As the snow came down earlier this week – and bah, I’ve seen much worse, including two 6-foot falls in my life – I might have wiled away the hours reading comics. What new books might I be able to recommend from that stack?
Ivar, Timewalker by Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry for Valiant. Van Lente does it again, and this time with Armstrong’s OTHER immortal brother, bringing to this new book the kind of lunacy and humor he does to Archer & Armstrong. (That’s always been my problem with Valiant’s attempts at an Eternal Warrior book; he just wasn’t FUNNY.) Ivar’s shtick is right up my alley too – he can detect and use time portals to get to where and when he’s going. The twist is that he isn’t uptight at all about creating paradoxes, quite the opposite, and we’re so used to time travel media telling us to be careful (the character he carries along has seen the same movies we have), I can’t wait to see just how it works in this universe. Plus, Ivar isn’t being honest with the audience identification character so lots of surprises are in the offing. Henry’s art is, as usual, clean, dynamic and fun, though Brian Reber’s color effects are a bit too oppressive for my tastes.
Recommended? Van Lente and time travel are my chocolate and peanut butter. A no brainer. I you like the Valiant universe (why don’t you? you really should, it’s book for book the best superhero universe being published right now) or Doctor Who or y’know, fun unpredictable comics, you’ll like it as much as I do.
Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit by Rob Anderson, Fernando Melek and Novo Malgapo for Comics Experience/IDW. (Movie trailer voice) In a world where rampant genetic hybridization of animals has changed the importance of animal control forever… It’s a fun idea that seems to have been inspired by all those Photoshopped combinations of two animals (or B’Wana Beast, depending on the creators’ culture), and is a little bit of an amalgam itself, half Hill Street Blues and half Ghostbusters. Anderson, Melek at al. have creatures a fairly large cast of animal control officers and given each a little something to do, which bodes well for this 3-issue mini-series. The stories themselves aren’t revolutionary to anyone with even a passing awareness of the police procedurals TV keeps churning out, but the the crazy animals are enough of a twist to enliven the experience. Melek’s art gives the large cast distinct and diverse looks – none of them mistakable one for another – and his impossible animals look possible. Created through the Creators Workshop, the Comics Experience/IDW line (there, another hybrid) is all about relatively fresh talent and, I hope, new story avenues. Creature Cops is a fun first book for them to put out, with the rest already looking intriguing (I’ll let you know).
Recommended? A neat change of pace that can’t possibly overstay its welcome at 3 issues. I say check it out.
Zombies vs. Robots by Chris Ryall, Anthony Diecidue, Ashley Wood, Steve Niles and Val Mayerik for IDW. Ok, so the question is, do we need another Zombies versus book? Well, I don’t go around reading each one, but I loved the cover of ZvR, and if zombies are a bit overdone, robots are real classics. Turns out Chris Ryall had done a ZvR series way back in 2005; I just never noticed. No problem, this ongoing is apparently in continuity with that book, but it certainly doesn’t seem necessary to understand what’s going on. In fact, the first issue gives us an extended primer of this particular zombie apocalypse which includes an interdimensional gateway, ubiquitous robots, and isolated pockets of humanity. The feeling of the stories (Ryall/Diecidue on the intro, Wood on a dark children’s strip, and Niles/Mayerik on a continuing back-up of a kid and his robot) reminds me of the best Mars Attacks comics, where humanity is pretty much doomed so let’s just enjoy the violence. The series’ big advantage for me is its art, expressionistic and sketchy (Mayerik’s is the most realistic, but is still idiosyncratic), not necessarily what you’d expect from a robot story. But this isn’t about shiny, precisely drawn machines. It’s a grungy, mad and violent postapocalyptic world.
Recommended? Maybe it’s because the focus was much more on the robots, but I didn’t get zombie fatigue from it. I’m intrigued by how we essentially start at the end, and would like to see what kind of new beginnings will spring from it.
So three odd new titles for your pull lists, if your tastes are anywhere near mine. If you read them, what did you think?
Siskoid is an Amalgam of Benjamin Sisko from Deep Space 9 and the Noid from old pizza ads. Apparently.