Jeremy Monken – ComixTribe Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics Wed, 27 Mar 2013 15:43:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Review: East of West #1 Wed, 27 Mar 2013 15:43:50 +0000 EastWestCover It’s easy to create a new world. All you have to do is say “What if…” and let your imagination run wild. What isn’t easy is creating one that feels like a reality, like a place where that “what if” has been free to run wild and touch anything and everything in some way.

Jonathan Hickman’s new series, East of West, does an amazing job of world-building and creating an incredibly deep alternate history while delivering an amazing amount of plot in just a single issue.

Like most great alternate history stories, it takes a fixed point in time, alters it, and lets it ferment a bit to see where it goes. That fixed point is marked by the coming of a comet and the abrupt end of official hostilities between Native Americans and union soldiers. What follows is a world apparently without an American superpower and a robust Native American state. Things feel very wild West, even when the story jumps to the “present” of 2064, the year a trio of prophecies known as The Message foretell the end of the world.

So much is going on in this book, every page is dense with something that exudes pages and pages of implied history and lore. It’s unclear yet what is alien, what is mutation, what is some perversion of technology, and what is magic.

Somehow, it all feels organic.

Nick Dragotta’s designs bring everything to life and keep the story – which bounces between union soldiers, Native American tribes, magical murder children, sci-fi saloons, and the White House – feeling like one cohesive experience. More than that, every page uses clearly well-thought out color palettes and visual design to make each page feel incredibly solid.

With all the chaos that this book jumps right into, nothing is explained and nothing needs to be explained. The concepts are familiar: cowboys, indians, and revenge; but they’re thrown together in a new way that is both comfortable and deeply intriguing.

You can spend a long time just looking over any panel and extrapolating meaning from each little accent in the scene, mentally tracing it back all the way to that fixed point in time where this reality was spawned from ours.
This is a book where everything is significant, which is wonderfully engaging. East of West is one to keep an eye on, as it’s got the potential to tell a story with incredible depth.


Publisher: Image
Price: $3.50

Review: The Walking Dead Governor’s Special & The Walking Dead #107 Sun, 17 Feb 2013 18:30:30 +0000 COZ_Featured_2-17-13

The Walking Dead – Governor’s Special

Timed to support the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead show on AMC, Image has released a Governor-focused book, as an attempt to catch readers up on everything Governor as the character goes into full gear on the show.

GovernorComicPageThe book contains a reprint of The Walking Dead #27, which was the survivors’ first introduction to The Governor, as well as the Governor’s origin story from the CBLDF Liberty Annual 2012. The Governor’s role in the book is surprisingly limited and only loosely parallels events from the first half of this season’s events in the show.

It’s hard to understand who this book is really for. It’s not for comic readers that might be fans of the character in issues past, as it contains no new content and is just a reprint of an issue where the Governor was introduced. It doesn’t go over the realities of what Woodbury was, what it became, the things he did or the things that were done to him.

Likewise, it doesn’t appear to be for fans of the show. The Governor as portrayed by David Morrissey is much more of a sinister Southern gentleman with brief moments of ruthlessness as opposed to the comic’s unhinged villainous Governor. The Governor Special doesn’t provide much information to highlight what’s different about the comic’s portrayal of the character as opposed to the show’s version or add anything that supports the events of the show.

The only real selling point of this special is the CBLDF origin story which many readers might not have seen, but even the origin isn’t much of an origin. It’s clear the Governor is already the Governor by the time this vignette takes place.

The Walking Dead #107

After 106 issues of The Walking Dead, I go into each new story with a sense of dread. Robert Kirkman has created a world so painful and unsafe for even the most beloved of main characters that I am always prepared to say goodbye to the survivors I’ve followed for many years.

WalkingDeadPageAfter three issues of Carl in the clutches of Rick’s nemesis du jour, Neagan, Kirkman continues to tug on the readers’ heartstrings with issue #107. The cover implies a dark fate for Rick’s ever-changing son, and the first panel jumps right into the action with an old-fashioned Rick Grimes smackdown.
Kirkman manages to make nearly every character unpredictable yet totally justified in his actions. Neagan continues his characteristic F-bombery yet responds to each new encounter in a slightly different way. He’s not just a generic bad guy, he’s reasonable. He’s got clear motivations and is weighing pros and cons while portraying a character for very self-aware dramatic effect. I think it remains to be seen how deep that character runs.
Likewise, with Rick, you never know when he’s going to be in “Go Nuts” or “Play It Safe” mode. It’s getting harder and harder to know exactly just which characters Rick is lying to, as Kirkman has kept the details of Rick’s grand scheme locked away in his head. Is he genuinely behaving? Is he stringing Andrea along to keep her happy? Does Carl or Jesus know something we don’t? Who’s to say?
Charlie Adlard’s art continues to impress and further emphasize the mystery of just what gears are spinning in the characters’ heads at different moments throughout the story. Rick’s eyes flash back and forth, looking full of life and love one moment and showing a state of total disconnect from everything the next. Rick’s eyes flash back and forth, looking full of life, love, rage, or sadness, or showing a state of total disconnect from everything around him.
Another interesting aspect of this and other recents issues is that it features no walkers. People are traveling freely, sleeping in beds, making plans, dealing with petty relationship troubles. Nobody is terribly concerned with the undead, and the group continues to meet new groups of survivors. It no longer feels like a book about the end of the world.
Yet the dread remains.
With the survivors sporting so many physical and emotional scars and constantly facing the looming threat of death or further dismemberment, it’s hard to read the title on the cover and not feel like “The Walking Dead” refers more to the living.