Humanoids sent me a .pdf of their new collection Metal Hurlant: Selected Works contains the best of the non-Alejandro Jodorowsky stories from the 2000's revival of the magazine Metal Hurlant. Humanoids already collected the Jodorowsky stories in a small hardcover called Screaming Planet, which you could say Metal Hurlant: Selected Works is a sister release.
Instead of a review, I figured I'd highlight four of my favorite stories from Metal Hurlant: Selected Works. Surprisingly, Jerome Opeña's story ("Joshue", with writer Julien Blondel) didn't make the list. It wasn't a deficiency of quality, just that the story felt awfully similar to the first arc of Uncanny X-Force with Rick Remender. In the intervening years, Opeña would improve exponentially. If you're a fan of that arc of UXF, give "Joshue" a look. You can see early, early Opeña.
- "Red Light" by Geoff Johns, Christian Gossett and Snakebite: A prison story, where a prisoner overwhelmed by the prison's intense red light wants to escape. The twist is that it's about the notorious American prison at Guantanamo Bay. Is the Snakebite credited here the same as Snakebite Cortez that worked on Bankshot from Dark Horse? Only Snakebite knows, I suppose.
- "Call To Arms" by Rick Spears and Rob G.: Call To Arms acts as an anti-war short about the horrors of trench warfare in World War I. Writer Rick Spears writes a story about a soldier dying of chemical weapons. Surprisingly effective art from Rob G. I only know Rob G. from The Couriers, the hyper-violent gun-fu comic with Brian Wood.
- "Spare Parts" by Stuart Moore, Cully Hamner, and Clémence: Maybe my favorite of the stories here, the team tells the story of a doctor forced by a dictator to become the dictator's body double. The dictator is Saddam Hussein, but they can't say so. It's an obviously political slow-building horror story that acknowledges America's complicity in the killings in the Middle East.
- "The Phototaker" by Guy Davis and Jerry Frissen: A fun short that's apparently a homage to Jacques Tardi. A robot goes around taking pictures of objects, which the camera literally steals. It feels tactile, taking an old rumor "the camera steals your soul," and transferring it to a comics page where it asks the reader to pay close attention to the backgrounds as well as the foreground.