Your Deadshirt New Comics Shopping List for: September 10th, 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!

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Copperhead #1

Written by Jay Faerber

Art by Scott Godlewski and Ron Riley (colors)

Lettered by Thomas Mauer

Image

$3.50 (print)/ $2.99 (digital)

A western in space. This is not a new concept. Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly and a ton of other sci-fi stories have all started with this basic pitch idea, but that doesn’t mean that something new can’t be done with it, you just have to try harder. Copperhead is long-time Image creator Jay Faeber’s (Noble Causes, Dynamo 5)  attempt at the concept and he take a good swing at it, but only time will tell if he’s gone over the fences.

Clara Bronson is a woman out of options. Something dark in her past has led her to take the job of Sheriff in a far off mining outpost of Copperhead. A war there has recently ended but tensions between the people involved are obviously still raw and it is palpable in Clara, her son Zeke, and the town they’ve just moved into. Soon after arriving Clara, and her new deputy Boo, are drawn into a domestic violence case that turns to murder. Meanwhile Zeke makes a new friend and a bad decision. It’s a pretty quick first issue that still drops you very well into the narrative and throws a lot of information at you without straight dumping it on you. I really like how you get to know everyone through actions and short bursts of dialog without everyone straight up saying what’s going on, which is a hole too many first issues fall into.

The art really shines here. I’ve never read work by Godlewski before but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get more high profile gigs off the strength of this book. He does a lot of great character work with facial expressions here, telling a lot of the story without having it clearly stated in the dialog. His faces are especially good since he’s working across humans, multiple kinds of aliens and androids. The coloring deserves to be pointed out for showing both the passage of time during the story (which happens over a single day) and the otherworldliness of the setting. While the town itself is like any frontier town, twilight descends on Copperhead and the lighting turns to hot pinks and purples that help add to the alienness of the landscape.

– Jason Urbanciz

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

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Velvet #7

Written by Ed Brubaker

Art by Steve Epting and Elizabeth Breitweiser (colors)

Image

$3.50 (print)/$2.99 (digital)

Brubaker and Epting’s Velvet has been unrelentingly good. In large part, each issue feels like a slightly longer version of the stylish opening vignettes you’d see in Goldfinger or From Russia With Love. Appropriate, given that Velvet is very much an exploration and deconstruction of the Bond mythos with the numbers filed off: the premise of the series is, after all, “What if Moneypenny was secretly a retired asskicker and someone framed her for the murder of James Bond?” Last issue found former provocatrix-turned-desk jockey-turned burnt asset Velvet Templeton no longer running from her former ARC-7 masters, returning instead to London to take them on directly.

This issue bucks formula in a pretty cool and unusual way: Velvet herself only appears in this issue very briefly, and only in flashback. Instead, Brubaker’s script zeros in on two of the ARC-7 agents searching for her, Colt and Sgt. Roberts. Resembling a kind of bizarro Bechdel Test, the bulk of this issue is concerned with Colt and Roberts’ conflicted feelings about Velvet’s guilt or innocence and their varying methods of persual. For Colt, he feels something resembling remorse for underestimating her, for Roberts this is merely an aggravating task and he refuses to let creeping doubt get in the way. While this is largely a more reserved issue compared the prior installments’ predilection for cool spy intrigue, the literal “Oh fuck” moment that caps the issue is one hell of a lit fuse.

Epting’s art continues to impress, especially when paired with Breitweiser’s color talents. One of the real highlight scenes of this issue is a three page scene of Cole and Roberts arguing about Velvet’s motivations in a bar. In addition to being a nice, quick character study, Epting forgoes the kind of boring cut and paste talking heads that marr books like Thief of Thieves and instead gives our two leads strong body language, while Breitweiser casts a sinister, volatile red light on the proceedings. In a comics marketplace that isn’t short on spy books, seven issues in Velvet remains a stiff cocktail of Le Carré-inspired intrigue and Fleming-style bombast that leaves you wanting more.

– Max Robinson

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

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Teen Dog #1

Written and drawn by Jake Lawrence

BOOM! Studios

$3.99

Teen Dog could have been a very cynical comic. Its thorough homage and amalgamation of 80s and 90s pop culture and style could have come off as ironic detachment. The titular character even resembles Poochie, the Simpsons character who parodies attempts to make “cool” characters.

Thankfully, it’s the opposite. Teen Dog is completely without guile or snark. It’s a fun romp through a positive, uplifting high school, guided by T.D. himself, a character who’s full of ‘tude, but also a genuinely nice, friendly guy. The world Lawrence has created is reminiscent of Regular Show, in that it’s often goofy and psychedelic, but has genuine affection for its subject matter. Teen Dog harkens back to 80s movies or music, or the various fashion styles of a couple decades, because they were genuinely fun. We may have made pizza into something of a cliché, that doesn’t mean pizza isn’t still delicious, right?

The book is broken down into a series of one or two page comics, which flow naturally from one to another but can be read in any order. We’re introduced to Teen Dog’s friends, like the punky sweetheart Mariella, and his nemeses, like his stern teacher Mr. McGuffin. They’re broad archetypes but very fun, and evocative of high school. Lawrence’s art has a clean, bright style to it, and he’s not afraid to indulge himself from time to time on a big splash panel or colorful font. The whole thing is a labor of love, and you can feel it in every panel.

I’ve been increasingly turned off by the level of snark and irony in pop culture, and the race to be the first to tear something (or someone) down. Teen Dog is the antidote. It’s a delightful, refreshing little book about a radical dog and his radical life.

– Joe Stando 

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

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Rot and Ruin #1

Written by Jonathan Maberry

Art by Tony Vargas and Oliver Lee Arce (colors)

Lettered by Robbie Robbins

IDW

$3.99

The comic adaptation/continuation of Jonathan Maberry’s best selling novel series, Rot and Ruin #1 opens with a somewhat typical post-apocalyptic zombie landscape but luckily includes a few fresh ideas and a batch of likable characters. The leader of a ragtag group of teen survivors, Benny Imura, has lost his entire family and is betting his last hope to find civilization by following a rogue airplane. Readers of the book series will find familiar stories with a surprises in this comic adaptation.

At the rate zombies have saturated pop culture, it’s difficult not to draw comparisons to stories such as The Walking Dead. At first glance, however, the thing that sets this comic apart is its colorful and energetic art. The world may be dark and grim for humanity, but the natural environment is still lively and the violence is graphic. I love it when artists play with panel arrangements, and Vargas has a lot of fun cutting Benny’s backstory into panels on the edge of a katana.

I had already decided that the first issue was simply an introduction to this world, and therefore I shouldn’t expect too much. Then I reached the final page. This is a zombie story that will still shock you in all the usual fun horror movie ways, but at its core there’s a lot of heart in its main cast of characters.

– Sarah Register

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

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

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