The Stone Heart, the second installment in Faith Erin Hicks’ The Nameless City trilogy, picks up a few months after the events of the first volume. (Check out my review of The Nameless City, the first volume in The Nameless City trilogy by Faith Erin Hicks.) Rat and Kai are at their leisure in the palace. Rat’s leg is healing, and she’s almost ready to challenge Kai to fresh parkour racing through the city. Kai’s father, Andren, is hard at work negotiating deals to get the Council of Nations up and running. The General of All Blades is grappling with his son’s ambitious nature, and Maru continues to harbor mysterious, manipulative motivations.
It’s Birdie’s birthday, and in spite of her best efforts to make everything perfect, things have gone terribly, terribly wrong. Her birthday cupcakes have been tragically lost, and the replacement treat to share with her classmates is olives and cottage cheese. But look! Who is that superhero who has come to save the day?!
Gray Bear Comics has just released issue two of Speak No Evil, where the story picks up with brothers Silas and Edwin in the basement of a derelict cabin in upstate New York. Unbeknownst to them, the cobwebbed box they just opened is the same one that Nicolas Tesla packed all of his equipment into after an experiment went terribly wrong. The boys inspect the various items including goggles, a plasma blaster, and a phonograph, on which they played a couple of recorded cylinders. The gang chasing the siblings show up, but so does….well, you’ll just have to read issue two to find out. Like the old-time serials that were shown in cinemas prior to the feature film, a six-page short story “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” (Chapter 2) follows up the main story and provides an interlude tale of a con artist. And, a second episode of “Speak Up, Chuck” is a flashback of Tesla building the plasma gun and the teenage Charles proving incapable of catching a goat for an experiment.
Clever adaptations and soulful expressions of life allow writer and artist Asaf Hanuka to connect with his fans – Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios, publishes The Realist: Plug and Play. This is the second volume for Asaf Hanuka’s original, The Realist, as the first has earned him the 2016 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material. The award-winning style from Hanuka continues with Plug and Play, as each page resonates with his fears, hopes, imagination, and devastatingly honest autobiographical accounts.
Journalist Ben Strong is stuck. He isn’t caught in the middle of truth versus lie to sell a story, because he’s willing to go to any lengths to avoid being fired. Actually, after a near miss of killing someone with his car, he soon finds himself, and everyone else in Los Angeles, quarantined. Ben spews vulgarity at anyone to get his point across, and this introduction doesn’t seem to improve when he nearly kills a mother and baby. Granted, he did have the right away, but playing on your phone while driving is extremely hazardous – our main character is relieved, “Just a little blood. No big deal.”
I first became aware of Christie Shinn’s intriguing artwork in Caligula Imperatore Insanum (Vol 1), where I fell in love with her ability to tell a story with her drawings. Shinn has the capability to bring emotion into her work, and that is extremely clear in A Murder of Crows: And Other Horrible Things to See.
On the outskirts of the “real world,” a rural empire provides for its citizens without the aid of those outside of its borders. This “Grass Kingdom” doesn’t want or need any help, and its ruler Robert leads his community while attempting to lead his own life back to some semblance of normalcy – after his daughter, Rose, disappeared years ago. The strain of her absence and the unknowing behind it became unbearable for him and his wife Amber until she also left, leaving him all alone with his misery.