Image-ine All the Reviews (18th and 25th and June 2014)

So we here at Geek of Oz HQ (it's actually just a cardboard box with 'club house' written on the side in marker [way to ruin the magic! - Ryan]) have been a bit busy and may or may not have had time to put together last weeks Image round-up. So to make it up to you my partner in crime Chris and I bring you our picks from the last two weeks of Image releases. Enjoy!

Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Chip Zdarsky

Christof: The honeymoon period is over. With issue six kicking off the next story arc of Sex Criminals it's time to see if Fraction and Zdarsky's saucy foray into a comic book sex comedy is more than just a five issue fling. Spoiler alert: It most certainly is. That said if you thought Sex Criminals #6 was going to be more of the same you would be wrong.

Issue six shifts the focus away from protagonist Susie and instead shines some light on her partner John. Although it was certainly hinted at previously that John had some mental health issues, namely oppositional defiant disorder, this issue really begins to get inside his head. ODD, anxiety and OCD are explored in a fun but thoughtful way as we witness cracks emerge in John's life and his relationship with Susie.

Sex Criminals #6 may not be as 'laugh out loud' funny as previous issues but it's just as, if not more thought provoking. It just goes to show that even with all the dick jokes, Sex Criminals is one of the most consistently realistic and mature explorations of sex and relationships ever explored in fiction.

Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie

Chris: “More”. That’s the one word reverberating in my brain after reading the beginning of The Wicked + The Divine.

I’m not usually a huge fan of the mainstream music scene, preferring mostly to stick to those indie internet bands most well-adjusted social butterflies have never heard of. I thought that might make The Wicked + The Divine, a story ostensibly about that mainstream music scene, a bit hard for me to judge objectively.

Thankfully, that ain’t the case. The Wicked + The Divine is damn, damn good. The elevator pitch reads as “American Gods meets American Idol”, which definitely fits the bill nicely. Basically, pop musicians are deities. There are those who believe in the metaphorical and literal powers they possess, and those who think they’re charlatans. Unfortunately, the latter category also contains some people with rather large guns who are intent on silencing the pop gods forever.

The Wicked + The Divine feels like a spiritual successor to Gillen and McKelvie’s other musical work, Phonogram (something Gillen references in a letter at the book’s end, calling this and Phonogram “sister books”). The art’s gorgeous, the writing’s tight, the spins on existing popular music tropes are nice, and the end result is a book I’m quite keen to see what happens next.

Also, there’s a version of Satan that looks like Madonna crossed with David Bowie in a crisp white tux. How is that a bad thing?

Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Paul Azaceta

Christof: Supernatural horror is not my genre. For one reason or another it's just never really been my thing so it was with great apprehension I picked up Outcast #1. Although it seems not even the ingenious Robert Kirkman could redeem the genre for me, I certainly found a lot to enjoy in this opening issue.

Outcast #1 introduces us to Kyle, a social outcast (see what I did there?) who has been plagued by demons his entire life. Kyle is forced out of hiding when the local reverend enlists his aid in exorcising a local boy who has become possessed. What follows is a brutal 'depossession' (is that a thing?) in which Kyle is forced to confront his own horrific memories. It's an effective juxtaposition that nicely sums up who Kyle is: He's a reluctant and troubled hero who's also destined to kick some demonic ass.

Paul Azaceta's work on this book reminded me a lot of Jason Latour's work on Southern Bastards. Rough, powerful at times, almost primal artwork is a perfect pairing to where Kirkman is trying to take the story. It's supernatural horror but with a cast of complex and grounded characters. Your usual hack and slash horror visuals just wouldn’t work. Azeta makes sure we see every drop of emotion in each character's face. Even if that character is temporarily playing host to a demon.

So I can't say I loved Outcast #1, as I mentioned before I knew from the start it probably wasn't going to be my thing. However I can safely say that if your are partial to the genre then this will make for a stand-out opening issue. 


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