LOOKING FOR BOOKS TO BUY THIS WEEK?
LOOK NO FURTHER.
HERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT WILL NOT DISAPPOINT.
Cosmo looks “North” with… The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4 Fun adventure + endearing characters + great art = the best new Marvel title of the year so far. Need any other reason to pick it up? OK, Tippy-Toe is the new Pizza Dog (who was the new Lying Cat, who was, anyway . . .). Just buy this awesome series before I resort to pestering you with bad nut puns . . .
LOOKING FOR BOOKS TO BUY THIS WEEK?
LOOK NO FURTHER.
HERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT WILL NOT DISAPPOINT.Patrick courageously casts a vote for… The Valiant #3 Not only is the comic great but it keeps getting better each issue. Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt & Paolo Rivera is about as All-Star of a comics team as it get’s outside of Marvel/DC/Image and there work together is truly collaborative. The Valiant is the superhero epic that truly delivers on being an epic and it’s of the highest quality.
To quote Morrissey, “Everyday is like Sunday!” Well, I wish everyday was like Sunday and I’m sure you do as well because it’s the day you get to read my rambling, stream of consciousness thoughts in Drawing Lines – where I drop more F bombs then a B-52 Super Flying Fortress. The first week back from a long ass month of villains felt good – until I started reading the DC books I got…but wait, I’m getting ahead of myself – let’s save that for the bullet points – cause I love me some bullet points. I am so glad October is here, I’m not a summer guy at all and down right loath the sun (so why I live in California I’ll never know). October is my all time favorite month and Halloween pretty much my fave holiday. I remember back as kid the 31 day wait till Halloween. Those 31 days were spent constructing my costumes (they didn’t sale pre-made zombie kits at Target back in the days) and staying up late to watch Christopher Lee movies. Such great memories, they serve me well. You know what else serves me well? Points that are bullet shaped.
Each week, the NBC Staff will share various comics we think are worthy to be your pull list. These issues will be picked based upon just how excited we are for them to come out. We dig them, and you might too.
Feel free to let us know what YOU think WE should be reading in the comment section below.
Apologizing to Cosmo for changing my pick…Ukerupp thinks you should try:
Ian Edginton and Francesco Trifogli
For two weeks in a row, I have chosen a Vertigo book, and you all have no idea how happy that makes me. While I love the superhero comics, I am always interested in what else is happen outside of the world of capes and tights. Vertigo unleashes its next series in the wave of greatness. What do I know about this series? Absolutely nothing besides the blurb in the solicitation. However, just looking at the cover I get a sense of something special brewing.
Lazarus #10 by Greg Rucka & Michael Lark
Having concluded the series’ second arc last month, Rucka returns this week to some unfinished business from the first arc. That storyline centered on The Carlyle Twins (Jonah and Johanna) attempting to seize from their father control of their family. Their plan failed utterly, yet, still Johanna was quick-witted enough to save her skin. Thinking on her feet, she shifts the blame entirely on her brother, casting herself as another victim of his reckless schemes. The family’s enforcer, Forever, buys her story. During the course of the second arc, Johanna sits pretty, continuing to enjoy the privilege that comes with Carlyle power. Her brother, though, is forced to make a run for it.
This issue doubles back in time to discover how well Jonah is able to get himself out of a difficult situation. He has stolen away in a private aircraft, heading towards the boarder of Hock Family territory. His ad hoc plan is to surrender himself to the rival family. He surmises that he has valuable information from the upper circles of authority, which he could barter for security. It quickly becomes apparent, however, that spur of the moment strategizing is not a gift he shares with his sister.
An early telling sign that Jonah is in over his head, is not only his inability to land the plane, but his inability to at least crash it on the proper side of the boarder. This forces the pampered Jonah to forge the Mississippi on foot (it’s seen much better days). Once across the once mighty river, Jonah proclaims his asylum request with a smug assurance that the boarder guards will be amply rewarded for their service in this matter. Instead, he gets a rifle butt to the back. Things pretty much go downhill from here. Even after being confronted with how far off his original assumptions were, Jonah is unable adapt to his newfound circumstances. All he can do is mindlessly babble the one card he had to play.
This issue serves as a bridge between the second arc and the upcoming third one, Conclave. Jonah’s actions have consequences outside of himself as others more adapt at scheming start shifting the gears of machinations. This issue is also noteworthy for being the first where the lead character Forever makes no appearance. In exchange, though, Rucka further expands his world-building, giving readers a peak at Hock holdings and how they are run. (Is it just me or has a visibly damaged/mutilated Statue of Liberty become a cliché?) In the back-matter, Rucka has discussed different dominions on other continents, yet, this week, readers see one in the story proper for the first time. I suspect that it is only a hint of the diverse competing interests which will enter the stage during the approaching Conclave. This issue is a good teaser for that forthcoming storyline.
Overview: In the penultimate issue of the second arc of Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s new series, we inch towards a potentially explosive conclusion next month. Forever is still trying to please her Dad at all costs, and the Barret family is getting closer to the Lift selection in Denver, CO. A fog of unease hangs over this issue, and based on how things have gone so far, I’m expecting to get a bittersweet finale next month. This has been an engrossing world from the beginning, but now that we’re getting to know the people who inhabit it a bit more, the reality of their situation is even more sobering.
Story: I hadn’t read much by Rucka before this, save for his stint on Batwoman, but that combined with his reputation was all the convincing I needed. The thing that sticks out so much to me is the massive world building he has done in just 8 issues. The back matter where he elaborates on the history of the different families is fascinating, and by using flashbacks to Forever’s childhood, mixed with the present day goings on; we’re getting a vast amount of story. Some of you may or may not have noticed, but they’ve been creating fake ads to go on the back cover, which have all been fantastic. I love details like this, it just adds to my enjoyment of the book as a whole, as well as my admiration for the creative team.
This issue focused on Forever’s quest to stomp out a terrorist cell intent on attacking the Lift selection, and we checked in with how the Barrett family is doing after the firefight from last issue. Every character is very well planned out and presented. From our protagonist, to the various members of the Carlyle and Barrett families, we’ve seen very rounded and complicated personalities. We’ve known since the beginning that this was a harsh world, but after the past few issues’ deaths, and the uncertainty for nearly everyone’s survival lingering; every situation is filled with tension. I really enjoyed this issue and the series in general, so if you haven’t given it a shot, grab the first trade that’s already available and join in the fun.
Art: Michael Lark is one of my favorites, and his heavy shadows combined with an attention to detail, fit the style of this book so well. He excels in the action sequences, and does a perfect job moving our vantage around a scene. jumping in for emphasis, and pulling back to survey the aftermath. While his figures can seem a little static, he makes up for it with his choices of story beats. We fill in the blanks so naturally that the sequences have a very cinematic flow, and the action unfolds in a precisely orchestrated pace. When things slow down and we join the Barrett family, his ability to deliver telling facial expressions adds to every interaction. When Michael Barrett is trying to make a little girl feel comfortable enough to let him reduce her dislocated elbow, you can see the hesitation on her face, and the concern on her father’s; Michael’ s body language combined with the dialogue conveys his calming approach and nature appropriately. Lark’s abilities combine with Rucka’s deft scripting to make a lived-in world, thankfully I can’t imagine this actually happening, but the realistic approach by the creative team makes for a very affecting story. I’m not very familiar with Santi Arcas, but he’s done great job coloring this series. This is not a pretty world, the pages of the “waste” are filled with a grime, and warm, bland colors; you get the immediate sense that most people need a shower and laundry. Conversely, the world of the Carlyles and other rich families is lovely and sanitary. The colors are cooler to go along with the cushy interior environments and conference rooms filled with the blue glow of computer screens.
Conclusion: This issue worked very well to set up the next chapter while still keeping this episode engaging. If you’re interested in some powerful storytelling, and some speculative sci-fi that is incredibly well thought out; then you couldn’t do much better than picking up a copy Lazarus.
“Family above All” is the motto which Rucka has been using as his signoff to the back matter of Lazarus. Lazarus is set in a near future where companies ultimately have triumphed over governments. However, readers should not imagine boards of directors calling the shots, or the world managed by junior vice-presidents with CPAs. No, as greater power consolidated in a fewer hands the veneer of a corporate body fell away, revealing single individuals pulling the strings. Territory is not marked out by brand name, but by family. In essence, civilization has returned to tribalism, the many under the rulership of a clan, at the head of which rests a single patriarch. (Readers have so far met two family leaders, and they have both been male. Women do occupy prominent positions among the ruling class, yet whether there are any matriarchs is a question left unanswered at present).
The series centers on Forever Carlyle, bred, engineered and trained from youth to be the utmost example of a loyal warrior. She has been taught to believe that the Carlyles are her blood family and her duty is to protect them from any threat. This week’s issue picks up on the flashback sequence from #5, giving the reader a taste of what Forever’s conditioning was like. The young girl is driven to the point of conjugating Latin verbs while doing push-ups. She literally has to be ordered to bed. Like any child, she only wants to please, wondering why she sees so little of the family to whom she has pledged her devotion. In many ways it is a simple scene, yet at the same time, it reveals the amount of emotional manipulation that is necessary to insure that Forever will be dedicated to preserving the Carlyle portion of Earth’s spoils.
In addition, Rucka uses this issue to show another form of familial devotion. Last issue, readers were introduced to a group of families living in Montana. They all belong to the lowest class of society, Waste. For them this means a type of indentured servitude: they work Carlyle land, paying in produce to erase their “debt.” As might be expected, the debt never decreases, only increases—most recently in rather dramatic fashion. Flood has destroyed everything they have built. Their present is gone, their future, well, they have hope for their children. The adults take it upon themselves to risk their lives, on the slim chance their children might have a better opportunity. Some of these choices run counter to Carlyle interests, which puts them on a collision course with Forever and her own loyalty. “Family above All”…except it is not that simple. It never is that simple. As Rucka and Lark continue building their world, shading their characters, they go on asking their readers compelling questions of our own.