All of the great fantasy characters mixed with twenty-something, modern-day archetypes introduced in the first issue of Modern Fantasy are still great, even though the story waffles around a bit, ending on a very similar note to the first issue. These lovable, wannabe adventurers finally get to go on their first adventure! Though technically the stakes are slightly higher in issue two than issue one, the gravity of the situation feels a bit thin…maybe that’s the joke - twenty-somethings making something bigger out of something than it seems or making nothing at all out of something - as that joke is certainly at the heart of a lot of the characters’ mindsets. That’s a good thing. While Rafer Roberts does ground her characters in this ridiculous world, she also realizes that being in your early twenties is actual a ridiculous time. Kristen Gudsnuk adds to the ridiculousness of it all with her playful, yet really beautiful, art.
Blackwood #3 feels like it’s in a rush to get somewhere but doesn’t know quite what to focus on. So many really fun ideas are being juggled around, but almost too many. Just as we’re about to have a character moment, there’s a revelation. Just as we’re about to get a revelation, there’s suddenly new information. Just as new information is about to be introduced, a monkey with two heads tries to steal your coat. I feel like for this story to have played out naturally and evenly would have benefited from additional issues, but again, I don’t have the final issue in my hand, so it’s hard for me to say. So, let’s focus on issue three.
Sitting at about 122 pages, The Beef collects the first five issues of a bold and brutal indictment of the meat packing industry. The book is written by a juicy slab of creatives; Tyler Shainline and Richard Starkings write, while Shaky Kane delivers those lean visuals. It is published by Image Comics and boy, oh boy, this greasy tale is disgusting.
God Complex is a neo-noir mystery that plays fast and loose with a blend of sci-fi elements and a complex dive into Greek mythology. Bryan Lie is credited as the creator and designer on the book, though it’s written by Paul Jenkins and illustrated by Hendry Prasetya. The first volume aptly titled Vol. 1: Dogma just released, and it collects the first six issues of God Complex with your typical concept art back pages.
Now that Starburns Press has begun their much-anticipated launch, one of the first titles the new publisher announced is almost here for all to enjoy. Spawned from a conversation between acclaimed comic book writer Eric Esquivel and television mega-creator Dan Harmon, Gregory Graves takes a decades-old rivalry and turns it on its head. Originally pitched as a Lex Luthor/Superman story for DC Comics, Graves focuses on the titular character and his adversary, Luminary. Luminary, a nearly perfect specimen who hails from another planet, has been on Earth for some time, saving the world and being the perfect savior. Everyone from around the globe has taken to the handsome hero, with the exception of Graves, who sees Luminary as he truly is: a cosmic being who has taken this planet as its new home, but who doesn't truly serve the people, only their own egos.
The team of Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, Dave Stewart, and Steve Wands are doing something I didn’t think could be done through comic book form. They are freaking the hell out of me. No book exists without all of the creators behind it, but there’s something about how all of the different elements in this book are working together, how the creators are conversing through their artforms, building off the last things said that is creating a truly visceral, unsettling experience. They are managing this with very little gore, very little violence, but more about what’s suggested – the abstract.
Boone Dias and his team - a fairy, a talking gorilla creature, and a sort of Minotaur mage - set out to destroy the Copper Golems that are creating breaches between the Ether and the reality Earth lives in. It’s an exciting issue that’s visually arresting. Boone Dias is a scientist that has found a way into the Ether, an alternate reality that brings to life all our creativity, and Dias has been working as a sort of adventuring detective. Solving mysteries using science to show that, even behind the most magical of notions, there’s truly no such thing as magic. We’ve found that time moves slower in the Ether, and Dias can’t eat food there which drives him back and forth between each realm.
Things are getting pretty complicated for Wizord in the third volume of the wonderfully entertaining Curse Words. With Platy-Margaret in captivity and Wizord doing his best to maintain his reign as the most awesome wizard in this realm, the stakes continue to rise and more complications arise. Hole World, the evil realm lead by the villain Sizzajee, is alive and well, and while the numbers in his cabal are dwindling, the master of that world shows off a few tricks that he still has up his sleeve.