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!
Fight Club 2 #1
Written by Chuck Palahniuk
Art by Cameron Stewart
Colored by Dave Stewart
Lettered by Nate Piekos
Dark Horse Comics
Fight Club has become an enduring cultural touchstone of our generation. It’s referenced in sketch comedy, quotes from the film have entered the common vernacular, and even the the logo gimmick—the writing on a bar of soap—has been co-opted everywhere.
Tyler Durden would be fucking ashamed of you all.
[Please note: spoilers for the ending of Fight Club (both book & movie) from here forward.]
At the end of the Fight Club novel, the unnamed narrator (the movie’s Jack, Edward Norton) awakens in a hospital after his self-inflicted gunshot wound. Tyler is gone, but he discovers the orderlies caring for him in the hospital are Project Mayhem members, all of whom expect the return of Tyler at some point.
The story in this comic opens ten years later. The narrator has since started calling himself “Sebastian,” (a name which means “venerable;” an interesting move, considering Fincher describes his own film as a coming-of-age story for people in their thirties. Does this mean this story will deconstruct the forty-year-old of today in the same way the novel vivisected the thirty-year-old of 1996?) and married Marla Singer. The two of them have a nine-year-old son and a house in the suburbs.
Their marriage is flimsy at best, however. Marla pines for Tyler, not Sebastian, and finds solace in returning to the support group circuit while Sebastian himself has begun to rely more on pharmaceutical solutions. Both seem ignorant to their son’s antisocial habits. But really, the story isn’t about them. It’s about Tyler Durden and his return. He’s got another project going, something global called “Rize or Die,” and it’s so big that Dark Horse is willing to incite its readers into guerilla-marketing for it.
It’s important to note that Sebastian does not narrate Fight Club 2. That job belongs to the resurgent Tyler Durden. The fact that Sebastian’s thoughts are now only his own makes him a totally fascinating and much more unpredictable character, which I hope is something that gets expounded on in future issues.
If I had to complain, I’d say that this issue was definitely a little too wordy for its own good, but the comic is fully aware of this fact. Palahniuk’s prose interplays with Stewart’s layouts in unique ways that directly affect the way you read. Sometimes, pages are strewn with “real-world” items that interfere with the text. Other times, diegetic SFX will keep you from being able to read a text box. These moments are really powerful, and lend the whole comic an off-kilter air, but the best moments are when Palahniuk lets Stewart do the work of showing scenes to the reader that, in a book for example, might otherwise have been described at length. The result is some seriously incredible splash paneling.
I really love reading Palahniuk. There’s a specific brand of joy I get out of his coverage of really taboo subjects or squirming at his uncomfortable situations. I got a little bit of a different flavor out of reading this comic, maybe a little more tentative, finding his feet in a new medium that he plans to make “…a lasting part of [his] output.” If that’s the end goal, though, this is a noble first effort. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
I am Jack’s endorsement of this publication.
– Adam Pelta-Pauls
(Click thumbnails to enlarge)
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #3
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art by Robert Hack
Lettered by Jack Morelli
The first comics I ever read as a child were Scooby-Doo and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, both “spooky” children’s stories in their own right, but this new incarnation of Sabrina is actual, bonafide horror. I can sum it up with my mother’s reaction when she came to visit my apartment and found issue two sitting on my coffee table. She opened right to the page where a naked succubus with skulls for eyes is ripping the face off a young woman and said simply, “Sarah, there are boobs. This is…different.” Don’t be fooled, oh my brothers, this is real horrorshow. The teenage witch seduces boys with magic and makes blood sacrifices to the devil himself. This is, quite literally, not your mother’s Sabrina.
To be fair, this isn’t my Sabrina either (see: an adorable nineties sitcom with pink crushed velvet crop tops, a sassy cat puppet, and jovial aunts). Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa made a great choice in keeping this comic in the sixties and diving deep into witch lore. Issue 3 builds onto this mythology even more by focusing on Sabrina’s coming of age ceremony, which definitely does not involve a debutante ball. If readers have ever read or watched a Sabrina story, there are callbacks and familiar faces, but this creative team manages to take the source material and spawn something entirely new without letting it become kitschy. Robert Hack’s color palette of contrasting sepias and reds, as well as his astute focus on the female form in a pencil skirt, lends to the overall vintage feel. His watercolor style suits both the somewhat normal scenes in Sabrina’s high school as well as a terrifying blood ritual in a forest on Halloween night.
This has been a witchy year for me, what with my growing interest in titles such as Wytches and Hexed, but none of those other comics give me the satisfaction of experiencing childhood nostalgia through a funhouse mirror like Sabrina. The story isn’t modernized or rebooted; it’s been turned on its head. The fates of Sabrina’s parents are even more twisted, her aunts might be eating human flesh, and her substitute teacher is a succubus set on ruining her life. This is one of the most disturbed comics I have read in a while, yet I can’t look away.
– Sarah Register
(Click thumbnails to enlarge)
Sons of the Devil #1
Story by Brian Buccallato
Art by Toni Infante
Lettered by Troy Peteri
Travis has been angry his whole life. An orphan, he’s struggled to find a place where he belongs even as he pushes away those who try and accept him (though his boss is definitely an asshole). When his foster brother appears on his doorstep to offer him some clues to his origins, he initially rejects him. But on thinking it over, he returns to find his brother murdered, and his roots may be a lot deeper and darker than he’d ever considered.
Sons of the Devil is a cool new series from writer Brian Buccallato (The Flash) and artist Toni Infante (Sons of Anarchy). In his postscript for the first issue, Buccallato states that he wants to use the series to delve into the world of cults, and it’s pretty obvious from the comic that’s where he’s going. He wisely spends most of the issue setting up his main character, Travis, who comes across as a fully formed person who has his faults but is also kind and compassionate. The issue sets up a lot to get the story going, but it doesn’t feel like it’s doing so. Travis and his world feel so rich that the story just moves along. Infante’s scratchy, clear artwork very much suits the material. Even though the issue is almost all conversations between various characters, he keeps everything moving without the narrative grinding to a halt.
Sons Of the Devil is off to a great start here. There’s a much larger mystery at work, but the creators plant enough clues, and build interesting enough characters, to pull the reader in without giving away the full game in a single issue.
– Jason Urbanciz
(Click thumbnails to enlarge)