Thursday, December 24, 2015

Rant-Reviews: New Series Showcase

Brand New Debut
I just had some rant-reviews go up for an assortment of Image titles, but there are of course many publishers--both big and small--who are coming out with comics all the time. Let's review some 1st issues from an assortment of folk right now, why don't we?

The Premiere
New Romancer #1
A new comic from Vertigo (yes, they still exist). This is a variety of interesting ideas that writer Peter Milligan sadly can not manage to have it all come together in a coherent way. We've got the idea of artificial intelligence forming based on past historical figures. Then that idea is put into dead people and results in them coming back thinking they are characters from the past. But we also have this plot about dating websites, and evil corporations, and a protagonist whose Father used her as a lab rat for science experiments involving technology. Oh, and there's a killer on the loose.

 I'll give Milligan credit in that he is nothing if not eager to put his ideas on the page, but the problem with this comic is I see ideas that could easily make for two or three interesting series but instead he is trying to jam them all together. Milligan basically could give the reader a nice tasty soup, but has put the ingredients of three very different soups together and the result is an interesting but also pretty weird mess. If Milligan can flesh things out this might flow better, but right now, "New Romancer," an intriguing failure of a first issue.
2 out of 5 stars.

InSeXts #1
A debut title from the brand-new publisher, Aftershock Comics. Writer Marguerite Bennett and artist Ariela Kristantina here provide what I would definitely agree is an erotic horror story with some gross-out elements that bring to mind the more disgusting moments of, "The Fly [the Cronenberg version]," We have two Victorian-era women who have to keep their  love for one another secret and a cruel and uncaring husband who meets a nasty demise at the end of this issue. A lot of things are left unclear, but it is made apparent that one of the women has come across a rather nasty way for her lover to have a baby that contains both their genetics and use the cruel husband as an incubator of sorts. Cue a lot of raunchy sex scenes and one of the more hideously rendered images of a stomach exploding I've seen in some time--and that's meant as a compliment to Kristantina's superb art skills!

The mixture of sex and horror works quite nicely in this debut, and even though us readers are left in the dark on what exactly is going on, I imagine some answers will be forthcoming in future issues about just what these dangerous women and their child have in store for London.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Squadron Supreme #1
Part of Marvel's big event and relaunch/reboot, I picked this up mainly because I really enjoy James Robinson's writing (when he's "On," and opposed to some terrible works), and because this features the Nighthawk from the Supreme Power Comic-verse (that made up some of the earlier Marvel Max comics) on a team of fellow survivors of destroyed Universes. The basic idea here is that these are people who literally are the sole survivors of worlds where billions of lives were lost, so now that they call this Earth (of the general Marvel-U) home, they ain't gonna let anything threaten it. This leads to a shocking death of a long-time character that most of the internet already spoiled but I won't in case you would like to be surprised

In essence we are riffing on some of the ideas of various comics that have featured incarnations of the Squadron throughout time, the idea of if people with this much power have the right to declare themselves makers-of-the-rules simply through their force of arms, or if they are acting wrongfully. The end of the issue illustrates that the rest of the Marvel Universe may have a problem with this group and I am eager to see where things go.
4 out of 5 stars.

X'ed #1
From somewhat-newer publisher Black Mask Studios, this comic is much like the earlier mentioned, "New Romancer," comic in that there are a ton of ideas and concepts in this comic. However, this book for the most part makes it work. We seem to have an organization that goes into people's minds and can help them forget painful memories, dig-up secrets, etc. So it's a little bit like, "Inception," but focused more on the mind in general than dreams. This idea of focusing on minds allows our characters to go inside people's brains and explore fascinating landscapes full of surreal imagery and metaphors. This was probably my favorite part of the comic thanks to being so weird. Then the book introduces the story-element where the facility in which these procedures take place gets attacked by some mysterious people who have a deadly app that can harm others and case damage just by simply having the phone pointed toward what needs hurting.

Yes, as you can see this is another comic full of strange stuff, but despite being a little confusing, "X'ed," actually seems to work for the most part. Some questions remain about just what exactly is going on, but enough is made clear that I wasn't left scratching my head in utter bewilderment, just minor confusion.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Closing Thoughts
There are a lot of new comics always coming out. I like to think more good stuff than bad stuff gets released, so that's a good thing. These debut series may turn out to be really good or end-up being terrible, but at least I got some thoughts in on their first issues.

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