There are lots of choices each week to choose from as far as comics hitting the shelves. We go through the releases and let you know what we think are your best bets for comics to read.
This week’s top pick is The Bunker. What’s this issue about? Check it out:
Each of the friends must decide their fates, as they’re faced with the first day of the rest of their lives. By the end, lines are drawn between the Believers and the Skeptics, while another shadowy figure from the future is watching them to make sure they all decide ‘correctly.’
Check out what else we think you should give a shot this Wednesday!
Top Pick: The Bunker #2 (Oni Press) – The first issue was a sell-out and had folks buzzing. Oni has announced this book has already sold out at the distributor level. Make sure to grab a copy if you can find one, and if you haven’t, get the first issue too!
Furious #3 (Dark Horse) – The series that looks at fame with a superhero twist continues. This issue just dives in to take on the issue of misogyny.
Hacktivist #3 (BOOM! Studios) – BOOM!’s take on modern activism is entertaining and gets people to think with every issue.
Mind MGMT #20 (Dark Horse) – A great starting spot for the excellent Matt Kindt series.
Pariah #2 (Dark Horse) – This story of genetically modified children has been impressive so far. Where it goes has got be very interested, and at the edge of my seat.
Silver Surfer #1 (Marvel) – Dan Slott’s take on Marvel’s classic character begins here!
Skullkickers #25 (Image Comics) – Jim Zub’s off the rails fantasy adventure continues after a bit of a hiatus.
Transformers: Dark Cybertron Finale (IDW Publishing) – The end to what has been an epic event that has given us so much awesome.
The Walking Dead #124 (Image Comics) – The battle with Negan continues and I expect more fireworks!
The Wake #7 (Vertigo) – Scott Snyder and Sean Phillips’ series has shifted for it’s second volume catapulting us into the future to see what the Earth is like now that the undersea creatures have attacked. It’s a different series, with a different tone, but works so well as a continuation.
Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback Top Pick: The Red Team Vol. 1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Garth Ennis’ crooked cop series is gathered together for this first volume. If you’re a fan of cop tales, this is a must read.
The second issue of writer Bryan J. L. Glass‘ new series from Dark Horse, Furious hits shelves today! The media can’t get enough of the high-flying supercelebrity known as Furious! But the authorities are convinced she’s a danger and a menace—they’ve had more than enough of the privileged vigilante! Stuck in the crosshairs of her past, Furious must balance her desire for justice with her quest for redemption.
The issue dives deep into its main character Furious’ past as well as her alter-ego. And with the second issue out there and it clearer as to how it all comes together we thought it’d be a perfect time to talk to Bryan about the series.
There’s lots of reveals and to warn you, there are spoilers below! So, if you want to read your copy and come back, we totally understand… we just wanted to warn you.
Graphic Policy: So, let’s just dive right into the big reveal this issue. How’s it feel to finally get it out there?
Bryan J. L. Glass: Relief. Plain and simple. We never lied regarding what the book was really about; we just couldn’t talk about its primary plot and character in any specific detail without spoiling the issue #1 reveal. And that made it really hard to talk about the book at all, because what makes this series different from every other book on the stands is Cadence Lark.
The hook that made Dark Horse Comics, and particularly editor Jim Gibbons and publisher Mike Richardson, jump at this series was its unique premise: tabloid fallen starlet ripped straight from today’s headlines gets superpowers and tries to redeem herself—slow motion train wreck ensues! Everybody gets that picture, and immediately envisions the extraordinary potential for drama, comedy, pathos…any number of storytelling directions. Yet once I’d decided to introduce my plot via the mysterious girl on the run, trying to be a superhero, and eliciting empathy for her good intentions gone awry—before revealing she’s actually of a fairly unsympathetic type—then I knew we couldn’t talk about her true identity at all.
So yeah…now we’re breathing huge sighs of relief all around. And as we promote future issues and the inevitable trade collection, everybody involved can finally assume the cat’s premise is out of the bag and discuss the deeper implications of what the series is actually exploring about the human condition in this instant media saturated age.
GP: We really get an idea of who Cadence Lark is, and the rough childhood she went through. Leading to her fractured self. The reveal is really the hook of the series. Why’d you wait for the second issue to really dive into it, instead of the first?
BJLG: The “big reveal” at the end of issue #1 was never intended to be such a big deal. Less of a shocking twist, and more of a confirmation of what the reader was probably suspecting.
The decision to delay any information about her screwed-up past until issue #2 was to allow the Furious character to be established without all of Cadence’s baggage, much like Cady herself is trying to do. I wanted the audience to care about her before I gave them any reasons to distrust her.
With a series like this, where the secret identity is just as significant and substantial as the super-heroics, then the creative team has to be very careful they don’t overload an audience with information dumps. Yet even with all of issue #2’s major revelations regarding Cadence, we’ve still only scratched the surface of what’s made her such a despised character, while revealing nothing of her super-powered origin.
GP: In the first issue Cadence was just not a likeable character, and a bit bratty. Here there’s that, but she gets rounded out with her history and a tragic slide from innocence. How’d you work to balance a character that could so easily slide into unlikeable and difficult to be sympathetic for.
BJLG: By trying to elicit sympathy for the struggling superheroine from the beginning. As I said, I wanted readers to empathize with her best intentions gone awry before showcasing her darker sides. But part of the balancing act is to offer a character that acknowledges their troubled past. That’s her very motivation to be a superhero: to redeem herself from a lifetime squandered.
Furious, or the Beacon as she prefers to be called, is the ultimate underdog because the dreaded enemy she must ultimately defeat is herself.
GP: There’s so much of a mirror between Cadence’s early life and Furious’ early life. Both born of tragedy, innocent at first, Cadence slid to trouble and looks like Furious is going the same way. What was the thought process into having that parallel?
BJLG: That parallel was extremely intentional. The idea that anybody gets up trying to be evil is a cliché absurdity, as every good villain believes they’re the hero of their own story. On some level, much of their villainy is a shortsighted effort to balance perceived scales of injustice weighted against them.
Cadence Lark never set out to become notorious. Hers was a gradual slide, aided and abetted by Hollywood enablers who were themselves struggling with deep-rooted issues. The Beacon is her effort to atone, and yet she is power without discipline, and without training. Thus even her deepest desire to make peace with herself is thwarted by Furious.
GP: The comic, especially the beginning, is laid out very differently, with the various news reports, and eye witness accounts are explored. There are literally layers of data there. Was this your idea or artist Victor Santos’?
BJLG: That opening 3-page media montage was envisioned and scripted by me (which I’ve attached in the email). I tend to think visually, and I like conceiving of new and innovative ways to tell the story. So while I’ve given Victor total freedom to explore this plot through his own designs and layouts, there are still the occasional places where I’d like him to deliver a specific idea. This was one of those.
It was definitely challenging to keep all those layers straight in my head, and I ran the risk of not scripting my vision with enough clarity, particularly with the language barrier Victor and I can sometimes struggle with, but he really came through with a fantastic layout and finished art.
And huge kudos to our letterer Nate Piekos of Blambot who did a fantastic job with many of the word-sensitive layers of media represented.
Overall I think its an incredible 3-page crash course, easy to assimilate, into what Furious is really all about!
GP: In the first issue and this second one you use real world Twitter handles. Where’d that come from and did they know?
BJLG: It was a lot of fun using the real world social media handles of my industry friends and colleagues to showcase media reaction in a book so entrenched within that culture. Andrew Gaska, Chandra Free, Jim Zub, Adam Withers & Comfort Love! All were featured with the consent of the participant, and for that back cover of issue #1 they even provided their own tweets. I came up with the fun Tweets of me, Victor, and editor Jim that appear in issue #2, but those guys got approval of the words attributed to them or they wouldn’t have run.
GP: This issue really looks at child stars and the issues they face. We’ve seen that a lot lately with Gomez, Bieber, Spears, etc. What do you think it is about fame that causes these issues and why is it so hard for child stars to have a positive second run?
BJLG: As I tried to illustrate throughout Cadence Lark’s backstory—issue #2 tracking her past from ages 7-18—star power is akin to super-powers. These young stars have power that others profit from. As long as they’re making money for somebody, they’re absolved of accountability. If this 17-year-old superstar finances their own corporation employing dozens to work as their managers, agents, stylists, accountants, logistics coordinators, security, etc., then whatever the star wants the star gets. Yet the older they get, the less society is willing to laugh off or turn a blind eye to their antics. So you get young stars treating police officers or judges like the Paparazzi, and it only bites them in the ass. Meanwhile, everybody who already made their own fortune off of theirs has moved on to greener pastures. It’s a sad and sick cycle…and I’m profiting off it even as I use their terrible examples for my story.
For Cadence Lark, she had ten years being told she was the center of the universe…and then abruptly wasn’t. How that occurs is story, and particularly how she’s awakened to that truth, is still to be revealed. But suffice to say, The Beacon is her last chance for a healthy comeback and it’s already overladen with the suffocating baggage of Furious.
GP: There’s already clearly a divide in how people view Furious with the news taking one stance and individuals another. How much of that will we see through the series?
BJLG: The entire series echoes with that divide, and it will never be clear-cut, just as it never is in real life. There is simply no monolith of support pro or against her. Mainstream media may initially condemn her, taking the side of beleaguered public officials and civil servants who simply don’t know how to respond, while the New Media of the Internet and social networks adore her. But what happens when traditional media softens toward her, yet she loses her shiny new toy appeal to the masses that flocked to her support online. Furious the series will continue to resonate with these ever-shifting dynamics of notoriety and fame.
GP: There are also some subtle comments about the objectification of women and especially female superheroes. Again, how deep do you dive into that?
BJLG: We explore that a bit because it’s such a deep-rooted aspect of our media culture. Sex sells. And it always has. Commercials are crafted to entice on a sexual level. Products are sold by how sexy they can make you feel, physically or by perception alone. Stars are often sold on their sex appeal. And there is nearly always a double standard employed by those who excuse it, as well as those who condemn it. So obviously, Furious as both a book and character can be scrutinized on that level as my protagonist is also both a superhero and a superstar.
I have no agenda to pursue on the matter, pro or con. I can only hope to utilize it in an honest fashion when the needs of the story and the character’s choices are informed by how she herself is perceived by those in her world.
GP: Hints as to what we can expect as the series continues?
BJLG: I definitely don’t want to give anything away, but Furious is definitely on a collision course with her first super-powered adversary.
While we were deftly avoiding the fallen starlet angle in our pre-press, we were touting Furious as the “first superhero of her world.” The implication of that statement has less to do with our book being about what it means to be the first superhero, and far more so to suggest she will not be the last. The secret to her superpowers, which will only be barely scraped at in these first five issues, could almost be considered a Pandora’s Box. She is but the first, but what follows could radically alter the world she knows.
But on the small-scale personal level, these first five issues are essentially about her inner journey as it plays out behind a foreground of corrupt law enforcement, misogynistic serial killers, and her own frightening ability to become judge, jury and executioner…and all on-time for the evening news!
It’s a packed week of comics, with a lot of solid choices coming out from numerous publishers. So, to help you out , some of the Graphic Policy team has compiled our picks of the comics we’re looking forward to this week.
Top Pick: The Wake #6 (Vertigo) – It’s back. Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s merfolk horror story jumps 200 years in the future. I liken the break in this series with The Walking Dead’s mid-season hiatus, it’s been WAY too long.
King Conan The Conqueror #1(Dark Horse) – This is the second part of Tim Truman’s adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s novel The Hour of the Dragon…and its start is just as fantastic as last year’s run. I can’t envision Conan any other way than this.
Pariah #1(Dark Horse) – Genetically engineered geniuses known as “vitros” must band together and create a plan to get back to Earth before their failing satellite turns into a deathtrap. After watching Gravity, this series looks interesting.
Vandroid #1 (Dark Horse) – Tommy Lee Edwards and Noah Smith resurrect an early 80s grindhouse film script that was nearly lost in a studio fire. A rich playboy and a drugged out genius engineer create a humanoid entity that takes matters into his own hands. The cover of this issue alone deserves awards.
Trade Paperback/Graphic Novel:Breath of Bones A Tale of the Golem HC (Dark Horse) – This rounds out Dark Horse’s near sweep of my top picks this week. Steve Niles creates a poignant, gorgeous story of a Jewish boy’s stand against the Nazis…and the monster under his bed that helped him.
Top Pick: The Wake #6 (Vertigo) – It’s been too long since this series hit shelves, but boy am I ready to dive into the second part of writer Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s horror/sci-fi/apocalyptic story. He said to expect a twist at the end of the first volume and he was right. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us.
Black Science #4(Image Comics) – This series from Image mixes crazy science fiction with an almost Jules Verne vibe about it all. The action is awesome, science fun, and art fantastic.
Furious #2 (Dark Horse) – It’s celebrity meets superherodom. The second issue continues the fantastic story of a superhero in today’s age of 24 hour news and social media.
Hacktivist #2 (Archaia/BOOM! Studios) – The comic that focuses on online activism continues as the government and CIA make an offer to our keyboard jockeys.
Tomb Raider #1 (Dark Horse) – Writer Gail Simone takes on the recently rebooted video gamer heroine. Should be a great combination, and while I haven’t read the issue yet, it’s high on my anticipation list for the week.
Trade Paperback/Graphic Novel: Megagogo Vol. 1 (Oni Press) – A new ongoing graphic novel that lets us know what happens when you put a washed up loser, an awkward teen going through puberty, and an immortal being into a giant robot. Monsters have returned to wreak havoc on the South, and while the team must defend Atlanta, they must first get past the KKK! How does this not sound awesome?
Staring into a fractured mirror of her life, the world’s first superhero, Furious, seeks to atone for her past sins by doling out rage-fueled justice! But the spotlight of our celebrity-obsessed media threatens to undo her noblest efforts and expose her true identity before she can achieve redemption.
I first heard about Furious, and saw it’s fantastic art by Victor Santos, at last year’s Baltimore Comic Con where I got a chance to chat with writer Bryan J. L. Glass about the series. Glass’ enthusiasm was on display as he walked me through the story, promising me to not spill the ending of the first issue, something I’m not going to do here. After walking away from my time with him, I was excited myself, waiting the months until this moment when I got to read the completed issue myself, instead of just staring at its art. The comic was moved up from a summer release to January for a reason, it’s that damn good.
I’m glad to say, even knowing that twist, I came away excited in what’s a fun, modern take on the idea of superheroes in our celebrity obsessed world. This is the world’s first superhero, and the series deals with how culture, and the media, would respond to this super being among them. Can a hero control their own media and be a beacon of hope and justice? You can guess in our 24 hour media culture, how that all goes.
Though as expected, her brutal tactics find fans. Though she wants to be called the Beacon, the media has dubbed her Furious after she’s caught beating the crap out of some horrible people. Remember, there’s a nice counter to the media, and the youth seem to dig her brand of justice.
Santos’ art matches the brutal story and he, much like Glass’ writing, doesn’t hold back. Glass was hoping when I spoke to him that this would be Santos’ breakout comic, and I expect it to be. His art is fantastic with a style that’s a perfect fit. There’s some awesome panels and his use of perspective and the page is eye-catching, keeping you on your toes visually.
Overall, Furious has busted out matching it’s name. The comic is rage, action, fun, and entertaining. If you’re a superhero fan, or a fan of visually eye-catching art, do yourself a favor and grab the first issue. You won’t be disappointed.
Story: Bryan J. L. Glass Art: Victor Santos Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
It’s a new week of comics and there’s a massive list of fantastic releases coming out, in monthly floppies, trade paperbacks and graphic novels! Check out below for your best bets this week!
Top Pick: Furious #1 (Dark Horse) – I’ve been looking forward to this series since I caught a glimpse of it at last years Baltimore Comic Con. The comic looks at superheroes through the lens of celebrity. Expect a review up today, and I’ll give you a hint… I liked it a lot!
Black Science #3 (Image Comics) – Image Comics’ series mixes mad science with mad humor. The writing, world, story, art, all mix together for one of the strongest debuts of a series lately.
East of West #9 (Image Comics) – An apocalyptic western, the comic takes place in an alternate United States where the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse run free. It’s everything I want in a western infused with sci-fi elements.
The Final Plague #4 (Action Lab: Danger Zone) – Every issue gives me the creeps. This horror series is that good.
Miracleman #2 (Marvel) – A chance to read one of the most heralded comic series. Reprinted for a new generation to enjoy.
Revival #17 (Image Comics) – I think this zombie series might be better than that other one that gets all the notice. Focusing on the people in a quarantined town, each issue is a slowly revealed mystery.
Saga #18 (Image Comics) – Universally loved. It topped “best of” lists in 2013 and 2012. Find out why before you get too far behind.
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 (Dark Horse) – The popular cult tv series returns to comics!
Superior Spider-Man #26 (Marvel) – Dan Slott starts his end game for story lines he’s been manipulating for years. One of the best superhero comics on the market.
Thief of Thieves #19 (Image Comics) – Catch this one before it hits the tv screen. An entertaining series about the world’s greatest thief.
Top Graphic Novel/Tradepaperback: Snowpiercer Vol. 1 (Titan Comics) – This graphic novel will have a movie based on it out soon. Mankind survives on a train that never stops, protecting them from bitter cold. It’s a fascinating study on class and country.