Some weeks the release schedule has one or two comics I’m really looking forward to. Others are packed with so many titles I barely know where to start.
This week is one of the later ones. It is during weeks like this that I wish I had more time to devote to reviewing. I can usually manage a couple and maybe a little something extra which is enough but this week it means I have to leave out so much really good work. “Pick up the reviews later in the week”, I here you cry but that has a knock on affect and before you know it, I’m reviewing comics from 6 months ago which no shop has any left on the shelf.
With that in mind I’m going to try and cover as many as I can, even if it’s just a quick mention.
Like Mata Hari #1 from Dark Horse which looks outstanding (I haven’t read it yet). Written by Emma Beeby and illustrated by Ariela Kristantina, this first of five issues starts to tell the unknown story of Mata Hari; Dancer, Courtesan and Spy.
Then as a bit of a contrast, there is a new Hit Girl comic out this week from Image: see my post last week regarding Kick Ass for my views on titles such as this.
The first of the Postal specials is out this week. It focuses on Mark and fills that hole that’s been left since the ongoing title finished. It’s one for the fans of the series and possibly a bit late for newbies. But if you see it, give it a go, the collections are still available.
The first of my recommendations for this week: Punks Not Dead.
This is a new comic from IDW’s Black Crown imprint. It’s about anarchy, disorder and chaos. And infuses the 70’s punk rock ethos with a modern ghost story. David Barnett and Martin Simmonds bring something special to the shelf with this bat shit crazy story and for my review, head over to comiconverse.com.
Next up, over to Image comics for issue 2 of Ice Cream Man. If you read the first issue you might think you know what to expect, but you’d be wrong. This is a completely different type of story from the patricide child story in issue 1. This is a tragic tale of addiction and one bad idea escalating into another. Writer W. Maxwell Prince and artist Martin Morazzo keep the reader on tenterhooks as their central character slowly spirals into a world out of her control. It’s disturbing and moving and draws you right in. At the heart of it is a sadness that never quite escapes despite the moments of happiness that the characters have.
Ice Cream Man as a series reminds me of the T.V. show Inside No.9; both have individual stories that start from a horror footing but from that moment onward the paths they take could lead you anywhere. It means that you are never quite sure what is around the corner and that is this comics’ most outstanding feature. After the first issue Maxwell Prince and Morazzo have set the stage for almost anything to happen so you don’t get comfortable in the narrative but you do become attached to Karen, the woman at the edge of her tether.
This is a disturbing but addictive read and proof that a monthly series of one shots can engage a reader enough to bring them back month after month.
Fence is turning out to be a real teen drama. There is a lot of fun packed into the wonderfully illustrated pages. A touch Manga-esqu in places but it is following in the footsteps of the Manga Sports epics and this will appeal to the comic’s target audience. Issue 4 is out now and C.S.Pacat has created a loveable rogues gallery of fencers for Johanna The Mad to illustrate. The fencing sequences are bursting with kinetic energy and you truly get the sense of speed that these athletes have. I’m curious to know if the story has changed much since it was announced that the comic will move from a mini-series to a full ongoing; I assume that these issues would have already been written. Time will tell, and with the quality of this comic, I'll be back month after month to see the telling.
I also love the covers; with each issue an increased number of fencers don the cover. A few more months of this and Johanna the Mad will be spending most of her time filling the cover with figures dressed in white.
There’s a new Lucas Stand series out this week; Inner Demons from Boom! Studios. I reviewed the first Lucas Stand comics when they came out (in fact here’s one of my reviews). It was an interesting concept that at times lacked for coherent substance. The first part of this new 4 issue run has a much stronger narrative with a more defined story. You get the impression from the beginning that there is a specific story to tell in contrast to the first run which was more a collection of ideas with nothing holding them together.
In this new series, Lucas is searching for Penemue, a demon who has wronged him somehow. It’s a tale of revenge and our broken, but no-longer addicted, hero goes to great lengths to track his demon down. There is more time hopping but most of this is background information rather than relevant story so it doesn’t take up much space. Most notably there is the introduction of a new character who is to Lucas what Microchip is to The Punisher, but with added demonology.
Lucas Stand: Inner Demons # 1 is an impressive start, better than the initial introduction to the character. Some of the story might not make sense at first if you’ve not read the original but it’s not difficult to pick up; in fact, the scripting is strong enough to carry the narrative without the need to have been initiated into this world.
And finally. Kong. Planet of the Apes.
(Although if you do need more, my review for Kong on the Planet of the Apes #4 is here at comiconverse.com)