In a way, this issue of Dept.H is the beginning of the next story arc in what is an ongoing murder mystery series that is both microscopic and macroscopic, personal and world changing. At the end of issue #18, Matt Kindt left us with a big question mark. Mia - our investigator and daughter of the murdered genius scientist who put together not only the underwater scientific base, but the crew on board it - found herself in a small capsule at the bottom of the ocean with no power and very little oxygen. With her is the remaining crew, one of which may have killed her father. It’s one of those resting moments, where a story plateaus for a moment. In this case, it was quiet…claustrophobic. It ended a section of the story in a way that spelled oblivion.
The Grass Kingdom is a place where people who don’t fit into society - or don’t want to fit - go to live. It’s a haven, a promised land. This has the potential to attract a lot of different types of folks: people who are running; people who are hiding; people who aren’t exactly on the up and up. Like murderers.
Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook twist a knife in Issue #26 of Harrow County. With the horror, they have brought a wave of melancholy, and when characters begin to lose the things they care about, they become desperate, throwing the chances of victory off ever so slightly. As powerful as many of the characters are in this book, wisdom eludes them. As capable as Emmy is, she is still only an 18-year-old. Imagine trying to figure out who you are while grappling with the powers of a witch - the power to befriend the creatures of the woods, here called haints, the power to create life from the mud of the earth - and then dealing with a family of dimension-hopping gods that want to do away with you.
Over the last few years, creators James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan have been delving into some Cronenberg-esque areas of horror with their series of comics that I’ll call the “-ic” series. Memetic and Cognetic were the first two series that delved into the downfall of the human race in equally terrifying ways. They were both strange and effective creations that I loved. Now, Eugenic, while still holding true to the terrifying horror elements of the previous books, is just as much about the rebirth of the human race as it is the destruction of it.
Colder is a wickedly inspired horror series. Over three story arcs, it tells the story of Declan, a man in a waking coma whose body temperature continuously gets colder. Why does he get colder? Reece, his caretaker for a few years, sees him as a puzzle to be solved. Answers begin to come when Nimble Jack appears. Nimble Jack is what the Joker would be if Salvador Dali created him; he’s something directly from a dream…or nightmare. He’s a humanoid from a dark mirror universe that feeds off people’s madness. He is chaotic and unhinged, devilishly traipsing about the Boston cityscape, wreaking the most colorful of havoc on its denizens - manipulating people’s physical forms, changing the foundation of our perceived reality, and doing it all with a twinkle in his eyes. He may not be the hero of the story, but he is definitely the star. Whereas Jack creates and feeds off madness, Declan can cure it, but every time he does, he gets colder.
If you don’t remember exactly where the first volume of Brian Wood’s Aliens: Defiance left off, it doesn’t really matter. The first five pages is all you need to be 100% on board.
I Am a Hero Omnibus 4 may be the most visceral chapter of the series yet while retaining all of its glorious eccentricities. Hideo Suzuki and Hiromi find themselves forced to integrate with a group of survivors on top of an outlet mall as a horde of zombies below keep the survivors from precious, necessary food. These hordes of zombies aren’t your typical zombies, but Hideo isn’t your typical hero, and Hiromi is far, far, far from your typical woman in distress.
Reading the first issue of Glitterbomb: The Fame Game inspired me to immediately buy the first volume on ComiXology and read it before writing this review. It’s a really good and surprisingly powerful read.
You read about cartels. You read about the violence and murder that exists south of our border. It sounds scary, frightening, and unimaginable. I know people whose family members went on vacation and simply didn’t come back alive. A location scout on Narcos was just found dead, riddled with bullets, sitting in their car. These little glimpses we see are a part of a much bigger problem that the innocent people of Mexico face and it's unreal. Mexico is not a war-torn country in the traditional sense, nor is it headed by religious extremists like places in the Middle East who want to start a war; however, a war has been raging there for some time. Sean Mackiewicz (writer) and Niko Walters (artist) use this landscape as a jumping-off point for a horror story that in their words, “ . . . is an attempt to process real-world horror, centuries of it, magnify it through genre, and learn from it.” They also say, “Gasolina is a story about Mexico. It’s about how countries impact each other. The war that’s about to erupt in these pages is a global one.” Those are some ambitious comments…and I like ambition in storytelling.
Simon Spurrier wrote one of my favorite comics this previous year: The Spire, a fantasy allegory about inequality among race and privilege. His new story, Angelic, immediately had me laughing a heavy “WTF.” In what appears to be a post-human world, oceans have overflown into cities, jungle canopies hang from skyscrapers, and primates have formed a civilization based on a religious belief system that we as readers can see is completely absurd.