Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dylan's Sequential Theology 08.08.2012

Another good week for Dark Horse, and while I did enjoy Dynamite's Vampirella Annual #2 in stores this week, my personal stance on censorship conflicted with the "all-ages" feeling I try to give this site. But if you want to see Vampirella save a town full of NOT Twilight fans from being eaten by vampires (don't worry, plenty get brutally eaten in the bargain), I do recommend it. And Stefano Cardoselli has a digital Heavy Metal issue dedicated to his work out this week. Just a heads up, those links are probably not safe for work.


Story by Andrew Chambliss, Pencils by Georges Jeanty, Inks by Nathan Massengill, & Colors by Michelle Madsen

In this issue Buffy helps Mark Zuckerberg try and shutdown a portal to hell by shutting down HAL 9000. 
You heard me. 
Okay, it's not ACTUALLY Mark Zuckerberg, but Theo Daniels looks remarkably like him, and he is the founder of a social media site set to go public called "Tin Can." And the Tin Can servers look A LOT like HAL...
Anyways, in order to secure enough money for Theo Daniels' startup, he accidentally gave a large portion of control in the company to a cabal of demons (naturally) that are using Tin Can as a portal to our world. And considering the timely severing of this world to demon realms (thanks to Buffy's actions at the end of Season 8) this portal is a prized commodity to other realms.
Due to Spike's recent departure, Buffy now has to rely on a new more-pointy-faced-demon-friend and the "All New Scoobies" destroy the Tin Can servers and sever the link between this world and the beyond! They run into a Cthulhu-esque demon, and excitement and calamity ensues.
This series continues on its course and if you're missing your regular dose of Fubby the Sampire Vlayer, this book continues to deliver the goods. And the Phil Noto variant covers are a real treat as well. 

Story by Brian Wood, Art by Becky Cloonan, Colors by Dave Stewart
The first six issues of this series were typical Conan adventuring that will fill anyone's need for pre-historic Cimmerian carnage. The mighty Conan saves his pirate queen love by hacking and slashing through an entire city. The blood and chaos their love brings to all who cross their path is the stuff of legend! No one can stop this pair of lovers from ruling the world they have carved for themselves... Except Conan's mom.
When Conan decides to go home and bring justice to a man who has been committing atrocities against the Cimmerians in Conan's name, he gets to bring his great pirate queen, scourge of the seven seas! home to mother. The entire introduction goes south real quick as Conan is rather taken aback when his mother refers to her as a prostitute and the entire village laughs and mocks her as though she is a clumsy stupid child. Brian Wood built up to this twist so beautifully, I was laughing in commiseration with Conan over the treatment of his beloved. I probably should not have spoiled that moment, but that is precisely what sets this story apart from the usual swords and sorcery. Brian Wood shows us Conan "The 20 Something" instead of Conan the mighty warrior! And while the series has had plenty of blood and brutality up to this point, this issue of pause and perspective was excellent.
If you are not reading this series already, you really should. If not for Brian Wood's contemporary twist on the Cimerrian, than for Becky Cloonan's incredible brushwork. She brings a youthful arrogance to Conan that completely sells the story, while at the same time allowing you to believe that magic can exist in this time long ago before history began.

Story by John Arcudi, Art by Jonathan Case
Another series spinning out of Dark Horse Presents, and I can't wait for this mini-series! Although this pilot issue is a great self-contained story in and of itself, John Arcudi's pumpkin-jawed private detective is elegantly rendered but richly detailed by Jonathan Case. The Frank Miller cover leads you to think you're in for a spin-off to Sin City when you're more likely in for a quiet piece about urban life and the unexpected paths life can send us down.
It's a simple story where "The Creep" is hired by his former highschool sweetheart to investigate the suicide of her son. She suspects a sinister plot lurks underneath the surface of this tragedy, and hopes that Oxel will be able to get to the bottom of it. Despite his reservations about helping her, he has a soft spot for the dame that thankfully doesn't lead to her betraying him or his untimely demise... yet.

Story by Brian Wood, Art by Kristian Donaldson, Colors by Dave Stewart
Two Brian Wood books from Dark Horse this week! The trap set by Russian pirates last issue is sprung and the crew of the Kapital fend them off thanks to the "unorthodox pacifism" of Mag, Captain Callum's long time friend. This brings the crew to discuss the necessity for security and protection. I'm a sucker for stories about nation building, and the crew of the Massive and Callum Israel's idealism for a better tomorrow mixed with the realism of a man who has seen his dreams dashed to ribbons, makes him an interesting "ruler" of this floating nation. His word is final because he had the vision to believe in a better world, but he feels possibly more lost than those that follow him.
He decides to steer the ship to Unalaska, Alaska. A place so far from civilization, that the U.S. government overlooked the succor it gave to Soviet fishermen during the cold war. There they stock up on supplies, and weapons before they return to sea to continue searching for The Massive.
And apologies to Kristian Donaldson in my last review for not properly fact-checking his gender, HIS art is still continuing to cut like a knife. There is a coldness that pervades this series that really sells the post-apocalyptic nature of the piece. Even though the world feels very much intact, everyone seems to be sleepwalking through life, unable to cope with their individual losses.
The timelines and text back-up pages at the end of these issues may not be vital to understanding the story, but they do add layers of nuance that might otherwise be missed in the quiet and all-too-serious lives of these environmental Cassandras.
Why aren't you reading this book?

Disagree with me? Then prove me wrong.

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