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!
Graveyard Shift #1
Written by Jay Faerber
Art by Fran Bueno
Lettered by Ed Dukeshire
Are vampires over, as a cultural phenomenon? With Twilight, True Blood, and most other franchises wrapping up, the concept has had a little while to breathe, and there’s a little bit less of a glut. In the vampiric heyday a couple years ago, every story needed some sort of new twist to set itself apart from the crowd. That’s a little less true right now, which is good, because while Graveyard Shift doesn’t bring a lot of new stuff to the table, it feels like a competent yarn so far.
Graveyard Shift opens with a botched police raid whose target turns out to be a vampire. What follows is grisly reprisal by the vampire against the officers involved, including Liam, who barely survives a fire set in his apartment. He comes to a few days later and is informed that his fiancé, Hope, died in the fire. After going to her grave, he finds her alive…in a sense.
It’s relatively by the numbers so far, but very well-executed. Bueno’s art is top-notch, with a violent, kinetic sense of pacing and action for the copious fight scenes in the issue. There’s some solid use of gang war visual tropes (a “montage” of the other cops being killed is particularly evocative), which is hopefully a direction the book continues in. Overall, it’s a solid entry into the horror genre that doesn’t feel like it’s just riding a trend.
– Joe Stando
Capture Creatures #2
Written by Frank Gibson
Illustrated by Becky Dreistadt
Inks by Kelly Bastow
Colors by Tracy Liang
Lettered by Britt Wilson
Kiddos Tamzen and Jory (under some panicked adult supervision) decide to take their new red panda-ish animal friend, Bon Bon, back to a man-made island, only to discover a gaggle of other mysterious creatures and a world of trouble. The first thing you notice about this comic is the art, which seems to have a scale of cuteness that can be adjusted as the story sees fit. It stands to reason that the creature designs would be pretty stellar, considering they were concocted on Becky Dreistadt’s website long before this comic was released. That talent transfers seamlessly to sequential storytelling, only faltering slightly when a lovely campfire turns into an all out amalgam animal brawl and the panels start to lose a sense of space.
While this story is a very obvious and deliberate ode to Pokémon, the comic stands on its own clever storytelling and adorable creature designs. Tamzen and Jory make for a harmonious balance of whimsy and deductive reasoning, and even their ranger babysitter, Teddy, who could serve as nothing but a punchline, gets a few moments of character development. Along with their literal spitfire animal companion, this little ragtag team is both compelling and fun as they discover, along with the reader, the secrets of this new island. This issue hints at some dark history, leading me to believe that there’s a lot of depth to be found as this endearing comic continues to worldbuild.
– Sarah Register
The Massive #30
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Garry Brown
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Lettered by Jared K. Fletcher
I need to open this review with a thank-you to Jordie Bellaire. For 30 issues, her colors have brought the full vibrancy of the natural world to the art in this book, and it’s been fucking spectacular. This final issue opens with some stupendous, Planet Earth-worthy images, and they’re not the first in this series to necessitate those superlatives. Bellaire’s colors bring a tangibility to Garry Brown’s stark, moody art, so you really feel the wind and rain picking at your face in the storms, or the heat of the sun blazing down on you in the deserts. These are important qualities in a series in which the weather and the planet take center stage, and this visual team deserves an ovation for their efforts in this vein.
The Massive has always been a story about dealing with consequences. Brian Wood took a boldfaced look at what it would be like living in a world that’s actively trying to buck the human influence, and the result has been chilling. The Earth as we know it is shattered. We broke it, and it fixed itself in the same was that it does most things: with little regard for the human race. The Crash changed the face of the planet politically, but the events of the previous issue changed that face physically. What’s left is an ocean of water and silence that stretches as far as Callum Israel’s Massive can see or hear. So what’s next for Ninth Wave and the crew of The Massive? What does it really mean to start all over from scratch?
In many ways, The Massive could have ended with issue #29, and I would have been fine with it. However, this epilogue gives a note of hope to this otherwise fairly bleak series, in a way that isn’t saccharine or cliché, and leaves the lesson of the series perfectly clear: if you don’t protect the world that surrounds you, the Earth will adapt around you. In the end, the planet will still be here in one form or another. The real question is whether or not any human being will be left to see what it looks like afterward.
– Adam Pelta-Pauls