Advance Review: Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity #1 (of 4)

A comic review article by: David Fairbanks

 

ADVANCE REVIEW! Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity #1 will come out on October 24, 2012.

 

It's no secret that we're pretty big fans of Brandon Graham over here at Comics Bulletin. Most of us discovered and adored King City, and those of us who couldn't get enough began to delve deeper and deeper, discovering things like Escalator, Pillow Fight, Perverts of the Unknown and Multiple Warheads.

 

 

Multiple Warheads was originally a nice, thick, black-and-white comic published by Oni Press starring Sexica and Nikolai. Sexica was a smuggler of exotic organs and Nikolai, her boyfriend, was the beneficiary of one of those stolen organs: a werewolf's penis (hence the title of the book).

It was strange, brimming with interesting possibilities, and it seemed doomed to never see a second issue like so many indie comics. 

Enter Image Comics who, in a continuation of what has been a year full of spectacular comics, went through whatever legal limbo they had to to get the rights for Graham to continue Multiple Warheads under the Image banner and in print before the end of 2012.

Now, if you don't know much about Graham or his comics, my gut is to always recommend King City, if only because the paperback is a very great deal ($20 for over 400 pages), but either the old one-shot of Multiple Warheads or this very first issue of Alphabet to Infinity are pretty great jumping on points for his work.

Graham continues his trend of delivering amazing deals in comics, with the new Warheads carrying a cover price of $3.99 and loaded with 48 pages of road-tripping, organ harvesting, mystical alternate history Russia goodness. Oh, and it's in full color this time, too.

And what colors! There's a simple elegance to the coloring Graham does that gives his comics a look unlike anything else on the stands.

 

 

The story in Multiple Warheads is split about halfway between the duo of Sexica and Nikolai, who are embracing the romantic notion of leaving behind their old life, hopping into Lenin (their car), and discovering a new future together and the solo adventures of Nura, who appears to be a bit more aggressive of an organ harvester than Sexica was.

 

 

By giving us these multiple chapters, Multiple Warheads brings about Brandon Graham's trademark time dilation. If you're not familiar with this phenomenon, this is where you sit down to read a comic of his and before you know it, half an hour has passed. And then you want to dive back in and read it again. He did it with King City, he does it with Prophet, and so help me, it's happening again with Multiple Warheads.

One thing that Graham managed to do beautifully in King City was to give an emotionally realistic take on human relationships; there was a layer of melancholy and loss, with an eventual feeling of acceptance as Joe realized how best to grow into the life that moved on without him. While there was a stable romantic relationship, it wasn't usually in the foreground like we have in Warheads.

I think that, with Sexica and Nikolai, we might be getting a bit of Graham's relationship with girlfriend/wife Marian Churchland, and it's a certain kind of adorable. I'm going to pause and reflect for a second that I just said the relationship between an organ smuggler and her werewolf-enhanced boyfriend was adorable.

 

 

Of course, it's an adorable coupled with the strange, almost surreal, where they smoke singing cigarettes bought from a general store run by a a large blue cow, where water could be haunted, grant forced immortality, or secretly be O2H (sending your Organs 2 Hell), where they are road tripping across some mystical, strange Russia where palaces are perched atop giant six-legged beasts.

If Sexica and Nikolai are Graham doing his own spin on romance, Nura's story appears to mostly be balls-to-the-wall action. Her tale isn't lacking in the strange, though; in her first few pages, she's carrying around the head of an immortal dragon named Sing-Song that's got 26 hearts stored in its maw.

 

 

Strange is Graham's modus operandi, and with Multiple Warheads he gives us strangeness, violence, love, sex, and puns -- oh god, the puns! -- in what I would call a career-defining work for anyone else. For Graham, it's just business as usual.

 

 


 

 

David Fairbanks doesn't get many things right the first time. He studied physics in college, loves science, music, comics, poetry, movies, books and education pertaining to all of the above. He will talk your ear off about Grant Morrison and Ben Folds, has an indie bookshelf larger than his Marvel, DC and Vertigo ones combined and if he ever actually grows up, more than anything else, he wants to still be happy as an “adult,” whatever that is.

Mostly self-indulgent ramblings can be found at @bairfanx and untilsomethingbreaks.blogspot.com.

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