ADVANCE SCOUT 7/2/14 Lean Summer Cuts

SITUATION:

In the United States, this week is all a prelude to the 4th of July. It’s our Independence Day, and it’s also when Hurricane Arthur is supposed to make its way up the East Coast. While many people will be enjoying grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and maybe a few illegal fireworks here and there, this doesn’t mean that you’re left without some high-quality choices as far as comic books go. And if you’re in the North Carolina area, you might need yourself some reading material for when the power goes out. Which leads us to this week’s Advance Scout.

Due to outside forces beyond my control that I can’t really get into, I’ve been absent from Capeless Crusader, and with my absence, both Advance Scout and Cape Watch have gone with me. I have to say, I couldn’t have picked a worse two weeks to be gone. Yeah sure, the World Cup has been amazing, but so were last week’s list of books. I mean come on, Saga, Outcast, Revival, Mind MGMT, Chew, The Mercenary Sea, Deadly Class, Stay Bullets: The Killers, Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War, and Ordinary all came out on the same day. It was a good day, last Wednesday. Alas, the show must go on.

While we’re not given the same quantity of amazing books to pick from at one time, we’re still getting a healthy portion to tide us over during this summer heat wave. So without further ado, here are the picks for Advance Scout for the week of 7/2/14.

ADVANCE SCOUT 7/2/14: Lean Summer Cuts1. “Doctor Spektor: Master Of The Occult #2”

Mark Waid’s and Neil Edwards’s reboot of Golden Key Comics’ old property Doctor Spektor drew a mixed bag of opinions from critics when it was first released. But those who liked it really liked it, and I tend to give those people the benefit of the doubt when I don’t know much about a book. I am a fan of Mark Waid from his work on Daredevil and his Indestructible Hulk run on Marvel.

I know he likes to play up character traits or tones in story that aren’t expected by readers. From what I’ve heard, Adam Spektor is no exception. Neil Edwards is an artistic beast and his pairing with Mark Waid is a scout’s dream. So if you’re a fan of occult books, quality writing, and fantastic art work, consider picking the first issue from last month and this book up at the same time.

2. “The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow #2”ADVANCE SCOUT 7/2/14: Lean Summer Cuts

Howard Chaykin has received some exceptionally high marks from critics on his six-issue mini-series The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow. From what I understand, if you like The Shadow as a character and heavy doses of violence, this book is for you. So naturally, I’m most likely going to by #1 and #2 at the same time when I go the my local shop this week.

I don’t know much else about it so here’s the official description:

The streets of New York run red with criminal blood, as the families of organized crime wage war on each other. The streets of London conceal an international conspiracy that may very well put an end to humanity. And Lamont Cranston, aka The Shadow, has retired. WTF!?!!”

ADVANCE SCOUT 7/2/14: Lean Summer Cuts3. “Southern Bastards #3”

At the conclusion of the second issue, it was clear that Southern Bastards was going to be something altogether different.

Jason Aaron and Jason Lature got downright spiritual with the creation of our hero’s weapon of choice: a wooden baseball bat made from the tree that grew from his father’s grave, forged by a lightning strike. Yeah. Things are getting Biblical. And now that Coach Boss (that’s the villain’s name, Coach Boss) and his boys shed first blood, there will be a reckoning.

So with that, I can’t tell you how excited I am to crack open #3. I’m bursting at the seams to know what happens next in this powerhouse Southern Gothic story.

4. “East of West #13”ADVANCE SCOUT 7/2/14: Lean Summer Cuts

I have been a fan of this series since the beginning. If you haven’t been following along, this story is a futuristic dystopian western with religious and philosophical overtones. It is cynical, it is violent, and it is bleak. It is also one of the best ongoing comic books available for public consumption. Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta have all but cemented this book as one of the best Image releases in the last ten years.

With issue #13 coming out this week, we finally see what happens when “the beast” is set free. Readers have been waiting for this moment for more than a year. As far as new readers go, you’re going to want to start thinking about collecting the first few trades and jump on in the single issues once you’ve caught up. Even if there were any good jumping-on points in the current story, it would be a real disservice to recommend you do that. You’ll really want to know about everything that’s happened up until this point before you even consider reading this issue.

ADVANCE SCOUT 7/2/14: Lean Summer Cuts5. “Enormous #1”

Like many people, I didn’t read the original Enormous one shot from Image Comics. It was on extra-large poster paper and went under my radar. But the art still stands out in my mind as some of the wildest imagery I’ve seen in comic books, and that was just from the preview pages in the back of other Image Comics titles. But even though it wasn’t one of their more popular books, it looks as though Enormous has new life in two different forms of media.

Now, Tim Daniel and Mehdi Cheggour are bringing their extra-large one shot back to life with an all-new ongoing book as a companion piece to the live-action web series from Machinima. It will be interesting to see how this is done, be it extra content you don’t see in the show brought to life in the comics or a comic book representation of the events seen in the series. But either way, it is refreshing to see something like this happening again. It reminds me of the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book and companion cassette tapes of my youth.

ANALYSIS:

This week has been a hot one in the United States and Wednesday was no exception. While the pile isn’t nearly as large as last week’s was, you still have plenty of great options for indie comic books.

If I had to list the picks from “top priority” to “think about it” the list would be: Southern Bastards, East of West, The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow, Enormous, and Doctor Spektor: Master of the Occult. But no matter how you order them, you have your options. Choose wisely.

Happy 4th of July.

Mike Sains

Mike Sains is a Writer, Interviewer, and the Editor of the Reviews Department for Capeless Crusader as well as other outlets online. He is also a podcaster and an avid collector of vinyl records and collectibles.

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