Grant Morrison blatantly recycles a Hellblazer pitch here, not that you’ll care very much because it’s still a fast-paced hoot, ably supported with Chris Burnham’s art. Essentially, Nameless, our hero, is an occult scumbag who learns that the forces of the occult have stopped dicking around and are just going to fling an asteroid at Earth to wipe out humanity. Burnham in particular does a superb job melding lucid dreaming with drab reality, and has an absurd amount of fun creating unnerving, dynamic layouts. Yes, it’s Deep Impact Starring Not-Constantine, and honestly, I can’t wait to see what Morrison does next with this idea. Highly recommended.
On one level, this is a pretty well done book. The first issue sets up the concept smartly and carefully, with Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins carefully laying out the nature of Eden, Wyoming… namely that it’s a hidden town where hardened criminals move for their only chance at a normal life. It lays out how Eden runs, who runs it, and why, and introduces us to the three seemingly decent human beings in the town. Isaac Goodheart’s work is clear and well-rendered, albeit the coloring by Betsy Gonia is a bit drab.
On another level… it’s a book about a town full of criminals with an autistic mailman solving a murder. Just in terms of concepts, this book is absurdly overstuffed and I’m not sure how it’s all going to work together; for example, there’s no particular reason the mailman needs to be autistic. The level of forced quirkiness screams “Turn me into a TV series!,” which is always annoying. Still, it’s an interesting noir book in a market with a ton of them, and it’s well worth reading based on how those concepts were executed. Just a bit of judicious trimming may be in order.
The Goon: Once Upon A Hard Time #1
Hey, Eric Powell’s back for more Goon! Although, uh, it’s not precisely upbeat, as the Goon is losing his city, his grip on his mob, and his mind. So it’s not an upbeat book, precisely, but Powell’s absolutely gorgeous art and tight scripting make it a must-read.
Rat God #1
Richard Corben writes… well, it’s Richard Corben. If you’re remotely familiar with his work, like his Poe adaptations or his stuff with Alan Moore, then you know what you’re in for. That said, this book’s going to get Dark Horse a few letters; the opening feels just a wee bit dated in how it depicts Native Americans and women. On the other hand, it does have Lovecraft getting beaten up by a Native American in the woods, so, that might make up for it a bit, I dunno.
Ed Brisson and Damien Couceiro deliver a smart SF war book with a tight concept. Essentially, a group of convicts packed off to be grunts find themselves outside the walls and on a timer: They’ve got to get back to base within 24 hours, or their guts will be quite literally melted, slowly and painfully. Couceiro really stands out here; he makes a disgusting alien fit in well, and gives this book the lived-in, used-future sense it needs to work. It’s a great pitch, and a zippy book well worth picking up.
Joshua Dysart and Doug Braithwaite ask what would happen if supervillains decided to make a better world… by any means necessary. It’s a fascinating idea, and it’s a well-executed one because, well, nobody in Toyo Harada’s orbit thinks they’re the bad guys. They’re working for an ideal future, a dream of human peace and balance. They’re optimists. Just… very scary and potentially dangerous ones. Highly recommended.