October 20, 2016

The Pull List: 19 October 2016, Part 1

The "Mona Lisa" has unexpectedly changed its appearance, leading the Louvre art gallery to call in dream painter Art Brut. It turns out to be part of a much broader crisis: unexpectedly transformed paintings leading to gallery visitors to commit suicide and murder.

This is a wonderfully odd and surreal sort of comic book, reminiscent of early DC Vertigo work such as Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol and Peter Milligan's Shade: The Changing Man. In terms of more recent comparisons I'm actually getting quite a strong sense of Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra's The Manhattan Projects. The book clearly has one eye on fine art, with numerous references and inspirations thrown in, but it also does a fairly nice line in creepy horror. There's a splash page in particular featuring a mysterious child in a car and a field of cows that is about as unsettling as comics can get.

Martin Morazzo's interesting and eye-catching art style has a fairly noticeable similarity to Manhattan Projects' Pitarra, as well as regular Morrison collaborator Frank Quitely. Mat Lopes' colours are subtle and gently enhance the work without ever getting in its way.

This one's definitely for fans of Doom Patrol and/or fine art. It's rich with promise and ideas, and represents another nice original title from IDW. The more they publish original work the more I like them. As for this particular book, I think I may be hooked. (4/5)

IDW. Written by W. Maxwell Prince. Art by Martin Morazzo. Colours by Mat Lopes.

Under the cut: reviews of Star Trek: Boldly Go and well as a bonus review of last week's The Black Monday Murders.

Joyride #6
Boom Studio. Written by Jackson Lanzing and Colin Kelley. Art by Marcus To. Colours by Irma Kniivila.
The thing about stealing a massive alien spaceship and using it to explore the universe is that sooner or later you're going to have to find out exactly what your spaceship is, how it works, and whether or not anything else is already living inside it. When Dewydd is abducted by a previously unknown spider-like creature in the bowels of the ship, it's up to everyone else to mount a rescue - and that leads to a lot of revelations that look set to propel Joyride going forwards. This is a fantastic science fiction adventure comic. I love the characters - particularly the nervous, untrustworthy alien passenger Kolstak - and Marcus To and Irma Kniivila's art and colouring make the book feel bright, engaging and fully energised. (4/5)

Star Trek: Boldly Go #1
IDW. Written by Mike Johnson. Art by Tony Shasteen. Colours by Davide Mas.
This is the relaunched monthly Star Trek comic, taking the opportunity to jump forward to just after the 2016 feature film Star Trek Beyond. It might feature a new ship, new characters and new stories, but it's the same creative team as the previous volume - for all intents and purposes, this is just business-as-usual for IDW's Star Trek line. It's a great opening issue, one that makes a lot of bold choices in pushing the characters forward, as well as throws in a lot of nice continuity references for the hard-core fans. The episode's climax, however, raises a lot of more worrisome questions about where the storyline is headed. Bringing in some elements of the broader Star Trek lore can be great. Bringing in some others may be a fast route to disaster. (3/5)

Trinity #2
DC Comics. Story and art by Francis Manapul.
Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have been mysteriously thrown into Superman's past, where he's still just a child and his father Jonathan Kent is still alive. The reason why they have travelled back in time is one that will be familiar to anybody who's read more than a few comic books, but to Francis Manapul's credit it did catch me by surprise. This is a really nice combination of solid scripting with great art and colouring. Manapul clearly has a solid handle on his characters already, and this issue's surprise ending really does set up a lot of potential for issue #3. (4/5)

The Black Monday Murders #3
Image. Written by Jonathan Hickman. Art by Tomm Coker.
There is a man in police custody charged with murder - so why does he have all of the power? There is a police detective who should be tracking down criminals - so why has he grown so obsessed with the writings of a long-dead language? The Black Monday Murders is a fantastic comic book series written by Jonathan Hickman that presents ancient orders with magical powers who appear to run the world via its banking system. Each issue is impressively long, and combines the traditional comic book presentation with letters, transcripts and other related documents to tell a rich, disturbing story of urban fantasy and horror with a back story running centuries into the past. Tomm Coker's artwork is brilliant, even if there is a little bit of 'spot the actor being photo-referenced' going on. This is a very special and uniquely packaged comic story, and after three issues I suspect it's going to become one of my absolute favourites. (5/5)

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