I was already engrossed before even getting to page 1. When the title appears - its funky lettering reminiscent of the '60s - the ocular shape of the letters makes me feel as though Eric is looking at me, while I also look at him. It’s like I’ve gained access to this world on the other end of a telescope. As a whole, Eric takes us on a journey through time and different realities. Tom Manning’s masterpiece is a portal to a familiar '60s rock landscape but also a strange world with some bizarre characters. The fun part is not knowing what’s real and what isn’t. Is Eric’s reality a result of his drug usage, or is he really traveling to alternate dimensions? What’s the deal with the TV? Why does Eric seem to be treated like a god? It’s all unclear, but so intriguing. There’s violence, there’s mystery, and there’s rock and roll.
Issue four of Xerxes shifts the narrative from being a prequel to Miller’s 300 to now being a sequel. Xerxes has finally been assassinated, and his successor, the new Persian king and pharaoh of Egypt, is Darius III. Harking back to issue one of Xerxes, issue four is light on dialogue and heavy on combat as it portrays The Battle of Issus in 333 BC, where Alexander the Great defeated Darius’ and his Persian army. The vast majority of pages are dialogue and narrative free, as they show the Persians on the move, traversing canyons only to be met head on by Alexander’s men. The violence is particularly brutal and darkly comedic at the same time. In one moment, Alexander’s men are bursting from the water, impaling Persian soldiers in a gruesome fashion with their spears, and the next moment they exchange banter about their nagging wives as they mercy kill the fatally injured Persians that carpet the ground.
There are certain words and phrases that will always sell me on a story, no matter what it’s about. One of them is Nikola Tesla. So, when I saw that Tesla was to be a major character in this comic, I was eager to review it. The fact that it comes from Madeleine Holly-Rosing, creative mind behind the wildly entertaining Boston Metaphysical Society series, was just icing on the cake.
Cottons: The Secret of the Wind is a new graphic novel by creative team of writer Jim Pascoe (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hellboy Animated, Undertown) and illustrator Heidi Arnhold (Fraggle Rock, Legends of the Dark Crystal, Volume 2) that will premiere next week from First Second Books. This is the first volume of a trilogy, telling the story of anthropomorphized cottons – rabbits – living in a post-apocalyptic vale.
Shadow Roads is a sequel series to The Sixth Gun. I’ve had the pleasure of reading the first collection. It was an absolute blast bringing together the old West and the undead into a rollicking affair of shoot-outs, magical weapons, and demons bent on domination. That is the extent of my Sixth Gun knowledge, but I can say that this issue of Shadow Roads taps back into that world that I enjoyed so much.
The Black Hammer universe continues to expand. Jeff Lemire has created a world that juts out to the left, then the right, looping back on itself and expanding to the past, the present, and now the future with The Quantum Age. Not only is it a play on the Golden Age of comics (as the series has been very meta), but what we know about the Quantum Zone is that you can travel through different times and realities, leaving a very plausible connectivity directly back to the main series.
It's been a bit since this series launched, with another issue hitting stands a bit later than expected. That's forgivable, given how daunting this series must be to make and craft into the masterwork that it is. We're surely in it now, though, as this issue is a bit bigger, with some major shake-ups coming for our slowly dwindling set of gods and their ever-increasing problems and flaws.