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!
Written & Lettered by Paul Allor
Art by Paul Tucker
After surviving a horrific battle in Vietnam, U.S. soldier Eugene is reassigned as a translator in Huê City, away from the front lines. Settling into a routine, he’s fallen in love with a local girl and promises to take her home with him and marry her. Unfortunately, he is drawn into the investigation of the murder of a fellow soldier and it threatens to turn his world upside down, and tomorrow is Tet.
Tet is a fascinating turn on the standard Vietnam War story. Though many movies have used the Tet Offensive as a setting (most famously the second half of Full Metal Jacket) this comic throws a certain spin on it, centering it around a murder investigation.
Paul Tucker’s art for the series comes across as a mixture of EC Comic war style and the more recent noir styles of Sean Phillips and Michael Lark. The most interesting stuff he does is with the colors. Giving the scenes set in Vietnam very high contrast and bright backgrounds that add to the sense of heightened reality signifying that while Eugene may think he knows what Vietnam is like, he truly is in another world. Meanwhile in a brief flash forward to Eugene back in America a decade later, the backgrounds are much more detailed and drab.
Tet is an interesting new spin on the Vietnam War. Packed with detail and character this book could be something special.
– Jason Urbanciz
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Mirror’s Edge: Exordium #1
Written by Christofer Ermgard
Art by Matthias Haggstromm and Robert Sammelin
Colored by Davi Correia
Lettered by Michael Heisler
Mirror’s Edge is among my favorite video games of the past decade, so I leapt at a chance to check out the comic miniseries, in anticipation of the next game. Written by the writer of the game’s script, it’s an untold story from protagonist Faith’s past about her early days as a Runner, an illegal courier fighting against the city’s corrupt, totalitarian government.
The story is a solid intro to the sleek, bleak world of Mirror’s Edge, with both new and familiar characters throughout. I wasn’t super fond of the credits page’s overview of the premise, with snark thrown at a “populace numbed by mindless entertainment,” but the actual story itself thankfully didn’t lean too hard into a scolding, “wake up sheeple” voice. There’s plenty of action but not a ton of bloodshed or violence, fitting for the non-confrontational, flight-over-fight ethos of the game.
Artistically, the team captured the vibe of the series well, translating it into something understandable in comics but still thematically similar. The video game Mirror’s Edge is very experiential, played almost entirely in first-person with few displays on the screen or other video game hallmarks. While first-person would be a bit trite for an entire comic series, we do get plenty of dynamic perspective shots and close-ups that recall the style. A sense of speed is key, and Haggstromm and Sammelin provide it in spades. Hiesler’s palette also mirrors the aesthetic of the games, with bright splashes of red cutting through a more muted, grey world.
There’s definitely enough here to keep me coming back to the book. It’s visually striking and feels resonant without being overly preachy. Not all tie-ins are necessary and not all stories adapt from one medium to another well, but so far, Exordium captures the intangibles of the series.
– Joe Stando
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Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War #3
Written by Mike Johnson
Art by Angel Hernandez
Colored by Alejandro Sanchez
Lettered by Neil Uyetake
As a lifelong fan of both franchises, a Star Trek/Green Lantern crossover should be a dream come true for me. In theory, the two spacefaring adventure series ought to bring out the best in each other—Trek could deliver the brains, Green Lantern the action. In practice, however, the combination of the two worlds has highlighted what sucks about both comics: the first half of The Spectrum War has lacked any scope, stakes, or imagination.
The plot of The Spectrum War involves the Black Lantern/Death himself Nekron wiping out the DCU, and Guardian of the Universe Ganthet sacrificing his life to bring the last surviving members of the seven Lantern corps to another dimension: in this case, the new Star Trek movie universe. A ring from each of the corps (save the GLs, which I’m sure they’re saving for later) chooses a new bearer in the STU, with the “good guy” rings going to Uhura, Chekov, and McCoy, and the “bad guy” rings choosing two original characters and one boring, shallow reinterpretation of Star Trek VI’s Klingon General Chang.
This issue, the evil bearers of the Red, Orange, and Yellow rings each meet their corps’ supervillain masters, while the Enterprise crew gets some backstory dumped on them by Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Jordan and Captain Kirk butt heads (both being stubborn cowboys, after all), Chekov gets to goof around with his ring, and Uhura shockingly gets one line of dialogue and absolutely nothing to do. And, of course, news arrives that this universe may soon meet the same fate as the DCU.
All the flaws of recent Green Lantern line and the current Star Trek ongoing series (also written by Mike Johnson) are present here. On the GL side, this is the same tired “War of Light” plot that dominated the last few years of Geoff Johns’ run on the series, just with some Trek characters filled in. As for Trek, just like in the main series, the characters feel like pale imitations of their screen counterparts, completely static and barely understood.
Credit where credit is due: this is not a bad looking book. The art team, led by Angel Hernandez, has struck a fair balance between the look of the Trek comics series and contemporary Green Lantern books. However, because the Trek characters are still drawn to match actor likenesses, any panel that features characters from both worlds interacting is a bit off-putting. Kirk is clearly based on a real person, whereas Jordan looks, well, like a comic book superhero. They mesh only so well, despite the efforts of the team. Colorist Alejandro Sanchez is the glue that holds each panel together, bringing out the Trek universe’s bright colors to better interact with the dayglo tones of the Lanterns.
Nevertheless, this book is a snooze, even for a die-hard like me. If you’re looking for a great Green Lantern movie crossover, find yourself a copy of Green Lantern versus Aliens by Ron Marz and Rick Leonardi.
– Dylan Roth
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