Indie Comics Spotlight: Buddy Cops, Halcyon & Tenderfoot 4, Winter City 5
by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
Buddy Cops (One-Shot)
I can see it in your eyes, I can see it in your smile, you’re all I’ve ever wanted, (and) my arms are open wide. ‘Cause you know just what to say, and you know just what to do and I want to tell you so much, I love you. That about sums up Buddy Cops one-shot from Dark Horse Comics. The title is written by Nate Cosby, illustrated by Evan Shaner and lettered by Rus Wooton.
Dennis was an intergalactic space cop who got demoted to the NYPD, where he goes by the name Uranus. T.A.Z.E.R. (Tactical Android Zoned for Efficient Resolution) is a police robot accidentally rebooted by a janitor. One brings the funk and ruckus (Uranus) while the other brings the order and planning (T.A.Z.E.R.). Together, they’re one of the most unstoppable duos out there, fighting all manner of alien, robots and other various crimes.
After reading the one-shot, the first word that comes to mind is “Wow.” Buddy Cops (One-Shot) more or less steams over you like a freight train, leaving you wondering what it is exactly you read. And that’s nothing but praise for Cosby’s story. He’s managed to write something so outlandish and politically incorrect that it reads quite brilliantly, pulling no punches and saving room for no apologies. The buddy cop dynamic isn’t original by any means, but Cosby manages to make it feel new.
Uranus blurts out some great phrases as well, making sure you know he’s usually drunk on the job. T.A.Z.E.R. is such the polar opposite as a methodical, calculating robot who tries to find the best approach to a situation, but is often undermined by the spontaneity of Uranus. Their dynamic is one of the buddy cop duos at its finest and makes the book nothing but a guilty joy to read.
Shaner’s work gives the book that ’70s cop serial feel that adds to the atmosphere. Some of Cosby’s “criminals” are truly crazy and inventive and Shaner is up to the task of putting physical representations of them to the pages. The panel layouts are fairly standard, but this isn’t a book that relies on crazy panel designs. No, it relies on mammoth, nuclear infused monks praying to carry the adventures.
If you’re looking for something fun and completely outlandish to read, then Buddy Cops (One-Shot) is what you need to pick up. It’s a ridiculous duo placed in even more ridiculous situations, with lots of vulgar language, shoddy police work and a slew of crazy cases. There’s actually a few stories in the one-shot, helping the whole thing feel fresh and exciting. Frankly, it’s a lot of fun to read.
Buddy Cops (One-Shot) is available in stores now.
Halcyon & Tenderfoot #4
Tenderfoot was an impatient youth whose impatience managed to get his father killed. His father just so happened to be a hero in Brink City and his death proved to be a catalyst for a young Tenderfoot. How does it all play out from there? Halcyon & Tenderfoot #4 from Art Heroes concludes the first volume. Concluding the series is writer Daniel Clifford, illustrated by Lee Robinson and cover colors by FiverArts.
Tenderfoot and Jenny Wren are squaring off against Telescopic Woman and Dr. Birdbrain, with the prize target being Halogen Man. Tenderfoot is faced with a truly dramatic decision when facing Halogen Man, with everyone hoping he makes the right choice. Mix in some robots disguised as holograms, fighting and a city with its eyes on the outcome of Tenderfoot’s decisions and you’ve got a thrilling conclusion.
For a volume-concluding issue, Clifford manages to infuse Halcyon & Tenderfoot #4 with some pretty heady subject matter. Tenderfoot feels responsible for the death of his father and is forced to grow up a lot more quickly than he probably should have. It’s true that Tenderfoot was indirectly responsible for the death of Halcyon and how he handles the adult decision of what to do with Halogen Man shows his maturity from a sidekick into a hero.
Robinson’s art maintains the cartoonish look that the previous issues have presented. While it is cartoonish, that’s not to say it’s not good. It’s black and white and rather simplistic, but Robinson does a great job showcasing the action sequences, most of which pit Tenderfoot against a certain enemy. The panels that thrust Tenderfoot into a maze of mirrors is pretty well presented and helps convey the fractured decision-making Tenderfoot is experiencing when faced with Halogen Man.
The first volume concludes and the duo of Clifford and Robinson do a great job finishing things up. Tenderfoot shows his growth as a character; ready to take the mantle as hero if necessary. He comes to an understanding with Jenny Wren, who may end up being quite the handful for Tenderfoot to deal with. Overall, the series concludes with some interesting topics broached, the most prominent being what children do in their absence of their parents.
Halcyon & Tenderfoot #4 is available to the public this month at Dundee Comic Expo and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art during the Art Heroes/Jim Shaw Exhibition Launch. Get your preorder
Winter City #5
A discourse with death is never encouraged, unless you’re Death. At that point, you’re just accelerating the arrival of your next victim. When you’re serving Death’s justice on the other hand, that discourse seems a lot more inviting. What’s not inviting is being on the other side, as Vernon Paul finds out in Winter City #5. The fifth issue is written by Carl and Patrick Purcell (lettered by Patrick), penciled and inked by Pablo Verdugo Munoz and colored by David Aravena Riquelme.
The terror moving through the city and viciously killing wealthy individuals continues his spree, with Vernon Paul being his latest victim. Paul was a defense lawyer for a particularly unsavory gentleman named Edward Smittz. Smittz was a man who played fast and loose with real estate for his own personal financial gains and decided he didn’t like whistleblowers. All of that makes Paul a target and puts the eerie vigilante in a tight spot.
At nearly the halfway point of the series, the story has more or less taken shape. That is to say, Winter City #5 isn’t one you can pick up and just jump right into. No, it’s one that rewards the readers of the first four issues prior to it, presenting more information about Sam Winters, the troubled youth desperately seeking a meaning to his life. His uncle taught him to be strong and ignore weakness, prompting him to find solace in a place of hatred and revenge. It’s not an original origin to be sure, but the Purcell’s make sure that Winter’s troubled past is so harsh that it engenders empathy in the reader.
In the present, the terror continues killing some key players in the city. The beauty of the fifth issue is that there’s a bit more revealed about why he could possibly be going after all them. There’s also backstory regarding the Scarfts that helps tie together quite a few loose ends, positioning the story to evolve. It forces you to question what justifies good and evil. Even those who don’t necessarily commit a crime can be more evil than one who does commit a crime.
If you’re reading Winter City #5, you’re coming for the story and definitely staying for the art. Munoz and Riquelme continue to do nothing short of phenomenal work on the artistic front, helping the book avoid falling into pages drenched in blood and violence. Panel layouts are edged with thick, black borders, divvying up the pages into some interesting presentations. Their art is truly remarkable and is just so good and polished.
As a series, Winter City is just awesome. The story is really growing into itself while the art is equally as powerful. It’s a complete package that cements itself as a series that you should definitely check out if you haven’t been already. It’s almost halfway done and Winter City #5 primes the Grim Reaper to get even more in the thick of things.
Winter City #5 should be available soon.