Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly single issue review roundup.
(Joe Keatinge/ Leila Del Duca; Image Comics)
I didn’t know it at the time, but Shutter would become one of my favorite ongoing series of 2014, so much that I was one of those people that bought all four variants of #1 on a whim. Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca have blown me away since the debut issue. So, naturally I was bummed when I heard they’d be taking a couple of months off after the first arc, but a little anticipation fit the mood of the season so I patiently waited.
The seventh installment of the series was well worth the short hiatus because this team didn’t just come back, they came back with even more quirkiness, zest and adventure as the previous arc and then added more bone-dragons. This issue serves multiple purposes, one of which is playing catch up. It takes place immediately where issue #6 left off so readers don’t miss a beat of this epic journey revolving around the Kristopher siblings. The issue starts with us learning more about Kate with an added mystery through a discussion between her boss and a lady donning mummy-like wraps. Keatinge’s writing ability shines through in this issue. He writes parallel narratives throughout the whole issue without perspectives being muddled or confusing. It’s easy to follow and is engaging. Not to mention we get some playful dialogue with the unfortunate Shaw and some gut-wrenching moments. The interactions between Kate and Chris continue to feel genuine, with Kate’s protective older sibling instincts and a touch of a, “Do what I say because I’m older” sort of attitude.
Can we talk about Leila Del Duca? She’s my favorite artist of 2014. Her work is phenomenal. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – she can capture emotion like a livestreaming camera. She does it with flare and skill. She brings humans and creatures and robots and animals to life with wit and careful decisions. Even though many of the characters in the series aren’t human, she draws with such talent and authority readers know exactly how they’re feeling. She could personify a shoe and make me care about its history. It’s always fun to see what kind of whimsical creature she’ll include next. If you look hard enough you’ll see a blobfish-monster in all its ugly glory.
I mentioned the bone-dragon right? What an awesome spread. Oh, I mean spreads. This issue contains not one, not two, but three spreads. Each and every one of them is rendered with purpose and personality. Alarm Cat is back, although, well. I’ll let you read about that. Let’s just say I’m excited to see where Alarm Cat ends up. One of the best aspects of Shutter is the passion that this creative team has. You can tell just by reading that they’re having as much fun with this book as fans are. You get a team with as much talent and passion behind their craft as these two and you’re bound to be spoiled and that’s what we are with Shutter. If you haven’t read the first arc, it’s collected in trade at a nice price tag of only $9.99 U.S. It’s worth every penny.
Uncanny X-Men Annual #1
(Brian Michael Bendis / Andrea Sorrentino; Marvel Comics)
The talented Brian Michael Bendis ( Age of Ultron,Ultimate Spider-man) brings us a new era of X-Men and a bad-ass heroine to go alongside. I can say with much conviction that this heroine is worth the addiction and the intervention. I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of X-Men.
In Uncanny X-Men-001 we have Eva, (great name, obviously) scared and alone lost some where in time. After a few failed attempt to reach her own present, Eva lands in the future 2099 to be exact. There, she is greeted by X-Men of the future and finds her true mission with her trainer and guru IIyana Rasputin- not to be confused with the delicious Old Rasputin Imperial Stout or the “Dark Sorcerer” Grigori Rasputin who was quite influential over the Tzar Nicolas II and Alexandra and eventually caused the down fall of the Russian Monarchy.
That was a history lesson. You’re welcome.
This has a Slaughterhouse-5-meets-Waverider feel to it. I love that Brian sough to make another time-travelling superhero, especially one that is female and is destined to possibly change the world. Man, I want to know what happened next!
With Andrea Sorrentino‘s artistic touch and Marvel behind this comic, it will do very well. I’m already for the second one…. So if you’re reading this Brian, thanks for making me into a superhero! The legend of Eva will live on through the time entire universe! Or, at least, in the Marvel World.
– Eva Ceja
Harley Quinn Holiday Special
(Amanda Conner / Jimmy Palmiotti / Darwyn Cooke / Dave Stewart; DC Comics)
The Harley Quinn Holiday Special was three mini-comics stuffed into one promising murder, mayhem, and merriment.
Well– they semi delivered.
I do have to say that no one was murdered. This could be part of the holiday spirit for Harley herself. The first one started off with Hardly not getting in her pets fixed and having numerous baby animals in the house. She has to taken then to get adopted at a local mall and has a hard time letting go.
Naturally she breaks into a house to check on one of them. She meets a little girl and gives her a life lesson in the only bubbly, terrifying way Harley can. The other two comics focus on Harley trying to get a “humbug” out of her ear (which is constantly singing Christmas songs on her ear) and trying to find “Father Time” because she found a grey hair. I do have to say that I always find Harley adorably crazy bit something about these three mini-comics had me wanting more.
– Jennifer Flatebo
Escape From New York #1
(John Carpenter / Christopher Sebela / Diego Barreto; BOOM! Studios)
BOOM! Studios is quickly becoming my main source of comics. With the expected success of their Eric Powell and Brian Churilla team up on Big Trouble in Little China, Boom has taken on another iconic Kurt Russell character in their latest comic Escape from New York.
After much excitement, I finally got my hands on the first issue from the creative team of Christopher Sebela (Captain Marvel, Ghost) and Diego Barreto (Irredeemable, Eureka). Issue one, starts off where the movie left off and has Snake Plissken saying “fuck you” to the president which of course puts Snake back as public enemy number one. For a first issue, it really didn’t live up to all the hype, but plays out like any action movie.
The story so far is thin and the art doesn’t do much for me either. I’m going to keep reading because I’m a fan of the movie and I wish for good things to come from this comic. I can’t help but feel that neither of the duo behind this really know their character and should probably go back and watch both movies.
– Angie Wood
Lady Demon #1
(Aaron Gillespie / Mirka Andolfo; Dynamite)
As a male nerd growing up in the early ’90s crushing on Jim Lee’s drawn female figures, the closest we could come to going full nerd-gasm was with the “Bad Girl” trend that took place during the ’90s. With the likes of Witchblade or Chaos comic’s Lady Death, Purgatori and the little known Lady Demon a pubescent child finally had his first nerd super model. Recently Dynamite Comics picked up a few characters from Chaos, one of these is beautiful yet deadly Lady Demon.
Written by Aaron Gillespie, Lady Demon #1 hits the ground running. Aaron is creatively talented when showcasing these two entertaining aspects of Demons’s character. Similar to DC’s Firestorm mixed with tad of Marvel’s Ghost Rider, when innocent Violet and her boyfriend are slaughtered Lady Demon makes a deal to co-habitat her vessel and give Violet the retribution her soul needs. With art by the talented Mirka Andolfo (Damsels In Excess, Chaos),Lady Demon peaks your interest and keeps you flipping pages for just that right amount of violence, gore and PG-13 nudity. The Traveling nerd says read it and enjoy it, but don’t come in seeking high cerebral mental intriguing literature.
– Lance Paul
The Valiant #1
(Matt Kindt / Jeff Lemire / Paolo Rivera; Paolo River)
Valiant Comics once again deliver the high-stakes and wildly imaginative goods with this new, prestige format team/ crossover book: The Valiant. We are introduced once more to Gilad, The Eternal Warrior, and his never-ending ( and repeatedly failed ) duty to protect the Geomancer from The Immortal Enemy. Only this time Gilad has a little help from his friends: with Aric and his X-O Manowar Armor, the nanite-powered super-soldier Bloodshot, his own immortal brother Armstrong, and a more powerful Geomancer coming into her powers. But can our assembled heroes defend the spirit of the earth from the forces of entropy and decay; or will darkness reign yet again?
Ably plotted and scripted by Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Green Lantern) and his former Sweet Tooth cohort, Matt Kindt (Pistolwhip, Lost Girls), this first issue sets up all the pieces on the board clearly, with a steadily mounting tension. This book is going to be a blast come next issue. The artwork is somewhat of a curiosity; it is excellent, but not exactly the Paolo (and his dad, Joe) Rivera (Daredevil, Mythos) style I was perhaps expecting; he’s taken on some extra grit and quirkiness to these pages, so much so I initially almost thought he was working off Matt Kindt‘s breakdowns or something. If this is indicative of where Rivera’s style will go since his departure from Marvel, then it looks pretty exciting.
The Valiant promises to bring together the elements of the Valiant universe we haven’t seen interacting so much in the Unity or Harbinger titles; and aside from being a little saddened they haven’t included Archer, I cannot wait to see how Valiant’s heavy hitters fare against their absolute worst nightmare.
– Luke Anderson
Savage Dragon #200
Very rarely have I finished a comic book where the only thought that ran through my mind was “what the frack was this?!” and no, not in a good way. You have to give Erik Larson (SuperPatriot, The Amazing Spider-Man) major, major props for doing this book for as long as he has been doing this. The issue is a pretty easy jump on point. For anyone who hasn’t read the book in forever, Larson recaps everything through casual dialogue which catches everyone up.
That’s not what got me.
It was the odd three-way that throws everything off for me in the book. If you read the book, you’ll understand. If you read Savage Dragon or like Erik Larson then you know his artwork (which I dig) and he continues stellar work slinging the pen and ink. The storyline is interesting and a slightly depowered Savage Dragon is actually a pretty cool idea.
But still, I come back to his son, Malcom and the crazy amount of sex that Larson has him and his girlfriend and his step/not stepsister have with each other. It read like a middle-aged man trying to relive what he wished his sex life had been when he was 18 years old. Here’s hoping that the next issue rights the ship. As it stands with this issue, this is for Savage Dragon fans only.
– Roberto de Bexar