What if your dad was a powerful wizard who ruled a magical realm full of wonders and horrors, and was also, well, a monstrously abusive butthole? Steve Skroce and Dave Stewart have decided to answer this question in their brutal fantasy satire Maestros, which begins today from Image Comics.
Skroce, who handles both writing and art, has pretty clearly had it with most fantasy tropes. Will, our nominal hero, is introduced selling magical penis extenders (something explicitly drawn into the book, so yeah, this is not for children) and wants little to do with his father’s realm, especially since we quickly learn his father is controlling, cruel, prone to lying and really just an all-around jackass. Skroce wittily takes an ax to everything from Frank Frazetta to Harry Potter to Robert Silverberg’s Pontifex novels. Nor is he above the occasional sight gag; when Will arrives back “home,” he lands on a yellow brick road.
Skroce and Stewart, who handles the color art, balance the strong acid of the writing with a vivid visual imagination. Stewart is a master colorist, and here he shows a palette that’s both careful and psychedelic. Everything from a Boschian tableau of wizards being eaten to a seedy strip club looks amazing and pops out of the page. This acerbic book promises, if nothing else, to be a nice balance to all the more serious fantasy stories in comics right now, and that it looks good while doing it is icing on the cake.
Faith And The Future Force #4, Valiant Comics
Faith, in Jody Houser and Cary Nord’s miniseries, has flung the entire Valiant universe against a robot intent on unraveling all of time. Nothing’s worked. So who do they turn to? A supervillain! This series, which is both a witty take on the superhero crossover, ends on a somewhat grim note: Our villain, it turns out, has a fairly keen point about human nature and the horrible things we do to each other. But it’s a spectacular conclusion to a great miniseries, either way, and we can always use more of Faith.
The Wild Storm #8, DC Comics
The joy of watching Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt take on the extremely ’90s WildStorm universe has been seeing how they’ve softened some edges, hardened others, and turned the entire universe into a much more mature, funny, and trippy take on our own existence. This issue, in particular, has Davis-Hunt front and center with some bizarre alternate universes and mindscapes. And, of course, drugs. Hey, if you lived in a world secretly controlled by two vast conspiracies you’d probably do a lot of drugs too.
Animosity: Evolution #1, Aftershock
Marguerite Bennett and Eric Gapstur have been working on their fascinating scinece fiction comic, where all animals gain human sentience at once, for a bit now, and this new arc explores what happens as these sentient animals discover technology. After all, dogs don’t have thumbs, but they live in a world built by humans who do have them. So, of course? They start building thumbs.
Kill Or Be Killed #13, Image Comics
Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Elizabeth Breitweiser bring their deconstruction of the white urban vigilante story full circle to the opening of the very first issue. And it ends on an ominous statement: “You have no idea what’s happening next.” What’s clever is that there’s more than one meaning here; Dylan, our vigilante, has his life knocked off-kilter in a subtle way, as he learns more about his family and the narrative begins to hint that maybe there’s more to the demon Dylan thinks he’s been hallucinating.