Rejoice, fellow Alley-ans! The day has come! Comic books are back! And let me tell you, it feels good. It's amazing that something as simple as a few new comic books takes on a whole new meaning in the times we live in. It's like a teeny little comforting piece of our old lives just snuck its way into our unstable new ones.
I know it's been a long, grueling couple months since we've seen this much new stuff, and if you're at all like me, you may have forgotten what was even going on in the books you were reading before we were so rudely interrupted, so I was thinking maybe now would be a good time for us to check out something new. And that's just what I did.
So now I present you with a little overview of some of the new stuff coming out today:
THE LUDOCRATS #1
Writers Kieron Gillen (The Wicked and the Divine, Darth Vader) and Jim Rossignol (I think he writes about video games?) and artist Jeff Stokely (Six-Gun Gorilla, Jim Henson's Labyrinth comics) tell the story of a society where the hedonistic upper echelon's value is measured by how ludicrous they are. The worst thing you could possibly be is boring. The main characters are Baron Otto von Subertan, and Professor Hades, as they attend a wedding at the Baron's estate and await the vaunted arrival of the Hyper-Pope.
The way Stokely renders the characters is a blast, and Gillen and Rossignol work to jam as many crazy ideas as they can into every word balloon in every panel. The comic is kind of a Terry Gilliam-esque sensory assault, and I mean that in a good way.
JUSTICE LEAGUE #44
A new storyline begins, the second in writer Robert Venditti's run. It's called Cold War, and the story begins with the Justice League battling an army of mythological creatures in Antarctica. I don't know where the story is going yet, but the cliffhanger on the last page is pretty exciting.
Venditti has been writing a simpler, more straightforward action-oriented Justice League, which has been refreshing after his predecessor Scott Snyder's dense, big-idea driven, heavily serialized run that told one huge 40-issue story (that's not even done yet!). And the artist in this issue, Xermanico (Green Lantern: Blackstars), is delivering some pretty top notch work, bringing loads of personality to the team and making Batman in a winter coat look cool as hell.
STAR WARS ADVENTURES: THE CLONE WARS: BATTLE TALES
Sorry guys, I just used up all the colons on that title, so I'm going to have to fall back on semi-colons for the rest of the article.
Star Wars Adventures; The Clone Wars; Battle Tales is a new miniseries (intended to be weekly, but now a monthly due to the circumstances) from IDW's all-ages Star Wars line. Written by Michael Moreci (Roche Limit, The Lost Carnival), with bookend art by Derek Charm (Jughead, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) and a lineup of different artists for each issue, SWA;TCW;BT is a sort of anthology following Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and the Clone Troopers in tales from battles in the war of clones and their adventures fighting wars in the stars.
I was never a prequel booster, and I haven't watched the Clone Wars cartoon (I'm told I really should), but I thought this was a fun little book. The whole point of it is that Anakin Skywalker is a good dude that treats the clones with respect and not like disposable tools. I wish there had been stuff like that in the movies.
I'm a big fan of Derek Charm's simple, cartoony art style, and it fits well in an all-ages comic based on a cartoon. And this issue's artists Arianna Florean & Mario Del Pennino have kind of a manga inspired look to their story-within-a-story.
THE LOST CARNIVAL; A DICK GRAYSON GRAPHIC NOVEL
Dick Grayson, AKA the original Robin, AKA Nightwing, AKA Ric (???) Grayson has a lot of devoted fans, so I thought it might be a good idea to point some attention to this new original young adult graphic novel about a teenage Dick Grayson still in his circus days with the Flying Graysons.
In The Lost Carnival, Dick Grayson is a sixteen year old acrobat, stuck spending his life on the road with his parents in a touring circus. Dick is restless. He feels trapped performing the same act every day in front of an ever-dwindling audience. Then one night, a strange carnival appears right next to the circus and begins drawing business away, and tensions arise between the two. Grayson becomes infatuated with a girl from the Lost Carnival who seems to have real magical powers and gets drawn into its world.
DC has been recruiting a lot of top of the line talent for these YA Graphic Novels they've been putting out, and this is actually the first one of these that I've read. The Lost Carnival, written by Michael Moreci (Roche Limit, Star Wars Adventures; Clone Wars; Battle Tales), is definitely a story for teens, seeking to comfort kids who feel trapped in their current existence and to teach them to cherish what they have while they have it. I'm sure we can relate to those themes at any age. And the art by Sas Milledge is wonderful, and I hope to see more from her in the future.
The thing that really popped for me was the coloring by David Calderon, giving the impression of two distinct worlds colliding with two different monochromatic palettes, a dull blue for when Grayson is in his staid, never-changing circus world, and a nostalgic sepia-tone when he's at the Carnival.
So that's it for comics on the week of May 20th, folks. I hope I might have inspired some of you to give these books a try. And if not, we have other ones too. Give us a call! Get your Buffy and your Jimmy Olsen, your Plunge and your Outcast .
And next week... MARVEL'S BACK!