In television and film, “bottle episodes” or “bottle films” are an interesting way to change it up, sacrificing the dramatic changes of scenery to bring in a moody, insular atmosphere that notches up tension and focuses much more on character. In comics, since the budget for the set pieces on the page is basically infinite, this technique is rarely used, which is something that made Hadrian's Wall a very curious series. Described by writer Kyle Higgins as an “'80s sci-fi murder mystery” that is set in a single, isolated place, this series gets rid of huge, interstellar expanses in favor of a single ship and the people inside.
There is an opening line of dialogue in Lumberjanes / Gotham Academy #4 that perfectly illustrates one of the fundamental truths of living in the Lumberjanes universe: “Captivity could be worse, I guess.”
The only problem with #0 issues of comics is that if it’s a really good introduction, readers are left desperately wanting more. The Yuan Twins' latest work, Inspector Oh #0, definitely falls into that category. It follows the adventures of the titular Inspector Oh (an exorcist) and his scrappy, capable, and quite probably more practical “niece” (If I read this issue correctly, Oh and Ziyi are not actually blood relations; Oh is a close friend of Ziyi’s parents, so he’s like family.) as they travel around China battling various supernatural threats.
Titan Comics brings its readers a story that will instantly transport them back to the years of Victorian England. In fact, Queen Victoria herself will require the aid of someone who is masterful with deduction. Yes, you are correct; I’m talking about Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s older brother.
Love cures all ills. Or most of them.
The last series of Samurai left us on a happy note, though tinged with mystery. Having freed the Island with No Name from the grip of a Yakuza heavy, Takeo and his brother pursue the mystery of the sigil and note that he was left along with his unconscious state. Buoyed by their good fortune and incorrigible Buddhist companion, they set out to take the world on their terms, but it’s not long until the world imposes on them.
As soon as you look at this BOOM! Studios cover, you’ll realize you’re about to step into a completely different world. As far as you can tell, there are spiders and some kind of tentacle monsters with faces attached. If that doesn’t get you to open to the first page immediately, perhaps the story or overall imagery will make you curious to what’s going on.
I was at prime Power Rangers age back in 1993, when the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers started airing. That franchise has come a long way since then, through more than a dozen iterations of concepts and casts, but with a film reboot on the horizon, nostalgia for that first team of technicolor heroes is at an all-time high. The show – a weird kitbash of Japanese tokusatsu and the most saccharine American teenage drama – probably hasn’t aged all that well, considering its low production values and its supreme campiness. And if you’re like me – and since you’re on this site, I’d gamble that we’re not so different, you and I – shows like this, that so informed a chunk of our childhoods, hold this odd place in our minds. We know that it can’t be as good as we recall, but the memory of it is powerful enough to make us wonder if we shouldn’t pull up some episodes on Netflix – but, of course, doing so would risk forever destroying the paragon of Saturday morning entertainment that we knew and loved.
I would love to live in Robert J. Peterson’s imagination for a day. His novel, The Odds, is an imaginative post-apocalyptic chess game to the death blended with The Hunger Games in a universe filled with mutants, monsters, and cell phones more deadly than any bomb. In other words, entirely awesome. My second venture into a Peterson world, Omegaball, is no less imaginative, out there, and highly entertaining but in a completely different way.
While the Engineer will continue on in Issue #1 of Aliens: Life and Death, the enigmatic creature was in the background for most of its own title. In Dan Abnett’s otherwise capable hands (His work so far with the Aliens, who I’m a huge fan of, and Predators, who I’m not a particular fan of, has been enjoyable.), a creature that deals with the manipulation of the beginnings of life became nothing more than Frankenstein’s Monster. The only motivation for this supposedly highly intelligent creature is simply to make it more difficult for our Colonial Marines to escape the planet. A slow-moving, grunting plot device. It gives me little hope for exploring what it is and what it wants in the forthcoming Alien title.
Tyler Crook’s artwork is lush and teeming with life, making the world of Harrow County one of the most fully realized landscapes in fiction today. His images are raw and breathtaking. They are both beautiful and haunting. They enliven the imagination by not only showing you what’s on the page, but making you wonder what’s beyond the panels. Without Crook’s artwork, I don’t believe Harrow County would be half as good as it is.