As the Marvel Universe comes to an end in Secret Wars #1, a slightly more recognizable world, in a future not so distant from ours, is on the verge of mass extinction. Broken World #1 is a world without superheroes, instead filled with people simply trying to survive. Less science fiction and more drama.
There’s some really heavy, philosophical science-fictioning going on in BOOM! Studios’ Arcadia, and it’s only Issue #1. Allow me to introduce you to comic book creators Alex Paknadel (writer) and Eric Scott Pfeiffer (artist). Say hello, they have something to say. What they have created is a complex series of situations that will take more than one issue to really start wrapping your head around, though there’s enough here to get started.
There’s a reason for everything Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) does as a writer. The little things other creators might just do for fun end up servicing the story and help build the world in ways you don’t see coming at first. Throughout Past Aways #1 and 2, Kindt and Scott Kolins (Avengers, Batman) use little, red boxes to draw our attention to details within images, as if a computer is zeroing in and doling out information, so we get a better understanding of the world we’re in and the future from which our time-traveling team has come. It becomes kind of this fun thing until it’s used to cleverly ratchet up the tension. And, Kindt scores!
The first issue of Broken Saviors does two things I quite like. It presents a playfully original beginning to what promises to be an epic alien invasion story. Todd Mitchell begins his story on Superbowl Sunday, smartly using the big game as a set piece to foreshadow the bigger battles yet to come between alien and human. The second thing is that the aliens have come to protect us, not conquer us. Of course, their idea of protection is that of a smothering mother.
Only moments ago, I finished writing a review for Invisible Republic #2. Another science fiction story. Another Image Comics publication. But, it couldn’t be further on the opposite side of the spectrum from where Kaptara #1 is. Republic places you in a real-world setting, uses singular tones to set time and place. Kaptara . . . well, let’s start with the subtitle, Space, Why You Gotta be Like That? That should say it all. I shouldn’t even have to write a review.
Some of the best stories start small, focusing on a microcosm of the world you’re about to enter. You’re zoomed in on a couple of key characters, one event, however small, before slowly pulling back to reveal the magnitude of events that transpire from that singular moment. Star Wars, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Lord of the Rings all have humble beginnings and absolutely epic endings that affect the entire world (or galaxy) in which they live. While I don’t know yet if writer and artist Gabriel Hardman (Deep Gravity, Savage Hulk) and writer Corinna Bechko’s (Deep Gravity, Savage Hulk) series, Invisible Republic, will live up to the aforementioned titles, it makes a lot of the same bold promises right up front, and that entices and really does excite me.
Mark Waid is writing one of my favorite series currently (Daredevil), so when I saw his name on Empire Uprising #1, I felt a moment of happiness. I knew I would be in competent hands.
There’s something nostalgic about writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and artist Christopher Mitten’s (30 Days of Night) collection of their comic run, Criminal Macabre: The Third Child. Reading it I was carried back to a time when I nestled up and, for the first time, scarred my far-too-innocent eyes reading Lobo’s Back. The violent carnage that sweeps across the panels of Criminal Macabre reminded me specifically of that experience. And, not just in that there’s plenty of violence; it’s that it’s all so nonchalant. Yep, that guy just got his head tore in two – moving on.
You can’t just come in and read the final issue of a complex science fiction series like Eternal, something that is attempting to say more about humanity and the world around us than your typical popcorn sci-fi serials. It would be like reading the final chapter of a Philip K. Dick novel – good luck! So, I read the first three issues to better understand what was happening, and I’m glad I did. And, I feel like I have a good enough handle to give a brief breakdown. People have found a way of using implanted microchips that keeps your life force in a central computer system, so when you die, you basically get rebooted into a clone. The people that run this, New Life, are seeking out “pures,” people that are not hardwired, so they can use their energy to keep this eternal program up and running. Even though they claim they don’t harm the “pures,” they actually do. There is the backstory as best as I can describe it. The comic never stops to actually explain this to you in advance, and I’m okay with that.
I had no idea what Bee and PuppyCat was, and now I love it. My first experience was on page one of this collection of surreal, short bits and pieces that lack your traditional, story-structure focus, yet drive boldly ahead into a world of self-aware, anime-style cuteness and Adventure Time-style tales. Natasha Allegri (Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake – See? See?) has created this strange, idiosyncratic, quirky world revolving around a girl named Bee who is a temp worker for a magical, talking computer screen in a sort of limbo, and her magical pet-friend who is a puppycat and who is hilarious. They are sometimes sent to do strange jobs, they are sometimes just lollygagging about, they are sometimes merely on the page to make you laugh, and it is charming and quite funny.