Indie Comics Spotlight – Bubblegun Volume 2 #1, Medisin #1, and Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1


By: Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Bubblegun Volume 2 #1

“But how? With our luck, we’ll be human traffickers by the end of the week.”

The future is one full of potential. Flying cars, neon signs everywhere, and the potential for criminal capers. Bubblegun Volume 2 #1 from Aspen Comics offers all of the above. The issue is written by Mark Roslan, illustrated by Angel Tovar, colored by Peter Steigerwald and Federica Bee, and lettered by Zen.

The BubbleGun crew returns for more high stakes jobs! Since the team rescued the group’s newest member, the cyber boy Asher, from the corporate megalomaniac, Drazic, their world has been in constant turmoil! Devyn and Molli find their bandit crew forced to do the bidding of an underworld gangster, Sir Penny, after borrowing and destroying his favorite ship, The Dark Lightning. Yet, even if they survive Sir Penny’s harrowing missions – how will they escape the clutches of a ruthless gangster plotting to kidnap Asher?!

The heart of Bubblegun Volume 2 #1 is the combination of criminal capers and a ragtag group of criminals. Roslan knows this and works within those parameters well, jumping back and forth between spending time with the characters as a family and the characters in the act of corporate espionage. The dynamic of the group shines through Roslan’s dialogue and exchanges, offering some lighthearted banter to give the readers a sense of their relationship. The premise of the series isn’t really different than the first volume, but Roslan has seemingly raised the stakes here. And the issue is paced very well, effectively balancing the character development with the plot development.

Tovar’s artwork is bubbly and showcases an anime influence. There’s an airiness in the way he illustrates the characters that emphasizes their ebullient personalities. The issue’s opening also boasts plenty of action which Tovar follows handily, giving the reader a glimpse into just another day at the office for the team. Tovar presents a variety of scenery as well to set the book appropriately in the future. The colors by Steigerwald and Bee are vibrant and pop in a way that lends the “bubble gum” sensibility to the book’s title.

Bubblegun Volume 2 #1 is a lot of fun. Devyn and Molli are forced to contend with the possibility of one more job before being free from Sir Penny, but chances are it won’t be that easy. Roslan’s script is appropriately upbeat and works in the right amount of whimsy and danger for the group. Tovar’s artwork is lighthearted and fits the tone of the book well. Bubblegun Volume 2 #1 is a light read that could get heavier depending on much of a more prominent role Sir Penny’s latest plan plays down the line.

Bubblegun Volume 2 #1 is available now.

Medisin #1

“Health care for supervillains. What a concept, huh?”

Being an employee typically brings with it the benefit of health care. That plan can take care of you when you’re injured without breaking your wallet. If you’re a superpowered individual, though, finding someone who can take care of you besides a confidant can often be tricky. In Medisin #1 from Action Lab Danger Zone, some villains find a solution. The issue is written by Jeff Dyer and Mark McKeon, illustrated by David Brame, colored by Joaquin Pereyra, and lettered by Adam Wollet.

Criminal mastermind Malady has recruited a team of down-on-their-luck physicians to provide medical aid for the world’s worst bad guys. Led by the brilliant Ethan Sharp, the blackmailed doctors struggle to uphold their own ethical codes (or lack thereof) in violent and confusing battlefields. And when one doctor goes rogue, the rest learn a terrifying lesson from Malady.

Full credit to Dyer and McKeon – the premise behind Medisin #1 is fresh and clever. Countless “capes and tights” books feature battles that are knockdown, drag-out affairs that leave one (or both) sides severely wounded so Dyer and McKeon are giving those characters a means of healing up. The two writers pack a lot in Medisin #1 as far as dialogue goes, jumping between setting up the premise of the series and delving a bit into the origin of the characters. That being said, because the book is so dense a lot of the middle of the issue is a little meandering and difficult to follow. Dyer and McKeon bring it back around in the end and the reader gets a pretty clear picture of what the series will be about.

Brame’s artwork is defined by thick, black character outlines that render the characters with sharp angles. These lines are further darkened by the black gutters and it’s an interesting design choice that does resonate with the fact that the book is all about villains and being bad. Brame fills some of the panels with a variety of destroyed environments that adds a battlefield medic aspect to the book, further underscoring the dangerous nature of being a villain. There’s also a flashback section of sorts that feels a lot softer than the rest of the book as Brame’s emphasis on more innocent times is a welcome refrain from the more pessimistic present. Pereyra fills the book with an abundance of basic, primary colors that allow some characters to pop more than others.

Medisin #1 is a very novel concept. Ethan Sharp is one of many doctors pressganged into providing health care for villains, but being a smart guy means things might get more complicated for him. Dyer and McKeon have taken a pretty played out concept of comics and added a more modern-day twist. Brame’s artwork is solid and effectively follows along with the action – both on the field and in the locker room. Medisin #1 is definitely worth a read if you’re looking for a new take on the genre.

Medisin #1 is available now.

Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1

“You have never been a farmer at all.”

When you’re immortal, you tend to see a lot. And because you see a lot, you’re forced to remember a lot, which means you could forget other things. In Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 from Valiant, Gilad Anni-Padda forgets one of the most important things he can forget: who he is. The issue is written by Robert Venditti, illustrated by Renato Guedes, colored by Ulises Arreola, and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

On the brink of carving out victory in the most violent battle of his life, Gilad Anni-Padda suffers a devastating injury. He awakens weeks later in a strange land, nursed back to health but with no memory of his past. A tribe has shown him compassion in an age of cruelty, and he will return their gift in kind. Now the real violence will begin.

Venditti’s take on Gilad in Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 manages to make the character feel a bit more vulnerable than an era-transcending geomancer should be and that’s a good thing. Gilad as a character in the Valiant Universe has always had an aura of invincibility about him and despite his newfound farmer ways, Venditti writes the story to remind the reader that the potential is still inside of him. There’s a lot going on in the issue as Venditti has to cram in Gilad’s current plight, what got him here, and the conflict he has to resolve by the end. This does cause some erratic pacing in the sense that because Venditti has to jump back and forth quite a bit, things feel rushed at times. However, the issue is still fantastic and Gilad manages to remind the reader why he’s earned his reputation.

Artwork in Valiant books is always top-notch and refined and Guedes’ crisp linework of is quite stunning. He infuses characters with subtle details that allow the reader to really get a sense of the lifestyle the warriors live, for instance. Those warriors are barbarians and the way Guedes draws their physiques is appropriate – it doesn’t make them so massive that they look like Conan, but they can definitely hold their own in battle. In just about every panel, Guedes draws the readers’ eyes to the characters themselves, allowing them plenty of opportunity to stand out boldly and showcase their strength. Arreola’s colors are a treat as well, making the characters feel alive with rich skin tones.

Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 is a brilliant issue that gives Gilad a day off from being a geomancer in a way. Gilad has to remember who he is, though, but by the end, the reader is given all the Gilad Anni-Padda they can handle. Venditti’s script is smooth and does a great job of rebuilding a forgetful Gilad’s abilities. Guedes’ artwork is phenomenal and fills every page with savagery. Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 does a lot of things right and is a reminder as to why Valiant is one of the best publishers around these days.

Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 is available now.

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