Written and Drawn by Various
Published by Image Comics
Reviewed by Marc Mason
Buncha new stuff from Image lately. Taking a look at some of it…
The future + sports has always been a fertile combination, and it proves to be once again with MARA #1 from writer Brian Wood and artist Ming Doyle. In a near-future where international athletic competition has reached a zenith of popularity, no one is more revered or respected than volleyball sensation Mara Prince. Talented, telegenic, and sponsor-friendly, she stars for the best team in the world. But beneath that, she leads a stressful life with no privacy and danger lurking all around. However, that all may change when during a match something… strange… happens that will change her life and career permanently. Everything here is executed extremely well; Wood’s script is terse, letting the art carry the story, and Doyle’s knockout work is more than up to the task. The cliffhanger is a damn good one, and I look forward to seeing how the story plays itself out. Recommended.
I really enjoyed THE STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHOR STRODE, so I was pleased to see the sequel THE LEGEND OF LUTHOR STRODE #1 arrive by the end of the year. Writer Justin Jordan and artist Tradd Moore return with a gloriously over-violent new installment, picking up five years after the first book ended. Luthor is terrorizing the underworld, and the bad guys simply cannot let that stand, so they hatch a clever plan that involves tying up an outstanding thread from book one. Telling you more would be unfair. Suffice it to say, everything I enjoyed about the first book is back in this one: good dialogue, gonzo art, zippy pacing. This isn’t a book for the squeamish, but it sure is a lot of fun. Give me a comic with this much joy in it every day of the week.
The first WITCH DOCTOR series also surprised me with how much fun it was to read, and WITCH DOCTOR: MAL PRACTICE #1 & 2 continue in that vein as well. This time around, the Doctor is mystically roofied, leaving him with an STD (sorcery transmitted disease) that will kill him unless he turns over a particular spellbook to the bad guy. Of course, nothing is ever that easy, and things don’t quite go according to plan. Magical carnivals, strange autopsies, demons that replace the human tongue… this book is loaded with insane ideas, which is really its charm. Writer Brandon Seifert and artist Lukas Ketner seem unafraid to try anything, willing to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. That kind of gunslinger mentality serves them well, and it serves the book well, also.
NOWHERE MEN #1 & 2 are certainly audacious comics. Writer Eric Stephenson and artist Nate Bellegarde have created an ambitious story that follows two different tracks. In one, we meet and learn about a foursome of scientists who band together to form a company of their own and change the world, and see how that façade of greatness can be easily wiped away. In another, we follow a small laboratory crew that work for their country as they deal with being quarantined because of an unexplainable illness. Nothing there is quite what it seems, either, and to spoil it would be criminal. But that isn’t all. There is also supplementary material that will remind many readers of the experience of reading WATCHMEN. Oh, and there isn’t an ounce of fat to be found here, either. No ads, and the inside covers are used for story material as well. The indicia is crowded out and forced to the back cover. At three bucks, this is pretty much a mega-bargain. I was completely immersed in it, and I have zero idea where it is going. That’s all you can ask for as a reader.