Love cures all ills. Or most of them.
The last series of Samurai left us on a happy note, though tinged with mystery. Having freed the Island with No Name from the grip of a Yakuza heavy, Takeo and his brother pursue the mystery of the sigil and note that he was left along with his unconscious state. Buoyed by their good fortune and incorrigible Buddhist companion, they set out to take the world on their terms, but it’s not long until the world imposes on them.
As soon as you look at this BOOM! Studios cover, you’ll realize you’re about to step into a completely different world. As far as you can tell, there are spiders and some kind of tentacle monsters with faces attached. If that doesn’t get you to open to the first page immediately, perhaps the story or overall imagery will make you curious to what’s going on.
I was at prime Power Rangers age back in 1993, when the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers started airing. That franchise has come a long way since then, through more than a dozen iterations of concepts and casts, but with a film reboot on the horizon, nostalgia for that first team of technicolor heroes is at an all-time high. The show – a weird kitbash of Japanese tokusatsu and the most saccharine American teenage drama – probably hasn’t aged all that well, considering its low production values and its supreme campiness. And if you’re like me – and since you’re on this site, I’d gamble that we’re not so different, you and I – shows like this, that so informed a chunk of our childhoods, hold this odd place in our minds. We know that it can’t be as good as we recall, but the memory of it is powerful enough to make us wonder if we shouldn’t pull up some episodes on Netflix – but, of course, doing so would risk forever destroying the paragon of Saturday morning entertainment that we knew and loved.
While the Engineer will continue on in Issue #1 of Aliens: Life and Death, the enigmatic creature was in the background for most of its own title. In Dan Abnett’s otherwise capable hands (His work so far with the Aliens, who I’m a huge fan of, and Predators, who I’m not a particular fan of, has been enjoyable.), a creature that deals with the manipulation of the beginnings of life became nothing more than Frankenstein’s Monster. The only motivation for this supposedly highly intelligent creature is simply to make it more difficult for our Colonial Marines to escape the planet. A slow-moving, grunting plot device. It gives me little hope for exploring what it is and what it wants in the forthcoming Alien title.
Tyler Crook’s artwork is lush and teeming with life, making the world of Harrow County one of the most fully realized landscapes in fiction today. His images are raw and breathtaking. They are both beautiful and haunting. They enliven the imagination by not only showing you what’s on the page, but making you wonder what’s beyond the panels. Without Crook’s artwork, I don’t believe Harrow County would be half as good as it is.
Joelle Jones takes time to mix in some flavorful ingredients into Issue#2 of Lady Killer 2, and it already begins to pay off. The best thing about good storytelling isn’t always in the payoff, but the feeling during the journey that things could go very wrong. That foreboding tickle at the back of your cranium that raises the blood pressure ever so slightly. The excitement and fear of the danger that is about to come. This second issue reminded me in many ways of an episode of Breaking Bad in its cadence and tone, finding a perfect balance between intelligence and enjoyment. It’s everything that this book has the potential to be.
For five issues now, Sarah Winchester has been fighting the literal and figurative demons caused by the violent deaths of the moneymaking and life-ending machine that is the Winchester Rifle. I’ve turned every page with wide-eyed fascination. This part-Western, part-horror story told by Peter J. Tomasi, Ian Bertram, Dave Stewart, and company is fueled by the anger and sadness at the state of the world we live in. This takes on a vivid clarity as the bitter irony of Sarah’s final, hopeful words are spoken. This hope prompts the feeling that we are still living out this tragedy today.
The realities of Hollywood are a strange thing. It can chew you up and eat you alive. For Farrah Durante, this is becoming more and more obvious as the middle-aged actress does everything she can to land her next big role. This is further complicated by a terrifying force that has attached itself to her and doesn't have much of an affinity for the culture Farrah has surrounded herself with.
Betvin Geant and Kay have consistently produced a thoughtful, engaging, and thoroughly entertaining book in Rise of the Antichrist. What’s incredible is that every issue has managed to up the ante in scale and scope, mining the source material and creating a depth of character that drives the plot. The premise of a man with powers and a history of mental illness assuming the role of the Savior makes for an unusual hook, and what makes it truly interesting is the fact that the story rides the fine line between deranged superbeing and actual son of God. Michael manages to always find an answer through his faith, but it’s never overtly evident whether these are actually signs from a deity or the result of a mind searching for answers and finding them in itself. This issue ramps all of these things to 11 and leaves us with one hell of a final page.