Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dylan's Sequential Theology 08.22.2012

This week, I've got quite a few books to recommend and one actual trade that is now available for pre-order because I can't stop talking about it! As always, lots of Dark Horse, and a couple Dynamite. There's a new creative team on Vampirella, Matt Kindt's continually amazing work on Mind MGMT, another giant issue of Dark Horse Presents, and lastly but not leastly, SIGURD DRAGONSBANE!

Dark Horse Presents #15
A lot of people did a lot of stuff.
Dark Horse Presents may be pricey, but there is easily enough content to warrant the $8 price tag. Each month the book is filled to the brim with talented comic artists from past an present playing in just about every genre from comedy to tragedy. Honestly, if I were only able to spend $8 a month on comics, this series is all I would need.
Sadly, there's a lot in here and I have a lot of other books to talk about, so I'll give you the bullet points for why you should pick up this pricey book this time around.

  • David Chelsea's stream of consciousness Girl With the Keyhole Eyes is something you can't really be prepared for.
  • Rex Mundi.
  • More Sam Keith drawing Xenomorphs. And a cold terrifying sadness in the pit of your stomach.
  • Nate Cosby and Evan Shaners' Buddy Cops NEEDS have its own monthly series. No, it needs to be twice monthly. It needs to never end. Read the funny pages people! Laugh at the robot! HE DOESN'T THINK LIKE YOU!
  • Twisted tales of romance from Kim W. Andersson's Love Hurts
  • More Sabertooth Vampire!
This issue is also fantastic because it includes the second chapter of the BEST trade paperback I read this week...

Story by Bo Hampton & Robert Tinnell, Art by Bo Hampton
When most people ask "Vampires or Werewolves" there's an instant gut reaction. It calls out from our very core. Mine, is werewolves. BUT I hate their portrayal in popular culture. There has only been a handful of good werewolf movies American Werewolf in LondonWolfThe Howling & Ginger Snaps. Compare that to the veritable nonstop onslaught of excellent vampire movies. And I'm sorry, but there is no way Twilight can even remotely destroy the greatness of Interview With a VampireNosferatuShadow of the VampireDraculaUnderworld30 Days of NightBladeLet the Right One InThe HungerThe Nightwatch TrilogyFrom Dusk Till Dawn, and Francis Ford Coppola's new film Twixt is a fantastic vampire film that needs to be on every vampire fan's must-see list.
As a quite often disappointed werewolf fan, I can't recommend this book enough. This is the best werewolf movie I've never seen. It's available for pre-order on Dark Horse's website and if you are a werewolf fan, I STRONGLY urge you to do so.
Bo Hampton's watercolors lend an incredible atmosphere to this tale of one girl's coming of age under very supernatural circumstances. And for a werewolf story, it succeeds where so many others fail. So many werewolf stories get caught up in the fact that the person can transform, that they forget about the person at the heart of the story. Bo manages to let you into the mind of a girl who is not only displaced due to her linage, but also a very strange condition... Even if the characters are a little simplistic at times and the ending can be seen from a ways off, Bo still tells a fantastic werewolf story that I can't shut up about.

Mind MGMT #4
Mise En Scene by Matt Kindt
As we continue to tumble down the rabbit hole, Matt Kindt shows us the incredible good that mind altering can bring, and the constant questions it presents as its user begins to unravel. Lyme tells the story of his time learning at Mind MGMT and what it's like to be trained from a very early age to control the motives of others. He talks about the first time he used his abilities to stop a kid from bullying him, and the repercussions put most tales of Catholic guilt to shame. He has a desire to do good in the world, and ensure the happiness of the people around him, be he doesn't know if tinkering with them is the right way to get it. Life inside the Mind MGMT compound is a constant struggle between the people who want to use these children's gifts as weapons, and the children whose overwhelming empathy makes them desire to never harm a living thing.  The section where Lyme talks about his involvement in the first Iraq war was just one more lightbulb in this series subtle way of making you reexamine your world. 
Matt Kindt's art continues to impress as the form of this book ads layers to its content. His watercolor brushwork is not complicated over rendering, but his gesture puts a piece of himself onto the page, and that texture plays up the desire for humanity in a world whose aim is to make a world without them.

Vampirella #21
Story by Brandon Jerwa, Illustration by Heubert Khan Michael

Yet another Vampirella issue I feel perfectly justified recommending to anyone that loves seeing strong female characters and vampire themed superheroics. Especially with all of the Buffy reviews I've been doing here. If I were Dynamite, I would be shouting this new creative team to the heavens! This creative team classes this book up a good ten notches from where it has been.
The last storyline was miserable. Terrible murky art, and monsters that looked like seedlings from Little Shop of Horrors. And the artist had serious difficulties rendering her costume in motion (ahem). But Heubert Khan Michael has given this book a much more Marvel house style akin to Leonard Kirk or Stewart Immonen. Which subconsciously tones down that she's running around wearing implausible fabric (one can only assume it's made of unstable molecules). 
But I digress. I'm not well versed with the Vampirella universe so if the people they reference, aside from Vampirella herself, are supposed to mean something to me, I can honestly say they don't. But Heubert Khan Michael does a great job of using contemporary comic book language to at least sell the moment as something interesting.
Brandon Jerwa has Vampirella facing off against the Inquisition with cosmic deities cheering her on from the side lines. Think Dan Brown's DaVinci Code if Vampirella were the main character. It's just a heck of a lot of fun watching her beating up cardinals and trying to save her friend who is possessed by an evil spirit who may or may not have been a Nazi. Why wouldn't you want to buy that?
Okay, so the costume's a little off-putting. My feminist ideologies continue to do battle with Vampirella's costume, but the fact that the overtly sexist costume was designed by none other than Indie Comix legend Trina Robbins, and that Vampirella is a strong female character that more often that not doesn't feel like a "dude with boobs" tends to win out. 
I have a bigger difficulty with the men that are choosing how to promote the character. Three of the variant covers for this book are just absurd and solely exist to titillate in the most childish way. With a character like this it can be a difficult tightrope to walk between disgusting chauvinism, and female empowerment.
Seriously, it's a great read and I hope this team stays on the book for a long time.

Kirby: Genesis-Dragonsbane #3
Story Robert Rodi, Illustrated by Fritz Casas

Did you ever want to read a team-up with Thor and Hercules but without the Marvel Universe attached? I give you Sigurd Dragonsbane, the Mighty Ulysses and the NORSE GOD SQUAD! It really is a Thor book without Thor. As I was reading this issue I became more and more fascinated with Kirby's interest in creating these characters to begin with. Why would he feel the need to revisit Asgard? They aren't entirely the same, but the Kirby designs make it impossible to overlook. 
The plot of this series revolves around the worlds of myth beginning to merge and all of the gods are entwining into each others legends. So a Turkish goddess is being rescued and returned to her homeland by Sigurd and Ulysses, along the way they meet a terrible demon and mad monk. It's simple fantasy stuff, but the scale of their powers and their deity status makes their interactions preposterously awesome, especially with Kirby's technicolor yawn suits. Definitely worth a look if you are in the mood for superheroics next to godliness. 

As always, do you disagree with me? Prove me wrong.

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