By Christine Marie Vinciquarra
What's better than being at Conquest Comics in Bayville, NJ reviewing new releases? Being at Conquest Comics in Bayville, NJ reviewing new releases, with two really awesome statues Anna and Elsa from Frozen watching me as I do it! On to the comics!
Since childhood, I've been a fan of stories that have an outer space type vibe. This is mostly because it was my father's favorite genre of movies, books, and his favorite topic of conversation. We spent a lot of time together discussing what exists beyond our world, and I was drawn to Drifter #1 from Image Comics, written by Ivan Brandon, with art by Nic Klein because of this. Abram Pollux's opening inner dialogue is gripping and intense. I always appreciate stories that start off by grabbing hold of your attention so hard that you simply can't put the book down. Pollux barely survives a crash landing on the isolated world of Ouro, and is brought to a place called Ghost Town to recover. When Abram asks what kind of place Ghost Town is, the Marshal replies, "What kinda place, I guess we're working at. What kinda place it'll be."
That pretty much sums up the whole vibe of this town for me. It's clear that they are a new society trying to sort out their values, rules, etc. and there is something very intriguing about witnessing all of that come to fruition. Klein's art is fantastic! I particularly enjoyed the way he illustrates the characters' facial expressions, with incredibly detail. Overall, Pollux is a likeable main character. I am genuinely interested in his background, and if he will find a place in Ghost Town. The plot is incredibly well developed, and if you read Ivan Brandon's letter in the back of the issue you will hear about how dedicated he is to immersing himself in the would of Drifter as he writes. This is something that comes across in the work. I find myself filled with curiosity after reading the first issue, but in a very positive way. Questions like, "Who are these people?, How did they get here?, What will happen next?," pop into my head, accompanied by the overwhelming need to read the next issue! I can't wait to read the next issue. Don't hesitate to pick up this exciting new release.
When I found out that Wytches #2 from Image Comics, written by Scott Snyder, with art by Jock was coming out today, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Wytches #1, was by far last month's best release giving us something fantastically creepy to read before Halloween. It left off with an intense cliffhanger, where main character Sailor sees a cryptic ghost creature, which seemed like something she had experienced before. Issue #2 picks up from that point and we see the terrible aftermath of the creature's attack. I have so many positive things to say about this series thus far. Obviously, the writing is fantastic. Scott Snyder takes personal experiences from his childhood and adult life, and creates a world where crazy things like witches in the woods seem like a very real possibility.
It's difficult to talk about the plot of this comic without revealing anything too major because it seems like every moment is just as important as the next. Snyder writes a suspenseful plot that explores a family's journey to escape a traumatic experience from their past. He reveals the events of their every day life and how they carry themselves from day to day, despite their hardships. It's easy to connect to the characters because they really are a normal family, they are just trapped in a crazy situation. I have to take a moment to talk about the combination of Jock's art and Matt Hollingsworth's use of colors. They take Snyder's story to such an epic level. Some panels almost look like a water color painting. Splatters of different shades are subtly spread across the pages, giving a feel of complexity to even the simplest of frames. Even in the "normal" situation, Wytches has a creepy feel. There are some pages that I studied, looking closely at how Jock's creatures become more alarming because of Hollingsworth's colors. Overall, I think this series is going to continue to be memorable and if you haven't checked it out yet, you absolutely must get a copy!
Some of you may remember my passionate review of Batgirl #35 last month. I expressed my concerns about this "new era" of Barbara Gordon and how Batgirl of Burnside was going to be a huge adjustment for me as a fan of the character. Therefore, I was quite nervous to pick up Batgirl #36 from DC Comics, written by Brenden Fletcher, and Cameron Stewart, with art by Babs Tarr. I want to start off by saying that this issue has a lot of content, and I was extremely thankful for that. I desperately needed to be immersed in a storyline that forced me to really evaluate this new version of Batgirl, despite my negative experience with issue #35.
After reading this new issue, I am starting to realize that my problems don't revolve around new Batgirl, they revolve around new Barbara Gordon. There is a major improvement in how her identity as a superhero is portrayed, but I still can't get on board with some of the behaviors she has when she's not kicking ass. The action is elevated, and Batgirl takes control of a couple of villains in a very intense way. All of that made me feel good as a reader. I just have an issue with the cliché female behavior, shopping with her friends, the over-exaggerated flirty reaction with some of the males she interacts with. The beginning of the issue starts with it, and it ends with it as well.
I wish they would take the Barbara out of her costume more seriously. I can understand wanting to be clever and funny, but it has too much of a romantic manga-type feel. I will say that there was one Barbara Gordon scene that made me smile, and that was when she corrected the equation on the marker board she passed by and gleams with confidence as she leaves the room. I'd like to see more of that, and less of the blushing "a cute guy is in my presence face." I continue to enjoy Babs Tarr's cartoon-y art style. She is truly a talented artist. Overall, this issue was a major improvement from the previous and my hope that this series will continue on a positive note as it continues to grow. To check out all of the action for yourself, be sure to pick up Batgirl #36.
To finish off my Live report, I'll share co-owner Pete's pick of the week! He chose, Grindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out from Dark Horse Comics written by Alex de Campi with art by R.M. Guera, because the comic is like old 70s Grindhouse movies filled with plenty of violence and sex. Dark Horse did a previous series that was pretty popular, so if you liked that you should definitely pick this up too.
Well, it has been an eventful Wednesday here at the comic shop. I was worried that I'd have to channel my inner Elsa and sing "Let it Go" to myself to recover if I didn't like the new Batgirl, but I'm pretty content for now. Maybe I'll sing it anyway?
Christine Marie Vinciquarra is a writer and bibliomaniac with a love for all things creative. Some of her favorite things include: Batgirl, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Saga, Game of Thrones (the books and the show), Johnny Depp, and all things Disney. She spends her weekends feeding her competitive side while she plays tabletop and/or video games with her husband and friends. She is currently working on a series of young adult fantasy novels. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @AWritersWay or on her blog writerchristinemarie.wordpress.com.