Oh, right, comics.
Apologies for the little gap in comic reviews for the last few weeks. I got hit with a weird wave of vertigo—the medical condition, not the DC imprint—and I’ve been slowly regaining my land legs ever since. The best guess at what happened is that I “sit funny,” to use a technical term, and my years of slouching have caused a muscle tension that compressed a bunch of stuff in my ear and made me lose balance. I don’t know how a tense shoulder blade connects to the tiny spirals in my ears, but honestly, everything in the human body is such a mystery to me that if someone in a lab coat told me that clipping my toenails causes snoring I’d just nod credulously and go looking for a nail file.
Anyway. I’m feeling better now. Only falling over a little bit. Able to read, and able to write, to the extent that I was ever able to. Comic reviews may now resume. Don’t all cheer at once.
THE LONESOME HUNTERS ISSUE #1
Here’s an interesting supernatural action-adventure pairing! The heroes of The Lonesome Hunters are a moody teen with a talent for petty theft and a curmudgeonly old man with a magic sword. Issue #1 gets off to a slow start, with a very brief sepia-toned flashback to a battle involving demonic cultists; we then jump ahead to present day, to spend some time trudging around a city with that battle’s sole survivor, now old and miserable. He’s not the most pleasant of company, and neither is his downstairs neighbor, a young woman who’s already managed to develop a chip on her shoulder the size of the old man’s. Things get interesting in the back quarter of this issue, when these two weirdos are thrown a magical, evil curveball in the form of some sinister crows, and it looks like the old guy’s finally going to get his chance to be a hero, decades after he flubbed everything and seems to have ruined his life. And who knows, maybe this experience will prevent another young adventurer from going down the same unhappy path. This isn’t exactly the Mulder–and-Scully-style pairing that I thought I wanted, but I’m willing to hear it out.
Rating: 🐦🐦🐦🐦 (4/5)
Script, art, letters: Tyler Crook. President and publisher: Mike Richardson. Editor: Daniel Chabon. Assistant editors: Chuck Howit-Lease, Misha Gehr. Designer: Patrick Satterfield. Digital art technician: Josie Christensen.
Publisher: Dark Horse.
BEWARE THE EYE OF ODIN ISSUE #1
In this heavy-metal fantasy that could serve as excellent inspiration for your next D&D campaign, a reluctant team of misfit adventurers sets out to return a frost giant’s eyeball. Here we have: a Viking prince who’s lived his whole life under a curse; a soldier-turned-blacksmith longing to revisit his violent past; a flighty Valkyrie with a secret. Standing in their way? Monsters upon monsters upon monsters. Pulpy silly action-fantasy abounds (the spooky forest is called “Shiverwood,” which gives you a sense of how on-the-nose it all is), as the book revels in well-worn tropes of the genre. Passing through a dapple of sunlight, a character comments on how trolls fear the sun—and gee, I wonder if that sunbeam on the mantle will become relevant later on? Fans of this genre have been down this road so many times they may not find this excursion surprising or new. But then again, there’s still pleasure in seeing the fundamentals done well.
Rating: 🐭🐭🐭🐭 (4/5)
Writer: Doug Wagner. Artist: Tim Odland. Colors: Michelle Madsen. Letters: Ed Dukeshire. Design: Erika Schnatz. Back cover: Rob Cooke.
THE CON ARTISTS
Simply drawn and simply told, The Con Artists is a slice-of-life story about two young liars, though the extent of their lies is hard to discern, even—it would seem—to themselves. Frank is a nervous stand-up comic who spins every experience into a joke, or at least, tries to; his friend Giorgio is a boisterous, outgoing agent of chaos to whom complicated things always seem to be happening. Frank has just re-committed himself to some major life goals when a fabulous opportunity drops into his lap: Giorgio has been hit by a bus, which means that Frank can delay making tough life and career choices and throw himself into caretaking instead. As the weeks wear on, it becomes clear that Frank is not being honest with anyone, including himself, about his reasons for remaining in Giorgio’s life, and Giorgio’s eternal drama may be something other than it seems as well. Rather than being a year when everything falls into place, what emerges is a year when problems escalate to the point that they must be addressed. The Con Artists feels like a tender little indie film—a small story about friendship and trust between twenty-somethings floundering for whatever it takes to survive into their thirties. Instructive for readers living through a similar time in their lives, familiar to readers who made it through to the other side, and relatable to both groups.
Rating: 🎤🎤🎤🎤🎤 (5/5)
Written and illustrated by Luke Healy.
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly.
ALSO: LOTS OF GAY STUFF
Pride releases continue to roll out this week, with a nice Hulkling and Wiccan story, a Tim Drake coming-out special, and Marvel Voices: Pride. There’s also a new Bill & Ted story—yes, really—in which they team up with historical figures and play Dungeons & Dragons. Do a Powerbomb is a fun-looking new wrestling series in which a young lady faces off against a necromancer in the ring. And there’s a ludicrous new one-shot from DC about Perry White; I don’t know what kind of adventures Clark Kent’s editor could possibly get wrapped up in, but let's see where this goes. Also check out Dirty Pictures, a fascinating history of the underground comics scene.