Paul Cornell, in his fourth issue of This Damned Band, weaves a masterful tapestry of mysticism, action, comedy, and pathos. It flows smoothly from one tone to the next, never missing a beat and always retaining the rhythm and reality of the story. It’s not often I find myself laughing out loud while reading comics, but I have consistently done so with this series.
Greg Rucka is a master at plotting epic world-scapes with complicated and interesting female leads. I’ve been reading Lazarus, another of his Image titles, since the beginning, and it’s so incredibly and intricately designed - a web of details combined with constantly shifting and highly effective character arches that criss-cross causes, leaving wakes of unexpected effects behind them. It’s a fantastic book. So, when I saw the advertisements for a new Rucka book, I cheered inside (as I do most of my comic reading in public.)
Answers that beg more questions. It seems like in the world of Arcadia, with every nugget that we learn, we get tossed around in a whirlwind of more unknowns.
Quick recap: The Spire is fantasy taking place in a land in which one of its prominent cities is part of a spire that shoots treacherously high into the sky. Below are the denizens that are looked down upon due to their race or poverty level. Up in the spire reside the royalty. An attack on the royalty and a murder have put an undo amount of stress on the Captain of the City Watch, Sha, who is a different race than those that have royal blood. Sha is a badass fighter with ample amounts of wit and helpful, thin tentacles that shoot out of her back for fighting and climbing. She also has an eye patch – badass. She also happens to be emotionally exhausted. To carry the weight and responsibility of the city guard in the face of racial bias and the shifting sands of royal support would do that.
Reading an issue of Colder I imagine is like being cooked like a lobster. You don’t notice the temperature change until it’s too late.
There’s something psychologically methodical about how Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra (Prometheus: Fire and Stone) layout their story from page to page and panel to panel that slithers back behind your subconscious, hides there, and then starts poking at it, taking the form of a gnawing discomfort. Much of it has to do with the patience they exhibit. They don’t just throw creepy images or violent mayhem at you right away. In fact, much of the creepiness occurs because, sometimes, things don’t happen for several pages at a time, and with Nimble Jack spreading madness, you kind of don’t want it to.
I jumped at the opportunity to read what I believed to be a new offering from Kevin Eastman (TMNT) and Simon Bisley (Lobo, Heavy Metal, etc.), thinking it would be a fun trip back to the '90s. Little did I know that it quite literally is a trip back in time, as it’s a republishing of something from Heavy Metal.
The trade paperback of Memetic collects all three issues of James Tynion IV (Batman Eternal, Ufology) and Eryk Donovan’s (In the Dark, Imaginary Drugs) 2014 three-issue, paranoia-laced, completely unnerving horror series about the spread of information in the social media world.
Richard Corben is one of those names you recognize immediately. From Heavy Metal Magazine to drawing some of the most popular rock album covers (Meat Loaf's Bat out of Hell), he’s left his mark on pop culture for a wide spectrum of people for decades now. He’s a name spoken alongside some of the masters like Frank Frazetta and for good reason. His artistic prowess has an otherworldly grace to it. Some of my memories of his work range from Hellboy, Aliens: Alchemy, a couple of Punisher one shots, Hellblazer, and the list goes on. Though it’s hard to pin him down as he’s not known for one thing, when he works, I pay attention.
Secondary plots and background noise are all pushed to the foreground in the third issue of Paul Cornell and Tony Parker’s This Damned Band. As the elements intertwine and slowly begin to close in on the hapless and drug-induced band members of the band Motherfather, their personalities begin to spiral out of control. No one is left unaffected.
You know those moments when you say something knowing that, as you say it, there’s a much better way of actually approaching the situation, but for whatever reason, you reach down to the part of you that is most afraid, terrified actually, of making the right choice and you doom yourself anyway. And then, you crumble because that may have been it. You just keep pushing away the things you love.