Your Deadshirt New Comics Shopping List for: September 3rd, 2014

It’s Wednesday and that means new comics. Let Deadshirt steer your wallet in the right direction with reviews (with preview pages) of titles out today from Image, Dark Horse, IDW, Boom! Studios, Archie, MonkeyBrain, Oni, Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, Action Lab, and more!

banner

Southern Bastards #4

Written by Jason Aaron

Art by Jason Latour

Image

$3.50 (print)/$2.99 (digital)

The conclusion to the first arc of Jasons Aaron and Latour’s blood ‘n’ BBQ creator-owned series doesn’t disappoint when it comes to violence and surprises. Latour’s work here is impressive: his color pallete–striking reds and oranges in moments of violence, yellow and pale blue in more reserved scenes–works in tandem with this issue’s almost overwhelming sense of dread. The centerpiece of this issue, a knock-down, drag-out fight between elder native son Earl Tubb and his gangstergrass nemeses, is beautifully gruesome.

What really impresses about this issue of Southern Bastards is Aaron’s willingness to throw our expectations as a reader off a cliff. In the last few bloodsoaked pages, our preconceptions about Earl Tubb and the people of Craw County are deflated outright. Even better, Aaron slyly manages to tie a completely insane cliffhanger into the answer to one of the series’ more nagging background mysteries. FX doesn’t start airing Justified again until January; luckily for us, Southern Bastards is only going to make us wait until October before returning for more shitkicker mayhem.

Max Robinson 

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

SouthernBastards04_Page1

SouthernBastards04_Page2

SouthernBastards04_Page3

God Hates Astronauts #1

Written and drawn by Ryan Browne

Colored by Jordan Boyd

Lettered by Chris Crank & Ryan Browne

Design Elements by Thomas Quinn

Image

$3.50 (print)/ $2.99 (digital)

The word “crazy” gets thrown around a lot when talking about comics, but this book is something beyond craziness. God Hates Astronauts #1 follows up on the previous GHA graphic novel from last year. It is the story of a superhero who, literally, loses his head and replaces it with the disembodied ghost-head of a superpowered cow to become some kind of Cosmic God and who is now empowered by NASA to keep farmers from launching themselves into space. Humans recently killed an alien tiger, bringing Earth to the precipice of Space War. Also, there are bears.

Ryan Browne’s detailed art combined with Jordan Boyd’s bright day-glo colors give this book a fever dream quality that stands up there with James Stokoe’s best stuff. It’s like Browne (the writer) is constantly daring Browne (the artist) with each new page. An army of star-bears? Sure. A hippo riding a chariot pulled by centaur-astronauts? There you go. Also, Browne should win an Eisner next year for A Special Achievement in SFX for this issue.

If the above sounds appealing to you, well, this book is for you. Mixing the self-referential comics of the 21st century with the drug-soaked cosmic odysseys of the 1970s, this book delivers something that can only be done in comics, and it stands out among so many others that are thinly-veiled movie pitches.

Jason Urbanciz

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

GodHatesAstronauts01_Page4

GodHatesAstronauts01_Page5

GodHatesAstronauts01_Page6

The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage #1

Written by Jen Van Meter

Art by Roberto De La Torre (pencils), David Baron (colors), and Dave Lanphear (letters)

Valiant

$3.99 (regular edition)/ $4.99 (“Plus” edition)

A relaunch of a lesser-known (even for Valiant) character from the nineties, The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage is the story of Dr. Shan Fong, a famed paranormal investigator with the ability to speak with the dead. When Fong is approached by a sketchy former member of a WWII-era occult branch of the military, she takes on a dangerous mission in the hopes that it will help her solve a more personal mystery. Fong can talk to the dead, so why can’t she speak to her late husband? Where is he? What happened to him?

Dr. Mirage #1 is as good a first issue as any of the best premieres Image has been putting out over the last few years. Van Meter and De La Torre introduce us to an interesting lead character, establish a world with rules and stakes, set up a mystery, and make us care about solving it. Shan “Dr. Mirage” Fong is cool but vulnerable, able to bring great peace to others but not to herself. She’s prickly but likeable, like a world-weary private eye. Like a lot of great mystery leads, she’s a clearly competent detective who’s about to get involved in something that’s way over her head.

Roberto Del La Torre’s pencils remind me of Fiona Staples’ work on Saga, sort of “sketchy” but totally on model. The setting and characters feel very lived-in, which is particularly essential in a book that revolves around death. I’m also a fan of the design of Dr. Mirage’s costume–it’s simple black and white, but those light blue highlights on the gloves make it pop really nicely. It feels more sci-fi than fantasy, which is a great fit for this promising genre-mashing title.

– Dylan Roth

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

MIRAGE_001_001

MIRAGE_001_002

MIRAGE_001_003

Grendel vs. Shadow #1

Written by Matt Wagner

Art by Matt Wagner and Brennan Wagner (colors)

Lettered by Michael Heisler

Dark Horse

$5.99

I’ve mentioned before that I have a weakness for pulp heroes, so Grendel Vs. Shadow, a story in which Matt Wagner’s gentleman thief (and also murderer) faces off against the prototypical dark vigilante sounded right up my alley. Indeed, this oversized issue is packed with everything I’d hoped for: atmosphere, violence, and larger than life characters and interactions. Eschewing the future fantasy direction taken by later Grendel stories, this issue focuses on the original Grendel, Hunter Rose, as he’s pulled back in time to the tail end of the Jazz Age, where his attempts to conquer the New York underworld run afoul of Lamont Cranston, a.k.a the Shadow. The characters are accessible enough, even to those unfamiliar with them, and clearly well-matched in terms of brilliance and drive. Both Grendel and Shadow take no prisoners, and the stakes on a story like this are a little higher than, say, a Batman arc, because both characters are so brutal.

The issue is full of nice touches, even beyond Matt Wagner’s reliably gorgeous art. The slow introduction of color in the beginning by Brennan Wagner evokes The Wizard of Oz, even as it harkens back to Grendel’s black and white origins. Heisler’s lettering clearly delineates competing narrators, and his rendering of the Shadow’s signature laugh is clever and effective. There are plenty of side characters and plot threads introduced in this issue, providing a dense background that will surely be fleshed out over the series.

– Joe Stando 

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

grvshw1p1

grvshw1p2

grvshw1p3

Be sure to let us know what you picked up this week in the comments below, on Twitter or on our Facebook Page!

Post By Deadshirt Staff (677 Posts)

Deadshirt's writing staff is dedicated to bringing you thoughtful and entertaining media commentary. We're mostly indentured, which means we can pass the savings on to you!

Connect

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *