I’m so used to comic book series going on for at least a couple of years, so it took me by surprise that this issue was the conclusion of Dead Inside. John Arcudi has forced his main character, Detective Caruso, into a situation in which it has to conclude or there will be consequences, and Caruso has positioned herself as the only one who can get it done. Or I should say, Arcudi has put her into this position by making most all of the other officers hot-headed idiots. How Caruso gets out of her predicament - while she promises she’s the only one that can do it with her intelligence - isn’t particularly that creative or even well thought out. It’s level-headed simplicity that wins in the end, which one can argue is missing from law enforcement these days.
The compelling story of Star Wars in 1977 left fans wanting more. Unlike now, where we can own a copy of a much-loved film and watch any time we want, back in the late 1970s, Beta and VHS formats were still a few years from being an available commodity. There were a handful of novels that were released at the time, and Marvel was putting out a monthly comic book series, but the fans’ interest was not sated. They were clamoring for more content. Given that the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, would not be released until May 1980, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate began running a daily Star Wars comic strip on March 11, 1979. Finally, fans could get a daily installment, albeit in very small doses, for the next five years.
The action in this issue moves across various settings as Shadow and Wednesday continue their journey. With their adventures so far, this tale is playing out to be a perfectly dark mythological epic set in modern-day America. Shadow’s dream sequence adds to that feel, as the statues resemble mythological beasts. They are drawn to perfection to catapult us into a strange world that keeps intruding on the real world. Despite his name, Shadow is the light of these dark dreams. He is the heroic figure wrapped up in a complicated mess. Has he embarked on a hero’s journey? It is hard to tell without yet knowing what his quest is for. The mysterious purpose of his travels creates Gothic uncertainty and apprehension that is utterly engaging.
Twenty-five years ago, Image Comics vaulted into the comic book world with titles such as WildC.A.T.S. and Spawn, and now, one of its debut series has come back. Youngblood, originally created by Rob Liefeld, is now reintroduced into the modern world, including all of its technological novelties. Writer Chad Bowers directs Youngblood #1 and all of its characters with as much ease as downloading a phone app or sending a text message.
Despair and the ever-lingering desire of hope surround Eternal Empire #1 from Image Comics. The creative team of Alex + Ada returns again with a new series, generating a sense of pain felt by the characters as they deal with war, famine, and the lack of control one finds when they aren’t serving “their” Empress freely.
The Dragon Age franchise lives on, as Dark Horse Comics continues the tales of Thedas in the newest series based on the terrific gaming franchise. While this one is only adjacent to the franchise (unlike the previous series, Magekiller), this seems to be an added part of the lore, while Magekiller felt like it was directly from the canon of the games.
Three issues in, and we finally get some background and footing on what exactly is going on here and what the stakes are in Matt Kindt’s new mystery, Grass Kings. And for that matter, what exactly the mystery is. Things have been so incredibly vague thus far that it feels unnecessary. There was a murder at some point or there is a murderer somewhere.
A balloon can be filled with only so much air before it pops. A screw can only be tightened into a board so far before the board splinters. I feel like with every issue of Harrow County, Cullen Bunn manages to blow a little more air into the ever-tightening skin of the balloon, to turn the screw just a little more into the piece of wood that’s barely managing to stay whole. The tension is building, the forces are gathering, the chess pieces are being moved into position, and soon the pieces are going to have to be sacrificed. You can feel it. The problem for me as a reader is - and it’s not so much a problem when it’s such excellent writing - that I care about these characters who will have to make decisions they may not like.