Well, I don’t remember the last time this happened, so let’s call it an “Unofficial Brian Wood Week,” as two of his books hit, both Rebels #3 (Dark Horse), the historical fiction series set in the Revolutionary War with artist Andrea Mutti and colorist Jordie Bellaire (with covers by Tula Lotay), and another new Creator Owned series in the form of Starve #1 (Image) with co-owners Danijel Zezelj and Dave Stewart. I’ve already said a lot about Starve, but the executive summary is that it’s essentially the best Brian Wood book yet, setting old-school culinary whiz Gavin Cruikshank off on one of the classic Brian Wood identity quests, seeking to reclaim his sense of self, his fortune from a crazed network, and his daughter from the ravages of a failed marriage, all positioned within the context of the post-apocalyptic social crumble that the writer does so well. Fans of DMZ and The Massive know that Zezelj’s art adds an extra sense of murky morality to the proceedings, concerned with the truth in the now, as it attempts to reconcile past misdeeds and future desires. Danijel Zezelj is the type of incredibly talented artist that should already be a superstar, whose name is uttered on the lips of comic book fans across the world, so let’s make it happen.
It’s a huge week on top of all that. Image Comics alone has Black Science #15 by Remender & Scalera, Copperhead #8 by Faerber & Godlewski, Descender #4 by Lemire & Nguyen, Injection #2 by Ellis & Shalvey, Nameless #4 by Morrison & Burnham, and Saga #29 by Vaughan & Staples. Those are all great choices and I’m sure every reader has their favorite, though I’ll probably hone in the most on Copperhead (Sci-Fi Western that’s so well done) and Injection (to see what fun Ellis will have next as he mashes up two of his go-to genres, espionage and the occult).
I’m really excited for the return of Montynero’s Death Sentence: London #1 (Titan), this time with artist Martin Simmonds. The series is now ongoing, which is a real success story for Titan Comics, and the original run married a compelling premise with realistic characterization for some spectacular results. I’ll also check out Lantern City #2 (Boom!/Archaia) by Paul Jenkins and Carlos Magno. I don’t really give two shits about the whole steampunk cosplay aesthetic, but the design work in this is first rate and I thought the story was quite engaging. We Can Never Go Home #3 (Black Mask) by Patrick Kindlon, Matthew Rosenberg, and Josh Hood has become something of an indie sensation, rightfully so, as it takes the updating of the X-Men’s latent adolescent power manifestation paradigm of work like Demo and They’re Not Like Us and runs with it in a very personal way.
I don’t find it nearly as strong as the show because it hasn’t really done anything yet we didn’t already know with its wind-up (two issues of Caleb/Kanan surviving Order 66 and living on the streets – yawn), but my kids still dig it because I think it’s fresh to them, so I’ll also pick up Kanan: The Last Padawan #3, featuring the Star Wars: Rebels crew. I might also check out Disciples #1 (Black Mask) by Steve Niles and Christopher Mitten, as well as Midnight Society: The Black Lake #1 (Dark Horse), both of which look interesting. I might also peek my head into Starfire #1 (DC) or All Star Section 8 #1 (DC) just to see what’s what from the Burbank stronghold. Last week, I peeked at Omega Men #1 and Midnighter #1 and was disappointed by one and pleasantly surprised by the other, so it’s been fun to periodically check in on the strategic direction of DC with their successive new launches and either further confirm or deny my reluctance at engaging with their entire superhero line.
If you wanted a longer read, I can recommend Danger Club Volume 2 (Image) which wraps up this great mini-series, East of West Volume 4 (Image), which continues this big epic, the Jack Kirby: Kamandi Artist’s Edition (IDW), which is self-explanatory, or the Absolute Transmetropolitan HC Volume 1 (DC/Vertigo), which any self-respecting Warren Ellis fan should be familiar with. Spider Jerusalem is one of those seminal characters whose influence you can still feel on a whole wave of Warren Ellis acolytes who migrated from proto-web forums to successful careers as comic book writers.