*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.
Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.
Five Furious and Fast: Rick Remender (Part 1)
If I were to go back over the past five years of writing Donist World and took a tally of the most mentioned creators, Rick Remender would definitely be in the top three. And with good reason. Remender has plenty of great work currently hitting the shelves, he has many titles that have seen their runs come to a fantastic end, whether published by large or small publishers, and the bottom line is that comic book fans have much to be thankful for. Honestly, there will have to be a part 1, a part 2, and at the rate Remender is going, a part 3 to this entry but you have to start somewhere.
Fear Agent(Written by Rick Remender, mostly illustrated by Tony Moore and Jerome Opeña, published by Image Comics 2005–2007, then Dark Horse 2007–2011, and trade publications have jumped back to Image as 2018...yeah, I don’t know what to tell ya)
A couple months ago, I mentioned that Fear Agent was a comic at the top of my reread list and writing that post got me amped to dive back into the sci-fi goodness of this series. The following week, I read all 32 issues over three glorious days and it not only stood up to the test of time, it actually surpassed my already lofty recollections. Even though I started with a bang back in the day with the first two trades and immediately switched to floppies, I vaguely remember some wait periods between issues that might have had a minor impact on my enjoyment of the series as a whole. Now I can say, powering through the entire epic is definitely the way to go. The series follows Heath Huston, the last of the Fear Agents who liberated a decimated Earth from the scourge of various warring alien races, but now, with only his ship’s AI to keep him company, Heath struggles juggling his addiction to the bottle and running various intergalactic odd jobs. Then he comes across a villainous Jellybrain alien and Heath sees a possible pathway to redemption. I actually caught myself smiling and sitting up straighter as I wrote the brief little intro teaser and I have an urge to start the book over again. Everything from the lead character, to the supporting female character, to the Jellybrain alien, the reptilian alien, the robots, the somewhat mothering AI of Heath’s ship, to the costuming, the massive and complex sci-fi/war/horror mashup story, Moore and Opeña’s gorgeous art, and the later brutal flashback reveal of what lead our hero to his current drunken state, all make me want to return to this damn-fine series again and again. You can get the whole shebang in the two hardcover volumes that are still available but going fast, or pre-order the newly-remastered reissued trades coming out starting in May. Just make sure you get your grubby little mitts on this must-read series.
Seven to Eternity(Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Jerome Opeña with two issues by James Harren, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, published by Image Comics beginning in 2016)
Okay, we have to address a couple elephants in the room. Yes, there have been some substantial delays between arcs. Yes, over the course of the nine issues released thus far there have been two issues with a different artist. But when the fill-in artist is James Harren and you see Opeña’s jaw-dropping, otherworldly illustrations—character designs, storytelling, intricate backgrounds, and otherwise stunning visuals—the wait for a comic book of this caliber is so very worth enduring. Remender and Opeña succeed in delivering a rich fantasy world filled with so-called gods (The Mud King) and the last vestiges of opposition (The Mosak knights). The story follows the dying Adam Osidis as he vows to save his family from the Mud King’s dominion and his controlling whispers, but this is a delicate operation, for if the Mud King dies without the proper measures being taken, then all under his control—most of the world’s population—will die along with him. The story and characters are amazing, the art is masterful, and together this is one of the best books on the stands…I just wish I had more of it. Thus far, there are two trades, which dang-well need to be part of your collection. Again, I am happy to wait if it means comics as great as Seven to Eternity continue to see release.
Deadly Class(Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, most recently colored by Jordan Boyd, published by Image Comics beginning in 2014)
It’s the ‘80s and the secretive King’s Dominion High School of the Deadly Arts is a high school for assassins. Marcus Lopez is street punk who’s had a horrible life ever since the day his parents died, but a gorgeous, Japanese crime syndicate boss’s daughter and the allure of finally having somewhere to belong, pulls Marcus into King’s Dominion’s treacherous depths. Oh, my goodness, this is one that anything else I say potentially risks spoiling the many gnarly plot twists found in the—as of this writing—32 issues. You will have to trust me when I say you will laugh, turn up your nose in revulsion, you will squirm in remembrance of your own awkward high school relationships, and your heart will race and pound in anxious excitement as characters lives get thrown into jeopardy and some that you have grown to love die. No one is safe in this series that 100% lives up to its name, but as stressful as things become, you can’t help but want to see what happens next. A good chunk of the tension for this series is of course found in Remender’s writing and characterizations, but when it comes to Craig and his expertise in storytelling using high-panel-count pages, slipping in subtle creative panel angles, and knowing when to knock the reader off their feet with a jarring splash page, you will probably need to catch your breath and walk off some of the stress each issue induces. Deadly Class has tons of characters you will grow to love and care about and if you can handle the roller coaster ride of this fantastic series, you are in for one heck of a treat. You can read Deadly Class in a hardcover edition (a second hardcover drops in the fall), or via the six available trades. Just be sure to catch up before the SyFy channel releases the pilot (hopefully) later this year.
The End League(Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Matt Broome then Eric Canete then Andy MacDonald, published by Dark Horse from 2007–2009) This great short-lived series only made it nine issues before Remender had to quickly tie everything up in the double-sized final issue after accepting an exclusive deal with Marvel comics. Although The End League could have probably been an even stronger book had it ran double the length it ultimately did, those nine issues are well worth your time. Basically, evil supervillains have taken over the world and the few remaining superheroes’ only hope of saving humanity rests in locating the hammer of the fallen Thor. Remender readily displays his love of the Big Two comic characters he grew up reading with the analogs he pulls together in this bleak yet exciting comic. After rereading Fear Agent, I knew The End League had to be next, and I loved reading this series even more the second time around. However, I have to admit that the stylistic art changes on the book are shocking, but Remender’s story kept me glued from beginning to end. You can probably find individual issues for cheap, or pick up the two trades, or the recently released hardcover collection. Be prepared for some dark times with this one.
The Last Days of American Crime(Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Greg Tocchini, published by Radical Comics from 2009–2010, but the trade is now published by Image)
Graham Bricke is a criminal for whom the “Big Score” has always been just out of reach, but when Graham learns that the US government will broadcast a signal that will wipe out the populace’s desire to commit crimes of any kind, he sees a way to set himself up for life before the broadcast hits. Unfortunately for Graham, the government moved up their timetable a week, and he has to act fast especially with this new dame who’s come into his life. Okay, I now know a certain three-issue series is next on my reread list. I had forgotten how much I loved this futuristic crime story back in the day, but I’m now pumped to dive back in. This was also my first exposure to Tocchini’s lovely art—my second exposure will appear in “Part 2,” but here’s a hint: the book is called Low! Anyhow, The Last Days of American Crime is one to keep you on the edge of your seat as the clock runs out and Graham’s plan looks to completely fall apart. I believe the comic was optioned to become a movie, but I haven’t heard anything about it for a while now…let’s hope we all get to see it someday soon. For now, you will just have to read the spiffy hardcover or the recently released trade.
This Week’s Reading ListDang, it’s late. I’m also in a food haze from the AMAZING tacos at Corazón Cocina and the sampler of three Santa Maria Brewing IPAs and the Founders Breakfast Stout I just had at the Garden. I’ll keep this quick:
Doomsday Clock #4
(Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Gary Frank, colored by Brad Anderson, lettered by Robert Leigh, published by DC Comics)
The creators can take two or three months between issues, I don’t care. Just so long as this series keeps moving ahead. I freakin’ love this comic even though I was one of the naysayers before it even came out; I have seen the light, Denizens. This amazing issue focuses on the new Rorschach and I did not see his backstory coming at all. This latest chapter keeps in line with the tone of Watchmen while expanding upon that world in a cool and inventive way. Oh, man, even if the next issue came out tomorrow, it would not be soon enough. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
(Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, lettered and designed by Fonografiks, published by Image Comics)
Whoa, Nellie, the intro pages are NSFW and they are sexy as $%&*! Dang…whew…oh, my stars and garters…ahem. Anyhow, yeah, the rest of the comic is more of the stellar, character-driven space opera we fans know and love. Plus, fifty issues is nothing to sneeze at. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
(Illustrated by Ivan Reis and José Luís, written by Jeff Lemire, inked by Vicente Cifuentes and Jordi Tarragona, colored by Marcelo Maiolo, lettered by Tom Napolitano, published by DC Comics)
Okay, this comic book is so much fun. I love the chemistry of this team and their sci-fi, space wanderings. Sure these four characters are reminiscent of four other characters over at the competition, and the very big bad is a “Galactic” menace who reminds of another character also at the competition, and I am completely down with it. The Terrifics continues to be great at two issues in. I will say I’m worried about the multiple artists and inkers at only the second issue, but we’ll see how it goes. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!