Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday Pickups 5/9/12

Two weeks in row? How can it be so? Answer, lots and lots of blow. In all seriousness though, it is that time  again, where I examine the funny pages... I mean comic books of the previous week and help you navigate the ever vibrant shelves of your local comic shop. This week I'm looking at another slew of number #1s, two newer favorites, and... Uncanny X-Force (partly to challenge myself to think of new ways of saying "OMG I LUV THIS COMIC!" and partly because I know some of you slackers still aren't reading it.) So without further ado, let's get to it.

Our first book is the new title from Boom! Studios, Higher Earth #1; Created & written by Sam Humphries, art by Francesco Biagini, colors by Andrew Crossley, and letters by Ed Dukeshire. Dropped into a trash dump of a world (both in looks and how higher earths classify it) a mysterious stranger recruits one of the planet's lone inhabitants, a young woman named Heidi, for a secret mission involving planet hopping up the food chain. While I feel a lot of comparisons could be drawn between this and Marvel's recent Cable series, if for nothing else than the two main characters, this is an awesome first issue that really leaves me wanting more. Humphries and crew deliver a gritty, futuristic interstellar-adventure that is well done across the board! The story is intriguing and and well plotted; the art is eye-catching and flows so fluidly, and before I forget the best part is IT ONLY COSTS $1! Do yourself a favor and pick this book up, even if you don't like it that much you only wasted a buck so win-win. Not sure yet how I will continue with the book, whether in issues or waiting for a collected edition, but I can promise you I will be returning to Higher Earth soon.

Out next book comes from Avatar Press, Dan The Unharmable #1; Written by David Lapham, art by Rafael Ortiz, and colors done by Digikore Studios. Dan is a man with a plan; live as simple as possible, help out the occasional college coed, and oh yeah be invincible. I only moderately enjoyed the issue, but Lapham goes to one of his trademark moves and leaves us with a crazy ending that is going to make me return for more. Overall, the book shows glimpses of the work I love by him (namely Young Liars) such as it's  strange characters in "every day" settings and subtle jabs at established mindsets but at the same time it feels a bit more forced here. On the art side, Ortiz just kind of follows the Avatar party line (above average attention to detail, with as much blood and destruction as possible) but doesn't really do anything interesting with it and presents panels that feel so flat and isolated. Bottom line, I would only recommend it for those who've taken a ride with Lapham before and trust him to take you for a wild ride by the time it ends; for everyone else; I say wait and see how it all shakes out. As for myself, I have to give it at least few more issues based on  the aforementioned ending in this one and  trust in Lapham.

The final first issue of the week comes from Image, Mind The Gap #1; Written by Jim McCann, art by Rodin Esquejo & Sonia Oback, letters by Dave Lanphear, and production by Damien Lucchese. A phone call, an assault, the usual suspects, an unusual location, and an out of body experience introduce us the new "world" of Ellis Peterssen who has just entered a coma or possibly something more. Jim McCann, assisted by some beautiful artwork from Esquejo and Oback, invite us to solve (and enjoy) the mystery of who attacked Ellis Peterssen, and I for one am accepting the challenge. While there are a lot of mystery series out there, so many of which seem more formulaic than thrilling, this particular one enthralled me and had me thinking about it well after I set the issue down. My lone complaint so far is it does seem to be a bit heavy on the references, but that too could prove endearing over time. I won't say too much more about that now, but if everything goes to plan you will be hearing more from me about this book before it's second issue (oh a mystery inside a review of mystery comic, how meta.) For now, I really recommend giving it a shot if you enjoy losing your self in a whodunit from time to time and for those who don't, at least flip through it to check out the art.

From a damsel in distress to one causing her own fair share, we go to another Image book with mysteries, Fatale #5; Written by Ed Brubaker, art by Sean Phillips, and colors by Dave Stewart. The first arc of this series comes to a close as Hank, Jo, and Walter are thrown together one last time with not everyone making it out alive. I know I just ragged on mysteries in the last paragraph, but this is another one that really works for me mainly because the mystery seems so secondary to Brubaker's character's and the macabre story he is trying to tell. Complimenting it in perfect harmony is Phillips thick, shadowy art, that refuses to leap off the page but instead lures you into it's murky, occult world. Through five issues this has been one hell of a ride that's left me anxiously waiting for more and pondering just how deep this rabbit hole goes. While I wouldn't say it's a must read for everyone, if a mature and supernatural mystery sounds up your alley, you would be remiss not to give it a chance.

Heading over to Marvel we have your monthly dose of mutants with Uncanny X-Force #25; Written by Rick Remender, art by Mike McKone, color art by Dean White, letters by Cory Petit, with two back up stories written by Rick Remender and art done by Jerome Opena. A new arc begins as two members quit X-Force, leaving the other three in a bit of a pickle when their latest quarry knows they're coming. I knew I would enjoy where ever Remender took the story next as so far he's done no wrong in my eyes on this title, but I was a little apprehensive about how well McKone's artwork would fit in the book. I am thankful to report though, that White's colors more than helped to smooth the transition and present us with some of the best McKone art I've seen since his early Exiles stuff. As for the back-up stories, I'm usually not a huge fan of reprints in the back, especially when they add to the price but don't supplement the story. However, in this case I'm going to allow it, mainly because I can't help but love anything Opena creates. Final verdict: buy it unless you hate good comics! (But seriously, a good jumping on point if you've been waiting.)

Last up, and my favorite comic of the week, is Hell Yeah #3 from Image; Written by Joe Keatinge, illustrated by Andre Szymanowicz, lettered by Douglas E. Sherwood, and colored by Jason Lewis. Ben Day, our misanthropic protagonist, gets all the details on why super-ladies from another earth came looking for him; While back at his now demolished high school another group of universe hoppers comes looking for him with something more sinister in mind. I've been digging the first couple issues of the title, and #3 only makes me love it more as Szymanowicz finally gets to let loose with some great action panels. On the narrative side, Keatinge's story continues to be interesting and well paced, leaving us with another perfect cliff hanger. Seriously, out of all of Image's newest titles, this is easily my favorite! And to make matters even better, this issue starts up a fun, unrelated back up story (yes, I know I just bagged on those but this one doesn't jack up the price.) So please check out this title if you're a fan of mixing your hyper violence with your crazy, superhero worlds or you know, you just want to explore a story where superheroes make other entertainment obsolete in a medium some of the major companies seem to be pushing for that.

That's it for this week, but since it is currently a new Wednesday be sure to grab the new issues of The Secret History of D.B. Cooper, Saucer Country, and Red Hood and the Outlaws. Have any recommendations? Leave'em or tweet'em.

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