21 Feb, 2014

5 New Image Books You Should Be Reading

Posted by Raphael in Blog

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Hello! After a brief hiatus, we’re back with more books for you to read! For the past decade or so, Image has done an amazing job of picking up talented creators and letting them produce some amazing work. From Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead and Invincible to John Layman and Rob Guillory’s Chew to Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples’ Saga to Matt Fraction’s and Chip Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals,  there’s a treasure trove of talent that has found their way to Image. Here are five fairly new releases that I think are some of the better ones in comics.

DEAD BODY ROAD

Written by Justin Jordan

Art by Matteo Scalera

Dead Body Road is similar to the Walking Dead in that they both take place after the movie ends. Walking Dead is supposed to be what happens after the end of the zombie movie, while Dead Body Road is the aftermath of a heist gone wrong. There are lots of moving pieces: the husband who wants revenge for his dead wife – a cop killed during the heist, a computer whiz who tries to run off with the loot, the mastermind who wants his money back, and so much more.

Justin wrote one of my favorite series a few years back, The Legend of Luther Strode. His gritty, visceral sense of storytelling is a favorite of mine. The art by Matteo Scalera, who previously worked on such books as Deadpool and Secret Avengers also brings a distinct feel to this book, with its’ long empty expanses, and bursts of furious action. If you like the Walking Dead, and you like heist movies, this is a book that might be worth a look at.

VELVET

Written by Ed Brubaker

Art by Steve Epting

From the creative team that gave us the epic Winter Soldier storyline in Captain America, Velvet is a twist on the traditional spy story. The story posits that instead of James Bond being the best spy at MI6, what if it were dependable old Moneypenny, sitting behind her desk? Velvet Templeton is thrown into the middle of a conspiracy when Jefferson Keller, X-Operative 14, is found dead. All signs point to Velvet’s involvement, and she must now go back into the field to not only clear her name, but to find out who’s behind the murder of one of Britain’s best operatives.

Ed Brubaker knows how to write two things very well: spy fiction and noir. Between his work and Captain America and his own creator owned series such as Fatale and Criminal, the dark, seedy secret underbelly of the world is something that Mr. Brubaker does a terrific job of characterizing and visualizing. Velvet is a no-nonsense bad ass who makes for a compelling lead. Steve Epting’s art looks absolutely gorgeous, and fits this world of darkness and espionage. If you liked Brubaker’s previous work, or are a fan of spy fiction, Velvet is definitely a book to pick up.

DEADLY CLASS

Written by Rick Remender

Art by Wes Craig

Deadly Class is what I like to call “Assassin Harry Potter”. The first issue came out a few weeks ago (January 22nd, 2014), and it was enough to hook me. Marcus is a homeless man, living in 1980’s San Francisco. His background includes a lot of details from the 1980’s, such as President Reagan letting all of the mentally ill out of the hospitals. During the Dia De Los Muertos celebration, Marcus runs into some unexpected trouble, and has his life thrown upside down. Assassins, Ancient Chinese Masters… this book looks like it’s going to be so much fun.

Rick Remender has become one of the bigger names in comics, starting with his work in Fear Agent, and then working his way to Marvel, which includes his acclaimed run on Uncanny X-Force that really put him on the map. Mr. Remender also has another series coming out from Image, Black Science, drawn by Matteo Scalera (wow that guy’s working real hard!). Remender says that this book is a labor of love, and you can really tell, the book is a lot of fun, and the art by Wes Craig is terrific. Of particular note is the color schemes by Lee Loughridge. The colors are very striking and evoke a style similar to Jordie Bellaire’s on Manhattan Projects, except with a bit more color saturation. The blend makes the book really unique, and I am a huge fan of the book in general.

PRETTY DEADLY

Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick

Art by Emma Rios

Poetry. That’s the best way to describe this book. This book is poetry. Not just the captions and dialogue by Kelly Sue DeConnick, the art is poetic as well. Set in a Western-type environment, the cast revolves around Death… literally. Death’s daughter is out in the world, and her father is looking for her. There are events conspiring to bring about a new Death, and the people who are involved are seeing their lives turned upside down… or ended.

Like I said earlier, the book is poetic. Ms. DeConnick’s words flow out of her characters, and each book opens with an unusual interaction between a bunny and a butterfly. The pacing is deliberate, Ms. DeConnick takes her time to introduce us to her world, her cast, and the stakes of the story. Emma Rios’ art is equally poetic, and she does a great job creating distinctive looks for her characters, as well as creating the beautiful, vast environs that you expect to see in a Western: open plains, vistas, canyons… they all look gorgeous thanks to Emma’s work. And coloring that great art is Jordie Bellaire, who seems to color half the comics in existence, which is by no means a bad thing. A gorgeous, beautiful book, I recommend it to anyone who likes an unusual, eclectic wake

LAZARUS

Written by Greg Rucka

Art by Michael Lark

There’s something about dystopia that really sets off the imagination. Maybe it’s the idea that you can wipe the slate clean and create a world unfettered by the realities we live in? Maybe it’s the unlikeliness of it all (Zombies have been medically disproved multiple times)? Whatever the case, Greg Rucka’s dystopian America, where the elite few “Families” control the country and have divided it up, is an intriguing world full of suffering and political intrigue. Serfs are few, and the greater population is known as Waste. Each family has an army, as well as an individual known as a Lazarus; a seemingly immortal soldier, loyal to the Family, often times a member of the Family, or so they’re lead to believe. Forever Carlyle is thrown into the middle of a coup, in the middle of a country ravaged and destroyed, serving a family that might not even be hers.

The story is incredibly well thought out, Greg Rucka knew what he was getting into. Like I mentioned earlier, dystopia really brings out interesting bits of humanity and draws us all in. How else do you explain the phenomenon that is The Walking Dead or the reverence people still feel for Mad Max? Michael Lark’s art is a good fit for this book: dark and brooding. Lark’s work on series such as Daredevil definitely lends itself to him working on this book. If you like post-apocalyptic/dystopian stories, this is a book you should definitely read.

That’s all for now. I know, I know, I left out Saga and Sex Criminals and so many more books… but chances are, you’ve already been exposed to them or are reading them. If you want something new, try these books! If you haven’t read Saga or Walking Dead or Sex Criminals, please do so as well!

Until Next Time

Raph

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