A weekly column in which Jake gives short blurbs about the comics he’s picked up that week. Reviewed in the order read, which varies but generally by increasing anticipation. Disclaimer: he knows very little about art, at least not enough to considerably honor such tremendous undertakings, so…yeh, there’s that.
Dragon Age: Magekiller #1
Script: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Carmen Carneno
Inks: Terry Pallot
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Hey! the first Dark Horse comic on the PL. Of course it would be from one of my favorite video game universes. Dragon Age: Magekiller is the story of…err magekillers Tess Forsythia and Marius, bounty hunters who specialize in the hunting of blood mages, apparently outside of the Templars purview. Rucka introduces us to his story through the eyes of Tessa, the girl Friday to the deadly and brooding Marius. It’s an excellent choice, as Tessa has a great voice that can drop exposition and charm simultaneously. She narrates the opening fight sequence and couples the showing art with her telling. Rucka seems to have a good grip on the weighty lore that comes with Dragon Age and uses it to his advantage to create a seemingly intriguing original story, one that exists in the world but isn’t overly reliant on previous knowledge. On art, Carneno and Pallot do an excellent job of portraying both action and setting in each panel. The characters look great and emote rather well. Atiyeh’s colors are an amazing coupling, as each scene, even the talkies, is a visual treat thanks to the choice of palette. Dragon Age: Magekiller is an excellent pickup if for any reader, Dragon Age-familiar or otherwise.
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Tana Ford
Color Artist: Ian Herring
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Silk continues her mission to ingratiate herself to the Black Cat’s gang and gets a mysterious tip about the Goblin Nation, one that might have interesting repercussions dow the line. Thompson does a good job of showing how Cindy’s
double triple life is taking its toll on her and makes some interesting character choices for other members of the cast. Some of the dialogue and narration is a bit too cutesy (both figuratively and literally) for personal taste, but for the most part the issue read very well. The same cannot be said, however, of the art. Tana Ford is back on lines and the same critiques of issue 7 of the previous volume can be seen here: great at action, not so much at facial expressions. In fact, this outing comes off the worse of the two as there’s significantly less of the former to round out the experience. There are some fantastic splash pages in the issue but they are unfortunately marred by the overabundance of lackluster faces. In Ford’s favor, Killer Shrike’s head plume looks about as ridiculous and douchey as it should, so there’s some positives to the art. While the plot is moving steadily forward and the main character is as engaging as ever, the art is up to the usual preference which hinders the experience.
Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #5
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Once again, we return…to the adventures of David Kohl and his charming sidekick Kid-With-Knife as they finally realize what’s up with Emily (thanks to Indie Dave (another character)) and resolve to try and fix it. What follows is a bit of a sobering look at adulthood and growing up, and it’s pretty great. Gillen uses the events of Rue Britannia to show just how David has been getting on and with it comes the lesson that you fix your own problems or time moves on without you. It’s a wonderfully scripted issue with the lack of the usual meta-snark aiding in the narrative. Also: easier to parse through than the previous issue, which is a plus. McKelvie continues to work some of the best expressions in comics and, in an issue driven entirely by dialogue and feeling, that’s a definite bonus. Kwk’s solemn bout of self-realization is some of the best in the series thanks to McKelvie’s pencils and it makes his uninhibited joy later in the issue all the more incredible. Wilson’s color palette is something more to admire as it paints a suitably somber issue but when it needs to pop it does so with aplomb. With one issue left, the Immaterial Girl starts to wind down towards the end with the same quality of excellence it started with.
The Autumnlands #8
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Benjamin Dewey
Color Art: Jordie Bellaire
Lettering: John Roshell & Jimmy Betancourt of Comicraft
Dusty and Learoyd’s adventures continue as they try to get out of bison territory and deal with strange happenings along the way. Busiek continues to throw interesting wrinkles into this fantasy tale, ones that leave both the characters and the readers guessing. He also throws in some character development which is a welcome growth to the main duo. Dewey and Bellaire again prove that their one of the most potent teams on the stands as the whole issue is a visual feast. The change in environment provides ample opportunity for the team to excel and the closing fight is one of the best in the series. Everything about The Autumnlands is fantastic and it’s definitely a comic you should be reading.
The Wicked + The Divine #17
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Brandon Graham (Jamie McKelvie)
Colorist: (Matthew Wilson)
Letterer: (Clayton Cowles)
This issue of WicDiv gives us a glimpse at the life of the whimsical and primal Sakhmet, whose background is more than it belies and whose present is likely nothing more than what you see. Or is it? It’s a fascinating issue, one that Gillen plays for humor and drama in concert (heh). There’s a lot going on in the issue, to say the least, and it’s all wonderfully depicted by guest artist, Brandon Graham. Graham, who also handles both colors and letters for the issue, is a tour de force, masterfully crafting big scenes, like the concert and the post-orgy, as well as the smaller, character focused ones. Graham’s style is unique but suits the nature of the tale and Sakhmet beautifully. The closing scene by the regular team portends interesting things for the next arc. Commercial Suicide has been a wonderful experiment, one that has unequivocally succeeded in terms of story and storytelling.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
Superman: American Alien #2
Writer: Max Landis
Illustrator: Tommy Lee Edwards (Evan “Doc” Shaner)
Letterer: John Workman
Things get real in this issue of American Alien as Clark, now a teenager, engages in his first bit of superheroics. It…goes about as well as you’d expect. Landis taps into the vein of realistic, modern superheroism, but from the approach of Clark Kent, a boy who, though extremely powerful, is simultaneously vulnerable because of just how powerful he is compared to everyone else. Landis also makes an excellent choice of foe for the issue and sets up their motivations excellently in such a sort amount of time. Also, it works great in a meta-sense as well. Like Dragotta before him, Tommy Lee Edwards is an amazing pick for the issue. He easily transitions from the soft, idyllic opening scenes to the scratchy, dark conclusion. Edwards is wonderfully detailed and allows background to convey emotion just as ably as the characters do. The closing page, depicted beautifully by Doc Shaner, is wonderfully simple in approach but foreboding in consequence. Even though it has Superman in the title, American Alien, at this stage in the game, is firmly rooted in Clark Kent and the trials of growing up as him. And, frankly, it’s an amazing read.
So what did you pick up this week? Were your choices as beautifully gloomy as mine? Agree or disagree with anything said here? Let us know in the comments.