The #NerdsRead Pull List – August 16, 2017
Sam’s loving Misfit City from BOOM! Studios, while Kylee has had a busy week. She’s enjoying Godshaper, also from BOOM! Studios, as well as American Gods and Briggs Land: Lone Wolves from Dark Horse Comics. Kylee rounded out the week with Regression from Image Comics.
Want to hear more about what we thought about these issues? Read on – and let us know what you thought in the comments below.
Misfit City #4
Author: Kiwi Smith and Kurt Lustgarten
Artist: Naomi Franquiz
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
WHY IS THIS BOOK SO GOOD!? Seriously though, why? It’s such a great story and this issue basically just hammers it all home. I’m not going to say that this issue necessarily wraps anything up, but it does solve some of the on-going mysteries that the girls have been tackling for the last four issues. It also brings together a large number of characters – some known and some unknown – together with the city’s annual Shuck Fair.
After Dot’s unexpected brush with the supernatural during Karma’s seance, she’s out. And soon the others follow, leaving Wilder alone with the map. Of course, she can’t leave well enough alone and even while the others are occupied with their fair duties she’s off trying to solve the mysteries of the map and earning them all a new enemy. While, you know, their current brother-sister criminal pair of enemies are already after them. In the end, though, the girls wind up coming together to solve the cipher and move the story on to it’s next, much more Goonies-esque step.
The fair is something of a nexus for all of our characters. While they all end up going their separate ways it still brings them together in the end. I thought it was a cool break in the story. We get a chance to see all the girls on their own paths – Dot’s shucking clams, Karma is doing Tarot readings, Macy’s rocking out, and Wilder’s trying (and failing) to rally support for the Cove’s conservation. And it’s interesting to see how they all end up coming back together to continue on with their adventure. It’s just really great writing in my opinion.
This issue perfectly explains why I was so excited about this book. It’s got all the quick thinking, adventure, bad guys, and surprises you could hope for in a book that pitches itself as a Goonies-inspired adventure. The creative team is killing it with each and every episode and with the way this issue ends you’ll be left anxiously awaiting the next one!
Author: Si Spurrier
Artist: Jonas Goonface
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
Strap in nogodys, this issue is a rough one. After their separation at the end of the last issue, Ennay finds himself beholden to a group of religious fanatics while Sal, Smudge, and Bud take up company with the Cumpa crew. More so than any issue so far, this issue of Godshaper tests the resolve of our motley band of characters in environments wildly out of their control.
After his previous monologue, Ennay’s given everything he needs to stop feeling like an outsider looking in on society. The way Si Spurrier shows another new side of Ennay’s personality – or perhaps one bit that has been there all along – is heartbreaking. Not only that, but the interactions between Smudge and the Cumpa crew boss show how our heroes are making increasingly desperate decisions now that they’ve tangled themselves up in such a mess.
Jonas Goonface continues to pack an artistic gut-punch into his brightly colored, easter-egg laden artwork. This issue especially focuses on in character emotions coming off of the page for readers through plenty of close-up shots. I think the handling of the Cumpa crew boss’ god was absolutely masterful and had me flipping back and forth between pages to see if I’d sensed anything amiss.
With the end of the issue outlining a plan to get all of our protagonists back together and still so many questions unanswered, things are hurtling towards a conclusion quickly. Spurrier and Goonface continue to put out some of the most beautiful, thought-provoking, and subtle work that I wish would never end.
American Gods #6
Author: P. Craig Russell, Neil Gaiman
Artist: P. Craig Russell, Scott Hampton
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Source: Dark Horse DRC
If you haven’t already seen our exclusive interview with artists Scott Hampton and David Mack from San Diego Comic Con discussing their work on American Gods, you can find it here. Honestly, I suggest you just read that article instead of this review because I did not even finish this issue. There were just so many words to slog through and the lettering of this issue felt off.
Scott Hampton, the main artist, was set free on this issue given the contents of this chapter. The visuals were not in question when Shadow was experiencing the meeting of the gods. Everything was suitably bombastic, grounded yet unbelievable, and actually a treat to see presented in a completely new way.
That being said, huge, long-winded passages of text lifted from the novel were shoved into gutters, giant speech bubbles, and sometimes overlaid on the art itself – causing it to blend into the scenery. I know Rick Parker has carried this burden before with better results in past issues, but it’s just tiring at this point to review words I already know by heart. Even for people new to the material, it was a lot of text to take in.
Fans of the books and those who have watched the television show need not pick up this text-heavy issue. The only new components offered to American Gods fans are the visuals, which you can feel free to skim through without reading the text if you are familiar with either of the other mediums this story is presented in.
Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #3
Author: Brian Wood
Artist: Mack Chater
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Source: Dark Horse DRC
This issue of Briggs Land draws the current arc to a close in a somewhat unexpected way. What started as a look at youngest son Isaac’s reintegration into society after returning from war has moved him aside in favor of resolving the tension that has come down on Briggs Land. As it is, he’s barely in this issue that has Grace dealing with the FBI while Caleb handles the hikers.
Brian Wood deftly handles those murky grey areas in what might feel like an abrupt ending to this arc of Lone Wolves. Essentially, Grace and the government come to an understanding while the family and the hikers come to an altogether different understanding. Both situations end in a tense truce that feels more ominous than relieving. Mack Chater continues to say everything while saying nothing in those sweeping nature panels that contain no words. They’re as breath-taking as they are unsettling.
As things appear to return to the status quo on Grace Briggs’ land, there are hints of unresolved problems to plague the family in the future – the least of which may be the suits surrounding the property. In this tumultuous political climate, Wood and Chater continue navigate the waters with thoughtful commentary about an alternative universe that hits very close to home.
Author: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Danny Luckert
Publisher: Image Comics
Source: Image DRC
Molly learns just how bad Adrian’s hallucinations have gotten in this issue, when she’s confronted with them head-on. I loved her ability to take care of herself, but the quickness with
which she turned from fighting for her life to once again trying to help Adrian gave me whiplash. There could be something to Molly’s ease and willingness to help in the face of some truly horrific truths and the fact that this is her second friend who happens to be able to perform past life regressions? Hmmm…
Cullen Bunn is doing interesting things with Regression in presenting a sympathetic protagonist, as well as a terrifying antagonist, that share the same face. While little happens in this issue beyond Adrian seeking out more help for his affliction, the sinister hints of outside forces on his life are layered deeply throughout the issue. The combination of Danny Luckert’s art and Marie Enger’s colors and lettering are the icing on this disgusting maggot-filled cake. The lighting and expressions on Adrian’s face when he’s not himself really juxtapose the scared, confusion he feels when he comes back to himself.
For readers who aren’t squeamish, the story is steadily picking up steam as Adrian’s mental state becomes further unhinged. The creative team is masterfully building up the dread and uncertainty of Regression and I can’t wait to see what happens next.