This week Skybound might have just delivered your new favorite comic series. Dynamite releases the new Sterling Archer…I mean James Bond comic. Get your Silent Hill out of my Royal City and while we’re at it let’s all see the results of the sociopath test.
Story/Art: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colors: Mike Spicer
Letters: Russ Wooton
Where the EFF did Extremity #1 come from? This book snuck its way into my list this week and here I am blindsided by how incredible the opening is. Daniel Warren Johnson writes and draws a bold fantasy story of violence, revenge, and the futility of war. When the people of a dystopian society are attacked by ravaging warlords known as the Paznina, the survivors set forth on a quest to avenge both the tangible losses and humanity stripped from them.
Typically, people who write reviews about media other than film throw the word “cinematic” out there to cover up the shortcomings of the subject they’re examining. It’s not the case with Extremity. The book isn’t cinematic because of any sort of grandeur in the action, no; there’s something powerful about the series protagonist, Thea. A gifted artist who not only lost her family to this violence but, had who she was ripped away.
This also happens to be the most professionally complete comic book to debut in a long time. From design choices in lettering, a color palette that sets an experimental mood in some places, to the in-your-face onomatopoeia scattered about; everything unifies in service of this story.
[WON]- Extremity is certainly the best-of-the-best this week. It’s a comic book that demands your attention.
JAMES BOND #1
Story: Benjamin Percy
Art: Rapha Lobosco
Color: Chris O’Halloran
Letters: Simon Bowland
Admittedly, I only know James Bond through movies such as Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies. Ian Flemming’s books have never once appealed to me as something “must read”. The idea of a 007 comic book is interesting after all, the medium is not unlike the intersection of a movie and a novel. However, the execution of James Bond #1 just didn’t deliver.
Series writer, Benjamin Percy tells a story that doesn’t deviate from the typical Bond formula. 007 finds himself in the crosshairs of a sexy assassin who hunts other hired killers, which will lead him to an even bigger mystery later on. Typical Bond right? Where the comic stumbles is in the pacing. It’s a bit slow for an action spy story, especially one that doesn’t veer into experimenting with these characters. Where its most noticeable is in the book’s one chase scene. While I’d never claim to be a Bond expert, one thing that’s always stood out to me about watching these films is the tension chase scenes in Spectre or Goldeneye created. The comic almost burst out of the gate with its chase but feels a bit unearned by the end. As a comic, the story is solid. As a Bond comic, it needs to go on a unique path instead of trying to replicate what the films do. Introduce characters and make them compelling, it’s what good comics are built. Something that could serve this story immensely. Hell, even make Bond part of the scenery but do something that deforms form the norm.
In the art department, Rapha Lobosco does a decent job in drawing expressive figures. There is however room for improvement with this material. Taking a page out of what Steranko did with Nick Fury would solidify the overall story. Bond is a character built on explosive moments. Build that up through unconventional panel layouts, extreme close up shots, or more details that convey a sense of danger.
007 James Bond isn’t a debut completely devoid of merits. There’s a solid spy story at the foundation of these pages, but for a character with such a risk history sometimes doing the things people don’t expect is the way to go. I’d like to see if this series can take more risks but it certainly didn’t land the right hook to make me invest in it.
[DONE]- James Bond #1 is a mediocre action comic book. There is potential within these pages but it just doesn’t show signs of being realized by the end of the issue.
ROYAL CITY #1
Story/Art: Jeff Lemire
Letters: Steve Wands
Publisher: Image Comics
Royal City is as Jeff Lemire as Jeff Lemire can get. If you’re already a fan of his work then it’s great news, should you be on the opposite side of that coin then Royal City won’t do you any favors.
The series opening is layered with deep thematics and a Twin Peaks flavor of odd. Patrick Pike, a fading literary star who reluctantly returns to the once-thriving factory town where he grew up, is quickly drawn back into the dramas of his two adult siblings, his overbearing mother, and his brow-beaten father, all of whom are still haunted by different versions of his youngest brother, Tommy. It’s got a Silent Hill level of spooky as the story charts the lives, loves, and losses of a troubled family and a vanishing town across three decades.
As someone who has always found Lemire’s storytelling to be hit-or-miss; Royal City left me blank. It’s a feeling few comics can convey and even fewer can do in such a way that makes you want to go further into this story. Royal City combines a light ambiance that clashes with the dark undertones of this tale. It can be seen in almost every panel of this issue. Lemire is going into a different level of methodic with this comic and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes.
[WON] Royal City #1 is going to redefine what it means for a story to be haunting. If you love Lemire’s work Royal City will not disappoint.
SAVAGE THINGS #1
Story: Justin Jordan
Art: Ibrahim Moustafa
Color: Jordan Boyd
Letters: Josh Reed
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo
Savage Things is a jacked-up look at what the incorrectly nourished seeds of sociopath will eventually blossom into. That being said, this comic is juicy. A story of government conspiracy, espionage, John Wick like badassery; you’ll find it in these pages. Writer, Justin Jordan pens a story influenced by the Bourne movies only without the fear of crossing the lines. A horrific one-man murder spree in a fancy New York hotel unearths a secret the government has worked to hide for years. By the end of this story, you’ll feel like you’ve gone from spy revenge tale to straight up Snake Pliskin.
Ibrahim Moustafa’s art is efficient and moody; perfect for a Vertigo comic. While I would have liked a bit more savagery in certain parts, the flow of the action depicted is stellar. Like any professional in comics, Moustafa’s work is so lucid it could almost be read without any words on the page.
Savage Things is a welcomed addition to the Vertigo imprint’s lineage. It takes the average espionage/action story and pulls away boundaries. Readers will get to explore the inner workings of some truly f**ked up characters and I can’t wait to read the rest.
[WON]- Savage Things #1 will take you to some truly dark places in order to unearth a good f**king comic book.