Sam found the penultimate issue of John Flood to be somewhat of a letdown, but continued to enjoy The Woods, both from BOOM! Studios. Kylee tried out Mystery Girl, a new series offering from Dark Horse, that impressed her with the boring, everyday bits more than the story itself.
Jackson continues to enjoy East of West from Image Comics and thinks you really should go out and support the trade paperback of Prez from DC Comics if you’d like to see more of this timely political commentary tempered by humor.
Check out all of our reviews below and let us know what you think in the comments!
John Flood #5 (of 6)
Author: Justin Jordan
Artist: Jorge Coelho
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
Remember the showdown at the police station that was starting up in the last issue? Yeah, it’s not really as exciting as I expected. Instead, it’s pretty drawn out and largely uninteresting. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a nice bit of action packed mayhem that effectively lasts this entire issue. But that’s kind of the problem. It lasts the whole fifth issue of a six-issue series.
Ultimately, John gets the better of everyone. He ditches Sandy in favor of trying to take on our dastardly brute himself. Andy is injured, but Sandy is at least able to get to him and look after him. Berry gets the chance to fight the good fight as if he were a cop again. But in the end John captures the killer, leaves Berry behind, and decides to sit down and have a talk while our bad guy is stuck in the back of a van. A van that honestly doesn’t seem like it’s going to hold him for long because, uh, the guy just tore his way through a city and police station.
So, John is about to get some answers. Maybe. But he hasn’t yet. And that’s basically all we got. Still liking the series but hopefully the last issue will be more illuminating.
The Woods #18
Author: James Tynion IV
Artist: Michael Dialynas
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
So, you know how Casey has been making plans with the Imperial Japanese remnants? Yeah. So, it turns out he really is that crazy and he really is that murderous. Most of the issue actually focused on trying to make us all believe that he isn’t that bad of a guy by trying to give us some insight on Casey, his past, and his plans for the future. With Calder on the inside now, Maria and the rest start to learn a bit more about what Casey has been doing. He’s planning on setting up mandatory schooling again. He’s got modern doctors checking everyone to make sure they are healthy. And he tells Calder he really is trying to do right by everyone.
Except he’s not. Sander is the first one to see through it when he realizes that the health inspections are just a way to weed out the weak and unique members of their society. In reality, Casey is picking them all and IDing them for removal. And one night while he’s hosting a badass party he leaves Maria, her friends, and everyone else he has deemed unworthy at home where he has left bait to lure in the most dangerous creatures in the woods. Only Karen seems to have been spared and that’s only because Taisho seems to have his own plans for her.
So, yeah. The issue ends with a kid being eaten by a giant spider. Maria’s group will surely survive – they are, after all, the main characters – but wow. Talk about a dark issue getting even darker. This is why I love this series so much.
Mystery Girl #1
The first issue introduces Trine Hampstead, a sidewalk detective with the answers – literally all of the answers, excepting the ones about her own past and why exactly she knows everything. It’s an interesting concept though Tobin’s writing shines in the mundane moments, where Trine embraces change or talks to her maybe-maybe-not-so-supportive boyfriend.
East of West #22
Moreso than any of his other independent works, Jonathan Hickman’s East of West is the most insular. With the stark art of Nick Dragotta, Hickman has created a world of the damned trying to hold off an apocalypse of their own making. It’s an innately political, religious series, blending Civil War history with biblical Apocrypha, creating something that’s innately, well, maybe a little difficult to connect with on an emotional level. The series’ best issues are usually grand crescendos of violence that have been subtly building. It’s a political potboiler that asks an awful lot of its audience.
This week’s East of West #22 instead focuses on one minute of political maneuvering. In an almost entirely silent issue, a group of ninja assassins are inserted into Mao’s nation on a mission to assassinate Xiaolin. Hickman’s regularly used the form of the silent issue as something of a character-piece but this issue’s more of a showcase for Dragotta’s ability to sculpt a brutal, intricate action set piece. The brutal duel between the ninjas and Xiaolin in a bathhouse is one of the standout fights of the whole series and one that both showcases the ruler of the empire as one of the most interesting characters of the series. East of West has already characterized Xiaolin as a doomed character but, if anything, this issue shows she’s going to be tough to bring down.
The final page reveal of who’s sent the assassins after Xiaolin emphasizes the consequences and changes that will be coming to the series in the wake of the failed action and it’s an exciting moment for the series. After four issues in a row of political maneuvering and metaphorical discussions of evil and control, it’s exhilarating to have an action sequence like this and one that promises that more blood will be spilled.
Author: Mark Russel
Artist: Ben Caldwell
Publisher: DC Comics
One of DC’s oddest debuts, the revamped Prez was probably never going to be the hit that DC wanted it to be. Based loosely on a 1973 series that was canceled after only four issues, Mark Russel and Ben Caldwell’s take on a viral-video star being elected president could best be described as a cult comic. Made up of equal parts humor and biting satire of a government more indebted to special interest groups and corporations than the need of their constituents, it’s a shame to see this week’s Prez #6 could be potentially the series’ final issue because its message could not be more timely.
Finally having to deal with the deadly cat-flu that’s been plaguing the nation, Courtney is bum rushed by the sinister Mr. Smiley and his cadre of industry pals who want to profit off a cure for the disease. The bulk of the issue focuses on Courtney’s attempts to find a new solution outside of the corporate sector, as well as the life of a drone who has now been freed of her homicidal programming and seeks to find a new purpose in life.
The biggest success of Prez is taking big, heady political issues and grounding them in rich comedy. There’s a host of jokes about cats learning to type, homicidal national security agents and the not-always-particularly cognizant protesters and the blend makes for something that has a propulsive pacing that demands to be read over and over again.
The issue’s final page states that this issue is the end of Book 1 and Caldwell has spoken on Twitter that sales of the soon-to-be-collected trade paperback edition will dictate whether or not this series is ever completed. There’s an audience out there for this book, especially for people who’ve leaped on televised, political satires like The Thick of It, Veep, The Brink and more.