Your Deadshirt New Comics Shopping List for: October 8th, 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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Wytches #1

Story by Scott Snyder

Art by JOCK

Color by Matt Hollingsworth

Lettered by Clem Robbins

Image

$2.99

Something definitely wicked this way comes. If ever there was a comic to pick up for your month-long celebration of Halloween, it’s Wytches. This book has a creepy and intriguing story created by Scott Snyder and an incredibly appropriate team of artists. I was expecting another historical fiction about Salem or a fashionable tale of modern spellcasters in this first issue, but what I found was something far more sinister. The light in all this darkness is the main cast, an endearing and likable family living in the shadow of an awful secret.

There are a lot of simple design choices in this comic that immediately up the creep factor and let you know exactly what type of genre you’re reading. The first page offers a dictionary definition of witches, one most people are familiar with; the next page violently scratches out that definition as if to say, “WRONG”. Matt Hollingsworth throws splotches of color chaotically over the more horrifying scenes, giving the sense that something is off, disturbed. His rapidly alternating palette works well with JOCK’s tendency to include a lot of ominous dark spaces in his panels, as well as gross anatomical close ups. No doubt, this is a horror story.

In Snyder’s comic, witches as we know them are actually people that worshipped the real witches (or wytches), awful creatures with the power to grant you wishes if you pledge the life of a person as sacrifice. What really brought the book home for me was Snyder’s essay tying the story into his childhood. Nothing is more frightening than the fantasies and nightmares of youth, and he really breathed life into his memories. I look forward to reading the follow up issue with all the lights on.

– Sarah Register

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Transformers vs. G.I. JOE #3

Written by Tom Scioli and John Barber

Art by Tom Scioli

IDW Publishing

$3.99

I honestly don’t know where to start with this comic, in the best way. G.I. JOE and Transformers are two franchises I’ve always liked best together, since the Joes give the Transformers a sense of scale and a human connection, and the Transformers are the ultimate firepower trump card. Scioli treats this book with the perfect level of levity and fun, without compromising action or stakes. A few weeks ago, I reviewed Karen Traviss’ new, more grounded G.I. JOE book. This is the other end of the spectrum, without descending into parody. Even though the Joes tend to be able to get the better of the Decepticons, they’re always a genuine menace. Interactions between COBRA and the Decepticons are tense and thrilling, especially a meeting between Destro and Megatron towards the issue’s end.

Plotwise, the series continues to feel like an 80s or 90s Saturday cartoon. There are a lot of subgroups of characters, and while it cuts between them frequently, it’s easy to let it wash over you and not get bogged down in details.

There are so many great visual gags, set pieces, cameos and grace notes in this issue. Every page has the layout flair and level of detail I would associate with the main spread of another comic. There are bios. There are maps. There are text gags and sight gags and panel layouts that defy categorization. One particularly gorgeous page has Megatron’s face reflected across Destro’s mask. There are all kind of deep-cut characters, from Sharkticons to Jhiaxus. COBRA agent/Dreadnok gang member Buzzer is a scene-stealer, with his intentionally overwrought Australian accent and slang.

This book is a steal at $3.99. Even if you’re not a fan of Transformers or G.I. JOE, there’s plenty of comedy and craft to keep you engaged. Scioli is at the top of his game, and I’m glad he has such a great toybox to work with.

-Joe Stando

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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Art by Robert Hack

Lettering by Jack Morelli

Archie

$3.99

Who could’ve guessed last year that the two best horror comics coming out now would be from freaking Archie Comics? Spinning off from their supernatural zombie hit, Afterlife With Archie, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina opens with our witch heroine’s origin. Born to a warlock and a mortal woman, Sabrina was promised to her aunts as a cost for helping them bear children. Sabrina’s mother tries to run with the baby but is quickly stopped, leaving Sabrina to be raised as a witch in the possession of her sinister aunts. Eventually Sabrina’s half-blood status begins to affect her at witch school so they move to the (relatively) witch-free town of Greendale, where excitement and disaster awaits.

This is just a lovely comic, set during the 50s and 60s. Robert Hack’s art reflects the period both through fashions and backgrounds, but also because his style and colors seem inspired by the Dell and Gold Key TV comics adaptations of the time. It very much looks like a comic that could have come out of that time and it looks wonderful. If you’re looking for a Halloween story to read in this, the spookiest of seasons, you couldn’t do better than picking this comic up.

-Jason Urbanciz

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Grendel vs. Shadow #2

Written by Matt Wagner

Art by Matt Wagner

Colors by Brennan Wagner

Lettered by Michael Heisler

Dark Horse/Dynamite

$5.99

Matt Wagner’s bloody, pulpy crossover continues, as the elegant but deadly criminal Grendel clashes with the hypnotizing hero The Shadow. Grendel vs. The Shadow was the crossover I didn’t know I needed until it was announced, and Wagner is fantastic at portraying the characters as evenly matched. Lamont Cranston and Hunter Rose function as dark mirrors of one another; by day, they’re both “wealthy young men about town,” but by night their secret identities terrify the underworld for their own very different purposes.

The story sags a bit whenever Lamont and Hunter aren’t on the page (it’s very easy to be tired of huge Italian mob bosses and their molls yelling “palooka!”) but when they’re together, Wagner’s art bursts with violent energy and art deco beauty. Wagner’s plotting serves The Shadow well, but it’s possibly his own creation, Hunter Rose, who’s underdeveloped. Grendel is just so damn unflappable, even after mystical time travel, that it would be nice to see him shaken. I admire his audacity in building his criminal empire and public persona in the past, without giving a damn about time paradoxes, but even separated from his beloved ward Stacy, he shows not a shred of vulnerability. But then, why am I looking for character development in what is meant to be a fun pulp adventure? Just pour yourself a nice dry martini, and watch the blood fly.

-Kayleigh Hearn

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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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