This week marks the release of the second issue of Dark Horse Comics’ Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay, a comic book adaptation of William Gibson’s unused stab at the third film in the Alien franchise. Featuring a script and artwork from Johnnie Christmas and colors from Tamra Bonvillain, the second issue of this unusual adaptation lights a fuse to the powder keg that really can only eventually reach its inevitable and disastrous end. And, if the Alien franchise has taught fans anything, it’s the fact that disaster always multiplies when xenomorphs are in the mix.
Things are getting dangerous in Joe Golem: Occult Detective - The Drowning City #4. What’s happened thus far is a pretty tangled web of intrigue and occult-style mystery. Over the last three story arcs, some pretty intricate layers have been built. The foundation is that of Joe and his boss/father figure Mr. Church. Mr. Church is a complex individual, alive well beyond his years, fighting against dark forces. He’s old enough now that he has to use Joe to do the foot work. Basically, Joe is the muscle. Mr. Church also helps Joe to forget. The fact is, Joe is older than Mr. Church, and as his name implies, he’s not necessarily human. Anytime Joe becomes confused with dreams of a distant past featuring a golem that killed witches, Mr. Church gives him tea that muddies his brain and causes him to forget.
I can only begin to process what’s happening in the Black Hammer universe, but what started out as a fun jaunt into the future with Quantum Age has now become intricately and seamlessly plotted into the main storyline as past, present, and future all collide, and it is an absolute joy to be a part of it from month to month. If the entirety of this world were Jeff Lemire’s final work of fiction, I couldn’t imagine any other way to go out. This is like the Catcher in the Rye of comic books. It puts Lemire at the top with some of the greatest comic book creators of all time.
There is no role small enough in the Black Hammer universe that doesn’t deserve to be dug into. Afterall, Black Hammer is all about stories, and everyone, no matter how seemingly inconsequential or powerful, has a story. What felt like a throwaway punchline character, Cthu-Lou, fit snugly into the Golden Age-era tropes of the 1950s superhero genre that the Black Hammer universe plays in. Now, that trope has been turned on its head, and we are introduced to Cthu-Lou’s teenage daughter, Cthu-Louise.
Little Guardians: Volume 2 - Bandits and Betrayers opens in media res, partway through the attempted robbery of Verdo the Whole-Saler by a group of unidentified ruffians, setting the reader up to expect troubles for Verdo (now with only half of his stock), as well as the return of the ruffians and the treat of lawlessness they bring. Good thing for Subira’s mentor and guide who expertly cons their way out of the village for Guardian training, so that Subira can earn her spirit orb. Or, this is the story that is forecast in the opening pages; we don’t get much exploration of Subira and her story in this installment. Instead, we get a bit of movement in her storyline. She is well on her way to Guardian training by the end!—and a lot of stage-setting in her home village of Yowza that helps to build stakes for her eventual, triumphant return.
Pandora’s Legacy is a fun and charming Young Adult adventure story that delves into the myth of Pandora’s Box in a really clever and fun way. Creator and Writer Kara Leopard doesn’t waste any time, sending siblings Janet, Charlie, and youngest brother Trevor into the woods to retrieve their silly cat named Po. Po leads them further into the woods than they’ve ever been, where they stumble upon a strange piece of architecture that resembles something right out of Clash of the Titans, amidst the trees. It’s full of beautiful carvings in the ground, life-like statues (two of which hold up a large circular mirror), and an old jug…which they happen to break. Except, that’s no ordinary jug, but an updated version of Pandora’s Box, and the kids have to figure out how to deal with the chaos they’ve unleashed along with their cat who has now been taken over by Prometheus.
The Resurrected is a dark, sci-fi thriller from Carnouche Productions that “delves into dark social-political issues, most significantly those dealing with the colonisation of Australia and the treatment of the local indigenous population” (Kickstarter campaign). With this near-future story, writer/creator Christian Carnouche seeks to give the Indigenous-Australians voice, because their representation in all forms of media is often suppressed, or when inserted in media, it is to their detriment, such as through minimizing stereotype characterization. In this successfully crowdfunded comic book series, Carnouche explores themes of mortality, redemption, and personal culpability for one’s actions.