Most comic book fans know of Sex Criminals by now, whether it be from reading the book, hearing about it from friends, or seeing the multiple and ridiculous social media posts form its creators, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. That being said, for those who aren't familiar, Sex Criminals is a comic book series about a young couple, Jon and Suzy, who have some very interesting abilities - namely, that when they have sex, they can stop time after they complete the act. Using this ability, they do what any decent human being with sex powers would do: rob banks. This conceit is the basis of what the story is about, though, it also turns out to be about so much more. The second volume of the series begins to take a turn with our sexy protagonists, as they've come to know that they are not the only people in the world with these kinds of powers. In fact, there are several, and some of them are not too happy with what Jon and Suzy are up to. A huge, ten-issue volume, things go from bad, to weird, to worse for our stalwart crew of morally ambiguous deviants.
Zombies, pirates, vampires, goddesses, romance, and battles: There is something for everyone in this latest edition of Angel, Time and Tide. The cover vignettes are spectacular, both enticing and jarring. Whisked away in a sweeping, romantic dip are a couple in period attire on the cover, inviting you into a magical, and yet dangerous, world. I was immediately struck by the boat etched in the woman's dress - its passengers and their stories. Turn the page to behold Angelus, the man in period dress now ripping into a woman’s neck and dripping in blood.
The Dragon Age franchise has a lot of incredible entries, with several hit games in its past. Through Dark Horse Comics, that lineage has continued with several popular and well-done comic books in this universe, and Dragon Age: Knight Errant is no exception to the rule. The story focuses on an elven squire who leads a double life as follower of her knight, and as a thief who uses her position as a cover for her secret occupation. This gets complicated as the elven squire, Vaea, is asked to handle a task for the Inquisition, an organization that is well known to those who have spent time inside the world of this franchise. This narrow path leads Vaea into uncharted territory and potentially puts her at odds with both the knight who saved her from her past life and with those who would look to take the objects she targets for themselves.
The second installment of Poe Noir is a compelling, mind-blowing adventure. Tim Zajac and Miguel Acedo have penned superb adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tales while Graham Sisk’s stunning black-and-white art continues to leave me awestruck. Both episodes in this issue deal with obtrusive power and the subsequent breakdown that follows, retaining Poe’s dark themes but depicting them through classic noir rhythms.
As 2017 comes to a close, I normally like to reflect back on some of my favorite comics I read throughout the year. IDW Publishing has pretty much been my go-to publisher these past few months, and I have to admit that one of my favorite series of theirs is the ongoing Back to the Future comic books that started just a little over 2 years ago in late 2015. We’ve read about all sorts of interesting “alternate” adventures of Marty and Doc, as well as learned more about secondary characters like Marty’s Uncle “Jailbird” Joey. We even got glimpses into sideline stories that helped to explain certain plot holes from the original trilogy.
Whereas James Tynion IV and Erik Donovan’s previous collaborations, Cognetic and Memetic, have been structured around a three-issue story arc that was confined to a specific time and place, their new three-issue story, Eugenic, reads more like Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. It sets up a specific event and then hops to different points in time with different characters to further the world and themes. I want to see more stories set in this world even though I feel this third issue didn’t quite capture my imagination and emotional involvement like the first two issues. Its heart is in the same place as we jump into the future again with some big ideas. It’s depressing and sad, but not in a way that struck chords. If anything, this third issue seems more like a pitch for a much larger story – one I’d like to see.
The first volume of Black Hammer was great. This one is even better. The more I read, the more I want to read, and the more engrossed I become in the world that writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dean Ormston have created. It’s a mystery that unfolds page by page, issue by issue, full of incredible characters and brilliant twists. I can’t recommend this comic enough.
The Jem and the Holograms: Dimensions comics run has made some great progress in terms of LGBTQ2* representation and race and body type diversity while still centering music and taking its aesthetics from the '80s pop-punk scene, and this installment furthers that work. Comics in the Dimensions series include two short stories each, with the ultimate intention of showing Jem, the Holograms, the Misfits, and even a pretty well-developed set of groupies in a multi-dimensional way through extended world building and character development. Each story is written and drawn by a rotating crew, meaning that each comic contains two distinct story and art styles. This installment includes Sarah Kuhn and Siobhan Keenan’s “Face Off” and Sarah Winifrid Searle’s “Star Girl.”