Comic Reviews for September 25, 2014

Bee and Puppycat #4BeePuppycat04_coverB

I first found out about Bee and Puppycat when a woman I was dating sent me a link to the initial animated short Natasha Allegri had created for a Kickstarter campaign. The show I saw completely charmed me with its two leading characters, and the absurd turns their story took, culminating in Puppycat taking Bee on an extra dimensional trip to score them a few bucks.

Bee and Puppycat, in its comic form, divides itself between several short stories about the truly mundane problems of Bee’s life to hysterical effect. My favorite of the bunch is the final tale “Hungry,” a story about the otherworldly lengths Puppycat, an animal lying somewhere on the spectrum between cat and dog and possessing the cuteness of both, will go to indulge Bee’s laziness. It’s remarkable that Bee remains such a lovable character despite her lethargy, but I think that it’s because she’s so great at reflecting those moments of our own lives where even the smallest tasks seem to take superhuman strength.

Other favorites of mine from this issue include “The Perfect Sandwich” by Aimee Fleck. Recently I read Bryan O Malley’s Seconds, and like that graphic novel, this short reminded me of the medium’s ability to not only illustrate the awesomeness of food, but how we interact with it, the pair’s astonishment at the finished sandwich encapsulating so many of my own favorite food moments before the sandwich is engulfed by the typically cool Puppycat. And unlike most of the shorts, this one has Bee trumping Puppycat in terms of knowledge, crafting a superb sandwich for which I soon after wrote down the ingredients. (Read the complete review here)

Wayward #2 Wayward02_CoverA

That was a drastic change. After initially being pitched as a comic in the realm of the best of Buffy, Wayward is already looking to tackle themes that Buffy didn’t get around to until the latter half of its TV run (the comics never happened in my reality). How this issue changesWayward’s appeal and audience will only become apparent once readers have gotten their hands on it, but I at least need to give kudos to Jim Zub and Steve Cummings for taking on difficult material.

Wayward’s second issue begins once Rori makes it home after her fight last issue alongside the warrior cat-girl Ayane against the demonic kappa. Rather than scold her though, Rori’s mom makes light of her late night out, poising them for some greater dramatic tension later in the series. The bulk of the story focuses on Rori’s first day of school in Japan, and it’s here that the comic chooses to start dumping a ton of exposition in the vein of ‘In X they do it like this, but in Y they do it like this.’ Although it gets tiring after the first few comparisons, Rori’s internal narration continues to evoke sympathy without indulging in too much self-pity. However, once I read the issue’s supplementary material, I found it pretty interesting (and by interesting, I mean the opposite) how this portion of the comic essentially functioned as an illustrated version of the essay.

It’s also while at school that we’re privy to the issue’s most disturbing moment, and it’s pretty remarkable that it’s a scene that involves no Japanese demons or pattern recognition powers. As of this issue, it’s not clear whether Rori’s actions are a direct response to her manifesting powers, or her attempt at reconciling other emotional issues brought on by what seems to have been a troubled upbringing. Either way, I was a little taken aback by it, and didn’t find what followed said scene nearly as compelling despite being introduced to a new character Shira, a Japanese teenager and Rori’s schoolmate who can only sustain himself by eating spirits (Read the complete review here).

Sundowners #2 9.24.14

Sundowners #2

I want to be kind to Sundowners when reviewing it because I think it’s trying to do something original, but I’m torn because at the moment I still don’t know what the hell is going on. A comic book about a superhero support group at first glance, Tim Seeley and Jim Terry seem intent on taking this book way beyond that into stranger worlds where H.P. Lovecraft and Grant Morrison hold séances.

This issue picks up right after the previous one, and immediately it gets confusing. Last issue’s cliffhanger turns out to be nothing more than a trick of perception, or is it? That’s the main problem with Sundowners so far. It’s not apparent what our perspective on the story is. Because the cast is rife with characters that are mentally disturbed, there’s no clear idea about what is literally occurring in the comic’s reality, or even if characters are experiencing events in the same manner. I realize that’s possibly Seeley’s intention, but it definitely occurs to such a level as to diminish to the title’s enjoyment.

After the initial stunner, we’re introduced to Mr. Outsider, a member of the Sundowners support group who didn’t make it to last issue’s meeting. Posed as a Moon Knight-type figure, Mr. Outsider tasks Arcana, Crowlita and The Concerned Citizen with finding Dr. Shrejic, their sleazy support group leader, while he tracks down the elderly Karl and his kidnappers (Read the complete review here).

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