Following up on Matt Fraction and David Aja’s superb run is a tall order, and damn if Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez don’t pull it off. Perez in particular deserves a rave because he mixes beautiful, abstract watercolors with a hard-inked tribute to Aja’s art that’s probably the most gorgeous book on the stands, and works Lemire’s flashback structure like a charm. In short, it’s a great followup to a hard act to follow, and highly recommended.
Princess Leia #1
It’s easy to forget that amid all the space battles and sword fights, an entire planet and its culture was wiped out by the Empire in A New Hope. How do you pick up those pieces, when your planet is gone in an eyeblink? It’s an interesting theme Mark Waid touches on in this debut issue, with a little help from Terry Dodson on art. Dodson shows a particular taste for space battles here that I hope he gets to follow up on. All in all, an excellent debut and highly recommended.
Big Man Plans #1
Eric Powell and Tim Wiesch deliver a story, complete with Powell’s gorgeous art, about a little person who, after years doing black bag operations in Vietnam, is dumped stateside bitter, angry, and ready to kick the ass of anybody who gets in his way. As in, the opening has him blow up a bar that mistreats him while, in the foreground, he punches out an 8-year-old.
It’s dark even by Powell’s standards, but it never feels cheap: Yeah, this is a book that features our hero with his wang out beating a man senseless with a tire iron, but it actually makes sense and doesn’t feel forced, and it’s equal parts sad and funny. Highly recommended.
Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen launch a story about the last robot boy in the galaxy… who is already in trouble up to his neck. Lemire’s setup is brisk, full of questions while not letting them overwhelm the plot and building character by letting Nguyen fill in the details. Nguyen, meanwhile, delivers some absolutely gorgeous artwork that has enough restraint to feel real while being fantastic enough to suit the setting. This book has been getting raves for weeks and it’s not hard to see why. Highly recommended.
Shaun Simon and Tyler Jenkins turn the typical story of imaginary friends on its head; our hero is an imaginary friend who takes drugs to stay real, and if the drugs run out… well, it’s bad news. It’s an interesting concept, but the execution of the script borrows a little too much from Sandman and its ilk to feel quite as fresh as it should. That said, Jenkins does a good job of mixing the grounded with the surreal, and if you want a slightly whimsical fantasy book, this will do the job.
Josh Tierney’s script is far too wordy, and Afu Chan’s art, while at least interesting, feels a bit too loose despite its detail to really fit the idea. What really kills this book, though, is that it’s so in love with its own concept it can’t be bothered to clue in the reader as to what’s going on in the plot. It’s an okay book, but only that, and it needs a bit more focus and tweaking to deliver on its concept.
The Big Con Job #1
It’s a fairly standard premise: The cast of an old SF show finds themselves facing dwindling returns and fans. Their careers are in the toilet and there’s not much change on the horizon. So, they’re going to rob a comic convention, and not just any comic convention: San Diego Comic-Con. The main problem is that the tone of this book is all over the map; Jimmy Palmiotti and Matt Brady mix the same jokes about douchebag fans in with some depressing plot beats. Dominike “Domo” Stanton’s art is a little too cartoony to really sell the dark moments, and it doesn’t quite click with the comedy bits, admittedly not helped by Paul Little’s rather bland coloring. Still, it’s a hell of a gimmick, and potentially one worth following.
Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1
Warren Ellis scales back Dynamite’s attempt to revive Golden Age (and public domain) superheroes to a small town, Blackcross, where… well, safe to say it’s more Twin Peaks than Mayberry. It’s a vague series, to some degree, and aside from a truly dramatic opening, it’s largely setting up what’s coming. Still, Colton Worley’s art is vivid, to say the least, and what little plot we do see is compelling stuff. Definitely worth a read if you’re an Ellis fan.