*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.
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Five Furious and Fast: Jeff Lemire
I’ll never tire of exalting the wonders of this beautiful series where robots have been hunted to near extinction after the devastation caused by the Harvesters, monstrous robots who appeared out of nowhere to eradicate untold lives only to simply vanish as quickly as they had appeared. But when a companion robot named TIM-21 awakens alone, ten years later, on an abandoned mining colony, he becomes hunted by both the government and deadly “Scrappers,” but TIM-21 just might hold the key to learning more about the mysterious Harvesters. With Descender you get a large cast of characters set in an expansive sci-fi space opera with tremendous stakes and a clear understanding of what most everyone wants, Typical of Lemire’s writing, you can’t help but fall in love with many, if not all, of the main characters, cheering them on their successes and fretting over the mistakes. Nguyen’s artwork has to be seen to be believed. Bringing an ‘80s look, feel, and mood to the series, Nguyen gives complete life and emotion to the page through his gorgeous watercolors whether detailing lush spacescapes, bizarre alien races, intricate backgrounds, or robotic tech. You can catch up via the floppies, the trades (I double-dip on these), or the hardcover...which sadly is not oversized and offers no bonus material whatsoever. Descender has been my favorite comic on the stands for three years running and with good reason: it’s compelling, it’s lovely, and I’m fully invested in the wellbeing of all the characters.
Black Hammer is what you get when you combine the love of Silver Age comic books from the Big Two and amalgamate some of the heroes and villains into something new. But it is so much more. You have a tragic death and the mystery of where and why the surviving heroes are trapped in a strange rural town where something is just…not…right. No one is safe, which quickly becomes apparent in this riveting series. There are currently two trades available for the main book, a spin-off miniseries trade of Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil coming out in May (my stars and garters, I cannot wait!), and a forthcoming miniseries titled Doctor Starr and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows which just started coming out. I’m excited for new issues of the main series and anything that expands upon this awesome universe and everything within it! There’s a reason why most everyone was talking about Black Hammer in 2017. Best get on it.
Okay, you should probably be warned about this one; it’s going to be a rough ride, but it will be very much worth it. You should eat a healthy breakfast, do some stretches, perhaps go for a run. Or maybe you should go for a run after you read a few issues, you know, to work off the unease and tension you will definitely be feeling, because, like I mentioned, this won’t be an emotionally easy ride. Sweet Tooth is a post-apocalyptic survival tale of a world ravaged by a plague that has wiped out most of humanity with only strange, hybrid animal-human children being born. Gus is one of those children and has deer antlers projecting from his head. He also has troops of roving men out to get him and any animal children they can find. Think The Road meets Mad Max: Fury Road with trace amounts of The Island of Doctor Moreau as you journey with Gus and his human guardian Jepperd as they struggle to find a rumored safe place known as The Preserve as well as possible answers as to what happened to the world. There are both trades and hardcovers, either of which MUST be in your collection.
This is one I talked about at length quite recently, but I want to again stress how thrilling and fun Lemire’s run has been and continues to be. Again, you don’t have to start with The Valiant (co-created with Matt Kindt) miniseries—but it helps—where Bloodshot and the other heroes of the Valiant Universe fight the menace of The Immortal Enemy. This will help explain the starting events of Bloodshot: Reborn, which flows into Bloodshot: USA, and into the currently running Bloodshot: Salvation which I cannot wait to read. Essentially, Bloodshot, originally created in Valiant’s first incarnation in 1993, is a nigh-unkillable soldier with nanites coursing through his blood who kills everyone the government sets him upon. You have a man with a past he can’t remember and a present he can’t escape, secret governmental organizations, superhero allies, monstrous villains, and finding a path to redemption. Once you start this ride, you won’t want to get off. Available in hardcover deluxe editions and trades.
The series that put Lemire on the map and with good reason. Again, you are going to have to prepare for this one. At the least have a box of tissues handy, because you are going to need them. Now, understand, this is definitely NOT the type of comic I generally read. I gravitate towards comics that take me away from reality, as opposed to immersing you deep into the pool of the real world. Here’s the thing: a masterwork is a masterwork. After hearing over and over how amazing Essex County is, I finally broke down and bought The Complete Essex County collection and fell in love as my heart broke in each of the three chapters. Instead of robots, you get a boy on a farm. In place of kaiju, you have a down-on-his-luck hockey player. There are no superheroes, but there is a traveling nurse. What’s important is that you get beautifully told and illustrated, emotional tales that are interwoven in a powerful narrative that not even someone constantly looking for an escape, like me, can avoid. A must read.
This Week’s Reading ListDang, it’s late. I’m exhausted. Gonna spend time with my Tulip. Just know that the following are all freakin’ fantastic:
See you next time.