Evan isn’t the only person reading comics around here. Here are some recent surprise favorites of mine. I didn’t expect to be recommending any of these to you:
Above art drawn by Gabriel Andrade, colored by Digikore
I’ve long avoided most of the Crossed comics, a more vile riff on zombie fiction that involves people getting turned into savages who then sexually assault, maim and/or murder everyone in sight. Good writers have worked on the series, so maybe I’m missing something. I at least have finally read a full Crossed storyline, because one of comic’s best writers, Alan Moore, just finished a six-issue arc. The great author of Watchmen, V for Vendetta and Swamp Thing has launched a series called Crossed +100, which tells the tale of the Crossed world a century after the initial outbreak. His arc has depicted some vile acts, too, but convincingly locates its sympathies with a settlement of unaffected humans who thought they were finally getting civilization back on track. Spoiler: they were wrong.
The best part of the series has been the puzzle Moore has posed for readers in the form of a modified future dialect of the English language. If you are intrigued with the challenge of untangling what the characters are talking about in the panels above, then check out this series. Avatar is the publisher. I bought and downloaded all the issues through Comixology. Start with the first issue!
Above art drawn by Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira, colored by Gabe Eltaeb
I wasn’t impressed with most of DC Comics’ recent free eight-page series previews, but a couple of the new books the company has launched hold up well when given more pages to show the writer’s intent. In the case of Martian Manhunter, Rob Williams is telling the story of a super-hero who believes he has been used by the bad guys and needs to kill himself to make things right. I doubt this is the comics’ long-term premise, but mix that in with the weirdness of a cricket-looking homeless Martian and the introduction of a female super-hero from Dubai and we’ve got an unusual tale being taken to unpredictable places. I’m on board.
Above art drawn by Alec Morgan, colored by Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Another DC Comics surprise for me is writer Steve Orlando’s take on Midnighter, who has long been presented as Batman with a mean streak (and, oh yeah, he’s gay). The new book fits that description, but Orlando seems to be going for something that is intriguingly specific to this moment of class conflict and social progressivism. In the newest issue, a woman is given the superpower of killing by uttering any of six Chinese words and is urged by her mysterious and presumably nefarious benefactor to use it to get revenge on the agricultural company whose “poison” she blames for her husband’s death. But her vengeance is extreme. She beats up everyone in the company from the grunt level workers and security guards up to the bosses on the top floors. Midnighter shows up to put her in check and then to beat the crap out of the bosses, too. Then he’s out on a date in a Moscow bar beating up the homophobes who try to ruin his night out. I’m on board with this one for a while, too.
NOTE: To answer a question that has been asked, Midnighter, as pictured atop this post, is punching his ears out so he can’t be hurt by the killer Chinese words. He is not, as one questioner suggested, having an orgasm.
Above art drawn by Jason Fabok, colored by Brad Anderson
One more DC book, this one written by DC’s creative chief Geoff Johns. I’m hot and cold with Johns’ work. I loved a lot of his Green Lantern run, even after he was deep into the multi-colored ring stories that drove some fans away. I didn’t care for his Superman books and was uninterested in his New 52 takes on Justice League and Aquaman. I tried his JL again, though, because the DC kid in me can’t resist a story that is supposed to pit Darkseid against the Anti-Monitor. And that’s just it. If you have no idea who those two characters are, stay away. If you read enough DC to know, then, read this run, starting with issue #40. You’ll get Batman in the Mobius Chair. Again, if you read enough DC to know what the hell that means, you’ll like this.
Above art drawn and colored by Zander Cannon
I had no idea that Zander Cannon, who I’d read back in his Replacement God days and enjoyed as he tag-teamed with Alan Moore for Top 10, was writing and drawing a series about a prison island for giant Japanese movie monsters. Well, he is! And he’s four issues in. I’m only one issue in and am loving the fact that these guys use part of an oil tanker for a prison shiv. This book is from Oni
and is digital-only. (CORRECTION, 8:35pm: You can get it in print, too.) I got my copy on Comixology.
One more panel of Kaijumax for you. This is the main character’s kids, who have no idea their dad has been locked up.
That’s all I’ve got for you now. I have a huge Marvel Secret Wars crossover backlog to get through. Once I dig out a little more I’ll let you all know which Secret Wars crossovers are actually worth reading. Or Evan will. One of us.