Your Deadshirt New Comics Shopping List for: February 11th, 2015

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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Help Us Great Warrior! #1 

Written by Madeleine Flores

Art by Madeleine Flores

Colored by Trillian Gunn

BOOM! Box

$3.99

I first came across Help Us Great Warrior! In BOOM!’s Mixtape anthology, and I fell in love. It’s a cute, silly premise (a cute, whimsical little creature who also happens to be an extremely powerful warrior) and it’s executed well. I wasn’t familiar with Flores’ short work with the character before, but I was immediately excited for an ongoing series.

This first issue was exactly what I’d hoped for. It expands on the teaser from the anthology, and sets up a supporting cast and primary conflict. Great Warrior is summoned to battle an invasion of demons, but immediately blows it off and only ends up doing battle when she’s blasted by a dragon. She’s a goofy, relatable character, and the primary conflict is a clever way to build an overall arc without sticking too close in lockstep with it. We could see Great Warrior fight more demons next issue, but we could just as easily see her hang out with friends. The book is cute and full of fun bits (the way she immediately tames a monster into her doting pet and names it “Buckets” is hilarious) and the action is well-staged too.

Flores’ art is also gorgeous, and a good fit for the emergent BOOM! brand, with Gunn providing a bright, clear palette similar to Teen Dog or Lumberjanes. It’s a great look, and while the character designs are often simple, the compositions are anything but, with great wide shots and backgrounds. One page specifically, in which Great Warrior jumps off a cliff to escape responsibility, has a spectacular sense of scale. I was floored.

The last, but maybe most important thing I wanted to mention is how this book is a powerful example of thoughtfulness and intersectionality. With a lead who breaks down the false dichotomy between femininity and strength, and a supporting cast that includes a trans character, it’s a diverse book that feels natural and effective. Including LGBT characters, especially trans characters, in all-ages work is absolutely crucial, and I’m very grateful to Flores for choosing to do so.

– Joe Stando

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

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Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #5

Written by John Barber and Tom Scioli

Art by Tom Scioli

Lettered by Tom Scioli

IDW

$3.99

This issue is a serious doubling down. If this book’s quirks–hyper-compression, free-form art, gleeful carnage, and general irreverence–annoy you, then you’re going to be hopping mad. But if you’ve been grooving on this inimitable series, then sit back cause Scioli’s turning the volume up.

If the other IDW books de-emphasize these franchises’ toy-based roots, this book makes the most of them. The early splash panel of two Decepticon titans bearing down on Metroplex feels like the world’s biggest toybox, filtered through a precocious child’s imagination. The rest of the issue delivers on the epic battle promised here. The multiple plotlines threading through events on Cybertron and back on Earth teeter on the edge of coherence. But it’s ultimately a triumph of storytelling that nearly every major plot point from the previous five issues is addressed or wrapped up here, and others are introduced.

This issue feels like the start of a new era, both in story and in stylization. Scioli’s gleeful references and reinventions are denser than ever before, with particularly inspired re-imaginings of the Quintessons and a couple of Beast Wars characters. The drawback is that the story logic is now feeling strained. In this issue’s production notes, co-writer John Barber actually misinterprets a fairly significant plot point. If that’s not a sign that the brakes should be pumped a little, I don’t know what is.

Bottom line, this series puts a lot of trust in the reader to interpret the chaotic events. That’s refreshing and welcome, but not for everyone. So far, it’s been appealing to classic comics fans more than it has Transformers and Joe fans. The breakneck storytelling will challenge the latter, but for the first time I’m thinking that the mythology is getting so dense and so dependent on the earlier iterations of the franchise that the former will be challenged as well. I loved the bejeezus out of this issue, but I actually hope its “Scioli-ness” has just peaked, and that we’ll settle into a Wackiness Quotient somewhere in-between this issue and the previous.

– Patrick Stinson

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Hexed #7

Written by Michael Alan Nelson

Art by Dan Mora

Colored by Gabriel Cassata

Lettered by Ed Dukeshire

BOOM! Studios

$3.99

Any fans of the uncanny and kickass female leads should check out Hexed. I hate to constantly make the Buffy comparison for this series, mainly because some people (not me, as I am a diehard acolyte of the show to this day) aren’t really into the Sunnydale crowd, but this is another series that mixes comedy and the supernatural with a flawed but fun heroine. Likewise, there’s a cast of lovable characters, all of them funny and significant in their own way, and villains that walk the line between threatening and endearing.

Dan Mora’s illustrations are downright pretty, thanks in part to Cassata’s gorgeous color palette, but also surprisingly sinister (this was the series that enraptured me with an bouquet of eyeballs, after all). Female faces and forms, at least in the case of the lead characters, are noticeably similar but dressed with different accoutrements and colors so that they don’t feel like cookie cutter images of each other. Contrasted with this, however, is the Harlot’s incredibly emaciated but, at the same time, uncomfortably curvaceous silhouette, so there’s still quite a bit of range on display.

Following a series of more action-packed issues, this one is a little quieter, concentrating on Lucifer’s ties with her two mother figures: Val, her mortal plane benefactor, and the Harlot, a secret keeper living in another dimension and the being who hexed Lucifer in the first place. With an early emphasis on love and loyalty through the focus of Lucifer’s various relationships, I kind of expected to get the rug pulled out from under me at the end of this issue, and boy howdy, it’s a bummer. The next issue is sure to be intense as Lucifer has a lot to deal with, hopefully with violence.

– Sarah Register

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

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Divinity #1

Written by Matt Kindt

Art by Trevor Hairsine (pencils) and Ryan Winn (inks)

Colored by David Baron

Lettered by David Lanphear

Valiant

$3.99

Abram Adams was abandoned on a doorstep as a baby in 1945. Twenty-five years later, he was launched into deep space. Today he has returned, and time has begun to collapse upon itself. Abram Adams has trained his entire life in Soviet Russia to be at the peak of human mental and physical achievement so he can reach out for dream of visiting alien worlds, and he seems to have achieved that peak. Meanwhile on present day Earth, David Camp has had an accident while mountain climbing, thinking he is dying, he wakes up in a forest surrounded by Aboriginal people, who lead him to Adams.

Divinity is a very cool new sci-fi book from Valiant which immediately calls to mind Interstellar and 2001. While not much happens, this comic is a great study of the main character, Abram Adams. We see his whole life in a few pages, allowing the reader to very much get into his head.  This is obviously a comic that’s going to be about Big Science Fiction Ideas, but it takes its time to let us know the humans who are going on the journey and it makes a great start to the series.

The comic is really made by Trevor Hairsine’s art, I’ve only really been familiar with his work on Marvel’s Ultimate line years ago. Back then, he seemed to be squeezing himself to mimic Bryan Hitch’s work on The Ultimates, but here his pencils are a lot more open. They’re still very detailed but with a bit of a more abstract line, calling to memory Jeff Lemire or Paul Pope’s work. This is a very good looking comic. With Divinity, Valiant continues rolling out a great next wave of titles stretching out and examining their universe’s past while building to a very bright future.

– Jason Urbanciz

(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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