Maybe, just maybe, folks should just stop heistin', heh?
Sins of the Salton Sea #1 (w: Ed Brisson, a: C.P. Smith)
Publisher: AWA Studios
Not much to say about this one except that it is a no frills neo-noir book with a crazy amount of twisty-turns at a super high-octane pace.
Wyatt is a thief and an explosives expert who has given up the life of crime, now bouncing from town to town under different names, working menial jobs just to get by. One night he is confronted by his brother, Jasper, who asks him to help with one last job so Jasper can also quit: $50 million, give or take, easy smash and grab from some oil tycoon's son. However, the brothers soon find the job to be hardly as easy as promised, and as the bodies pile up, the two find the cargo to be even more confusing then the false intel.
Like I said, this book is incredibly fast paced. It goes from cold open to heist to chaos really fast. I like the twist and am curious to see if it's gonna drip a little sci-fi into the mix. Worth picking up if you're itching for an action/crime book.
In Hell We Fight #1 (w: John Layman, a: JOK)
Publisher: Image Comics
Hm, another book where a heist results in different cargo than the thieves expected.... weird...
Anywho, this book is super fun. Reminded me of a Chuck Palahniuk book from a few years back called Damned, wherein a 'Breakfast Club'-esque group of teens residing in Hell roll around mucking up the place. Similarly, this book sees three teens, namely Midori, Xander, and Ernie as they plan to rob an ice cream truck in Hell. They are joined, much to Midori's annoyance, by a young demon named Balphie. They go through with their plan and are SHOCKED by what they find!
It's a fun book. It's not the most humorous thing to come out of Layman, but it's interesting to see him write for a (potentially) younger audience. The characters are unique and have decent chemistry. The art is fun and paints a creative image of Hell. I've always been a fan of stories that make Hell into a fairly chill place. Like, it sucks to be there, but it isn't all rivers of molten blood and giant, all-devouring beasties. Some people just gotta live that day to day Hell-Grind.
North Valley Grimoire #1 (w: Blake Northcott, a: Guiseppe Cafaro)
Publisher: Whatnot Comics
So, to be perfectly transparent, most of the Whatnot stuff has been incredibly mid for me. I've tried most of what's been released, and it has all had a particular level of cheese that I just couldn't get into. Finally, however, a book has been released from them that I actually find pretty enjoyable.
This book is like Men in Black meets Constantine. We follow two main characters: Agent Malek, a field agent for a CIA offshoot called "FATHER Division," and Calista, a student at Hawthorne Academy in North Valley, VA. Malek is trying to recover a mysterious grimoire that was being sold by a black market dealer before teleporting away. Calista, on the other hand, is trying to uncover the truth of a mysterious book she found under bed and how it connects to her recently passed best friend, Jackson. The two stories, obviously, are intertwined and both characters will need to solve their own set of mysteries before the grimoire falls into the hands of FATHER Division or someone worse.
This book started as a self-published and crowd-funded novel in 2018, and Northcott has been slowly growing the IP from there. If you're a fan of modern mysticism, specifically magic that ties directly into technology, then this is a cool book to pick up.
Puc the Artist and the Myth of Color #1 (w: Miles Greb, a: Garrett Richert)
Publisher: Scout Comics
There's something inherently charming about a narrative that employs the meta of the medium as a part of the storytelling, and this book does an excellent job playing with the use of color as both a physical attribute to the comic, and a powerful magical component of the story. Another title that I loved that comes to mind in the same vein is Folklords, where the adventurous protag is seeing visions of another world - only for us to know that other world is our own, IRL. Honestly, those two books have a ton in common: young male lead just trying to do what's best, a spunky group of compatriots, a fantasy world that feels ripe with mystery; they both have a lot going for them and I'm pretty pumped about getting a new title in that same vein.
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