Your Deadshirt New Comics Shopping List for: October 22nd, 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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Edward Scissorhands #1

Written by Kate Leth

Art by Drew Rausch

Lettered by Travis Lanham

IDW

$3.99

For those that have been waiting nearly a quarter century since the beloved film for another visit to the Edward Scissorhands universe, you’ve been blessed with a surprisingly charming (and slightly unsettling) comic book sequel that’s sure to spook up some childhood memories. The story picks up a few years after the final scene in the movie; Edward remains cooped up in his hilltop manor, clipping the more bizarre articles out of the local paper and becoming curious about his master’s other creations. Kimberly has passed away, but her granddaughter Megan, bewitched by her grandmother’s bedtime stories about falling in love with the man with scissor hands, begins investigating his existence despite her mother’s concerns.

After seeing some of the early cover art, I was expecting dark, broody illustrations that would match the mood of the gothy teens (sideways glance at middle school me) that tend to flock to this type of story. Instead, we have the wonderfully whimsical art of Drew Rausch, whose style vehemently reminds me of the Beetlejuice cartoon series with its hollowed eye sockets, crooked piano key teeth, and, of course, black and white striped clothing. This design that manages to make Edward’s dank manor somehow cute and inviting while still disquieting the reader with some ominous blood splatter is a great fit to the film which seamlessly danced back and forth across the line between endearing and creepy.

Along with the fantastic artwork, the success of this first issue has a lot to do with Kate Leth’s concept for a sequel. In Edward’s search for companionship, he activates one of his master’s other inventions, unwittingly releasing something sinister into the world. Whatever this creature’s intention may be, it’s also the only way to get Edward out of the house (in order to save innocent townsfolk from hypothetical bloody murder sure, but at least he’s out of the house) to meet Megan, who should shape up to be a lot more than just a possible love interest.

-Sarah Register

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Predator: Fire & Stone #1

Written by Joshua Williamson

Art by Christopher Mooneyham and Dan Brown (colors)

Letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot

Dark Horse

$3.50

Following the disaster of their mission depicted in the Prometheus: Fire & Stone miniseries, security officer Galgo Helder flee the poisoned planet LV-223 to head home, finding they’ve picked up an invisible stowaway who they’ll have to deal with before beginning their long trek. This issue does a good job of catching you up if you haven’t been reading the previous stuff in Dark Horse’s Predator/Alien line, introducing the characters and set-up quickly, all while telling a pretty efficient one-issue story before setting up the remainder of the series.

The art is the best thing about the comic; Mooneyham is an artist who I’m unfamiliar with, but he has a great Simonson/Romita Jr. vibe to his work that gets over one of my favorite ideas of the Alien series: space is a really shitty place to work. He manages to take the drab, gray corridors of a dingy spaceship and make it stand out almost as a character of its own.

If you’ve been holding off diving into Dark Horse’s Mega Aliens-Predaverse, this is pretty good place to start, though it will probably make you eager to track back and see what you missed.

-Jason Urbanciz

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Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #1

Written by Jim Zub

Art by Max Dunbar and John-Paul Bove (colors)

Lettered by Neil Uyetake

IDW

$3.99

Minsc and Boo are back! These beloved characters from the Bioware smash hit Baldur’s Gate originated in one of the developers’ Dungeons & Dragons games. Minsc is a towering berserker, who would be a paragon of justice if not for his 8 Intelligence and tendency towards confusion. He insists that his hamster, Boo, is in fact a Miniature Giant Space Hamster and the brains of the duo. The truth of this claim is debatable to outside observers, but Boo does seem inexplicably brave and loyal as his master charges blindly into battle with anything that he declares to be the “forces of evil.”

It’s hard to imagine a better writer for Minsc than Jim Zub. Zub’s Skullkickers established his gift for combining comedy and high fantasy, and his foreword reveals that his origins, like Minsc’s, lie in Dungeons and Dragons. He considers his writing career the latest extension of his career as a Dungeon Master. In this generation, he’s far from alone.

Despite his popularity as the breakout character of Baldur’s Gate, Minsc has actually never appeared in any fiction before other than the games themselves. Much like in Mass Effect comics, Zub had to find a way to tell a story with the character that is somewhat removed from the main story of the game, so that the book doesn’t make some particular set of choices “canon.” His solution is a clever one that homages the fate of the character Branwen in Baldur’s Gate. At some point in his adventuring career Minsc and Boo were turned to stone, a relatively common occurrence in the Forgotten Realms and other worlds based on the Dungeons and Dragons rules. Mistaken for an actual statue, the city of Baldur’s Gate simply put him in the square.

Some time later, a wild mage is chased by gargoyles through the streets. This is where we begin our story, and it sets a dark, Gothic tone. In her attempt to fight them off, her random blasts of magical energy reverse the spell on Minsc. Minsc mistakes our new hero for his friend Neera, of the Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition. What follows is a hilarious battle sequence courtesy of Dunbar, who deftly adjusts the expressions on the gargoyles from menacing to incredulous to terrified. The delight of this sequence is palpable, and Bove adjusts his color palette from slate grays and cold blues to warm browns and oranges in response. The overall feel is very similar to an early Fritz Leiber story, whose heroes would similarly blunder into dark situations and save the day.

This series is one to watch. This issue is a breathless roller coaster ride that promises intriguing follow-ups, and perfectly captures Minsc’s trademark bizarre grammar and daffy heroism. It can be a risk elevating comic relief characters to lead character status, but Zub seems to have the right idea, grounding the story with the new character Delina and letting Minsc remain a clueless force of nature for now.

– Patrick Stinson

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Father’s Day #1 (of 4)

Written by Mike Richardson

Art by Gabriel Guzmán and Java Tartaglia (colors)

Lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot!

Dark Horse

$3.99

Father’s Day is basically a latter day Liam Neeson action film in comic form.

The story is almost refreshingly uncomplicated: it follows Silas, a long-retired hitman, and Denise, his long-estranged daughter. When Denise tracks Silas down to give him a piece of her mind, she accidentally leads a legion of hitmen with scores to settle right to his door, and the two must escape.

The story and dialogue are riddled with cliches–“I was different back then,” well dressed hitmen, and predictable estranged father-daughter dynamics–but against all odds, it’s a lot of fun. It’s well paced, energetic, and keeps you invested enough to want to know more about the characters. Guzmán’s art is smooth, spacious, and easy to follow,  a nice change pace in today’s “pack-as-much-into-one-panel-as-you-possible-can” environment.

If you’re looking for a light action comic, look no further. You can burn through this issue in just a few minutes, but it’s enough fun to justify the length. Father’s Day’s a nice little throw-in to your collection this week.

– David Lebovitz

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Goners #1

Written by Jacob Semahn

Art by Jorge Corona

Colors by Gabriel Cassata

Letters by Steve Wands

Image

$2.99

Goners tells the story of the Latimers, a family of adventurers and monster hunters who have been protecting people from “things that go bump” in the night for generations. When the comic opens, heads-of-the-family Raleigh and Evelyn Latimer are already on-scene at a supernatural attack in town, with children Zoe and Josiah watching it all unfold back at home, on the news, under the protection of their uncle Francis. When events on TV take a turn for the tragic, and the Latimer homestead is suddenly besieged by liver-hungry undead, that’s when the real story begins.

The art, by co-creator of the series Jorge Corona, is cartoony in the best way. You can see the figures on the page almost begging to be animate, and this liveliness in the art is one of the things that hooked me for this book. And the colors! Bright blues, greens, and reds highlight the otherworldly creatures and bits that inhabit the otherwise drab, everyday world, and that stark contrast really makes them that much creepier. They seem so out of place that they catch your eye immediately when you turn the page over.

The thing that made this comic stand out to me was the pacing: quick, to-the-point, right to the action. There was no futzing around with secret societies or clandestine operations, no “dark side to your parents you never knew about”, etc. Basically, writer and co-creator Jacob Semahn does away with most of the often-dull tropes of the monster hunting story and is better off for it, allowing Goners to get straight to the mystery at its heart, and have way more fun along the way.

The worldbuilding in the comic is my favorite kind: the whole thing is there, extant and lived-in from page one, and the reader is thrown into the fray with almost no introduction to it; it’s up to you as the reader to feel your way through it all. Not that it’s a terribly difficult world to suss out, but terms like “Bakaak” and “The Windegard Enchantment” are bandied about very quickly, without much for a reader to go on except context clues, and the use of magic is a completely casual event. A single page of backup gives readers a little insight into the featured monsters of the issue in a “Who’s That Pokémon?”-style, that doesn’t jar against the feel of the book, but adds a certain depth: you know there will be more of these things in later issues, and you’re excited to find out what they’ll be like.

Goners is a perfect pre-Halloween grab. It’s got a little of that Spanish magical realism vibe going for it, mixed with some fabulous urban fantasy. I had a blast reading through the first issue, and I’ll definitely be picking up the second next month. I’d encourage you all to do the same.

– Adam Pelta-Pauls

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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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