Image has a big week coming up on Wednesday with the release of multiple heavy hitters. Here’s a little breakdown of recent books that are a guaranteed quality pick-up. The first two are old favorites, but the others are still new and make for a perfect addition to your weekly pull list.
The latest issue of Saga opens up with some political commentary and an inside look at the social issues Landfall aligns itself with. With characters as beloved as the main ones, it tends to be hard to introduce new faces and generate that same interest (at least in the comics medium). Vaughan excels at his characterization though, and it’s no surprise that he’s turned the intrepid reporters into an interesting and integral part of the story. Their final role remains to be seen, but it would be hard to peg them as antagonists. Our main crew takes it easy this week and lets Vaughan delve into themes involving society and the current state of entertainment. Even light Saga is good Saga and the touching Hazel-narrated family moments are still intact. The bulk of the action lies with The Will and Gwendolyn, promising yet again that massive events are going to happen in the next few issues. Every thread is leading up to the much-anticipated meeting of all the central characters. If the cliffhanger is correct, we won’t have to wait much longer. Prepare your Kleenex accordingly. 8/10
As critically acclaimed as Revival is, it tends to take some flak for having too many characters and mixing up important story parts with inessential ones. I’ve always championed that Em is the highlight of the series, and her murder is the best in a handful of mysteries. After being put on the back burner during an intense few issues involving the Check brothers, Dana finally starts making progress on her sister’s killing by singling out Professor Weimar as the prime suspect. The relationship between those two has always been slightly ominous and it’s nice to see Dana making logical decisions to move her private investigation forward. It also initiates an amusing team-up between her and Derrick that I can only imagine will get more complicated as time passes. We get another glimpse of the sociopolitical themes that have run throughout the series involving angry voters, racial profiling and government interference. After this issue however, that side of things looks to really be heating up. Tim Seeley is pitch perfect at delivering a deeper agenda amidst the detectives and gore. While “Revival #11” continues to be the pinnacle, #15 isn’t too far behind. Here’s to hoping for more Lester Majak! 9/10
The first two issues of Rat Queens are the most fun you can have in a comic book. Full of energy, insanity, blood, booze, and D&D references, Wiebe and Upchurch completely nailed their debut. Buried underneath all that is a powerful female cast and cohesive whodunit storytelling. The third issue, while lacking the kinetic energy of the previous two, explores a lesser-seen side of the foursome through backstory and a helping of heart. We learn that each member of the Queens has a tragic past involving brothers, lovers, friends and squid-worshiping cults. It’s hard not to love little smidgen Betty more than anyone else, but each one is given a human side to counteract the bloody path of violence they’re usually enacting. This issue definitely qualifies as world building, but we get plenty of exposition near the end that pushes the main story forward. Backstabbing has been the central theme so far and continues to get the Queens in trouble. Upchurch has such a lively style to his art that it’s impossible not to stare at a single page for minutes just to drink it all in. You won’t find anything as purely enjoyable as Rat Queens on the stands currently, so hurry and jump into this sold-out series as fast as possible. RPG knowledge not necessary. 8.5/10
I could read anything that featured the art and colors from Emma Rios and Jordie Bellaire, but it helps to have Kelly Sue Deconnick’s lyrical, flowing prose enhance every gorgeously drawn page of Pretty Deadly. The story is purposefully vague; slow reveals don’t hinder it in the least. For those feeling that the first issue was lacking action, your wishes have been granted. The bulk of the book takes place during an epic, bloody battle between the hunters and Ginny, maiden of death. It’s hard to heap even more praise on the artwork, but Rios really outdoes herself on every drawing. Pretty Deadly doesn’t follow many cliches (despite a perceived similarity to the apocalyptic western world in Hickman’s East of West) and doesn’t stop to fill in the blanks. Fox and Sissy seem to be on a journey of a spiritual level, albeit one more akin to death and destruction. Choosing a rabbit made out of bones for a narrator certainly doesn’t hurt the unique flavor of the comic. Rarely can readers actually feel a writer pouring out her soul, but Deconnick makes this evident in every word that’s spoken. Her heart-achingly beautiful life story and poems in the back section only continue to prove why she’s on the forefront of the indie comic movement. This is a story with real feeling to it and is only going to continue trending upwards as we unravel the depth behind the myriad of characters. I, for one, can’t wait to see the origins of Ginny herself. It isn’t for everyone, but those seeking an experience would do well to sign up. 9.5/10
Alex Smith is a news and reviews writer for Capeless Crusader. When not wasting away in class, he spends all his free time with comics, movies, and video games, and has been since birth. He can spend hours discussing Saga, Hawkeye, or Game of Thrones. Lying Cat’s number one fan. Random brain thoughts: @imapensfan