ATOMIC
EMPIRE

Comics: One Does Not Simply Walk into Mordor

by Dee. 5/27/2017
Hey there, friends: Dee here with some reviews and previews for May - so buckle up! Here's the word on Batman / Shadow, Luke Cage (2017), Kill the Minotaur, and Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It.

Batman / Shadow (DC Comics): The world's best detectives join forces, and swiftly mete out justice and punishment in equal measure. Bruce comes to Henri Ducard, asking his former mentor for help with an unsolvable mystery: the impossibility of the Shadow, alive and kicking in today's world.

I like that instead of merely "updating the story for modern times" in a cringe-worthy way, they built the legend, the ghost, and the mystery to evolve the Shadow into a more haunting character. Within a few panels, the artist builds the tension of the Shadow appearing and disappearing dramatically, and it is an elegant way to play with visual storytelling.

This is a six-issue mini-series, so I'd suggest hopping on this story sooner rather than later.

Luke Cage (2017) (Marvel Comics): Unsurprisingly, Luke Cage kicks ass. He is strong, deliberate and powerful through his words as well as his actions.

Did you like the Netflix series? This has a similar feel, in that Luke, by his very nature, is a smooth talker. The comic's hero doesn't look like the TV star, which gives it the ability to tell a different story without story continuity problems.

The script for this issue is meaningful and carefully crafted for maximum impact: the tone of the story feels similar to the Netflix miniseries. One of the most powerful pages has his inner dialogue following his fight down multiple flights of stairs, staying dynamic in action as static images on the page.

The color palette reflects the mood in such a significant manner, going from full color to shades of gray for a pivotal moment in the comic. I am impressed by how the story feels well orchestrated between story and visual storytelling methods.

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Kill the Minotaur (Skybound):
If you are at all familiar with the Greek myth of the Minotaur, you have a good idea of where this comic is leading. The story has everything you need: a Big Bad monster, betrayal, warring nations, human sacrifice... the list goes on and on.

The myth goes that the Minotaur is Minos's adopted son, as the gods took his biological son. Minos has repeatedly pillaged his way though Athens, and a bargain is finally struck: the King of Athens will send him seven sons and seven daughters of Athens as a sacrifice to the Minotaur, if Minos will not attack for nine years.

Remarkably, Minos agrees and keeps to his word. Theseus, prince of Athens, steps up to be one of the sacrifices. This is when the story really takes off. In the preview of this issue, they cut off the story after King Minos has proved what a manipulative and awful tyrant he is, mercilessly killing a tribute and drugging our hero.

What the comic offers is a more realistic view of the action through a third-person narrative, with the focus on our main man, Theseus. The classical myth seems to feel detached from the visceral reality of living in that time, so the comic's portrayal of beheading is more upsetting, the casual view on brutality against other people is more repulsive, and the indifference of the ruling class triggers a more rebellious response.

The pedigree of this comic is interesting: the creators of Kill the Minotaur (Chris Pasetto and Christian Cantamessa) have also had success in other media (Red Dead Redemption and Destiny video games), and Skybound's first feature film, Air. The artist Lukas Ketner, has worked on Witch Doctor and Birthright, and Jean-Francois Beaulieu did colors for Green Valley and I Hate Fairyland. This is compelling and ambitious, and I'm excited about the epic nature of the series.

Release date: June 14, 2017.

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Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Mean It (Oni Press):

If you know Rick and Morty, and if you like the Pocket Mortys mobile game, this is the comic for you! Like the mobile game, there are multiple Mortys trying to escape from the Mortys that captured them. If you don't know the mobile game, don't worry: this sounds like an actual episode of the TV show. As a viewer, I can tell you that the tone, dialogue and script is faithful to the original material.

The creative minds behind this series have worked on Steven Universe, Rick and Morty, Power Rangers: Pink and The Skeptics.

Here's the other thing: this comic did something that the Pathfinder comic series did - it included usable game cards (in this case, for the TCG version of Pocket Mortys). This means that getting a subscription would be the way to ensure you get all of the cards available from the comics. This is a five-issue miniseries, so get on this ASAP.

Release date: July 5, 2017.

Speak friend and enter,
Dee

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