Hey there, everyone! It’s a big week, and not just because we (the species in general, not this site) have been landing ROBOTS ON OTHER PLANETS! Also, the bulk of the folks here at Geekquality are headed off to GeekGirlCon, where it all began! We’ll be wishing them and Curiosity safe travels and hoping their panel goes well! (Curiosity will not be appearing on the panel.) Meanwhile, we’ll take a look at some new stories hitting the comics shelves this week, just to give all you good little geeks out there even more to be excited about.
Our first book this week is a story so new, it’s not even a #1! It’s The Creep #0 by John Arcudi (The Mask, B.P.R.D.) and Jonathan Case (Dear Creature, Green River Killer) from Dark Horse Comics. It collects three short segments run in Dark Horse Presents and is a hard-boiled detective story starring Oxel Karnhus, a private gumshoe who suffers from acromegaly, a condition that causes abnormal cellular growth during adulthood, resulting in overly large facial features and sometimes dramatic voice changes (real life sufferers include Abraham Lincoln and actor Richard Kiel, who played ‘70s Bond villain Jaws). He takes the unusual suicide case of his former college flame, whom he hasn’t seen in 20 years, largely due to the onset of his condition. This seems a pretty straightforward noir style detective story, with a hero who’s not just haunted by his past, he wears it literally on his face. Oxel is a protagonist that seems to bear the burden of his condition with dignity, enduring stares from children and harassment, yet still willing to help out an older witness in the throes of mental illness. However, this story isn’t solely about Oxel’s larger-than-life features, but his larger-than-life life, and the tragedy of the books opening panels is followed by a story of sensitivity, as well as intrigue. A compelling read, all around, with vivid artwork in varying styles to play up the tension by Mr. Case.
From human tragedy to human zealotry, we go next to Valiant Comics Archer and Armstrong #1 written by Fred Van Lente (Marvel Zombies, X-Men Noir) with art by Clayton Henry (Alpha Flight, Uncanny X-Men). Two of the unlikeliest heroes ever to team up are attempting to stop the end of the world (again) brought on by … The One Percent. Really! They’re more than just your bosses, folks, they’re the Sect of all Sects, slowly absorbing the various conspiracies and secret societies of the world since time began. They are the Masons and the Skulls and every cult in history all rolled into one, including the ultra-conservative Christian affiliation that raised one of our heroes, Obadiah Archer, to go forth and battle the Anti-Christ, as taught to him by his parents in their Evangelical Amusement Park (that needed capitalization, honestly it did.) Archer is sent in to the modern day Babylon of New York, only to cross paths with the only man to have survived the first destruction of the world (which we know of as Noah’s flood among other things), the immortal brawler and all around bearded ladies man known as Armstrong. Now these two disparate souls, one having realized his parents were liars, the other simply looking for a good time breaking heads, must battle The One Percent to prevent a second annihilation of, well, everything. Highlights of the issue include Archer’s final martial arts test by his parents in the amusement park’s Noah’s Ark display, and replying to Armstrong’s compliment on his talent and speed for picking locks with an indignant, “I have been expertly homeschooled, Sir.” It’s tough to tell if the book is taking itself too seriously, but only for about 10 seconds, then it’s delightful fun.
Next is the first of three ass-kicking super-heroines in this week’s new #1’s, Michael Allred’s It Girl and the Atomics #1 from Image Comics. This is an intentional throwback to the Silver Age style, about a string of super folks without their leader, who must soldier on and fight the good fight, with the eponymous leading lady – who’s got a bit too much time on her hands these days – at the helm. She’s shoved back into the world of super-heroism to help break an addiction to her own video game, which is pretty funny and well illustrated to boot. She gets into it with an old enemy (who she bizarrely forgets to mention murdered her sister, temporarily) but sees fit to believe that a criminal, even a super one, really can get rehabilitated. Think of It Girl and the Atomics as the B.P.R.D. to Madman, the heroes in the background who turn out to be just as interesting as their leader, if not more so. It’s nice to see It Girl step forward, as she was chewing up scenery in the Madman title, and is a fun and very relatable geek girl in her own right.
More bad-assery in the feminine form, you ask? Aspen Comics delivers its Idolized #0 for you. It’s the tale of Leslie Linelle, a.k.a Joule, a born super heroine with the power to control energy in all it’s forms. How does she use this remarkable ability? To audition for American Idol. Actually, it’s Super-Hero Idol, where super powered kids in a world where the tights and capes crew is common place, audition and compete for a spot in The Powered Protectors, their world’s poorly titled version of The Avengers. Sadly, we’ve seen this story before pretty recently in America’s Got Powers, but thankfully this one has a somewhat more interesting main character. Leslie is an orphan whose powers were not developed enough to save her parents and little sister from a disaster, but it’s the disaster in question that drives our young heroine. Her family were killed not in a tragic accident, but in a super villain attack, led by The Powered’s most heinous nemesis. Leslie looks like a girl next door one minute and a super-caped sexpot the next (her costume reveals little, but it’s still skin tight on the cover), and she’s got a deeper motivation, and one that’s none too pretty. It’s REVENGE, more than redemption that drives her, no matter what she tells you, and the possibility of seeing her dark side is intriguing, for certain. Lets just hope she can get past the rather stereotypical superhero art in the book (by Shrugged’s Micah Gunnell and Soulfire:Hope’s Pasquale Qualano), and show us a little more than her figure in tight spandex. There is promise here, but not much, yet.
And lastly we have Anti #1 from 12-Gauge Comics and Valhalla Entertainment, the same guy’s who produce AMC’s The Walking Dead. Zachary, a man who believes he is cursed to bring harm to those around him, is captured by a young woman named Jordan. Jordan, it turns out, is a Demon hunter who’s been rather dramatically killing people who’ve been possessed by what she refers to as The Fallen. She’s being hunted by a possessed Police chief, who wanders in just as she’s about to bring her own unique brand of exorcist ass-whoopin’ to Zachary, who has little to no idea what’s happening to him. Zachary, who’s haunted by unusual dreams of a tortured lover tied to a target, may indeed be something altogether from what any demon hunter has encountered before, and this violent tour-de-force actioner is not rushing us to the end of the story anytime soon. This has the pacing of a well done thriller, Hollywood style explosions and all, and it’s anti-heroine Jordan packs quite a wallop. She’s here to help when demonic policemen rape the local townswomen. That is, if by help you mean she can smash in the door and put a bullet in the hell spawn’s brain, and not provide counseling or support. Jordan is not the lovey-dovey type, and she also, sadly, succumbs to the super heroic action cliché of having to show us her midriff most of the time, but she’s quick with a kick or a pistol and ready to battle demons and cops alike, so buckle in for a wild ride, kids.
Meanwhile, there are a few other #1s of lesser note popping up this week as well. For some typical Monster Smashes Tokyo action, take a gander at Godzilla: The Half Century War #1, though gander is really all you need to do. There’s some great art of Godzilla, well, smashing Tokyo, but we’ve been there before, right? Dark Horse keeps feeding us irrelevant Sith backstory with Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith: Spiral (yup, two : ‘s in that title) which does have a female lead character, but who is so boring and, well, Sith like that there’s not much to admire. And X-man favorite Remy Lebeau gets his own series (again) in Gambit Vol. 5 #1, where he goes back to his old ways stealing things, albeit in best Robin Hood fashion from folks who really deserve to be stolen from, all the while wooing cocktail waitresses and mysterious tattooed ladies with no name. Yawn.
There you have it, folks, just in time to gear you up fro GeekGirlCon, or at least to get you to your local comic shop to pick up reading material for the plane ride! Enjoy!