New Comics Wednesday: May 25th Edition
Every week, Project-Nerd gives me the comics. I read the comics, and then tell you what to buy.
My goal? To make sure you end up with the most well-rounded collection of comics possible. In the best of worlds, it always works out that way.
This week’s picks:
Shaft: Imitation of Life #4 (Dynamite)
written and lettered by David F. Walker; illustrated by Dietrich Smith; colored by Alex Guimarés
This final issue of Shaft: Imitation of Life, while lacking the same type of emotional weight that its predecessor A Complicated Man had, lands the series in a way that fits it perfectly as a body of work that exists in the context of a much larger body.
On that note, it may be one of the most apt and cleverly titled comics of 2016. By blending elements of the film with Walker’s more grounded, complex vision of John Shaft, Imitation of Life is done so well that you sometimes don’t notice its meta, self-referential content bleeding into the larger story that we’re following about Shaft’s life. It leaves you with the feeling that there’s a ton more that we don’t know about Shaft, and that Walker’s got way more up his sleeve for the future.
Dietrich Smith was a great choice for this series. He and colorist Alex Guimarés created the perfect aesthetic for a story that simultaneously makes a parody about Shaft’s film history while acknowledging it as baggage in terms of what Walker’s trying to make happen with the character—an excellent, smart way to follow-up to the first series, if you ask me.
Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #53 (IDW)
written by James Roberts; art by Alex Milne & Hayato Sakamoto; colors by Joana Lafuente; letters by Tom B. Long
To echo something I said on Twitter the other day after reading this issue, the relationship that James Roberts has created between Rodimus and Megatron is unlike any other in comics. Their history is mired in millions of years of conflict and war, yet they’re forced together as co-captains on The Lost Light. They’re hardly friends, but they need each other, and have fostered a mutual respect for each other’s abilities.
Another thing that Roberts has done up to this point—he’s managed to drag out the threat of certain death for Rodimus and the crew for the last three issues without losing the reader. He’s done it by patiently crafting a number of different narratives throughout the entirety of the series, and then slowly interweaving them so that something is always going on. It’s some of the most impressive comics writing I’ve ever seen.
Alex Milne is doing fantastic work on this book right now, individualizing a humongous cast of robots and imbuing them with expressive body language despite the static nature of their construction. It’s a tough gig, I imagine, and the results of his work are a blast to read.
Over The Garden Wall #2 (Boom! Studios)
written by Jim Campbell, Danielle Burgos, Amalia Levari; illustrated by Jim Campbell & Cara McGee; letters by Warren Montgomery
This comic is an exercise in balance.
On the one hand, we’ve got the fun, carefree adventures of Greg and Wirt—so far it’s mostly just Greg and his frog, Jason Funderburker—written and drawn by Jim Campbell with help from Danielle Burgos. Stylistically familiar to the television series, light-hearted in its approach, Campbell’s story about Greg and Funderburker trying to help a squirrel stuff a tree trunk full of acorns feels like classic Over The Garden Wall stuff. That light-heartedness is tempered by an emotionally heavy story by Amalia Levari and Cara McGee about Anna coping with her time by herself in the cabin while she waits for her father to return. It’s truly touching material, and the story by Levari and McGee feels like a natural team effort—as if no one else could’ve done it this well.
The dichotomy works well in concert—both stories carry a sensitivity that complements the other despite the stories not overlapping. Both were present in the show, and I’m happy to see that tradition continuing in the comic. Where Campbell provides us with a comforting familiarity, Levari and McGee tread new ground that feels both foreign and familiar at the same time.
Like I said, balance.
Divinity II #2 (Valiant)
written by Matt Kindt; pencils by Trevor Hairsine; inks by Ryan Winn; colors by David Baron; letters by David Lanphear
Divinity II is one of the best sci-fi action series going on right now, showing exactly how powerless Earth’s heroes—X-O Manowar, Ninjak, and Livewire—are in comparison to beings that have actual cosmic, godlike power.
It’s interesting that Valiant is putting so much push behind their A.D. 4001 crossover when what they’re doing with Divinity II is much better executed. The series’ protagonist runs directly in contrary to that of Divinity—where Abram Adams felt bound by a duty to his family, D-II’s Myshka is driven only by a duty to her country, the U.S.S.R. It makes for an intriguing contrast on how different people deal with the acquisition of absolute power.
Also available this week:
Boom! — Bill & Ted Go To Hell 4; Jonesy #4, Joyride #2, Munchkin #17; Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #3; Welcome Back #8
Dark Horse — Aliens: Defiance #2, Aw Yeah Comics Action Cat and Adventure Bug #3, Lobster Johnson: The Metal Monsters of Midtown #1
IDW — Back to the Future #8, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: A Spoon Too Short #4, Ghostbusters International #5, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #1, Jem and the Holograms #15, Judge Dredd #6, Orphan Black: Helsinki #5, Strawberry Shortcake #2, Streetfighter x G.I. Joe #4; TMNT Amazing Adventures #10; TMNT Amazing Adventures Carmelo Anthony Special; Transformers #53; X-Files Vol. 3 #2
Valiant — Bloodshot Reborn #13, Imperium #16
Project-Nerd is a press partner of BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Alterna Comics, Valiant Comics, Black Mask Studios, Scout Comics, and IDW Publishing. If you would like to see your studios’ content included in our weekly release article, please contact our editors.