Kengo Hanazawa's brilliant I Am a Hero began as a simple, yet cleverly designed, zombie story. Here, zombies are called ZQNs, and that strong point of view coupled with incredibly beautiful artwork could have been enough, but he has turned this epic tale of survival into a sprawling parable of individuality versus singularity.
I haven’t fist pumped since the '90s. I fist pumped yesterday when I read Black Badge #11 which is the penultimate issue of this story arc (and maybe the series as a whole).
With issue 14, the overarching story of Gideon Falls finally starts to take shape. We now have a better understanding of who the forces of good and evil are in this world, with the terrifying laughing man (Norton Sinclair) on one side, and now Bishop Jeremiah Burke on the other. The importance of characters come more into focus, taking on deeper, richer archetypes as the past catches up to the present. None of this disappoints. Lemire is using the very foundations of reality as his sandbox: the past and present, multiverses, good and evil, and our perceptions of hell with (thus far) no heaven in sight.
Here’s me continuing not to complain that we get more Hellboy stories from Mike Mignola. I sincerely love this world so very much. The esoteric magic is beautiful, and all of the elements I love about the big red guy are on display in this one-shot. There’s a brutal fight that Hellboy “harrumphs” his way through. There’s also a strange magical force that finds its way into the story and shows itself through a very unexpected and playful visual device. The great thing is that the visual device fits in perfectly with the purveyor of that magic.
What a strangely beautiful and poetic world Poelgeest, Bertram, and Hollingsworth have created. All of the characters have one foot in the afterlife and one fighting for freedom and justice in this alternate universe to our own. Though, like with all incredible sci-fi, one can see the exaggerated and hyper-realistic elements of our own world in theirs.
Stranger Things, the hit Netflix series created by the Duffer Brothers, tapped into the heart of all that was the 1980s. Not just the neon-steeped '80s of California and New York, but a rural, homey '80s. A world where Dungeons and Dragons had just come to pass; where home computers were just about to change our lives; where the threat of world war had become a distant memory. It's little wonder the series became a runaway success. The combination of snappy dialogue, a breakout cast, and a penchant for turning tropes on their head was everything watchers had hoped for.
The level of sophistication that keeps coming with Spencer & Locke 2 continues to astonish me, as I devoured Issue 3. Readers can enjoy Spencer & Locke 2 #3 on its own and be completely satisfied with the story within its comic book pages. That’s the talent of writer David Pepose, creating elements dedicated to this particular chapter, while still connecting the dots for longtime fans of this Sin City-meets-Calvin and Hobbes story.
I’m a child of the '80s (born in ’78), so my informative years were spent with The Goonies, Monster Squad, The Lost Boys, It, and other stories of kids coming together and against all odds defeating something way above their paygrades and combined heights. Urban Legendz embraces that really great credo of all for one and one for all, as Dwayne, just entering his teenage years, finds himself a transplant to Brooklyn along with his older high school-aged brother, Curtis, and his dad who happens to be a police officer. They’re moving there from Illinois, leaving the death of their mother behind to start a new life…by entering into their parents’ old life, as Brooklyn was the city Dwayne’s mom and dad grew up in.
Art books and archives like the Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive series are a treasure trove of information for creative minds. Even ignoring the value the book has as a piece of art itself, the small insights into the creative process of some of your favorite stories can be invaluable. I've been a fan of the Final Fantasy series for as long as I can remember, and I've often revealed in learning more about the creative process behind each game. To that end, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive Volume 3, which focuses on the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th installments in the series.