Social media has brought us all together. In fact, it’s brought us closer together than we really want. Racist relatives we used to politely ignore at Thanksgiving burst onto our walls with posts about Americans secretly born in Kenya. Happily forgotten high school moments are splashed up on Twitter, complete with your name attached. One errant click dumps your entire emotional and social reality onto the internet for the whole world to be dissected. And in No. 1 With A Bullet, launching today from Image Comics, in the future it’s just going to get worse.
No. 1, with Jacob Semahn writing and Jorge Corona on art, follows Nash Huang, an augmented reality star. The book’s opening is genuinely unnerving, as Huang seems barely keeping it together amidst a nightmare of faceless laughter as her boss turns up dead, a bloody knife in her hands. Then she pops out her contacts and goes to work for her boss Jad. But her life is about to crash, hard.
While theoretically, this is an SF book, in reality, bar those contact lenses, nearly everything else here could take place in the present. Semahn’s script is cutting without being too blunt, and it takes the time to flesh out everyone from Nash and her girlfriend to her boss and her friends. Corona’s loose, exaggerated art helps to build out character while not veering into the cartoonish. It makes the plot, which so far is a pretty standard story, more compelling because Nash doesn’t deserve what’s happening to her. No. 1 With A Bullet may be set in the future, but it’s uncomfortably current.
Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #6, Marvel
Chip Zdarsky and Michael Walsh give J. Jonah Jameson the scoop of the century, an interview with that wall-crawling menace that built his empire, Spider-Man! Zdarsky’s writing has hilariously explored the sad sack side of the Spider-verse, the fact that Peter Parker only wins in a mask, punching bad guys, not as the man himself, and this issue is simultaneously a hilarious tweak on Spider-lore and even a little sad. Peter and Jonah, it turns out, define each other a little more than either would care to admit.
The Gravedigger’s Union #1, Image Comics
Wes Craig and Toby Cyprus give the supernatural world a twist, with an aging union of working stiffs openly keeping the supernatural in the dirt. But something behind the scenes is lurking, and it’s up to two aging blue-collar guys, and one young punk, to figure out just what, and possibly save the world even if nobody will give them any credit for it. Craig’s metaphor is a bit, uh, pronounced, but it works because the focus is on the guys out there in the dirt, actually dealing with the fallout, and who don’t care that it’s not politically expedient to admit something bad’s coming. It’s got a spirit that’s infectious, in a good way, and in the annals of working-class horror, this could become a great entry.
The Jetsons #1, DC Comics
Jimmy Palmiotti and Pier Brito introduce us to one George Jetson, a man struggling with a present he doesn’t understand and longing for a past he doesn’t fully grasp, either. While DC has strayed rather far from the Hanna-Barbera originals in some respects in their other books, this one, while making some cosmetic differences, simply brings the theme of the show to the fore. George is overwhelmed, afraid, simultaneously grateful for the comforts and joys technology provides while struggling with the questions they raise, something that feels keenly relevant in a world of data breaches, sudden medical advances, and Facebook influencing elections. Does he celebrate the passing of his mother? Or get annoyed she uploaded herself into a robot body? Palmiotti and Brito genuinely have you asking how you’d react in that situation, which is a heck of a thing for a book based off a cartoon about a man who pushes a button for a living.
Giant Days #32, BOOM! Studios
The day that all true companions in college face, the day of dread, has finally arrived: A couple wants to move in together. John Allison and Max Sarin’s romantic comedy, which we’ve discussed at length here before, takes a new, deeply funny twist as some of the trio of women who started the book turn out to be more grown up than others, and in some surprising ways. Sure, it’s thrilling to have a girlfriend, but what happens when she cares more about being hip than your comfort?