I don’t mean to purposefully draw themes from all the comics I want to talk about each week, but there was a glaringly obvious coincidence between a lot of the wonderful books coming out today (provided you’re reading this today. (Well, today is always today, but my current today is different from your current today, unless you’re somehow reading this right now, then our today’s are in fact the same) But I digress). Crime! Mystery! Seeecrets! These are driving forces in almost any fictional series, but feel particularly prevalent right now. It could be because we’re rounding the final corner into fall, where a trench coat, lit fireplace, and foggy streets feel so inviting.
Find a warm coffee shop, sip your London fog, and get comfy with these intriguing reads:
One of the most highly acclaimed series to come out of the past couple years is Ed Brubaker’s Fatale. Brubaker teams up once again with Sean Phillips, who illustrated their previous award-winning titles Sleeper, Criminal, and Incognito. It’s safe to say that when it comes to the criminal noir genre, they have their sh*t together. Originally published as a 12-issue maxi series, the story blends intense criminal noir with magical realism to bring us the adventures of the ostensibly immortal Josephine as she journeys from the ’30s and upward, running away from gangsters and dark forces alike. The narrative jumps to various perspectives, allowing us to see Jo through different eyes, and occasionally giving us stand-alone stories of other femme fatales in the 1200’s and the old West. There’s a strong sense of classic dames and cigarettes from the plot’s 1930s beginnings, but the inky noir, aided by Phillips’s heavily shadowed art, allows that sense to pervade the story up through modern times. You can catch up by picking up the three TP’s that are currently out, and stop missing out on all the action.
The impending doom of Thanos, and an alien invasion, have Earth’s mightiest heroes scrambling to keep the destruction of Earth at bay. But with their attention elsewhere, Spymaster, and a slew of classic Iron Man baddies, have decided this is the perfect cover to start pulling off heists of epic proportions. Author Frank Tieri has run the gamut on Marvel titles, including New Excalibur, Iron Man, Wolverine, Civil War, and World War Hulk, so he’s no stranger to titles that round-up insanely large teams to do some damage. Tieri, with artist Ramon Bachs, is tapping into the classic heist narrative (duh, you may be thinking, hence the name; suck it, say I) to combine old-school detective and Tony Stark’s classic wit. The focus with this book is the mass villainy that imitates the Oceans 11 (through 13) round-up of characters from the benches who have mad hoop dreams. I.e. Unicorn, Blizzard, Whiplash, Firebrand, Titanium Man, and Whirlwind. I know you’ve been waiting since 1993 to see a mass reunion of these characters.
If you’ve been reading these reviews at all, which is obvious that you have, you know that I’m a big fan of Matt Fraction. It seems like he has his hands all over the comic book world like a horny teenager, which makes his newest series all the more auspicious. SEX CRIMINALS! Because I feel like it needs to be shouted. What happens when two people who can stop time by doing the horizontal hokey-pokey meet up for the first time? They rob banks to raise money for a closing library. Obviously. This is definitely a comedy that borrows from modern sex comic films, and but aims to do more than just titillate your funny bone. Chip Zdarsky pulls a look together that speaks to the lighthearted, and cartoony elements of the story, and aides in getting a youthful side across rather than a book that exclusively creates long-legged and big-boobed characters.* So far this book is pegged as an ongoing series, or a long form mini series, depending on how busy Matt gets while he writes every other single comic title that exists. Basically, two funny dudes writing about sex; there’s not much to lose.
*Apparently ‘legged’ is a grammatically correct term, but ‘boobed’ is not. Interesting…
Finally. Finally, finally, finally. Cameron Stewart’s beautiful web series, Sin Titulo, is finally getting a print release from Dark Horse. One that stays true to its web origins in terms of format, but offers readers the ability to shove this book in their friends hands and make them read it if they haven’t because they should be reading this book. Phew, there. On the outset, this book is about Alex’s journey to discover the importance of a mysterious blonde woman found in the photos that belonged to his grandfather. The journey takes him unexpectedly down a rabbit hole that is filled with shady people, ghostly haunts, and a murder charge. Described as noir fantasy, Stewart employs slightly surreal instances, served between realistic moments that make us question what we just read, but except these moments as disorientating fact. Such a psychological journey is made that much more haunting through the minimally colored tones, and expert use of negative space. The world of Sin Titulo is engaging, and Stewart urges to pull you straight down the rabbit hole with Alex.
It’s hard to imagine this scenario happening: 30 Days of Night runs for 10 years on IDW; Criminal Macabre’s main character, Cal McDonald, appears off and on since 1990 mainly with Dark Horse and later with IDW; IDW allows author Steve Niles to kill off the 30 Days series in a publisher crossover battle between Cal and the vampire Eben Olemaun, culminating in a new Criminal Macabre ongoing series called ‘Eyes of Frankenstein’, that will continue Cal’s life post battle, which will be put out by Dark Horse. Hard to imagine, but it all happened. And I, for one, am so glad it did. Cal is an occult detective that drinks too much, does too many drugs, and seems to never really get it together, except when he’s kicking ass by solving paranormal cases. Eben has left Cal broken physically and mentally, and this news series follows Cal trying to slowly pull himself together, or at least pull himself out of the bottle. One of the things that will help him achieve that is his newest case. Frankenstein’s monster has lost his eyesight, due to a new disease that has ghouls falling ill and dropping deader than before. The new series brings back favorites from the universe, and introduces new faces promising to aid Cal in his search for healing and truth. Featuring art by “Wasteland’s” Christopher Mitten, this mini-series is the perfect introduction to your new favorite world of crime, drugs, and ghouls.