Steven W. Alloway

Steven W. Alloway (292)

I would drape myself in this comic, if it were socially acceptable. Well, perhaps not, but I definitely enjoy reading it, at any rate. We’re now into the second arc of the story The Secret Lives of Dead Men. After spending the last month or so running all around the globe, Velvet Templeton, secret agent turned secretary turned rogue agent, has returned to London to confront the agency directly.

Stories about magicians tend to be a lot of fun. They provide the thrill of watching a master at their craft, pulling off the seemingly impossible right before our eyes. Not only that, but, unlike actual magic shows, once it’s over, they give us that briefest glimpse into just how they pulled it off, and rather than spoil the trick for us, it just makes our jaws drop even further. I’m a big fan of magic, both in real life and in fiction. So, I must say, I’m very excited about this new comic miniseries, Cloaks.

Darkest Night is heralded as a tale of love, death, and revenge. These first three issues are the “Love” part, in three acts. It’s phenomenally depressing. So much so that I’m a bit concerned about what “Death” and “Revenge” will bring.

On the surface, Future Proof sounds like a fairly standard time travel story. History has become somewhat fractured, and a group of time travelers has to go through history, fixing key events and putting things right. The story, or ones like it, have been done a hundred times before. Only with Future Proof, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the standard story is a bizarre and somewhat frightening existential quandary.

I’m happy to say that, after a bit of a hiatus, we now have another issue of Tales to Admonish, Andrez Bergen and Matt Kyme’s loving send-up of/tribute to the Silver Age of comic books. This issue features only two stories instead of three or four, but they provide plenty of entertainment.

The interesting thing about Andrez Bergen’s stories is that they work on two levels. On the one hand, they’re standalone pieces that can be read and appreciated at face value. His stuff is always fun and entertaining to read. But, on the other hand, just about all of his works, both novels and comics, are interconnected. In order to get the full impact of his stories, you really need to read his other works, as well.

Rapid City: Below Zero #1 is a story of supervillains, betrayal, romance, catastrophe, and revenge—which is quite a bit to pack into less than 30 pages of comic. Intercut all of that with flashbacks to the origin story of one of the villains, and you’ve got a whole lot going on in a very short space. It’s a bit difficult to keep up with at first, but things get better as they go along, and it remains fun throughout.

“No one, no matter how bad, considers themselves the villain of their own story.” This was one of the conclusions I reached in my review of Samit Basu’s Turbulence last year: a superhero novel set in India, which explored the rather complex aspects of good vs. evil, heroes vs. villains, etc. Now, after reading the sequel, Resistance, I’m not sure that that statement still holds. It’s true to some degree. But, like with the first book, nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth is rather different in style and tone from much of Andrez Bergen’s previous body of work. Even so, though, there’s a distinct flavor to it that, if you’re familiar with Bergen’s writing, is unmistakable. His influences and his passions always stand out, from elements of noir to classic films and comic books to music, and more. As I’ve remarked before, this tendency to wear his passions on his sleeve is part of what makes Bergen’s work so much fun to read.

Ragnarok is, essentially, the Norse apocalypse myth. It’s the foretelling of the final battle that results in the death of the gods: Odin; Thor; etc. In the Ragnarok comic, writer and artist Walter Simonson sets out to translate those myths into an epic fantasy story.

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