Back in the day, Image comics was artist owned and famous for its stable of well-known illustrators, highly stylistic art, and, in some circles, for its lack of story development in a good percentage of their titles. 20 years later, I am happy to say that the art has diversified and the stories are there and they are great.
When I began looking at Image titles for this review, I realized I was already reading several of them without consciously acknowledging that fact.
In response to this, I am going to break this up into two parts.
Here, in no particular order, is what I will call “Image Comics Part 1: What I already read.”
Meet Mara Prince, star volleyball player for the Cuban Women’s Pan-Continental Sports League team, charming, intelligent, a global celebrity and commercial brand, and a woman who is on the verge of discovering she is the world’s only superhero.
In a future where physical fitness is prized above all else and a chunk of it is embroiled in a decades long war, Mara is about to become famous again on live television.
Here is another Brian Wood title, this man is exploding this year. Do not concern yourself with Wood becoming overexposed, this isn’t going to happen as long as his quality stays at this level.
Mara is a great concept and promises to deliver a complex tale of what happens when the world believes they own you. Celebrity, politics and corporate power will collide in this 6 issue limited series.
In the middle of an extraterrestrial war, Alana, a woman with wings, and Marko, a man with horns, find each other and become lovers. Ostracized by their separate races and pregnant with a child, Hazel, whose existence poses some threat to both sides of this conflict, they on the run from everyone, bounty hunters included and just looking for a place they can live in peace.
In-laws, ex-fiances, ghost babysitters and a live ship round out just part of this expansive tale.
From the mind of Brian K. Vaughn, creator of Y: the Last Man, comes a science fiction space opera that, if it is not already, should be on your list.
The art is by Fiona Staples and a feast for the eyes.
The first six-issue story arc is out in trade paperback and the single issues have been through multiple reprints making this readily available on a comic store shelf near you.
Felicia is a con artist on the run, in a plane flying as far away from her life as possible. On final decent into Kansas City, the aircraft comes apart in mid-air. Looking at the last few seconds on her existence, Felicia wishes she was somewhere else and, to her surprise, ‘blinks’ herself to safety.
Two weeks later, Felicia returns to her home city, her boyfriend who presumed, rightly so, she was dead, and the criminal circles she moved in prior to the accident.
Watched by a secretive gentleman, Felicia discovers just how much she has changed, and how much her old life chafes under her new possibilities.
I have to be honest, I picked these issues from the shelf because I loved the artwork and the feel of the cover paper, kinda a light cardboard stock. Quickly thumbing through them, I added both to the purchase on impulse.
What I found when I read them was a morally ambiguous story of a young woman who has developing superpowers that possesses a ring of truth.
Nick Sax is an ex-cop turned boozed out hit-man who is visited by a tiny blue winged unicorn that claims to be the invisible friend of a little girl about to be killed by a serial killer. Happy tells him that out of the whole city, Nick is the only other person who can see him and help him save the child’s life.
How can Happy convince the depressed and hopeless Nick he is not crazy?
Grant Morrison is a juggernaut. Love him or hate him, he has written some of the most popular titles in the last 20 or so years and is now in charge of the DC new 52 relaunch.
Last year I read his book Supergods, and, while it suffered in the second half from a slight case of self-importance, it was enough to make Happy! an instant buy for me, that and the insane story concept of course.
Rude, crude, definitely not for kids, this four issue series rounds out this list.
Next up for Part 2, new Image titles followed by a couple of must have Marvel relaunches.