Feb/March/April 2017 Previews: Carman’s Picks

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Roughneck

Publisher: Gallery 13

(W/A/CA) Jeff Lemire

From the New York Times-bestselling author and award-winning creator of Essex County, Descender, and The Underwater Welder comes an original graphic novel about a brother and sister who must come together after years apart to face the disturbing history that has cursed their family. Derek Ouellette’s glory days are behind him. His hockey career ended a decade earlier in a violent incident on ice, and since then he’s been living off his reputation in the remote northern community where he grew up, drinking too much and fighting anyone who crosses him. When his long-lost sister Beth shows up, on the run from an abusive boyfriend, the two escape to a secluded hunting camp in the woods. There, living off the land, they reconnect with each other, the painful secrets of their past, and their Cree heritage…and start to heal. But Beth’s ex-boyfriend is hunting them. As he circles closer, he threatens to shatter this newfound peace and pull both Derek and Beth back into the world of self-destruction they’ve fought so hard to leave behind. Touching and harrowing, this is a deeply moving and beautifully illustrated story about family, heritage, and breaking the cycle of violence.

Somewhere in the middle of writing (and sometimes drawing) several stellar ongoing series, Jeff Lemire has found time to also produce this original graphic novel for Simon and Schuster’s new imprint, Gallery 13. I will always check out all things Lemire, but the description here has me sold. Lemire really knows how to capture the nuances of nuclear family and I can’t wait to see how that takes shape here.

 

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Black Monday Murders #5 and The Dying & The Dead #4

The books highlighted in these articles are almost always series premieres, but Jonathon Hickman gets a special pass. The Dying and the Dead has been on hiatus for a little over a year and a half and it’s so good to see it regularly solicited again. On top of that, we also see the second arc kick off for Black Monday Murders, a comic that may very well be my #1 of 2016. If you haven’t been reading either one of these books, jump on them now.

 

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Victor LaValle’s Destroyer #1

Publisher: Boom! Studios

(W) Victor LaValle (A) Dietrich Smith (CA) Micaela Dawn

When the last descendant of the Frankenstein family loses her only son to a police shooting, she turns to science for her own justice…putting her on a crash course with her family’s original monster and his quest to eliminate humanity. An intense, unflinching story exploring the legacies of love, loss, and vengeance placed firmly in the tense atmosphere and current events of the modern-day United States.

A story amalgamated from classic horror and modern headlines will take serious craft to pull off. I wasn’t actually familiar with Victor LaValle before hearing about Destroyer, but after looking into his work a bit, I’m definitely interested to see the direction the creators take it in.

 

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Eternal Empire #1

Publisher: Image Comics

(W/A/CA) Sarah Vaughn, Jonathon Luna

JONATHAN LUNA (ALEX + ADA, THE SWORD, Spider-Woman: Origin) and SARAH VAUGHN (ALEX + ADA, Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love, Ruined) return with ETERNAL EMPIRE, a fantasy epic!

The Eternal Empress has waged war against the countries of Saia for over one hundred years and now her sights are set on the last country standing. Within the brutal Empire’s workforce, a young woman receives strange visions that give her the courage to escape her fate…or run straight toward it.

I still haven’t read Alex + Ada, but it’s been recommended to me several times since it first published. While I’m keeping that on my reading list, I’m going to jump on Eternal Empire from the beginning this time.

 

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Bug: The Adventures of Forager #1

Publisher: DC Comics

(W) Lee Allred (A/CA) Michael Allred

An all-new Young Animal miniseries begins! Forager is just one of the Hive before he breaks out of his cocoon and finds himself in a mysterious house in an unknown realm. There he meets all kinds of strange creatures: a ghostly girl, a talking teddy bear and otherworldly weirdos that have literally jumped out of his worst nightmares. But these interdimensional oddballs are nothing compared to the evil General Electric, who is on the hunt for a reality-bending metal that could alter the fabric of life itself. To stay one step ahead of him and preserve the multiverse, Forager must travel through alternate dimensions to seek the metal and, hopefully, catch up with that cagey stuffed bear. If he does it, will he finally be able to distinguish himself as a New God?
DC’s Young Animal celebrates Jack Kirby’s centenary with this new six-issue miniseries-and who better to tackle this task than the Eisner Award-winning Allred clan! Featuring scripts by Lee Allred (BATMAN ’66), art by Michael Allred (Silver Surfer) and colors by Laura Allred (Lady Killer), BUG! is truly a family affair.
MATURE READERS

More craziness from DC’s Young Animal. I have really enjoyed the likes of Doom Patrol, Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye, and Shade the Changing Girl. Here’s hoping that Young Animal keeps that momentum for their fifth book in the lineup. Granted I’m not too worried about that because MIKE ALLRED IS DOING THE ART. If you’ve never read anything of his, go grab that X-Statix omnibus right now.

 

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Winnebago Graveyard #1

Publisher: Image Comics

(W) Steve Niles (A/CA) Alison Sampson, Stéphane Paitreau, Jordie Bellaire, Aditya Bidikar

SERIES PREMIERE
An American family traveling on vacation finds themselves stranded in a small town with a sinister secret.

There’s not a whole lot to go on beyond the short solicit and cover art, but I’m in. Maybe it’s having just seen Get Out and binge-listening to most of S-Town, but there’s enough here to have me intrigued.

 

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Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man #1

Publisher: Marvel Comics

(W) Chip Zdarsky (A/CA) Adam Kubert

SPIDER-MAN RETURNS TO THE FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD!
The webslinging, wallcrawling wonder returns to New York City in the all-new PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. A companion series to the best-selling Amazing Spider-Man series, Peter Parker is going back-to-basics for big heroics in the Big Apple. Featuring adversaries old and new, be there as Spider-Man returns to his friendly neighborhood for his never ending battle against crime and the dreaed “Parker Luck”.
Rated T

I’ll say it. I’m not a big Spider-Man fan. I don’t dislike him or anything, but I’ve just never been overly interested. In the past few years, the main Peter Parker related things that really grabbed my attention were Spencer and Lieber’s Superior Foes of Spider-Man and Chip Zdarsky’s portrayal of Spider-Man in his Howard the Duck. Well, well. It looks like Applebee’s greatest friend is now getting his very own Spider-Man book. I guess it’s time to see what this spider guy is all about.

 

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Unsound #1

Publisher: Boom! Studios

(W) Cullen Bunn (A/CA) Jack Cole

Ashli’s first day as a nurse at Wiermont Psychiatric Hospital turns into a nightmare as a bloody riot sends her fleeing into the bowels of the hospital. Her descent takes her to a hellish world populated by lunatics and monsters, cloaked in a secret history of black magic and heinous scientific experiments.

I’m always on the lookout for a good horror book. I may be too chicken for horror games and a lot of horror movies, but books are different. Maybe it’s having more control over the material or the less immediate stimulus, but horror books hit the right spot for me. Also, the line “secret history of black magic” makes me think of Black Monday Murders which we’ve established is a very good thing.

 

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Secret Weapons #1

Publisher: Valiant Comics

(W) Eric Heisserer (A/CA) Raul Allen

Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Eric Heisserer (Arrival) joins Harvey Award-nominated artist Raúl Allén (Wrath of the Eternal Warrior) for Valiant’s next prestige format limited series, starring Livewire and an extraordinary new team of heroes! The government has dispatched Amanda McKee – the technopath codenamed Livewire – to investigate the ruins of a secret facility formerly run by Toyo Harada, the most powerful telepath on Earth and her former mentor. In his quest for world betterment at any cost, Harada sought out and activated many potential psiots like himself. Those who survived, but whose powers he deemed to have no value to his cause, were hidden away at this installation. But Livewire, having studied Harada’s greatest strengths and learned his deepest weaknesses, senses opportunity where he once saw failure. A young girl who can talk to birds… A boy who can make inanimate objects gently glow… To others, these are expensive failures. But, to Livewire, they are secret weapons…in need of a leader. Now, as a mechanized killer called Rexo seeks to draw them out, Livewire and her new team of cadets will be forced to put their powers into action…in ways they never could have imagined…

I’m still relatively new to the Valiant universe, but I’ve been really impressed with pretty much everything I’ve read. One of the biggest highlights for me was The Valiant, another event of theirs. Valiant has such a way with portraying the modern superhero, and the fact that the screenwriter for Arrival is on board certainly seals the deal for me. I’m very much looking forward to adding this one to my Valiant collection.

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