The Weekly Round-Up #83 Featuring Our Love Is Real, Chew, iZombies, And More!

Best Comic of the Week:

Our Love is Real

Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Steven Sanders

If you read about comics on the Internet (and obviously, you do), then you’ve heard about this book this week.  It was limited to a press run of 300, available at only a handful of comics stores, including the one I shop at.  Everyone else who wants to read it has to get it digitally.

The question though, is is the comic any good, or is it only receiving so much attention due to its controversial nature?  I can assure you, it is in fact a very good comic.

Our Love is Real is set in a future where people seem to have stopped having sex with one another.  Instead, people have segmented into groups that seem to associate with one another based on their preference for sexual partner.  Vegisexuals, who grow specific types of modified plants for sexual purposes, are rioting, for reasons that are not clear.  Jok, a riot police officer, is a zoosexual, with a nice little dog at home who enjoys pleasuring him.  During a riot, he meets Brin, a mineralsexual, who has New Age sex with a large crystal she calls Zori.  It’s worth pointing out that crystal sex is all done with auras; there is no actual penetration involved.

Jok feels a strange attraction to Brin, and over the course of this quick little read, they begin to explore their feelings for one another, which are not acceptable in this type of society any more.  The story is entertaining and compelling (I felt some sympathy for Jok, especially when his fellow officers started taking the piss out of him), but I wish there was some further explanation as to how society got to this place.  The book opens with the words “Five years after the AIDS vaccine…”, but I would think that would lead to more human on human sex, not less.

Still, this is a funny and interesting comic.  It wisely avoids exploring the more prurient aspects of its subject matter, preferring to keep the focus on Brin and Jok.  Sanders’s art is very nice in this black and white book, and much less exaggerated than his work on SWORD for Marvel.  I recommend this book, even though I know most people will have a devil of a time getting their hands on it.

 

Other Notable Comics:

Blue Estate #4

Written by Viktor Kalvachev, Kosta Yanev, and Andrew Osborne
Art by Viktor Kalvachev, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, and Paul Maybury

Blue Estate continues to be both one of the most intriguing new series to come out of Image’s recent creator-owned Renaissance, and also one of its most perplexing.  The series is most definitely written for the trade, as scenes blend between issues (#3 ends with a woman swimming in a pool, and this issue begins with us seeing who she is).  In a lot of ways, this comic reminds me of one long steady-cam shot, where a filmmaker meanders in what he chooses to film, but maintains the consistency of the shot.  If that makes sense.

There are lots of little pieces being sprinkled around this comic, as just about every character is connected to every other, in a myriad of ways.  This issue opens with the girlfriend of a Russian mobster practicing her scene for her film debut at the house of the actor we met in the first issue, whose wife Rachel is pretending to be drunk to gain information about her husband, which she passes on to her AA sponsor, who is a hitman, while the mobster tortures the Uzbek cokehead we met last issue, and so on, and so on.  It’s like the writers are just exploring these connections, without really having a set plot in mind.

With the character work being this good, I’m perfectly okay with that.  This series has a lot in common with long-running soap operas, and so far, I’m just enjoying attaching puzzle pieces in my head.  The varying and shifting art styles on this book, as the pages cycle through the four artists attached to the project, help keep things fresh and visually interesting.

I am really enjoying this series, although at this point, I think I would recommend that people trade wait it, as picking up a random issue will be utterly confusing.

Chew #19

Written by John Layman
Art by Rob Guillory

It feels like a return to the 90s, as the new issue of Chew comes with a neon green fifth ink cover, reminding me of an issue of The Incredible Hulk from back in the day.

The similarities stop at the cover though, as Chew continues to be one of the most intelligent and humorous books produced each month.  The issue opens with a series of panels that happen immediately after the assassinations of four important people – the president of the US, the Queen of England, the Pope, and Chow Chu, Tony Chu’s brother.

We quickly learn that none of these murders actually happen, and then Layman and Guillory settle down to explaining why that is.  Tony gets seconded to NASA for a mission with his sister, and finds himself in Area 51, working on a case that he knows nothing about.  Guillory fills the Area 51 pages with a number of inside jokes and references to TV shows and movies.  We also learn about the consequences of NASA’s contingency plan for the bird flu epidemic.

This book has always been very clever, but I feel like Layman is really coming into his own in terms of the way he presents and constructs his story.  Each issue works as a one-off, but also forwards a number of other stories.  A new reader could pick this comic up at any point and enjoy it, while long-time readers like myself are rewarded in a multitude of ways each month.  This is great stuff.

Elephantmen #32

Written by Richard Starkings
Art by Axel Medellin

In a lot of ways, Elephantmen is the ultimate vanity project comic.  With this issue, Richard Starkings decides that it’s time to do a tribute to the Conan comics he loved as a kid, so he does just that.  In fact, I think that this whole ‘Man and Elephantman’ arc has existed just so he could create the book-ending Elseworld-style issues.

In the comic, both Hip Flask and Ebony Hide have now experimented with the drug mirror, which causes very believable hallucinations.  When Hip did it, in the Man and Elephantman one-shot, he believed he was human, and that conceit lasted for the entire issue.  In this comic, when Ebony tries it, he envisions himself a barbarian king, who sleeps with vampires, and does battle with dragons in a desert oasis, alongside a busty woman in a chain-mail bikini named Vanya (Red Vanya?).

Because the reader already knows what’s going on, this sequence does not take up the whole comic, and is instead used to move the plot forward incrementally, as Ebony’s colleague LAPD Lieutenant Trench discusses his own struggle with the drug.  Behind the scenes, we learn more about the illegal ivory trade, and are introduced to a murder case that is probably going to drive the next story arc.

One could complain that this issue is wasted, story wise, but Axel Medellin’s pictures are so nice, and the story is enjoyable enough that the comic still works.  In the back matter, Starking provides an excerpt from his book on lettering to show how the old Conan comics influenced his work.  I found this section very interesting, and I also enjoyed the Charley Loves Robots back-up.  Most surprising, though, was seeing that my review of Man and Elephantman was printed in the letters page.

iZombie #15

Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Michael Allred

As much as I like iZombie, and the characters that populate it, it really doesn’t feel like much has been happening in this comic since the page count dropped to twenty, and the Dead Presidents back-up began.  Spot is still stuck down the hole (which is like a reverse-Lassie kind of thing), although that hole turns out to be a series of ancient catacombs, which are both spilling zombies into the city, and portending doom – enough so that Amon even stopped playing skeeball to deal with it.

Gwen and Horatio have climbed down the hole to look for Spot, while the Dead Presidents have arrived in Eugene, and have also run into the zombies.

Roberson manages to check in with every single important character in this issue, which may be why it feels so short – with such a large cast, each getting a page or two of their own, there’s little space left over for much plot advancement.  I’m sure this stuff is going to read better in trade though, and at the same time, I’d be disappointed if Roberson and Allred didn’t show some of the cast members for a month or two.

Jonah Hex #69

Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Jeff Lemire

Having read this, I don’t understand how it could have taken so long for Jeff Lemire to draw an issue of Jonah Hex.  He’s perfect for this title, as he draws almost everyone as ugly as Hex is, although he still manages to make Hex look worse.  In fact, he’s done one of the best jobs I’ve ever seen of making Hex’s facial scars look raw and painful.

This issue really suits Lemire’s sensibilities as an artist as well.  Jonah has a final confrontation with his father, as they sit out in the desert and have a conversation.  I don’t want to give too much away, aside from the fact that it appears unlikely that they will ever meet again.  Some of this is familiar ground for Lemire, as his Essex County trilogy touched on the theme of estranged family members (if you haven’t read this, you really should).

Jonah Hex has felt stale for a while now, but as it’s relaunch looms, with a new status quo for Hex, it’s nice to see Gray and Palmiotti tie up some loose ends and try something a little different for a change.  I think this may be the first issue of this title where we don’t see anyone shoot anybody.

Moriarty #3

Written by Daniel Corey
Art by Anthony Diecidue

The first two issues of this series were very dense, with lots of information, character establishment, and plot development.  Now, with this third issue, the pace changes remarkably, as Moriarty and his companion Jade spring into action.

I’m going to be honest – even though I’m enjoying the series, I’m having a hard time keeping track of the plot.  Perhaps part of the problem is that I have only a passing familiarity with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and the related characters, but I just don’t remember why Moriarty is doing any of the things he’s doing.

This issue hinges on Moriarty diving into a gigantic tank of green liquid, but I’m not sure why he’s doing that.  I thought this whole comic had to do with some sort of boxes…  I’m sure that reading this series in trade would make things a lot clearer, and strangely, the fact that I’m not sure why anything is happening isn’t detracting from my enjoyment of the comic.  I guess in that way, I’m like the people that will sit through a Michael Bay movie…

Screamland #2

Written by Harold Sipe and Christopher Sebela
Art by Lee Leslie and Dennis Culver

I’m enjoying Screamland’s new run.  Last issue, the Screamland equivalent to the Creature From the Black Lagoon was found dead, and our two heroes, Carl London, the Wolfman, and Travis Walters, who is basically the guy who played Scotty on Star Trek, were working to stop the Invisible Man from releasing a sex tape that featured just about every monster still working in Hollywood.

Now, the Invisible Man has also been found dead, murdered at a giant sci-fi convention.  Carl and Travis decide that they need to investigate this murder, for different reasons, and they each pick a suspect and begin to tail them.

Like the first volume of this series, Screamland is a lot of fun.  The characters are pathetic, yet still sympathetic and very likeable.  This book is very humorous, and has an element of unexpectedness about it.  I’m also enjoying the back-ups, which serve to flesh out some of the more minor characters; this month we see the Midnight Slasher attend an AA-style meeting for serial killers.  Funny stuff.

Sweet Tooth #23

 by Jeff Lemire

It’s kind of odd how a book with such a fantastical set-up (animal/human hybrid children, plague, strange new religions) would become such a character-driven comic, but Lemire really has a handle on the people that populate Sweet Tooth.

This issue has Gus, Jeppard and the gang hanging out in new character Walter Fish’s bio-sphere like dam, while they get their bearings and try to figure out where they should go next.  Jeppard’s new relationship with Lucy is strained by a particularly difficult secret she’s keeping, while Dr. Singh tries to poison Gus’s feelings for Jeppard.

The most interesting character in this issue is Walter.  It’s been made clear to us that he’s not who he says he is, but there’s not much information to help us figure out what his deal is yet.  The scene where he chats with Becky is pretty creepy, even more so for the fact that I’m not sure why.

As usual, Lemire is playing with how he visually represents information in this comic.  He doesn’t go all-out with his experiments, but prefers to keep things under a tight control.  I love the panel where, when Dr. Singh gives Gus his father’s book, Gus is able to smell his father on it.  It’s a beautiful panel which attempts to use colour to represent smell – a very cool idea.

This great series just keeps moving along at a high level of quality.

Trailblazer

Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Jim Daly

Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are a real pair of workhorses in the comics field.  I don’t even know how many comics they have written in the past year, but I find that they are pretty dependable (unless they stray too far into mainstream superhero comics – their Freedom Fighters was not terribly good), and they usually impress with their work on Jonah Hex  month after month.  Lately, they’ve started putting out some rather random one-shots and short graphic novels.  While I didn’t much like their Tattered Man, their Random Acts of Violence was one of my favourite comics of last year.

And so I figured that I’d give Trailblazers a try, and I enjoyed it.  These two writers have a knack for challenging the usual genre tropes that inhabit comics, and this book is a good example of that.  When the comic opens, we meet Jacob Mills, an ex-special forces guy who has become a hitman for hire, who only takes on mafia cases.  When things don’t go according to plan, an intended target destroys Jacob’s life.

Jacob decides to testify against all of his clients, in return for being inducted into Trailblazer, a project that puts people into a very secure witness protection program by sending them into the past – the Old West to be accurate.  Of course, Jacob’s problems with his pursuers don’t end there…

The book is a good thriller comic, with an interesting premise.  It probably doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny, but it is an entertaining and professionally completed comic.

Quick Takes:

Adventure Comics #528 – It makes sense that this book would tie in with what’s been going on in the main LSH title, but it still doesn’t make this comic all that compelling.

Fear Itself #4 – I don’t know.  It feels like the book and the story are becoming more cohesive now, but I’m still having a hard time getting into this comic.  The whole thing about Captain America putting on his uniform again in the wake of a certain character’s death, and then wading into battle using firearms was handled way too lightly – this is massive stuff for this character, yet there is no examination of it (nor does it look like there’s going to be anywhere, unless there’s another issue of Cap’s title before the relaunch).  Also, the rationale for the series, story-wise at least, still feels a little soft.  I will say that Stuart Immonen’s doing a great job on the art; I just wish there was a more solid story backing it up.

50 Girls 50 #2 – I know it’s cheesecake, but I’m enjoying this all-female mash-up of the original Star Trek and original Battlestar Galactica, as the crew of the ESS Savannah tries to find their way home and find themselves trying to reload their water supplies on a hostile world.  I don’t understand how, if water has become so short on the ship, main character Oksana Bakula manages to take a shower every issue…

Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance #2 – Azzarello and Risso are having fun recasting familiar characters in different roles, such as who Flashpoint Oracle is, but the story is ultimately lacking in any heart (much like my problem with Fear Itself).  Technically good comics, but I just ultimately don’t care all that much about what is going on.

Green Wake #4 – While we get closer to understanding the mysteries of Green Wake, I find my interest in this book is waning.  I’ll finish off the first arc, but now that the book is going to be an on-going, I doubt very much that I’ll stick around for the second.

Heroes For Hire #9 – Let me list for you all the elements of this comic that should make it terrific:  Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are writing a book featuring Misty Knight, Paladin, The Shroud, and The Gargoyle.  So why doesn’t it work?  Two reasons – it’s a Fear Itself tie-in, and it’s drawn by Kyle Hotz.  With regards to FI – for an event that is supposed to be taking place all over the Earth, there’s a few too many things happening in the same few locations.  Are Elektra, Shroud, and Killgrave in the same medical wing that the last issue of Thunderbolts was set in?  Why can’t Gargoyle and Paladin find someone other than Worthy Ben Grimm to fight?  It’s too much of the same stuff.  And as for Hotz, well, I’ve never been a fan of his more cartoony Kelly Jones, but he really seems to go too far here (unless there is a special wing on the Raft for villains with fangs).

Hulk #36 – Pretty standard fare this month.  I feel like Parker is slipping on this book lately, and I don’t enjoy it nearly as much without Gabriel Hardman on art.  I may be dropping this title soon…

Moon Knight #3 – I’m on the cusp of dropping this title, but this issue was better than the previous two, mainly because Moon Knight only dresses up like one other costumed figure, and doesn’t believe that he is him.  Most of this issue is used to set up MK’s new situation in LA, with Marc Spector producing a bad cable TV show based on his life.  We meet the supporting cast, and get a better sense of where this book is headed.  Were this a $3 comic, I wouldn’t be questioning it, but at $4, I think it needs a little more going on to keep me coming back.  I’ll give it one more issue…

Secret Six #35 – Within a couple of years, people will be talking about this comic the way they did the Suicide Squad run from the 80s – a golden moment in the history of comic book villains, and as one of the best comic book runs ever.  It’s a real shame that this title is disappearing after the Relaunch, but at least Simone is going out with a bang.  Bane has decided to take another run at Batman, and convinces the rest of the Six to work for him.  First stop – recruiting another Bat-Villain to help out.  Brilliant character work, and more than a few scene-stealing moments for King Shark.  I love this comic.

Superboy #9 – The third Jeff Lemire book of the week again has a high level of quality to it, as Connor explores the land of the Hollow Men with the Phantom Stranger and Psion (the only thing missing is Klarion, who knows a lot about really old underground cities).  Great character work, as always, and nice art from Pier Gallo.  I’m not sure I understand the whole thing about Psion being sent back to kill someone in Superboy’s entourage.  If he’s back in the past, he should have a lot of time to take care of things; I don’t understand why some woman is instant messaging him from the future saying he needs to do the job ‘right now’.  Right now is relative, lady.

Thunderbolts #160 – I guess this issue happens before Uncanny X-Men 540 and Fearsome Four 1, but after Heroes for Hire 9.  Man, a lot of these Fear Itself comics are covering the same ground.  This one is a good tie-in though, as the alpha team tries to stop Juggernaut before he trashes Chicago (where apparently everyone hangs out on their roofs), Fixer has self-esteem issues, and the Underbolts continue to scheme.  I particularly like the sequence where the T-Bolts go into Juggernaut’s mind, and everything looks like a cross between ancient cave art and the paintings of Joan Miro and Wassily Kandinsky.  Parker and Shalvey do good work on this title.

Uncanny X-Men #540 – Well, this was disappointing.  Kieron Gillen’s run on this title has been terrific up until this issue, which mainly consisted of people standing around talking about how the Fear Itself nonsense hasn’t affected San Francisco yet (regardless of what you might have read in The Deep, about a month ago), while Colossus hangs out with his sister in the X-Brig, and they sort of discuss stuff that happened in New Mutants, for no apparent reason.  And what makes this issue even worse?  Greg Land drew traced it.

Vengeance #1 – I’m going to freely admit that this is not an easy comic to read, but I find (with the exception of Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance) that when Joe Casey writes comics about young outsiders, it’s worth giving him a couple of issues to develop his ideas.  There are a bunch of younger characters running around in the role of a self-appointed Teen Brigade, helping heroes without getting any credit or attention.  I’m not sure who most of the characters are, but Stacy X shows up (because you demanded it?), as does the new Nighthawk, She-Hulk, Magneto, and some characters I think are new – The Ultimate Nullifier and Miss America Chavez.  I think I’m going to have to read this one again, and I’m sure it’s going to read a lot better in trade.  At the least, a ‘roll call’ page would have been helpful.  Nick Dragotta is drawing this book, and it looks great, despite the fact that he’s not drawing in his usual 60s-inspired style.  I think this is good stuff – I’m just not sure yet.  I am interested in reading the rest of the series, so that makes it a success, right?

Comics I Would Have Bought if They Weren’t $4:

Irredeemable #27

Supreme Power #2

X-Men #14

Bargain Comics:

Amazing Spider-Man #660 – The problem with tracking down a series that publishes multiple issues a month in bargain bins and used bookstores is that you end up reading things out of sequence, as I read two issues that come after this one last week.  Entertaining stuff, although I’m not sure why Doctor Octopus and some of the Sinister Six broke into the Baxter Building, or when that sub-plot will get resolved.

Avengers Academy Giant-Size #1 – I know this was originally intended to be a mini-series, but I feel it works better in one, big chunk of comics, although as a super-team team-up (with the Young Allies, who don’t even get cover billing) against Arcade, it’s as predictable and derivative as every other Arcade appearance has ever been.  Not bad, but not good either…

Captain America Corps #1 – I like the idea of getting a number of Captain Americas from different points on the timestream together, but I would have liked to see Jack Monroe and one of the two Bradleys brought back as well.  The story is pretty standard for this type of thing, and the art is fine;  I somehow doubt that the Captain America movie could create any demand for this kind of thing – I’m not even sure who two of these characters are.

Flashpoint: Deathstroke And The Curse of The Ravager #1 – This ended up being pretty enjoyable.  I’ve always liked Joe Bennett’s art, and have never understood why he doesn’t have more of a following than he seems to.  Deathstroke works as a pirate, and I like how he has a bunch of villains working for him.  I may check out the next issue.

Hellblazer #274 – I’ve fallen behind on this title, which is entertaining, while being almost completely forgettable.

Herc #3 & 4 – Even though I didn’t like the first issue, I thought I’d give this title another shot, since I’d enjoyed Pak and Van Lente’s work on Incredible Hercules so much.  It’s still not working for me though.  The notion of a powerless Herc having to defend Brooklyn could work, but with him being so serious, and without Amadeus Cho to help lighten the mood, this comic just isn’t all that interesting.  I’m surprised it’s not better.

Infestation #1 – I figured that a series like this had to be a trainwreck – a line-wide zombie story that included the Transformers, the classic Star Trek crew, the Ghostbusters (seriously?), GI Joe, CVO, and the IDW robots?  It can’t work, right?  But then, it’s written by Abnett and Lanning, so I thought I’d see.  They actually do a very credible job of establishing this series – it’s all about the alternate dimensions – and, had I ever read any of the CVO comics, I might have cared about the characters.  As it stands, this is not bad stuff, for what it is.

Semper Fi’ #4

Written by Michael P. Palladino
Art by John Severin and Sam Glanzman
I picked this up last week for only fifty cents, based on my enjoyment of war comics, the John Severin cover, and the price.  I vaguely remember buying the first issue of Semper Fi’, Marvel’s love letter to the Marine Corps, when it came out back in 1988, because that was when I bought every first issue Marvel published (imagine if I did that now – it would double my weekly pile).  I wasn’t interested in it then, but thought it might be more my thing now.
The comic is split into two stories.  The first is drawn by John Severin, and it is set in Beijing (Peking, at the time) in 1900, when the Marines were tasked with guarding the Legation Quarter – the walled compound of embassies and foreign homes, during the Boxer Rebellion.  A pair of marines get into a brawl at a bar with some Irish soldiers, which somehow sparks off a bit of a street riot.  Later, they are sent into the city to rescue a missionary and the families under his care.  There are plenty of scenes that show young Americans bravely holding out against a much larger Chinese force.
While I enjoyed Severin’s art, the casual disregard that the Americans are showing having for the Chinese is a little uncomfortable.  We’re a long way from the ingrained racism of comic books from an earlier era, but there is also no effort put into giving any context for the motivations of the Boxers or other Chinese.The second story, drawn by Sam Glanzman, has a marine helping local police to capture a bank robber gang in Washington DC in 1932.  It’s pretty sillly, really.
I’m not surprised that this series is barely-contained propaganda, but when you consider that Marvel’s series The ‘Nam was being published at the same time, this book comes across as being the least critical or historically informed of the two.  I am curious in tracking down some of the other issues of this series though, mostly for Severin’s art.  I see from looking around the internet that Andy Kubert used to draw this book too – I’d be curious to see what that looked like.  The fact that the comic only lasted nine issues doesn’t give me a lot of confidence that other issues will be much better…

X-Men #11 – So Gischler decided to finish off his odd Vampire X-Men story by having Xavier console Jubilee on her new-found fangedness by telling her about the time he met a vampire back in 1950s Kenya.  Because none of that information may have been helpful when the X-Men were actually fighting vampires…  I still don’t understand how this guy got his own X-Men title.  I do like the Al Barrionuevo art though.

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Rodd Racer

by Toby Cypress

I enjoyed this 80-page graphic novel.  Cypress is a bit of an acquired taste as an artist – his pencils are sparse and messy, and sometimes hard to follow, but his painted pages are quite lovely.

Rodd Racer is a rather standard story about a hot rod racer who wants to win the Thunder Alley Rally, and escape the Yakuza gangster that he owes money to, all while keeping the girl.  Sounds reasonable, right?  Like his art, Cypress distills his story down to the barest of essentials to introduce his setting, the context for the races, and Rodd’s back story.  There is nothing unnecessary in this book, and that works quite well in this case.

At the end of the day, this is a book that is more about showcasing Cypress’s personal aesthetic than it is about sharing a story.  Cypress has come a ways from The Tourist, his graphic novel with Brian Wood, which felt much more primitive.  He’s also currently working on The Blue Estate with Viktor Kalvachev, and it’s nice to see how he works when on his own.

This is not the most brilliant book released this year, but if you like supporting upcoming artists, and are looking for an entertaining read, you can’t go wrong with this book.

Vietnam Journal Book Two: The Iron Triangle

by Don Lomax

I’m really happy to see that Transfuzion Publishing picked up Vietnam Journal, after previous publisher iBooks fell apart after Byron Preiss’s death scuttled plans at that company.  I’ve become a big fan of Lomax’s approach to depicting war, both in Vietnam Journal and in his later Desert Storm Journal.

This second volume contains two comics that were in the first iBooks edition, and two comics that weren’t, so in the interest of being a completest, I figured I’d start my acquiring of this series with The Iron Triangle.  Before I can even begin to talk about the content of this comic, I need to take a few moments to complain about the printing quality of this book.

Were someone to tell me that I was reading a samizdat photocopy of the original comic, I wouldn’t be surprised.  The grays in this comic are almost completely washed out, and Lomax’s line work, which looked so good in the iBooks edition, is faded and blurry.  It doesn’t detract to the point of making the book hard to read, but it is noticeable, and when I compared this edition to the same pages in the other edition I own, it reminded me of when I got my first pair of glasses at sixteen, and realized that trees had individual leaves instead of masses of undifferentiated green.

I can understand how a small press project like this may not receive the best quality reproduction due to financial matters, but if someone is paying $18 for four comics, things should look better than this.  I’m just saying…

Content-wise, this stuff is fantastic.  It feels like Lomax really starts to hit his stride as a writer with this volume, avoiding some of the easy sentimentality of his earlier issues, and starting to tackle some much more complex issues and facets of the war.  He has his embedded journalist, ‘Journal’ Neithammer become much more involved in the war in these issues, making the conscious decision to return enemy fire while in a helicopter that is under attack in one issue, and risking his own safety to rescue civilians in another.

Journal receives some injuries during an attack at one point, and the effect of these injuries are explored for a while.  This book is quite cerebral in its treatment of the war, and makes a serious effort to provide a balanced view of what was going on.  Highly recommended, even with it’s printing quality issues.

Album of the Week:

Ikebe Shakedown

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