Indie Comics Spotlight
by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
“I’m back. Everything is doomed!”
The universe is a lot bigger than a lot of people realize, meaning there’s plenty of room for interstellar shenanigans. Amidst all the travel and locations, people still need to make a living. Some people do so by way of being thieves like in Supernaut #1 from 215 Ink. The issue is written and illustrated by Michael David Nelsen.
A 21st-Century cosmic hero myth, this is SUPERNAUT! Reality-hopping thieves join the newly ascended consciousness of Astronaut Stephen Haddon – now known as the Supernaut – pulling trans-dimensional capers across the Macroverse! Strange artifacts on the Moon, meeting God and stealing a map to the land of the dead from a secret pyramid beneath the Pentagon. A mystical, cosmic, sci-fi adventure like no other!
Nelsen has a lot going on in Supernaut #1 and his script echoes that. The issue is written in a way that feels as if it’s jumping through time and space–much like its characters. Nelsen does an admirable job of keeping it all together, but there are points where things get a little confusing. At its core, Supernaut #1 is really an intergalactic heist story and Nelsen mixes things up by jumping around in time quite a bit. There is a much larger sense of faith and religion pervasive throughout the issue as Nelsen attempts to infuse the book with pretty heady material that elevates it above being more than just a caper story.
The artwork in Supernaut #1 is pretty erratic–in a positive way. Nelsen illustrates the characters with an exaggerated approach that fits the relatively cosmic nature of the book. There are some instances where Nelsen makes the character look alarmingly realistic with sharply rendered lines and bold poses. For most of the issue that approach works, but there are some places where Nelsen’s style is a little too vague and doesn’t really give the reader a good glimpse into what’s happening. There’s also a somewhat ambiguous form to the artwork that taps into the cosmic aspect of the book, as Nelsen doesn’t rely on formal panels to define the pages.
Supernaut #1 demands a lot from the reader, but the payoff in the end could be worth it. The Supernaut is a character joining with a series of other characters, all of whom fit the somewhat traditional stereotypes necessary for a crime caper book. Nelsen’s script is very heady and strives for something grander than just a normal narrative. His artwork is pretty funky and a good fit for the narrative approach. Supernaut #1is a very ambitious first issue that’s setting the stage for a much grander storyline.
Supernaut #1 is available now.
Reggie and Me #1
Archie more or less runs Riverdale. He’ll usually never let his status go to his head, but there are still some in Riverdale who really want to see Archie fail regardless of how nice a guy he may seem otherwise. Reggie and Vader in Reggie and Me #1 from Archie Comics is one such duo. The issue is written by Tom DeFalco, illustrated by Sandy Jerrell, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick and lettered by Jack Morelli.
There is no one more loved, revered, admired and adored in Riverdale than…Reggie Mantle? Well, at least Reggie doesn’t think there’s anyone as loved and admired as himself. And his best friend can back that idea up—his best friend, of course, being his dog, Vader. The unstoppable duo is known around town for pulling the funniest pranks, getting the hottest dates and throwing the best parties. And if anyone even dares to compete with them, there is going to be hell to pay. Come take a look at the life of your hero, the handsome, hilarious Reggie Mantle.
DeFalco knows what makes Reggie as a character work and brings that in spades in Reggie and Me #1. The issue offers a steady introduction of the character via his dog Vader and DeFalco uses that tactic quite brilliantly to offer an almost third-party take on the character. It’s extremely effective and DeFalco doesn’t get bogged down in exposition or backstory as Vader’s point of view makes it as if the reader is observing along with the dog. Using the premise that Reggie is throwing one of this famous parties that is drained of attendees by a rival party is a fantastic way to capture Reggie in a nutshell. And DeFalco ends the issue in a way that promise there will be fireworks for the foreseeable future at least between Reggie and Archie.
Reggie and Me #1 also capitalizes on the more modern direction that the series has been moving in since its reboot courtesy of Jerrell’s artwork. Jerrell’s linework is very deliberate and crisp, emphasizing the the coolness that Reggie exudes. Despite the seemingly rough edges though, Jerrell still manages to make the characters and settings feel organic, emphasizing how they interact with one another and tapping into their personalities well. The panel layouts are pretty standard for the most part, but there’s one page in particular that eschews format in order to demonstrate the types of pranks Reggie is known for. The subtle colors by Fitzpatrick ground the book in a high school reality as the characters sports looks emphasized by simple, primary colors.
Reggie is an interesting foil to Archie and Reggie and Me #1 reinforces that fact. Reggie’s build-up as an archenemy of Archie is offered with an emphasis on patience. DeFalco doesn’t waste words in the issue, effectively creating Reggie and building up an animosity between him and Archie. Jerrell’s illustrations are clean and concise, evoking the artistic nostalgia of past Archie comics while looking forward to a more modern take. Reggie and Me #1 is a fantastic first issue that hits all the right notes in bringing discord to Riverdale.
Reggie and Me #1 is available December 7.
Go Home #1
“Because this is war. And things will never be the same again.”
War is a hellish creation that brings out the best and worst in people. Most wars are fought over ideological guidelines and they typically bring with them an abundance of time in assessing one’s own morality. Husk in Go Home #1 from Alterna Comics does just that. The issue is written by Dan Hill and illustrated by Andrew Herbst.
The story follows a young sailor, Husk, during WW2 as he washes up on a secluded Pacific island after his ship is torpedoed.
The premise behind Go Home #1 is simple enough, yet Hill manages to wring plenty of emotion from it. Husk is a WW2 sailor forced into war and Hill gives him plenty of reason to doubt just about everything around him as a result. The plot moves in a pretty believable fashion for a young man–shipwrecked–as he struggles to reconcile his morality with survival. Hill’s pace in the issue is pretty brisk and he moves Husk through various scenarios rather quickly. Hill wants to convey to the reader that events in war happen at an almost imperceptible speed that doesn’t really leave one much time to fully absorb what’s going on.
Herbst echoes Hill’s sentiments of war with a black and white style that borders on eerie. There’s definitely a cartoonish aspect to the artwork that keeps it grounded, but Herbst does a great job of emphasizing the range of emotions Husk experiences. Heavy cross-hatching and shading add further intrigue to the work and gives the book a very ominous feel. Many of the pages feature panels that sit atop a broader, full-page spread that give them more emphasis. The images of war juxtaposed with images of peace give Herbst plenty of latitude in terms of rendering both sides.
Go Home #1 is a book rife with introspection. Husk is contending with an enemy he doesn’t understand in both other soldiers and himself. Hill provides a very flawed character struggling to make sense of everything happening around him. Herbst illustrates the book with an emphasis on emotion and morality. Go Home #1 is an interesting book that allows the reader to question what’s right when everything’s wrong.
Go Home #1 is available now.