Preview: Russian Olive to Red King by Kathryn Immonen and Stuart Immonen is gorgeous

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Kathryn and Stuart Immonen are of course well known for their stellar superhero work, but in their “spare time” they turn out some more personal work which though smalelr and quiter, has an even greater scope. 2010’s Moving Pictures was a thoughtful and tense exploration of the relationship between a museum curator in Nazi occupied France, and a German officer set against the backdrop of World War II’s art pillaging.

Now they’re back with the collection of Russian Olive to Red King a very long in the making story about a woman whose lover dies. It’s described as “a tortured love story” featuring “petroglyphs and plane crashes and bad dogs and angry people.”

After being promised for several years, AdHouse is publishing the book in May. And here’s a preview. As you can see, it looks amazing.

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Ordering info:

Russian Olive to Red King
by Kathryn Immonen and Stuart Immonen.
Published by AdHouse Books

When your lover may be dead, how long can you hold on to what remains? To whatever is left of you? A plane crash, a package, her dog, her voice. A notebook, his writer’s block, and heat-distorted summer memories of a search for Jumbo the Elephant and an absent father.

details:
176 4C pages
7 ” x 10.5″HC
$24.95 US funds
ISBN 978-1-935233-34-3
Shipping May 2015
Diamond Order Code: MAR15 0857

Review: Operation SIN returns Agent Carter to the comics

OpSin01coverBy Matthew Jent

Operation S.I.N. #1

Credits:

Writer: Kathryn Immonen

Artist: Rich Ellis

Colorist: Jordan Byrd

Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino

Cover Artist: Michael Komarck

Variant Cover Artists: Gabriel Hardman & Jordan Boyd; Skottie Young

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Genre: Superhero/Spy

 

“Oh God, you meant actual aliens.”

 

Operation: S.I.N. hits shelves today, starring Agent Peggy Carter, just a few hours after the television debut of, oh! Coincidentally, Marvel’s Agent Carter!

I know, it’s easy to be cynical. I don’t know how we wound up with female-led, period-set Marvel Comics television show almost 4 years after the character was introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger, but by most accounts it’s a very good show. So let’s just enjoy the corporate synergy that also gives us a female-led, period-set Marvel comic book as well.

Operation: S.I.N. opens with an action piece showcasing Carter’s badassery, fighting off a home invasion in her underwear. Badassery is great! But in contrast, television’s Agent Carter gets her cool moments after we’ve seen her as a human being, talking to her roommate, and, yes, remembering her old friend Steve Rogers. By moving too quickly past what makes a character a character, Operation: S.I.N. paints Agent Carter as a personified series of events. She could be any female agent, and other than the style of the clothing and the use of the Soviet Union, it could be set in any time period.

A lot of reboots and launches are struggling with their first issues these days. The first issue of the Thor relaunch, hyped as the introduction of the new, female Thor, relegated its new hero to the very last page, while the old, male Thor got an extended fight sequence and a turning point to his old plotlines. Basically — the stories in these reboots don’t start until issue two. Operation: S.I.N. doesn’t quite have that problem, as it really gets going halfway through as Agent Carter arrives in the Soviet Union for a mission of mystery. Carter’s contentious relationship with Howard Stark is at the core of both Operation: S.I.N. and Marvel’s Agent Carter, but in the show there’s a charm and a delightful tension between the two. On the comics page, it’s more difficult to get a read on the dynamic between the two. But once every gets to the Soviet Union, the story starts to move. Agent Carter has a Soviet handler/guide who is more than she lets on — hazy, sort-of-flashback panels reveal secrets to the reader that are unknown to Carter, without resorting to exposition-y captions — and the appearance of Woodrow McCord, who was introduced in a pivotal cameo in Original Sin, ties this series, at least tangentially, to that particular Marvel event series.

The art from Rich Ellis and the colors by Jordan Boyd are fun and bright. Ellis’s art (and facial expressions) give the book a kind ofVenture Brothers look, and if there’s ever a Venture comic book, this would be a good go-to art team. The aforementioned Soviet-agent-flashback page is a standout visual sequence, and even the Carter-fights-in-her-underwear scene that kicks off the series comes across as more cheesecake than exploitive. Ellis & Boyd give the book a fun look, and while it would have be easier and more obvious to go with dark colors and a noir look, the palette and style of this first issue make the series look poppy and fun. It’s a good look, and reminiscent of Chris Samnee’s exciting work on Daredevil, at least in appearance if not-quite-yet in style.

(Side note: there’s an honest to goodness Charles Atlas ad in this issue, and when I first saw it I thought, Oh wow, they’re doing period-specific fake ads, how fun! Alas, this is a real ad that continues Atlas’s promise to “make you a new man.” Look out bullies, in a world of preptual reboots — Charles Atlas is back!)

It’s not entirely fair to compare Operation: S.I.N to the televised Marvel’s Agent Carter, but it’s also hard not to. What Agent Carter does well is establish interesting relationships with emotional stakes, and balances them with fun, retro-but-fresh action sequences. Operation S.I.N. has some exciting action, but the relationships are still painted very broadly. This issue shows a lot of potential in its second half, and would have been better served if it had started later and extended past its Soviet Union-set cliffhanger. As it is, Operation S.I.N. #1 is half-realized.

Kathryn Immonen and Rich Ellis take on Peggy Carter in OPERATION S.I.N.

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The Month of the Women continues as an Agent Carter mini series has been announced by Kathryn Immonen and Rich EllisOPERATION S.I.N. spins out of Original Sin with an untold story in the origin of Peggy Carter, Howard Stark and Woodrow McCord.

One of Immonen’s first works was the fine graphic novel Moving Pictures, which was set suring World War II and involved one woman’s attempts to save art from the war, so she’s well versed in the time frame.

With a trailer for the Agent Carter TV series debuting to a good reception, obviously the timing if good for this. Plus, amazing Michael Komark cover with always cool Gabriel Hardman variant cover add to “all good” vibe.

 

 

A new terrorist splinter group named Hydra is on the hunt, seeking the alien technology for their own sinister purposes. It’s only when a mysterious operative named Woodrow McCord enters the picture that Peggy and Howard will see just how far some people will go to keep Earth safe from harm. But is he there to aid Peggy and Howard? Or to stop them?

“To me, there was no one else that could handle this story with as much finesse and style as Kathryn and Rich,” says series editor Jon Moisan, in an interview with Marvel.com. “There was no one else in my mind that would write it as well as Kathryn.”

Explore Marvel history like you’ve never seen it before as Peggy Carter, Howard Stark and Woodrow McCord do battle against the rising forces of Hydra. The Cold War spy espionage adventure kicks off this when OPERATION S.I.N. #1 explodes into comic shops and digital devices this January! 

OPERATION S.I.N. #1 (of 5)
Written by KATHRYN IMMONEN

Art by RICH ELLIS
Cover by MICHAEL KOMARK
Variant Cover by GABRIEL HARDMAN
On Sale in January!

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Marvel in December: Welcome Back, Peter Parker, Bye Kaine

Marvel have released their solicitations for December, including a lot of odd decimal placements, an apparent return for Peter Parker, the finale of Scarlet Spider, and a whole load of other stuff. Here’s a few bulletpoints about what you can look out for over Christmas:

If you want the full set of solicitations rather than this cherry-picking of the bigger details, head to CBR.

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It looks as though Peter Parker is returning, as is the Amazing Spider-Man brand as a whole. Five issues will be out this month, lavvelled 700.1, 700.2, and so on. A number of creators are involved on this book: David Morrell and Klaus Janson on the first two issues, followed by Joe Casey, Kevin Grevioux, Jen Van Meter, Tim Green, Tim Seeley, Emma Rios, Clay Chapman, Javier Rodriguez, Brian Reed, Lee Weeks and Sean Chen. Phew!

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Kathryn Immonen is returning to comics once more, and reuniting with her Hellcat collaborator David LaFuente for a new one-off story. They’re in charge of Avengers Assemble Annual – one of three annuals out this month – which promises the debut of

Zamira! She’s Meryl Streep with a vengeance!

There is also a Hulk annual, as well as a Thunderbolts annual.

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Brian Michael Bendis is bringing X-23 into the cast of All-New X-Men, which basically spoils one element of Avengers Arena. It looks like she has a new costume. Elsewhere in the Bendis World, Kevin Maguire’s issue of Guardians of the Galaxy comes out this month.

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Wolverine Origins II starts, with Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert handling the five-issue miniseries. The first cover will have an acetate cover variant.

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After 25 issues Scarlet Spider is ending in December, with Chris Yost and David Baldeon the team for this final issue. Ryan Stegman provides a cover for the issue.

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Inhumanity starts, followed by a number of ridiculous tie-in issues like Mighty Avengers 4.INH and so on. This issue will be by Matt Fraction and Oliver Coipel, seemingly leading us towards Inhuman the ongoing series in 2014.

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Avengers Assemble brings in co-writer Warren Ellis for a new story arc, working alongside Kelly Sue DeConnick. Art will be by Matteo Buffagni. And yes, it’ll be Avengers Assemble 22.INH.

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No sign of an X-Factor relaunch this month, although it turns out that Brian Wood is the creator who’ll be trying to fix the almost conclusively broken Monet, following a dreadful last few months of X-Factor for the character. Monet will be joining the team in X-Men, with Terry Dodson on art.

If anyone CAN sort her out, it’s Brian Wood! Fingers crossed.

Journey Into Mystery Ends with August’s Issue #655

Quietly revealed by Kathryn Immonen on her Tumblr, Marvel’s series Journey Into Mystery has been cancelled. First re-established by Kieron Gillen as a cosplayer-delighting waterfall of fantasy and Tumblr mischief starring a young version of Loki, Immonen jumped on after his thirty-one issues and redefined the series with artist Valeria Schiti and colourist Jordie Bellaire as a madcap monster-slaying romp, the funniest title Marvel had to offer. Coming out at a time when every other series was rebranded as MARVEL NOW, the series quietly fell down the sales charts. It’ll end in August with issue #655.

[Read more…]

Journey Into Mystery gets New Creative Team, Focus, Heroine

By Steve Morris

Excellent news has come in from Marvel today! I refuse to be objective, because today comes that announcement that Journey Into Mystery WILL continue, as I previously reported, with the new creative team of Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti coming onboard as of issue #646. Alongside the new creative team comes a new focus, as the series switches from following Kid Loki on his magical exploits, and instead turns to the swashbuckling swordplay of Sif.

[Read more…]