some issues, but my heart didn't break this time... maybe just stepped on by that last page.

Also, this issue features the results of the latest Saga Reader Survey, which are also definitely worth the read.

Chrononauts 1
Have you read Remender and Scalera's Black Science?  This is like that, only as told by Millar and Murphy.  Science jerks dicking around with things better left alone and quickly being shown the error of their ways.  Scalera and Murphy are two of my favorite artists right now, so we'll all good there.  The main difference is in Millar's more straightforward storytelling.  I like a good deal of Remender's work, but Black Science never sat right with me.  Chrononauts, so far, has great character development for the two leads and being an excellent read on top of that.  I have very little to say except that I look forward to the rest of the series.

While reading the first issue, I kept flipping back to the table at the inside front cover depicting which color corresponds to which time period.  I didn't do that as much this issue.    While the book doesn't give us much more in the way of explaining what's going on, who all these characters are, or why they're doing what they do, it has managed to capture my attention enough that I'll give it a few more issues before considering whether to drop it from my pull.

This issue brings out dysfunctional family trip to town to an end.  There's blood, severed body parts, last second escapes, reversals, more blood, and a last page surprise that trumps anything this series has shown us to date.  I still love every time No opens says anything, Jack is hilarious, and Molly is amazing.  I hope this series runs for a long time.

Bonus: There's an 8-page Luther Strode short at the back that takes place between Legend and Legacy.

This issue is wall-to-wall action as Krang defends Burnow Island from the invading Shredder, mutants fight rock soldiers, Baxter makes his move, Old Hob and his gang blast their way into Foot headquarters, Splinter fights Karai, the Turtles break into the Technodrome, and more that would be spoiling!  Despite the sheer number of things happening this issue, these are all long-running storylines, dovetailing in exciting ways.  None of it's confusing or disjointed; it all makes perfect sense.

The question that interests me most is what happens next?  There are so many moving pieces, so many storylines ending or changing direction, I have no idea what this series will look like once this arc is over.  It's an amazing feeling and I very much look forward to enjoying the ride.

A few days ago I couldn't imagine how this story arc was going to end.  Now, I don't want to believe it.  This is truly heart-breaking, much worse than that issue of Saga a few months back.

Everything wrapped up, though most of the storylines morphed in unexpected ways, giving us a new status quo that we won't fully understand until at least next issue.

Chew v9
I'd read about some major things happening in recent issues and am pleased to have avoided spoilers until I was able to read this for myself.  Indeed, major things happen here.  Things that would be much darker if not for the title's usual comedic flair.  I'm not going to talk about any of it, except to say that I loved every second of it.  Even when trying it's hardest to enrage or sadden me.

Once the series is closer to the finish, I'll likely start picking up the issues to avoid both spoilers and the excruciating wait.  I did the same with Locke & Key and that worked out well.

A surprisingly quick end to the Master of Time story, but it ended like I expected.  Unlike the Threads of Time story arc that started this series, The Master of Time was a pretty clear hoax from the outset... at least to the audience.  Still, from it, we get a fun adventure story.  An extra bit of Jack before the series concludes at issue 20.  I'll take it.  Next month: more familiar faces!

Conan and Red Sonja are together at the start of the issue, so they don't have the typical "meeting" scene like the previous issues.  However, the "fight each other" and "team-up" are still just as present as ever.  It might sound like I'm putting this issue down, but it's actually decidedly better than the second issue.  Sins of the past catch up to our heroes, and now they must pay the price.  I'll be glad when this series wraps up next issue.  Four issues seems like the right number to tell a story without artificially dragging things out.  That said, I would have enjoyed a longer run if it were better written.

I've been a bit behind on my reading, if you haven't noticed.  Being sick this week has helped me catch up on some of my reading, including these two issues.

Issue 7 fills in more of the backstory while advancing the middle-management plot and moving our two main leads to a different section of the afterlife.  Issue 8 is largely those same leads coming to terms with their new setting.  The title is as wild as ever, and I'm loving every second of it.  I will make absolutely certain to read issue 9 the week it comes out, instead of putting it in a pile at the edge of my desk for a month.

If you haven't listened to me so far, about how great the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series from IDW is, you're probably not going to care about one of its mini series.  Maybe you're still reading this because of the recent press related to Donatello.  In that case, let me just say that each mini series always winds up tying back into the main series.  Here, we've got a mutant cat (Old Hob) and his single-minded vendetta against businesses that experiment on mutants.  Simmering under that is the building clash between Hob and fifth mutant turtle Slash.  That will very likely come to a head in this series, and I expect some long-term ramifications from however it shakes out.

Bunker 10
We're thrown a couple curves this issue, as none of our usual cast are present, or series artist Joe Infurnari.  What we get is a day in the life of a couple in the future, drawn by Brahm Revel.  It's both well written and drawn, quickly making us care about the lives of these two characters we've never met and seemingly have no connection to the known cast.

With the next issue coming in two months, this may be a good time to switch reading the series over to trades.  There's a lot to keep track of as it is, and the gaps between issues don't help.

Well, I don't know what to make of that.

The weird, disjointed adventures of a young Rasputin apparently come to an end with this issue, as the back of the book seemingly sets up a future series.  I, for one, am calling it quits.  I want to like this series more than I actually do, and it time to came to terms with that.

Rossmo, whose work I've enjoyed since Rebel Blood, will be working with Ming Doyle on the upcoming Hellblazer relaunch.  So I'll be dropping this and picking that up instead.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Indie Corner - 03/11/2015

A great combination of action and story.  The Stone God fights while the Black Elf bloodies his sword and gets closer to finding out what happened to his wife.  The stage is set for the two main storylines to collide!  It's going to be awesome!  And possibly terrible for one of these characters.  I'm loving every second of this series.

I think I read that this issue was delayed, but since the book comes out every other month anyway, it's hard to tell.  Still, I was able to immediately get back into the issue, and even if I wasn't, there's a recap on the inside cover.

A Drifting Life
Another in my series of "bought this years ago and was immediately daunted by its huge size so I put off reading it until now."  Seriously, I have too many books that fall into that category.

I'm going to steal a couple lines from the back of the book now:
Over four decades ago, Yoshihiro Tatsumi expanded the horizons of comics storytelling by using the visual language of manga to tell gritty, literary stories about the private lives of everyday people.  Using his life-long obsession with comics as a framework, Tatsumi weaves a complex story that encompasses family dynamics, Japanese culture and history, first love, the intricacies of the manga industry, and most importantly, what it means to be an artist.

Don't make the same mistake I did, putting off reading this excellent book.  It's broken into chapters roughly 20 pages each, and I would read one to three of these each night, only ever putting it down because it was late or I was exhausted.

It's as insightful as it is interesting, giving a great view of both post-war Japan and the manga industry.  Recommended.

I haven't read Spawn since shortly after it hit issues numbering in the double digits.  In this way, I'm like Jenkins - not having kept up with the minutiae of the last 250 issues.  But I've always maintained a general interest in the character and have thought many times about catching up on everything I've missed.

When Brian Wood was announced as taking over, I was excited.  He had come off a great run of Ultimate X-Men and I was enjoying his Conan work.  I thought, "This is my chance to get back into Spawn!"  That didn't last long.  Jenkins is here, and Resurrection is pretty okay.  It wipes the slate and sets a new stage, which is what's needed for this type of thing.  Jonboy draws a great Al Simmons and Spawn... though I'm still getting used to the mouth.

In the end, I'll check it out for a few more issues.  This didn't blow me away, but it's a nice start to something new.

Of course the week I start writing about comics again has a Casanova comic come out.  I couldn't not read this, as Casanova is and has been one of my favorite comics of recent years.

Last issue gave us a dramatically different Cass - both the title and the character - with plenty of mystery surrounding the titular character's shift.  Still, it managed to maintain the classic Casanova style and charm of previous series.  This issue gives us a couple more familiar faces and some of the old Casanova Quinn, while slowing picking at the scab of what's really going on.  I loved every second of it.

The back-up is once again done by Michael Chabon and Gabriel Ba.  Ba's art is as fantastic as every, but it feels like Chabon is trying to hard to emulate Fraction.  It's close, but not quite there.  I did, however, find it hilarious once it dawned on me just what the "fucking cute" Quinn was doing.

iZombie 1
I never read the series while it was being published, but have heard nothing but good things about it.  When I saw Vertigo were reprinting the first issue for only $1.00 before the premiere, I took the incredibly inexpensive chance of trying out the series.  In short: it's good.

It's easy to see how, with a few changes, this could make for a long-running television series.