August 16th, 2023

Rob's Picks:

Dwellings #1 - Oni Press brings cartoonist Jay Stephens’ (Atomic City Tales, Jetcat Clubhouse) crowd funded horror anthology to the masses. In the sleepy Canadian town of Elwich, every dwelling contains a tale of terror, presented in the visual style of vintage kids comics like Richie Rich or Casper. In “They Know,” circumstance compels a man to violence, and the only witnesses are the hungry crows of Elwich. Our second story, “Second Tongue,” is one of obsession and possession. A student of psychology comes to Elwich to study a man with a rare disorder, but as clues emerge connecting her subject to a dead man and a satanic cult, scientific curiosity devolves into paranoia. The contrast between the nostalgic comfort of the comics presentation and the visceral content of its stories enhances the impact of the horror, with retro style ad parodies providing some humor between chilling tales.
Alien #5 - Writer Declan Shalvey and artist Andrea Broccardo have given us an Alien story as atmospheric and tightly constructed as the original film, a rare feat for franchise tie-in books. This fifth and final part of their “Thaw” arc brings that story to a fitting conclusion. The many revelations of the previous issue strain the relationship between Zasha and surrogate father Dayton. Her mothers ethically questionable experiments have brought their world very literally crashing down, leaving Zasha unsure who to trust or what to believe in. Dayton still intends to get her out alive, but there is still a swarm of xenomorphs, Weyland-Yutanis surviving mercenaries, and one unknown xeno-variant to contend with. This series provides a climax satisfying in both action and emotion. Thankfully, Declan and Shalvey will be continuing their run on Alien following the upcoming Annual. Wherever they take this title from here, this will be a must read for fans of the Alien franchise and sci-fi/horror in general.
The Sickness #1 - The Sickness is a slow burning creep show from Jenna Cha and Lorrie Nadler. The black and white panels of this comic present a vision of small town Americana with something deadly lurking underneath. In the quiet corners of America, the suburbs, the small towns, something is spreading. It warps the mind with horrible visions, makes monstrosities of the familiar, and ends in bloody murder. Though set in the past, this book is speaking to the present moment, examining our collective dread in the way that only horror can. Why is it that violence haunts even the safest corners of American life? What is it that makes us fear our neighbors, can make us see them as an Other to be destroyed? We’re only beginning to scratch the surface in this chilling premiere, masterfully combining Hitchcockian pacing with a Junji Ito-esque flare for the grotesque.

Solomon's Picks:

The Cull #1 - An extremely intriguing first issue of a brand new story, brought to us by hit writer Kelly Thompson and insanely-talented artist Mattia De Lulis! It’s described as a “Something is Killing the Children horror mixed with Goonies-style adventure” and I completely agree with that statement. The art is stunning, and compliments the eerie tone of the story wonderfully! It opens up with a chilling scene featuring one of the horrors our group will encounter. It's a mountain-sized creature, towering over some poor soul who seems to be getting consumed by a plant-like thing. Words honestly don’t do justice to the panel, and the feeling you get turning to the next page. We’re then introduced to a group of young film-makers; Cleo, Kaite, Wade, Will, and Lux. Heading to ‘Black Water Beach’ for a shoot they can only complete at four in the morning during low tide. Much of the story is given to us through the art, with there being multiple points where the character's actions and how they present themselves are up for interpretation. As you flip through the pages, witnessing how they speak to and about each other and how they carry themselves, it becomes obvious there’s tension within the group. Since it’s a first issue, it doesn’t focus on one person or thing for too long. However, it does a fantastic job of juggling its content, giving you just enough to theorize and immerse yourself into the world without allowing you to figure out what it’s building to. The story is definitely going to touch on heavier topics, as we’ve already been given glimpses of characters dealing with heartbreak, abuse, loss, and denial. I can’t wait to dive into more of the mysteries surrounding this world and learning more about our characters. I'm confident that this series is going to continue to deliver!
Sirens Of The City #2 - The second issue of Sirens Of The City moved the story exactly how I hoped it would and then blew my expectations out of the water! Picking up right where it left off, Layla is finally given a place to stay by Davi, but her problems are far from over. Marisol and Jerome meet and she offers to help him find Layla, until she discovers that he is an Incubus, the sworn enemy of The Uncanny. She also finds out that he impregnated Layla, which infuriates her even more. She goes to confront Layla on this, but quickly realizes Layla has no knowledge of her true identity, or Jerome's. Mari provides a quick history lesson and demonstration of abilities before taking Layla to meet her mother. Her mom happens to be the leader of the Uncanny, who informs the pair that the baby Layla is having would be the first of its kind. Because of that, the Uncanny want Layla to give birth to the baby so they can use it and finally end the ongoing struggle against the enemy. The Incubus want to prevent the birth of the child because it will continue to feed off of both Layla's powers and Jerome's, ultimately killing both of them. Something I found interesting is that on both sides they are stripping Layla of a choice without taking a moment to allow her to process the information and decide for herself how she wants to go forward. I mean it when I say this: The art is breathtaking. There’s such a unique vibe that Khary Randolph brings to this series. Everything from character design, color, and background is so bold and eye-popping. This series has been a treat and I can’t wait for the next issue to be released.
Void Rivals #3 - Void Rivals has truly been the gift that keeps on giving with another out of this world entry! At the end of the last issue, Darak and Solila finally got their ship moving only to be captured by a dangerous smuggler. Picking up right from that moment, the two engage in a swift fight with the smuggler before fleeing deeper into his ship. They soon realize they can’t hide from the man, as every corner of the ship is monitored due to the dangerous cargo he keeps on board. They meet another castaway locked on the ship, and just as quickly backstab him in order to escape which I’m sure they will have to answer for eventually. We’re given a twist endin - one that forced a verbal reaction from me, making me close the book with wide eyes and a dropped jaw. This comic really shows that in times of war you never really know who you can trust. I also wanted to give a shout out to the letterer, Rus Wooton, who has done an outstanding job matching the tone and art of the story, really adding that extra layer of immersion and providing the story with a unique look and feel. Like I stated earlier, this series has been an absolute treat so far and I can’t wait for the next one, where we will finally see the home planet of one of our protagonists!