Your Deadshirt New Comics Shopping List for: December 17th, 2014

It’s Wednesday and that means new comics. Let Deadshirt steer your wallet in the right direction with reviews (and 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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Rumble #1

Written by John Arcudi

Art by James Harren and Dave Stewart (colors)

Lettered by Chris Eliopoulos

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$3.50 (print)/$2.99 (digital)

This may be the most promising first issue I’ve read in a long time, and brother, I read a lot of first issues for this gig. Per the solicit, it’s the story of Rathraq, the Scarecrow Warrior God’s return to seek vengeance on his enemies. Those details aren’t all revealed in this issue, which reads more noir-ish and erratic, but in the best way. Tons of sudden appearances, violence, and seeming non-sequitors. Stylistically, the thing it reminds me of the most is very early Spawn comics, before the mythology was revealed and everything was new and scary and exciting. Harren’s art continues this comparison, with most characters rendered either short and squat or tall and gaunt. There’s a level of extremism in the art here that’s appropriate to what’s surely going to be a crazy story. Rathraq’s design, specifically, is eye-catching and appealing, conveying a lot of character information for a guy who has very few lines. Loved it. Buy this book.

– Joe Stando

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Predator: Fire & Stone #3

Written by Joshua Williamson

Art by Christopher Mooneyham (pencils) and Josh Lucas (inks)

Colored by Dan Brown

Lettered by Nate Piekos

Dark Horse

$3.50

This issue focuses on two relationships that define Space Scumbag Galgo Helder. The first is with the mission’s captain, Angela, who he abandoned to die on LV-223. The second is with his Predator captor. In the first pages of the issue we learn that Angela’s trust was based on a lie all along–Galgo impressed her by rescuing a family from a burning spaceship, but he was actually only looking for loot. On the other hand, the Predator sees the truth of him no matter what lies he tells.

Galgo has to deal with both of them at the same time now, dragged back to LV-223 by the Engineer-hunting Predator. The standoff promised by the last issue turns out to be a bit of a fizzle, as Angela and her band of survivors understandably aren’t exactly ready to take on a Predator. So Galgo gets off with a punch in the face and a place to stay for the night. Despite the plot providing Angela with a reason to care about Galgo’s fate (he’s the only one who can fly them off the planet) she abruptly and non-dramatically exits the story. I feel like this was a missed opportunity to ratchet up the tension and involve more Angela, the only “good” character in the series who is not just a redshirt.

Still, this book is really about poor Galgo getting dragged along on his captor’s quest to kill an Engineer. Prometheus didn’t really sell how powerful these guys were in person, so we get a little exposition…an Engineer has been waltzing around the surface killing and dissecting the Aliens and other mutants with his bare hands. The Predator doesn’t waver in his quest, but some of his actions indicate a newfound sense of caution and trepidation. Inversely, Galgo’s craven terror gives way to his bloody pragmatism, becoming just as invested in the hunt as his captor.

Normally I hate drawing out the big confrontation in a series that is so short, but this case is an exception. Telling-not-showing about the Engineers increases the fascination and terror of the book’s final spread. It also helps justify the increasing bond between Galgo and the Predator that most of an issue is spent on it, with an inspired and cute “Jaws scar comparison scene” between the two of them.

I feel #4 is going to make or break this series, and by extension a large part of the “Fire and Stone” crossover. There are only so many ways to wrap up a Predator story, most of them rather cliche by now. But it’s to the credit of issues #1-3 that I don’t know already what’s going to happen in #4, and that I’m eager to find out.

– Patrick Stinson

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Rocket Salvage #1 (of 6)

Written by Yehudi Mercado

Art by Bachan

Colored by Jeremy Lawson

Lettered by Deron Bennett

Archaia (BOOM! Studios)

$3.99

Think Speed Racer but with aliens, add a dash of politics and mad science, and you’ve got the first issue of Rocket Salvage. Primo Rocket was known as the fastest man alive in his heyday as a racer on the Rio Rojo Motor Speedway until a crash ruined his rep and his homeworld. You see, among regular sponsors like oil companies and casino chains, entire galactic republics have stakes in these races, and the consequences of a loss are dire. Fifteen years later he runs a salvage yard with his kids, who are also his clones, and a plucky canine pet, but his past rears its ugly head in a plot involving mobsters, big governments, and a mysterious ultimate weapon.

Elements of the story are cleverly revealed in the art, which is chaotic technicolor spectacle on every page. The energetic scenes of Primo’s final race are mirrored starkly in the present with a vandalized poster of his face accusing him of murder, a sight that Primo brushes off but offends his children, Beta and Zeta. The kids are cute with their opposing personalities, but no one seems completely developed this first issue; Primo, specifically, seems oddly blasé about being responsible for a series of violent events stemming from his crash.

At the heart of all this universal drama, Rocket Salvage is the story of a man trying to make a life for his family, which sometimes means killing robot rivals and hopping planets. There’s a lot of information still to be sorted out in this comic, but in the meantime there’s a ton of fun packed into every single gorgeously illustrated panel, down to the detailed tattoos and conceptual alien designs in the periphery.

– Sarah Register

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Colonial Souls #3 (of 4)

Written by Nolan T. Jones

Script Supervision by Ben Grother

Art by Andrew R. MacLean

Colored by Pete Toms

Design by Dylan Todd

$2.49 (digital only)

A warrior and a queen, the last of their kind, travel the cosmos searching out departed souls that will fertilize her eggs and give their race a chance to repopulate and maybe thrive once again. Unfortunately for them, there are many who seek to prevent this from happening. Colonial Souls is a refreshing new sci-fi series detailing what happens when a despotic alien race is nearly wiped out and tries to peacefully begin anew. In the previous issues they have been working their way across the cosmos, serving as galactic Ghostbusters searching out the souls that will become their new brood. With issue #3, they’ve returned to their deserted hive to begin raising their children and have a moment’s rest, but their race’s past sins catch up to them. Forced to fight for their lives, it turns out their former war-like ways may not be too far in the past.

Andrew R. MacLean’s art anchors a really solid series, giving us some really interesting design and ably moving the story through several different time periods and dreamscapes without any confusion. I really dig how the various races on display look truly alien while still being familiar enough to evoke emotion. He’s aided by Pete Toms’s bright, vivid colors that make it a striking comic to just look at.

The first three issues of Colonial Souls are available digitally at their site with the fourth coming in January. I’d really recommend checking it out. Jones, MacLean, and company put together a bright, sharp series that looks to be going interesting places.

– Jason Urbanciz

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