Posts Tagged "eric arroyo"
A comiXologist Recommends:
Eric Arroyo recommends Gotham Central #1: Special Edition

It’s the middle of summer in Gotham City, and Detectives Driver and Fields are chasing a final, desperate lead in a kidnapping case. But this last door unexpectedly leads to Mr. Freeze, who promptly murders Fields to send a message to the GCPD. The Major Crimes Unit scrambles to take Freeze down, and Detective Driver resolves to get justice for his partner before night falls and the Batman gets involved.

 In Gotham Central, writers Greg Rucka (ruckawriter) and Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark present a new perspective on the Batman mythos, setting a gritty police procedural in the crossfire of the Dark Knight’s crusade. Though this critically-acclaimed 2003 series is not coming back for an encore, DC is rereleasing Gotham Central #1 as a special edition tie-in to the new Gotham TV-series.

The ways Gotham Central intersects with the greater world of Batman help elevate it to a masterful series. Batman exists as whispers and as a constant reminder of police failures, while his rogues range from distractions who get in the way of important police work to frightening forces to be reckoned with. The MCU’s head-to-head encounters with costumed villains are rare and effectively scary, as the detectives must put their wits against deadly superhuman powers.

But Gotham Central would be a great comic even without the looming shadow of the Bat. Cases and personal dramas naturally weave in and out of each other, giving the series an exciting rhythm in which story beats click together where you least expect them. The MCU struggles to deal with regular crime while supervillainy lurks around every corner, and all they have are their loud personalities and richly-developed relationships to pull them through each crisis. The MCU’s greatest strengths are also the story’s: Gotham Central provides a richer ensemble cast than most superhero titles, letting side-characters like Renee Montoya and Capt. Maggie Sawyer shine. Every scene of the MCU coming together suggests real interpersonal relationships and a strong history, putting a soul in standard cop drama scenarios.

If the Gotham TV-series ends up half as good as Gotham Central, it would be a force to be reckoned with. Revisit Gotham Central with 99-cent digital issues all this week!

[Pick up Gotham Central #1: Special Edition here!]

Eric Alexander Arroyo is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist and a Digital Editor at comiXology. He’s probably drawing giant robots or listening to ABBA.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Eric Arroyo recommends Giant Days #2

John Allison’s (scarygoround) Giant Days brings the sass and flavor of Bad Machinery and Scary-Go-Round to the first weeks of college, where freshmen form bonds with the first people they see and navigate the challenges of independence, often disastrously. After cementing their friendship through brawling a gang of former head girls/martial artists, Esther de Groot, Daisy Wooton, and Susan Ptolemy find themselves simultaneously stumbling through matters of love and that annoying band upstairs that won’t stop practicing at night.

Although Esther, Daisy, and Susan are still figuring out their identities, cartoonist John Allison has a firm grasp on their characters. Allison cements the girls’ personalities and dynamics through authentic dialogue and playful mannerisms. As they play off each other, they naturally roll into the kind of young adult tussles that are easy to identify with, but portrayed with enough wit and self-awareness to be as hilarious as they are embarrassing. Matters of long-distance relationships and unrequited love are dealt with with a frankness and lack of melodrama that’s awfully refreshing; characters aren’t villainized for their poor decisions, and the young women’s agency over their sexuality isn’t scandalous.

Giant Days #2 may not feature the more fantastic beat-downs of its first issue, but it maintains the well-paced, interlocked rollercoaster of humor and teen drama, synching the two rails at the end for a fiasco of a climax. If you fondly remember the neighbors you met the first time you locked yourself out of your dorm, or if you hate their awful mugs, dive back into university with Giant Days.

[Pick up Giant Days #2 here!]

For fans of: female leads, slice of life

Eric Alexander Arroyo is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist and a Digital Editor at comiXology. He’s probably drawing giant robots or listening to ABBA.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Eric Arroyo recommends Boss Snake - Cold Blood, Cold Streets

Gate City’s underbelly is home to more than enough crime lords and cults for a single pulp action hero to take on. Covered in foreboding geometric spot-blacks and brought to life with ink wash textures, this post-WWII setting recalls the first decades of the superhero genre, with all the mobsters, mysticism, and mad science to go with it. But unlike Doc Unknown, the heroic pulp-revivalist adventure comic that introduced Boss Snake, Boss Snake: Cold Blood, Cold Streets turns its snake-eyes on the story’s villain and explores his rise to power.

In Doc Unknown #1, our hero summed up Boss Snake’s life as a brutal rags-to-riches story. But this embellished tale shows that on the road to controlling Gate City’s underworld, Snake lost much more than he could ever gain. Unlike Doc Unknown’s more whimsical adventures, Cold Blood, Cold Streets is a down-to-earth, Depression-era tragedy, with the most fantastical element being Snake’s own reptilian mug. Artist Ryan Cody and writer Fabian Rangel Jr. craft a world that’s out to get Snake, with deep shadows and gritty brush strokes lurking even in the corners of Snake’s happiest moments. The slick, contrast-rich art style couples design sensibilities that recall the time period with contemporary storytelling sophistication. Cody suggests time and place with specific and iconic details, making Gate City feel fully realized with just a few marks of the pen.

Cold Blood, Cold Streets doesn’t set out to reveal that Boss Snake deep down has a heart of gold. Instead, it builds his worldview, showing what happens when a man who’s hardly given a chance has to take everything that life refuses to give him. Boss Snake is a villain you learn to respect, but never forgive.

If you ever wanted to see the dark side of pulp adventure like The Rocketeer and The Spirit, coupled with a classic mob story, look no further than Boss Snake: Cold Blood, Cold Streets. And if you’d rather stick with the high-flying adventure, read about Doc Unknown’s exploits in his own title.

[Pick up Boss Snake - Cold Blood, Cold Streets here!]

For fans of: crime, supernatural

Eric Alexander Arroyo is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist and a Digital Editor at comiXology. He’s probably drawing giant robots or listening to ABBA.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Eric Arroyo recommends Head Lopper #1

Head Lopper is a rich and kinetic comic that explores the essence of sword and sorcery.

This opening story follows Norgal, the titular Head Lopper, to Scotland, where his profession of hired decapitator brings him into conflict with a towering beast. But his challenges only begin with feats of extreme violence, traveling through a world of corrupted morals and cursed with the heckling of a witch’s severed head.

Norgal is a mile-wide warrior of few words, and neither he nor cartoonist andrewmaclean has much need for those. MacLean depicts a battle of great combatants and greater stakes with precision and clarity; his streamlined art style breaks each beat of action down to its essential elements, yet never loses any dynamism in the process. Coupled with meticulously laid out panels, the visual storytelling keeps the reader involved with every step of the chaotic battle. Even in the book’s quieter moments, MacLean’s page structure and use of clear icons show a strong sense of visual timing that brings the page to life.

And that world that MacLean and colorist Mike Spicer bring to life is harsh and brooding, ripe with desolate architecture and complicated characters. Spicer’s colors add a haze of dread that grounds the comic’s over-the-top adventure. While the action-adventure storytelling is thrilling and efficient, the carefully curated details of the world surrounding Norgal’s adventure highlight its unique flavor, revealing a place where greedy men are the true monsters, sinister magic lurks behind every pebble, and a man finds his own way to stand for justice.

If the pulp adventure of gailsimone and Walter Geovani’s Red Sonja makes you let out a barbarian roar, or if you’re haunted by the gloomy fantasy in Becky Cloonan’s The Mire, swing for the neck with Head Lopper!

[Pick up Head Lopper #1 here!]

For fans of: comedyfantasymythology

Eric Alexander Arroyo is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist and a Digital Editor at comiXology. He’s probably drawing giant robots or listening to ABBA.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Eric Arroyo recommends Cyclops #1

Cyclops is a sentimental father-son roadtrip, where the father is a space pirate, the son is the teen leader of the X-Men, and the car is a stolen spaceship tearing through a hostile galaxy.

This first issue directly follows the events of All-New X-Men, where a time-displaced teen Scott Summers (the titular Cyclops) is dealing with two revelations: he grows up to become a jerk, and his dead dad is actually alive and a space pirate known as Corsair. And if you’re just as confused as Scott is, this issue will catch you up to speed, with clever exposition that delves into Scott’s insecurities and shows writer Greg Rucka’s (ruckawriter) command of a teenage voice.

So how do a teenage mutant superhero and a notorious space outlaw overcome their self-doubt? By getting caught up in a thrilling dogfight and hijacking a spaceship like only Errol Flynn with a spacesuit and eyebeams could!

Writer Greg Rucka (Lazarus, Batwoman: Elegy), artist russelldauterman (Supurbia), and colorist Chris Sotomayor have gone to great lengths to establish a whimsical tone and conflicted relationships at the start of this journey. The respect that Corsair commands from his crew is frequently contrasted with the fears he faces as an absentee father with a second chance. Dauterman captures Scott’s emotional clumsiness through gesture and body language just as well as he composes a cosmic pirate raid. Dauterman and Sotomayor’s environments are beautiful and desolate, effectively conveying Scott’s wonder and fears regarding his new surroundings. But the team’s greatest accomplishment is in portraying Scott and his coming-of-age dilemmas as empathetic and genuine, in spite of the world of cat-like alien stepmothers, zero-G swashbuckling, and organic spacecraft surrounding him.

The real magic at the heart of Cyclops is an outrageous sense of adventure with an honest emotional core.

[Pick up Cyclops #1 here!]

For fans of: superheroes, cosmicrad facial hair

Eric Alexander Arroyo is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist and a Digital Editor at comiXology. He’s probably drawing giant robots or listening to ABBA.