There’s something very intimate and personal, even beautiful, about Issue #10 of Matt and Sharlene Kindt’s Dept.H. It feels almost like a really great Michaelangelo Antonioni film, like L’avventura, placed gently within a taut underwater thriller. Part of that has to do with the beautiful black-and-white imagery Sharlene creates on the page. The other part is the quiet way in which Matt explores memory and its questionable reliability and fragility.
Two realities, two bases for said realities: one science-based and the other magic-based. Boone Dias is a scientist who has found a way to travel to this land full of magic. It’s a land of nonsense and absurdity, one that has very little concern for logic. Boone has spent his time here using his knowledge in science to help solve mysteries. He’s almost like an Indiana Jones/Sherlock Holmes of Candyland. His Watson is a sarcastic and brutish, monkey-like creature called Glum.
So much has happened to our hero Emmy in these last six issues. For me to give a synopsis of everything that’s taken place would destroy the discovery of going down this rabbit hole yourself, because it’s absolutely a rabbit hole worth disappearing into.
Postal is a story set in a town unknown in location and filled with criminals attempting to start over without any ties to the rest of civilization. This sanctuary, Eden, does not eliminate the threats of these criminals or their associates still wondering in the real world, as writer Bryan Hill clearly provides a summary of events leading up to this point in the series. These highlights inform the reader that Laura, the leader who nearly killed Isaac Shiffron, former husband and founder of Eden, wants to transfer her duties as Mayor to her son, Mark.
Image Comics presents the sixteenth installment of the science fiction series, Drifter, with a dazzling cover that sparkles with color and death. Artist Nic Klein draws an astronaut with a realistic skull inside of the space helmet. The imagery is intense with these remains at the center; however, the splattered multitude of colors provide an essence of gazing upon millions of stars, and perhaps staring for so long that death comes before reaching the destination. In searching the page, lines intersect one bright star fixated in the center of empty space where an eye would be, perhaps the place this traveler meant to journey to.
As the series continues to hop from character to character, Episode 8 spends some time with Ed (DJ Qualls) and Childan (Brennan Brown), whose projects seem insignificant compared to the plots that Frank (Rupert Evans) and Juliana (Alexa Davalos) are wrapped up in. Though at times a bit oafish, Ed and Childan serve as reminders of the good, innocent people who could die if the Nazis destroy the city. Childan may be the most likeable character on the show; he certainly has the most personality as a cultured, charming businessman who overextends his attempts at social couth. At the same time, Ed and Childan are pretty useless as fighters, so once the showdown begins, hopefully, they will not be involved.
Ever since the magnificent and insane God Hates Astronauts, I have been a fan of writer/artist Ryan Browne. The absolute craziness of the series struck a chord with my sensibilities, and when I first heard about Curse Words, Browne's new project with superstar writer Charles Soule, I was pretty thrilled. Browne's ability to create ridiculous and bizarre worlds along with Soule's storytelling abilities was a match made in heaven, and this new Image series doesn't hold back.
Episode 7 is a visual masterpiece. Opening with Frank’s (Rupert Evans) nightmare, the episode illustrates the desperation one faces in protecting family. This applies to both Frank, whose nightmare recalls his involvement in the deaths of his sister and her children, and Smith (Rufus Sewell), who has chosen to protect his son over allegiance to his party. The dinner table gassing of Frank’s nightmare uses an overhead perspective as if the audience were the gas, suggesting the audience is complicit in such tragedies. Throughout this season, all alternate versions of reality—the content of the film, Frank’s nightmare, Joe’s (Luke Kleintank) drug trip, and Tagomi’s (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) visits alternate America—serve as powerful stimuli for characters. These scenes are also visually dynamic and emotionally charged.
Southern Belle is one of the most terrifyingly sadistic and perfectly unstable characters ever constructed. She, along with the other beloved superheroes of Megalopolis, have been twisted into something else entirely after they succumb to some kind of evil after a battle. The resulting perverse psychosis has never been made more apparent than with Belle’s presence throughout these pages. A dominant glare, a determined expression, tattered clothing, scars, and dark shading around her eyes highlighting her insanity showcase an intimidating force leading the way in this hardcover edition of Surviving Megalopolis.