Phillip Kelly

Phillip Kelly (186)

Alex Paknadel and Eric Scott Pfeiffer, having organically stuffed more ideas into a story than most people do in ten, bring their eight-issue series, Arcadia, to an end, albeit a bittersweet one. And, surprisingly, what started out as a sci-fi series about an artificial society laced with all the political and societal allegories that go along with it, ended up pulling a fast one as it zeroed in on what was actually the family drama at its core. The pitch: Humanity faced a pandemic and uploaded most all of the population into a simulated world known as Arcadia, leaving the few who were immune to the disease in what is known as the Meat, or the real world. This creates divisions on all levels in incredibly inventive ways, and the family at the center of it has to go through some pretty trippy, mind-bending, reality-subverting things to become as whole as they can be in the end.

There’s a cadence to Caitlin R. Kiernan’s handling of language that lulls one into a dreamlike calm. Her words sooth the brain as they blanket over that part of us that has to listen to crappy pop lyrics, and political sound bites, and promises that everything will be okay. To a world becoming more akin to the one imagined in Orwell’s 1984, Kiernan’s poetry is a welcome return to emotional resonance through rhythm of speech – akin to some of the greatest writers. 


I seriously hope they use that as a pull quote, because it sums up my feelings reading the first issue of Mirror by Emma Rios and Hwei Lim perfectly. It’s a four-part spin off from Image’s other series, 8House, which I have not been following, but now feel like I must! The idea I suppose is to fill in the world of 8House and bring it to life, but Mirror is full of so much life of its own that it probably does its job too well.

The creator of Beserk, Kentaro Miura, weaves a new tale whose engine is run by just enough exposition so that something can fight something else. For me, this falls into the Dragon Ball Z-style anime/manga, the subgenre of Shounen – created for boys eight to eighteen years of age. This would also include episodics like Bleach and Naruto. Some of these series are certainly better than others. I’m not a huge fan of DBZ but find Naruto to be enjoyable.

Prison story in an animal kennel is the premise behind Kennel Block Blues. Our hero dog finds himself wrongfully incarcerated in one of the worst maximum security kennels around. He’s also a little nutters, as anytime anything remotely stressful happens, he breaks into song and imagines the world around him as roses and daisies.

Basically this is Santa: Year One with some Siberian lore and shamanism mixed in – which is a pretty cool premise. A village has been under the iron fist of a man wearing a black cloak and hood. No toys, no celebrating, no joy – and, apparently, he’s working upon the whims of another greater, darker power that whispers from the shadows. Who? We don’t know yet. Meanwhile, Klaus, a very buff, Viking-like pre-Santa, is working as a vigilante in town, spreading toys to all the children and being chased around by city guards because of it. He has a white wolf at his side. Even though he’s shown a bit of reluctance, the forest spirits encourage him to continue his self-appointed quest.

An intellectual game of cat and mouse. Chess played by two masters. An unheard of skill, Trine is able to solve all mysteries just by knowing them, versus an assassin with skills and obsessive tendencies that make him very dangerous. How do you trick a person who knows what’s happening just because she knows and how do you use your mystery solving power to outsmart a killer who is freaking clever? This is the story in issue three of Mystery Girl.

Eric Heisserer, the man who will bring the Valiant universe to the silver screen, is a good writer. I like his work, but Lone Wolf 2100’s premise is a mix between an overtly complicated story and a series of ideas that I have seen before. It doesn’t surprise and it only provides brief moments of entertainment.

It feels like it’s been forever since I read Spire #5. This last month has been a long one. As I started to read Issue #6, I found that probably important details in this Miyazaki-inspired, political, fantasy thriller have slipped away. I remember how the previous issue began but not how it ended. It makes me wish there was a bit of a recap on the first page as there’s a lot of stuff happening in this story.

There’s something magical that happens when a story’s heart and talent is in the right place. A certain kind of synchronicity occurs that makes a reader exclaim things out loud as if they were part of the events themselves. I read the first issue of Venus on a whim and enjoyed it. That enjoyment has been enhanced tenfold in the second issue. The story concerns the first group of scientists going to Venus to try and inhabit it, but something goes wrong and they are left stranded and fighting to stay alive every second on their new home planet.

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