Indie Comics Spotlight

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By Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman #1


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“He is alone…no one knows his name. No one knows how he got here.”

Bigfoot is one of the more enduring urban legends on Earth, but how would he fare on Mars? Would he like the dry, arid climate? Maybe the fact that he would most likely be completely alone would suit him. Unless, of course, there’s life on Mars looking to enslave travelers, much like that of Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman #1 from Action Lab Entertainment. The issue is written by Josh S. Henaman, illustrated by Andy Taylor, colored by Tamra Bonvillain, and lettered by Adam Wollet.

The epic saga begins! High adventure on a distant planet of dinosaurs, warlords, kingdoms, and sorcery, where Earth’s legendary Bigfoot finds himself in a battle to defeat the ruthless emperor of a barbarian planet! The dying planet needed a hero… what they got was a Sasquatch!

Bigfoot has never really been known to be much of a talker and Henaman preserves that reputation in Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman #1. Instead, Henaman relies on another character to introduce the reader to Bigfoot and the harsh living conditions on Mars. In that sense, Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman #1 actually works pretty well, in that Bigfoot maintains an aura of mystery tied to what little is known about him. Henaman still manages to move the story along in a positive direction, effectively giving the reader all the information they need to understand what’s going on. It’s most likely that Bigfoot will end up squaring off against the ruler of Mars at some point, but in the meantime, Henaman does a good job informing the readers of the stakes.

Bigfoot is rendered in a way that’s pretty recognizable to anyone familiar with the myth of the creature. Taylor infuses him with brutish physique that allows him to tower over the other inhabitants of Mars. There are plenty of nods to ancient Egypt in Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman #1 that Taylor uses to help visually characterize the setting Bigfoot finds himself in. There’s an abundance of character action going on in many of the panels – so much so that at times panels feel a little too busy. The overall harsh appearance of the Mars environment is enhanced by Bonvillain’s reliance on primarily reds throughout the book.

It’s apparent from the start that Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman #1 is one-part Bigfoot and one part John Carter. Bigfoot finds himself an unlikely companion as he struggles to be free, presumably to go on living his life. Henaman paces the issue cleanly and gets everything in place by the end for the series to unfold. Taylor’s illustrations are a little muddied at times, but largely go a great job of showcasing what a civilization on Mars might look like. Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman #1 is a fun first issue that offers a new twist on a very familiar character.

Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman #1 is in stores now.

X’ED #1


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“Are you in there?”

There’s an inherent risk in venturing into one’s mind, whether it be via therapy, hypnosis, or even dreams. Rarely does that risk manifest itself as one that’s physical, but that won’t stop Dark Circle Comics from delving into that topic. X’ED #1 does just that. The issue is written by Tony Patrick, illustrated by Ayhan Hayrula, colored by Doug Garbark, and lettered by Jim Campbell.

X’ED is a sci-fi thriller about a next-gen form of psychiatry: “subliminal hitmen” injected into your mind who hunt down and kill the demons that haunt you. Ex-military sharpshooter Colin McClure is Mezign Corporation’s most recent recruit for the still-experimental (and often deadly) job of subliminal hitmen. McClure is the perfect candidate for two reasons: a.) He’s a killing machine, and b.) He lost his legs in the war, so subliminal-ops are his only way to see any action. But he’s also a dangerous candidate for one reason unknown to Mezign: Colin’s true motive is to enter the mind of his catatonic daughter and bring her out of a coma.

There’s a coarseness to X’ED #1 that Patrick relies on to make the book feel gritty. McClure is quite the possibly best he is at what he does, which is delving into the memories of those who want certain memories destroyed. There would definitely be a market for McClure’s talents and Patrick even uses that to great effect in setting up the context of the universe. Patrick’s approach in literally making the mind a battlefield works really well and presents a weaponized approach in dealing with the inner workings of the mind. That mechanism also works for carrying the story and making McClure out to be something of a hero of sorts who just wants to get out.

The story is pretty gritty and Hayrula matches that feel with artwork that’s discombobulated. The mind is a pretty chaotic place that’s emphasized by random fish appearing, savage landscapes, and the appearance of memory bodyguards known as Mifs. There are a few panels where the kinetics of the characters feels a little off. For instance, a couple panels have people running and it looks like they’re frozen in time as opposed to actually running. Garbark uses colors to great effect as well, casting the actual characters in a pale blue tone to emphasize their existence in reality.

X’ED #1 has a feeling that resembles something like Inception or Avatar with the exception that the destination is the vastness that is the human mind. McClure is a hero when he goes in and is willing to make dangerous decisions if necessary. Patrick paces the story with pretty sharp dialogue that gives the reader the insight necessary to appreciate what’s going on. Hayrula’s illustrations are messy in a positive way, underscoring the helter-skelter nature of the human mind. X’ED #1 is an interesting first issue that adds intrigue to a rather familiar subject.

X’ED is in stores now.

Seduction of the Innocent #1


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“So, you’re the sharpshooter?”

The life of a detective is nothing if not fascinating. There always seems to be a case open and people to question. Some cases are bigger than others, though, and Seduction of the Innocent #1 from Dynamite Entertainment delves into one of the bigger ones. The issue is written by Ande Parks, illustrated by Esteve Polls, colored by Salvatore Aiala Studios, and lettered by Simon Bowland.

San Francisco, 1953. FBI Agent Thomas Jennings has just arrived in the city, fresh-faced and ready to tackle crime in the big city… he thinks. In fact, Jennings is not nearly prepared for what he’s about to encounter. The city’s crime lords are being systematically murdered and the killers waiting to fill the void are the pure stuff of Jennings’ nightmares. Jennings will be forced to question every belief he holds dear to protect his wife and unborn child from the madness.

Parks starts the issue off by establishing the setting through the use of era-relevant references. This is extremely effective for getting the reader in the proper mindset and follow along with Agent Jennings as he unravels a mystery. For much of the issue, Parks plays out the events as nothing more than an ongoing series of homicides being investigated. There are some strange, supernatural elements mixed in for good measure that aren’t quite explored as much as they likely will be. The final-page reveal is also a little bit of a misdirect when compared to the entirety of the issue and Parks seems to have something much grander in mind than just having a detective solve a series of crimes.

Many of the characters sport an air of mystery about them, courtesy of Polls’ illustrative style. For instance, quite a few characters are depicted with hat brims pulled low that casts a shadow on the characters’ faces, adding intrigue to their presence on the page. Polls also infuses all of the characters with a look that’s appropriate for the era the work takes place in, emphasizing a hard-working persona evident in all the players. The panel layouts mix in an array of styles that ebb and flow with the action, ensuring that things don’t get boring visually. Pages boast largely dull blues and harsh yellows for the colors, generating a night and day mentality befitting the actions of the good guys and bad guys.

Seduction of the Innocent #1 is a detective tale that turns the concept of mob bosses running things on its head. The ending of the issue feels even more topsy-turvy and comes somewhat out of left field. Parks spends most of the first issue defining the lead character as someone who’s capable of getting the job done despite some demons of his own. Polls’ illustrations are a throwback to the look that the book is emulating. Seduction of the Innocent #1 is a good first issue dripping with mystery and intrigue befitting such a story.

Seduction of the Innocent #1 is in stores now.


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