After a lot of reading, have I got some titles for you! Have to break this up though, so we’ll start off with some Dark Horse titles:
First I am going to begin with what may be the hardest sell, Brian Wood’s The Massive.
I know Brian Wood by reputation, he is the author of the acclaimed series DMZ and Demo, and from what I have read of his run on The X-Men. I saw the ad for his new comic months ago and it has been on my list since, just hadn’t had the chance to pick it up yet. I finally have been able to read through them and I have to say, I am impressed.
The planet has just went through a year of tsunami after earthquake after volcanic eruption, devastating the environment and changing the global geography permanently. America is cut off from the world, Hong Kong is under 100 feet of water and ports in every country have ceased to exist.
For those on board the Kapital, a decommissioned military ship under the control of the direct intervention environmental oceanic activist group Ninth Wave, life has been interesting. Led by Israel Callum, an ex-corporate mercenary turned pacifist, the group now does what it can to survive and look for its sister ship The Massive, which disappeared during the initial chaos.
Post-apocalypse has been done before, Jericho, Revolution, it has been done by Brian Wood before, Americana, what gives this title a fresh perspective is the setting, high seas, eco-group without a definable cause and a desperate need to survive.
At first you might think, “’Preachy’ right? A story with an eco group like Greenpeace would have to be”. It is what I thought, but as I delved into the series, I discovered a compelling story, Waterworld without the fish people and, oddly enough, Sealab 2020 without the underwater and bad animation, though such comparisons do not do this justice.
The story derives from the interaction of Israel and his crew, specifically and mainly with his co-second-in-commands, Mag Nagendra, Israel’s best friend and former mercenary associate, and Mary, Israel’s girlfriend who has a largely mysterious past. While Israel is a pacifist, neither of these two are though they defer to him and support Israel one hundred percent.
Brian Wood has taken an old idea and given it a transplant of an entirely new and original setting with all of the complex motivations and conflicts you would expect. Coupled with the outstanding artwork of Kristian Donaldson, this is a must read for anyone who likes to experience a great story.
From the mind of Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave), we continue the post-apocalyptic themed comics with Orchid.
The world’s oceans rose and covered the Earth, smashing genetic codes, leaving behind a world resembling a cross between Thundarr the Barbarian and the 1977 film Wizards. When the waters receded, mutant creatures inhabited the land, untameable by the remnants of humanity that had abandoned their doomed lifesaving ships to desperately try to recolonize the dangerous forests before them.
The powerful took the safety of the high ground and enslaved the rest of the population, ruling with an iron fist.
This is Orchid’s world and it abruptly changes when this ex-prostitute crosses paths with an enchanted mask taken as a war trophy from a defeated revolutionist and the scientist who had stolen who is now on the run…
This series is just about to end its twelve issue run, but it is definitely worth picking up. The story is never boring, somewhat surprising, and Scott Hepburn’s art is fantastic.
Orchid might have been easy to overlook at first, give it the second chance it deserves.
Conan The Barbarian
Holy crap Brian Wood is busy lately. Next we have his adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s short story “Queen of The Black Coast” which tells the tale of Conan and his first true love, Belit, the beautiful and ruthless captain of a pirate ship.
Conan is almost halfway through its 25 issue run and I have to say I am hooked. This story is truly classic Conan and Becky Cloonan does the subject matter justice with her artwork.
The story begins with Conan escaping execution in Massantia by jumping aboard a trade vessel only to be attacked by Belit and her notorious crew of cutthroat pirates. His vicious fighting skill earn him a place on her ship, beside her in command, and in her bed. From there, Belit and Conan eventually return with plans to loot that same city he escaped and Conan takes the equatorial Belit home to the snow covered north to meet his mother in the ‘Northlander’ cycle. In the current story arc, a sickness has struck the ship and all are in peril.
This is Conan done right, if you are a fan, do not pass this up.
Coming up, more Dark Horse, Image and Marvel….