Tokyo Ghost #1

Image

Release Date:  9/16/15

Words:  Rick Remender

Pictures:  Sean Murphy

The Sitch:

Tokyo Ghost begins in The Isles of Los Angeles 2089. Humanity’s single, all consuming addiction is technology. This brave, new world houses only seekers of distraction from real life which has become nothing but toxic contamination. They beg, borrow, steal, and/or kill to buy their next digital fix. This virtual high is the only thing anyone lives for anymore and the drug lords rule the world, real and virtual. The only source of order in such a chaotic world are Constables Debbie Decay and the love of her life, Led Dent. Debbie is the last tech-free human in LA while Led is as tech-addicted as they come. The duo has one last job to carry out before Debbie can achieve her dream of getting the two of them out of The Isles of LA and into The Garden of Tokyo, the last tech-free nation on Earth. There she hopes to find detox for the man she loves, the only thing that makes her life worth living, the only thing that keeps her fighting.

The Confession:

Tokyo Ghost is pull-worthy.

If the team up of Remender and Murphy isn’t enough to sway you, then I will attempt to convince you.

Tokyo Ghost is a fast paced sci-fi cautionary tale set to a punk rock beat. It gives you the same sort of warm, jittery feels you would get watching Mad Max: Fury Road. Remender cannot tell a bad story. His commentary on our current reliance on tech and constant need for stimulation from television and social media is not subtle. Nothing about this book is subtle. Of the two main characters, in this first issue, it is Debbie who is most intriguing. Though she is one half of a co-dependent relationship, she is immediately likable and a badass to boot. Being the only tech-free human in such a depressing world cannot be easy. She is fierce and fearless. She knows what she wants and she’s going to get it. The big bad of the story and last job is Davey Trauma, a not-so-subtle psychopath that kills for fun. See? Even the character names are fun to read. Just as interesting as the sci-fi thrill is the twisted codependent love story of Debbie and Len. I hate spoiling a good read so, if you are a fan of Mad Max/Road Warrior, Blade Runner, Judge Dredd, or Ghost in the Shell this is a read for you.

Murphey’s art is as stellar as always. I love the look of this book. It’s so pretty. His scratchy, punk feel is perfect for such a high octane dystopian thriller. Take the time to explore every single page, no space is wasted and nothing is simple filler. The world has gone toxic and mad. The tech drenched life is a reality worse than hell itself. The constant flood of information and images is truly frightening and not so far off in our future. As Remender said himself, “Our impulse control is gone; our attention spans are shorter, and it’s only getting worse.” Look around you, at yourself, at our children. That’s the stuff of nightmares. Murphey captures this beautifully.

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The Beauty #1

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Release Date:  8/12/15

Words:  Jeremy Haun & Jason A. Hurley

Pictures:  Jeremy Haun

The Sitch:

The hook is as follows:  Modern society is obsessed with outward beauty. What if there was a way to guarantee you could become more and more beautiful every day? What if it was a sexually transmitted disease? In the world of The Beauty, physical perfection is attainable. The vast majority of the population has taken advantage of it, but Detectives Foster and Vaughn will soon discover it comes at a terrible price. Writer/artist Jeremy Haun and co-writer Jason A. Hurley offer up a startling reflection on the cost of looking good in this procedural science fiction tale.

 The Confession: 

Since this IS the part where I confess my opinion of said book I must be honest… I picked up this book, one, because it’s an Image title, and two, because I saw the cover and thought, “Pretty!” How’s that for shallow?

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Lucky for me The Beauty is pretty freaking awesome. I mean, what a concept! I was just reading an article the other day about a woman who was diagnosed with cancer. When she was healthy she had always struggled with her weight. In about two months with her illness her health declined so much, so fast, that she lost a lot of weight. People began telling her how great she looked despite her dark circles under her eyes and loss of hair. This angered her, understandably so, because what does that say about a society that values beauty over health? It’s deplorable. It’s sick. It’s ugly. It’s the world we live in right now. The public at large will certainly take advantage of a quick and easy fix. Who doesn’t want to be outwardly young and beautiful?

The Beauty depicts a world not too dissimilar from our own, only this one offers a fast and tempting fix for our vanity issues. A sexually transmitted disease called The Beauty is unleashed upon the world. Once infected the person becomes younger, slimmer, and obviously beautiful. It’s the kind of beautiful only Photoshop makes possible and many people want it. They go out and get it, regardless of the price. Of course there are going to be opposition because life is all about conflict. Enter detectives Foster and Vaughn who are called in on a new threat to The Beautys, death by sudden internal combustion. Is it the disease itself? Is it the backlash of the uninfected? The first issue sets up the hook and sinks it in firmly. The detectives are not fully developed yet but the reader gets just enough to know they are flawed and interesting. You will want to know what is going to happen to them and what they will find in their investigation of this mysterious crime in such an intriguing world. The writing is solid and the story has the potential to go in any number of directions. I cannot wait to see how it all plays out.

As one would expect, the art is gorgeous. It is painfully clear who the infected are and are not. It’s a gritty sci-fi crime tale and the art gets dark and gritty in all the right places. It’s a bit stunning when you see those infected with The Beauty in the midst of some ugly situations. I don’t think the words and pictures could have been so in tune with any other team of creators. Just looking at this book makes me sick and intrigued at the same time.

If you are looking for that something new and original with some disturbingly haunting after affects, don’t pass up The Beauty. Honestly, the hook is all you need. This title is no doubt for mature audiences, those of you that appreciate a tale of sex, beauty, and crime.

Death Head #1

Dark Horse

Release Date:  7/15/15

Words:  Zack & Nick Keller

Pictures:  Joanna Estep

The Sitch:

Niles and Justine Burton are on a “babymoon” camping trip.  They expect to find some peace away from their stressful lives before their third child arrives. What they find instead is a scary close call in an abandoned village that hides an ancient evil. As Niles and Justine are just beginning their journey into horror, their two children back home are dealing with the creeps themselves. Creepiest detail I failed to mention:  Death’s head is covered with a plague doctor’s mask.

The Confession:

The Keller brothers can weave a good and creepy tale.  I enjoyed this read and can easily see it as a screenplay of an equally creepy film adaptation. This first issue does more character development than it does the frightening, although that doesn’t mean it lacks for tension. The family members are easily and quickly relatable, even likable. The parents have an easy and funny banter that encourages the reader to root for them when things get scary. I’m more partial to the kids at home than the parents, maybe because more time seemed spent developing them. There is the angsty older sister Maggie who refuses to comply with the rules or the nuns wielding them and the sweet bullied younger son called Bee. Death Head itself doesn’t have to do much of anything yet but be creepy. I’m intrigued to see how this story will unfold.

Estep’s art is a creepy kind of good. Her style gives off a dark, shadowy feel that only adds to how well she can create tension. She also knows how to show emotion through facial expressions and body language. There is a clean realistic look to the book making the story all the more CREEPY with the final, full page body shot of Death Head being a solid finish to this first issue.

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If you are looking for a new favorite horror story, this may be the one.

Super Sikh #1

Super Sikh Comics

Release Date:  April 2015

Words:  Eileen Kaur Alden & Supreet Singh Manchanda

Pictures:  Amit Tayal

The Sitch:

There is a new superhero in the comic world. He fights for justice, equality, and good against evil as any self respecting superhero would, but, even better, is he fights racial and religious stereotypes. He is Super Sikh and as his tagline says, he “loves Elvis, hates bad guys.” Meet Secret Agent Deep Singh who works as an I.T. guy by day and a SAS Special Forces-trained Secret Agent by night. He uses his Sikh principles to guide him to always do the right thing, standing up for injustice and innocents without hesitation and without any other motivations other than doing what is right for the sake of doing the right thing. Super Sikh is not supernatural and has no superpowers. He is trained, educated and is multicultural, making him not just the perfect role model for young people (or old, really) but by just existing he sends the clear and powerful message that he is not so different from us and what we are capable of making the world a better place.

The Confession:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this first issue of this book. Many thanks to Alden for bringing this to my attention. I do LOVE indie comics the best because there is so much exciting things going on off the mainstream road. I love and respect the idea of using the medium of comics to break down stereotypes and educate the masses, especially when targeted to the younger readers. In the opening pages alone I was sold, seeing Deep Singh fight the big bad, the ego-maniacal Taliban commander Salar Al Amok, who is burning books and “freeing” women of “the curse of education.” Yes, it totally appealed to the multicultural female in me, especially when a little girl draws him a picture of the hero she sees him as: a caped supe, rocking his turban proudly.

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The writing is solid, appealing to all age groups. Alden’s research into the Sikh culture is very impressive. In fact, she is the first known person to actually become Sikh from having done such extensive research for a comic book. I’m especially excited to see more of Deep’s cousin, Preeti, who happens to be an uber-smart tech specialist working for the same organization as her cousin. (Uh, how rad is her Kara bracelet!?)

Tayal’s artwork is outstanding. He has won many Comic-Con India awards and has been published internationally.  His work is simply beautiful to look at and he makes these characters really pop on the page.  His use of color and the way he shows facial expressions are fun as well as beautiful.

If you can get a copy of this cool comic in your hot little hands you will not be disappointed. In fact, I hope Super Sikh book all schools can begin to carry in their libraries! If you are at Metropolis, ask us how we can help you get it. If you are online please check out their online store:  http://www.supersikhcomics.com/.  Help get the word out on this one, Super Sikh deserves to be distributed to the masses at large.

Super Sikh Kickstarter Video

Savior #1

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Release Date:  4/8/15

Words:   Todd McFarlane & Brian Holguin

Pictures:  Clayton Crain

The Sitch:

It’s the real world and people are people.  Then, dropping out of the sky in fire and tragedy, a man appears naked and with no memory of who he is or where he came from. Also, he seems to have messianic power.  Immediately, as humanity is oft to do, he is seen by the masses as either a blessing or a curse.

The Confession:

McFarlane and Holguin are taking their time to craft a careful yet bold story that deals with the questions of faith and belief. The first issue, in terms of story, is the vaguest of set ups. By the last page the reader is still unsure of where this book is going.  That doesn’t mean words are wasted.  The development of character is strong. Cassandra, who seems to be the central character of the story so far, is smartly written.  Not unlike Cassandra, the reader is dropped into the unknown, between the opposing viewpoints of those that fear the fraud and those that hope he can provide miracles, with this unknown character, and left to slowly, almost painfully, piece together the mystery of who this mystery man is, where he came from, and why he exists.

Even better than the beginnings of such a story is the art work.  It is amazing.  It tells the story almost better than the words themselves.  There is a cinematic feel, as if you are watching this unfold within a lens rather than on paper.  The style is like a realistic abstract painting (if that makes any sense) and his use of panel layout is beautiful, at once focusing on the small squared perspective, then pulling back to reveal more of the surrounding chaos depicting the effect this savior has on the town and its people.

Savior has the potential for an excellent story.  It’s compelling and thought provoking and beautiful to see unfold.  It is definitely worth a read.  I’m intrigued and can’t wait to see where this one goes.

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21st Century Tank Girl #1

Titan Comics

Release Date:  6/10/15

Words:  Alan C. Martin

Pictures:  Brett Parson, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Jim Mahfood, Jamie Hewlett, Craig                       Knowles, Jonathan Edwards

The Sitch:

Jamie Hewlett returns to Tank Girl after 20 years, re-teaming with co-creator Alan C. Martin and a crew of additional contributors, bringing 21st Century Tank Girl to the attention of new readers and old cult followers alike. She’s rude, crude, and unapologetic: she’s Tank Girl. And she’s always NSFW (or children, if you didn’t already know.)

The Confession:

21st Century Tank Girl #1 is a collection of micro-stories, anthology form. These micro-stories show the various talents of different artists while displaying who this icon of female empowerment and sexual-determination, risen from 80’s Brit culture, is all about.  Tank Girl is still very much the anti-heroine; anarchistic, brash, and unapologetically amoral. If you are looking for a purely entertaining read with the raddest art depicting punk spunk, this is it.  Tank Girl has a cult following for a reason, catering to a specific audience.  I can see how a lot of people may not appreciate this kind of humor, but that’s okay, more for us weirdos.

I’ll just leave some pictures here to speak for themselves:

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Apologetic Update

Hello fellow small press junkies!

I just wanted to post a quick update to let you know that due to personal issues I have become a bit backlogged in posting new reviews.  I have not stopped reading, I will NEVER stop reading, but Time is not a good friend of mine.  If you hold tight I will be posting on the regular ASAP (next week.)  Wizard Con Sacramento is this weekend, June 19-21 at the Sac Convention Center.  Metropolis Comix will have a huge, rad booth set up, so come find us!  If you happen along the shop this week there will be a nice pre-sale going on.

In the meantime… feel free to let me know what good reads you’ve found lately.

Many mahalos!!