Christmas is fast approaching but there is still one more New Comic Book Day to come. And what a day it will be, there are hundreds of new titles and stacks worth reading. There’s Backways #1 and Unholy Grail #5 from Aftershock Comics, MMPR #22, Jim Henson’s Storyteller Fairies #1 from Boom Studios, A brand new 30 Days of Night from IDW along with the usual host of Transformers and Star Trek titles. And then of course there’s Dark Fang #2, Evolution #2, Redlands #5, Copperhead #17 and Spread #24 all from Image.
Also the usual stack from Marvel and DC I’m sure.
However, here are my three picks for this week; all from Boom Studios which just goes to show how much I am enjoying their output at the moment.
(30 Days of Night would probably be on this list but I’ve not seen it…..yet)
First up is Fence #2.
Written by C.S. Pacat and illustrated by Johanna the Mad, the second issue of the sporting comic steps up the rivalry between the two central characters. Not only do they have to share a room at their new school but they have to prove to the coaches that they are the one who should be on the Fencing team.
This issue is very comical with several characters who are entertaining and adorable from the moment they are introduced. Pacat plays the new characters off against the two returnees from issue one creating a wonderful serious/comic dynamic that helps her set the scene for coming issues. The rivalry between the two leads is sit com ridiculous but this matches Johanna the Mad’s fluid Manga-esq art style.
One of the outstanding elements of this comic is Joana Lafuente’s colours. Seemingly very simple, the use of black and white emphasis for Nicholas and Seiji highlights the conflict between the two while at the same time evokes the idea of ying and yang. Are these two destined to become friends and, possibly even allies?
Second up Kong on the Planet of the Apes #2
Ryan Ferrier has captured the characteristics of the Movie Ape cast beautifully and wound them believably into the King Kong story. Although on the surface the narrative seems like nothing more than a gimmick; retell King Kong but with Apes, Ferrier has made the entire thing plausible, in fact it is a logical step from the story.
Carlos Magno and Alex Guimaraes, art and colours, demonstrate an attention to detail and an affection for the franchise. Despite the large bluster of the story, it is the small details that stand out; a quick look of love between Cornelius and Zira, the anger of Ursus when he is immobilised, Doctor Zaius’ dismissiveness.
The story takes our cast of characters deep into the forests of Skull Island and they face a range of monsters and more. Kong on TPOTAs is a joy to read and feels like the Sunday afternoon matinee that the original movies became. I can’t get enough of this comic.
And finally the grotesque and disturbing Lazaretto #4.
Clay McLeod and Jay Levang’s disintegration of a college dorm and the students trapped within has become the back bone of one of my favourite comics of the year. There is nothing that these two guys won’t do to make you, the reader, feel uncomfortable.
By the third issue of the story, the disease riddled students have turned on each other and torn their habitat to shreds. Only Chris and Tamara seem to be keeping themselves together, and only barely. McLeod continues to up the ante as far as the violence and horror goes but he is also continuing to building the characters of Chris and Tamara; their inner qualities are brought out by their desperation and their inner most fears are laid bare for the reader to see.
This creates some very touching emotional story telling which almost makes you forget the horrors surrounding the cast. But not for long because this issue sees a new phase to the disease and I would recommend reading this on an empty stomach. Levang’s art work will make you shudder and potentially retch.
The longer this comic goes on the more disturbing it becomes. In some respect it is probable a good thing there is only one issue left, however, I will miss it when it I gone.
Lazaretto is my top pick for the week, if you’re not reading it you are missing out on exceptional storytelling and emotive art.