All hail the con men and women that make the plot to Dragon Age: Deception both comedic and compelling.

I think the best audience for this comic is the diehard Disneyland fan who still has a sick and twisted side. I have several friends who fit this description, and, believe me, I’m going to be telling all of them that they need to read The Happiest Place.

“And what you said about stories.  I really get that now.  You’d said they weren’t about filling time, entertainment.  Not that that’s wrong, a story can be both meaningful and entertaining, you’d said, should be both for it to resonate.  You told me that stories connected us, made us understand ourselves and each tear a little better.  That stories made the world a better place because they are empathy engines.
I like that.  Empathy engine.  Vroom vroom.
It's a noble cause, storytelling, you’d said. Noble work.
So, here I go being noble.”

For all of its captivating elements, it is the setting of Jook Joint that is its most scrumptious. Taking place in the backwoods swampland of what is likely the Louisiana Bayou, we get to spend time with characters criminally underrepresented in fiction. Jook Joint is referring to a whore-house that doubles as a feeding ground for man-eating monsters. I say “man-eating” both literally and metaphorically. Jook Joint is also a brand new book by Image Comics that is about women taking gory revenge on their systematic abuse and oppression by terrible men. It is horror at its most poignant.

Blackbird uses magic and sadness to tell the desperate story of a tragic earthquake survivor, and her cat.

Dead Rabbit is a love letter to the rough justice pioneered by the likes of Frank Miller in the late '80s and early '90s. It’s dark and wickedly violent. Like most of those heroes of yesteryear, we get to see bad guys putting down bad guys. It feels wrong. It feels cathartic. In a time when the world is just as scary as it’s ever been, one man taking the visceral weight of crime on his own shoulders certainly revs MY engine. Anyone likely unsatisfied with our current socio-economic climate will likely find a bloody home in Dead Rabbit.

Ungent Draaf, the Grashardi ambassador to the Dralein, expected his assignment to be exceptionally ordinary.  He’d make a few agreements with the locals, explore the new planet to discover the interests, and just hope that the Terran Protectorate wasn’t on his heels trying to broker disadvantageous power deals with the native species; however, the middle-aged crustacean life form finds himself assigned a role in a centuries-old conflict between creators and created that threatens to destroy everything he knows and perhaps the known universe.

Picking up soon after the second Umbrella Academy series, the special siblings of the deceased Hargreeves are still trying to pick up the pieces of their fractured lives, mostly due to their own poor choices, but in Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s darkly comedic world, there are no loose ends, and some of those ends look to be finding their way back into the main thread. Hargreeves seemed to have had an off-planet prison for villains that his children would face - a hotel called Hotel Oblivion - and with Hargreeves having been dead for so long, the villains have basically been unattended, and one of them has found a way to escape…

After I arranged to review this book, the publisher sent me a physical copy of the second installment of Gengoroh Tagame’s My Brother’s Husband. This is the first time I’ve received a physical review copy of a text, making My Brother’s Husband: Volume 2 a bit of an outlier in my review experience. The decision to send a physical book is eminent, as it drew my attention to several features and oddities inherent to the text. My Brother’s Husband is a manga, which means that it is meant to be read from right to left (the reverse of traditional left-to-right page and book orientation in most of Western publishing). For a Canadian reader who is broadly unfamiliar with Japanese publishing, and with manga in particular, the experience of reading this text was different; my awareness of page layouts and pacing was heightened, and I was vividly reminded of the text’s form every time I turned a page. The decision, then, to send a physical copy of the text was pragmatic, as it enabled me to make a closer, more detailed account of the ways that My Brother’s Husband is, at its core, a queer text.

“In the eyes of true horror aficionados… Japan is considered one of the most haunted places on Earth.” ~ Joel Rose, Hungry Ghosts

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