Posts Tagged "staff picks"
A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends Fatale Vol. 5: Curse the Demon 

Fatale made me miss my subway stop.  I was re-reading the series last week to prepare for this review, and on my way home from work on Friday I ended up so engrossed in an issue I had already read that I completely failed to notice that we had arrived at my stop.  I’ve been getting off at this stop for over five years; I haven’t missed it in ages.  So the fact that I ended up walking an extra half-dozen blocks to get home that night, and that I didn’t particularly mind it, should speak volumes towards just how great this series is.

For the uninitiated: Fatale is a noir series tinged with Lovecraftian supernatural horror, from master storytellers Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. The story spans the length of the 20th century, up through the modern day, following the tumultuous life of Josephine, the ultimate femme fatale.  Cursed by supernatural powers, Josephine never ages and has the singular ability to bewitch any man she sees, whether she wants to or not.  Her “victims” fall desperately, obsessively in love with her, forgetting their wives, families, and careers in pursuit of her affections; as a result she is haunted by countless ruined lives that she’s left in her wake over the decades chronicled in the comic.

Volume 5 is the final book in the series, and while it’s bittersweet to see such a great comic come to an end, things are wrapped up here pretty well.  Nicolas Lash, who has been tracking Josephine in modern-day “interludes” throughout the series, finally gets the spotlight for a volume of his own, which feels like it’s been a long time coming.  Other loose ends are also fleshed out, such as the history of the tentacle-faced “Bishop” that’s been after Jo since volume 1, as well as the story behind Josephine’s son, of whom we’ve seen almost nothing since his photograph surfaced in volume 2.

I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. Brubaker and Phillips have proven themselves masters of the noir genre, and have seamlessly incorporated supernatural horror into the mix for Fatale, resulting in one of the most engrossing page-turners I’ve read in years.

If you do pick it up, though, do make sure you put it down from time to time.  Or who knows where you’ll end up.

[Read Fatale Vol. 5: Curse The Demon on comiXology]

Mike Isenberg is an Associate Production Coordinator at comiXology, and the co-writer of First Law Of Mad Science.  He lives in Harlem with his cats, Tesla and Edison

A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends Fez #2 

New Zealand-born comics creator Roger Landridge has brought his slyly humorous talent to many iconic characters over the years, from Batman  and Thor to Popeye and The Muppets. Without overly indulging in pop-culture minutia, Landridge, from his earliest days working Judge Dredd, has proven himself adept at capturing the spirit of a character while maintaining his own sensibility as a writer and artist.  It makes sense, then, that his own creation, the Fez, calls upon the tradition of the great pulp heroes, yet at the same time feels very fresh, funny and original.  Self-described as an “earnest, sincere, imaginary man,” the Fez, invisible except for his eponymous headwear, is a  mysterious, mystical and mythical hero in the grand tradition of Dr. Strange, The Shadow and John Constantine.  He is a difficult character to pin down, by turns roguish and caddish, not above pickpocketing a small child, yet noble in his quest to defend the world from the forces of darkness, including such unimaginably insidious foes as Impossible Alan and Space Hitler.

Issue two of the Fez, available now through comiXology submit, finds our hero dating, dying and exorcising demons, breaking bad children’s toys and even killing the Queen of England, all why a dry, raking, decidedly English wit.  The tone of this comic is,well, comic, but Landridge throws in just enough shadowy horror imagery to keep things spooky.  Fans of the Venture Brothers and similarly self-aware takes on the cartoon narratives of the pulpy past will be enthralled by Landridge’s vision of a character “as real- or as unreal- as we choose to make him.”

[Read Fez #2 on comiXology]

Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Jen Keith recommends Booster Gold: Futures End #1

With the Futures End event thrusting the DC New 52 universe five years into the future, it’s about time they bring the megalomaniac hero from the future, Booster Gold, back into the fray. We saw our favorite glory hound fade into nothingness in JLI Annual #1 after his future self suddenly appeared and said that he had to stop…what? Superman and Wonder Woman from becoming the new power couple (maybe he’s more of a Batman and Wonder Woman fan)? The mystery of this strange message and Booster’s sudden disappearance still stands, but it seems we’re finally getting some answers.

Booster Gold: Futures End #1 is a smorgasbord of cameos sure to delight long-time DC fans (hint: yes, pre-New 52 fans, this means you). We get to see what’s going on with Booster since he disappeared, including a visit to the Gotham By Gaslight  Elseworld, Earth 4, and more! Going by the hints and nods to previous histories, I keep wondering what impact this will have and just what his current torturous captors are plotting. I’ve been psyched about what plans DC has for Booster since the announcement of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold in December’s Justice League 3000 written by the original Justice League Internationalwriters, so this new book was an instant must-read that did not disappoint my needing a Booster Gold fix.

Hopping between multiple universes in one story could get confusing, but the large creative team eases this by swapping every time Booster changes locations. There’s a lot of talent packed in this issue, including
Moritat, Brett Booth, Will Conrad, and many more; Dan Jurgens, creator of Booster Gold and veteran creative team member on Booster’s solo books, wrote this one-shot and even drew a portion.

Can one comic truly contain the massive ego of multiple Booster Golds? Will he tell his captors what they’re willing to go as far as murder to find out? No time traveling needed – find out in Booster Gold: Futures End #1.

[Read Booster Gold: Futures End #1 on comiXology]

Jen Keith is a Digital Editor at comiXology, comic artist, music addict, and needs to watch that Justice League Unlimited Booster Gold episode “The Greatest Story Never Told” again because it’s so good.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends Valentine #3 by alexdecampi & thelarsenproject

In the winter of 1812, while the last war between the United States and the United Kingdom was building intensity in North America, the attempted invasion of Russia by Napoleon’s Grande Armee was coming to its bloody end.  With the brutality of the Russian Winter closing in, French soldiers found themselves beset by near constant attacks from both the Cossacks and militias of local peasants.  When the invasion ended that December, the Grande Armee counted nearly 400,000 casualties.  It was France’s first major defeat of the Napoleonic Wars.

Such is the gruesome background of Alexi De Campi and Christine Larsen’s Valentine, published by Mark Waid’s Thrillbent.  Beautifully set against an overpoweringly bleak Russian snowscape, stained with the blood of battle, De Campi and Larsen’s exciting digital only series follows the exploits of eponymous French solider, Valentine, adrift in the horrors of war, locked in a battle history has already decided.  In issue two, the story veered subtly towards the supernatural, with Valentine facing off against a band of seemingly invincible horse-riding Cossacks, with glowing red eyes and purple blood.  Riddled with bullets and sinking in icy waters, Valentine’s fate seem sealed.

Issue three, available today on comiXology, however, finds Valentine very much alive and trying to explain his miraculous escape from death.  The answers are not easy and the truth is not always what it seems, as the supernatural elements of Valentine’s adventures intensify in this latest installment of what is shaping up to be a thoroughly exhilarating narrative from from the creators of Smoke, Ashes and the Lamorte Sisters, available for the first time with comiXology’s own Guided View Native reading experience!

[Read Valentine #3 on comiXology]

Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Michael Crowe recommends Roche Limit #1 by michael-moreci & vicmalhotra

Roche Limit is unlike any other place in the universe. A small space colony situated on the edge of a massive and mysterious energy anomaly, it is home to countless terran transplants. First envisioned as a waypoint to greater exploration, the colony has since descended into lawlessness.

Set against this backdrop, writer Michael Moreci guides us through the seedy underbelly of this frontier city, giving us a glimpse of life on the fringe. The heart of this narrative is rooted in mystery, wrapped in noir, with the neon glow of cyberpunk encasing it all. Nothing is as it seems and every question answered is two steps forward, one step back. The sudden disappearance of Bekkah Hudson catapults her sister into this world and sends her on journey for answers. But Bekkah isn’t the only girl missing, and her sister isn’t the only one with questions. Where these questions lead is anyone’s guess, but in a place like this, they might go better unanswered.

The art, by Vic Malhotra, is rich and detailed. Vic effortlessly creates a world that is both remarkable yet average. It is a place, seemingly a few minutes in the future, yet unimaginable in our lifetimes. The neon colors and lights of the city beguile its dark secrets. The character designs mirror this vibrancy, while little details illuminate their inner workings. Vic’s diagrams and posters also add to the depth of this world. Together, Michel Moreci and Vic Malhotra have birthed a new and exciting series sure to capture the hearts and minds of scifi and mystery readers a like. For more grim adventures be sure to check out Hoax Hunters written by Michael Moreci and Joe Hill’s Thumbprint illustrated by Vic Malhotra.

[Read Roche Limit #1 on comiXology]

Michael Crowe works on the digital assets/launch team by day and writes comics and prose by night. He’s an avid consumer of comics and all things sci-fi.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends Monster & Madman 

Jack the Ripper was in the headlines again last week, with claims surfacing of new DNA evidence pinning the 1888 London murder spree on Polish barber Aaron Kosminski.  Writer Steve Niles (arcaneimages) and artist Damien Worm, however, have another theory.

Monster & Madman tells the tale of Frankenstein’s monster, following the events of Mary Shelley’s classic novel.  Rather than burn himself to death on Victor Frankenstein’s funeral pyre, as he told the novel’s narrator he would, the monster decides to continue his life—as wretched as it is—and finds passage from the Arctic on a ship bound for Norway.

The monster eventually makes his way to London in 1888, just as a string of grisly murders is beginning to terrify the populace.  There he strikes a deal with mortician John Moore; if the monster allows Moore to examine him and discover the secrets of Victor Frankenstein’s work, Moore will grant the monster what Victor denied him: the creation of a companion to ease his loneliness.

Of course, Moore has his own secrets and motives, and his source for female body parts may not be the generous local hospital as he claims.

Steve Niles’ writing is in turns eerie and melancholy, matching Shelley’s original text in terms of both writing style as well as his characterization of the monster.

What makes Monster & Madman really shine, however, is definitely Damien Worm’s gorgeously grotesque artwork.  Worm’s moody collages of ink, paint, and newspaper clippings set a perfect tone for this creepy tale, and work wonderfully in letting the viewer see the world through the monster’s borrowed, reanimated eyes.

For fans of the Shelley’s classic novel, or of dark and moody horror in general, Monster & Madman is highly recommended.

[Read Monster & Madman on comiXology]

Mike Isenberg is an Associate Production Coordinator at comiXology, and the co-writer of First Law Of Mad Science.  He lives in Harlem with his cats, Tesla and Edison

A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends At the Shore #2

As goofy and loveable as the gang from Scooby-Doo , the central group of misfits in Jim Campbell’s At the Shore #2, from Alternative Comics, finds themselves embroiled in a mystery when their car is stuck on the beach.  Bickering the whole time, they face off against what may or may not be oceanic zombies, which may or may not be the result of the environmental shenanigans of the Midlothian Seaweed Mining Company.  The story unfolds among flashbacks that may or may not be relevant to the story (I’m betting they are) as the characters bicker their way through this ever-evolving adventure.

At the Shore has its own unique sense of style that sets it apart from many of the other zombie comics out there these days.  It’s certainly a horror story in the grand tradition of “teens stranded somewhere” horror stories, but it’s funny too, yet the humor isn’t overly jokey.  Rather, it arises subtly from the relationships between the characters and their dialogue.  Campbell seems to be referencing young adult mysteries, a la Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and the aforementioned Scooby-Doo, yet he’s not afraid to throw in a good zombie head-squashing, suggesting the possibility that things could take a significantly darker turn as the story progresses.  It’s appropriate his art somewhat recalls that of Richard Sala, who operates in a similar arena of humor and horror.  There’s a hint of Bryan Lee O’Malley in there too, as I think fans of Scott Pilgrim and Lost at Sea would feel at home in the world of At the Shore.

The resulting mesh of conflicting tones and genre bending is delightfully unpredictable and off-kilter, and makes me a really fun read.  Without being overly saccharine or excessively twee, At the Shore is, without a doubt, the most charming zombie comic on the market today.  It’s rewarding read for those of us who enjoy low-key humor and oddball horror.

[Read At the Shore #2 on comiXology]

Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Kate Kasenow recommends Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Witches

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller has a deep and rich history which has only been enhanced by the current incarnations published by BOOM! Archaia. This newest addition to the series is an attempt at a more focused collection of material, one that exceeds all expectations the audience may have. When one hears a title like ‘Witches,’ certain imagery comes to mind—usually of the Halloweenish variety—but the first issue of The Storyteller: Witches, this cliché is laid to rest deftly by the gorgeous illustrations and fantastic tale spun by S. M. Vidaurri (smvidaurri).

The story includes familiar elements of old stories as well as new and shining details to entice the reader throughout. What truly stands out, however, are Vidaurri’s unique watercolor paintings that portray his story perfectly. Every inch of the image is well-crafted and delivered especially the lettering, which brings to mind ancient illuminated texts. Together, the words and images tell a tale of loss and the strength that can be forged by it. There are enchanted forests, royalty, magical creatures, quests, and a witch of course! Will the princess be able to save the day or will she be outwitted by the mysterious Lord of the Forest?

There’s so much to love about this first issue, I can hardly wait to see what they come up with for the next!

[Read Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches #1 here!]    

Kate Kasenow is a comics artist from Indiana currently living in Manhattan. She works at ComiXology  as a Lead Digital Editor and spends most of her spare time re-reading J. R. R. Tolkien.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Michael Crowe recommends Oddly Normal #1

Oddly Normal #1, written and illustrated by otisframpton, is a delightful tale for all ages. This inaugural issue introduces us to a young girl named Oddly. The daughter of a witch and a mortal, life is not easy for this half-ling. Torn between two worlds, Oddly struggles to fit in, both at school and at home.

Otis Frampton’s writing is simple and approachable for young readers. Drawing from his own life experiences while growing up, the book manages to capture the angst many juveniles feel as they come into their own. Often times it can feel as if no one understands you - not even members of your own family. The script channels this awkward time in a child’s life with equal parts heart and wit. Frampton likes to reference works that have come before his, in subtle ways, drawing on the shared mythology of the supernatural creatures he plans to explore. Future issues promise to delve deep into the mystical world he’s only yet hinted at.

Frampton’s care and eye for detail extend to his vibrant illustrations. Each panel bursts with little things that flesh out the world or hint at stories still untold. The character designs are unique, well defined, and approachable for young readers. Every page sizzles with rich colors and detailed backgrounds. Even rain soaked scenes seem to buzz with energy.

Like any good young adult story, this one sets out to instill life lessons while dishing out plenty of action and adventure. With Halloween just around the corner, this book is the perfect way to kick off the fall season!

[Read Oddly Normal #1 on comiXology]

Michael Crowe works on the digital assets/launch team by day and writes comics and prose by night. He’s an avid consumer of comics and all things sci-fi.

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.