(Spoiler Alert: There be gold in them pages)
Yesterday, the Eisner Award nominees were announced with Image being really well-represented across many of its categories. In celebration, Image announced they’d be giving a 50% discount on all digital purchases of the nominees for the rest of the week, meaning at ninety-nine cents an issue on some platforms, you’d be a fool to not snatch up a couple of them. And my momma didn’t raise no fool [I’m sorry. I refuse to edit out that sentence as I am a man of principles], or at least not the type to skip out on purchasing something they had planned to buy anyway. Of the comics nominated, all had been recommended to me at one point or another by friends on Facebook as a result of this blog. As I had already read issue 1 of Pretty Deadly, I decided I’d give issue one of four of the other nominees a try, and based on my preferences getting their first volume in trade form.
When looking at my purchasing options, I settled on giving Comixology a try as I had never checked it out before and figured it’d probably continue to blow up more now that Amazon has purchased it. It is a little odd though that the comic isn’t actually on my computer though. It feels almost as if I’ve really just purchased the opportunity to read, and not own it, but I guess that’s something I should talk about one of my lit profs with over black coffee or something, and not here. I found Comixology’s online reader pretty intuitive once I started using the ‘Guided View’ although I wish it’d let me zoom in to specific panels more easily. Anyway, without further ado, here goes it (Oh, and henceforth, thanks to this wonderful AV Club Big Issues article, I’ll be including colorists in credits).
Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, Santi Arcas Lazarus #1
I haven’t read Greg Rucka’s work since I checked out a few issues of Gotham Central a few years back. While I found his writing really interesting, I’ve never been a huge fan of police dramas, so didn’t follow it to its well-regarded end. Lazarus seems to be new territory for Rucka, and I don’t think I’d be off in seeing his future America controlled by the absurdly wealthy would fall under the speculative fiction genre with some fantastic action in there for good measure. Rucka and Lark’s first issue works really well at hooking me as a reader from its first page that left me uncertain as to what would follow to the slow reveal of the circumstances of the comic’s world. The protagonist Forever, daughter of one of six families that control the United States and her family’s Lazarus, is set up for a great personal conflict as she is torn between allegiance to her family, and the moral corruption she views within the system hers and the other families have set up and maintained.
Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta, Frank Martin East of West #1
Like much of Jonathan Hickman’s work, there’s a lot of initial disorientation in this issue as Hickman thrust us into an all new world with a large cast, heady themes, and strange tech. Sometimes, that all gets in the way of a good story, but here Hickman writes the Three Horsekids? of the Apocalypse with great dose of creepiness and humor, setting up a premise that promises the end of the world, but in the future so we’re good for now. Dragotta does fantastic work designing the characters and the world of this book, putting demonic being in future tech worlds without flinching.
Eric Stephenson, Nate Bellegarde, Jordie Bellaire Nowhere Men #1
I read Nowhere Men #1 first of these four issues, and it’s the one that I intend to reread as soon as I possibly can. When I had heard the premise months ago (basically what if the Beatles weren’t musicians, but instead genius-level scientist?), I knew I’d eventually get around to reading it, and now that I’m through issue one I’m a bit upset that it took me so damn long to get on board. Stephenson, Bellegarde and Bellaire do a first
issue like few others can. In just the first couple pages, we meet the four scientists that assemble to form World Corp. in their inception, and see their partnership fall apart years later only be whisked away yet again to a crew of workers aboard a World Co satellite that have all fallen ill from a mysterious illness. And throughout it all, Stephenson manages to make each character sound distinct, and never like exposition machines despite the unfamiliarity of the world these characters reside in. I’ll be getting whatever trades of this I can get my hands on as soon as possible.
Kurtis J Wiebe, John “Roc” Upchurch, The Rat Queens #1
If Lazarus is the grim and tortured one, Nowhere Men the smart and arrogant one, East of Eden the biblical and also tortured one, then that’d make The Rat Queens the fun one that makes the others bearable to hang out with beyond the first ten minutes. Unlike it’s other Image brethren The Rat Queens isn’t concerned with the big questions. Instead, Wiebe and Upchurch have their sights set squarely on making their readers laugh as often as possible at the shenanigans it’s four main characters get up to, at the best of times including shrooms and alcohol. I had saved The Rat Queens for last hoping it’d cure the remnants of all the doom the other comics showed, and it delivered.