Already a month into the year and the stack of comics is building up. I’ve picked up Postal #25 which seems a weighty tome (in content as well as page count) and Frankenstein Alive, Alive! but haven’t had chance to read either yet. I can probably give you a number of reasons to buy both without knowing what the contents are like but my recommendations here are for comics I’ve actually read.
Star Trek: Discovery #2
Written by Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson
Art by Tony Shasteen
Colours by J.D. Mettler
Publisher by IDW Publishing
To start with, ST: Discovery: The Light of Kahless. The new series is back on after its mid-season break and it continues to excel and surprise. Unfortunately, the comic does not have quite the same impact. However, it is an interesting look at an element of the series which isn’t getting much screen time. The Klingon’s are an important feature of ST: Discovery so it makes sense that the comic will explore that rich culture. It’s not perfect but I’m sticking with it and it’s still worth a look in.
For my review of ST: Discovery check out comiconverse.com
30 Days of Night #2
Written by Steve Niles
Art by Piotr Kowalski
Colours by Brad Simpson
Published by IDW Publishing
Strange things are happening in Barrow as the long night draws in. Office Stella Olemaun is not having a good night, not only has someone stolen all the towns’ mobile phones, but cases of vandalism and unruly behaviour are being reported from across town. Oh, and her husband, Eben has been killed.
This is a re-imaging of the original 30 Days of Night which was released in 2002. The story so far has followed the same frozen path but with a few obvious differences; the aforementioned Eben and his surprising case of death. That twist in the narrative is the hook that keeps you reading this latest iteration; without it I think that it would be too familiar. As it is, two issues in and the expectation for divergence from the original premise is now at a high.
Piotr Kowalski’s art definitely has a different look to Ben Templesmith’s, it’s much cleaner with strong, character defining outlines. It creates a different atmosphere to the original; it has more of an emotional punch to it. The colouring adds additional coldness to the scenes; blues for the exterior scenes and an eerie green tinge to many of the interiors.
I’m sure the shock and bloodletting thrills are just around the corner, Steve Niles will not let us down in that department, but for now this comic has an emotional tension which will drag you through the pages and leave you wanting more at the end.
Written by Saladin Ahmed
Illustrated by Sami Kivela
Coloured by Jason Wordie
Published by Boom! Studios
Set in Detroit in 1972 against a backdrop of crime and racism, Abbott tells the story of a journalist who goes above and beyond to tell the truth, no matter whose white, privileged feathers get flustered.
Abbott is a gritty character from a Hard Boiled Crime novel and she is written brilliantly. The opening of this comic has all the features of a Max Allan Collins' Ms Tree story, with the journalist replacing the P.I. The Art work is suitably noir-esq with bloody bodies, stern close ups and cigarette flicking gestures. Some of the panel transitions and slow paced story telling techniques are a joy to follow.
Ahmed and Kivela aren’t afraid to confront the ingrained racist elements of the time head on and in so doing they are able to bring the serious discussions into the present day. Look at the past, now compare it to the present. How far have we come? Is it far enough?
Although, it is possible that they decided to set it in 1972 because Kivela is able to do so much with the image of someone smoking, a dying past-time these days. Abbott’s smoking habit comes in useful on several occasions to help mark the passage of time and the curling white smoke seems to permeate every page.
Where this comic starts to lose me is about two thirds of the way in when a new element is added to the mix that I’m not sure it needed. But I’m waiting to see how it all plays out because, despite this niggling inclusion, I was absorbed in this comic from page one. There are way more reasons to read this than there are to leave it.
Created by Melita Curphy
Written by Singgih Nugroho and Ryan Cady
Art by Sami Basri
Colour by Sakti Yuwonon
Published by Image Comics
For notes on how to make an introduction to a new series simple and affective, check out Dissonance. The opening few pages introduce the reader to Terra Fantasme, a parallel world to ours, and the inhabitants who have reached a higher plain of existence. Obviously this isn’t working out for them and they seek help from a more childlike race to bring stability back to their world. Enter the Human Race.
Violence, media manipulation and family politics follow with an exciting cast of characters. The Herviett family appear to be in charge and it is the brother/sister combo who are central to the goings on. Roisia is the most interesting of the two, based on this first issue, and it’s interesting to see the way she is depicted in the opening pages compared to what you learn of her as a character. In her first, full body shot, she is illustrated in a way to infer that she is weaker than her brother but not all is as it seems. Sam Basri’s clever use of alternating angles means that the narrative is able to hide aspects of Roisia’s life and nature in a way that would be much harder on film.
The other characters and creatures that inhabit this world are a wealth of crazy designs. Part eighties kids cartoon and part Neil Gaimans’ American Gods, the cast are a delightful bunch of extraordinary beings.
And to this a wonderfully paced introduction to the story and a disturbing turn in the final pages, and what you have is the perfect way to introduce a new comic book world.
And a special mention for The Rocketeer: The best of Rocketeer Adventures published by IDW.
This comic has a collection of stories which have appeared in the numerous anthologies over recent years. There are some outstanding stories in this little collection and it will make you want to track down some of the others, especially if you’ve never come across the Rocketeer before. I’d highly recommend The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventure which includes the original stories by creator Dave Stevens.
This new little collection is also worth picking up but I’d maybe rip of the cover as soon as you’ve paid for it cos, Funko, not necessary!!!