Jeff Lemire is an endless source of intriguing and complex stories. Reading Gideon Falls #1, his newest book from Image Comics, I couldn’t help but feel he and I have been inspired by many of the same things. We both have a penchant to dive immediately into the biggest questions that we all face as humans. In this first issue, we see religion, order, chaos, and madness all wrapped into what appears to be a dark, subversive mystery that seems to revolve around a place that may or may not exist. Gideon Falls inhabit that esoteric place that David Lynch finds himself.
The world of Black Hammer is becoming more and more fully realized with every issue under its umbrella. Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows is the second off-shoot series from the main Black Hammer comic (The first was Sherlock Frankenstein.), and it pulsates with the humanity, melancholy, and the kind of dangerous curiosity in discovering something new that tends to either reward cats or kill them. The world of Black Hammer is a beautiful discovery, Jeff Lemire’s curiosity to explore the mythos of superheroes in a different way is our reward. Black Hammer is relevant and - a descriptor I use rarely - it’s important.
Kaleidoscope City is a love letter to the city - to the energy of it and the loneliness that can be found within its crowded world. Marcellus Hall has put to page his memories: his feelings of his early adulthood becoming lost in the idea of finding something new and exquisite with every step taken, hoping that something will excite and define you, perhaps even recreate you. To the point where the artist in the book literally draws himself landscapes to realize.
Dan Vining, author of The Next and The Quick, is back with a new novel titled NightSun (Vireo/Rare Bird Books) and blends science fiction and noir into a Dystopian narrative. Set in the near future of 2025, Los Angeles is a drought-stricken city in crisis, where emergency and law enforcement units have taken the air due to severe traffic congestion that has thoroughly taken over the surface streets.
Over the past two decades or so, ever since the tragic events that took place on September 11th, 2001, the post-apocalyptic genre has exploded in popularity. While the reason for the apocalypse may change with each tale, whether it’s zombies, climate change, or nuclear weapons that lead the world to its fate, these stories smartly always tend to focus on the human experience in this new, harsher world and how we’d treat each other once the walls of civilization have crumbled. The Warren Hope: Vol. 1 (written and illustrated by Scott “Fuzzy” Joseph) continues this trend, but also offers an uncommon twist on the premise.
One more issue left. This issue, the one I’m writing about, is the penultimate issue of the team of Matt and Sharlene Kindt’s underwater murder mystery opus. A story that in 23 issues has spanned the distance from outer space to the depths of the ocean. In its trajectory of discovering who a murderer is and why they murdered, we follow a group of scientists exploring the unexplored for answers, and we have done most of this in the headspace of Mia. Mia is the daughter of the head scientist who was murdered. Mia is the hero of our story, and she has gone on as arduous a journey through her memories as she has through the crumbling underwater research labs and caverns full of strange creatures. As far as I can tell, Mia’s memories and Mia’s experiences can’t be trusted. Her understanding of the truth is subject to just that: her own understanding of it. This has occurred on numerous occasions. This is why - knowing full well that twenty-three issues is a lot to weigh when you’re approaching the reveal of something - that I don’t fully trust her analysis of the situation. This is why I’m worried for her.
“RUST takes place in an alternate world where a great, long war was fought using humans and robots. Roman Taylor is the adult son of a soldier who never came back from the war. Roman is struggling to keep his father’s farm running and keep the family together when, one day, a kid with a jet pack crashes in his field.” – Royden Lepp, creator of RUST
The comedic, Lovecraftian, buddy-cop series, Vinegar Teeth, continues into its second issue as Buckle and Vinegar Teeth continue about their police business in Brick City. The momentum at the end of issue one, with a super-powered cultist fleeing via the roof tops, is placed on hold in this issue with the focus shifting to more character development and lifestyle depictions. Buckle is shown to have a soft spot for a song called “Share that Nice Daydream.” He initially relaxes to an LP of it in the bath until Vinegar Teeth accidentally blows up his apartment playing a tuba, and then moves to a bar to see a live performance of it. While on duty, Buckle and Vinegar Teeth are called to a bank robbery in progress being committed by a chapter of the Woodland Scouts (a Boy Scout parody). The scouts are able to get away by blowing up the bank with kerosene and firecrackers, but not before Vinegar Teeth saves Buckle.
Like a bucking bronco, Grass Kings #12 suddenly kicks! It’s an about-face shift in tone from the last few issues which were gradual and poetic. It made me wonder if I had missed reading an issue. This sudden shift has scattered the sheep. Characters that were on a specific trajectory have now been sent reeling in every other direction. You start poking around in the ash, and you’re bound to get the fire started again. I’m getting ahead of myself…