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!
Story & Art by Zander Cannon
A man out getting food for his kids is in the wrong place at the wrong time and is thrown into prison. Once there, he has to navigate a society filled with gangs that prey on the weak, and a cruel warden and his guards who want a secret he holds. While this sounds like your usual prison drama, this time the inmates are all giant monsters. Even though both the setting and character types are cribbed from familiar sources, writer and artist Zander Cannon mixes everything up so that it feels fresh and new. The best thing he does is to establish the main character of Electrogor as a dude who just wants to get home to his kids, so even though he’s a hundred foot-tall dino-caterpillar thing, he’s instantly relatable. Once trapped on the island that serves as the prison, he has to resist the warden’s interrogations while the gangs in the prison sense his desperation to get out and seek to use it for their own ends.
Cannon’s bright, animated art gives the story a lightness that softens its heavy subject. While a man dealing with the loss of his children, navigating a world full of murderers and (literal) monsters could easily be drowning in grimness, the sheer silliness of the characters makes the book seem like the adaptation of a forgotten Cartoon Network afternoon show. The character designs are wonderfully varied, from your usual Japanese-style giant monsters to more magical-looking creatures (think a demon goat/bat guy in top hat and tails) to urban legend style cryptids. The book is just bursting with imagination, and every page is popping with ideas. It’s tempting to just keep talking about all the little touches that make it so special, but they’re best experienced for oneself. Suffice it to say, buy this comic, it’s the best debut I’ve read so far this year and I have a feeling it’s one people will be talking about for a long time to come. I was a huge fan of Cannon’s Heck last year, but even coming off that wonderful book, this is next level stuff.
– Jason Urbanciz
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Written by Brian Wood
Art by Andrea Mutti
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Jared K. Fletcher
Rebels is a limited series about New Hampshire farmers protecting their state in the midst of the War for Independence. This first issue provides a lot of setup for the story to come, but still manages to keep the plot intriguing and action-packed. In the opening scene, a father is teaching his young son to spot moving figures in a forest; you would think this was a hunting lesson, as the son is looking down the barrel of a musket, until you see that the figures he’s aiming at are red. Redcoats haunt the pages of this comic like phantoms, often illustrated with only their dominant color, making them seem as one-sided and sinister as their characterizations. They stand in stark contrast against the rest of the artwork, which has inky shadows and sketchy outlines that enhance the grittiness of an early natural American landscape without inhibiting the details.
The story provides two strapping protagonists: a young farmer, Seth Abbott, and his adopted brother and redcoat defector, Ezekiel Learned, who are constantly fighting to keep Albany Loyalists out of their hometown. Together they manage to halt a violent confrontation between redcoats and townsmen, but it’s Seth’s oratorical prowess that catches the ear of the neighboring militia and takes the men to the heart of the Revolution. Before Seth moves on, however, he takes time to court a staunch but likable lady friend whom I hope will continue to play a large role in the story, as this type of historical fiction is often predominantly populated with male characters.
I’m actually super into this comic. As a fan of historical war fiction, I’m excited to see the genre in current sequential arts, and Brian Wood’s often dark and gritty realism should keep it fresh enough to remain relevant. I’ve been enjoying the ride on the new wave of experimental and science fiction titles coming out of the smaller comic publishers, but it’s nice to read something different (and ironic that “different” means “a story about the American Revolution”).
– Sarah Register
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Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn (colors)
Lettered by Simon Bowland
For the first two issues, Nameless has been primarily set-up: slowly and meticulously building not only the characters and premise, but the overpowering sense of dread. We know that Nameless and the rest of the crew are doomed before they even take off toward Xibalba, but the second issue only hints at the beginning of things falling apart at mission command. This new issue does a lot more than hint.
Nameless #3 is the scariest comic I’ve read in a long time. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of horror tropes and deep-seated fears. Dismemberment and body horror? We got that! Isolation and eldritch influence causing insanity? Sure! False awakening from nightmares? It’s all here! It’s a stacking series of torture, all fully, brutally realized by Burnham and Fairbairn. The last page is the sort of unpleasant shocker I’ve been looking forward to/dreading for a while, and I’m sure it won’t be the only one of the series.
The biggest element that stuck out in this issue was the theme of technology slowly and insidiously turning against the crew. The drones they’ve used to communicate and explore twist and mutate into parasites that work Merritt like a puppet. The communication system is used to trick and trap the protagonists. The intravenous chemicals that keep Nameless and the others calm enough to function poison their minds and compromise their judgment. The continuous loss of control is part Apollo 13 and part Lovecraft, an affecting spine to all the various horrors throughout.
– Joe Stando
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