A little while back, I reviewed Ghost Tree #1. It served as a strong introduction to the story, with strong color design and a slick Japanese influence. If I had one complaint, it would have been that the actual narrative was a little sparse, laying a lot of groundwork but not a ton of payoff. That isn't uncommon for first issues of a new series, so I waited patiently to see if the second issue could follow through on the promise of the first.
The nitty-gritty: Grix and her crew are still on the run from Lux, having stumbled upon some unsavory corporate secrets. Meanwhile, Vess is under scrutiny by Mother Proxima for her indiscreet curiosity that may threaten to upend the quiet solitude of the lives of the Nones. Desperation will bring these two together in hope of a brighter future that neither can see.
There was a story beat in the eighth issue of Black Badge, a series about Boy Scouts that work for our government, that I keep hoping will be a misdirect even though I stand by the decision Matt Kindt made as the creator. Some things should just be as they are, especially when they are decisions that invest the reader on an entirely new emotional level. Now, anything could potentially happen to anyone. To break your characters, means that any of them could be broken. To remove the reverence you have towards your own creations means challenging the readers in surprising ways.
Ya know those heroic stories in which the heroes of the story have a one-in-a-million shot at victory, and somehow they manage to succeed . . . every time . . . multiple times in a story? “Never tell me the odds!” Little Bird is not that story. The heroes in Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertram’s comic books eries are full of vigor and determination, but they are also imperfect and quite possibly overpowered by the oppressive Church State of the Catholic Church.
Jeff Lemire continues the sort-of origin story of the Laughing Man in Gideon Falls #13, and two things are happening for me. One: More questions are cascading to the surface with very few answers. Two: It doesn’t matter. It’s the questions, the mystery, the unknown that drives the horror of this series - the sense that there’s something greater than our minds can even begin to fathom happening in the world of Gideon Falls. You can feel that frustration in our main characters who press ahead, fighting even though they have no idea what they’re up against. This series is a constant existential crisis ready to explode. It's quantum mechanics being used as a weapon.
Our hero, Joe Golem, was left in a pretty tight spot when we left him at the end of the previous story arc, possibly dead at the bottom of the Drowning City (a parallel New York City half covered in water). In this new series, we pick up from exactly that moment, as we see more of his past life as a literal animated Golem whose sole goal was to destroy witches.
Not all art is about entertainment. Sometimes, art exists to challenge, teach, or heal us. A better way to describe art is to say that all art exists to help us. How it helps us changes from piece to piece. I had the opportunity this week to read Ingrid Chabbert’s Waves, the topics of which are of a grim seriousness that I don't want to obfuscate or shy away from. I'll start this review by saying that if you're searching for a lighthearted comic book, you might want to pass on this one. If you’re looking for something that will move you and, quite possibly, help you in your own life, then you need to learn more about Waves.