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Graphic Breakdown: Indie Titles Worth Checking Out

Welcome Back to Graphic Breakdown!

It’s Friday and I’m currently in San Diego schmoozing with Thomas Jane which means the rest of you can kick back and read my reviews of some independent books!

Here we go!

 

The Backstagers Volume 1  
Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Rian Sygh
Published by BOOM! Studios

James Tynion IV has been making quite a name for himself over at the DC Comics line of books. This is his independent book he’s been writing and it’s pretty damn good. It’s a heartfelt book and the writing and art work extremely well together.

Tynion has written a book about the difficulty of fitting in especially if you’re an outcast. Jory, our protagonist, is off to a new school. He decides to join the backstage crew of the theatre. While Jory is there, he discovers a door that leads to a different world. So what does he do? He goes exploring of course. This leads to some wild adventures.

Tynion makes the book thoughtful. The art is magical as well. The only problem is it does take a little time to get into. Once you are there though, it’s a magical ride just like traveling through one of the doors. I liked it very much. A good buy.

RATING: B+

 

Bettie Page #1  
Written by David Avallone
Illustrated by Colton Worley
Published by Dynamite Entertainment

Everyone’s favorite pinup girl gets her own title. There’s something really fun about that. Bettie has always been a cheesecake model and that’s fun.

Sadly, this book takes the subject matter a little too seriously and it loses some of its impact.

This book takes Bettie and puts her in a mystery in the year 1951.

Bettie, it turns out, is a superspy. She must help keep the world safe from bad people. So, off she goes!and again, it’s done in the most serious manner possible.

Dave Stevens got it right when he used Ms. Page in The Rocketeer. This feels forced. The art isn’t bad. Still, this could be a lot better. Maybe it’ll pick up and be more joyful. One could only hope.

RATING: C+

 

Clue #1 & #2  
Written by Paul Allor
Illustrated by Nelson Daniel
Published by IDW Publishing

They finally did it. They went and made a comic book version of the board game Clue. This seems to be the latest trend these days.

How is it? Well, it’s a tad wacky. That’s okay, though. The creative team is in love with the material so it makes for some fun reading overall.

The mystery here starts at a Mr. Boddy’s dinner party. There is a murder. Mr. Boddy is the one killed. Everyone is a suspect!

All the familiar faces from the board game are here.

And boy, are they characters.

Truthfully, if you like the board game or the movie, you’ll like this. If not, chances are you won’t. The story is fun and the art is okay. This won’t change the world, but it is a good enough time.

RATING: B

 

Mighty Mouse #2    
Written by Sholly Fisch 
Illustrated by Igor Lima
Published by IDW Publishing

This is one of the best comics of the new year. I love this so much.

This is the story of a young boy who can’t relate to the world. The only thing he can relate to is the cartoon character Mighty Mouse.

One day, Mighty Mouse jumps from the television  screen and joins the young boy.

Together they must deal with an evil coming to this world.

Sholly Fisch is a great writer who has been underutilized for years. Here, he writes with passion.  It’s also very inventive.

There is a laugh out loud scene in here where Mighty Mouse asks what happens if you fall off a cliff in this world, where the answer is “you die.” Then he asks what happens if you get blown up and so on with the same answer.  It’s good writing.

The art is wonderful as well. It’s nicely composed and it combines all the elements of a great comic. Pick this up. It’s certainly a gem.

RATING: A

 

Curse Words Vol. 1: Devil’s Devil
Written by Charles Soule 
Illustrated by Ryan Browne
Published by Image Comics

I love the writing of Charles Soule when he is not writing for the Big Two. He puts passion into it, and it shows. This book is no different.

It’s whacked out and it’s a hell of a book.

A wizard has appeared in New York City!

Everyone is excited!

He’s going around casting spells and living it up. It turns out this wizard is one of those evil wizards! He’s fooled everyone. The best part is he’s summoned a bunch of evil that is headed this way!

The art is perfectly gonzo as well and fits the writing well. I hadn’t heard of this before I started reading it but I’m glad I got the chance to. It’s a wild ride from the get go and doesn’t let up!

RATING: B+

 

Generation Gone #1  
Written by Ales Kot
Illustrated by Andre Lima Araujo
Published by Image Comics

Ales Kot is another writer who I adore who is very underrated. This book is a nice, emotional tale and he writes it very well. I love the style of it. It’s a story for every kid growing up in the modern era. It’s themes are universal and really dig deep.

The scene is America, 2020. The story is about three young hackers with nothing to lose. They come across a secretive scientist with a plan. This was supposed to be one final job.

What happens when you’re poor, angry, and get superpowers you never asked for?

Kot answers that question and answers it well. The art is wonderful and Araujo may in fact be a breakout talent because of this book. Pick it up. It’s quite excellent.

RATING: A-

 

Redlands #1   
Written by Jordie Bellaire
Illustrated by Vanesa R. Del Rey
Published by Image Comics

This is a classic case of amazing art and and okay story. Del Rey’s art of a standout here. It’s full of life and a style that is unique and eye popping. It’s wonderful. The story is very basic however.

This is a horror tale involving a town, a coven of witches and the police. The witches are trying to take over the town. The police are trying to stop them. That’s basically the first issue and about how deep it gets.

This could get better. Right now it was a simple story with great art. Maybe the future issues will get deeper. I’ll read it either way, if only for the amazing art.

RATING: B

 

Sisters of Sorrow #1    
Written by Courtney Alameda and Kurt Sutter
Illustrated by Hyeonjin Kim
Published by BOOM! Studios

A lot of fuss has been made over this book as Kurt “Sons of Anarchy” Sutter had a hand in it.

With that pedigree, you would expect something deeper. Sadly, the premiere issue never gets any deeper than just being a comic book about “nuns with guns.”

By day, Dominique, Greta, Misha, and Sarah run a nonprofit women’s shelter. At night, they each don a nun’s habit and move through Los Angeles hunting down violent abusers who have escaped justice. They start getting noticed. They start calling themselves the Sisters of Sorrow.

That’s pretty much the entire first issue.

The art is very good. Kim also may breakout as a star because of this book. This could get more intense and more interesting. I hope it does.

Right now, it’s all surface. A nice looking surface, but a surface nonetheless.

RATING: B

 

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