Indie Comics Spotlight: Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #0, POM #1, and Bloodshot Salvation #1


By: Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #0

Sheena is one of the most intense guard dogs around when it comes to the jungle she protects. Her ferocity is always at the forefront when the jungle is threatened and she’s more than capable of holding her own in that defense. In Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #0 from Dynamite Comics, new readers are given the chance to meet that Sheena. The issue is written by Marguerite Bennett and Christina Trujillo, illustrated by Moritat, colored by Andre Szymanowicz, and lettered by Thomas Napolitano.

In this riveting relaunch, the guardian of the jungle, Sheena, pursues a mysterious invader that has come to spy on the Amazon’s most ancient secrets. Following the path of the trespasser, she encounters a forbidden ruin in which even more deadly dangers lie in wait – and begins an adventure that will take her beyond her wildest imaginings!

Bennett and Trujillo accomplish a lot in Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #0, the most notable of which is a clear presentation of the character and what she stands for. The writing duo use a modern day drone careening through Sheena’s jungle to show of her adulation of the jungle and her commitment to protecting it. Bennett and Trujillo fill the issue with plenty of inner-monologue as expressed through conversations with the jungle. Treating the setting as a character is very powerful in the issue and really underscores Sheena’s responsibility and capabilities. The issue’s ending is also a fascinating way to modernize the character as it emphasizes the coming discrepancy between conflicting eras.

Moritat infuses Sheena with a certain animalistic quality that reinforces her presence in the jungle. She still sports the same look that’s made her famous, but Moritat illustrates her in poses that clearly draw upon the animals she’s tasked with protecting. And Moritat portrays her with a natural grace as she swings through the jungle. There are a few instances as well where Moritat showcases a series of successive actions through panel overlays, presenting a clear string of events that lead to something larger. Szymanowicz’s colors are a good match for the artwork in that they’re muted somewhat to provide more of the pulp vibe the character is known for.

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #0 throws the reader right into the thick of things with a character who’s been around quite a long time. Sheena’s almost blind devotion to protecting the jungle is what carries the issue and is a great motivator for the plot. Bennett and Trujillo team up well for the book as their script is straightforward and succinct in its approach. Moritat’s artwork is worthy of the character, emphasizing her closeness with nature. Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #0 does a great job of bringing the fabled character back into the modern limelight.

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #0 is available now.

POM #1

Superheroes deal with everything. Not all of what they deal with involves epic battles in the streets as they typically also deal with personality struggles. When those two things collide as they do in POM #1 fireworks are bound to go off. The issue is written by Marcell Dupree, illustrated by Joel Cotejar, colored by Franco Reisco and Claudio Lucania, and lettered by Brant Fowler.

Prepare for a new type of hero in POM #1. Britney is a socialite with great powers but doesn’t care about the responsibility. Until her family fortune is nearly gone. Now, she has to suit up to keep her lavish lifestyle. The concept behind POM is now with social media and the 24-hour news cycle, heroes have to change an adapt. Those that don’t become entertainment for us civilians or platforms for politicians.

There’s a lot to digest in POM #1 and Dupree isn’t shy about layering characters atop other characters. The gist of the book seems pretty straightforward, but seeing how all the characters interact with one another is what is going to make the series really interesting. Dupree offers up characters who are steeped in the world of superheroes and there are expected issues that come with being superpowered. That’s where the issue excels the best as Dupree gives the characters dialogue that evidences a familiarity among one another. And the issue is paced in such a way that there’s plenty of intrigue as it unfolds with a pace that steadily picks up as it nears the end.

Cotejar handles the artwork for the book and it’s very much one that emphasizes the capes and tights aspect of things. Each of the characters has a superhero look that constantly reminds the reader of the stakes at play. The panels are presented to accompany the explosion of characters being thrown at the reader and Cotejar has a firm grip on how everything shakes out. Cotejar also does a great job of humanizing the characters as individuals who are also people outside of their abilities. The colors by Reisco and Lucania are bright and bold throughout as they accentuate the superhero costumes.

POM #1 is a solid first issue that’s establishing itself very firmly. All of the players involved are coming at things from different angles and how those angles intersect will make for a fascinating story. Dupree knows exactly where he wants the story to go and demonstrates a command of that direction. The artwork by Cotejar is a great fit for the context of the story thanks to its bombastic approach. POM #1 has everything you’d want in a first issue and the promise for things to come.

POM #1 is available soon.

Bloodshot Salvation #1

When it comes to government-sponsored killing machines, few are as effective as Bloodshot. The nanite-infused soldier has handled his fair share of combat and missions, leaving him tired of it all and read for something new. Despite his best intentions in Bloodshot Salvation #1 from Valiant Comics though, external forces always seem to be conspiring as to how to get him back in the game. The issue is written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Lewis LaRosa and Mico Suayan, colored by Brian Reber, and lettered by Simon Bowland.

A bloody and vengeful new beginning for Jeff Lemire’s Eisner Award-nominated Bloodshot saga begins this September as Ray Garrison escapes his violent past to build the one thing he never thought he’d earn: a family. But when a hateful secret from his true love’s past threatens their fragile peace, Bloodshot will be forced to run headlong into a barrage of blood, bullets, and broken bones for a revenge-fueled assault that will have crushing consequences for those he holds most dear. Now: In the arms of his beloved girlfriend Magic, Bloodshot has finally found hope for the future…in the form of the couple’s unborn child. But when Magic’s estranged family – a cruel and sadistic clan of homegrown criminals – re-emerge to lay claim to their lost daughter, Bloodshot will be pushed back to the brink of madness, mayhem, and warfare. Soon: Eight years from today, Bloodshot’s daughter has inherited her father’s incredible abilities. Hunted by a high-tech kill squad called Omen, Jessie must hone her powers..and learn how to survive before the world is swallowed whole by the darkness that now pervades America…

Bloodshot as a character has always thrived when on the run and Lemire is looking to get him in that position again in Bloodshot Salvation #1. Bloodshot here is victorious in a way, having escaped Project Rising Spirit and living a calmer life that he feels he’s always deserved. Lemire knows that Bloodshot can’t leave things well enough along though and his decisions in the issue are completely in line with his character. Bloodshot is confident in his abilities and doesn’t like when people he cares about are being threatened. Much of the dialogue in the issue is presented by Lemire in a very calm manner that very much sets the issue up as a calm before the storm.

The artwork by LaRosa and Suayan is tremendously refined in its approach. Seeing Bloodshot without his nanite-look is somewhat jarring, but reminds the reader that even as a “normal” person he’s still very intimidating. LaRosa and Suayan have also given the book something of an artistic quality because of the somewhat photorealistic approach to the artwork. The way the panels are laid out is very emphatic and reinforces the notion that people in Bloodshot’s orbit are often just as fierce as he is. Reber’s colors are top-notch throughout as they imbue the book with great contrasts in certain settings; for instance, the bright red blood set against the pure white snow of Minnesota offers a great reminder of the violence Bloodshot encounters almost daily.

Bloodshot Salvation #1 is a very strong first issue in its approach to a character trying to get out of the game. Bloodshot is content with his new life as a family man, but there always seem to be forces conspiring to bring him back into the fold. Lemire’s script is clean and straightforward as it catches the reader up to where Bloodshot is and where he’s likely going. The artwork by LaaRosa and Suayan fits perfectly with the tone of the story and its approach. Bloodshot Salvation #1 bears all the traits that make it a Bloodshot story as well as offering up some new intriguing elements as well.

Bloodshot Salvation #1 is available September 27.

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