Singles Going Steady is Comic’s Bulletin’s irregularly released review roundup. This week, there’s a bunch of #3’s on the docket, as well as a couple #1’s. So let’s get to it!
Regression #3 (Image Comics)
(W) Cullen Bunn, (A) Danny Luckert, (C) Marie Enger
Very quickly, Regression has become one of the titles most look forward to each month. Writer Cullen Bunn may be the big-name creator on this title, but it’s the artwork by Danny Luckert and Marie Enger that is the real draw (pun totally intended). It captures everything that is wonderfully disgusting about body-horror, including a healthy dose of insects crawling out of all sorts of orifices. Even when you know it’s coming, Luckert and Enger still manage to defy expectations and inflict a strong case of the heebie jeebies on their audience.
Of course, Regression not only great to look at (in a twisted way), but the writing is sharp. Bunn’s script makes it unclear whether Adrian is suffering from severe mental deficiencies, or if there is something supernatural at play. It may have been spelled out already and I’m just a bloody idiot, but if not that mystery is just another added wrinkle that makes this book such a joy to read each month.
Youngblood #3 (Image Comics)
(W) Chad Bowers, (A) Jim Towe, (C) Juan Manuel Rodriguez
After an up-and-down first two issues, the latest Youngblood series has seemingly found its footing. It isn’t great, but it isn’t bad either, something past incarnations of the series are unable to claim. Chad Bowers’ superhero story is rather straightforward, and if the series was titled Justice League or Avengers one could easily imagine it near the top of the sales charts. However, being “okay” doesn’t cut it if you’re outside the Big Two. Yes, Bowers and artist Jim Towe litter the pages with Easter eggs and callbacks to the past, but Youngblood just does not have the pop culture cache for these moments to connect with readers.
Speaking of Towe, he delivers a workmanlike performance. Thankfully, he has shied away from the title’s artistic roots in favor of a more modern look, with a style that comfortably fits the title as it skirts the line between “indie” and “mainstream superhero.” When the book calls for action, he delivers. However, his strength is similar to the writing: character interactions. When the script calls for a bunch of characters to be just talking amongst each other, Youngblood can stand right alongside Image’s other top titles. Unfortunately, readers expect a derivative superhero title, and the creative team obliges.
Eternal Empire #3 (Image Comics)
(W) Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn (A) Jonathan Luna
For one reason or another, Eternal Empire to this point had not delivered the emotional punch or narrative hook of Jonathan Luna’s previous works, especially his most collaboration with Sarah Vaughn – Alex + Ada. That finally changes with Eternal Empire #3 as our two protagonists, Rion and Tair, discover their unique ability to create fire when in close proximity and use it as a weapon. As cool as this sounds, it is their interactions post-action which finally provides a true emotional hook. The more these two learn of each other and connect, the stronger Eternal Empire will certainly get. However, after only 3 issues, it still stands in the long shadows of Vaughn and Luna’s past works.
Dread Gods #1 (IDW Publishing/Ominous Press)
(W) Ron Marz, (A) Tom Raney, (C) Nanjan Jamberi
Ominous Press is back! If that doesn’t get you excited, you probably aren’t familiar with the short-lived, niche publisher of the 1990s. With Dread Gods #1, readers are introduced to a world in which the lives of the ancient Greek gods serve as entertainment for the poor masses of the world (kind of like the real world). But as an added wrinkle, it appears that the people do have the ability, though not necessarily the power, to affect change. To that end, Dread Gods #1 does a commendable job setting up its unusual premise. However, Marz’s script provides any meaningful character development.
Our presumed protagonist, Carver, is physically disabled, small in stature, and down on his luck. His “journey” to plug into the entertainment and vow to lend a hand to the gods’ cause bookends time spent with the pantheon, the latter of which dominates the page count. And while Tom Raney provides an interesting take on well known icons, seeing the likes of Zeus and Hera once again portrayed with Aryan features has grown stale in an increasingly global society. I’m willing to give Dread Gods a couple more issues because of its unique premise. Given Marz’s past efforts, there’s a good chance this overcomes it’s slow start and blossoms into something wonderful.
Dark Days: The Casting #1 (DC Comics)
(W) Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV, (A) Andy Kubert, Jim Lee, & John Romita Jr., (I) Klaus Jansen, Scott Williams, and Danny Miki, (C) Alex Sinclair and Jeremiah Skipper
See all those big name creators listed above? The fact that that much talent could combine to pump out something as hollow and confusing as Dark Days: The Casting #1 is just the latest stop on the emotional roller coaster that is Dark Knights: Metal. I’ve been interested thanks to Greg Capullo’s teaser images. The release of a massive checklist left me dejected. The release of The Forge reignited my interest, only for this issue to shit all over it. Hopefully Snyder and company are able to sort things out, or else Dark Knights: Metal will end up on the pile with Countdown, Convergence, and other crappy titles of the past.