Kid Lobotomy 2 (November 2017)

Kid Lobotomy #2

Milligan opens the issue with a couple new characters who ostensibly seem to provide the reader fresh perspective into the hotel and the existing cast. And they sort of do provide that fresh perspective, but all the action of the comic is so crazy it’s not like Milligan needed forced freshness.

The resolution to last issue’s cliffhanger takes up maybe half the pages; it’s Kid’s story arc. Then Kid’s story arc becomes something else entirely.

Meanwhile, one of the new characters explores a bit, discovering how little reality Kid Lobotomy has to it. Once Milligan gets that lack established, he and artist Fowler just go wild. Some great art throughout the book, including gross stuff. Fowler can make gross stuff palatable.

Who knows what next issue will bring, but it’ll be something else. Kid Lobotomy is definitely something else.

CREDITS

Vile Bodies, Part Two of A Lad Insane; writer, Peter Milligan; artist, Tess Fowler; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editors, Chase Marotz and Shelly Bond; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Aliens: Dead Orbit 4 (December 2017)

Aliens: Dead Orbit #4

Stokoe finishes up Dead Orbit with an awesome all-action issue. There’s very little in the way of story. There’s very little in the way of characters. There are characters–it’s been so long since the last issue, I only remember the lead and don’t remember how the bookends work–but there’s no characterization.

It’s about Aliens after all, and the Alien action is phenomenal. Stokoe’s pacing is wondrous. He doesn’t do all the Stokoe detail on Orbit, he’s more concentrated on movement and the threat of the aliens.

I’m going to have to read Dead Orbit in a sitting (or a trade); the experience is what Stokoe’s going for. He’s making an Aliens comic as unnerving as an Alien movie, versus making an Aliens comic expanding or exploiting the franchise.

The issue’s a short “read,” but a longer visual experience. The Stokoe art is just so good, the eyes have to linger, even when the pace is amped.

CREDITS

Writer, artist, and letterer, James Stokoe; editors, Rachel Roberts and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Black Crown Quarterly 1 (Fall 2017)

Black Crown Quarterly #1

The subtitle for Black Crown Quarterly should be “Shelly Bond Should Be Running Vertigo.” Only then we wouldn’t have BCQ.

There are a lot of features in the comic. Interviews, some text pieces, previews of upcoming Black Crown imprint (at IDW) titles. Some comics.

The first comic is a strange potential crossover comic by Rob Davis. It’s potential because the characters from the imprint’s books could meet there. They don’t (or I didn’t recognize them). Instead it’s Davis exploring this weird bar and its customers, all through a new barmaid’s point of view. It’s funny, kind of creepy, well-illustrated. It gets the comic off to a good start.

Then there’s a strip from writers Will Potter and Carl Puttnam and artist Philip Bond about an aged rock band; two of the members are in a retirement home, one is on a yacht, the former want to convince the latter to get the band back together. Too soon to tell much about the strip, but it’s got a fine tone and Bond’s art is nice as ever.

Amid all this original content, there are some great previews of the upcoming imprint titles.

Amid all those previews is Jamie Coe’s Bandtwits. It’s unclear if it’s called Bandtwits or Canonball Comics. It’s also unclear if it’s a BCQ strip or will have it’s own series. But it’s finely executed indie stuff.

Again, Shelly Bond should be running Vertigo. Instead, we get Black Crown, which will apparently have some excellent comics.

CREDITS

Tales from the Black Crown Pub, Part One: A Barmaid’s Tale; writer and artist, Rob Davis; colorists, Davis and Robin Henley. Cud, Side 1, Track 1: Rich and Strange; writers, William Poster and Carl Puttnam; artist, Philip Bond; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Aditya Bidikar. Canonball Comics, Bandtwist; writer and artist, Jamie Coe. Editors, Chase Marotz and Shelly Bond; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Kid Lobotomy 1 (October 2017)

Kid Lobotomy #1

Kid Lobotomy shows just how much editing can help when it comes to an excessive concept. Writer Peter Milligan has this expansive, weird, creepy, disturbing story yet it’s always in check. It hits all its story beats, the writing is there for the art, the art is there for the writing.

It’s so well-executed, one can look past some of the defects. For example, it’s a little slow at times. Milligan seems to be dragging things out; artist Tess Fowler compensates with focus on characters, but most of them are gross so the focus becomes problematic.

Actually, all the characters are gross to some degree. There aren’t any nice characters. Maybe the shape-shifting maid, who might be Franz Kafka’s sister. Speaking of Kafka, the protagonist sees lots of insects in his hotel. The protagonist is a mentally disturbed, wealthy young man whose father has gifted him a hotel to manage. In addition to managing, the protagonist (Kid), performs high-tech lobotomies on wanting customers.

Sometimes to good result, sometimes to bad.

Anyway, he sees the insects whenever he’s messing around with his sister, who wants to the hotel for herself.

So. Yeah. Kid Lobotomy sort of does an insect/incest word play thing. It’s icky, but well-executed.

And the comic’s got a great cliffhanger.

CREDITS

Do Not Disturb, Part One of A Lad Insane; writer, Peter Milligan; artist, Tess Fowler; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editors, Chase Marotz and Shelly Bond; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Barbarella 1 (December 2017)

Barbarella #1

No doubt I’m going to regret it, but I’m excited about Barbarella. There’s whatever baggage comes with having an old white guy (Mike Carey) write a bisexual future woman and it’s definitely there. Carey doesn’t have any conversations, he just acknowledges conversations to be had. Only without ever promising they’ll be had. Again, I’m going to regret being excited about this book.

Because the rest of it is Carey doing crazy sci-fi. Not super crazy sci-fi, not like with dragons and angels and whatnot, but futuristic cyberpunk meets intergalactic travel stuff. There’s a lot of action, there’s a lot of sublime plotting, there’s a lot of great art.

Kenan Yarar implies a lot more detail than he actually draws. He’s got a rough style and a great sense of movement. It’s important because eventually Carey starts doing summary and Yarar is able to fill those montage panels with a nature momentum.

It makes for a compelling read. I’m looking forward to the next issue, which is kind of embarrassing because Barbarella is kind of a cop-out. It’s an excellently executed comic, but it’s aimed at the broadest audience Dynamite can get away with on a book with nudity and sex.

And Yarar’s rough and immediate style actually give Barbarella all its grit.

Honestly, it feels like a Dark Horse comic from the mid-nineties.

One I’m hesitantly onboard with, because I can’t believe Dynamite is intentionally doing this book this (good) way.

CREDITS

Red Hot Gospel, Part One: The Spoils of War; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Kenan Yarar; colorist, Mohan; letterer, Crank!; consulting editor, Jean-Marc Lofficier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Evolution 1 (November 2017)

Evolution #1

Evolution is an end of the world (as we know it) story. It’s happening all over the world, though with a predominately American bent. People are turning into monsters, but not mean monsters, just monstrosities. Because it turns out lots of people are evolving rather quickly and it’s happening all over and only one man can stop it.

Well, one man, a nun, and two twentysomething women who happen upon it.

Evolution has four writers and one artist. There’s back matter, which I haven’t read, and it might delineate who is writing what. I prefer not to know. I want to see how it all fits together. Is consistent art enough?

So far it seems like yes. In fact, so far, Evolution seems like a fine exercise in collaboration. It’s not an anthology. In fact, an anthology might have more similarities between stories–besides the overarching threat, the plotlines have little in common.

Other than Joe Infurnari’s horrific art. Horrific in a good way. It’d be in an even better way without Jordan Boyd’s colors (Image had a black and white sample version and the art’s much better without the distraction).

Anyway. Good stuff.

CREDITS

Writers, James Asmus, Joseph Keatinge, Christopher Sebela, and Joshua Williamson; artist, Joe Infurnari; colorist, Jordan Boyd; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editors, Arielle Basich and Jon Moisan; publisher, Image Comics.

Dastardly & Muttley 4 (February 2018)

Dastardly & Muttley #4

Just in terms of plotting, this issue of Dastardly & Muttley is Ennis’s best. He’s got a lot going on at once–he’s got Dastardly and Muttley in a chase sequence with their former teammates, he’s got a Senate committee, he’s got general stuff going on in the world. Not too much of the last one; Ennis and Mauricet are actually rather reserved in the wacky visuals.

Except when the planet Earth grows mouse ears.

Most of the issue is talking heads, whether it’s a back and forth with the hearing or with the two planes. It’s an airplane chase. Doesn’t matter. Except when it turns into yet another fracturing of reality.

As for the content, not simply the expert plotting, it’s fine. A mild funny. Ennis really proud of some word play he does in the Senate scene.

Mauricet’s art is solid. His expressions aren’t good enough for the talking heads or corresponding emotions, but otherwise everything’s solid. Until it gets hurried. Not a particularly impressive art issue. It’s rote.

Still. Fine comic.

CREDITS

4: Highway to the Danger Zone; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Mauricet; colorist, John Kalisz; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Diego Lopez and Marie Javins; publisher, DC Comics.

Batman: White Knight 3 (February 2018)

Batman: White Knight #3

White Knight is all right. Look, it rhymes. There’s less Batman brand reverence this issue, which is kind of too bad since Murphy does it so well (there’s a great panel with various Batmobiles), and there are some plot twists.

There’s a big one and a smaller one. The big one is too much a spoiler (though maybe not depending on where the story goes) and the latter is Dick Grayson being the second Robin. Jason Todd was the first. It’s an interesting detail, but Murphy doesn’t do anything with it. Not yet. It’s unclear if eight issues is going to be enough to get through all the stuff Murphy’s packed into the series.

Frankly, probably not. There’s just too much. Including Murphy going into the cost of Batman’s “War on Crime.”

Murphy’s still raising some interesting questions for a superhero book–especially one like Batman–and his art’s still phenomenal; White Knight is going to make it through its eight issues fairly well. It’s just (still) unclear what, if anything, Murphy’s is going to make with it.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Sean Murphy; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Maggie Howell and Mark Doyle; publisher, DC Comics.

The Gravediggers Union 2 (December 2017)

The Gravediggers Union #2

Craig splits the issue in half, between Cole and his sidekicks talking to a witch about their situation and then something with the actual situation they don’t know about. Cole’s daughter isn’t being held prisoner, she’s the goddess of the Black Temple and she’s going to bring about the end of the… something. It’s unclear what. Probably not world. Though maybe.

And she’s not an all-powerful goddess. She’s still learning how to people manage. The 1% funds the Black Temple–though the daughter, Morgan, doesn’t let it stop her from taking appropriate measure.

Cole and company are meeting a witch named Morphea in the first half. Then daughter Morgan in the second. Too many M names.

The prologue has art from Craig. Presumably some kind of pre-history magic thing. It’s fine. So far it has zero connection to the comic itself.

Cypress’s art is phenomenal. Even when you know he’s doing way more work than the panel needs, it’s such good work.

CREDITS

Writer, Wes Craig; artists, Craig and Toby Cypress; colorist, Niko Guardia; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; publisher, Image Comics.

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