Comics: We Salute You
We've got a few series to review this week, and one preview, so I hope you enjoy my comic ramblings about comics.
Mother Panic (DC Comics):
The concept of this series is incredible: Violet Page is a celebutante in Gotham City, who could hang out with Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) in costume or out: she's a violent vigilante with a prickly outer shell, and nothing on the inside.
The art is symbolic and surreal at times, with dynamic fight scenes right against static images of trees struck by lightning, candle wax spilling like blood down from a birthday cake, and more. Some of it is evocative like Fight Club in the desolate environment, the surreal touches, and the challenging themes.
The relationship dynamics and interactions are heart-breaking or terse, witty and cutting, and compelling enough that it is an effective comic in my mind.
Iron Fist (2017)(Marvel Comics):
Opinion seems to be split on Iron Fist's initial issue just as much as the critical reception of the TV show. The timing of the comic is obvious, but you can say the same thing for both Jessica Jones and different iterations of Luke Cage as a TV series and a comic.
Power Man and Iron Fist (2016) is the newer version of Luke Cage and Danny Rand, and so like many other iconic characters, have seen different uniforms and portrayals. For an introduction to Iron Fist, I'd check out some of the trade collections to help figure out which Danny Rand appeals to you. There is quite a range.
For Iron Fist (2017), Danny Rand is darker and more alcoholic than is shown in the Netflix series and Power Man and Iron Fist (2016). The main concept revolves around his loss of power and connection to Kun'Lun, the place where he strived for the mantle of Iron Fist. This sounds like a familiar story for some superheroes, but the narrative threads imply a different direction for Danny.
Curse Words (Image Comics):
This book is in a few words, effing magical. The scene opens on New York City, introducing Wizord, a bearded motorcycle-riding spell-slinger. But (shh!) he's actually evil. His sidekick is Margaret, a sarcastic talking koala, and the tone of the book is darker and more ridiculous than you'd probably expect. This is no Harry Dresden or Harry Potter, this is more like Hunter S. Thompson if he were an actual wizard and rocked an awesome beard.
Asking wishes from Wizord is a bad idea: Johnny One asks to "go platinum" so that he'd be the best in the music business. Our protagonist turns him into literal metal, and the dope bemoans his fate of not being able to feel anything (well, he's metal, so...). Wizord plays fast and loose with wishes, like a temperamental djinn. Siccing baby alligators on personal guards, sassy centaurs and a shape-shifting ex-girlfriend from hell (literally) populate the various realms of this story, and there's so much more in store.
The minds behind this creation are writer Charles Soule (Daredevil, Death of Wolverine, Star Wars: Poe Dameron, She-Hulk and creator-owned Letter 44) and artist Ryan Browne (Bedlam, God Hates Astronauts, The Legend of Luther Strode and Manhattan Projects).
Did you see the opening scenes of True Blood? If not, the main punchline is that vampires don't have to be goth kids. What is scarier than facing down a vampire? Not knowing who the vampires are.
Not all vampires are Anne Rice's sophisticated and Machiavellian aristocrats. Sometimes they are reclusive good-ol'-boys in East Texas, still making regrettable mistakes even in their old age. The main drive of the story is the super dysfunctional family, with deep ties to the community and longer memories.
Donny Cates (God Country, The Paybacks, Buzzkill) has an interesting approach, calling it in an interview the inverse of Walking Dead: instead of people surviving in a world of zombies, it is a story of vampires surviving in a world filled with humans.
The artwork compliments the concept with bold lines, gritty settings and enough tension to tie taut any nerves. The soft subdued palette of red and blues in the first issue is an excellent foil to the dialogue and story in more general terms. The previews of issue two and three show the expansion into bold and bleak yellows, browns and darker reds. Bravissimo to artist Lisandro Estherren (Last Contract) and colorist Dee Cunniffe (Ody-C, Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl, Wicked and Divine).
Release Date: April 19
Exit stage right,