Welcome to MTV Geek’s New Comic Book Day Pull-List! Each week, we’ll look at the best new releases hitting comic shops, and point you at some books you should be reading.
This week, we have picks from Boom Studios, Marvel, and Dark Horse!
Six-Gun Gorilla #1 (written by Si Spurrier, art by Jeff Stokely, published by Boom! Studios)
Based on the name, I expected that this would be little more than a nonsensical comic about a gorilla shooting things. And to be honest, that sounds like something I’d be perfectly happy to read once and forget about. But to my delight, this isn’t just a simple one-joke story about an ape with an itchy trigger finger. It’s a futuristic civil war western in space; one part Gettysburg, one part Starship Troopers. We follow a battalion of troops as they’re deployed to the front lines, transported in giant turtles to fight faceless throngs of enemies. The primary character of our story is equipped with a device that transmits a livefeed of his experience back to Earth; that video is then broadcast to television screens and VR devices around the world. It’s war-as-entertainment on a massive scale.
However, the network in charge seems a bit confused when a looming, fur-covered poncho-wearing figure appears, and interferes in their carefully choreographed programming. And then our protagonist gets himself separated from the rest of his regiment, and surrounded by bandits. And, well, I won’t spoil what happens next. Suffice to say, simian action ensues.
Si Spurrier has created a brilliant opening chapter here, throwing plenty of mad ideas at the wall, and sticking a ridiculously high percentage of them. And Jeff Stokely’s art is quirky and energetic, all scratchy lines, sharp angles, spectacular action, and clear, expressive figures and faces. Based off this first issue, I’ll be recommending the series to all my comic-reading friends… After all, who doesn’t love a good post-apocalyptic outer-space sci-fi civil war adventure with a gunfighting gorilla?
Uncanny X-Force may not be quite as high-profile as most of Marvel’s other books with an ’X’ in their title, but month by month, it’s becoming one of my favorite series – writer Sam Humphries is working with a top-notch roster of artists to tell the tales that take place in the shadows and hidden corners of Marvel’s ongoing mutant saga. Humphries skillfully juggles a variety of characters and timelines in this issue, jumping back and forth between two different scenes: in the first, we look in on a psychic conference between Psylocke and Wolverine, as she briefs him on her most recent mission; in the second, we see how that mission went, and what actually happened. In the midst of all that, there are intriguing hints at what’s coming over the next few issues, advancement of some continuing subplots, and the continuation of last issue’s re-introduction of the Demon Bear (a monstrous psychic entity from the classic 80s Chris Claremont/Bill Sienkiewicz run of New Mutants).
And not only is this issue a great read, Marcos Martin wraps it in the best front cover I’ve seen in ages. It’s the perfect combination of high-octane interior and eye-popping packaging.
The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys #1 (written by Gerard Way, art by Becky Cloonan, published by Dark Horse)
The long-awaited new series from Umbrella Academy author (and former My Chemical Romance frontman) Gerard Way, Fabulous Killjoys is a fable of conformity, identity, and rock and roll spirit, set in a dystopian future of vampiric enforcers and rebellious punks. Way is joined here by artist Becky Cloonan, who brilliantly depicts an insane array of characters, creatures, desert vistas, and cityscapes, creating complete visual identities with a few ink lines.
The story is fairly scattershot and non-linear, using a quick-cut style of short scenes and quick asides to assemble a larger image, the single paragraph of text on the inside front cover giving you what little information you need to get started. There’s a lot of chaos in this world, a lot of violence, and the story makes that clear from the start, piling up a fairly high body count by the end of the issue, introducing characters and killing them off within a few pages. And while it’s not always clear what’s happening and how the battle lines are being drawn, it’s obvious that something big is happening. This issue is not a casual read, or a bite size done-in-one story. It demands your full attention, immerses you in a finely detailed reality, and asks questions with no easy answers. It’s the opening notes of a massive work of imagination; the first chapter in an epic story of ordinary people fighting for survival, and a young girl who just may have the power to change the world.