Bonjour, crusaders! This week in comics had a few #1s, some returning favorites, and some underdogs that you may need to catch up with. As it is every week, I read through my large pull list and pick out comics, trade collections, reprints, OGN’s or webcomics that I like or think are of interest. So enough of the introductory gabbing, here are the comics:
Cyborgs, a shadowy arms dealer, and the brink of world war. That got your attention. But while heavy on the comic cool, this update of a classic manga series by Shotaro Ishinomori has some serious themes and subtext in its DNA, pointed out in the wonderful concluding essay at the end of this story by David Brothers : “There’s nothing in there [the original series ideas] that’s inappropriate for children. He [series creator Shotaro Ishinomori] couches the allegory in familiar ideas: a delinquent with a secret heart of gold, a wizened mentor, and a flashy and bombastic evil organization. It’s only once you dig deeper that you realize the reason why Cyborg 009 works as well as it does is because it is working with deeper themes than pure ‘good versus evil’ or squeaky-clean generic adventures.” Take those ideas, throw in some well crafted art by Marcus To, whom I have missed since his days on Red Robin for DC Comics, and you have a 21st century westernized update that is probably the most fun you will have in comics this week, or I hope the most entertaining.
This first issue is intriguing enough by creating curiosity about the who and the why of the title character and also contains enough violent action as the bulk of this introductory issue takes place on an ancient battlefield. The mix is right for Teen + escapism, and I am sure this will tie in to the larger plans Valiant has for its wider universe which slowly is expanding.
Fred Van Lente brings his mix of humor and action to another title, joining his strong Archer and Armstrong for Valiant and G.I. Joe for IDW as fun comics reading month-to-month with just the right amount of depth and storytelling chops. R.B. Silva bounces back from a mediocre Superboy run at DC comics and really brings some interesting art to the table. Fans of wisecracking, super science heroes should go ahead and check out this first issue.
If you missed issue #1, you are going to want to go back and grab it because you missed the introduction to a great indie sci-fi comic about a low-life nobody who wants to be a low-life somebody. Adam Egypt Mortimer and Darick Robertson (whose cityscapes and detail are fantastic) present a multilayer future gangster genre story of biology, science, and imagination. Bonus writing pages in the back are a nice touch. Check this book out and head to your message boards and social media to get some conversations going because you are going to want to share your thoughts on it with others.
The best fantasy/sci-fi comic on the stands. Period. Don’t believe me? This issue has the following artist contributing to tell a story spanning 10,000 years: Brandon Graham, Simon Roy, Giannis Milogiannis, James Stokoe, Matt Sheean & Malachi Ward, Lando, Joseph Bergin III…Stunning, stunning work from the best young fantasy/sci-fi artists making comics.
New comic scribe Matt Miner rolls strongly into the penultimate story of his animal rights activists going to extremes to make a difference. Issue #3 doesn’t push as many buttons as the previous two, but that is due to Miner taking some time for some more character development and a new problem for our heroes. Included in this issue is another informative and fascinating essay about animal rights, aaannndd a really, really adorable Sean Von Gorman short. A refreshing take on the hero narrative, Liberator by all indications is going to finish out strongly, and perhaps live to see another mini-series next year or in the near future, depending on how Black Mask Studios funds its next line of titles.
So that is it for this week. As always, please talk back to us about your opinions and insights about my picks, or declare your own in the comments section below, over on our Facebook page, or mention us on Twitter @capelesscrusade with #afterwednesday to weigh in so everyone can chat. Thanks folks, and happy reading!