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Graphic Breakdown: Amazing Work From Rian Hughes, Troy Nixey, Pau, & More!

Welcome back to Graphic Breakdown!

Here are some books to get your week off to a good start!


Atlas and Axis #1
Written and Illustrated by Pau
Published by Titan Comics

I am ashamed to say I have never heard of this comic book before.

Then, I see it comes with a rousing endorsement from none other than Stan Sakai!

I was in immediately. And man, is this great.

I was floored by how much I liked this.

The world of Pangea is a place where animals walk and talk on two paws. Atlas and Axis are two dogs who come home to find Vikings have destroyed their village. So, they go on an adventure to find out what happened to their friends.

The writing is out of this world and the art is amazing. You don’t need to read my review. You need to go out immediately and buy it. It’s a classic and I’m blown away by it. I hadn’t heard of it before. But I’ll never forget it now.



Freelance #1-4
Written by Andrew Wheeler and Jim Zub
Illustrated by Vaneda Vireak
Published by Chapterhouse Comics

Freelance is one of Canada’s oldest original comic book heroes.

Chapterhouse is trying to expand the universe they started in the Captain Canuck books.

It’s not a bad idea and this is a fairly decent book thus far. Let’s hope they can keep it up.

Freelance is about Lance Valiant and his two colleagues. They are fearless explorers who look for hidden secrets. And they do! Lance, however, may have a secret past that may be pretty deadly.

This book is just a good time, nothing more. It’s not a bad thing but I didn’t find a lot of depth to the story. The art is the best part and Vireak is a rising star. Not a bad read overall.



Gothic Haunted Tales of Love
Written and Illustrated by Various
Published by Bedside Press

This is one of those Kickstarter projects that hit its goal!

Congrats to Hope Nicholson for putting it together and succeeding. So many projects don’t get made and it’s great to see the goal be met.

This book aims to revive gothic romance comics. It’s a noble effort. And it’s a mixed bag. Some stories in here work better than others.

The two best are by Cecil Castellucci and Willow Dawson followed by the team of Katie West and Ray Fawkes and Rahzzah. Those tales stood out.

The rest of the stories range from decent to middling.

Perhaps the star of the book is Nicholson herself.

This is her seventh successful book off a Kickstarter. That’s impressive as she tries to revive some forgotten sub-genres of the comic book industry.



I Am A Number
Written and Illustrated by Rian Hughes
Published by Top Shelf Comics

Rian Hughes is a certified artistic genius. This collection of strips featuring characters that wear numbers that Illustrate your class (higher is better and zero is the worst) is delightful.

What’s amazing about Hughes is that every strip seems deceptively simple. But there’s so much going on that when you really start to look, you can’t believe it. It’s to his credit that Hughes is able to accomplish that. You have to see it to believe it.

This is a book that is extremely different. It says a lot about where we have been and where we might be going.

Pick it up and give it a shot. It’s a wholly unique and incredible experience.



Mata Hari #1
Written by Emma Beeby
Illustrated by Ariela Kristantina
Published by Dark Horse Comics

This is the first book I have read from Karen Berger’s line of books over at Dark Horse. I loved Berger’s tenure over at Vertigo, so I was reasonably excited for this. I found myself disappointed by the story which was complex and boring thus far. I hope the other books are more exciting.

This book focuses on Mata Hari who is in prison and at the end of her life. She writes her memoir. As she awaits her fate, we find out she was the most dangerous spy France ever caught.

But nobody knows the real Mata Hari. Until now.

The writing didn’t grab me. I expected something more compelling. This is not.

The art however is striking. Ariela Kristantina will go on to great things, you mark my words. Maybe this will pick up. Right now it’s a very ho-hum debut.



Vinegar Teeth #1
Written by Damon Gentry and Troy Nixey
Illustrated by Troy Nixey
Published by Dark Horse Comics

I jumped for joy for this book. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been waiting for it. I wasn’t disappointed either as this was incredibly compelling and just plain awesome.

This has been described as “Lovecraft meets Lethal Weapon.”

That’s all I need! Let’s go!

Artie Buckle is a pretty good cop in spite of being a grade A schmuck.

When Brick City is under siege from its citizens, Artie has to team up with a being from another dimension.

And guess what? They don’t get along!

The first issue is hilarious and establishes all of this.

The story is a hell of a good time. The art by Nixey is fantastic and it’s great to see him back in comics full time. You should pick this up. It’s a joy to read from the very first page to the last!



The Ghost Fleet: The Whole Goddamned Thing TPB
Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson
Published by Image Comics

I really enjoyed reading this book! It’s a fairly quick read.

Donny Cates though is a fine writer and keeps things moving. It’s quite interesting where things go in this comic book.

If you have a valuable cargo, you don’t just call anyone. You call the Ghost Fleet!

They are a fantastically dangerous trucking company! One of the truckers takes a peek at their current payload and that leads to a conspiracy that will change everything for the company.

This book can get over the top but that’s part of the fun. The art by Daniel Warren Johnson is quite excellent. He’s very underrated and his art just is awesome.

Give this a shot. It’s a fun read for sure!



Godshaper TP
Written by Simon Spurrier
Illustrated by Jonas Goonface
Published by BOOM! Studios

I wanted to like this more than I did.

Simon Spurrier is a decent enough writer. This tale just didn’t grab me as much as his other work. I tried three times to get into it but I found myself bored.

Ennay is a Godshaper. He can mold and shape the gods of others. He goes on a road trip with Bud, who is another god. They go from town to town and get involved in some mischief.

The story was flat for me again.

The art is the best part. Jonas Goonface does a great job here. Its his breakout book. Pick it up for the art. He’s going places for sure.





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