Lee: Image continues to produce really strong series but they need to improve on their hype writing skills. Once we get past the first, very obvious pick I start to examine what makes books interesting.
Thomm: That’s probably the Kirkman influence. He’s been the master of brevity for Invincible and The Walking Dead promos for years. Works fine for those books that already have a loyal following and good word of mouth, but not so much for lesser known works.
story Brian Wood
art / cover Ming Doyle - Jordie Bellaire
32 Pages / FC / M / $2.99
Acclaimed creator Brian Wood (The Massive, DMZ, Demo, Northlanders) and brilliant newcomer Ming Doyle (The Loneliest Astronaut, Fantastic Four, Girl Comics) bring you MARA, the story of an especially gifted woman in a sports-and war-obsessed future. Young Mara Prince is at the top of the world, a global celebrity in a culture that prizes physical achievement above all else. After she manifests supernatural abilities on live TV, she becomes famous all over again but for the worst reasons. Integrating themes of superpowers, celebrity worship, corporate power, feminism, and political brinksmanship, MARA takes a classic genre to new places.
Lee: It’s Brian Wood so I am going to get it. But I do wonder with all the books he’s currently writing is he burning out. Probably not on this one so I’m sold.
Thomm: I generally like Wood’s work, though I’m on the fence with The Massive right now. The title caught my eye first because I recall a soft porn book called Mara of the Celts from a couple decades ago. I almost hoped he was re-visiting that, as I’m sure Wood would make it far more interesting than the original.
5 more below the break!
story Duffy Boudreau
art Wendell Cavalcanti
cover Michael Avon Oeming
32 Pages / FC / M / $2.99
A retired soldier on a secret mission... sent out from the walled city and the only life he's ever known into the violent wilderness of the world after the fall! Tribal cults, roaming bands of barbarians, vicious warlords! A startling new take on the post-apocalypse and the most auspicious comics debut of the year!
Lee: Let’s talk a little about solicitations because this one is terrible. If I understand correctly, the hook is “hero leaves life behind to explore devastated wasteland.” That’s the same story as Judge Dredd’s Cursed Earth saga from 1977. And therein lies the problem this just doesn’t sound unique enough for me to want to take a chance. Heck even the cover is generic.
Thomm: Yeah, the solicit mostly makes me think the blurb writer has never read any post-apocalypse stories. There have to be dozens, if not hundreds, of stories that follow this path. Boudreau and Cavalcanti aren’t name enough for me to overcome the weakness of the solicit.
story Kel Symons
art / cover Mark A. Robinson
24 Pages / FC / M / $2.99
Felicia Castillo, a New Orleans grifter, is on the run from mobsters in our premiere issue, when she discovers she possesses an unusual superpower in the middle of a plane crash.
Lee: On the other hand, this solicitation tells me nothing. I read the hype four times and still got nothing from it. But there’s just enough of a mystery to pique my interest. And in this case, the saving grace is the cover. It’s unique, it’s different, and it’s got the monkey from Aladdin smoking a cigar. That makes it worth looking at.
Thomm: Well, it certainly has Jim buying it. I think the mystery is the key to this solicit. While the last one was pedestrian, this one is vague enough to intrigue. Needs a new title, though. This one seemed familiar, so I Googled. A rom-com from 1994, starring Nick Nolte and Julia Roberts.
story Ales Kot
art / cover Morgan Jeske
32 Pages / FC / M / $2.99
A foul-mouthed struggling screenwriter who moonlights as a car thief. An obscenely wealthy rapper completely disconnected from the real world. A dying cosmonaut on his way back to Earth.
Los Angeles is being toyed with by destructive forces that repeatedly find the city through time and swallow it whole, and those three are the only people able to save it – if they survive the fanatics who live in the hills, National Security Agency agents, and the horrors that lurk in the Pacific Ocean.
Lee: So, is this standard hype or not? It’s hard to tell. It has a little of the grand conspiracy theory vibe and… something else. Based on the write up I am not sure I am completely sold. Although the wildly different characters having to get together does sound interesting. But, the appeal here is the art. Jeske is obviously influenced by Paul Pope and that’s a good thing. Again, the cover is making the sale.
Thomm: I like this hype. It seems like one thing at first, then takes a hard turn into big sci-fi, then finishes with a dollop of conspiracy. Why to the fanatics always live in the hills, though? I find that in real life they live on talk radio.
story Justin Jordan
art / cover Tradd Moore
32 Pages / FC / M / $3.50
Five years after losing everything, Luther has become more than a nightmare for the evil men in his city… he has become a legend. But somebody is hunting the bogeyman, and he has dangerous allies that Luther will never expect. Luther Strode lives; but for how long? The sequel to 2011’s breakout hit begins here!
Lee: The first Luthor Strode series was blood soaked, fun filled, young man become hero and kills lots of people type of series. Actually, Luthor is the good guy but there’s still a really high body count. I expect more of the same and can’t wait to read it.
Thomm: Eh. More Punisher-ish kinds of stories. I got tired of the Punisher a long time ago.
Lee: Hummm, apparently I didn't do go job of my own hype. It's not Punisher. It's more hero gets powers and battles bad guys and psychotic after effects of such powers. AND, there is a conspiracy too. It's way more than Punisher.
story Brandon Seifert
art / cover Lukas Ketner - Andy Troy
32 Pages / FC / T / $2.99
Doc Morrow doesn’t remember what happened to him last night — and what he doesn’t know might kill him! With the clock ticking, Morrow consults with some very unorthodox specialists. But will the cure prove worse than the disease?
Lee: I forgot to mention the new Witch Doctor series last month. This is a mix of the doctor from House and X-Files. It’s creepy good fun if you haven’t tried it yet. You can read a long review of the first trade here. Thomm: There were previews that Image did for the first issue of the first volume that I read. I wasn’t enamored and haven’t read any since.
Thomm: A good selection for new series this month. I like to see a publisher putting out new series that aren’t just reiterations of things done repeatedly (I’m talking to you, Marvel and DC). Hopefully these will find a following and bring a lot of good stories forth.
Lee: We say it every month, Image is on a roll. Yes, Superman and the X-men support everything but there is so much going on at the mid-level that is so much better.