Writer: Jason Howard Artist: Jason Howard Letterer: Fonografiks
In the latest series from Image Comics, readers are introduced to a post-apocalyptic world where men are literal monsters and the only people capable of stopping them are “Big Girls.” In issue one, readers meet Ember, a Big Girl tasked with protecting the “Preserve” – a safe haven for people from the monstrous giant men that threaten their very survival. This issue does an excellent job at world building, integrating pertinent information into the flow of the story. The characters are three-dimensional, each with their own motivations for what they do. Despite the borderline fantastical aspects of this series, the characters themselves are very human. Readers will see Ember question the morality behind what she and other Big Girls are tasked to do every day, as well as the effects her job has on her psychological state. This first issue ends with a twist that hooked me personally and makes “Big Girls” an easy add to my pull list. Jason Howard is both the artist and writer for “Big Girls,” ensuring a cohesive relationship between the art and the story. This series is perfect for fans of “Saga” and “Decorum,” as well as anyone who likes seeing strong female characters.
Bitter Root follows the Sangerye family of demon hunters during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Despite it’s heavy topic, the comic does not feel heavy in tone. The story opens up with the central team of Sangerye’s practicing various parts of their craft. We see through their work that have a tenuous relationship with the few members of law enforcement that are aware of their supernatural activities. They have been fighting local Jinoo, humans who have morphed into dangerous creatures when their souls have been corrupted. The Sangerye’s are used to battling simple Jinoo, but something bigger is coming and along with it a major threat to the family. The comic features great pacing and seamless transitions to various parts of the story. We see several other characters who have an interest in the Sangerye’s but who are working to an end that is yet unclear.
Sanford Greene’s distinct art style is uniquely suited to this type of story. It is gritty in a way that speaks well to the horror genre but the overall feel is light enough that you can follow the story with a sense of excitement as though you are adventuring along with the characters. His splash pages are particularly magnificent which lend to lingering over the art to it soak in. The main covers of each issue connect to provide one large panel featuring the Sangyere Family.
And don’t skip the back matter of each issue. In addition to a character design feature from Sanford, there is a short essay of historical relevance to the story by cultural studies professor John Jennings. Jennings has an impressive list of works to his credit including the art for the Eisner award winning graphic adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred.
Writer: Seth M. Peck
Penciler: Jeremy Haun
Colorist: Nick Filardi
Letterer: Thomas Mauer
The Realm is possibly the best genre mashup book of the year. It contains orcs, dragons and
goblins reigning in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. If that doesn’t make you excited I don’t know
Set years after these aforementioned creatures have laid waste to Earth and taken over, the last
of the humans must fight to survive. Among these is Will Nolan, an ex-military personnel who
now carries a gun in one hand and a sword in the other. As new threats emerge and a dark
sorcerer lurks in the background, what happens from here on in this story is anyone’s guess.
Creators Seth M. Peck and Jeremy Haun provide readers with a whirlwind of an adventure that
seamlessly combines sci-fi, fantasy, horror and western elements. It’s just as big and bombastic
as The Dark Tower novels (and significantly better than the movie), and also features the kind of
protagonist who you’d want to hang out with. Based on the first issue I think Nolan has the
potential to be the next Malcolm Reynolds.
Artist and co-creator Haun is no stranger to high-concept sci-fi. His and Jason Hurley’s book
The Beauty weaves together a futuristic sociocultural premise with high-octane action. Here, he
further demonstrates his skills as a multifaceted storyteller. Each panel builds perfectly upon the
next, and with the always stellar colors by Nick Filardi readers are in for a real treat. Go ahead
and add this one to your pull-list, as it has all the tenants of the next great creator-owned title.