Indie Comics Spotlight – Three, Memory Collectors and Trish Out of Water


By Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Three #1

“The only surprise is that your throat has not been slit in the night.”

Works that look at history are always fun. Works that take that history pretty seriously are both fun and educational. Three #1 from Image Comics aims to be both and it hits. Three #1 is written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Ryan Kelly, colored by Jordie Bellaire and lettered by Clayton Cowles.

Greece has a rather storied history of brutality, with Spartans as violent oppressors of The Helots, a slave race. Over a century after the events of 300, the Spartan empire is facing extinction. Klaros is a Helot crippled during the Spartan War and now confined to a cane, Damar is a widow who works with Klaros and Terpander is a somewhat charming Helot. Klaros gets top billing in the issue, which provides everything Sparta, save for the dramatic, slow-motion kicking of warriors down wells.

Kelly and Gillen’s story distances itself from Frank Miller’s 300. It’s not that they were trying to pick up where he left off or live in that universe, but many will attempt to make those comparisons regardless. Their version of Sparta features more rigid classism on display than what was shown in 300. That work relied on the violence of the 300 soldiers fighting off the invading Persians; Three #1 likes to focus more on the civilization these warriors inhabited instead. Spartans are depicted as pretty much horrible people; a testament to their one-track approach to life that centered on oppression through violence.

Kelly’s art is very slick and stylized. Bellaire mixes in a lot of oranges, browns and reds throughout and Kelly doesn’t rely on an overabundance of blood to convey the violence of the Spartans. Characters feature very detailed bodies, where muscles are accented very well to get across the type of physical world the Spartans and Helots inhabited. Everyone looks sufficiently angry as well; again, demonstrating the violent rage that was necessary to make it in that dangerous world. Times in Sparta were very desperate and that desperation is brought to life well through Kelly’s illustrations.

Three #1 is a very strong first issue that offers a less than revealed view of Spartan society. Spartans were very angry and unforgiving and the creative team seemed to do their homework to help make the book rather accurate. There’s a lot to like for everyone, regardless of your knowledge of Sparta. This isn’t Frank Miller’s version and it’s not trying to be. It’s attempting to be something different and maybe even more realistic in a sense as well. The book fires on all cylinders and is poised to be the start of a great story.

Three #1 is in stores now.

Memory Collectors #1

“It is said the best place to hide something is in plain sight.”

IDW Publishing is big on offering books that are a little more thought-provoking than some of the other fare on shelves today. One of the latest books in that repertoire is Memory Collectors #1. The work is written and illustrated by menton3.

Edith, Beatrice and Magdalena are three jaded fetish models unexpectedly thrown into a violent world and made to confront a horrible and unperceived truth: Hidden among us are entities that feed on the very thing we hold most sacred, our memories. No longer content with their lives as hunted cattle, they become the hunters. And boy, do they do their job with rather brutal efficiency.

Memory Collectors #1 is very dark and rather depressing in a sense. While the trio of heroines is efficient, they approach life with a rather morbid approach to their brutality. There’s an added layer of fear relying on their opponents, all of whom are worthy opponents who tap into something dark. menton3 taps into a collective attachment we depend on for memories, using their importance as an impetus for fighting the Memory Collectors. It’s a rather chilling philosophical approach that gets the reader thinking about their memories and what they really mean in the grand scheme of things.

Equally as dark as the story is the art. menton3 illustrates a very dark landscape littered with evil and bad actions, both of which carry the story. There are some pages where the art is extremely dark, which doesn’t help with seeing the action. Still, the art is very powerful and effectively conveys the shadowy decisions the trio is mired in. Many of the pages could double as pin-ups though; a testament to the ability of menton3 to create a gloomy world rife with necessary violence.

Memory Collectors #1 is a rather insightful work that trades in some of the more depressing tones of Edgar Allen Poe as opposed to the gore that some other writers and artists rely on to get across similar themes. Memories are of extreme importance to all of us and menton3 really takes an interesting view of them. Edith, Beatrice and Magdalena are effectively introduced to new readers and demonstrate a healthy (unhealthy?) commitment to the task at hand. It’s a book that sort of thinks outside the box so to speak when it comes to comic books and it a pretty interesting read if you’re looking for something slightly different.

Memory Collectors #1 is in stores now.

Trish Out of Water #1

“I can’t believe this is all happening to me…”

Trish Out of Water #1 from Aspen Comics is a new series keeping up with their tenth anniversary as a publisher. While it’s a slight departure from some of their more magical and superhuman stories, it’s still a tale that could be very fascinating as it unfolds. The issue is written by Vince Hernandez, illustrated by Giuseppe Cafaro, colored by Ruben Curto and Studio Paralpa and lettered by Josh Reed.

Trish is your typical high school student. She’s got parents who bicker but love her, friends at school and pretty steady thing with Steven. She’s also become sick as of late, suffering what she thinks are hallucinations. Turns out, there’s a lot more to her life than she previously thought, including secrets about her parents and herself as well. Those secrets are being set up to be truly devastating for Trish, setting her up to lose control just a tad.

Hernandez knows a thing or two about women powered by water, as he handles most of the writing duties for Fathom lead Aspen Matthews. He counts on that knowledge in Trish Out of Water, infusing that world into the new one he’s creating here. Blue are mentioned in passing by some of Trish’s friends and it appears that this comic is set in that world to an extent. Trish is very believable as a lead character, going through all the typical things that a high school student goes through. Hernandez keeps the pace brisk as the reader is introduced to Trish, counting on the reader’s experience in high school to fill in the gaps so to speak. It works very well and offers a tight narrative to follow.

Cafaro’s art is very strong as well, with a sketch-like quality to it. Characters are illustrated with bold lines that really stand out against the scenery behind them. The art isn’t completely fleshed out, but the style works for the story Hernandez is pitching. The transformation effects are pretty well done too, offering something of a supernatural feel to the story. This is something of an origin story of sorts and Cafaro does a great job in presenting that in a convincing fashion.

Trish Out of Water #1 is a tightly-knit first issue that really offers some intriguing premises down the road. Trish is very likable as the lead and definitely has something she’s tapping into. The first issue is very evenly paced and doesn’t hurry to the payoff at the end; rather, it takes its time and enjoys the ride. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of Aspen’s works and it offers something to other readers as well who might not be as familiar with that world. The ending of the first issue is very suspenseful and proves Trish could be someone special.

Trish Out of Water #1 is in stores October 16.

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