ADVANCE SCOUT: The Independent Warriors Five

SITUATION:

We’re coming to you a little late this week, but it took a good long trek through the list of upcoming books to bring you this week’s picks. There was little of note from either of the Big Two, and a largely quiet week from the smaller publishers, but I do love digging for deep cuts. Rather than simply say “Buy Image this week!” this week’s selections showcase a quintet of warriors from across time, space, and genre. Enjoy!

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS:

“Conan and the People of the Black Circle #1”

“Conan and the
People of the Black Circle #1″
Fred Van Lente, Ariel Olivetti
Dark Horse Comics
$3.50

For the new Conan title, Dark Horse has assembled what may be a dream pairing.

Ariel Olivetti’s broad but detailed brush is a perfect choice for the Cimmerian brute. His work brings to mind the early work of Cary Nord when Dark Horse first launched the ongoing series. The airiness of his landscapes excellently conjures the wild forests and sweeping plains critical to the visuals of the story, while the precision with which he crafts his characters gives them a sense of being somehow more real than their surroundings.

Fred Van Lente’s Archer and Armstrong has hinted at more than a fascination with the ancient, lost world Conan inhabits, so it should be intriguing to see what fragments of esoterica he chooses to thread into the wandering warrior’s narrative. Conan is perhaps not as well-suited to the puzzle-solving sort of adventures as the boy genius and fatso, so it will be curious to see whether he opts for a more action-oriented approach or challenges Conan by placing him in a predicament he must solve with wit, rather than steel.

Between Van Lente’s wit and Olivetti’s burly brush, this series should have more than enough heft to satisfy longtime fans and intrigue new ones.

“Samurai Jack #1”

“Samurai Jack #1”
Jim Zub, Andy Suriano
IDW Publishing
$3.99

Having reacquired the rights to the famed samurai, IDW has chosen an interesting creative team.

Jim Zub brings a certain brash sensibility which should suit Jack quite well. What will be interesting is to see whether he can capture the energy in a way that brings this title greater success than previous iterations. Zub’s story will take Jack out of his usual stomping grounds (which he still refuses to acknowledge are a post-apocalyptic version of the world inhabited by the Power Puff Girls) and in “a strange future ruled by a demonic wizard.” This will definitely provide unfamiliar challenges, but heroes are often at their best when out of place.

In looking for a teammate to aid in such an attempt, IDW couldn’t have done much better than original Samurai Jack designer Andy Suriano. His familiarity with the character should be a comfort to longtime fans, and those same fans should be excited to see what heretofore unrevealed ideas he’s been secreting away, given the new setting.

This book has the potential to be a stellar new chapter in what has become a cult-favorite character, so be sure to snap it up.

 

“Pretty Deadly #1”

“Pretty Deadly #1”
Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios
Image Comics
$3.50

“Pretty Deadly #1” is darkly beautiful. KSD’s combination of eerie poetry and crisp dialogue do well in creating a world that feels both grounded in reality and yet completely believable as the home of extraordinary things. That’s pretty important when you’re beginning the chronicle of Ginny, the daughter of Death.

The panels are intimate, with the art in places creeping from the gutters to form looping tendrils that connect disparate moments. The most striking thing is the amount of expression she manages to pack into such an economical stroke. Without overburdening the page, she crafts subtle nuance that is only magnified by Jordie Bellaire’s colors. The palette is soft, but there are a few places where more strident tones burn through to really make each page pop.

This title is a treat for anyone who enjoys dark westerns, mystical intrigue, and wonderfully crafted imagery.

“Velvet #1”

“Velvet #1”
Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting
Image Comics
$3.50

It really shouldn’t be surprising when Ed Brubaker releases an excellent piece of work with Steve Epting because, let’s face it, they do it quite often. This time, they have outdone themselves.

Velvet feels like a series which could have been the greatest Agent Carter story every told, but no one can blame the duo for keeping this one for themselves. The series’ lead, Velvet Templeton, gives them the opportunity to craft a fierce, intelligent, layered woman of their own with no restrictions. That freedom is something that Brubaker exploits to its fullest, and the result is a journey through the mind of a complex character which rivals the formidable complexity of the plot itself.

Epting, for his part, was born to draw the 1970s. His use of shadow and tone creates a world that feels completely and totally real, and the way he frames the scenes gives the story the look of The French Connection. More than this, he excels at using these elements to constantly hint at the as-yet unshared secrets that Velvet keeps tucked away.

You could trade-wait this book. Don’t. You’ll be dying to know what happens next, and you’ll love it.

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.ANALYSIS

Swords! Sorcery! Guns! Ammo! Spies!

Okay, now that you’ve taken a moment to breathe, take a moment to appreciate how great it is to have a comic market which supports such fantastic creators doing work so outside of the mainstream. Particularly in a week with so little from the cape books, its great to know that just down the shelf are stories ranging from the epic to the intimate, from some of the best in the business.

Until next time,

Happy reading!

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Thanks for checking out ADVANCE SCOUT! Be sure to check back next week for more recommendations, and don’t forget to share the link below!

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Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He also hosts the weekly Infinite Crossover podcast in cooperation with Fanboys Inc. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and daytime supporter of all things technical. contact: joshuadepstein@gmail.com

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Josh Epstein

Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and resident of a real-world Smallville.

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