For those tired of the Big 2 crossover events but just LOVE comics, we have good news: We do too. Fans of non-cape-and-tights comics (aside from Valiant, of course!) will be pleased with the selection of Dark Horse, BOOM! and Image Comics we have in store for this week’s Saturday Night Stash.
Read on. And then READ on.
The first rule of Fight Club is “You DO NOT talk about Fight Club!” Well… in the interest of Project Mayhem and keeping Tyler Durden’s vision alive, we are going to break the first two rules of Fight Club.
The last time we witnessed the Narrator — or “Joe” as he referred to himself — he had just killed Tyler with a gunshot to the head in an effort to escape. This put Joe into the white halls of a mental institution. His Project Mayhem days may be behind him…or were they, sir. Fast forward years later, and now “Joe” goes by the name “Sebastian”, married to Marla with a nine-year old son. The normal life. And despite the work of Project Mayhem going on all around the Narrator, he shows no interest, gone back to his cornflower blue tie, IKEA-buying, Starbucks-drinking, everyman ways– with the added pill popping to keep Tyler at bay. Marla, on the other hand, has reached the point of desperation to get Tyler back. She misses all the things that Tyler used to deliver, creating the doorway for the sequel.
Chuck Palahniuk never fails to deliver that cringing, appetite for description. If you are reading Dark Horse’s Fight Club 2 after only seeing the movie, you’ll likely feel a bit behind and/or confused as they have different endings. On another note, to pair with Palahniuk’s unique story telling is an artist, Cameron Stewart (Batman Inc.). He captures the tone, feel, and characters of the story. I enjoyed reading through pills and rose petals as the story progressed, feeling the fuzzy nature of Sebastian’s world as Tyler starts to emerge through again. Obviously, as one huge Palahniuk fan to another, you will not be disappointed with this comic sequel here. Sir. 4.5/5 Busted Teeth. (Fight Club 2 #1 will release on May 27th)
It is rather rare, my fellow Congregationalists, when lightning is captured in a bottle. With the case of Harrow County #1, I shall do my best to explain how it was accomplished.
First and foremost, story is everything. Without a comprehensive narrative things like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” happen. Fortunately, writer Cullen Bunn (Magneto, Sinestro) has a voice that would sound magnificent in one of them fancy “no-picture” books Stephen King poops out.
Speaking of the artwork, Tyler Crook (BPRD) has a unique style that looks like it was dug out of some Dust Bowl time capsule, yet contemporary. The palate and tonality symbiotically advance the story by showing what’s between the lines, while the text itself makes the next issue highly anticipated. And the Reverend doth anticipate. 4.75/5 Bibles.
Sliding us into the stink, with the dexterous bravado reminiscent of a certain amazing Big Apple webslinger, slinks forth a lecherous tale of comic porntoon proclivity from the brilliantly deviant brainpan of Bob Fingerman. With this latest entry into the Minimum Wage pantheon, Fingerman’s hipster-nerd-hero Rob Hoffman keeps things self-deprecatingly meta-narrative, while he takes us along for a ride on his white-knuckled fist; wearing us as a coterie of sock puppets, as he’s buried up in to elbow’s deepness. So Many Bad Decisions, Part 1, finds Fingerman having come full circle-jerkian, in a sense, when we find Rob in a state of post-dick-nastiness; with his consensual accomplie of copulations, our femme fatale of Fingermania: Magazine art director, Sheila Weist… Ms. Weist is the alpha female, to Hoffman’s masta-beta, here. Their dialogue is simultaneously tempestuous and titillating, to the point where I felt things building into a slow burn. Undoubtedly, this buxom patent leather bra, shall unleash the bosoms of the mind in the issues to follow…
Sheila’s got a red hot poker of a new gig, and she’s off to lay some smack and stack the cheddar. Meanwhile, Robby-poo meanders the Apple in a bit of a millennial malaise. The spectre of Sylva, his former wife, still looms alive within his mind, his heart (?), and his fevered dreams. Along his saunter, Rob encounters all manifestations of the nerdhood he inhabits; and Fingerman repeatedly peels back the fourth wall like latex, as he Easter-eggs pop- and comic-culture signifiers for as to fill our baskets with. The most ingenious passage in this journey, involves a further subversion into the depths of the comic world mind, wherein we encounter Rob Hoffman amidst the presence of genital-pink permutations of horseshoe crabs, their master, and the poetic ramblings of Hoffman’s own mind, his mantra, his muse? Slide into the muck, and get the skinny on this! Fingerman’s formidable talents begin to take us down the rabbit-hole layerings of a Christopher Nolanian mud cake here. You want some cream on that??? 5/5 Double Kong Dongs.
A plague has wiped out 7 billion people. 4 billion people have been “resurrected” and uploaded to a massive mainframe, a Matrix-like simulation called Arcadia — including some of the world’s greatest minds, tasked with finding a cure. But Arcadia has been drawing more and more energy lately, with no cure to show for it, and a confrontation between the living minority and the simulated majority is brewing… Yeah, I thought the premise of the new premiere series from Boom! required some explanation. Arcadia #1 dumps the reader headfirst into this dystopian future — where the few remaining survivors struggle to survive yet live freely — and the seemingly utopian Arcadia simulation, which shows its cracks and inequality very quickly. In this world, pixels are limited and code isn’t free. Newcomers Alex Paknadel and Eric Scott Pfieffer have created a bleak vision for the future here, but it’s the beginning of what promises to be a compelling and surprising tale. Pfiefer’s art is suitably grim and stylised as befits such a story, and Boom! continues its tradition of bringing out fantastic alternative creator-owned comic fiction. For fans of dystopian Vertigo, Image, and Dark Horse styled comics, Arcadia is pretty much a must have; and for anyone looking to ride out the Convergence/Secret Wars storm, this is a pretty good place to start. 4/5 Plagues of Egypt.
“Dead Drop” refers to the age-old method of cryptic transfer by spies, utilizing unobtrusive hiding spots for precious info, and this does, in fact, play key to the events in the story. Also, though, it’s what happens to us. When we read it. We get dropped. Dead. Right into the middle of the story. Consequently, some dead dropping is also happening on the first page. There are a couple neatly-illustrated prologue pages, one that presumes the route for the chase that’s about to take place, but then, panel one, our central character — Aric — is dropping…like, from the sky. Onto Manhattan. And then, Aric (a.k.a. X-O Manowar for the Valiant Universe-inclined) is the one doing the chasing. And like any good chaser, he’s after something. That something is a virus that could potentially wipe out the human race (because, let’s face it, a self-respecting virus doing anything less would be rookie shit). The chasee is something else, and Ales Kot (Zero, Secret Avengers) raises a lot of questions — an African America girl, who looks like she just walked out of a Gap ad, but, over the course of several well-plotted action sequences, executes enough awesomeness to stay a few slick Parkour moves ahead of Aric.
Art in this series is by Adam Gorham (Zero, TMNT/Ghostbusters), which, at its best, manages to capture the agility of its own self, with all the post-modern sleekness of a comic epic. Unfortunately, at its worst, it’s relegated a tad clunky, and even had me wondering if there weren’t hands elsewhere more suited to the task. Kots’ writing is crisp and foot-forward, which for a first issue, bodes well for itself and for the overall conversation of the series. Overall, I think — and this is a rarity in comic books these days, at least to me — Dead Drop #1 is cool. But, like, Fonzie. Cool. Looks cool. Talks cool. Does cool. And knows it’s cool, but still hangs out with Richie and the rest of the Cunninghams. 4.5/5 Bibles.