It's rare to get to feel smarter than Sherlock...
Blue Book #1 (w: James Tynion IV, a: Michael Avon Oeming, Klaus Janson)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Blue Book is a very interesting comic. Here we have two creators known for incredibly bombastic work, be it Something is Killing the Children, Powers, or any of the other wildly successful titles these two creators have brought to the world. However, the work they're teaming up for is incredibly subdued. It's a very cool style that we don't really see much outside of the graphic novel space: it's a non-fiction book. More importantly, this book functions as one of those "fact or fiction" types of TV shows, wherein Tynion explores real stories of aliens and other bizarre occurrences in a series he's calling "True Weird" in an attempt to explore the validity and mysterious facts surrounding those events. These are the stories of real people in the real world, which is a massive departure for Tynion. In a way, we really get to see Tynion's writing shine in a new light as he takes on the role of a journalist more than a fiction writer. Meanwhile, Oeming is also producing very subdued art, which is complimented perfectly by a reduced pallet limited to blue, black and white. It's somehow calm and eerie at the same time, which works perfectly for the tone of the story.
The follow up story at the end of the book puts Klaus Janson in the art seat as he and Tynion recount the bizarre history of Coney Island, specifically that of the sightings of a mysterious flying man in 1880. It's a much different story than the UFO tale that precedes it, but again finds Tynion acting more as historian than fictioneer, and it's a fun read unless you're a fan of elephants.
I personally am a huge fan of TV shows that explore strange occurrences and the possibility of the supernatural, and I never realized how primed the comic anthology space was to produce similar content. This is a very nifty book and definitely one worth picking up, whether your a UFO fan or just a follower of Tynion's work.
Local Man #1 (w: Tim Seeley, a: Tony Fleecs)
Publisher: Image Comics
First, I just want to say that Tim Seeley does an absolutely INCREDIBLE Liefeld...
Anyway, Local Man is a story about a super hero going home. However, it's not all ticker-tape parades and keys to the city when Crossjack returns to his sleepy hometown. Instead, he's met by vitriol and disappointment. Though we aren't shown exactly why yet, we are given hints that Crossjack was fired from his superhero team, Third Gen, and is a bit of a disgraced hero overall. Makes him a little less than welcome around here.
Local Hero is a dark superhero story on its surface, but below that are a handful of very relatable themes. Themes of growth and opportunity. The ever present worry of disappointing those you care about. How generally shitty everything is in a post-capitalist society. It's a character piece as much as it is an exploration of a unique superhero world. I figure one day I'll get tired of these "what if superheroes but dark" stories, but writers like Seeley have been around for so long that they are the right type of creators to approach the subject.
This is going to be a hard book to read, I'm sure, but if I made it through Blue Flame, I can make it through this.
Moriarty: Clockwork Empire #1 (w: Fred Duval & Jean-Pierre Pecau, a: Steven Subic)
Publisher: Titan Comics
Sherlock Holmes and his ever-faithful companion Watson fight robots. Also, Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde are there. Yep.
I'm honestly not a huge fan of modern takes on Sherlock Holmes. I've read a few of the Arthur Conan Doyle original stories, but the modern stuff tends to be so "Holmes solves things just because he does" instead of showing the audience hints of a logical thread. That said, while there are MOMENTS of that in this book, it all typically pertains to the more superficial elements of Holmes flexing as opposed to the larger mysteries. The writers do a good job building suspense and mystery while laying down bread crumbs for the audience. Add to that a bit of delicious dramatic irony, and we're actually left in a fairly interesting position where we actually know MORE than Holmes does, which is refreshing.
The writers are taking a very traditional approach to the Holmes format and characters, while instead making the world around Holmes modernized and unique. This London is one of automatons, clockwork machinations and steam-punky goodness. There are self driving cars, automated airships, airships in general, and poker playing robots. It's a fun world to see Holmes and Watson pottering around in. A great choice for Holmes fans or fans of Victorian stories and steam punk and the like.
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