IN SHOPS THIS WEEK:
NEGATIVE SPACE #1
Writer: Ryan K. Lindsay
Artist: Owen Gieni
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Description: When one man’s writer’s block gets in the way of his suicide note, he goes for a walk to clear his head and soon uncovers a century-old conspiracy dedicated to creating and mining the worst lows of human desperation.
Our Take: Despite being fairly prolific and has worked on books that would fit in here at Destroy The Brain, writer Ryan K Lindsay premieres on this site with Negative Space, alongside a remarkably skilled and talented artist whose coloring work graced high profile titles like Shutter and Manifest Destiny. But clear away your preconceptions about what Negative Space is going to be; it’s not quite horror but it’s certainly horrifying at times, despite also having a darkly comedic mood. Comparable to The Life After but more grounded, making the more surreal moments even more jarring when they intrude into the life of a depressed, suicidal writer, leading to a world-shattering discovery. Artist Owen Gieni brings a hugely expressive, distinctive and fun look that’s still tight and structured enough to maintain the realism long enough for it to be melted away. If we need (and we do) a comic book version of a Spike Jonze movie, Negative Space does the job nicely.
STRANGE FRUIT #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: JG Jones
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Description: It’s 1927 in the town of Chatterlee, Mississippi, drowned by heavy rains. The Mississippi River is rising, threatening to break open not only the levees, but also the racial and social divisions of this former plantation town. A fiery messenger from the skies heralds the appearance of a being, one that will rip open the tensions in Chatterlee. Savior, or threat? It depends on where you stand. All the while, the waters are still rapidly rising…
Our Take: Okay, so technically we probably shouldn’t be covering Strange Fruit here at Inked In Blood because (SPOILER ALERT) it’s a superhero story. Sort of? It has an oddly pulpy aesthetic to it, likely thanks to the presence of once Mark Waid, whose The Rocketeer & The Spirit we covered previously. I suppose pulp superheroes have a space here at Inked In Blood and one as dramatically different as the one from Strange Fruit doubly so, particularly given the presence of superstar illustrator JG Jones (Y: The Last Man, Wanted). And make no mistake; what’s inside this book will raise more than a few eyebrows, given its *ahem* timely themes of racial conflict, but (hopefully) more so for the grandiose visuals and rich period setting. We need more brave books like Strange Fruit and I think everyone interested in action-packed, thought-provoking comics should have a look. And put aside your assumptions of sensationalism; Strange Fruit has been in development for more than a year now, dating prior to the Ferguson unrest and, more so, the Confederate flag controversy.
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Ron Salas
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Description: Colton Moss and his elite team of special agents run counter-terrorism operations utilizing a secret form of time travel technology called “transference,” which enables them to send their consciousnesses back in time – but, when Colton’s past is altered to reshape his life in the present, he discovers this technology isn’t as exclusive as he thought. Now Colton must prevent a large-scale insurgency in the U.S. – and do so in the transference-past, where a terrorist’s consciousness could be in any body, so everybody is a potential suspect.
Our Take: First off, it’s Michael Moreci we’re talking about. The incredible werewolf horror comic Curse notwithstanding, dude wrote Burning Fields as well as Hoax Hunters. Like, there’s being prolific and then there’s just being AWESOME. Now he’s turned his attention to time travel. Now, as you can tell from my review of recent time travel film Project Almanac, I have strong feelings on the subject. By getting terrorists involved (or so we’re led to believe), there’s a far more interesting take on the concept; time traveling terrorism is a concept I’m very much intrigued by. Expect a review on this one soon.
HIGH CRIMES HC
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Ibrahim Moustafa
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Description: Disgraced Olympic snowboarder Zan Jensen runs a sideline business as a high-altitude grave robber. When a body is found at the summit of Everest with a treasure of state secrets under its skin, Zan finds herself in the crosshairs of a government hit squad. As she races to the roof of the world, Zan will navigate bullets and avalanches to find salvation in the deadliest place on Earth.
Our Take: If the name “Christoher Sebela” doesn’t immediately ring a bell, you probably haven’t read comics in a while, and you certainly haven’t been reading this column; we’ve reviewed an impossible amount of his work, from his work on Ghost to his Aliens vs Predator and Escape From NY comics. Before he’d begun work on Ghost, he had a creator-owned title in High Crimes, published by indie powerhouse Monkeybrain Comics and now reissued in luxurious hardback trade format by Dark Horse. And what a steal, at only $20 bucks! It’s no small volume, over 200 pages! And is it good? If the saturation of praise from critics and creators are to be believed, it’s a highly underlooked gem of suspenseful, thrilling crime drama set on and around the slopes of Everest. Again; only $20 for a high quality hardback volume; by comparison, I paid $20 for a Marvel TPB of standard quality containing a measly six volumes at nearly a third the size of High Crimes. Really, just go to your local comic book shop, ask to see it, and tell me you don’t fall in love with it in a matter of minutes.
Death Head #1
Writer: Zack Keller, Nick Keller
Artist: Joanna Estep
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Description: When Niles and Justine Burton go camping to get a break from their stressful lives, they expect to find peace . . . not an abandoned village hiding an ancient evil. In a turn of events ripped straight from a horror movie, a brutal killer wearing a plague doctor’s mask begins hunting Niles, Justine, and their two kids.
Our Take: Hey, a traditional horror comic! Those seem to be in disappointingly short supply lately and here’s one that might be worth checking out; a plague doctor mask-wearing killer? Sure, okay. Takes place on a camping trip? Great! And abandoned village in the middle of nowhere… well, now you’ve got my interest. I don’t know any of the creators involved but a quick bit of research reveals that we’re in for some interesting and well-honed comic work. Let’s see if they can deliver on such a promising premise. In Shops: July 15th, 2015