New comic book day, Tra-la-la! (I should probably save that for next month’s Labyrinth comic from Boom. Consider this shelved for future reference) Another day, another shelf of wondrous comics. I wonder what people are reading? How goes the DC and Marvel worlds? Maybe one day I’ll go back there but for now all my money goes on beauties like these….
Written by C.S.Pacat
Art by Johanna The Mad
Published by Boom! Studios
The rivalry hots up this month as the two newbies battle it out to get onto the Varsity Fencing Team. Seiji is arrogant and self-assured. He expects to get on the team and Pacat frames him as the ideal candidate for this. He is always depicted with style and grace. He is pictured as an athlete in every panel.
Nicholas, however, has flaws and this is the basis of the drama for the comic. As readers we are expected to be in awe of Seiji but we route for Nicholas, he is the underdog, the loveable rogue character. Sure his technique might not be up to scratch but his determination is evident on every page.
The Artwork is very simple in appearance, with limited backgrounds. The colours also are minimal with a lot of block colouring but this works in the comics’ favour. It helps to focus the action of the story and also allows for some of the more humorous and quirky elements not to stick out like a sour thumb. There is a playfulness to the comic which is appealing. You skip through the pages with ease and reach the end much sooner than you’d like.
Some of the narrative elements are rushed, as if Pacat wanted to get elements of the story in place as soon as possible however this does not detract away from the enjoyment of this issue. Hopefully, now that Fence has become an ongoing at Boom! Studios, there will be time for the narrative to slow down and allow Pacat and Johanna The Mad to explore this competitive world they have created.
Days of Hate #1
Written by Ales Kot
Art by Danijel Zezelj
Colours by Jordie Bellaire
Published by Image Comics
In a not too distant future (and I mean, right around the corner kind of a deal) a run down, broken America struggles with its internal prejudices. On one coast gangs rule the streets and the other a more political game is being played; equally as deadly.
Ales Kot’s new thriller asks the question, how bad can the current situation get? The social and political climate that Kos depicts in Days of Hate aren’t that far removed from the world we live in. He gives us two, female, central characters who seem so different in their outlook but there is a connection between them; one that is brilliantly illustrated early on in the comic by following the flight of a bird as it crosses a page transition. Both of these characters have depth and lead intriguing lives, only some of which Kos shows us in this first issue. He makes each character a compelling read and places them in this dystopian world that is visible just on the edge of our own.
This place is familiar in an unnerving way. This is the comics’ hook and its major strength.
None of this would be as successful without the amazing artistic talents of Zezelj and Bellaire. The heavy line work and awkward point of view shots that Zezelj litters the pages with give the comic a foreboding and an emotional weight. The seriousness of the character’s situations is evident in each panel. Even the more touching moments are weighed down with the vast areas of blocked in blackness.
Zezelj keeps the interiors busy with many people and detailed backgrounds while outside shots are sparser, open spaces. This makes the reader feel trapped in this world, hidden away in the recesses of a scared country. Bellaire’s colours reinforce this point. She gives each scene its own tone simply by highlighting one particular colour throughout a given sequence. For instance, Amanda’s journey to the all American Diner is soaked in a pinkish red which reflects the gaudiness of the venue but is also an omen of things to come.
Days of Hate is a powerful and exciting work of Art. Both the narrative and the Art are outstanding. And this comic contains one of the best pages of comic book Art I’ve seen in a long time.
Ice Cream Man #1
Written by W Maxwell Prince
Art by Martin Morazzo
Colours by Chris O’Halloran
Published by Image Comics
Flavours by God knows who
Something strange is going on in the suburbs of America. A professional couple have gone missing and their ice cream loving son is acting all kinds of strange. Detective Jialeou seems to be attracting all of the crank cases in the office and it’s beginning to show but nothing can prepare her for the night ahead.
And the Ice Cream Man is always watching.
This is a spectacular read. Bat shit crazy, yes, but then if you’ve read any of W Maxwell Prince’s previous titles it is something you should be expecting. In fact, The Electric Sublime was one of my favourite comics in 2016 so it’s really good to be able to pick up something new by this talented writer.
Ice Cream Man is a journey through a suburban horror manual. It’s all of those urban myths rolled into one, kind of like the Grimm TV series but with an extra scope of weird. The visual aspect is wonderful, depicting the streets as the mundane homes they are. The beauty of the fantasy element is that Morazzo gives it all an air of the fairy tale monster; there is a distinct B-Movie look to creatures. All of this swirls together to make something that is difficult to get the flavour of but at the same time is never distasteful. It’s enjoyable; it’s fun; and it has enough horror to shock but not enough to turn you off.
Somehow the creators have managed to produce an endearing comic that is one-part crazy, one-part classic horror and a final part that is firmly tongue in cheek. If you read this comic, you will definitely be going back for a second helping.
Kong on the Planet of the Apes #3
Written by Ryan Ferrier
Art by Carlos Magno
Colours by Alex Guimaraes
Published by Boom! Studios
Kong happy in his peaceful garden. Naughty gorilla’s break that peace. Kong no longer happy.
This is quintessential Planet of the Apes. The narrative; the look; the colours; it all reeks of the Ape franchise and is exactly what it needs going into its 50th year.
There are currently two Ape titles out, this one and the new Ursus miniseries. They are both good reads but only this one is out this week so I would recommend picking it up.
For more of what I thought of it, check out my review over at comiconverse.com.