Panels #6: The Stellar Horizon is Funny
It’s a brand new Panels issue with 9 books for me to catch up to including one that started this column and a few new stuff in my pile. Try counting how many of these comics are set in outer space.
Don’t judge and let’s do this.
Writer: Jay Faerber
Art: Scott Godlewski
Colors: Ron Riley
It feels like ages since I last read Copperhead, but the series keeps slowly gaining momentum. This issue has a little bit of everything, with a Sheriff Bronson who must juggle her prejudice of artificial humans, specifically Ishmael, with the fact one of them saved his son’s life at the end of the last number.
I think now that the characters are on the board, writers are taking their time to move along and the plot is moving slower for it. The situation is tense all over and Bronson is forced to finally take a leap of faith and trust in others in spite of having caused a terrible first impression upon her arrival.
Something that I didn’t like much about this issue is that from the moment I began reading it I felt like I was one or several steps ahead of it, and in a way I was. The only thing I didn’t really know was who was behind the murders, but in the end the book didn’t give as impressive an answer as I hoped for.
So: Yes. In spite of not feeling as solid as the last two issues, Copperhead remains a strong book thanks to it’s character driven narrative and art that keeps inviting me to read it.
Writers: Grace Ellis y Noelle Stevenson
Art: Brooke Allen
The second issue of Lumberjanes redeemed the previous one thanks to the dynamic between the girls which remains the best part of this book and was particularly fun and at times even endearing.
To win the “naval gauging” badge, the young women must row down a river and of course, what comes next is a ride straight to mysterious adventure. The book’s art remains a bit weird for me in some pages as I’ve still haven’t become fully accustomed to it, but this issue game me promise due to its plot and ending which, although sitting on the tame side, still made me want to jump on the third book right away.
So: Yes. I already read the third issue, but I’ll leave it for next week to see if someone else catches up.
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art: Javier Fernández
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
For the first time since I picked it up, Magneto left me with a bad taste in the mouth. The story seems to have reached a stump and the art in this issue is the worst of all the issues I’ve read in this book so far.
Magneto walks into his secret base in the woods and then we see him intercepting a bus carrying the ugliest mutants I can remember, who are on the way to a farm led by Purificators, William Stryker’s extremist religious group, who will then experiment on their bodies. Magneto deals with the captors in a pretty brutal and exaggerated fashion, but up to this point I’m still thinking everything is cool.
The problem arises when the baldheaded mutant finds the aforementioned Christians and gets rid of them without even moving one step. It’s as if these dudes were there just to fill pages and nothing more. Then end of the book is capped with another one of our anti-hero’s monologues, except this one falls flat and feels more like an old coot with mental diarrhea.
So: Yes. I give you the “red Yes” in which I give this book a last chance. Of course I’ll read Magneto #5, but if it disappoints me again like this issue did, I’ll pull it out of my list.
Writers: Cameron Stewart y Brenden Fletcher
Art: Babs Tarr
Colors: Maris Wicks
The Batgirl of Burnside is back and this time what I was least interested in were the parts where our heroine dons the cape and cowl. This issue is made almost entirely to make you care about Barbara Gordon as a human being more than as a crimefighter.
Everything, from the initial panels where our girl meets her new study partners, to the way she manages to beat this week’s villains by remember a pivotal moment of her childhood, it’s a link that goes directly to the heart of what makes Batgirl interesting when all she really wants is to finish her uni project.
It’s hard not to bring up those Peter Parker comparisons again, but here’s the girl who keeps reeling us into her sitcom social life and I’m enjoying every moment of it.
So: Yes. I liked this book a lot. The tech and apps references were toned down quite a bit and the few that popped up came about in a subtle way. Besides, Babs Tarr designs the most believable outfits in comics right now.
Roche Limit #2
Writer: Michael Moreci
Art: Vic Malhotra
Man. I don’t know. This book began with a monologue that felt like it belonged to the ending of the previous issue. On top of that, the way the first part is narrated felt rather confusing, revealing the elusive Moscow to the reader who does nothing but blabber talk. A but is coming.
When Roche Limit is halfway and Alex Ford reveals his true intentions and reasons to help search for Bekkah, it’s as if someone had finally opened the window to a very dusty room, to let sunlight shine in. Suddenly I’m very invested in knowing what is the fate o this guy, whose past is a very cool spoiler that really presents the character in a different angle.
Sadly, one character alone can hardly carry a whole sequential book, so I hope there are new faces coming with as much if not more hubris than Ford soon, because the ones remaining are not up to snuff yet.
So: Yes. Roche Limit suffers from the same symptoms Low presented with me at first. Key parts of the plot have been revealed too slowly, almost to test the limits of my patience. The next issue better not drop the ball.
God Hates Astronauts #1
Writer: Ryan Browne
Art: Ryan Browne
Colors: Jordan Boyd
This fucking book. I cannot recommend this book more if, like me, you’ve not read something like Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. in a while.
Where to start… it’s got an intergalactic superhero named Star Grass who has a ghoulish cow head and a baby with his wife, Starrior. How did I learn this? Thanks to a flashback narrated by 3D Ghost who… well.
There are some redneck space farmers who are into bestiality and are trying to destroy NASA, and there’s a war about to break out between Sir Hippothesis and the kingdom of King Tiger Eating A Cheeseburger. Not recommending this book would be akin to a sin in the comic books religion, if such a thing exists in this world.
This. Comic. Is. Real.
So: Yes, dammit, yes.
The Kitchen #1
Writer: Ollie Masters
Art: Ming Doyle
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
This comic caught my attention with it’s three strong-looking women in the cover, made by Becky Cloonan — and you should know I love me some Becky Cloonan art.
My curiosity paid dividends with the inside story set in the 70s where Jimmy, a notorious loan shark in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, ends up in jail along with his two partners and is unable to financially support his wife and kids.
Jimmy’s son, Jack, takes the wheels of the business unwillingly, but in Hell’s Kitchen you can’t do risky business being afraid of getting your hands dirty. Knowing that her son is losing respect in the streets, Kath decides to get dirty and reclutes her two friends and wives of Jimmy’s partners to go collect the money they’re owed.
So: Yes. I liked the book’s illustration and the accents on the characters. I have the feeling that when Jimmy comes out of jail, his hood will be so different he won’t be able to adapt to the new management.
Writer: Alex Grecian
Art: Riley Rossmo
Colors: Ivan Plascencia
A book about Grigori Efimovich Rasputin that explains his life using action and magic? Sure, why not?
This particular book is very well illustrated and I didn’t take it because I’m fond of the title character, but rather because I was curious about how someone would approach the subject matter. I compare it to the recent fixation on the origin of Dracula, trying to justify the conduct of a character that’s been by and large considered a villain for decades, if not centuries.
The first issue didn’t disappoint and to be honest it’s more along the lines of what I expected from Magneto, except it uses a character that isn’t openly “bad” from the get go.
So: I don’t know. I don’t know when the next issue is due, but if I don’t forget about it I’ll pick it up.
Death Sentence #1
Art: Mike Dowling
A book with a Mark Millar quote on the cover isn’t precisely a thing that thrills me, but Death Sentence deals with very interesting although not so original ideas.
In Death Sentence, the population of America and Europe is threatened by a new sexually transmitted disease which — wait for it — gives superpowers and meta human abilities to those who catch it, before they die, of course.
The story focuses on several characters with radically different lives and equally distinct powers. They all know their lives are close to ending and suddenly the only thing they want to do is live life like never before, but of course there are people out there who study those with the disease and they don’t want them running around doing crazy things.
The art on this reminds me of Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon’s line work which is to say it looks very good. The narration has a distinctly familiar feeling to it and what little I saw from each main character has me interested in all of them and their powers.
So: Yes. I’m not too familiar with Titan Comics, but this book could change all that, because it’s very cool.
Panels is a weekly column where I talk about one or three comic books I’m reading and why I love them or want to burn them. Read the archive here.