Many people were discussing that May could be a generally big FAIL month for comics as the sales from the Big Two would be dominated by Convergence and Secret Wars events. They were absolutely correct, but that simply means that we turn our attention to the disconnected independent publishers. This means that we will probably be selecting just as many indie titles as we normally do given our predilections, except for the titles released from our favorite DC imprint.
LADY KILLER #5 (Dark Horse)
This is the final issue of the Dark Horse miniseries that has been quickly selling out and getting acclaim almost completely around the board. The concept is simple: a 1950s housewife doubles as a hired assassin, but becomes the target when she wants to quit. The entire series has relied on this very basic construct, but what it does with this simplicity has been like music. The strongest part of the book is the wild art and line work from Joelle Jones, and the story has clean characters and scenes that always drive the story forward and never lets it lag. The colors themselves, which are incredibly rich yet really reference the palettes of the 50s need to be mentioned. The colorist, Laura Allred, known best for her work with her husband Mike Allred, really stands out here. This final issue wraps things up nicely and reminds us that this character may be back in another miniseries in the future.
Auteur Sister Bambi #1 (Oni Press)
Auteur is one of the most bizarre and radically fun series in comics right now, and is helping Oni to define their line as a curated list of handpicked gems. The original Auteur, which follows a film producer through a hyperreal world of a-morality and media money, ran for five issues, and Sister Bambi marks its return for an additional storyline. The story itself is just as much of a manic meth trip as the first series, where a search for financing takes him to the gates of Latin American neo-Nazis, and the entire series runs on a very solid mix of story and art from Rick Spears and James Callahan. This is the perfect jumping on point, so people who missed the first run should feel free to pick up this issue and stick around for this new arc.
This is a great new series from Image that really has been a surprise for many of us. Following a class of seniors going to Mexico on their Senior Trip, we begin to get to know the characters in the first issue through funny quips and instant messages. Their bus crashes and now the second issue takes us into the beginning of their survival, which is not well defined and completely open-ended. Even though this may scream intensity, it is actually quite fun and is filled with smart teenage characters.
This is the return of the Vertigo Quarterly, the anthology series that started with each issue being themed by one of the colors that make up the comic book palette. The next four issues, released every three months, will be inspired by different sound effects, with May’s being Pop. This is functionally the same as all the previous issues of Vertigo Quarterly, which means that it is a very open ended theme that really just allows for a series of short stories written by indie creators. All throughout this book what we find is the willingness to take risks and to let creators do anything they want, which allows us for both genre science fiction stories while also have odd little chapters that focus on characters and genuine emotion. Not the kind of book that you would expect from a DC imprint, even Vertigo, and one that is keeping the anthology concept alive.
This comic was just as much of a pleasant surprise as the movie Mad Max: Fury Road itself. Drawing as a prequel to the film it really just focuses on Nux and Immortan Joe’s stories, figuring out where they came from. This was especially interesting for Immortan Joe where the War Boy empire is explained as the result of an almost mythological take-over by three monarchs. It goes into the difficulties with child rearing and the tribal aspects of the society here. This is fascinating and really drives into some of the deeper elements of Mad Max that keep making the films act more substantially on the culture than you would think. The art is strong and appropriate all the way through, and if you can get past the $4.99 price tag, this is a one-shot that is well worth the money.
The release of Fight Club 2 #1 is a major place in independent comics history, where a popular, counter-cultural book is finding its sequel in the world of comics. There have been strong opinions on all sides of this book’s release, and many of those are coming to the fore front when we see that our narrator has reverted backwards into a suburban family life, but the quality of the writing and art is stunning. This may be the biggest stand out of the month and the issue really launches us into a miniseries that, though may not have the cultural impact that Fight Club did, will be one of the best series of the year.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #3
While the second and third issues were incredibly late by the original schedule, with the timely release of Sabrina #3 it looks like we may be returning to a semi-regular schedule. Sabrina cam after the success of AFterlife With Archie and brings us a classic horror-comic take on the Sabrina character, making her witch tradition straight out of Salem and specifically Satanist in character. This particular part of the story shows her internal debate as she prepares to sign her life over to Satan with her 16th birthday and baptism, but will it make her leave behind her paramour Harvey for good? A great issue with amazing art that really shows us that Archie’s new titles are a phenomenon with longevity.