NEW NBM

NEW NBM

Written and Drawn by Various

Published by NBM

Reviewed by Marc Mason

Three new books worth your time…

invincible days

After a long absence from the shelves, Patrick Atangan returns with INVINCIBLE DAYS, a fascinating look at his youth. Told via anthropomorphic characters, Atangan relates numerous emotionally involving stories that the reader can easily connect to on an intimate level. Whether it is the rawness with which he presents his feelings of isolation as a child from Asia being raised in America, or the dramatic heft of the ongoing saga of his grandmother’s deteriorating health and passing, everything here has a deep truth to it. It is the anthropomorphic characters, along with the day-glo color scheme Atangan uses that keeps the book from feeling too heavy. INVINCIBLE DAYS treads a line that combines autobiography and pure art comix, and does so pretty damned well. An easy recommendation for those whose tastes run toward those genres.

beauty

The writer/artist team of Hubert and Kerascoet (MISS DON’T TOUCH ME) once again grace American shelves with BEAUTY, a classic tale of a wish gone wrong. A young, plain commoner known as Coddie believes (and is treated like) she is the most unattractive girl in the land. But when she frees a trapped fairy, she is given a chance to change her life with a wish. Her wish: to be beautiful. Unable to physically change the girl, the fairy changes everyone’s perception of the girl, and suddenly all men across the land believe she is the fairest of them all. Unfortunately, this leads to violence, jealousy, vanity, and lots of other problems. Wittily scripted by Hubert and gorgeously drawn by Kerascoet, BEAUTY dives below the surface to tackle our obsession with looks, both our own and everyone else’s, in an interesting and entertaining way. As with their earlier work, the outcomes aren’t always pretty and the answers aren’t always easy, but the journey this excellent hardcover takes you on is well worth taking.

zombillenium2

Volume 2 of writer/artist Arthur De Pins’ ZOMBILLENIUM is subtitled “Human Resources”, which is a spectacular pun in many ways. Zombillenium is a horror theme park that is staffed by actual monsters and creatures of the night. Here in book two, the park faces trouble on two fronts: one, the nearby locals aren’t too keen on the monsters in their midst and are plotting some good old fashioned terrorism in order to do something about it; and two, a rather disturbing woman arrives at the park with her son, and there is something far too familiar about her in the eyes of management. In both cases, the rather… hot… aspects of Level -9 of the complex are about to come into play.

Funny, profane, rude, beautifully drawn, and highly creative, this second entry in the series is absolutely terrific. If they remain this good, I’ll keep reading them until the end.



LDB-WYTCHES-BIRTHRIGHT

LDB/WYTCHES/BIRTHRIGHT

Written by S. Steven Struble and Drawn by Sina Grace

Written by Scott Snyder and Drawn by Jock

Written by Joshua Williamson and Drawn by Andrei Bressan

Published by Image Comics

Reviewed by Marc Mason

Some terrific new stuff from Image…

LilDepressedBoy_vol2_01-1

After an absence of a year and a half, LI’L DEPRESSED BOY makes a much welcome return to the comics shelves. When last we left LDB, he and his girlfriend Spike had been suspended from their jobs at the movie theatre, but as we catch back up with the duo in issues #1-2 of this mini (subtitled “Supposed To Be There Too”), we see that they are using their free time quite nicely. In issue one, they hit a club to watch LDB’s friend Drew perform his sideshow act – and unfortunately run into Jazz, the woman who broke LDB’s heart at the beginning of the series. In issue two, they turn their attention to the fact that a co-worker assaulted LDB and in trying to seek justice for that act.

While the book has been away for a bit, the good news is that Struble and Grace don’t show it. Indeed, these are two of the best comics in the series to date. The characters are livelier and feel more fleshed out on the page, the dialogue rings true, and the emotional core of the story is strong. Spike and LDB continue to be a pairing that works fantastically well, and Grace’s art has only gotten better as he has stretched his talents into other genres recently. I’m quite pleased to have these characters back and entertaining me once more.

WYTCHES_1_Cover

On the other end of the spectrum, if you like being creeped out and having the bejesus scared out of you, lies WYTCHES #1-2. This new entry in horror comics comes from the all-star duo of writer Scott Snyder and artist Jock, and both are at the top of their game here. WYTCHES is a classic “there’s something evil in the woods” story, and that may be selling it a bit short. Hell, there’s enough mystery here that I’m not even sure how to properly describe it. The basics though, are that the story revolves around a teenage girl named Sailor Rooks who is infamous because people think she may have killed the class bully. But what she and we know is that the evil of the woods is responsible… and that evil is lingering with bad intent.

Despite some confusion, it all comes together quite nicely. In Sailor, Snyder has created a character who we can believe in and get behind. Indeed, all the characters are intriguing, and the dialogue is sharp and captivating. Then you throw in Jock’s art, which is as good as anything he’s done in his career, and the package becomes irresistible. Throw in a fantastic essay from Snyder at the back of issue #1 and WYTCHES is a complete winner.

birthright01

As someone who doesn’t read a lot of magical fantasy, I was hesitant about BIRTHRIGHT #1-2. “Little boy kidnapped to fantasy land” didn’t grab my attention, so I was rather astonished once I sat down with the book and quickly realized that it was so much more than that. The setup is all-to-real: young Mikey Rhodes disappears in the woods while playing catch with his father and is not found. At first people are helpful, then the tide turns and the father is accused of killing his son. The parents divorce. Lives are destroyed. Then a year later a man appears, dressed like a barbarian and claiming something insane: he is Mikey Rhodes, and he has been living in another dimension where time passes by faster.

With that, BIRTHRIGHT stakes its claim as something interesting and worth keeping an eye on. Then Williamson throws in another twist that absolutely turns the book upside down, and you’re completely hooked. A brilliantly executed story is underway, and you’re going to want more, and soon. Throw in gorgeous art from Bressan, and you have a comic firing on all cylinders. So glad to have my hesitation proven completely wrong.







CHEW 44

CHEW #44

Written by John Layman and Illustrated by Rob Guillory

Published by Image Comics

Reviewed by Avril Brown

Oh CHEW, why do you love to hurt us? We are your loyal followers, clinging to every panel in every issue, laughing and crying with every up and down. This issue wasn’t just down, however; it was downright painful.

chew 44 cover

CHEW has already proven it can be hilarious and light-hearted, and it can also cut you to pieces. In this issue, that’s literal. The showdown with The Collector has arrived, and boy is it bloody. No one survives this encounter with the mad vampire unscathed, and some do not survive at all. The elite FDA taskforce goes down in flames, there is heartbreak, and there is an unexpected betrayal which will undoubtedly have consequences beyond this confrontation. Perhaps worst of all, there is no resolution.

The front half of the story is all action while the back half is how they got there, and why Tony Chu was not among the FDA fighters in the raid on The Collector. Tony has been calmer since his conversation with his dead sister, and he knows his path. He tries to warn his partner but the wheels have already been set in motion, for better, or in this case, for worse.

There was a noticeable lack of amusing background anecdotes, which given the dark nature of this issue was a good call. Even great humor is hard to fully appreciate when you’re eyeball deep in game-changing gore. There is still the conclusion to this latest story arc waiting to be debuted next month, wherein we will learn the fate of the (current) survivors. I would say it can’t be any worse than what we experienced here at the hands of The Collector, but knowing CHEW that is highly unlikely.