A brief weekly rundown of recommendations of new releases I’m intrigued by, excited for and will be grabbing off the shelves to curl up with every new comics day before delving into them later in the week!
Have you hugged your local comic store owner today?
Plunge 1- DC Comics
Saddened as I was to see DC so casually retire the horror and fantasy imprint it already had with the long established Vertigo,it’s hard to deny they love a fresh start lately and that the clout that the Locke and Key scribe brings with him to his new “Hill House Comics” line probably didn’t hurt the company in the old sales department. That the books have so far been uniquely eerie and high quality helps too!
The fifth book in the line so far,Plunge has Hill on writing duties alongside superstar Marvel artist Stuart Immonen to spin a disturbing Lovecraft-ian Horror series centred around the discovery of a vessel lost over forty years ago sending out a distress call from the icy wastes of the Antarctic. On the prompting of my husband I’ve been trying to find my way sneakily into the works of Lovecraft with adjacent and related properties and with the moody artwork, arctic setting and nail biting writing from Hill this definitely makes the list for me.
Machine Man 2020- Marvel Comics
While it’s always been pretty much a mainstay in sci-fi, and especially comics, it’s been interesting to see how the exploration of what constitutes a ‘person’ work it’s way out of the collective conscious and onto the main stage. Especially when it comes to “artificial life”, the idea seems to have oozed it’s way into the mainstream like motor oil with shows like Westworld or the recent Picard series, which out of all the threads it could have picked up decided to focus it’s sights on following up “Measure of a Man”. Are we all worrying about something? Nah, probably just me overthinking the funny books again.
Like the criminally underrated and mostly overlooked “Avengers AI”, the recent Iron Man 2020 series which sees Arno Stark take over the mantle from his “deceased” brother, finds the denizens of the Marvel universe looking toward it’s many artificial and robotic members of the world in a manner previously reserved for mutants. A tour de force of the vast and varied robot population of Marvel and bringing them under the banner of a single cause and giving panel time to some who have only been seen fleetingly over the years in almost a meta commentary on how quickly robot characters are created and cast aside in their narratives. When was the last time you thought about H.E.R.B.I.E or Awesome Andy? Not recently I’d wager.
Machine Man stands among these characters for me, standing in as a general for the robotic resistance which spins out into his own title literally picking up from his departure in the second issue perusing his once lover and friend, Jocasta. Re-programmed by Arno to do his bidding and used as a distraction for Machine Man, already acting more human than the new shell head or his cohorts. Only a few issues in I’ eager to see if Iron Man 2020 and it’s spin off titles like Machine Man can establish an interesting new status quo for Marvels numerous “artificial people” that have been teased and picked at in recent titles like the aforementioned Avengers AI seriously check it out!) and The Visions.
Wonder Woman Dead Earth 2
As well as focusing on it’s villians,it’s obvious that DC loves nothing more than a good old fashioned apocalyptic setting and between Last Knight on Earth and Futures End in recent years we haven’t been left wanting them. Which is why I initially almost passed by on Johnson’s Wonder Woman Dead Earth but after spotting very un-DC artwork picked up the first issue and between the images of an unspecified apocalypse (although the tone and mushroom clouds suggest heavily this is human stupidity rather than any Villain shenanigans) and Diana awakening in the Batcave and taking the utility belt from the skeletal remains of Bruce it quickly had me hooked. Although there is spectacle to be had in spades, especially from Johnson’s art, he seems intent on keeping this,at it’s core, a story exploring Diana as a character and her steadfast nature to fight on the side of love and justice no matter what how dire the circumstances. Even in the face of the apocalypse and a battle lost long ago, Diana knows what she is and what she stands for.
From the storytelling,the art, the design work and prestige format presentation,Wonder Woman Dead Earth demands attention on the crowded shelves and hopefully indicates the direction that DC’s currently unfocused “Black Label” line of tittles could and should be putting out.