Phillip Kelly

Phillip Kelly (186)

Brian Wood is one of those crazy people who puts out a new book every three months it seems. I’m constantly seeing “Issue #1 . . . Brian Wood.” The amazing thing is, he is always on point. There is an effortless literary quality in his voice, an intelligence, an uncomplicated cleverness that probably takes a lot more hard work than it initially appears. Regardless, his words slip through your mind with ease.

It’s easy to call Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook’s masterpiece haunting and that it gets under your skin, because it is both of those thing. To say why I hope will get you to read it and love it as I do.

Cullen Bunn knows how to weave a tale, and nothing is ever what it initially seems. In Harrow County, the country folk are more than willing to let their first inclination be cause enough for judgment and action, no matter how severe. Bernice is at the precipice of becoming an adult, but she isn’t quite there . . . yet.

In the final issue of Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird, you realize there’s something deeply personal at the center of Caitlin R. Kiernan’s gritty, poetic fairy tale. Something that is inevitable or was inevitable, and no matter how hard one tries to change it, it cannot be undone. Perhaps it’s death, maybe pain, quite possibly life. That’s where the magnificence of Kiernan’s yarn comes into play.

House of Penance is as much an intangible mystery as any: entering into an unknown world, one that seems vaguely familiar but becomes increasingly less and less so. That’s why we read, isn’t it? That’s why we set aside time for it from running errands, typing on Facebook, our jobs, living in political arguments. We read to get a peek into worlds that aren’t so cyclically familiar. We read to, if even for ten minutes, break that pattern up a bit.

Giant Days is absolutely delightful. It’s really funny in a way that never panders to the people who like the lowest common denominator. Low-hanging fruit is thrown out for genuine, character-based moments, and what wonderful characters.

I Am a Hero is Scott Pilgrim plus Shaun of the Dead with the breadth of the Akira manga. It is a full-fledged, one hundred percent work of art that is both awesome and gut wrenchingly bittersweet. I woke up in the middle of the night two nights ago with a particularly beautifully rendered sequence swimming in my head and felt so achingly sad that I wanted to cry.

Last year, Dark Horse Comics breathed new life into the Alien, Predator, and Prometheus franchises with their Fire and Stone series of interlacing stories. That revitalization carries over into their new, seventeen-issue opus, Life and Death, which takes place a year after Fire and Stone and forty-three years after Aliens. Despite a few missteps, Fire and Stone was enlivening as a fan of the different franchises. They even made interesting again my least favorite of the bunch, The Predator.

Just as Lone Wolf 2100 was finding its rhythms beyond that of a thinly veiled, in-name-only, not-so-much a remake of the original Lone Wolf and Cub – just as it was finding its charm and personality, it comes to an end. Now that I’ve witnessed what Eric Heisserer could have done with this book from the get go, I want more.

Lantern City is written like a television series. You have a show runner, Trevor Crafts, his support team, Matthew Daley and Bruce Boxleitner, and then you have your episodic writers, Paul Jenkins, Matthew Daley, and Mairghread Scott – with Matthew Daley working on each of the issues with Jenkins and Scott. Carlos Magno’s art keeps it cohesive with colors by Chris Blythe. Why this approach is taken, I’m not entirely sure. It doesn’t seem to add or detract from the telling of the story.

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