In a dystopian future where most of the Earth is covered in water and the debris of a long-forgotten time, there are two worlds: the Noble Houses who live on dry land and the Chasing Arrows who live under the sea. The Chasing Arrows are responsible for recycling all of the old plastic and other refuse that takes up most of the ocean. Metal and other precious commodities go to the Noble Houses while the rest is used to power the old, massive ships now reconfigured as habitats for the Arrows. In essence, they are salvagers. They also manufacture their own food by farming plankton and sea fungus which, apparently, is not very tasty.
Matt Kindt took his time to lay the framework in this world of the Grass Kingdom, and it’s starting to pay off. It took me a little longer to fall under the spell of this series than most. Maybe Kindt thought the war that took place in the first several issues would be the thing that drew people in, but that always seemed like a distraction to what’s happening now. He has nailed something I’ve been thinking, something that’s been annoying me about the people of the Grass Kingdom: that they’re no different than anyone anywhere else. They have just as many secrets, and it’s those secrets I’m most interested in.
Kaiju are big business these days, and with the Valderrama Bros.’ Giants #1, there couldn’t be a more applicable term than kaiju. On the surface of the Earth, giant-sized mysterious beasts have taken over the planet since a cataclysm occurred: A comet fell. Since then, humanity has been forced into subterranean living, and different factions fight over what little territory they have in what are called Rumbles.
Issue #21 of Dept.H uses one of those filmic devices of video footage showing things that video footage couldn’t possibly show or at least not in the way it could show it. We become observers of the past, watching as the footage is being shot, almost as if the person watching is filling in the blanks for us with their imagination. So, in a way, we’re not actually seeing reality, but our hero’s perception of what that reality is. This is a wonderful metaphor, as Dept.H is so much more than a simple thriller/murder mystery at the depths of the ocean, but also the depths of memories and our understanding of the past.
Not that you would need talk out loud while reading a comic book by yourself, but issue #28 of Harrow County stunned me into silence. An inner silence, I guess. Everything disappeared from my mind as Emmy faced off with Kami. Would Emmy take that step to becoming a monster like she’s been on the verge of doing - like her mother did - or would she make a better choice?
James Stokoe’s four-part Alien romp comes to a close. While it doesn’t really add anything new or fresh to the Alien mythos or stray from already well-trodden ground, every issue has evoked a visceral thrill with its visual creativity that’s made it an enjoyable experience for me, a fan of the acid-spewing space monster.
Words have power. That is the underlying theme of the comic, Word Smith, another independent project that I stumbled upon on Kickstarter that hails from Australia. Created and written by Stephen Kok, illustrated by P.R. Dedelis, and with colors by Peyton Freeman, it is an all-ages fantasy Steampunk comic with a well-meaning, yet somewhat naive, protagonist named Victoria and her mischievous pet dragon, Sparky.
Poe Noir is sheer brilliance. Tim Zajac, Miguel Acedo, and Graham Sisk take Edgar Allan Poe’s classic gothic tales and put a noirish spin on them. They capture Poe’s great ironies and inquiries into the sinister, immoral nature of mankind. The two episodes in this issue are captivating and have me itching for more.