StarCraft: Scavengers has the kind of universal appeal that could potentially reach both devoted fans of the beloved video game and newcomers alike. The handlers of this comic book adaptation are a formative creative powerhouse: Jody Houser (writer), Gabriel Guzmán (art), and Sandra Molina (color). StarCraft: Scavengers is published by Dark Horse and chronicles a brand new story in close partnership with Blizzard Entertainment, the company who developed this already popularized expansive universe.
Some words get tossed around like a filet mignon into a catcher's mitt. Fancy words, used to enhance text and take it to another level of sophistication. Words like "unequivocally," "erudite," "profundity," and "dork." Do these words have anything in common? Do they raise the level of supposed intellect on the part of your writer? Nay! They are merely big words for small people. Normal-sized words will do just fine.
This issue takes a unique path, in that it primarily covers a new segment of “Coming to America.” Shadow makes a brief appearance, as he returns to Lakeside, but then his storyline is temporarily stalled. We are then catapulted back in time to witness the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade and the relationship between slaves and African gods.
I’m a sucker for a great, small English village murder mystery. I much prefer those over American television crime dramas. There’s just something so much more real about them than what we do here, and not everyone is a size negative two with perfect skin and hair, plus there’s the difference in culture, so that’s a huge draw for a criminal justice fanatic. I’ve even got the English version of our Miranda warning memorized. (It’s possibly a disease.)
Bedtime Games #1 introduced us to a new face in horror: Mr. Bedtime. Like Freddy Krueger, he deals in nightmares. Unlike Freddy Krueger, he takes his time, manipulating his prey to act out for him. I was intrigued by the first issue, but it was difficult to get a bead on it. It really took its time and didn’t get to Mr. Bedtime until the end of the issue. Having spent an issue with Mr. Bedtime, I can safely say that he kind of scares me. The reason is because he doesn't hunt prey, attack, kill, and torture. He spends his time manipulating and psychologically getting into these kids’ heads. Ah, the kids!
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.
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.