HILO VOL 2

HILO: SAVING THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD
Written and Drawn by Judd Winick
Published by Random House Kids

Reviewed by Marc Mason

As good as the first volume of HILO was, the second volume is a quantum leap forward in terms of story, pacing, and art. Judd Winick is attempting to outdo himself, and he is succeeding.

When last we left the robot boy he had achieved a great victory at a high price: seeming destruction and an early exit from Earth. But as volume two gets underway we see him start to find his way back to Earth thanks to his toe.

hilo vol2

If I explained that to you, it would ruin a great gag. Not gonna do it.

Reunited with his pals DJ and Gina, he gets right back to enjoying the fruits of our planet and to experiencing things like trying to eat. But it isn’t too long before trouble starts brewing: rifts start appearing in the air and unusual creatures (and robots) start making their way through. When one of those creatures is a cat-warrior who is something of a samurai, the secret of Hilo’s existence may not remain secret for much longer…

Hijinks, tremendous battles, and incredible amusement follow.

To use Hilo’s favorite word, volume two of this terrific series is outstanding in every way. It is clever, exciting, drawn beautifully, has richer and deeper emotional stakes, and amazingly fast-paced. I continue to be extremely pleased to have this Judd Winick back making comics, not the one who did all those dark and gritty DC comics. This is his wheelhouse. Can’t wait for the next volume.


FIX – RENATO JONES

THE FIX #1-2
Written by Nick Spencer and Drawn by Steve Lieber
RENATO JONES #1
Written and Drawn by Kaare Andrews
Published by Image Comics

Reviewed by Marc Mason

Two newbies from Image that are deserving of your attention…

Boy, oh boy, is THE FIX a breath of fresh air.
We open with the main character extolling the virtues of being a criminal, and it’s done so in almost depressingly hilarious fashion. As he and his partner rob a senior citizen’s retirement home, you immediately know you’re in for a ride. One, what the hell kind of criminal robs this place yet also acts appalled when the residents aren’t being properly supervised, and two, how many of these old guys tend to have a shotgun in their bed?

TheFix_01-1Cover

One too many, as it turns out.

From there it only gets crazier, as we learn these two gunmen are even more off the chain that you might have guessed… because they’re actually cops. Super, super dirty cops.

Hilariously dirty cops.

Not only that, but they are in debt to even dirtier cops, which causes them to make some… unusual decisions to try and clear the books. To tell you more would be just mean; suffice it to say that the plot goes off in absolutely insane directions, making THE FIX some of the most fun I have had in recent memory when reading a comic. Not once was I able to predict what was going to happen next, and that is a true gift to a reader. Genuine surprise doesn’t happen much anymore.

Spencer and Lieber continue the outstanding collaboration they developed while doing SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN, and the book soars because of it. The creative chemistry here is amazing, and both are working at the top of their talents on every page. I laughed consistently at THE FIX and at the end of each issue I immediately wanted the next one. Highest possible recommendation.

Also…

I was a little dubious when I heard about RENATO JONES. The concept sounded a little too calculated to me: a killer who preys on the 1%. That’s pretty much a meteor directly to the heart of the zeitgeist, and that made it easy to be cynical about it.

But here’s the thing: it turns out to be pretty good.

renato jones 1

Kaare Andrews uses his artistic imagination to do some amazing things in this one, engaging different art styles, multimedia, negative space, and more to tell the story of a young boy who rises from the streets to become a quiet scourge to those who place themselves about the rest of us. It is violent. It is profane.

Yet so are the actions of many of the 1%. There is justice here.

RENATO JONES didn’t set me on fire with its rage and anger, but it did engage and entertain me in a meaningful way. It isn’t like anything else on the stands, and that, for damn sure, matters.