Injection is a comics series that traffics in jarring shifts of tone & style. It’s a title that I’ll admit to finding mostly confounding when I first read it, but one that’s constantly evolved into the gripping techno/horror mythology tome on ancient British history that we know today. Issue #13 is exemplary of the book’s fluid pacing, one that is wholly enjoyable for its characters sharp dialogue, dour atmosphere and engaging plot thread for the first two thirds of the issue, and wholly magnificent for its unreal conclusion. Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Injection #13
“First I’ll build a sword
Get some words to explain
It’s a plan, brother, at least
And I’ll pretend that everybody here wants peace”
By Jonathan Hickman, Nock Dragotta & Frank Martin
With nearly three dozen issues published, it is instructive to glance over the pacing of Jonathan Hickman’s creator owned series, East of West. The first two arcs were densely plotted, bursting with exposition yet simultaneously possessing a full-throttle forward momentum. Character beats would explode into bristling action set-pieces viscerally rendered by co-creator Nick Dragotta. Then Hickman reined in the violence a little, shifting focus to the various political machinations of key players. The series did not grow tamer as much as take a breather while various characters gathered their strength. At the same time, Hickman sowed plots and divisions amidst the parties, steadily ramping the tension back up again. In recent issues the simmering pot approached full boil as several conflicts come to a head, resulting in this week’s rampant carnage. Yet, in the midst of this hectic activity (stunningly illustrated as always by Dragotta) Hickman delivers a thoughtful script which continues elaborating on the themes of his story.
Issue #23 of Tom Kings time on Batman present’s another high point for the run as he’s joined by the writer’s Sheriff of Babylon co-creator and artist Mitch Gerads. It’s a team up issue with Swamp Thing that represents some of the duo’s best work together. It’s a comic filled with intrigue, high action, humor and profound reflection for a single issue story that grabs you by the throat without letting up. Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Batman #23
By Kyle Starks, Chris Schweizer, Dylan Todd
This Week’s Finest goes to one of the most off-beat books to come out this year by far, featuring: hobo fight clubs, the Devil, and government incompetence; Rock Candy Mountain #2… Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Rock Candy Mountain #2
By Gerry Duggan, Aaron Kuder & Ive Svorcina
Three years ago Marvel Studios released Guardians of the Galaxy which rapidly rocketed to being one of the biggest domestic films of the year and, in the process, transformed the team into one of Marvel Comic’s most bankable brands. Such success might raise fans’ expectations for Marvel to publish some stellar Guardians yarns; such expectations proved to be misguided. Fans did get a great Rocket Raccoon solo book (or more precisely a string of solo titles, only the last of which disappointed). Unfortunately when the film came out, the main Guardians title was already in the throes of a run by Brian Michael Bendis. Bendis’ time on the title suffered from all of his flaws while benefiting from none of his strengths. Poorly plotted and overly quipy, his Guardians represented the writer in full autopilot mode. After a four year stretch, Bendis’ last issue on the series arrived last month, making way this week for a new relaunch and, most importantly, a new creative team. Right off the bat, writer Gerry Duggan and artist Aaron Kuder inject the title with a delightful energy.
The Doom Patrol relaunch from Gerard Way, Nick Derington & Tamra Bonvillain has been consistently delightful and reverent from the outset, with a level of craft and imagination that beget’s it’s continued improvement with each new issue. In this week’s installment, the teams approach to story is further refined while the addition of Tom Fowler as inker takes the already excellent visual element of the series to a whole new stratosphere. Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Doom Patrol #6
By Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart, Todd Klein
Once again, Dark Horse’s moody and inspired down-to-Earth heroes of Black Hammer earn the title of This Week’s Finest… Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Black Hammer #8
By Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie & Matthew Wilson
As previously observed, The Wicked + the Divine has always been focused on the subject of youth. However, this has hardly caused the series to remain static—quite the opposite in fact. One of writer Kieron Gillen’s motifs has been how the devil-may-care attitudes of adolescence gradually cede to the responsibilities of adulthood. The initial arcs depicted a Pantheon fully in thrall to their newfound powers; most of the freshly minted divinities were luxuriating in dazzlingly heights (or lows, if you were the Goth type with a preference for moping through poorly lit tube stations). It is true that mortality haunted The Pantheon from nearly the beginning striking down some of its brightest stars. Perhaps this is another reason why the brilliant Tara chapter (#13) struck such a deep chord: here was a portrait of a god buckling under the weight of her mantle. Tara never sought fame and all its trappings; indeed she desired as much anonymity as possible. When she turned to Ananke, The Pantheon’s mentor, for relief,, Tara was brutally rebuffed. In death she became another reminder of the finality which waits even for the divine. In fact, each time a Pantheon member has died, the tone of the narrative has shifted. Lucifer’s demise moved the theme from cheeky world-building concept to heart-wrenching poignancy. Inanna and Tara’s deaths deepened this somber atmosphere. Then Persephone’s killing of Ananke altered the status quo even more drastically. Adult supervision was gone and the children were left to fend for themselves. What would they do now that the only authority was their own? “Whatever we want,” Persephone declares. As the first half of Imperial Phase powerfully draws to a close, the reader is left wondering just how well that anthem is working out for any of them.
If issue #13 proves anything about Paper Girls, it’s that it’s remarkably consistent and constantly evolving. As the issue progresses within the larger narrative, old mysteries are resolved as quickly as new ones are realized; while the creative team continues to be in a class all their own in terms of execution and imagination. Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Paper Girls #13