The Sixth Gun No. 2
So last month when this came out I was running a bit behind, and last week when issue two came out I completely missed that fact. Well, I won't be dropping the ball on one of the best series of the year any longer, no sir!
So: this is (so far) the story of a gun, one of a set of six, that is in the possession of a preacher's daughter. The former owner of the gun, Confederate General Oliander Bedford Hume, is dead and shackled to his casket by chains of cold iron, yet he is pursuing her, aided by the holders of the other five: his wife and four Apocalypse-themed riders. Her only ally in trying to escape the grim fate that Hume has planned for her is Drake Sinclair, a thoroughly unscrupulous and quite mysterious rogue.
Here are the four excellent things about this series: One and Two: the writing and art. Both are top-notch. The book is a joy to look at and reads like nobody's business. Three: it manages to capture the same sense of amorality that the Old West of, say, Sergio Leone has. It is a terrible place, where evil and atrocity can really shine.
Fourth: this is one of the few places that I've really ever seen magic and the occult modernized successfully. Usually, were one to read a tale involving cowboys fighting over a magic artifact then that object would be the Spear of Destiny or something else form long ago. The Hell-forged revolvers and oracular lynching victims of The Sixth Gun are highly satisfying extensions of the mythologies of the past into the present (well, almost. In geologic terms). Why shouldn't the mystical grow and change along with everything else, after all?
Just plain great, on all fronts.
Warlord of Io
I love James Turner's comics, and not just because I get to talk about vector graphics every time another one comes out (honestly, I know nothing about 'em. I just like writing "vector graphics" - the words roll off the typing fingers).
If you've been reading my blatherings about comics for long enough then you may recall that Warlord of Io had a single issue maybe a year ago and then moved online. Diamond's distribution policies dictated that it wasn't getting ordered in sufficient quantities, so pfft, no more issues for me. Needless to say, I was delighted to see this collection on the shelf yesterday.
As for the plot: the titular Warlord is Zing, twentysomething video game aficionado and aspiring rock god, who inherits the throne of the Jovian satellite Io when his father abruptly retires. Zing is swiftly overthrown by a military junta and must balance his aspirations, the good of his people and the demands of ladyfriend Moxy Comet as he flees for his life.
Setting this thing in the far future and also in orbit around Jupiter is the perfect showcase for Turner's inventiveness - I think that this book might actually include more crazy monster designs than the last Rex Libris trade, which was quite literally about crazy monsters being everywhere. Not that this is an example of craziness at the expense of plot - Io is a lovely little character piece that just happens to have weirdo aliens on every page. Hooray!
I've managed my time poorly yet again. In keeping with my poorly-thought-out policy of reading books after floppies, I just finished this and it's late at night. Trust me, I would go on but I need sleep. Here are the highlights:
1. Faith Erin Hicks excels at drawing young people in strange situations. Here we have a book about science fictional weirdness at a summer camp. Predictably, it is great-looking.
2. Susan Kim and Laurence Klaven: I hadn't read them before, though I may now have to go back and pick up City of Spies. Again: young people in weird situations. Plucky youths against adult conspiracy! There's a reason I read so many books that could be described in those terms whilst I was growing up and that reason is that done well they equal pure entertainment.
To summarize: GOOD BOOK. And Hicks' art looks delightful in colour.
Kill Shakespeare No. 4
Another highly entertaining issue! This is the one, in fact, that out-Shakespeare nerded me - I had to look up a couple of the minor characters. In my defence, I was at my most slackerly the year that I was supposedly reading all of the plays. Wait, that's not really much of a defence, is it? In any case: good job.
I have one major problem with this issue, and since I didn't notice it earlier it's probably some form of editorial oversight or the like. There's a lot of olde timey English being spoken here, which is appropriate for something set not just in Shakespearian England but in Shakespeare itself, but there are some major grammatical problems here. Thee, thou and thy are not interchangeable! Oh, the madness!
Writers of the world: I will check your Elizabethan English FOR FREE at any time, it drives me so nuts.
Superman: The Last Family of Krypton No. 1 - Hey, Elseworlds is back! Hooray! And this is a lovely little story about Jor-El and Lara coming to Earth with their kid! Yay! And of course everything is going to go horribly wrong next issue! Yay!
Sparta, USA No. 6 - Yet another Wildstorm series ends. Will they step up with a new crazy yarn for me to read? Who knows? What I do know is that I was taken off-guard by the end of this one. Hooray for surprises!
Hellboy: The Storm No. 2 - I know that I go on and on about Hellboy and its sibling titles, or at least heavily imply that I could go on and on, but hot damn. Stuff from maybe a decade ago is paying off in this title right now. There is possibly nothing else out there that encompasses both continuity and progress quite like these series do. Okay, there probably is, but I like this better.
Baltimore: The Plague Ships No. 1 - And speaking of Mike Mignola... I see now that I should never have skipped the Baltimore illustrated novel when it came out. Oh for both the money and time to read everything I want to! But enough whining: whether I have context or not the fact remains that a vampire gets harpooned in this book and that that is never not awesome.