The Books I Think You Should Buy:
The Nightly News Anniversary Edition
by Jonathan Hickman; Image, $34.99
The Nightly News hit like a bolt of lightning five years ago, and heralded Jonathan Hickman’s arrival on the comics scene as a writer of thoughtful and complex comics, and an artist with an unparallelled design style. It’s hard to believe that it’s been only five years, considering what Hickman has done in that time, with follow-up Image series Pax Romana, Transhuman, Red Mass for Mars, and The Red Wing (see below), in addition to some impressive work on Marvel with titles like Secret Warriors, Fantastic Four, SHIELD, and The Ultimates. The last half a decade has definitely been his.
The Nightly News feels as relevant today as it did five years ago. It’s about a group of people who had their lives ruined by the media, who are now out to avenge themselves on the nightly news cycle, soundbites, and the increasing infantilization of North American culture, as it is understood by the news media. This is a very dense comic, chock full of information, but also telling a singularly unique story.
Hickman is an incredible artist, which is something that people who have only read his Marvel work would not know. He’s more Brian Wood than Brian Michael Bendis – sure his art is a little stiff, but each page is designed as a whole piece, and the overall effect is pretty amazing. In fact, the Brian Wood comparison works very well with Hickman’s early career, as just about the only comic I can think to compare this work to is Channel One.
I can not recommend this book enough. Add it to your Christmas list – you won’t be sorry.
The Red Wing
by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra; Image, $14.99
I think it’s fitting that this book is coming out the same week as The Nightly News. The Red Wing marks Hickman’s return to creator-owned comics after toiling in the for-hire halls of Marvel for the last few years. It’s a very cool, very headache-inducing time travel story, with some excellent visuals by Nick Pitarra.
Set in the far future (and a number of other times, really), The Red Wing tells the story of two young pilots who want to fight in the bizarre war that took their parents’ lives. This war is fought through time, with the assistance of flying time machines that look a good deal like the Vipers in the original Battlestar Galactica. These ships are able to jump to different eras quite easily, and much of the book is spent explaining the concept of dogfight that are fought in four dimensions.
I’m sure I need to read this whole series again to pick up all of the nuances of Hickman’s story, but reading it the first time through was a thrill. There are tons of interesting ideas piling up in this book, but there are also some strong emotional moments. This is a very good comic.
Witch Doctor Vol. 1: Under the Knife
by Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner; Image, $12.99
Witch Doctor is a fun comic. It’s basically Dr. Strange, were Dr. Strange using his medical background to approach matters of a mystical nature. Dr. Victor Morrow (who apparently has a destiny) treats vampirism, changeling babies, and mer-men as vectors of disease, employing plausible medical treatments as a way of stopping infection. As the book progresses, he faces ever larger threats, and the reader is given an explanation of the nature of the threat that the world faces. Morrow may be the only person who can handle this problem, although that is going to be left for future volumes to handle.
This is a wildly inventive comic, and it’s frequently funny. Lukas Ketner has put a lot of thought into the design of Morrow’s world. Picture steampunk goth hypodermics, and you get an idea of what I’m talking about. I enjoyed and appreciated Brandon Seifert’s process of rationalizing the stuff that has become a little mundane in so many other comics. This is well worth checking out.
So, what would you buy Were Money No Object?
Tags: Brandon Seifert, Image, Jonathan Hickman, Lukas Ketner, Nick Pitarra, The Red Wing, Were Money No Object, Witch Doctor