The Other Side of the Page: Books and Comics
The Week of Independent Comics!
Another new comic book day has rolled around. This week, a lot of number ones came out! They’re not from DC Comics or Marvel (though there were plenty of them as well). I wanted to focus on some of the independent titles that came out from Image, Titan Comics, Boom Studios!, and Vertigo!
Here’s my mini reviews!
Citizen Jack #1
Jack Northworthy is the last person who should run a country. Various offenses from cocaine possession to bribing his persecutors got him kicked out of being mayor. His life sucks. His wife won’t give him alimony. His snowblower business if failing. What’s a guy to do?
Make a deal with a demon to run for president! That’s what!
The first issue of Citizen Jack was awesome. Jack is completely unlikable in every way while looking great in a fluffy pink robe. I don’t think it was a coincidence that he also resembles Donald Trump if he let himself go. While he seems terrible, there’s something relatable seeing this guy at the end of his rope.
I love this wave of politically charged comics being released with an election year coming up. Citizen Jack is the newest and one of the best I’ve seen just after DC Comics’ Prez. With a strong first issue, I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.
I give Citizen Jack #1 8 out of 10 Trump lookalikes.
A wild mountain man (who I assume is named Klaus?) comes to the town of Grimsvig at Yule to trade animal pelts. He finds a once happy city under the oppression of a new baron. The people are starving, armed soldiers harass children, and the baron’s son is a spoiled brat. Disgruntled, the mountain man falls into a trance in the forest. When he awakens, there’s a mounds of new toys waiting for him.
I have waited patiently for this title. I know Grant Morrison is one of the most respected comic writers, but I don’t read him a lot. He tends to write a lot of dark stories, and that’s not my cup of tea. Now that he’s writing the origin story of Santa Claus, I think I can handle it.
The writing at points seems a bit stilted and wooden, but overall it’s a stellar beginning. Dan Mora knocked it out of the park with the artwork. The backgrounds are beautifully detailed to the cobblestones on the streets of Grimsvig.
At the end of the comic in the author notes, they mentioned the Krampus is coming. The Krampus is one of my favorite Christmas lore stories of all time. Boom Studios! is really becoming one of my favorite publishing houses with all of these new tales. I can’t with for issue two!
I gave Klaus #1 9 out of 10 mysterious toys in the woods.
Maika survived one war but lost so much in the process. To find answers, she sells herself into slavery to go undercover in a manor of witches who chop up half human, half creatures for magical science experiments. With Maika’s own powers not always reliable, will she make it out alive?
In a comic that’s a mix of steampunk and magic, Monstress is a gorgeous piece of work. This is a sixty-six page double issue with no advertisements full of badass ladies. I think there’s only three males in this and all are minor roles. Here we see female leaders, scientists, magicians, witches, and slaves. All play various roles in the narrative as Maika’s war torn story unfolds.
It did take about fifteen to twenty pages in before I started figuring out what exactly was going on. That’s not always a bad thing, because I kept reading. I just wish the writing was a bit tighter in certain points. I’m still unsure about the relationship between humans and the half creatures and why their cultures have fought a war.
That being said, Marjorie Liu (writer) and Sana Takeda (artist) have created a beautiful and engaging world recovering from recent tragic events. Even the rich seem to be struggling in some way. I think Image has the beginnings of a strong new series on their hands. It might not be the next Saga, but it’s a great first effort.
I gave Monstress #1 an 7.5 out of 10 cute little fox girls.
Doctor Who Eighth Doctor #1
I know I’m in a minority, but I love the Eighth Doctor. He’s one of my favorites. I’ve watched the 1996 movie more times I care to admit, but I adore Paul McGann. I cried when he surprisingly arrived in Night of the Doctor for the 50th anniversary, because I honestly thought everyone forgot he exists. Now Eight has his own mini series, and I’m excited!
I have a love-hate relationship with the Titan Comics. They don’t always capture the energy of Doctor Who. With the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor comics, at times it seems the writers tried too hard to capture David Tennant and Matt Smith’s speaking styles. For the Twelfth Doctor comics, I despise Clara. I can’t wait for her to leave the show. Until she leaves the comics, I have no urge to read them.
The Eighth Doctor comic does everything right. They capture both the energy and romantic sides of Paul McGann’s incarnation of the Doctor. You can hear the suave decadence in his tone as he gushes over Jane Eyre. Josie is a fresh new companion with attitude, multi-colored hair, and gauges in her ears. Already she seems like she won’t take the Doctor’s antics.
Doctor Who fans, if you never seen the 1996 movie, you have to pick up this comic. They got this one right in a strong opening issue.
I gave Doctor Who Eighth Doctor #1 9 out of 10 Jane Eyre loving romantics.
When a social media mogul announces he’s dying, he chooses 140 random people from all over the world to inherit his money. Whoever is left alive at the time of his death will split the money equally. Now it’s survival of the social media fittest.
…Is what should have been in the first issue, but I got that from Vertigo’s website. This is a thin, thin first issue that’s mostly set up. Only in the first few pages do you get that this will be a survival story for the 140 players.
That aside, it’s still a pretty good first issue. The dying internet mogul wants to prove there’s good in humanity, but I have a feeling it’s going to explode in his face once everyone starts killing each other off. These aren’t my favorite kinds of story, but there’s definitely an audience out there for nihilism narratives. Unfollow was probably my least favorite comic of what I reviewed today, but I still plan on getting the next few issues just to see what happens. I would like to see the best in these 140 people to show there’s still good in the world.
I gave Unfollow #1 6 out of 10 twitter characters.