(W) Dan Waters (A) Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara (CA) Tiffany Turrill In Shops: Mar 20, 2019 SRP: $3.99
Lucifer remembers. But the price of clarity may be destruction, as the Devil sits at the edge of a precipice-and erstwhile allies remember his past sins, too. Meanwhile, the Moon attempts to steal from the Earth, and a potential Antichrist is conceived.
(W) Rob Sheridan (A) Barnaby Bagenda (CA) Guillaume Ospital In Shops: Mar 20, 2019 SRP: $3.99
Tasked with smuggling the savior of humanity through thousands of miles of religious cults, mutant tribes, war zones, sunken cities, and cybernetic mafias, the woman known only as Thirteen does what any sane person would: try to get out of doing it. But the mystery of High Level calls whether Thirteen likes it or not.
(W) Bryan Hill (A) Leandro Fernandez (CA) Ben Oliver In Shops: Mar 20, 2019 SRP: $3.99
Wynn Morgan’s business rivals get wind of Agent Sheila Curry’s off-the-books investigation into the white nationalist leader, but things don’t go well at all when they try to make an illegal quid pro quo with the vengeful FBI agent. Meanwhile, Richard closes in on the murderer of Agent Watson, with help from the unlikeliest of allies.
As the grandson of a war veteran, I grew being regaled by stories by my grandfather about World War II. He wasn’t a veteran in the traditional sense, as he was not recognized until very recently long after his death. Hundreds of Filipino WWII veterans and their families finally got recognized by President Obama for their contribution. Even though the world did not see these men and women as heroes, families like mine always did. His stories piqued my interest and fascination with the war itself.
My interest went from reading books to watching movies and eventually reading war comics like Sgt. Rock which gave us a view from the trenches. It would also lead me to reading Unknown Soldier which was a military spy whose face you never saw but his missions were always for the greater good. These comics would not only sentimentalize the war for me but would stoke my interest in storytelling. In Garth Ennis and Kilian Plunkett’s story we find one lone agent searching for the Unknown Soldier.
We meet Agent William Clyde, a veteran CIA agent who is hot
on the lead of a clandestine organization, with some very deep roots in major
historical events and a bloody trail, which raises even more questions. As he
digs deeper into who they are, the more connections to the Unknown Solider,
starts to pop up, as everyone he interviews, has a story about this shadow
assassin, a man who defines “tip of the spear”. Of course, the closer he gets,
the more dangerous the path, as a fellow agent gets killed a hit squad comes
after him and the mercenary sent to kill him, join forces with him to find the Unknown Soldier. By book’s end,
Clyde comes face to face with him, and finds exactly why they are hunting him
and why the Unknown Soldier lead him to where he was.
Overall, an uneven story that doesn’t quite deliver on the promise of the premise. The story by Ennis is fragmented, at times very interesting, but ultimately not his best work. The art by Plunkett is serviceable. Altogether, a story that doesn’t quite live up the legacy and is neither creator’s best work.
(W) Nalo Hopkinson (A) Dominike “Domo” Stanton (CA) Sean Andrew Murray In Shops: Mar 13, 2019 SRP: $3.99
A new krewe called the Predeceased has formed, with the hope that with the help of their patron loa they will be able to call their souls back from the Dreaming. But as the epidemic spreads globally, Shakpana’s strength only grows stronger.
(W) Simon Spurrier (A) Bilquis Evely (CA) Jae Lee In Shops: Mar 06, 2019 SRP: $3.99
A pale god has wandered the Earth, banished and bound. For one ill-fated family, he leaves only the wreckage of a cataclysmic romance. As the Dreaming convalesces after its recent upheavals, at long last it’s time to follow the footsteps of its absent master. But we must tread lightly. For where Dream walks, heartbreak follows.
(W) Ben Blacker (A) Mirka Andolfo (CA) Tula Lotay MATURE READERS In Shops: Feb 27, 2019 SRP: $3.99
Izzy prepares a last-minute soiree to impress Aaron’s visiting regional manager, the enigmatic Mr. August, who wants to make sure everything is hunky-dory in the Desert Canyon while the other women at last awake to their witchy wiles and skills. It’s a dinner party to end all dinner parties-one that is sure to bring down the house.
(W) Kat Howard (A) Tom Fowler (CA) Kai Carpenter MATURE READERS In Shops: Feb 27, 2019 SRP: $3.99
Pursued by nightmares he can’t remember and haunted by his inability to sleep, Timothy Hunter heads to the one place he knows he’ll definitely find answers: the Dreaming. But the cost of such knowledge may be more than he bargained for…
(W) Dan Waters (A) Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara (CA) Reiko Murakami MATURE READERS In Shops: Feb 20, 2019 SRP: $3.99
Lucifer is silenced. As all the Devil’s bargains are repaid to him tenfold, the last of his senses are about to be taken from him. Meanwhile, a wastrel finds the gates to Hell outside the local pub, and what was once a man seeks revenge on a screaming skull.
Hundreds of years after the world ended and human society was rebuilt from scratch, a self-interested smuggler is forced to traverse a new continent of danger and mystery to deliver a child messiah to High Level, a mythical city at the top of the world from which no one has ever returned.
I know of Rob Sheridan of his work with Nine Inch Nails and their “Year Zero” alternate reality game. His work influenced some things I’d later do so to see how he’d apply his world building to comics is something I’ve been excited about.
High Level #1 is all about the world building as we’re thrown into a future society where there’s clearly a caste system and the “haves” inhabit a place called High Level where they exploit the workers with promise of climbing the social ladder. But, High Level may also be a myth, a modern Biblical story in a way to control the masses and focus their energy and dreams.
High Level weaves these concepts into a story focused on Thirteen a scavenger scraping a living and just surviving in this world while keeping her head down from the war that wages around her in different regions.
The art by Barnaby Bagenda and Romulo Fajardo is beautiful and haunting in a way. The grime and dirt is around but at the same time there’s bright neon colors to distract. It’s an aesthetic we’ve seen in numerous apocalytpic stories but it still works. Every detail, every color choice, tells a bit of the story. Things look functional but at the same time worn and used. The world is lived in and in ways more real due to that.
The story is subtle in its politics to start, instead focusing on the world building and in many ways feels like Sheridan’s previous ARG work. It sucks you in and then layers on the deeper meaning. The first issue touches upon it but it’s focus is the hook and story and to build a world we want to see more of.