Tagged: Roc Upchurch

Troy’s toys, but with Comics: Strong Debuts, Conquering Queens

Another strong week for comics, with 2 great debuts. I’m excited to talk to y’all about these books, so let’s get to it!

52fcf9c2867f1Cyclops #1

Greg Rucka/Russell Dauterman/Chris Sotomayer

Marvel $3.99

So, a lot of people have been making the same joke on twitter that Cyclops is a bold new concept for Marvel, as it features a positive (and living) father figure in it. I am the MOST jealous of not being the first to make that joke.

As much as I complained about the announcement of this book spoiling “The Trail of Jean Grey”, I absolutely loved this first issue. It’s a cute premise, as the time traveling young Cyclops (or Fryclops if you’re down with Futurama) gets to hang out with his space pirate dad Corsair and his merry band of space pirates. Does this probably put the time-space continuity as risk? Oh definitely, but it’s fun, and it allows Corsair to hang out with a son he never got to meet until he was older, so who cares (Oh right, “our” Cyclops, that was addressed in last week’s Uncanny. Duh.)

Let’s talk creative team yes? So we all know that Greg Rucka is an amazing writer yes? So it comes as no surprise that the writing in this issue is strong. Rucka draws from his own experience as of father, and the result is a more realistic and earnest script, despite the present of aliens and mutants. It makes for a good read in the end, and I’m glad Rucka is handling it.

Art Wise, I have no prior experience with SPACE ARTIST Russell Dauterman (What, that’s his title on the credits page credits him as), But I dig his stuff. It reminds me a lot of Chris Burnham but a little more controlled. His teenage Cyclops looks like an actual teenager, which is nice, because this book stresses that Scott’s 16 a lot. Also his space pirates are all various degrees of sexy, even Final Fantasy knock off Korvus.

An excellent, endearing, character driven comic, the first issue of Cyclops is delight. I really didn’t expect to end up liking it as much as I did, even with my permi-Scott boner, but I’m certainly glad this book is as good as it is.

TheWoods1cvrThe Woods #1

Jame Tynion IV/Michael Dialynas

Boom! $3.99

This is the 2nd comic I’ve read in the last month where teenagers ( #TEENS) end up in a SPOOKY FOREST that’s been published but Boom. But much like “The Lumberjanes”, this is an excellent debut. Unlike the ‘Janes, this is not an all aged affair.

And much like Cyclops’ artist, I have no experience with the creators involved in “The Woods” what sold me on it was the concept. A Milwaukee high school is teleported (for a lack of better words) to a spooky forest, and things go south from there. I don’t want to say much more than that, but it’s creepy and weird, and I love it.

One of the things I really like about James Tynion IV’s script is the fact that the teenagers (who make up most of the cast) actually sound like teenagers, not small adults. A lot of comics don’t get that right, and it takes me out of the narrative a bit. Here, everyone sounds natural, and it totally works, even when the crazier elements of the plots are introduced.

Michael Dialynas is a great fit for the book. He’s very Faith Erin Hicks/Guy Davis-esque, and can sell both the humor and horror elements. Balancing that sort of thing can be tricky, but Dialynas pulls it off well. Jason Gonzalez’s colors also help a lot too, really helping Tynion and Dialynas set the scene for their tale of cosmic horror. There’s some really cool atmosphere in this book, and the use of purples and blues in the 2nd half of the book is great.

 

“Great” also sums up The Woods debut. It’s a cool premise with a fantastic excecution. I cannot recommend this first issue enough.

 

RatQueens06-CoverA-285071_321x214Rat Queens #6

Kurtis J Wiebe/Roc Upchurch

Image $3.50

I’ll be honest, I initially was going to skip over Rat Queens #6 because I prefer reading this book in trade. However, after flipping through the first few pages at the shop, I was more than impressed with what I saw and decided that I couldn’t wait for trade. I needed it NOW.

Wiebe and Upchurch really stepped up their game with this issue. Now that the cast has been properly introduced and the first arc is over, we’re introduced to 2 big reveals in this issue, and now I’m DYING to see how they’re going to pay off. Especially with Roc Upchurch handling the visuals, because holy hell, this book looks amazing. The first few pages show how wonderful his panel layouts and body language is, and it’s something that’s constantly great throughout the book.  And Kurtis Wiebe‘s dialogue is doing a fine job of fleshing out the Queens, their supporting cast and the world around them. There’s some extremely touching moments, as well as 2 that are absolutely horrific. This book is flawless overall.

Image’s comic game has been strong for awhile, as I’ve said as much in the past, but I’m impressed on how their books continue and continue to improve. Rat Queens is arguably my favorite non-Matt Fraction penned series on the market, and if you give it a chance, I’m sure it will be your’s as well.

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REVIEW: ALL HAIL THE RAT QUEENS

rat-queens-vol-01-releasesSo it seems to be confession time once again (It’s only Clobberin Time when Ben Grimm or CM Punk says so). This time, I must come clean and admit that I’m not a big fan of fantasy. Well at least not in the DnD/Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones/Dragon Age sense of fantasy. I’ll mess around with a Final Fantasy here or there, or Blizzard’s super addicting Hearthstone, and hell, I even own all 9 issues of Battle Chasers. But traditional fantasy stuff really isn’t my thing, try as I might.

However, I am a fan of comedy, ass-kicking females, and Brian K Vaughn/Fiona Staples’ hit comic Saga. So if someone were to take those elements, and blend  them together (on a smoothie kick, sorry) in a Warcraft-esque setting, I’ll pay attention. Especially when the results are as good as the first volume of Rat Queens.

adf293b4c8f7f409df77c1bb9093da52Volume 1 is titled “SASS and SORCERY”, which now is automatically the best sub-genre of fantasy, no one denies this.  Jokes aside, it’s a really clever and funny title, and does a really good job of setting one’s expectations for this book. The 4 female leads are great, despite one of them being a dirty, dirty hipster (more of this later, which will lead to unintentional irony). They’re funny, tough as nails, attractive and most importantly believable, even though 3 of them aren’t even being human. Roc Upchurch, an artist who’s work I wasn’t familiar going into this first trade, is great, and really makes me regret not getting into this series sooner. I see a lot of Fiona Staples and Stjepan Sejic in Upchurch’s style, which if there’s any 2 creators you want to be channeling when drawing beautiful destructive ladies, it’s them. It’s a gorgeous looking book, even when it gets extremely violent (and it does, trust me)  and Upchurch’s work is that much more impressive once you realize he handles to colors as well.

Rat-Queens-004-2014-Digital-Fawkes-Empire-007And while Upchurch was a a new name to me, Kurtis J. Wiebe is not, which was one of the many reasons I was attracted towards this title once the buzz began. I really dug his work on Green Wake a few years ago, and Rat Queens shows how much he’s grown as a writer since. Wisely choosing to skip over old-timey talk, the more modern dialogue talk definitely helped draw me into this fantasy world and it’s cast. The Queens are extremely well-fleshed out, and there are some killer jokes to be had that work even without Upchurch’s  slick visuals. And speaking of jokes, there’s 2 in here that are arguably the funniest things I’ve seen in comics for some time. Props to Wiebe and Upchurch for that.

I’m about 400 words in, so it’s probably best that I explain what the premise is. The Rat Queens are 4 young female adventurers; there’s Dee the sole human who happens to be an atheist mage, my personal favorite Violet, the hipster dwarf warrior ( BEHOLD THE IRONY), Rockabilly Elf-mage Hannah and “Baby” Betty, the drug-fueled Hippy Smidgen Thief. This quartet is extremely good at what they do, which includes such activities as getting drunk and destroying parts of their hometown during their down time.  Someone in the town is less than pleased with this, and decides the best way to deal with the Queens and their peers to have a bunch of assassins kill them. Needless to say, shenanigans ensue. Violent ones at that!

There was some ridiculously awesome books that dropped via Image in 2013, but  Rat Queens may be up there with Sex Criminals in terms of overall quality. If you’re a fan of funny and awesome comics , the $10 for the first volume is more than worth. The series picks up back in May (glad to see another book following the patent Saga format), and you’ll want to be on board with it’s return.

 

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