Picks of The Week: 12/2/2014

EGOSEGOs #2

WRITER: Stuart Moore ¦ ARTIST: Gus Storms ¦ PUBLISHER: Image Comics

Superheroes seem to be spending more and more time in space these days. Everybody’s doing it. There are the Guardians of the Galaxy, Red Hood and the Outlaws, The Green Lantern Corps (and it’s many variations). Even the Avengers under the guidance of Jonathan Hickman have spent more time among the stars than on solid ground.

Despite the change in location, in most of these books, the fact that they are in space is incidental. They are still superhero books. The same rules and sensibilities apply – it’s just a different backdrop. EGOs is different, it’s an interesting blend of hard sci-fi and superhero antics where neither aspect is neglected. It’s got drama and sure, it’s got action, but it’s also got a sentient galaxy for a villain…with planets for eyes. It’s pretty rad.

The first issue of EGOs was strong, and the second is no different. Stuart Moore’s storytelling is detailed and unapologetic in its introduction of new characters and concepts. That is not to say it’s complicated, but it moves at such a pace that you need to be paying attention. The characters are already distinct after just two issues, and Moore is already playing around with how the characters relate to one another. It’s engaging drama and the sign of a good writer that these character beats do not get lost, or feel inconsequential among some of the bigger ideas in the book i.e. the aforementioned sentient galaxy.

Depicting such large ideas is no small feat, but fortunately artist Gus Storms is up to the task. His minimal, lucid line work does an excellent job of conveying movement and depicting environments. And his colour theory is even more impressive. He often concentrates on different tones of the same colour to establish form and substance, rather than using a lot of shading. Which means a lot of attention is given to complimentary colours. He does a lot with a limited colour palette, and as a result, the book has a comfortable, unified aesthetic.

EGOs is off to a great start. It’s a book I am now eagerly anticipating every month, and you should be too.

detail

X-FORCE #1

WRITER: Simon Spurrier ¦ ARTIST: Rock-He Kim ¦ PUBLISHER: Marvel

I’ve written a lot about Simon Spurrier recently, so much so that I was starting to wonder if I hadn’t become a little obsessed. But then X-Force issue one came out and reminded me that it’s because he’s one of the best writers in comics today.

X-Force is, and always has been the slightly more adult book for X-Men fans – in theory at least. There are often less restrictions on the writer, the heroes can kill, they can sort of swear and often the heroes don’t even have to be heroes. It’s a bigger playground for the writer to play in, and it allows them to ask questions they would not usually get to ask – which makes it perfect for Spurrier.

In his previous work on X-Men Legacy, Spurrier took a book set in a world full of superheroes, ran off into the corner of the room and did his own thing, without much concern for what everyone else was doing. This made it special and it made it unique. X-Force looks to be following this same trend.

Again set in Marvels world of spandex clad shenanigans, Spurrier has taken X-Force out to the fringes, focusing more on a covert operations and espionage angle than superhero fisticuffs. There is still plenty of action, but what’s really interesting is that the motivations behind most of it are less than altruistic. In issue one alone X-force deals with at least a dozen antagonists quite permanently without it ever being properly established that they are ‘bad guys’ – just other guys. No, the motivations of the characters are certainly not altruistic, but nor are they simplistic. Cable seems to have adopted a quite modern philosophy of having weapons as a deterrent, while focus of the first issue, Marrow, is depicted in an almost sociopathic light – whimsically likening the chaos of the situation to frenzied music. As trite as it is to say – the subject matter is morally grey.

I just wish everything didn’t look so grey. Rock-He Kim’s digital artwork does a decent job of rendering the action – showing good attention to space and form in particular. But the colour palette is a little stale. There are too many metallic surfaces that clash with the characters and sometimes it all just bleeds together.

Regardless, X-Force issue one is a good book that shows a lot of promise, definitely worth a read.

ALSO CHECK OUT

comics-masters-of-warTHE ROYALS: MASTERS OF WAR #1

WRITER: Rob Williams ¦ ARTIST: Simon Coleby ¦ PUBLISHER: Vertigo

Find out about The Royals: Masters of War here.

That’s all for this week. Do stop by and discuss, or simply leave a comment. I love shopping it up with other comic fans.

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