Where the first issue of Family Tree from Jeff Lemier and Phil Hester planted an intriguing and otherworldly story and sprouted branches of interesting story ideas, the third issue has taken root to give us a few answers. Of course, not everything can be revealed right away, as we’re left with seemingly more questions than answers (in a good way), and, as the saying goes, we witness the classic case of no good deed going unpunished.
Craig Johnson’s Project: Saviour continues in issue #4, where we’re left with our hero mindlessly pounding a man’s face and inching closer to that line all heroes should never cross. That line may be easy to cross, but is that the person he wants to be? Is trying to do the right thing as easy (or as hard) as it seems?
“And they lived happily ever after” isn’t necessarily a cliché, but a common theme in stories. It can be a satisfying conclusion if executed well, but it can also come across as something rushed.
Killswitch continues its thematic journey of depicting the oppressed looking to escape to a better life.
Family Tree #1 starts as a story of a single mother (Loretta) and her children (one troubled teenage son and an eight-year-old daughter who seems to be more mature and understanding than those her age), but it becomes a horror story of sorts when Loretta’s daughter starts to grow into a tree. It all comes to a head when Loretta’s grandfather comes blasting back into her life (literally).
One of the exciting things about Killswitch’s second issue is that we see the immediate aftermath of Regula’s betrayal and the freeing of the Augurs. Of course, the situation is much more complicated for our characters, having only a 90-minute window to escape the planet and find new lives for themselves. Plus, there is a nagging feeling at the back of my mind that there might be something bigger at play here.
As we enter the third issue, we’re treated to Stockholm syndrome at work, with the Bad Elvis Gang eating cake and teaching kids how to handle a shotgun. (The best.) Emily is still an indecisive mess, Jesse is trying to be the supportive fiancée, and Grandma Harriet just drugged one of the gang members and is about to go to town with a shotgun - all of this while the sheriff is preparing for the worst with 15 pounds of plastic explosives rigged to explode and Twitter blowing up with hashtag, #mooreemilymooreproblems.
Whenever there’s a second issue to a new series, there is usually a lull in the storytelling. It's as if - from a storytelling perspective - there’s a lull that needs to happen; the plot points and the excitement that occurred in the first issue need to be addressed, and not just for the sake of the characters, but for the reader’s sake, as well. The second issue acts as a sort of expositional chapter of the overall story. We need the breath and the moments to reflect, and after the excitement of the introduction, that’s usually the natural place for it. Often, the second issue is a wonderful look into the lives of the characters we are to invest in, but it is a pause and a focus on the story that does happen.
Killswitch is the all-new and exciting cyberpunk series by Jefferey and Susan Bridges from Action Lab: Danger Zone. Issue one introduces us to a future where Augurs, powerful telepaths, are feared and persecuted but brutally used for their powers. Major Regula, a woman who turned in her own brother for being an Augur and is revered by the masses, becomes disillusioned by what she sees and puts her career and life on the line to help the captive Auguers to escape from their confinement.
David Pepose has a talent for combining the best aspects of nostalgic entertainment. His new series, Going to the Chapel, combines the action/adventure elements of Die Hard with that of a classic rom-com. Readers are introduced to the bride, Emily, who is unsure about her perfect soon-to-be beloved, and her rich family who are about to be robbed by a handsome stranger and his gang of Elvis-masked cohorts. And, there’s about to be a very big (and probably awesome) firefight with the sheriff.