Dry County

w, a: Rich Tomasso

p: Image

Oh, those covers! 80’s-to-the-max pastels and crisp blacks in clean, stark compositions. Swoon. The interior art has a looser, scratchy feel, but the story completely sucked me in – a spin on the schlub sucked in to noir shenanigans that pleasantly defied all my expectations.

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Vinegar Teeth

w Damon Gentry, Troy Nixey

a Troy Nixey

p Dark Horse

Hard-boiled horror action comedy! Cthulhu’s amnesiac offspring gets a job as a cop! Booze! Goo!

The finale was a wee silly for me, even with what had gone before, but this was a lot of fun.

Ice Cream Man

w: W. Maxwell Prince

a: Martin Morazzo, Chris O’Halloran

p: Image

Reaaally not sure what to make of this one. The first issue was one of the most genuinely creepy comics I’ve read in months, and the art is gorgeously executed (even when the content is purposefully repulsive) and the design is elegant. (Endpapers!)

But I’m also getting a bit of a Zenescope vibe from the emerging overarching plot – opposing forces in humanoid form, one tempting humans and one (maybe) trying to save them from their worst qualities. Meanwhile, by their nature, self-contained single-issue horror stories give me *just* enough to care about the characters before something ghastly befalls them, an effect I find unpleasant en mass.

Witchblade

w: Caitlin Kittredge

a: Roberta Ingranata

p: Image – Top Cow

Female writer/artist team reboots a character that had some cool stories but was always saddled with a male-gazey outfit? Yes, please.

Kittredge’s take offers a Buffy-esque dynamic of chosen but inexperienced warriors melded with a sentient, but not entirely helpful, mystical weapon. There’s an interesting cast of supporting characters with some friend/foe tension. The resolution of the first arc was a little deus ex machina for my taste, but I’m still solidly aboard.

I really like Ingranata’s art too. I have been reading this series digitally, but definitely in full-page view, because there’s a lot of interesting panel layouts to appreciate.

Turok

w Chuck Wendig

a lvaro Sarraseca

p Dynamite

Wendig’s reboot of “Turok” has a bit of the nomadic post-apocalyptic vibe of *Mad Max” or “Tank Girl” but with fascist dino-people as the villains, and a typically Wendi-ian tight and twisty plot. I thought Turok’s foils Marak and Nettle kinda stole the show, and the impotent villain was also very fun. Thumbs up.

Elsewhere

w Jay Faerber

a Sumeyye Kesgin

p Image

At first I had a bit of “another comic featuring Amelia Earhart”?! trouble with this. (“Air” has a special place in my heart, but I’ve enjoyed “Herald: Lovecraft and Tesla” too.) But “Elsewhere” quickly won me over. It’s fast-paced free-wheeling style evokes Philip José Farmer’s “Riverworld” and the zany world-building of Piers Anthony and Jack Chalker, among others. (The plot twist piled on plot twists and some specific beats also call “Lost” to my mind.)

Happily, even with the breakneck pace there’s room for some character development, in no small part due to Kesgin’s expressive faces.

Rollicking fun so far.

Star Wars Advenures

w Cavan Scott (and others)

a Mauricet (and others)

p IDW

The intricacies of who’s got the license to publish what, and what’s in and out of “canon” these days, Star Wars-wise, are far beyond me, but I am weirdly delighted that the 2018 annual of this younger-readers-aimed series somehow features the green and très rabbit-y space smuggler Jaxxon and his sometime companion pirate Amaiza Foxtrain (looking a lot less fetish-y than when Howard Chaykin drew her, which is not a complaint).

Jaxxon and Amaiza made their original debut in the 2nd post-movie issue (#8) of the original Marvel Star Wars comic w-a-a-a-y back in 1977, before Lucas retconned the galaxy to be all related to one another, in an arc that either ripped off The Seven Samurai or prefigured Battle Beyond the Stars, depending on how you look at it. (It also featured “Don Wan Kihotay,” who claimed to be a Jedi knight like, uh, “Obi Wan Kenobi”!)

Jaxxon and Amaiza made another appearance the following year in the one of the weirdest (and best) of the early Marvel Star Wars comics, and the only one ever (I think?) to feature movie characters only in a flashback. In the issue a bounty hunter gets info that leads him to conclude that Jaxxon’s comrade-in-arms Jimm a.k.a. “the Starkiller Kid” is Luke Skywalker, and goes after him; Jaxxon and Amaiza help out. (This was well before it was broadly known that in early drafts of Star Wars “Skywalker” was “Starkiller,” although that could have been mentioned in whatever materials 20th Century Fox provided to Marvel — they certainly had access to some of the original deleted footage, because the original humanoid version of Jabba was in the comic adaptation, as well as the longer scenes with Biggs and Luke.)

Jaxxon is mostly Bugs Bunny with maybe a dash of Rocket Raccoon and Amaiza is basically every sharpshooting femme fatale ever, so I’m kinda at a loss now to rationalize the affection I feel for them, but they made a big impression on 12-year-old me (it was so hard to track down issue 8!) and I think it’s nice to see them again.