The Weekly Round-Up #87 With Scalped, Caligula, Feeding Ground, iZombie, Sweet Tooth & More

Hi all – I’m going to be taking a break from writing this column for a few weeks, as I’m going to be exploring on the west coast for a little while.  I’ll do a giant round-up once I get back.  If anyone can recommend any great comics shops, used bookstores, or independent music stores in Seattle, Vancouver, or Victoria, please do so in the comments.

Best Comic of the Week:

Scalped #51

Written by Jason Aaron
Art by RM Guera

One thing that we learned from reading the news that came out of San Diego this year is that Scalped is set to end at issue 60.  I imagine and hope that this is by the author’s design, as it reflects five years of issues, and I believe matches Y the Last Man, another perennial Vertigo favourite.  I love this title, but wouldn’t want to see it stretched out or expanded past Aaron’s original plans.  At the same time, I hope that DC hasn’t simply given an end date because of sales, and that Aaron is having to squeeze in the ending he’d always intended.

That the book is ending is sad news indeed, especially since it doesn’t seem likely that Aaron is going to write any more titles at Vertigo (instead pumping out more above average superhero books at Marvel that can’t hold a candle to Scalped).  I’ve written over and over about how this is one of the two best comics on the stand (usually tied with The Walking Dead), but I guess after this month I can only do that nine more times.

In this issue, a ton of stuff happens.  It opens with Red Crow shutting down his meth labs and arresting the drug dealers that he’d previously been working with.  As expected, they don’t react to it well, and Shunka has to demonstrate his usefulness for his boss once again.  At the same time, the Sheriff of the town outside the reserve (can’t remember his name right now) decides it’s time to take down his own local meth dealers, and to try to become the man he’s always claimed to be.

When we catch up with Dash, he’s in the hospital recovering from his wounds of issue 49.  Nitz and Red Crow argue over him, and later, Dash sneaks out to catch up with Catcher.  Lots of long-standing plotlines are moving towards resolution, and the book is becoming very exciting.

I’m pleased to see that Red Crow is acting on his recent change of heart, and is trying to clean up both his act and the reserve.  Previously, every time Red Crow has tried to change, events have conspired against him.  It remains to be seen if he can become a better man before the series ends.  I like that the Sheriff in town is also actively working on himself.  The scene between him and Dino Poor Bear (my favourite character) was very nicely handled.

Other Notable Comics:

Caligula #3

Written by David Lapham
Art by German Nobile

I guess the pertinent question here is, are the people at Avatar just doing this book for shock value, or is there a purpose?  We are halfway into this series, and while I’m enjoying it, I’m not sure yet.

On the one hand, there are aspects to this comic like the cover shown here – a satire of The Last Supper, with the crazy Roman Emperor at the head of the table.  Then we have the talking horse who deflowers our main character (thankfully off-panel), and the blood, gore, and sex fests that fill most of the pages.  Pure shock, right?

But then, on the other hand, there is the balance that Lapham is bringing to what is really a revenge story wrapped up in a demonic horror tale set in Ancient Rome.  When Caligula comes under the attack of a group looking to kill him, we get more of a glimmer of what kind of creature he really is.  We also learn something interesting about the horse…

I’m definitely enjoying this comic, but I do find it very bizarre and unpredictable.  Of course, more comics should be unpredictable; it would be a nice change.

Feeding Ground #6

Written by Swifty Lang
Art by Michael Lapinski

Feeding Ground has been a pretty unique comic.  With this issue, we come to the conclusion of a six-book story that has been offered as a dual-language flip book.  It’s a werewolf story, involving illegal Mexican immigrants, and an American security company that acts as a front for the werewolves.

When the series started, it showed a lot of promise, but I’m afraid to say that it didn’t quite hold up under the weight of what Lang was trying to do here.  I found, at different points in the story, and especially in this last issue, that the story became a little disjointed and hard to follow.

Some of the blame for that is on Lapinski, who, while a very good artist, doesn’t always use the clearest storytelling techniques.

At the end, I did enjoy this comic a fair amount.  I like that the story addressed some topics that are rarely explored in comics, and I am always a fan of a good horror story that contains elements of the real world beyond vacationing high school seniors.  I would imagine that the creators have learned a lot from producing this comic, and would be interested in seeing what they come up with next.

iZombie #16

Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Michael Allred

Lately I’ve felt like this comic has been a little hampered by the way that it has to fit so many characters into each 20-page issue; often it feels like Roberson and Allred simply have time to check in on each individual, especially since the introduction of the Dead Presidents in their own back up feature.

This issue, however, is very nicely balanced, as we check in on everyone we need to, and still advance the plot of the series.  What makes this work is that so many of the groups of characters that have been kept separate lately are meeting up.  Gwen and Horatio finally find and (sort of) rescue Spot.  On their way out of the tunnels below Eugene, they run in to the Dead Presidents.  Scott’s friends, looking for him on their own, run into his grandfather, who we should remember is a chimp now.  Amon and Ellie are still spending time together, and we learn a little more about Eugene’s history, and how it’s a little like Sunnydale in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

This comic feels like it’s moving towards the types of stories it was always meant to tell, and that the first year or so were designed to develop and introduce characters.  It looks like almost everyone’s secrets are being exposed, and that thinks in Oregon are not going to be boring anytime soon.

Jonah Hex #70

Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Ryan Sook, Mick Gray, Diego Olmos, and Jimmy Palmiotti

A seventy-issue run for a Western comic in today’s market is pretty amazing.  I know that Jonah Hex had become a bit of a vanity project at DC – it never had amazing sales numbers, but it had a dedicated core audience, and was the type of book that brought prestige to the company, as a bit of an art-house hit that could be marketed to book stores and readers who weren’t all that interested in super heroes.

With the exception of one overlong six-issue arc, the stories in this comic have always been one-offs, although they have built on their own continuity, and have featured returning characters.  Sadly,over the last couple of years, many of the stories have felt a little formulaic or predictable, and the writing was on the wall that this title would either have to end or get a shake up.

What has made this comic particularly strong over the course of its run has been the fantastic line up of artists that have graced its pages.  It began with Luke Ross, but just about every artist on the book since has been excellent.  I clearly remember work by Paul Gulacy, Tony DeZuniga, Darwyn Cooke, Jeff Lemire, Fiona Staples, J.H. Williams, Phil Noto, Bill Sienkiewicz, Billy Tucci, and Eduardo Risso.  Of course, if there’s any one artist who should be associated with this title, it is the great Jordi Bernet, who really made this book his own.

This last issue is strange and unusual.  It shows us an elderly Hex being shot, and then we enter into a kind of confusing story wherein poor Jonah revisits his life, and seems to keep getting shot.  There’s a reason for all of this, but talking about it would be spoiling things.  Needless to say, it’s a fitting ending for the series, and it’s nice to see a few familiar old faces again, like Talullah and Bat Lash.

Ryan Sook is a great artist for this title, and it’s too bad he didn’t finish the book, but the last pages by Diego Olmos work just as well.

I’m a little unsure about what the DC relaunch will bring to the Jonah Hex table.  Naming the title All-Star Western, and then setting it in Gotham doesn’t make much sense to me, but I like that Moritat will be drawing it, and I do feel like this book was ready for some change.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it works out.

Screamland #3

Written by Harold Sipe and Christopher Sebela
Art by Lee Leslie and Kyle Strahm

The new Screamland series is a lot of fun.  It follows the lives of old school movie monsters as they try to stay relevant in the modern, CGI and Twilight world that has no real interest in them.  Since the first issue, our two main characters – Carl the Wolfman, and Travis, a normal human who played a Scotty-like character on Space Path, have been investigating the murder of the Invisible Man at a fantasy convention.

They don’t much care about Izzy; their issue is that he has a porn film that he made in the 70s starring all of them, and they are desperate to get it back before it is released to the public.  When this issue starts, the two wannabe detectives have split up to follow separate theories of the case.

Carl has an odd encounter with The Midnight Slasher – a Jason-type character who has found peace through Christianity and a twelve-step program for homicidal maniacs.  Travis confronts The Mass (a sentient puddle from space), and learns that he is working a slow plan to rule the planet, but he didn’t kill the Invisible Man.  From there, the duo join up again, and hang out with an Elvira vampire stand-in.

While this comic is light and amusing, it is well written, and it keeps my interest.  Apparently, more happened that night back in the 70s than our heroes remember.  The next issue should be pretty interesting.

Severed #1

Written by Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft
Art by Attila Futaki

There are two things about this book that predisposed me towards liking it before I even glanced through its pages.  First, Scott Snyder seems to be able to do no wrong when it comes to comics, as I am a huge fan of his work on American Vampire and Detective Comics.  Secondly, although having nothing to do with  the First World War on a direct basis, this book is set during a favourite time period of mine.

So far, the comic seems to be the story of two boys.  One, Jack Garron, is narrating the story from the 1950s, where he is a one-armed grandfather.  We see twelve-year-old Jack run away from home and jump the rails, an attempt to go find his father.  He doesn’t have a good go of it, as he runs into a corrupt railroad cop, and lands himself in what looks like even worse danger.

We meet the other boy, Frederick, in an orphanage outside of Chicago.  He is taken in by a Mr. Porter, who is going to give him an apprenticeship for General Electric.  There’s something very creepy about Mr. Porter, and not just because he speaks ill of Mary Pickford, Canada’s favourite silent movie starlet.  Porter makes reference to having shark teeth, and it starts to become clear that it’s not a metaphor.

This book is pretty creepy, as Snyder and Tuft develop a general sense of dread that permeates every page.  This book can’t be easily classified yet, and that’s one thing that I like about it.  Attila Futaki’s art is pretty nice.  It’s a little like the Avatar house style, but would also fit well in an issue of Jonah Hex.

Image comics are on fire lately, and this series looks to be another example.

’68 #3

Written by Mark Kidwell
Art by Nat Jones

One question that always lingers in zombie books, comics, movies, or TV shows, is if the rest of the world is having the same problem.  Well, with this issue of ’68, the zombie/Vietnam War mash-up comic, we spend most of our time in Berkeley, answering that very question.

The comic opens with our usual cast in Vietnam.  The Asian soldier is still trying to get back to base with a dog and a wounded man.  The people on the base are making preparations to deal with the zombie issue (this involves a strange idea concerning tin panels and pennies), but also have time to shoot one-liners at one another in typical war comic fashion.

The Berkeley stuff is pretty interesting, as it is during an anti-Vietnam protest, attended by hippies and a small Black Panther contingent, that the zombie invasion is revealed.  As tear gas canisters start to fall, people get eaten.

What’s cool about this comic is the way in which it reinterprets historical events, placing them in a zombie context.  By this point, any new zombie story needs some kind of original edge; ’68’s is definitely original.

Sweet Tooth #24

by Jeff Lemire

You can always count on Jeff Lemire to do something interesting with this comic, which is probably the most experimental book being published by either of the Big Two publishers, and many of the smaller ones.

At the end of the last issue, Gus was shot while walking in the woods with Jeppard.  We don’t know who was shooting at them, but Gus’s injury looks to be bad.  Jeppard rushes him back to the dam where their group has been staying, but even Dr. Singh is not sure what can be done for him.

Most of this issue is taken up with Gus’s perceptions, as he goes on a surrealistic journey.  We’ve seen him with animal guides before, in his dreams, but this time his guide is a skeletal deer, as it leads him through a few interesting settings, including an Inuit village where everyone has been slaughtered – even an antlered baby.

For these pages, Lemire used watercolours which contrast nicely to the regular scenes, which were coloured by Jose Villarrubia.  Content-wise, this was a very quick read, but it leaves us with a number of unanswered questions and a lot to think about.  Great stuff, as always.

Quick Takes:

Adventure Comics #529 – A mostly forgettable run concludes by killing off a very forgettable character, who has barely been developed before now.  And hey, there’s a relaunch coming next month, so maybe he’ll be back anyway.  I wish I could praise this series, as I really wanted it to work.  As things stand, I’m still very skeptical about giving the Legion another shot in September.

Avengers Academy #17 – Once again, Christos Gage shows us how to use a tie-in to a big event to the benefit of a writer’s plans for a title, instead of as a wasted issue with no development.  Coming back from DC, and their first massive disaster, the kids spend time talking to each other about the trauma of what they experienced.  They’re facing the knowledge that they have killed (or just might have), and are reacting a variety of ways, although those are very consistent with their character.  Of course, the action has to be there too, and that comes in he form of the new, ‘Worthy’ Absorbing Man and Titania attacking the Infinite Mansion.  How do you find the people you’re looking for in an infinite mansion anyway?  I guess they’re just lucky.

Batman: Gates of Gotham #4 – Every new issue has another creator attached to it, but when that person is Dustin Nguyen, there is nothing to complain about.  I’ve found this series really makes good use of the Batman Inc. concept, without even directly mentioning it.  Dick, Tim, Damian, and the Black Bat (her name escapes me right now) work well together in this comic, and I like the historical grounding it has.  I keep thinking of this series as being the end of an era, as it’s one of the last stories before the reboot, and this month, all DC comics must be discussed in terms of the reboot.

50 Girls 50 #3 – This series can be a lot of fun, in a second rate sci-fi TV show way, so long as you keep looking past some pretty glaring leaps in logic that seem to hamper each issue.  This month, our group of lovely space explorers come across a planet of civilized dinosaurs (it looks to be about 1950 there) with no knowledge of outer space, whose planet is threatened by a giant meteor.  The girls decide to help them evacuate a few thousand dinos (there is no word on how many live on the planet), instead of trying to destroy the asteroid Hollywood style.  Of course, dinosaurs aren’t to be trusted….

Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance #3Well, what a mean little tale this turned out to be.  Most of the issue is taken up with the conflict between Batman and the Joker, and the rest shows the Joker’s origin.  I like the way Azzarello extrapolated events from making one little change in Batman’s origin, and the conflict plays out nicely.  At the end of it all though, this wasn’t particularly memorable; it’s just another Elseworlds story.

Green Wake #5 – Green Wake has been an interesting story about redemption set in a form of purgatory, but I don’t feel like it has it in it to become an ongoing series.  While I’ve enjoyed this, I’m going to be jumping ship here, especially since the price is going up.

Heroes For Hire #10 – Unlike Avengers Academy, this tie-in issue is just tedious, as Shroud and Elektra fight Purple Man in the Raft, and Paladin and Gargoyle fight that new character that was introduced last issue that I’d already forgotten.  I don’t like Kyle Hotz’s art, and find that details aren’t really being attended to.  How can Killgrave hear Misty Knight talking to her operatives?  Did someone give him a headset?  And why, when told to bring trauma supplies to the site of the Thing’s rampage, does Misty just take a single backpack?  I’m losing interest in this title quickly (which means that Villains for Hire may be on the chopping block before it’s even ordered).

Hulk #38 – I knew I should have dropped this title for the duration of Fear Itself.  I’m not sure who I dislike more now – MODOK or Zero/One.  Both villains are the star of this show, such as it is.

Iron Man 2.0 #7.1 – There are a lot of decimals in what I just typed.  I have no idea how this is a .1 comic, as it feels like a continuation of the series, had Fear Itself not derailed things for a little while.  Rhodey is back to chasing Palmer Addley, while we get a better sense of the type of realpolitik he’s playing, wherever he is.  Kano provides the art, so it’s ten times better than the Ariel Olivetti trainwreck this series has sadly become.  Minor quibble – shouldn’t Paris still be trashed by the Grey Gargoyle, since this story happens after Fear Itself ended?  Unless, of course, Odin fixes it in issue 7…

Moon Knight #4 – Okay, it’s been four issues, and not a whole lot has happened yet.  I like the interplay between Echo and Moon Knight, but for a $4 comic, there needs to be more forward momentum.  I think I’m done with this – I’ll pick up future issues at sales and conventions.  Or not.  It’s too bad too; I have a lot of love for Moon Knight and would like to see him live up to the potential the old Moench/Sienkiewicz stories had.

Moriarty #4 – Unlike Green Wake, this mini-series which has been extended into an on-going leaves things set up very well for a longer run, with an interesting revelation right at the very end.  I liked this series, but found that the first two issues were stronger than the last two, as set up gave way to resolution.  I may stick with this one – I’ll see how the next issue is.

Secret Six #36 – Now that’s how you end a series that should not be ending.  Gail Simone goes all out on this issue, as Bane’s plan to attack Batman draws the attention of just about every DC hero you can think of.  I don’t think this many heroes showed up to take down Superboy Prime in Infinite Crisis.  Of course, the Six aren’t as easily defeated as that guy…  J. Calafiore gets a lot of credit for keeping up with Simone on this issue, and really drawing the hell out of it.  This was one special comic, and alongside Xombi and Detective, the best that the DCU had to offer.  I’m going to miss it, especially since I don’t think the new Suicide Squad is going to be able to live up to the standard Simone set for bad guy books over the last four or five years.

SHIELD #2 – It feels like this series is finally over the period where it was simply introducing new ideas each issue (basically, the first volume of the series), and is now starting to move those ideas around and have them interact with one another.  The appearance of The Great Machine, Stark Sr. and Richards Sr. puts an end to the fighting between Michelangelo and Newton’s camps, and leads to an interesting take on a trial.  This book has terrific art, and no end of good ideas filling it.

Snarked #0 – This is definitely not my type of thing, but my retailer was kind enough to add this to my pile this week, so of course I read it.  This is a new series by Roger Langridge (of Fraggle Rock and Thor The Mighty Avenger fame), based on the Walrus and the Carpenter characters from Lewis Carroll.  It’s cute, and I can see the appeal for younger readers, as Langridge sets up the bumbling pair as a couple of con men not that different from Mark Twain’s Duke and Dauphin.  It’s really not my thing though.

Superboy #10 – I guess, when you know your comic is going to be canceled and relaunched regardless of what you’re going to do, it seems perfectly logical to cram your penultimate issue with guest stars like the Phantom Stranger, Arion, and the Viking Prince, and only give your title character two or three pages worth of screen time.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m picking up Jeff Lemire’s new titles, regardless of the fact that I’m not that interested in Frankenstein (Animal Man was a no-brainer).  What real aids this issue is the collection of artists – Pete Woods, Cafu, Bit, and Paolo Siqueira join regular artist Pier Gallo.  All of these artists have a similar clean approach, so the transitions work well.

Thunderbolts #161 – Yet another Fear Itself tie-in, which has the main team recovering from their run-in with the Juggernaut, while a missile is launched at Chicago, Satana works some transportation spell that takes forever to work, and Fixer continues to chafe under his inferiority complex.  It’s a decent enough issue, I just wish the tie-ins could finish so Jeff Parker can go back to his usual good work.

Venom #5 – I forgot to pick this up last week somehow.  I’ve been enjoying this book, as Rick Remender has been working hard to make Flash Thompson a more fleshed-out character.  This is very much a character issue, and it works very well, as Flash has to go looking for his father, who has fallen off the wagon, and it stirs up a number of emotions.  Tom Fowler did well with this one – it’s not as over the top as his usual stuff, and so fits the story a lot better.

X-Factor #223 – I think the reason why I’ve been dissatisfied with X-Factor lately is simply because it comes out too frequently.  What are we getting – like 18-20 issues a year?  It’s good, but I think it’s suffering from overkill.  At the same time, I appreciate that Jack Russell gets used and used well – when’s the last time that happened?  Also, does Peter David always play around with the recap pages at the front of the book?  This is the first I’ve ever read one, and it’s pretty funny.

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

Flashpoint #4

Irredeemable #28

Punisher #1

Wolverine #13

Bargain Comics:

Amazing Spider-Man #664 & 665 – I still can never make up my mind about this series.  #664 has a really good story featuring the Wraith, Anti-Venom, and Mister Negative that clears up a few things nicely, but the 665 hits with a pair of overly sentimental stories about Peter’s relationships with his friends and family.  Aunt May pulls the ultimate guilt trip in the lead story, and is then the focus of the second, which felt contradictory.  I think I’m going to try to ‘bargain comic’ my way through Spider-Island.

Flashpoint #3 – This issue finally brings that sweeping event feel to this mini-series, and has terrific Andy Kubert art.  I just feel that the Flash/Zoom thing has been played out to death, and would be more interested in what is happening in Europe than seeing the Flash/Batman team-up that takes up most of this issue.  By the way Batman – someone recovering from third-degree burns within a few hours is not called healing slowly, no matter how fast that person can run.

The Mighty Thor #2 – Really, I can’t even believe that this is by Matt Fraction.  If you told me it was being (badly) ghost-written, I wouldn’t be surprised.  I think it’s exceedingly strange that this is the relaunch that Marvel thought they’d be able to hook new readers with after the movie came out.  As much as I like Coipel’s art, I doubt I’m even going to pick up another issue of this comic out of a bargain bin.

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Hearts and Minds: A Vietnam Love Story

Written by Doug Murray
Art by Russ Heath

Feeling nostalgic for the early days of the ‘graphic novel’, the over-sized comics of the late 80s that tried to showcase more refined storytelling, or were in some other way remarkable, I jumped at the chance to pick this book up for only $2 when I saw it in a used book store.

Unfortunately, Hearts and Minds isn’t very good.  It perhaps could have been, but it is a little too amateurish to really work.  It opens in Vietnam, where VC forces enter a village, and attempt to recruit new men.  One man, Duan Le, refuses to join them, so they put him in charge of looking after a small crate of weapons.  Later, Americans find the weapons and shoot Duan, before evacuating the village, including his wife, Nhi.  Duan survives and joins the Viet Cong, although little is shown of how he goes about this.  We are left to presume that he just hates Americans.

Then we slide over to the States, where we meet Brett, a young man about to enter college, who ends up flunking out of ROTC, and getting drafted.    Once he ends up in the ‘Nam, as a lieutenant, his Captain sends him to a whorehouse, where he meets and falls in love with Nhi.  Later, he buys out her contract, and makes plans to take her back to the States with him.  A major offensive (just before Tet) by the VC lands them all in some tough spots, and all three characters meet up in Nhi’s apartment.

The notion behind this comic is good; it’s just given a very ham-fisted delivery.  The characters are little more than archetypes, and much of the story seems to be designed to test the more liberal boundaries of Epic at the time (in other words, there are boobs and swear words).  I never once cared for the characters, and found the way that Nhi called Brett ‘master’ creepy, even if she was just joking.

Russ Heath is a legend in the comics world, but this feels a little phoned in.  While still Stateside, Brett is always wearing the same sweater (it has a B on it, like we’re in Riverdale).  The size of the lettering suggests that this book was originally planned to be a regularly-sized comic, and then was simply blown up for the larger format Marvel used back then, but without adding any more detail to the art.

It’s weird.  By this point, Murray was writing much better stories about Vietnam in The ‘Nam; I don’t know why this book isn’t better.

How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less

by Sarah Glidden

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this graphic memoir, but I do know that my expectations were exceeded by almost every page.  In 2007, New Yorker Sarah Glidden took a Birthright Tour of Israel – a free tour provided to Jews living in the diaspora.  This book is her accounting of what she saw on that trip, and how it affected her opinions of the country and her political beliefs.

Glidden’s thinking going into the country is that the Israeli state is racist, and designed to disrupt the livelihoods and human rights of its Palestinian and Bedouin populations.  While those thoughts never went away, Glidden came out of the experience with a better understanding of the infinite complexity of the issues, and that Israelis’ opinions are not as hegemonic as she expected.

What makes this book work so well is the way in which Glidden shows her own internal conflict throughout the trip.  At one point, she’s mocking the blatant propaganda of Independence Hall, but the next, she’s weeping openly because of the emotions that it dredged up in her.  This is a very honest piece of work, as it strips Glidden bare to the reader’s gaze on more than one occasion.  It is also easily the most political book that Vertigo has ever published (yes, even more political than Prez).

Glidden’s art reminds me of that of Rutu Modan, whose Exit Wounds is also set in Israel (and is also very very good).  Her watercoloured cartoons fit this material nicely, and I enjoyed the technique she used a few times of bringing ghosts of people being discussed into the panel.

In all, this is one of the most educational and thought-provoking graphic novels I’ve ever read.  Like Glidden, the experience of reading this book hasn’t changed my sympathies from being with the more oppressed Palestinians, but it has helped me come to an appreciation of the complexity of the situation.


Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti

It hasn’t been so long, but I’m nostalgic for the days when Wildstorm would come out with random and bizarre mini-series from big name creators that focused on the potential of comics for wild and zany stories.  Warren Ellis used to write a lot of them, before the days when he went to Avatar to work with less-talented artists on books that started, but took years to finish.

Anyway – Two-Step.  A zen gangster and a terminally bored girl who makes a living by streaming her life on the internet (a cam-girl it’s called) find themselves in a spot of trouble with a group of penis-enhancement obsessed gangsters in a strange version of London.  Strange because while the book came out in 2004, it is set in 2001, but in a futuristic mutli-cultural London where Street Bollywood flashmob style events rule, and people drive rocket-powered scooters.

Really, there’s not much point in thinking about this stuff, as it’s not supposed to make much sense, and instead is a go along with the ride kind of comic.  Amanda Connor is, of course, brilliant.  Her character and design work is top-notch, and she fills the pages with tiny panels that show us what the cam-girl is broadcasting.  What’s cool about these little images is that they clearly weren’t in Ellis’s original script, of which the first chapter is included here.

Ah Wildstorm, you are missed.

Album of the Week:

Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra – World of Funk

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