Huge Week. MASSIVE WEEK. Taking the top slot is Rebels #2 (Dark Horse) by Brian Wood, Andrea Mutti, and Jordie Bellaire, with covers by Tula Lotay. Rebels is a very well-balanced piece of historical fiction, occupying an enthralling time period but remembering to ground events often played as larger-than-life in a character-first approach that centers on personal journeys. Mutti is a terrific artist who is able to cram so much detail and authenticity into his work. If you follow him on Twitter, you’ll see him having fun with reproduction Revolutionary War era tri-corner hats, muskets, and Native American gear, just to ensure he has a literal handle on the perfect reference material. Tula Lotay is rising to prominence from her career as Lisa Wood – Thought Bubble Organizer, to working with Warren Ellis on Supreme: Blue Rose and some variant covers forBlackcross, and now regular cover artist on Rebels, where she seems to be channeling her inner Becky Cloonan. It’s easy for me to say that Rebels will be one of the best series of 2015, so jump on board while it’s still early in the run.
If you want to talk debuts, all eyes are on Injection #1 (Image) by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire. I honestly don’t know much about the series, even after reading the teaser preview that appeared in last week’s crop of Image Comics, but Ellis is one of those buy-on-sight creators that’s got heaps of credibility in the bank with me, so it’ll be very exciting to see what this former Moon Knightteam has up their collective sleeves. There’s also Harrow County #1 (Dark Horse) hitting the shelves this week, from Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook. I’ve never been a big horror guy, and when I hear the words “ghost, goblins, and zombies” my eyes start to glaze over because the genre just doesn’t have internal rules it adheres to and it’s very hard to differentiate yourself from the morass of other material in this category. But, the book’s been getting some buzz from people I trust, and I’m in a position where I enjoy sampling as many new first issues as I can, so I’ll give this “Southern Gothic fairy tale” a chance to impress me and explain what the hell all those adjectives mean.
Image Comics has a heap of good stuff out, including perennial favorite Saga #28 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, the daring new RUNLOVEKILL #2 (Image) by Jonathan Tsuei and Eric Canete, Southern Cross #3 (Image) by Becky Cloonan and Andy Belanger, Black Science #14 (Image) by Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera, Copperhead #7 (Image) by Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski, C.O.W.L. #10 (Image) by Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis (which I believe is now ending at #11), and East of West #19 (Image). I TOLD YOU IT WAS A BIG WEEK! Of the lot, I’m probably most interested in Black Science (it’s just such an intensely-paced, well-executed bit of sci-fi drama), Copperhead (it’s always an effortless read that world-builds around such distinct and engaging characters), and Southern Cross (a book which I was lukewarm on at first, but its mood has been slowly growing on me).
Let’s see… what did I leave out? There’s Astro City #23 (DC/Vertigo) by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson, which is one of the most reliable books out there in terms of delivering a thought-provoking slow-burn examination of the superhero paradigm. Busiek has been at it for years, and I admire his ability to explore the hidden peripheral stories lurking in the corners of a shared universe concept and reframing them to make them the main attraction, a way of taking the everyman’s story and juxtaposing it with the fantastical. It’s a monthly workshop on how to construct stories through applying your craft and just doing the work. I’ll probably also check out Lady Killer #5 (Dark Horse) by Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones (my enthusiasm has cooled in the last couple issues, but I’ll see it through to the end), as well as Blackcross #3 (Dynamite Entertainment) by Warren Ellis and Colton Worley, a weird conflux of superheroics and the supernatural, all played out in a Twin Peaks style locale.