After realising I was going to be on a comics panel at Nine Worlds last weekend, I had a bit of a binge of comics. The panel went fine (no one stood up and yelled imposter at me) and I feel I at least managed to recommend a few things. Sat next to me on the panel was Kieron Gillen, who apologised for talking so much (!) so I’ll be checking out his work and some of his recommendations soon.
Trees by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard has very mixed reviews over on Goodreads but I found much to love in it. I believe it’s one of those comics definitely better read as a trade (new term learned at the weekend, that’s what I’d been calling a volume or bind-up) rather than individual issues as it has a lot of storylines going on.
Trees is set ten years after an alien invasion. Giant tree-like structures came down from the sky, landing on cities around the world, but the aliens never made any attempt to communicate. Or do anything much. The trees are a mystery. The stories follow different groups of people living in the shadow of these alien structures, exploring how life has changed, and in some ways everything’s the same.
Some of the stories are quite intimate in feeling and I had definite moments of shock near the end of this first volume. I will definitely be picking up the second volume later this year.
Next up is Limbo, by Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard, which I believe is a complete mini-series, although, that ending! I could do with more. It’s all a bit surreal noir with a dash of voodoo and a bunch of outdated technology. Our amnesiac detective gets sucked into a TV by a teleshaman via a VHS and the voodoo priestess uses mixtapes as sacrifices. It’s a bit hard to get into and kinda crazy but I really enjoyed it and I loved the artwork.
Descender, by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen, has the most beautiful watercolour artwork which is so fitting to the story. Some time ago there was an attack from space by giant robots, which made humanity worried about the robots in their midst. Many were destroyed but on a distant mining colony, a companion robot boy survives an accident which kills his family. Back to the present future day, the robot boy, Tim 21, wakes up to find he’s alone. Well he still has a cute robot dog and a killer driller robot to keep him company!
I feel like I need to read more of this. There’s a robot designed to be like a child who is naïve and innocent, yet scientists think they’ve found a link between him and the robots who attacked. Another one to add to the list of second volumes.
ODY-C, by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward, sounds like something right up my street; Homer’s Odyssey reworked with females in all the roles (oh and a new gender called Sebex). I have a decent knowledge of the general story yet I still found the first volume, Off to Far Ithicaa, hard to follow.
Zeus destroyed all men for some reason and one of the other gods (a version of Prometheus I think) created the Sebex so that women could reproduce without men. In the meantime, Odyssia is returning home from battle with her spaceship and crew. It’s all very dramatic and gory, but the artwork is lovely vibrant stuff. If you like pretty comics, give it a flick through when you’re next in a comic shop. I kind of enjoyed the Cyclops (“all men did this to me!”) part and I wonder if it’s a comic I could read individual issues of if it’s a bit of the Odyssey I like. Overall, I’m not sure about it.
Austin Wilson’s Re-Pro-Duct was a bit of a non-starter for me, I didn’t mind so much the simple drawing style but the robot characters we’re introduced to are jerks. I guess maybe it’s saying these robots are just like humans, not just the good elements. They have been given rights as living human beings and can go to university and learn. They are not allowed to just download the data. I thought there was an interesting idea in here but it struggled to become fully fledged.
I.D. by Emma Ríos is a graphic novel following a group of people contemplating a body transplant. It spends a bit of time explaining the practicalities of it as well as exploring the reasons someone might want to do it. Do they want a new identity, a sex change, do they see it as a psychological experiment or are they just bored? Some good ideas but not really fleshed out enough.
Oh yeah and last month I read the latest Saga trade, and yes, I do still love it and heartily recommend it! All the characters are still fabulous, even the “bad ones” I’m starting to grow very fond of, Hazel’s getting older and more likely to say things she shouldn’t…and the artwork is still gorgeous. More, please!
I received copies of Limbo, I.D. and Re-Pro-Duct for review from the publishers via NetGalley and all other comics were bought by myself.