Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Three Advance Reviews of Comics You Should Check Out

One of the best things about going to a comic convention is the swag and the chance to get stuff you can't get anywhere else. This year, between the Diamond Retailer Breakfast pack and wandering Artist's Alley, I found three exclusive comics, previews and variants of comics that haven't been released yet that I want to get the word out for early. I'll remind my loyal audience of them when they get closer, but for now, here's a little sample of things to come.

Bedlam #1
Story: Nick Spencer
Art: Riley Rossmo

Bedlam is the new Image Comic from Nick Spencer (Morning Glories, Thief of Thieves, Ultimate Comics: X-Men) and Riley Rossmo (Proof, Cowboy Ninja Viking). It's the story of Madder Redd, a serial killer and master criminal very much in the Joker model. The first issue opens with Madder Redd slaughtering all the visitors at a museum before being confronted by The First, his heroic enemy. Flash forward and Madder Redd has been captured by the police and is being interrogated. But is it really Madder Redd? It seems that the man the police has is a fake, and the real Madder Redd is living as a fairly ordinary man named Fillmore, who is constantly at war with his previous, darker self. The story of Madder Redd's transformation is still being pieced out, although there are flashbacks that begin to explain it, and he has not lost all his cunning. It seems he now has a drive to help, and so he is looking to aid the police in taking down other killers. The series has Nick Spencer's trademark mysteries, giving the audience only as much information as they need to keep them coming back. This isn't a bad thing, and the series is a little more straightforward than his other current Image Series, Morning Glories. Riley Rossmo draws a great horror comic, and this is horror in the tradition of Silence of the Lambs. His design for Madder Redd is creepy, and his scenes of Redd in action are great. Bedlam #1 will be released in two weeks on Halloween.

G-Man: Coming Home #1
Story & Art: Chris Giarrusso

In all my posts talking about all-ages comics, I am ashamed that I forgot to mention G-Man. Created by Chris Giarrusso, who Marvel fans might remember for his Mini-Marvel strips, G-Man is exactly what the tagline of the series says, "The Superhero Adventure of a Kid and his Magic Cape." G-Man, along with his big brother Great Man and the rest of their friends, all young heroes, have action packed adventures that are at times real nail biters, but never leave the realm of something the whole family can enjoy. This isn't a full story, but the first chapter of the upcoming G-Man original graphic novel, Coming Home. The story picks up from the end of the last G-Man story, Cape Crisis, but does a great job of getting new and lapsed readers up to speed. The first chapter not only reintroduces G-Man and his friends, but expands the world by introducing the Thunderfriends, a team of grown up heroes.Giarrusso has built a whole world of new heroes and crazy situations that are fun, entertaining, and exciting. The first two volumes of G-Man are readily available, and while no release date is shown on the comic for the third volume, be sure that I will let you know.

Helheim #1
Story: Cullen Bunn
Art: Joelle Jones

While the The Sixth Gun, the current ongoing from Oni Press by writer Cullen Bunn, is a great example of a tried and true comic genre, the weird western, his new series, Helheim, comes from a much less tread path: the weird Viking story. A tribe of Vikings are at war with a witch and her undead servants. The series introduces its young protagonist, Rikard, the son of the leader of the Viking group, as he, his father, and some allies flee the creatures that serve the witch. They arrive back at camp, and after defeating the monsters, head into camp... as Night Creatures, the most evil servants of the witch, spring from the forms of the downed undead. In the ensuing battle, Rikard is killed, which seems like the end of the story for our hero. But he has been seeing visions of his older self looking sadly on, so there's more to it. And when Rikard's father goes to Brea, Rikard's lover and a witch in her own right who, according to him, is the reason their enemy keeps attacking, he gets a nasty surprise I don't want to spoil. It's a great set-up for the series, and I'm looking forward to where Bunn is taking it. If you've been enjoying The Sixth Gun, or liked Brian Wood's Vertigo viking opus Northlanders, you should check out Helheim when it launches in March.

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