Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

House of Penance is as much an intangible mystery as any: entering into an unknown world, one that seems vaguely familiar but becomes increasingly less and less so. That’s why we read, isn’t it? That’s why we set aside time for it from running errands, typing on Facebook, our jobs, living in political arguments. We read to get a peek into worlds that aren’t so cyclically familiar. We read to, if even for ten minutes, break that pattern up a bit.

Giant Days is absolutely delightful. It’s really funny in a way that never panders to the people who like the lowest common denominator. Low-hanging fruit is thrown out for genuine, character-based moments, and what wonderful characters.

I Am a Hero is Scott Pilgrim plus Shaun of the Dead with the breadth of the Akira manga. It is a full-fledged, one hundred percent work of art that is both awesome and gut wrenchingly bittersweet. I woke up in the middle of the night two nights ago with a particularly beautifully rendered sequence swimming in my head and felt so achingly sad that I wanted to cry.

Last year, Dark Horse Comics breathed new life into the Alien, Predator, and Prometheus franchises with their Fire and Stone series of interlacing stories. That revitalization carries over into their new, seventeen-issue opus, Life and Death, which takes place a year after Fire and Stone and forty-three years after Aliens. Despite a few missteps, Fire and Stone was enlivening as a fan of the different franchises. They even made interesting again my least favorite of the bunch, The Predator.

Just as Lone Wolf 2100 was finding its rhythms beyond that of a thinly veiled, in-name-only, not-so-much a remake of the original Lone Wolf and Cub – just as it was finding its charm and personality, it comes to an end. Now that I’ve witnessed what Eric Heisserer could have done with this book from the get go, I want more.

Lantern City is written like a television series. You have a show runner, Trevor Crafts, his support team, Matthew Daley and Bruce Boxleitner, and then you have your episodic writers, Paul Jenkins, Matthew Daley, and Mairghread Scott – with Matthew Daley working on each of the issues with Jenkins and Scott. Carlos Magno’s art keeps it cohesive with colors by Chris Blythe. Why this approach is taken, I’m not entirely sure. It doesn’t seem to add or detract from the telling of the story.

The Beauty is a clever and interesting series by Jeremy Haun (story and art) and Jason A. Hurley (also story) who approach a never-ending, consistently relevant social issue in a way that I’ve never seen done before.

I’ve never been all that fascinated by serial killer as celebrity. I see those curious shops full of three-first-name memorabilia and I wonder how places like that can pay their rent. I think about the people that would buy the paintings of Charles Manson or consider marrying him while he’s serving (how many life sentences?) while in prison. Our train wreck of celebrity intoxication has turned some of the most dangerous men on the planet into clowns or, worse yet, normal. That being said, the myth of serial killers intrigues the heck out of me. As a storyteller, the evil they represent is fodder for the exploration of the darkest corners of humanity.

Matt Kindt throws a curve ball in the final issue of Past Aways, and, instead of focusing the brunt force of the story behind the action and characters, he wriggles free of what we expect as a reader and makes the comic about an idea. In the end, this reads as the kind of story that was far more personal than originally anticipated.

Up until now, Grant Morrison and Dan Mora’s Klaus felt a little too frivolous. Our buff hero Klaus is going to become Santa. He has a cool wolf. The bad guy is really evil. It felt more like a fun melodrama. I was expecting someone to say, “You will pay the rent!”

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