I haven’t posted on Observation Deck in a while, but figured if it wasn’t being deleted, I might as well. A lot of really great comics have come out recently, so here we go!
The second issue of Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV, Wether
Dell’edera, and Miquel Muetro, published by Boom! Studios, just came out last week and it continues to be just an excellent horror comic. If you have a love of horror and a love of monster hunters, I highly recommend picking up the first two issues.
The plot is as follows: the dying town of Archer’s Peak has suffered a large number of missing and dead children recently. After a group of children were found dismembered in the woods, a mysterious young woman named Erica Slaughter arrives intent on finding and stopping whatever creature it is that killed them.
Yes, her name is Erica Slaughter. The book itself pulls no punches, showing a lot of gore, but the artwork is amazing at how it presents it — like a splash of red across a sea of darkness. If you want to read a preview, go here.
Undiscovered Country, by Scott Snyder, Charles Soule, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Daniele Orlandini, published by Image, is a near future science fiction quest/post-apocalyptic story about the United States. Only the first issue has come out, but it was damn good and I look forward to the rest.
In the book, in the near future, the United States walled themselves off from the rest of the world, setting up an invisible “air shield” around the country so that nobody could get in or out. That was thirty years ago. Now, a signal has been received from inside the US, saying that they have information that could help the rest of the world cure a global pandemic. A team is put together and sent in...and very quickly realizes that, well, nothing is as it seems. The United States may not be so “united” anymore and things haven’t just gone wrong, they’ve gone really, really weird.
Scott Snyder and Charles Soule are both at the top of their game here, introducing us to interesting characters just as their thrust into a new and dangerous situation. But the really interesting parts are the ones where we see what happened to the US and it’s people after thirty years of isolation. To say “It’s kind of like Mad Max” would be an understatement.
Everything, by Christopher Cantwell and I.N.J. Culberd, published by Dark Horse’s Berger Books imprint, is a surreal horror comic. Three issues are out so far and if you enjoy creepy, surreal suburban horror, I highly recommend this.
In the small town of Holland, Michigan, the new megastore Everything has just arrived and created a stir among the townspeople. Everything has, well, everything you need, but there are some people who are suspicious of the store, the people who work there, and their intentions. And then there are the weird things that are beginning to happen around town — like someone setting themselves on fire or the strange humming sound that only some people can hear. What is Everything and what is it doing to the town?
Christopher Cantwell (not the “crying Nazi,” but rather the creator of the show Halt and Catch Fire) is doing great work, slowly increasing the tension, while the artist, I.N.J. Culbard, makes everything look just cartoony enough that it becomes disturbing when something, well, disturbing happens.
Once & Future, by Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvillain, published by Boom! Studios, is a cool action fantasy adventure which just had it’s fourth issue come out.
Bridgette McGuire is an old woman who used to be a monster hunter in her younger days. When she gets word that a group of Nationalists is going to wake up King Arthur, she recruits (well, kidnaps) her grandson Duncan in order to stop him.
Because this isn’t the King Arthur out of pop culture — this is the real King Arthur, the xenophobic tyrant who warred against anyone who wasn’t English, which included the Anglo-Saxons. So now Bridgette, Duncan, and Duncan’s girlfriend have to race against time to stop Arthur from finding the Holy Grail and taking over Britain and instituting a real bloody Brexit.
Kieron Gillen is obviously great, using various Arthurian myths and talking about their origins, but it’s Dan Mora’s art and Tamra Bonvillain’s colors that really shine.
The Mask: I Pledge Allegiance to the Mask, by Christopher Cantwell, Patric Reynolds, and Lee Loughridge, published by Dark Horse Comics. The genre is, uh, crime fantasy horror? I guess? Look, it’s weird. Two issues have come out so far and if you like...weird...then I recommend picking it up.
A bit of backstory: unlike in Jim Carrey’s The Mask, in the original story, the Mask didn’t so much turn you into a wacky cartoon character with a big green head as turn you into a wacky serial killer with a big green head. In fact, “Big Head,” as he was called, ended up killing a lot of people before Stanley Ipkiss was killed by his battered wife (yes, they changed a lot for the movie). But that was twenty years ago; these days, Stanley’s widow, Kathy, is now mayor of Edge City and looking to run for President. There’s only one small problem: Big Head has reappeared and now he’s after more than just revenge. He wants to be the people’s candidate.
“America, vote for me. No more taxes. Instead, Schedule 1 drugs at the supermarket, free of charge. Canada shall be ours. A handgun for every child. Every one of you is a dream-deferred millionaire. We will blow up the moon, executive the homeless, steal all the oil, make all the money, create all the jobs. Let’s get one thing straight: this America—my America—is an America that fucks. See you November in the polls.”
And if that doesn’t make you want to read the book, I don’t know what will.
And that’s it for this week. What books are you reading and what do you recommend?