It was a sci-fi heavy week at the comic shop, which is alright by me. I’m finding I enjoy these types of stories more than the basic superhero yarn. The only limits are the creators’ minds and their talent. I’m also in the process of reading Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris. I love both film versions but had never had a chance to read the book. It is fantastic so far; maybe I’ll get ambitious and write a massive post about all three. On to the comics…
Debris #1 (Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe, Artist: Riley Rossmo)
I really enjoyed Wiebe and Rossmo’s Green Wake. That was a dark, moody, beautifully illustrated book that sadly got cut short, but I was happy to see they were teaming up again with a sci-fi mini-series. Riley Rossmo has really pushed himself with his latest work. Whereas Green Wake and Rebel Blood were incredibly sketchy, messy books, with Wild Children and now Debris, he’s really honing his style. Here, the blue and orange colors of Owen Gieni make this look unlike anything he’s ever done. The storytelling is serviceable: we’re in a dystopic future in which the last tribe of humanity is threatened by robot creatures on a wasteland of trash. Maya is the Luke Skywalker of this world, the only one who can bring peace. The story isn’t groundbreaking, but there are enough twists and turns and interesting moments to keep it fresh. It’s fascinating that this came out on Prophet day because they both try a similar narrative technique in which the dialogue and narration are highly allusive, but to concepts and ideas we don’t understand. The difference is that that the lack of understanding in Prophet is the result of nomenclature that is alien. Here, the lack of understanding comes because of vague, quasi-religious, Matrix-esque non-speak: “Are you ready?” “No, but what choice do I have?…It’s here.” or “What does it mean?” “Great change lies ahead.” This is just an irksome narrative strategy that falsely plays up the significance of the story. Luckily, I have faith in these two and Rossmo’s art is enough to keep me coming back.
Prophet #27 (Writer: Brandon Graham, Artist: Giannis Milonogiannis)
This issue follows the original John Prophet, the Old Man Prophet, as he attempts to reconnect with his old crew after waking up. As usual, we are thrown into an alien world and left to figure out what the hell is going on. Here, Prophet is searching through a sentient root colony that he once fought for back in the War. He finds an old friend, Hiyonhoiagn, who helped him hold a tower against a massive hoard for weeks. Together, they hunt for a ship to get him away (presumably to Earth, but I’m not real sure). On first read, I didn’t love this issue, but I was also dead tired. It reads much better the second time and I’ve had a better chance to delve into Milonogiannis’s art. It’s probably the most off-putting of the Prophet stable, but it is really growing on me. It has a definite anime influence, but as if anime were living on the streets, sleeping in refrigerator boxes, and shooting lots of heroin. There’s lots of fantastic, bizarre stuff here: weird human/reptilian sex scenes, space sharks, and orbiting space-reefs. Or, exactly why you read Brandon Graham’s Prophet. Even if the story isn’t quite as engaging as past issues, it is still a great read.
The Manhattan Projects #5 (Writer: Jonathan Hickman, Artist: Nick Pitarra)
I need to look through the previous issues, but I think this is the first one that directly picks up a plot line from the book that preceded it. Although I’ve loved every issue of The Manhattan Projects so far, I think it needs to start connecting together a little more to develop that forward momentum. This issue begins with General Graves and Oppenheimer meeting with the Siill contingent. The came to Earth because they detected a “Pulling Way”, which turns out to be the monolith that Einstein was working on it. It allows for inter-planetary, inter-galactic transportation. So, in a matter of pages, the world of TMP explodes across the Milky Way. This was packed with weirdness, of course, and also Nick Pitarra just destroys, of course. Hickman’s cover and title-page designs are so misleading; this book couldn’t be more cartoony, disgusting, and psychedelic. There was maybe too much talking this issue and I would have liked, for the sake of Pitarra’s art, a little more action. But overall, another great issue.
Axe Cop: President of the World #1 (Writer: Malachai Nicolle, Artist: Ethan Nicolle)
Just read Axe Cop. An 8 year-old writes a comic, his older brother draws it, and insanity ensues.