TOP 10 – Debut Review

Our Run Down of Recent Comic Book Debuts!
We’ll leave the time on this open as sometimes recent for someone can mean three months ago.  Our reading schedule gets pushed constantly and there’s usually a good 15 or more books in our “to read” stack at any given time.  So take the ‘recent’ with a little bit of salt and hopefully enjoy our take on debut issues that we felt really worked, and launched titles in a manner that sets them up for success.  We’ll try to hit these books before they’ve had more than 3 issues hit the stands.

-Bone Parish (Cullen Bunn – Boom!)
This is a novel take.  Turf wars among drug gangs is a tried and true methodology, sure.  However, Cullen does what he does best and introduces that supernatural/horror element and twists the narrative.  In Bone Parish we get this by way of a new drug … the bone powder of the deceased.  Yup, snorting dead folks is the new high.  Now, there’s PLENTY to explore with this and in the first couple of issues we’ve got several threads running.  Excellent start to an excellent new approach to something we thought we knew.

-Dead Rabbit (Gerry Duggan – Image)
I picked it up on a whim.  Crime, beat ’em up, love story … all sorts of classic bullet points are sprinkled in the solicit.  In the vein of the anti-hero that has become a staple in comics, this book does a fantastic job of bringing across a very important point first and foremost.  Why?  Why should you care about our ‘hero’ and the motivations he’s got for doing what he’s doing.  It doesn’t break through all sorts of barriers and then go back and justify them or paint the picture differently.  Instead, the first issue makes everything real first while setting up the mask our ‘hero’ wears.  That is what makes the anti-hero work.  You’ve got to care and believe who the person behind the actions actually is.  We’ve been shown that first with this book.  That makes me care about where it goes.

-Death Orb (Ryan Ferrier – Dark Horse)
Yeah it’s a post-apocalyptic setting.  See though, we’re given frantic over the top action right from the get go as we learn that our main man is searching for his pregnant wife.  I mean I’d be a damned honey badger/tasmanian devil combo if something had happened to my pregnant wife.  What I love best is that the book has a style all its own while tipping a cap to the popular culture same settings that have come before.  This book takes off running and gives us what we need to follow along.  I love new within the old, and this book is primed to give me that.

-Euthanauts (Tini Howard – Black Crown)
What a wonderful premise.  This book takes a delicate and embracing approach to the finality we’ll all realize at some point.  Death.  It sucks, for the living, but the holding hands with it and ALL it is that this books is doing is almost refreshing.  It is unreal just how real everything about this book looks and feels.  If I didn’t know better I’d think I was engaging in both an inner question and answer session with my conscious as well as a conversation with someone that knows me as well as I do myself.  Right now it seems that the answers to the questions will work against each other.  I’m going to find out though.  

-Fearscape (Ryan O’Sullivan – Vault)
A slow burn is an effective device when done properly.  It’s even better when managed in a fashion not typical to what you expect from such an approach.  The exposition is heavy BUT it’s beyond effective as it grabs you and pulls you into the narrative.  Henry Henry is a dick.  He’s about to really screw things up for everyone too.  The opening salvo is a slow burn that burns brightly and manages to provide the eyebrow raising and inquisitive thoughts about everything that inhabits the Fearscape.  

-Friendo (Alex Paknadel – Vault)
It’s disturbing because quite honestly it’s damn near true.  Well, parts of it are true in terms of how we, as a society, have begun to think, act, and rely on artificial means of pretty much everything.  In a take on what very well could be our not so distant future we’re all having our value measured by metrics.  The AI’s of the world have begun to move on from a reliance we still control, to having turned the tables and in many forms controlling us.  Everything is a metric or statistic and now we’ve got Friendo who is a horrifically real mirror image of what we are as a society.  Naturally, shit hits the fan.

-Hot Lunch Special (Eliot Rahal – Aftershock) 
Old fashioned crime in a small town fused with today’s immigrant realities.  Attitudes, bad guys, good guys, and out right ugliness know no bounds and this book is bringing the harsh realities of it all in a rather brunt fashion.  Both INTER and INTRA personal interaction is wonderfully portrayed in a set up for a tale that undoubtedly will end up much, much bigger than the quaint little town we’ve begun things in.  Just how big are we going to get?  Who knows, but we’ll be captivated thanks to how we’re inserted into the family in a very personal manner.

-Relay (Zac Thompson – Aftershock) 
This is a big book.  I mean, not literally but in scope.  A very large scale sci-fi epic encompassing the vastness of both time and space is waiting for you.  There’s also the sense of connection by way of the (literal) big ass monoliths that dominate the skylines.  This book looks every bit as large as the story is and I felt it was a nice approach to have things be as they are while we learn what’s happening through the characters themselves.  The simple truth of humanity deciding the fate of itself.  There are choices everywhere and the intent of man, both good and ill, are everywhere.  What’s really best though?  Is controlled better than chaos?

-These Savage Shores (Ram V – Vault)
Just wow.  I was highly anticipating this book as it was the first real venture outside of the awesome bubble that Vault had built in their first year and a half or so as a publisher.  The setting, premise, and everything else was a real step outward.  It might just be their best book going forward (which is saying something given its debut partners and the already phenomenal Wasted Space).  A colonial setting we don’t normally see mixed with vampires and other unrevealed horrors?  Absolutely sold.  The pace, presentation, and last panel reveal have put this book at the top of my anticipated monthly reads.  You think you know where we’re going but it cuts all of that off and leaves the door wide open going forward into what this story will be.

-Wrong Earth (Tom Peyer – Ahoy Comics)
Campy old school superhero comicness is exactly what we’ve got here.  I loved this opening issue.  I felt like I was reading a book off the shelf from decades ago before too much of the realist, dark tinted glasses started to fill up the realm of comics.  We’ve got a lovely tale that shows the wholesome goodness of the age old hero and then it gets mixed with that realist, dark tint as our first issue ends.  I can’t help but feel that this has an underlying tone that is meant to mirror how things have evolved (or devolved in some cases) with our beloved comic books.  Brilliant book.