Image Previews Picks: August 2017

Image’s own magazine “Image+” gets its second volume in these solicitations.  Normally that wouldn’t be newsworthy, except they’re continuing the trend started in the previous volume of offering exclusive comics with each issue.  The first volume had “Here’s Negan!” spotlighting the origins of the character from “The Walking Dead” courtesy of creators Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard.  For vol. 2, we’ll be getting the start of the second volume of “Wytches” from writer Scott Snyder and artist Jock.  While a proper follow-up miniseries is said to be in the offing, the installments being serialized in “Image+” are said to offer some resolution to the cliffhanger ending of the first volume.


I had honestly forgotten that the first volume of “Wytches” ended on a cliffhanger.  My main memory of that series is a general one about how it started with real promise as a horror series before degenerating into a “bug hunt” with the nasties robbed of their menace in the end.  The series was quite popular with my opinion being a minority one so it makes a certain amount of sense for Image to promote the series in this fashion.  If this does wind up addressing the end of the first volume, then it’s a safe bet that “Wytches’” run in “Image+” will be collected in the next volume.  Which would be good for fans of that series, even as fans of “The Walking Dead” wait for a way to read “Here’s Negan!” without having to pick up all of the issues it appeared in.

Redlands #1:  Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s series “Black Magick” told the story of a witch who was also a policewoman in a small town.  Creators Jordie Bellaire and Vanessa Del Rey flip that premise around as this series is about a coven of witches trying to seize the small Florida town of Redlands from its police.  There’s no indication as to whether or not we’ll be seeing this from the witches’ perspective, which would make this a must-read in my opinion.  As it is, I’d say this is just one to watch.


Spy Seal #1:  From writer/artist Rich Tommaso comes this simple high-concept series.  It’s about a spy, who is also a seal.  The series is billed as a hybrid of “Tintin” and “Usagi Yojimbo” which is something I can get behind.  Especially with the clean linework seen in Tommaso’s cover for the series.  The espionage angle for the series also brings Bryan Talbot’s excellent “Grandville” series to mind as far as comparisons go, though Tommaso looks to be going for a 60’s aesthetic rather than alternate-history steampunk.


Annual:  No, really.  That’s what this anthology is titled.  Billed as “A once-in-a-year artistic pleasure orgy that you simply can’t afford to miss!” this comes to us from the different-thinking mind of Joe Casey.  He’s writing all the stories in this collection, featuring art from Jim Rugg, Luke Parker, Nate Fox, and Wilfredo Torres.  Anthologies have been tried at Image before, “Island” comes most readily to mind, but none have wound up being sustainable successes.  Whether or not Casey and company make the format work with this approach is something we’ll have to wait and find out next year to see if “Annual #2” arrives.


Extremity vol. 1:  Artist:  The first issue of this series had a really impressive cover that has stuck in my mind ever since.  Now I’ll finally be able to find out the story behind it with this first volume.  It’s also billed as the series where the imagination of Studio Ghibli meets the intensity of “Mad Max” which is a convergence I can get behind.


Green Valley HC:  In which the Knights of Kelodia are charged with the sacred duty of slaying a wizard and his dragons.  Except that the solicitation text tells us that there’s no such thing as magic or dragons in this world.  So what’s going on?  This comes to us from “Chronicle” writer Max Landis who said that this series sprang forth from an idea he’s had ever since he was a kid.  Thankfully I’m still in the dark about whatever twist the series has to offer, though the covers I’ve seen in these solicitations indicate that it’s sci-fi in nature.  Even with art coming from Guiseppe Camuncoli, the $30 price tag for this 216-page hardcover collection does strike me as being a little on the expensive side.  Particularly when you consider that it’s likely only getting the hardcover treatment because of Landis’ name.


Hadrian’s Wall:  Especially when you consider that this 200-page softcover collection will only set you back $20.  This is described as a locked-room murder mystery set on a spaceship where one of the suspects the pill-popping detective has to investigate is his ex-wife.  Sounds promising, even if I’m not all that familiar with the work of co-writers Kyle Higgins and Alec Segel.  Artist Rod Reis, however, has already gone on to bigger things at Marvel as he’s currently pitching in additional pages for “Secret Empire.”


The Old Guard Book One:  Opening Fire:  Andromache of Scythia, an immortal, and her comrades have centuries of experience in the art of war.  While the 21st century isn’t lacking for opportunities for them to ply their trade, there are plenty of new dangers for them as well.  That this is coming to us from Greg Rucka is already a reason for me to give it a look, it also features art from Leandro Fernandez.  His work always walks a fine line between realism and caricature, which was used to best effect in the “Punisher MAX” stories he did with Garth Ennis.  This will be his first work with Rucka in a long time, after having done arcs of “Queen & Country” and “Wolverine” with the writer, so there’s every reason to expect that this first arc will turn out to be readable if not pretty good overall.


Savage Town:  Declan Shalvey is best known for his art on “Deadpool,” “Moon Knight,” and “Injection,” but he’s wearing a new hat here.  That of co-writer with artist Philip Barrett.  This is a graphic novel about a gangster in Ireland who is somehow described as up-and-coming even though everyone in town wants him dead for one reason or another.  It sounds fine and all until you get to the end of the solicitation text where it says that this story will “leave you gaspin’…for a pint!”  So we’re not meant to take it completely seriously, which is usually a good thing when the material is pitched as straightforwardly as it is here.


I Hate Fairyland #15:  In which the “Hate” of the title is crossed out with “Love” and we’re told that Gert finds what she’s finally been looking for these past 30 years.  I can only hope creator Skottie Young is playing it straight here and not serving up some lazy ironic twist.  In addition to lacking depth, vol. 2 was also short on laughs as it went for too many obvious and predictable gags.  As good as Young’s art is wrapping this series up with this issue would probably be the smart thing to do before diminishing returns make it actively painful to read.


Manifest Destiny vol. 5:  Mnemophobia & Chronophobia:  At the end of vol. 4 Lewis and Clark’s team had settled in for winter secure in their belief that they wouldn’t have to deal with any new creatures until Spring.  Unfortunately, nobody noticed the invisible arch near their cabin.  Unless the threat it represents is relatively benign then it’s a pretty good bet that they won’t even make it to Christmas let alone vol. 6.

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