This time on Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week and last, from a variety of genres and companies. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Moving Target: The History and Evolution of Green Arrow by Richard Gray, Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It #3, The Art of Rick and Morty, Realm #1, Retcon #1, Sink #3, Dead of Winter#2, Kaijumax: Season Three #3, and more… be warned, there may be spoilers…
I am an old school Green Arrow fan. I loved the Golden Age and Silver Age versions of the character, I grooved on his Batman-with-a-bow mode, largely forgotten rogues gallery, his mediocre stories, and that brief shining moment when Jack Kirby graced his pages. When he grew a beard and became the liberal socially conscious voice of the Justice League, I was down with that, but not so much when Mike Grell turned him into a vigilante, and have hate-watched (and reviewed) every episode of the CW television series, Arrow. Now Sequart has released a book that covers all these aspects of the Green Arrow, and more.
Moving Target: The History and Evolution of Green Arrow by Richard Gray hits on all the eras I’ve mentioned and more as the character is, as the title implies, one that has been and continues to evolve and change with the times. Wonderful essays examine Green Arrow’s many secret origins, the Kirby stories, the relevance years, his transformation as an urban vigilante, and reemergence as a superhero. Besides the essays, there are terrific insightful interviews with GA creators over the years like Mike Grell, Neal Adams, Brad Meltzer, Jeff Lemire and others. If you are a Green Arrow fan, this is the book you must have, I loved it.
Rick and Morty
I came late to the Rick and Morty party, only recently been hipped to them by a friend whose enthusiasm runneth over for the show as he showed me several episodes on YouTube, then I got caught up in the big fuss over the third season premiere, and now I’m a hardcore fan. So I was happy to find comics about my new favorite animated series. This comic brings the show fully into comic continuity and psychosis, from Morty breaking the fourth wall to it being titled “Crisis on Infinite Dads.” The spirit of the show is alive and well in the four color format, and the synthesis is perfect, thumbs up.
Also out this week is The Art of Rick and Morty, a 200+ page volume full of art from the television series, featuring behind the scenes secrets, art styles, how to draw lessons, extensive character and background guides, and all sorts of fun stuff. Not only is it lavishly illustrated as an art book should be but it also serves as a guide to the series. This is the book no Rick and Morty cannot be without, so don’t, this is the tome to have.
The premise of The Realm from Image at first reminded me of my old tabletop gaming days and Shadowrun, but the trailer put a whole new vibe in my head, this is some sort of post-apocalyptic fantasy-inbred western, and the trailer also, as it should, had a cinematic edge to it. I got the sense that this property could easily translate to the screen, maybe even specifically the AMC small screen next to other Image TV property The Walking Dead.
Speaking of TWD, the Tony Moore cover simply conjures and fires the imagination with its hero, armed with gun and sword, in an urban landscape above which floating cities and dragons fly. This kind of thing doesn’t happen often these days, but I was sold by the cover, and also the trailer. The comic itself, inside and out, does not disappoint. This is one of the must-buys for the week. Pick it up, and enter The Realm.
Hyped as what if David Lynch made comic books with Steve Ditko and Jim Steranko, I can’t quite deny that statement, but I can’t say it’s a good thing either. This tale of super-powered paranormal government agents is beyond weird, but I like the vibe, and thematically it could be very cool. The problem lies with a story that doesn’t quite come together and art that is just a bit too out there for my taste. I’m not saying it’s bad, not at all, I like the idea of this comic, but its execution is just not for me. Maybe I just need to read it a couple more times, like watching the ending of Twin Peaks: The Return, but that worked out when the right person explained it. Maybe Andy could take a crack at Retcon…
Part horror and part crime noir, Sink is a tale of Sinkhill, a fictional district of Glasgow, where one night a suburbanite misses his bus and gets caught up in the horrific wrong side of town. Each issue brings Allan deeper into the clutches of the town and its secrets, more than a few are his own that he wasn’t aware of. This issue however is the bloody and extremely graphic spotlight on Florence, and her fight to take back what is hers. It’s horrific and hyperviolent, and if you’re into this kind of thing, recommended. Not for me, not for the kiddies, and not for the weak of disposition.
Dead of Winter
This is yet another zombie apocalypse comic. What separates it from the obvious zombie apocalypse comic is its manga vibe, and the fact that the cop in this story is a bad cop as opposed to a good cop. It’s also got a Santa Claus, a Superdog, and a bit of a sense of humor. As much as it sounds derivative, it’s not, it is actually engaging, and by the end of the issue I wanted more, so that’s a plus. Dead of Winter from Oni Press is definitely worth a try.
When I was a kid, and even now, I love Ultraman, and anyone who reads my stuff here at Biff Bam Pop! knows I love giant monsters. Add in my equal love for that obscure black and white comic from the 1980s, Ultra Klutz by Jeff Nicholson, and one would think that Zander Cannon’s Kaijumax (which like DoW above, is from Oni Press) would be right up my alley. And it kinda is. What at first appears to be a familiar island prison for giant monsters (think Toho’s Monster Island), but is guarded by Ultraman-like beings is an awesome if derivative premise, but it’s not that at all. While wrapped in the trappings of the kaiju genre, this is more socially biting prison drama like Oz or Orange Is the new Black than it is Ultraman or Godzilla, and it’s really good. This is one of those comics you should be reading, but it just flew under the radar as something you wouldn’t have thought was in your wheelhouse. Get, read, and buy Kaijumax, I think you’ll dig it, it’ll be worth it.
From Dark Horse Comics and DC Comics we also get a trade collection of some of their crossovers involving The Mask. See him team-up with and clash with Grifter, Lobo, Batman, and the Joker. Fun. Also out this week would be the 25th issue of Harrow County, American Gods #7, Spy Seal #2 which continues to be a delicious read, Youngblood #5, the fun and stunning Mech Cadet Yu #2, and the trade collection of Big Trouble in Little China/Escape from New York in which two of John Carpenter’s grand anti-heroes as played by Kurt Russell – Jack Burton and Snake Plissken finally meet and share wild adventures, an instant classic!