Whenever there’s a second issue to a new series, there is usually a lull in the storytelling. It's as if - from a storytelling perspective - there’s a lull that needs to happen; the plot points and the excitement that occurred in the first issue need to be addressed, and not just for the sake of the characters, but for the reader’s sake, as well. The second issue acts as a sort of expositional chapter of the overall story. We need the breath and the moments to reflect, and after the excitement of the introduction, that’s usually the natural place for it. Often, the second issue is a wonderful look into the lives of the characters we are to invest in, but it is a pause and a focus on the story that does happen.
There are very few things that come close to the feeling that you feel when a comic book series that you’ve been reading for several years comes to a conclusion, especially if it’s been one long, continuous story. So much has happened in Kengo Hanazawa’s I Am a Hero that I couldn’t process it all while I was reading this final Omnibus, nor immediately after. I stared wide-eyed at the pages as they scrolled past me (We read in PDFs for reviews.), wrestling with everything in the moment. I felt like a ping pong ball as Hanazawa furiously ran from one side of the table to the other. For a series that has striven to both be epic and incredibly personal, this final Omnibus succeeds on so many levels.
I read somewhere that indie comic books are outpacing superhero comic books. Gideon Falls is one of the reasons why. Jeff Lemire and other writers of his ilk are writing books that tell stories in the comic book format that would be difficult to tell with any superhero at the center… because with superhero stories, you know - in one way or another - the superhero will win. Everything will be set right. Death is never forever. The only thing a reader can hope to happen that may mix things up is that the hero will lose something of personal value along the way. Some writers can tap into this for short runs. I’m not asking for tragedy. I’m asking for uncertainty. On the other hand, heroes may learn something new on their journeys, but how many times can those characters learn the same things… lose the same things over the course of 20, 30, 60 (!) years before readers start looking for fresh alternatives and new visions. The comic book industry is at a tipping point.
The first issue of Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’edera introduced us to a dark and bloody situation as a group of kids were brutally ripped apart by a monster. Because it’s James Tynion IV, it was emotional and provocative, and artist Dell’edera showed these events to us in a viscerally arresting way. The survivor: a gay young man in high school named James. By the end of the issue, James meets a wickedly badass monster hunter named Erica Slaughter.
I've mentioned in my reviews before that I am a huge fan of the Dungeons & Dragons show, Critical Role. I've been a fan of the show for a long time, and as its popularity has grown, so has the desire for more and more content related to the tales of the group of plucky adventurers known as Vox Machina. While their story wrapped up quite awhile ago, the public version of the show began in the middle of things, as Vox Machina had already become a well-known adventuring party as fans began to get to know these characters. With that, the cast and creators of the show struck a deal with Dark Horse Comics to share the team's pre-live-streaming adventures. These are the beginnings of the group, how they met and what became of them as they grew from a band of bumbling idiots to the saviors of the world.
Bizarre, emotional, and strangely poignant. Not really the words I expected to use when talking about a video game tie-in comic, but this is where I find myself with today’s outing. Minecraft: Stories from the Overworld is a curious anthology of tales set in the Minecraft universe. Somewhat akin to Minecraft: Volume 1, which I reviewed earlier this year, Stories from the Overworld has the same feeling as its predecessor but gives different artists and writers the chance to cut their teeth on the Minecraft world.