I’m not a scholar of old English poetry by any means, but what I’ve read I’ve loved. I love how the words make you feel breathless. They elevate the events of the story to the point of being mythic. The Worm Ouroboros was one of the most unique reading experiences I’ve ever had. Heroes with the stature of mountains surmounting practically impossible tasks; they are almost god-like. This graphic novel adaptation of Beowulf from writer Santiago García creates an equally breathless feeling within me, and that’s in a large part thanks to the lush artwork of David Rubín.
Issue five of Coda is Simon Spurrier at his finest. Over the course of the first four issues, Spurrier has set up and filled in this world little by little with eccentricities and oddities, all making sense within the rules of the world he’s created. The world is post-fantasy, as if the magic in Lord of the Rings was stripped away and Terry Gilliam got hold of what remained and turned it into a George Miller-esque Road Warrior fight for what little magic remains. It’s a freaking romp.
Issue four of Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Black Hammer: Age of Doom dropped a huge reveal: What and where is this farm that the heroes of Spiral City have been trapped on? That’s a pretty big revelation considering they have been stuck here for the better part of a decade, and it’s a question that readers have been asking since the very first issue. Needless to say, the reveal changes everything and sends our heroes sling-shotting in another direction entirely.
Ether: The Copper Golems is the most bittersweet adventure fantasy I’ve ever read, and that’s a good thing. Boone Dias is a scientist who’s found his way into an alternate dimension called the Ether, where he fancies himself as a scientific Indiana Jones detective, solving all of their magical mysteries by stripping the magic away and relying on logic. There are, though, three things he can’t solve. One, he can’t eat in the Ether, so he has to jump back to our world every now and then. Two, he can’t stop his family from aging at a far greater speed; time works differently in the Ether and on Earth. Three, he can’t stop others from thinking and acting illogically.
In the world of Hellboy, villains are relentless. They come after him with vigor and passion, driven by needs beyond those with which mortals toil from day to day. One such antagonist in Hellboy’s pantheon is Koshchei. The tale of Koshchei the Deathless is an epic and sad one. It is brutal and heartbreaking. It is high tragedy and intimate fable rolled into one. While it is all of those things, it is also about the need for redemption and to reclaim one’s humanity.
In the world of covert ops and espionage, World War II is almost legendary in its stories, both fictional and real, of code breaking, infiltration, assassinations, and intelligence gathering. Spy fiction has used the WW2 backdrop to tell stories both grounded in realism as well as pulpy and farfetched. Most of these stories center on male secret agents that run from suave and seductive to gruff and lantern-jawed; however, past this archetype, there’s a legion of women agents - vamps, femme fatales, and secret agents, too - with their own stories to tell.
Warren Ellis starts his newest series, Cemetery Beach, with a cheeky wink to the reader. Our hero, Michael Blackburn, is in a military interrogation chamber, stripped to his birthday suit, and chained to a table. We think the scene is going to go one way, but Ellis immediately shifts our expectations, and then shifts them again, and again, and again. It isn’t long before Blackburn meets an accomplice in his adventure, Grace Moody, and the wild, sci-fi romp that is Cemetery Beach begins.