It’s been a bit of a Hit and Miss sort of week. A little bit like the Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House which started off really well and then became less inspired and less watchable as the series went on.
However, let’s start off on a positive note: Cold Spots #4
Cold Spots is an awesome horror comic created by Cullen Bunn and Mark Torres for Image Comics. Like the aforementioned The Haunting of Hill House, Cold Spots achieves a creepy atmosphere and gripping story by slowly building up tension and hinting at the supernatural, rather than throwing it wildly at the reader. Even in issue 4, where the story has started to pick up pace and the demons/ghost are coming out to play, the horror is still understated allowing the situation to cause feeling of nervousness and fear.
I have written a fuller review for comiconverse.com and it is my 100th review for that website. A great comic to mark that mile stone.
Another great comic out this week is issue 10 of Days of Hate. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to remind anyone about how much I am loving this comic, just check out previous posts (or even my extended essay) to see how much I appreciate this work of Art.
This issue is building to the series conclusion and has a conclusion that you don’t want to miss. It’s heart stopping, jaw dropping tension, beautifully rendered by Danijel Zezelj and Jordie Bellaire. The ominous grey/blue tones coating the first half of the comic create an atmosphere of detachment and coldness that surrounds the characters but Bellaire slowly introduces a red wash, in small amounts at first, which eventually over shadows everything, just as story takes a turn.
Combined with the heavy black inks of Zezelj’s, this entire issue is given a heavy, world carrying feel which subconsciously prepares the reader for the worst. After 9 issues of building the characters this issue is a gut punch as your sympathies towards certain characters are challenged.
One of Ales Kot’s main achievements with this comic is that he is able to misdirect the reader so completely and challenge your conceptions of situations and people. You never feel completely comfortable with anything that is going on in Days of Hate because there is a constant element of mistrust running through the comic. This is based on the groundwork laid out early on and is part and parcel of the dystopian tale that Kot is telling. It is a reflection of the current political turmoil in America, the UK, and all over the world. Finding the truth is difficult. Knowing who to trust and who to rely on is difficult. Kot illustrates this in Days of Hate perfectly.
Published by Image Comics, issue 10 is out this week.
Unfortunately, Dick Tracy Dead or Alive has not improved much from issue 1. The second issue has all of the same problems that the first does and still feels like a pale imitation of Chester Gould’s icon Detective.
Elements of the story strike an uncanny resemblance to the Disney Movie of 1990 but doesn’t have the larger than life cinematography that made the film so enjoyable. However, this is not a gritty retelling either. I’m not sure that Lee and Michael Allred are entirely clear what kind of comic they want this to be, which is a shame because a new and exciting Dick Tray could really boost the character’s profile.
The characters are all one dimensional and the art work fails to impress. All of the ‘nods’ to the classic strips are forced into the narrative with no real explanation. Maybe for a different type of Detective tale the aesthetic may work but for such a strong character like Dick Tracy, there is an expectation of what the story should be and how it should be presented. There is a high bar for any new story and Dead or Alive just isn’t reaching high enough.
The one positive to take from issue 2 is that it is slightly better than issue 1.
Dick Tracy Dead or Alive #2 is written by Lee and Michael Allred, art by Rich Tommaso and Michael Allred, colour by Laura Allred.
Another title that was a little underwhelming this week was the new title Go-Bots from IDW Publishing. I was curious about this title as I have dim memories of having some of the toys way back when. In fact, I had Leader 1 who is one of the central characters in this story.
However, my memories of the toys are that they were a bit rubbish, a poor imitation of the Transformers toys which I loved. The same can be said of this comic. After years of being invested in the Transformers comics, it was Simon Furman’s work on the UK Transformers comic that really got me hooked on comics in the 80s, coming across this comic is a bit of a let-down. It I very underwhelming and doesn’t have any striking features.
The design and the art of the comic by Tom Scioli is definitely interesting as he has made the entire product look and feel like a comic from the early 80’s; especially with the colour tones and panel crowded pages. There is a naivety that is quite charming but this is experience is soon lost in the baffling story telling. The fluctuating art style creates an uneven read which leaves the reader wondering if they are reading a daily newspaper strip or a Marvel-esq superhero comic.
In the end, it is the lack of intriguing characters that makes this a difficult read. It’s like scratching the surface of something only to find more surface underneath.
Go-Bots #1 is written/drawn and lettered by Tom Scioli and published by IDW Publishing.
To remove the disappointment of Dick Tracy and Go-Bots, I would recommend Low Road West #3 published by Image comics, Smooth Criminals #1 published by Boom! Studios and Night Moves #1 published by IDW Publishing. All good reads.