Incoming // Empty Men, Young Avengers and Potential Robots

Happy Tuesday everyone! As always, we’re taking a look at this week’s haul of comics before it hits the stands, so you can make a more informed choice when you’re perusing the shelves.

Brandon’s Pick: The Empty Man #1 (Boom! Studios)

art by Vanesa R. Del Rey
art by Vanesa R. Del Rey

If you’re in the mood for a creeping horror book this week, Boom! Studios has you covered. The Empty Man is a slow burning horror in that – according to press materials – draws upon some disturbing J-horror imagery and storytelling. My experience with J-horror is fairly limited (my nearest approximate experience with the genre would be Naoki Urasawa’s Monster), but the comparison stands. Cullen Bunn infuses the story with a slow burning mystery and Venesa R. Del Rey draws out creeping bits of affecting imagery that sticks with you long after the book is put down. There’s very little “show” in this issue, which lends to the creeping elements, but still, what is shown is strange and gorgeous – and Del Rey’s wonderful brushwork style is a great fit for the subject matter and the story. A great read, if you get a chance to put your hands on it. Seek it out!

Original Sins #1 (Marvel Comics)

This week’s biggest Marvel tie-in comes in the form of one of their anthology series, which they are loading up with interesting voices and characters. First up, Nathan Edmondson and Mike Perkins bring Deathlok front and center in a spotlight story that’s sure to lead to bigger things in the coming months. Then, Ryan North (!) and Ramon Villalobos (!!!) begin their Young Avengers tale that will run through this five issue series. Both of these creators are a great fit for a team that has always functioned well with a fresh and almost independent style of comic making, and it’s great to see their take on the team. And then hey, to close the book, they have a quick Lockjaw story by Stuart Moore and Rick Geary. RICK GEARY. This is a dude I didn’t expect to be making Marvel Comics – not due to lack of talent, but more-so a lack of congruous style. Anyway, that happens – and looking at future solicitations, it’ll happen again with folks like Chip Zdarsky. Yup, the dude who made this Marvel Ideas Journal will have work published by Marvel this year. Amazing.

Meanwhile…

  • Dan Didio and Keith Giffen are taking another crack at Kirby with Infinity Man and the Forever People. I fear that this book isn’t going to last long, which is a shame, as it appears to be one of the few small attempts the company is making to diversify it’s line – and I’m afraid that a failure might produce means to continue in a homogenized direction. Which is not good. Anyway, I’m pretty excited for this, as their previous collaboration on OMAC was stellar. More of this, and just… other things, DC. Please.
  • That’s Because You’re A Robot is another weird book from the mind of Shaky Kane, this time with David Quantick on board as a writer. The book definitely feels like a straight forward fever dream in which two buddy cops try to figure out which one of them is a robot while solving crimes. It’s strange and wonderful, but if you look at the book and find yourself not enjoying the art, give it a skip. It is a book that knows what it is and what it wants to do, and makes no apologies, so don’t expect it to bend towards your tastes.
  • A couple of quick mentions for Armor Wars #1 and Wolverine #8, out from Valiant and Marvel respectively. Both kick off huge stories, and both can be read with zero prior knowledge as to what has gone before. Buy with confidence.

That’s all the time and space I have for this week. Stay tuned to my twitter as I have time to peruse more, and come back to the site through the week for my thoughts on this week’s haul in some more depth.

This Is Why You Shouldn’t Go To Canada

I was really worried about this comic.

art by Ed McGuinness and Marte Gracia
art by Ed McGuinness and Marte Gracia

Writers Craig Kyle and Chris Yost officially take over Amazing with this issue, and while I know them as great writers, the bulk of their work together has left me cold. I want to make this clear: this is not a slight to their talents. Their runs on New X-Men and X-Force sold quite well, and had their fans – but their stories edged toward the bloody end of things, and I’ve never been a fan of violence for the sake of violence. Anyway, suffice to say, I was worried that Amazing would go from a generally easy-going story style, and jump right into the gore. While the opening of this issue did very little to assuage my fears, the bulk of the comic retained a lot of the style Jason Aaron had given it. The characters still have fun with one another (Nightcrawler’s “How exciting!” comment pulled a big smile on my face), and the danger encountered in this issue never goes to gratuitous lengths, which I appreciated.

The bulk of the story concerns a trip Wolverine takes to Canada, and what he finds there. There’s a bunch of Alpha Flight stuff that I know a few folks are going take a liking to – although some of the bits near the end send off some alarm bells. I can’t really give much more detail as to what, but suffice to say, there’s some danger at play here that involves the Wendigo. Or Wendigos. Which is not a spoiler. I mean, the storyline is titled World War Wendigo. So.

This issue will be the last we see from Ed McGuinness on the title – at least for the foreseeable future. He’s moving over to Guardians of the Galaxy for a spell and will soon be replaced with Carlo Barberi – known for quite a library of work on Deadpool. While it’s sad to see him go, we get a lot of great imagery, with inks by Mark Farmer, who gives McGuinness’ line quite a different feel than his regular collaborator, Dexter Vines. It was really neat to see that, and I would love the chance to see more of this team together – again, not that Vines is not a good inker (he is), but it’s just neat to see something a bit different from McGuinness.

Amazing X-Men #8 goes on sale tomorrow at fine comic stores across the world, and at ComiXology.

Central Alberta, Born and Raised, On The Hay Bales Are Where I Spent Most Of My Days

Writing whatever god damn thing you want on the internet shouldn’t be this hard to do.

art by Jason Latour
art by Jason Latour

It always feels like I’m running away from something. More specifically somewhere. I’ve talked about it on the site before, the way I flunked out of college and started desperately clawing for a way to run away from home. The first time didn’t go so well, and so I ended up crawling back home. The second time, it stuck.

I’ve been running away for nearly eight full years now, and I don’t plan on ever going back.

A Bunch Of Knuckleheads

Of course the kid’s name was Jayden.

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This week, another issue of the Monkeybrain series Knuckleheads hit ComiXology – so naturally, I’ve spent the past twenty minutes re-reading the series to date and laughing. The series focuses on the adventures of reprobate member of society Trevor K. Trevinski, unlikely superhero. At some point before the series began, a group of aliens gave him a crystal fist that refuses to come off his hand. He uses it to save the world. Sometimes. When it suits him. As the story progresses, he amasses a motley posse of lost souls who help him do… things. They aren’t important things, because Trevor isn’t really an important dude. In fact, he’s kind of a dick, but… in one of those harmless ways, you know?

Anyway, this issue was probably the team’s best to date. Brian Winkeler packs the jokes in with some sweet talking dog action, and a disdain for names like Jayden – which I whole heartedly approve of. Bonus points: the kid is a very, very light reference to the show Trophy Wife, which was one of last year’s best comedies that none of you watched, you big dummies. The story progresses in a fairly mundane fashion with several hilarious moments that are best experience fresh peppered through out, and then… the ending. I mean, at this point, it was almost inevitable, but the team had let you sit in a comfortable world for so long, you kind of forgot about the larger mystery of the series. The execution of the twist is great – not surprising, just welcome, and I’m very interested to see where the story goes next.

As for the art – well, as always, the team knocks it out of the park. Robert Wilson IV and Jordan Boyd work together beautifully, and the contents of this issue call for a lot of acting from the characters, which is pulled off beautifully. A lot of people get all bent out of shape when someone on their tv screens can’t deliver a line in a believable way. I get the same way with comics. If a character’s face or body positioning doesn’t quite jive with the scene or the dialogue, it pulls me out of the story. I didn’t have a problem with that, and considering how comedy is much, much harder to draw than drama (what with the timing required to make jokes hit), everyone did a superb job getting everything to work. Then, of course, there’s Thomas Mauer on the letters. I’ve started noticing his name (and Boyd’s for that matter) on a lot of books lately, and their work is always stellar, no matter what they’re called upon to do. Here, there are scenes with a talking dog or when the gang are looking at pictures that would have fallen flat without proper lettering. Mauer nailed it, as he always does. A great book, from a great team. I eagerly await more.

Under The Radar // Brass Sun #1

art by I.N.J. Culbard
art by I.N.J. Culbard

I’m so excited for the chance to get Brass Sun into the hands of more people. The series, originally serialized in the pages of the British sci-fi anthology series 2000AD is another strong effort from writer Ian Edginton, who you might know as the writer of the Vertigo series Hinterkind. There, Edginton explores a world where life has shifted away from human dominance, towards nature and fantastical creatures. Here, working with the ultra-talented I.N.J. Culbard, Edginton helps give form to another fantastic world rich in story and character.

Set in a clockwork universe built around a life-giving clockwork sun, the story follows a young girl’s mission to save the universe after her grandfather sacrifices his life for scientific truths. As the story progresses, distinct parallels to Galileo emerge, beginning with telescopic imagery, and riding all the way through to a sharp religious resistance to fresh ideas. Beautifully crafted, from script, to art, to letters, to the production values (love the thick, slick cover stock), this is a book you should try to find on the stands this week – especially if you’re a fan of epic quests and fascinating new worlds.

Incoming // From the Streets of Chicago to the Trees of New York City

Every week before the store opens, I like to run through some of the new releases so that I can better recommend new comics to readers. Now, I’m making a weekly column out of it. That was an introduction.

We are very professional here.

C.O.W.L. #1 (Image Comics)

The Chicago Organized Workers League! Contracted by the city of Chicago, this team attempts to keep the streets clean of super crime, to varying degrees of success. As the book opens, C.O.W.L. is hot on the trail of one of the last big super criminals – and so the question inevitably is asked: what’s next for this group? Especially when their contract is almost up?
Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel write a whip-smart script that takes a sideways look at heroics through the lens of a union, meshing a bit of old fashioned Chicago corruption in with a bit of post-Watchmen era super heroics that never feels too grim. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a light book, but it’s not needlessly dour either.

More or Less Than

So that last issue of Zero. Sure didn’t see that coming.

art by Jorge Coelho and Tom Muller
art by Jorge Coelho and Tom Muller

There’s something beautiful about a comic that consistently surprises you. As a retailer, it is my job to guess at what’s coming next, and anticipate demand. This means I’m tripping around the internet, scouring for every scrap of information I can in regards to upcoming releases whether I’d like to or not. In a perfect world, I would still be able to work at the comic shop, slinging comics to all the wonderful folks who wish to read (or never knew they wanted to read) comics and retain the ability to let things arrive without spoiling myself. Until then, I have books like Zero to smack me in the face with genuine surprise.

Graphic Content Booklist // Marvels

Recently we announced that TONIGHT, we’ll be co-presenting a screening of The Incredibles along with Graphic Content at The Metro Cinema at the Garneau Cinema. Every month, Graphic Content curates a book list that thematically ties into and builds on the chosen film, and once again, Matt and Erin have been gracious enough to let us help with the selections.

Our fifth and final pick:

Spider-Man that might actually be a sex crime

Graphic Content Booklist // Love and Capes

Recently we announced that we’ll be co-presenting a screening of The Incredibles along with Graphic Content at The Metro Cinema at the Garneau Cinema. Every month, Graphic Content curates a book list that thematically ties into and builds on the chosen film, and once again, Matt and Erin have been gracious enough to let us help with the selections.

Our second pick:

Fun fact: the only comic James has been blurbed on!

Graphic Content Booklist // Thor: The Mighty Avenger

Recently we announced that we’ll be co-presenting a screening of The Incredibles along with Graphic Content at The Metro Cinema at the Garneau Cinema. Every month, Graphic Content curates a book list that thematically ties into and builds on the chosen film, and once again, Matt and Erin have been gracious enough to let us help with the selections.

Our first pick:

Contains Rainbows!