Comic Reviews for the week of January 4, 2012

Nothing like starting the New Year off with some new comics. There were plenty of #1’s on racks, kicking off new character stories and restarting old legends. For the first week of 2012 I checked out Lone Ranger #1, Ferals # 1, Fatale #1, as well as, caught up with one of my personal favs from 2011, Lil’ Depressed Boy #8. Lots to talk about so let’s get into it.

Lil' Depressed Boy #8 from Image Comics
Fatale #1 from Image Comics

 Dynamite Entertainment brings back The Lone Ranger in a monthly series. This new six-issue story arc will tell of the masked crusaders adventures and the story of what made him the Lone Ranger. The first issue briefly touches on the hero’s childhood, shows him save a family and quickly introduces his sidekick/companion Tanto.

The story is a bit slow as it lays the foundation for the legendary masked hero of the Old West. There seemed to be a lot writer Ande Parks wanted to share about the Ranger’s reasoning for why he does what he does. Hopefully over the next five issues we will see the pace pick up. Esteve Polls art is great in the book with colors by Marcelo Pinto. The drab of the Old West meets the crisp primary colors of superhero stories. The Lone Ranger looks like a superhero dressed in blue and red with his trademark black mask. His demeanor in each panel represents the strength he uses to defend justice. As I said, if the pace of the book can pick up, this story would be a good way to bring back yesterday’s hero – Lone Ranger, Tanto, and the trusty horse Silver.

One of the non-new books I grabbed this week, Lil’ Depressed Boy, from S. Steven Struble and Sina Grace continues the adventure of the music enthusiast rag-boy with issue eight. This quiet little comic from Image Comics is going strong as an alternative to capes and tights. With the incorporation of references to real bands in the current music industy, 1980’s teen movies, and toys from the last part of the 20th century, this comic provides a way to relive those awkward moments in the late teen to 20-something years of our lives when we all had a crush on that one person.

This month Lil’ Depressed Boy must decide how he will handle the situation with his crush Jazz who is involved. Will he be the best friend crushing like in John Hughes’ film, “Pretty In Pink,” or will he take a more forward approach and move on. Time is short for him to decide when he gets home from a road trip to Oklahoma City to see the Andrew Jackson Jihad concert. He arrives to find Jazz on his doorstep. Is she here to see him or just to continue pulling on his heartstrings? Grab this book and follow the story AND the music. Struble and Grace put a lot of thought into this book and do not disappoint. It is a simple read that even anyone can read, comic fan or not.

The third book I grabbed for reference this week was also new, from Avatar Press – Ferals #1. The werewolf tale (Not a spoiler because it’s all over the cover) is written by David Lapham, with art by Gabriel Andrade. Other than great art and truly brutal werewolf action this comic is like any other small town werewolf story you have read.

Ferals #1 from Avatar Press
From Avatar Press

Simply, a small town wakes one morning to find dismembered parts (and eventually a body) of one of their own. Naturally it looks like an animal has done it. The 3 man police force led by Dale Chestnut begins to investigate. Dale is of course the victim’s best friend, sleeping with the ex-wife of the friend, and a bit of a drunk. Towards the end of the issue, Dale briefly faces off with the beast, which still looks like “some sort of bear” to everyone. Andrade gives great detail in the drawing of the panels. The mutilated bodies are bloody and organs are spread everywhere. The comic is stereotypical with large amounts of sex, nudity, foul language and blood to satisfy any fan’s needs for those sorts of things. This isn’t to say that Lapham or Andrade did a bad job, however I think this was just a project to have something to print. If you’re looking for a mature-rated werewolf tale, read it. Personally, I would probably hang the artwork on my wall, but I do not see myself paying another $4.00 for an issue.

Saving the best for last, Image Comics released Fatale #1 from Ed Brubaker this week. I had heard a lot of hype about the book leading up to its release. And in 2011 I was a sucker for several of Image Comics’ books (Chew, Moriarty, Lil’ Depressed Boy, Blue Estate to name a few). Fatale is a mystery book with touches of cults and horror. The art is phenomenal by Sean Phillips with colors by Dave Steward.

Nicolas Lash tells the story that starts at the funeral of his godfather. As any good mystery goes, a woman is involved. Jo. She is the mysterious granddaughter of a woman that knew Nicolas’ godfather, Dominic Raines – a mystery novel author. The night after the funeral Nicolas discovers an unpublished manuscript by Raines just as some strange men surround the house. Jo shows up out of nowhere to rescue Mr. Lash and a car chase ensues. Nicolas wakes up five days later missing his right leg and any memory of what happen that night. That’s when he notice’s his godfather’s manuscript next to his bed and begins to read, starting a story within the story that seems to be based around Dominic Raines’ and Jo’s grandmother’s past.

The story leaves you wanting to know what happen to the amputated leg and who that Jo woman really was. The manuscript story also keeps the reader wanting more as the book comes to the torturous “to be continued” ending. The artwork has tastes of mystery noir and the pop art of Roy Lichenstein of the 50’s and 60’s. This is not a book to be missed if you like mystery novels, horror stories, and comics.