Shadow Roads, the extension of Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s The Sixth Gun world, is a mixture of old Western tropes mixed with ghosts, demons, and other supernatural elements. It began with a rip-roaring time and some mystery built into its first issue, as one group of people - consisting of a Native American raised in England, his somewhat buffoonish friend, and ex-singer Miss Abigail Redmayne - fought off hell hounds on a train. Meanwhile, a gunslinger who sees ghosts was seeking out a well-known gunslinger to go after someone called the Hunter. A lot of questions arose: Why were these collections of characters brought together? Why are some looking for each other? Why are the evil hell hounds coming after them? We were left with the promise of the impending destruction of the universe as we know it, if it something wasn’t done.
Junior Braves of the Apocalypse is every doomsday prepper's fantasy come to glorious, undead life. Volume 1 collects the first six zombie-filled issues of the series. The book is fast paced. The action comes out of the box with the suspense nob turned all the way up. It is around 220 pages of horrifying fun that ends with a swift kick to your cold, black heart.
Outpost Zero #2 immediately picks up where the events of the double-sized introductory issue left off. In our first issue, we get a fantastic sense of the environment our characters get to play in. There is a wonderful magnitude to the dystopia of this particular future tale, and the characters are written in a carefully balanced way. Now that the stage has been set for our story, issue #2 begins to unravel the mysterious death of a main character while illustrating what Outpost Zero will ultimately be about.
In the indie comic series known as Scruffy Puppies (written and illustrated by creator Brent J. Trembath), a team of mutant, anthropomorphic canines have became a well-trained, heroic team of combatants who patrol the post-apocalyptic wasteland they call home. Feeling like a cross between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Expendables, Scruffy Puppies feels like one of those special (and weirdly fun) finds discovered while wandering Artist Alley.
The action pieces in Sword Daughter are so profoundly good that you almost forget it is the subtle details of this story that make it such a masterpiece. Brian Wood continues to surprise me with his ability to craft an ornate tapestry of complicated emotion told in such a concise way. Not a moment is wasted, and every panel counts. This is a grand reminder that a simple story can be just as affecting, if not more, than a complicated one.
She Could Fly is hypnotic, emotionally eloquent, and completely jarring. It lulls you and shakes you. Christopher Cantwell chooses his words specifically, Martin Morazzo catches a rhythm in the paneling and an emotion in the artwork that Miroslav Mrva heightens in the coloring, and Clem Robbins . . . lettering doesn’t get a lot of press, but the placement and texture of the words create that staccato rhythm, that poetic feeling, that anxiety, that calm, that internal battle. In my review of issue one, I stated that She Could Fly taps into a feeling, and in issue two that feeling becomes more profound. You are living in someone else’s psychosis, specifically Luna’s psychosis. And what makes it so profound is that this creative team has tapped into an anxiety that could very well be universal, because it’s grounded in a lack of self-worth.
Changing gears from their recent Eisner Award-nominated collaboration on Grass Kings, Matt Kindt and Tyler and Hilary Jenkins bring us Black Badge. The Black Badge is a group of elite boy scouts that are sent into places the military can’t go, places that not even adults can get without looking suspicious. It’s a pretty straight-forward premise with a lot of room for adventure, plus a hefty amount of morals and ethics. It’s hard to say which direction the book is going to go as this first issue mostly sets up this premise, as our four Black Badges - three veteran kids and one newbie - have to trek into North Korea to accomplish a very specific mission. As kids, they are easily trained and they easily obey, and this first issue rattles their perception a little, pointing us down a possible path for future issues.