Right now I am reading two comics as they come out- Prez and 8house- and both have hit the point in the TPB where the greatness typically reveals itself. Are they there yet?
3 is the magic number. It is the halfway point in that first story arc. Some comics totally grab you from the first- but some start out just interesting and delay revealing the scope of the plot until that magic issue. The space adventures of Captain Marvel was like this for me, The Wicked + The Divine started as a cool idea and by the third issue I knew I was really on to something, Wytches began intriguing and built creepy parallel upon creepy parallel. That itch when you finish the third issue can make you burn through the second half of a trade at twice the pace you started it. Prez and 8house both began this year, and last month they both released their respective third issues. Here’s how they stack up.
Prez by Mark Russell and Domo Stanton
In Prez, a teenage girl is elected President of the United States via Twitter/a hacker conspiracy. It covers a lot of ground: strong female protagonist, a female President, a teen President, politics depicted as the problem it is, taking an obscure character reboot comic and turning it into something. Beth Ross is sworn in by the magic issue and we the readers are finally getting a sense of why this comic is being written aside from the author venting a la Idiocracy. In a future with a familiar feeling dystopian corporate political system, here’s an opinion on what we should be doing- by the third issue we are starting to get some suggestions with the satire.
The tone of the comic will take yet another turn in the next issues:
Verdict: More potential than confirmation. The quality is escalating with each issue.
The Hook: What will this President do?
8house by Brandon Graham, Marian Churchland and Xurxo Penalta
8house is a Dying Earth high fantasy story, blood magic and post-human sexuality. The series takes a turn from one crazy body swap idea to another. The magic issue reveal is the other side of the conflict is technology- magic vs. sci fi. Not only is 8house these royal rebels, it is a soldier’s tale. Prophet fans will be pleased. Speaking of, Prophet waited until the third TPB to really show you the depth of the conflict. Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples’ Saga hits you with the war from the first issue, a Romeo and Juliet story. 8house falls in the middle. The third issue switches aesthetics completely when it jumps from one side to the other.
And, in the same issue, off-planet combat (yes, it’s all upside-down):
Verdict: More confirmation than potential. Elevating the genre not rewriting the book.
The Hook: Graham is a bottomless well of worldbuilding.