Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week (and by every Wednesday I mean every Wednesday that I feel like doing it, hence my recent absence).
5. AZARAEL: DEATH'S DARK KNIGHT #1 (of 3)
Written by Fabian Nicieza; Art by Frazer Irving; Cover by Guillem March
$2.99 | 32 pgs
With Bruce Wayne missing and presumed dead and the Battle For The Cowl mini-series raging on with the heirs to the throne fighting it out to become the new Batman, DC does what it does best and milks the story for another mini-series. This one focuses on obscure one-time Batman Azarael who himself was last seen dead a few years ago but is now back for at least three issues.
The reason to check this out is for the art by Frazier Irving. Fans of Grant Morrison will remember his painterly style from the excellent Klarion the Witch Boy mini-series. Irving is one of the more interesting artists working in superhero comics and will surely bring some noteworthy style to an otherwise un-noteworthy mini-series. Writer Fabian Nicieza is no slouch either though and Azarael has a loyal fan base that will be happy to see his return.
4. AIR VOL. 1 LETTERS FROM HOME
Written by G. Willow Wilson; art by M.K. Perker
$9.99 | 144pgs
My personal comics credo is that it's always worth picking up the first trade of a new Vertigo series. For the reduced price of $9.99 you get the first 5 or so issues of what is almost always an interesting drama aimed for the more sophisticated genre fiction fans. The early reviews of G. Willow Wilson's ongoing series Air were decidedly mixed but you can't really judge these books until they finish their first story arc so that you have more of a sense of where the creators are going with it and this one has been gradually picking up a growing base of impressed readers.
It's about a flight attendant with an inconvenient fear of flying named Blythe who runs into a vigilante group trying to take back the skies from the terrorists. But there's more to their game then that as Blythe soon learns. Terrorism, romance, exotic locales and some crazy sci-fi madness all come together in this first collected volume of issues 1-5. And if you like what you read here you can also pick up issue #6 for only a dollar this week.
3. THE ADVENTURES OF BLANCHE
By Rick Geary
$15.95 | 104 pgs
Rick Geary is a veteran cartoonist who has made a name for himself chronicling true stories of murder in the 19th century in his A Treasury of Victorian Murder series. He draws in a clean, black and white style inspired by Edward Gorey that is perfect for telling nostalgic yet somewhat dark stories.
The Adventures of Blanche is an older work by Geary that was long out of print but now gets a hardcover treatment from Dark Horse. It's about a young woman in the early 20th century who while traveling with her piano teacher ends up learning shocking secrets about the New York subway system, gets caught up in a labor struggle in the motion picture industry in Hollywood and discovers a murder in Paris.
2. TRANSMETROPOLITAN #1
Written by Warren Ellis; Art by Darick Robertson, Jerome K. Moore, Keith Aiken, Ray Kryssing, Dick Giordano, Kim DeMulder and Rodney Ramos
$1 | 32pgs
DC Comics has been very smart with how they're trying to capitalize on the desire of some Watchmen moviegoers to find out what else is out there that they might enjoy in the comics world. With their After Watchmen website they present a nice selection of graphic novels (all from their catalog of course) that might appeal to people who liked the gritty sophistication of Watchmen. In addition they've been putting out some $1 comics of the first issues of some of these choices.
This week they give us the first issue of the highly regarded (and highly messed up) sci-fi series, Transmetropolitan. This is the book that first made Warren Ellis (Planetary, Fell) famous and helped define his cranky, shock-heavy style and his cynical vision of the future. It's about a 23rd century outlaw gonzo journalist named Spider Jerusalem (modeled very much after Hunter S. Thompson) who investigates weird stories such as this one about people who have cosmetic surgery to turn themselves into aliens.
1. MY MOMMY IS IN AMERICA AND SHE MET BUFFALO BILL
Written by Jean Regnaud; art by Émile Bravo
$25.00 | 120 pgs
Five year old Jean is starting first grade in a new school and feels alone not only because he doesn't know anyone but because he's not really sure why his mother isn't with him and his dad and brother anymore. The truth about his mother slowly dawns on him as he goes about his days fighting with his brother, adjusting to school and making friends. Jean Regnaud and Émile Bravo are adept at getting in the head of a child protagonist and portraying the world as a first grader might see it.
The oddly titled My Mommy is in America and She Met Buffalo Bill is a recollection by the author, Regnaud, of his childhood told in charming little snippets illustrated by the popular French children's comics artist Emile Bravo. The publisher, Fanfare/Ponent Mon, has been translating some high quality manga of late but this is their first translation of a European comic.
OH, ALSO THERE'S...
GROOM LAKE #1
A tale of aliens from Zombies Vs. Robots Vs. Amazons writer Chris Ryall and Fell artist Ben Templesmith. (Corrected)
A tale of pirates from famed British comics writer Jamie Delano (Hellblazer) with art by Max Fiumara.
SQUADRON SUPREME: THE PRE-YEARS
Potentially worth checking out if you liked the moral ambiguity of the superheroes in Watchmen. Though this collects the less highly regarded and eventually aborted Marvel Knights version of the series. Not the original Max series which was rife with violence, nudity and government conspiracy.
TOR: A PREHISTORIC ODYSSEY
Collecting the famous Joe Kubert's recent return to his caveman creation.