Graphic Life: June 2018

Comics

It’s almost two months since my first edition of “Graphic Life” where I run through the comics and graphic novels I’ve read recently and I’ve got through quite a lot, including some really great books. Have a read then pop down to your local store to pick up some new comics!

Black Hammer

Black Hammer Volume 1

Author: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Dean Ormston

Score: 8/10

More brilliance from Jeff Lemire in this off the wall super hero series. The story follows a group of super heroes trying to live normal lives in some kind of small town parallel universe. The art is wonderful and the characters are intriguing, I’m looking forward to see where this goes.

4 Kids
4 Kids Walk Into A Bank

Author: Matthew Rosenberg

Artist: Tyler Boss

Score: 8/10

An exciting and funny short series brimming with nostalgia. A group of young friends get involved with some dangerous criminals and plan a bank robbery to save one of their fathers from returning to his own illegal activities. The relationships between the characters is very well written and the panel work is sublime.

Flirting-With-Death
Flirting With Death

Author: Rudra Purkayastha

Artist: Lydon White & Paulina Vassileva

Score: 6/10

A small collection of short stories about life and death. I enjoyed some of the stories more than others but there are a number greats pieces of work here. It’s hard to make an impact in a few pages but some of these little stories have stuck with me, especially one about a lonely robot and another featuring a giant goldfish.

SpySeal_Vol01-1
Spy Seal: The Corten-Steel Phoenix

Author: Rich Tommaso

Artist: Rich Tomasso

Score: 8/10

An old school spy comic but all of the characters are various anthropomorphic wildlife, imagine a cross between Tin Tin and Blacksad (if you’re familiar with them). The simplistic art style is lush and very fitting of the tone while the fast paced story was a whole lot of fun.

Brass Sun
Brass Sun: The Wheel Of Worlds

Author: Ian Edgington & I.N.J. Culbard

Artist: I.N.J. Culbard

Score: 8/10

This elaborate steam punk epic had me gripped from start to finish. Based in a clockwork solar system were planets are dying as the mechanisms start to slow down, we follow a young woman on her mission to fix this fading collection of planets. It can be difficult to make unique sci-fi these days but in Brass Sun we have a very original series that deserves more attention.

Potters Field
Potter’s Field

Author: Mark Waid

Artist: Paul Azaceta

Score: 6/10

A solid detective series about an investigator trying to solve the murder cases of unidentified bodies. A great premise and good pacing but unfortunately I felt it fell in to a few cliches.

Death Follows
Death Follows

Author: Cullen Bunn

Artist: A.C. Zamudio

Score: 7/10

A short series from horror expert Cullen Bunn. An incredibly eerie tale of a farming family who take on a mysterious farm hand who hides a dark secret. This is the first thing I’ve read by Bunn but I’ll definitely be checking out his acclaimed series “Harrow County” because I really enjoyed the unsettling vibes in this.

PeterPanzerfaust_vol05-1
Peter Panzerfaust Volume 5

Author: Kurtis J. Wiebe

Artist: Tyler Jenkins

Score: 8/10

A heartfelt conclusion to a fantastic series. As the name suggests, Peter Panzerfaust is based on the Peter Pan story but it is set in France during World War 2 and Peter and his lost boys spend their time fighting Nazis. It’s always difficult to bring a story to an end but this was executed very well with a great mix of exciting action and emotional narrative.

Dr Strange
Doctor Strange: Way Of The Weird Volume 1

Author: Jason Aaron

Artist: Chris Bachalo

Score: 7/10

I’m not much of a Marvel fan but every now and then I’ll pick up a series to give it another go. This run of Dr Strange has definitely got me a bit more interested in Marvel as it’s exactly what I want from a super hero comic. It’s fast paced, the art is over the top and most importantly it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Green Wake
Green Wake Volume 1

Author: Kurtis J. Wiebe

Artist: Riley Rossmo

Score: 4/10

A mysterious character appears in a small town full of equally mysterious characters and no one knows how they got there. There are some good ideas in this supernatural detective story but overall it didn’t grab me.

Punpun
Goodnight Punpun

Author: Inio Asano

Artist: Inio Asano

Scores:

Volume 1 – 9/10

Volume 2 – 10/10

Volume 3 – 8/10

Volume 4 – 9/10

Volume 5 – 8/10

Volume 6 – 10/10

Volume 7 – 10/10

I wasn’t planning to read this whole series so quickly but after reading the first volume I just had to read the rest. Goodnight Punpun has jumped straight in to my top 5 series ever, it truly is a masterpiece. At it’s heart the series is a coming of age story, following Punpun from his childhood through to his 20s, but it’s so much more than that. It’s an intricate tale of love, family, friendship, obsession and depression that uses the medium in ways that I have never seen before. Our protagonist and his family are all drawn as crude bird like stick figures while the rest of the characters are fully realised as detailed, regular looking people. It’s hard to explain why this odd representation of the main character is so effective but it adds another level to the story telling. I was transfixed for the entirety of the series and connected with it on an emotional level that I don’t feel often, I’d strongly recommend this to anyone who’s looking for something a bit different.

Saga
Saga Volume 8

Author: Brian K. Vaughan

Artist: Fiona Staples

Score: 7/10

Image Comics’ flagship series continues with more space opera weirdness. The story seems to be meandering a bit now but it’s still a very enjoyable read and the art is as incredible as it’s always been.

Secret
Secret

Author: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Ryan Bodenheim

Score: 6/10

Hickman is one of my favourite authors and although this isn’t one of his strongest projects it is a fun heist/spy action comic.

Irmina
Irmina

Author: Barbara Yelin

Artist: Barbara Yelin

Score: 7/10

Based on a true story, Irmina is a German woman working in England shortly before World War 2 who ends up back in Germany, unable to escape as the Third Reich takes over. I was fascinated by the depiction of Nazi Germany, seeing it through the eyes of a regular civilian, the soul destroying environment that made it almost impossible to speak out. It’s easy now to look back and wonder how people let such horrible events happen but this really gave some perspective. Not the most exciting read but I enjoy these slower historical novels and the art was apropos.

One Piece
One Piece

Author: Eiichiro Oda

Artist: Eiichiro Oda

Scores:

Volume 8 – 6/10

Volume 9 – 7/10

One Piece continues to be my go to easy read. The crew once again get side tracked on their quest and although volume 8 was a bit slower than usual it did a good job of setting the scene for the madness of volume 9.

Manifest
Manifest Destiny Volume 5

Author: Chris Dingess

Artist: Matthew Roberts

Score: 7/10

One of the series on Image Comics that I always look out for. It follows one of the first groups to explore America but instead of the regular Natives and wildlife they find the country filled with mythical creatures. Each volume they stumble across another horrific phenomena that puts the expedition at risk and teaches them more about this treacherous land. This volume wasn’t quite as intriguing as the last but with the beautiful art and character dynamic it’s still very entertaining.

Spread
Spread Volume 5

Author: Justin Jordan

Artist: Kyle Strahm

Score: 7/10

The concluding volume to one of the more unique post apocalyptic comics out there (and there are a lot). Set some time in the future when a grotesque, sentient growth has spread across America killing many and infecting others. We follow a loner tough man simply known as “No” as he tries to save the child who may be the key to stopping the spread. The series never slowed down and with this volume it comes to a fittingly action-packed, blood filled ending.

KidSavage-1
Kid Savage

Author: Joe Kelly

Artist: Ilya

Score: 3/10

A bickering family find themselves stranded on an alien planet and are saved by a young native. A bit on the basic side for my liking but would probably be a good read for younger audiences and has some great art at times.

Beasts or Burden

Animal Rites: Beasts of Burden

Author: Evan Dorkin

Artist: Jill Thompson

Score: 8/10

A group of neighbourhood dogs (and a cat) band together to battle the increasingly common supernatural forces in the area. It’s a funny and thrilling series with breath-taking art. It reads like a colourful children’s book with surprisingly adult content, a wonderful juxtaposition that makes it a brilliant read, especially for dog lovers.

album-cover-large-48
Kenya

Author: Leo

Artist: Rodolphe

Scores:

Volume 1 – 6/10

Volume 2 – 7/10

Volume 3 – 7/10

Volume 4 – 6/10

Volume 5 – 8/10

I absolutely love the Aldebaran series from European comic book legend Leo so I’ve been meaning to get through this series for a while. Leo’s comics have a very distinctive style that I absolutely love, he has a great mind for conjuring up these bizarre creatures. The series follows a British academic on a visit to Kenya when peculiar animals start appearing and causing troubles for everyone in the area. A joyful sci-fi romp with a retro vibe.

Regression

Regression Volume 1

Author: Cullen Bunn

Artist: Danny Luckert & Marie Enger

Score: 7/10

An excellent mix of body horror and occult themes with some crime drama thrown in there. A man is plagued by horrific visions and these nightmares become all too real when a hypnotist awakens an entity from a previous life. The elaborate artwork is very creepy and the unique storyline is well executed.

RoyalCity_Vol02-1

Royal City Volume 2

Author: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Jeff Lemire

Score: 8/10

This was my favourite new series of 2017 so I was really hyped to read the second volume and it didn’t disappoint. The series focuses on a troubled family brought back together in a failing industrial town when the father’s health takes a bad turn. This volume goes back and looks at the children of the family in their youth, continuing to add depth to these very well realised characters. I often get frustrated when a flashback lasts a full volume but in this case it’s an integral part of this already exceptional series.

Jazz Maynard

Jazz Maynard Volume 1: The Barcelona Trilogy

Author: Raule

Artist: Roger

Scores: 8/10

The more European comics I read the more I love them, maybe it’s only the good ones that make it over here in England but almost every one I read is fantastic. Jazz Maynard is a trumpeter with a secret set of skills that are very useful in the criminal underworld. He is brought back to his home of Barcelona after saving his younger sister from sex traffickers in New York but soon finds himself in a lot more trouble. The art in this book is so slick, it oozes coolness and perfectly visualises the high octane fight sequences. This could easily have been a typical action-packed crime drama but the the plot twists and effortless style make it into something special.

GodCountry_01-1

God Country

Author: Donny Cates

Artist: Geoff Shaw, Jason Wordie & John J. Hill

Scores: 6/10

An elderly man with Alzheimers gains possession of a magical sword that cures him of his disease but comes with a catch, the god who made it wants it back. This short series has lots of action interspersed with emotional scenes between the man and his son, all very well drawn and coloured. There was lots of very high praise for God Country but I found it somewhat disappointing, it’s solid but to me it doesn’t really stand out.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s