Monday, January 9, 2012

Comic Quickies: In With the New

The Activity #1: When I heard that Nathan Edmondson, the author behind the awesome Who is Jake Ellis? had a new spy/espionage series coming out, did two things: 1) fist pump  2) immediately add the comic to my pull list.

When The Activity finally arrived in my pull box, I took it home, pulled it out and began to read. From past Edmondsonian reading experiences I was fully expecting to be completely hooked by around page two or three.  Sure enough, I was pleased to see things get off to a nice start with a slick little spy-team mission.  Sadly, that early momentum wasn't sustained throughout the entire issue.

Once the opening sequence is over, you meet the cast of characters, learn about their job: a soldier and civilian team of covert operatives who use the fanciest technology and handle the most high-stakes operations.  You also learn that one of their team was recently killed in action, so with their new recruit in tow, the team heads to Rome to clean up a botched mission by another agency.

It's sad to admit, but as far as first issues go, I found this one to be pretty boring.  The cast introductions were pretty standard, and the clean up mission was dull and lacking in any kind of tension.  My hope is that with introductions and introductory missions out of the way, things will pick up from here.  I have pretty high expectations for this considering how great Who is Jake Ellis? was, hopefully The Activity will deliver.

Sacrifice #1: Completely self published and self distributed, Sacrifice is a title that is probably pretty hard to come by, especially considering the hype surrounding this title prior to it's release. Admittedly, I bought into the hype, and even went to a rival comic shop (the only one in town to carry copies) to secure my copy.  With illicit comic in hand, I dove in.

Your basic package is this: some time travel, Aztec sacrifice ceremonies, and some trippy ass art.  Apparently there's some Joy Division references or something in there too, but if they were, they went right over my head.

Basically, what happens is a dude named Hector eats some fast food, then mysteriously time travels back 700 years or so to the time of the Aztecs.  Next thing you know he's caught up in some sort of political struggle between rival religious factions and literally trying to keep his head on his shoulders, and hopefully avoiding getting killed once the Europeans come.

Though there was a degree of guilty pleasure involved in getting this title into my possession, I can't say that I was really drawn in by the story, which is a bit confounding to me, because I'm usually a sucker for time travel, and things trippy.  The art is sorta bipolar; great one moment, then ugly the next.  Sadly, there was nothing here to hook me, and without the power of being written or drawn by a trusted creator, I probably wont give this another shot. Just not my flavor.

Fatale #1: Crime, magic, horror and a story-within-a-story all rolled into one?  Without a doubt, Fatale, the latest from super duo Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips is right up my comic reading alley. As you can imagine, I was hooked quite early in this one, and then Brubaker and Phillips continued to set the hook, and reel me in as the issue progressed.

There's a lot going on in this first issue, a lot to take in, but the gist is this: the godson of a recently deceased crime writer discovers an unpublished manuscript, and winds up running for his life from would be killers.  He is saved from being gunned down by a mysterious woman he's only met briefly once before at the writer's funeral...only to nearly die in a fiery car crash.  When he awakes in the hospital, he begins to read through the manuscript, further unveiling more mysteries, and questions for the already beleaguered reader.

With points of view that alternate between the mystery woman, a crooked cop, and a reporter who's in over his head, Brubaker definitely throws the reader in at the deep end.  Plenty of seeds were planted here in the first issue, and from the looks of things, this is gonna be an incredibly entertaining comic to read in the coming months.  A very promising start to a new series from two of my favorite comic creators.

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