It’s hot as sin outside, and I’m stuck in a freezing cold classroom that smells like feet. Comics!!!
Prophet #26 (Writer & Artist: Brandon Graham, w/back-up by Emma Rios)
Prophet has been awesome for so many reasons, but the best has been the rotating roster of amazing artists. In this issue, Graham himself provides the pictures and they are fantastic. His style is quite different than anyone else who has worked on the book. It feels more cold, detached, and clinical (not the disgusting of Simon Roy, certainly). The coloring in this book is fantastic; muted grays, greens, and tans in the beginning; black and bright red in the end. It makes me wish we could get a colored version of King City (which I will be writing about soon). What I think we get here, in the style of DC, is a #0 issue (of sorts). This issue follows a robot model called “Jaxson, one of old man Prophet’s unhatched eggs.” He is awakened on a planet that has been moved (awesome) by the scent of the Earth Empire’s signal. He traverses the landscape to find another Jaxson that he can smell and together, they travel through the Cycolops Rail (man made wormholes connected across the galaxy) to try and awaken John Prophet. To do this, he sends a signal through a creature named Brainrock that is a planet sized creature attempting to turn itself into an actual planet. It’s so stupid in words but so awesome on the page. What I truly love about Prophet so far is that this might be how John Prophet awakens in #21, or it might not. If so, awesome. If not, still awesome.
The Emma Rios short story is up on Graham’s blog too; it’s extremely weird and nasty:
The Manhattan Projects #4 (Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Artist: Nick Pitarra)
It’s fitting that The Manhattan Projects and Prophet come out on the same day. Ridiculous sci-fi rules the stands. We finally get an Einstein centric issue and a guide to that weird monolith he’s been staring at since issue 1. Naturally, it’s a door to alternate dimensions and naturally, assumptions are turned upside down. It’s particularly amazing that we are four issues in and a plot hasn’t necessarily developed, yet, each issue is slam packed with stuff. Things are happening; things are being revealed; things are getting killed, but a story isn’t progressing in a normal way. It’s really just accumulating. Hickman can take his damn time so long as each issue is this much fun. And to Nick Pitarra, thank you.
Batman Incorporated #2 (Writer: Grant Morrison, Artist: Chris Burnham)
After the full-throttle action of last issue, this is a perhaps too direct explanation of what is going on. Here, we get the New 52 backstory for Talia al-Ghul, head of Leviathan. Lazarus Pits. Damian in a bottle. Batman dressed up like an old lady. Perhaps it isn’t too direct, but it feels a little bit too, “Here’s how we got here, from the baddy’s perspective now!” Maybe this has been earned after a meandering, albeit awesome, pre-52 run. It is still fun, but I think the people who are truly going to enjoy this are the ones who’ve been with Morrison for his entire, epic run on Batman, which I haven’t. I can tell things are being referenced that I should understand, but I just don’t. Someday, I’m going to read this whole monster from start to end and then I’m sure this will stick out. I think the biggest downside of this issue is that Chris Burnham never really gets a chance to go crazy. Sure, he does amazing character work, but after the blood-bath of last issue, I’m left wanting more.
Fatale #6 (Writer: Ed Brubaker, Artist: Sean Phillips)
Fatale, the Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips foray into horror (still more noir than horror) starts its new arc by moving forward about twenty years to 1978 Los Angeles. We’ve got low-life actors, cults, snuff films, and bizarro murders. Josephine is still alive and terror just seems to pop up wherever she’s at, whether she ventures out into the world or not. I love this setting for Fatale. There is so much weirdness in 70s Los Angeles for Brubaker to mine from. And Phillips’s art already has a dingy, 70s vibe to it. He could have provided illustrations for The Long Goodbye and it would have worked. This is a fantastic, dense read and I’m anxious to see where this arc goes.