It’s a New Year and a New Comic Book Day (Okay, there was one last week but I missed it. However, there were some awesome comics that came out. Did you check out Planet of the Apes: Ursus? No? Shame on you!). In the multitude of releases this week I have three recommendations and they should all be easy to find on the shelf as they all start with an S.
Sleepless #2 written by Sarah Vaughn, illustrated by Leila Del Duca and coloured by Alissa Sallah. Published by Image Comics
Another intriguing visit to the city of Harbeny and the royal comings and goings. This second issue expands the world that Sarah Vaughn has created while at the same time enclosing the central character, trapping her in the city where she no longer wants to be. Very little is explained and the assassination plot that formed so much of issue one is background noise to the new arrivals in the kingdom. But the threat is always there and still feeds the greater narrative.
There Is a very earthy feel to the comic, created mostly through Alissa Sallah’s colour choices. The drama is created through the character’s interactions and, in a number of cases, what isn’t said is more interesting than what is said. The emotional reactions of the characters as drawn by Leila Del Duca is where this story is told. A simple change in facial expression matched with an alteration in back ground colour highlights the character’s inner turmoil in a simple but very effective way. And this comic is packed with this kind of subtlety.
Sleepless is a charming and intriguing all ages comic, and I mean all ages not ‘for kids’. The world that Vaughn has created is bursting with character and mysteries and heart. And this issue is part of a wondrous tale beautifully told.
Slots #4 written/drawn by Dan Panosian and published by Image Comics
Part four of Panosian’s confidence trick focuses on the rise of Stanley and the slow fall of his son, Lucy. It also heavily features Mercy who is also on the up and up.
The way that Panosian tells the story makes Lucy the focus and all the readers empathy is with him. In the opening chapter Mercy is focused on in all her dancing costume glory but it is the panels which contain Lucy that stand out, they are different to the others with a tone that doesn’t match. He is an outcast from the glitz and the drink that floods the surrounding panels so his plight stands out. He is clearly nervous in Mercy’s presence whereas none of the other, male, characters have any intention of hiding their obsession with Mercy.
One of the highlights of this comic is Panosian’s ability to move the reader through the pages and panels. He applies his art perfectly creating an easy to read comic; the reader barely notices that they are being led around like one of Stanley’s marks. But if you take a moment to re-read each issue and pay attention to the backgrounds, I’m sure that there are clues to the greater picture.
Issue 4 is an enjoyable read and moves the story on in unsuspected ways. I have a strong feeling that when this story is done, a re-read is going to be very enlightening, like re-watching The Sting.
And finally, my pick of the week, Saucer State #6 by Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly, published by IDW
I’ve been reading this title since it was Saucer Country and it never ceases to amaze me. The twists and turns that Cornell gets into the plot is seconded only by Kelly’s ability to make it all seem so real. I watched the first four series of the X-Files but I found the constant ‘is it real?’ alien subplot tiring after so many episodes, but I have not tired of Saucer State yet. The humour within the script is genuinely funny and the shocks, when they come, are truly shocking. I read this issue while my kids were drawing and there was one point when the kids asked me what I was reading, responding to the very loud gasping sound I had just made. There are two such moments like that in this issue.
If you’re reading this series, you are going to love this issue. If not, it’s not too late to join the gang, I’d heartily recommend it.
For further information, check out my review on Comiconverse.com