Indie Comics Spotlight: Winter City, XO Manowar, Winter’s Eye
by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
Winter City #4
Winter in the city is cold, dreary and messy. Winter in Winter City is all of the above and bloody. Winter City #4 from Winter City Productions is all of the above and then some. The fourth issue is written by Carl and Patrick Purcell, with art by Pablo Verdugo Munoz, colors by David Aravena Riquelme and letters by Patrick Purcell.
When we last left off, Donald Swanson was the latest entrepreneur to be killed by the mysterious creature slaying businessmen all over. The circumstances around his death continue the pattern of religious end days and has sufficiently frightened the city at large. Meanwhile, Detective Marshall Daniels continues to investigate the killings, unaware that the next target is Vernon Taul. Vernon comes face to face with the killer and leaves the issue hanging.
The Purcells have continued to keep the story going strong, with each issue featuring another high-profit businessman as the target. They’re starting to tie them all together with something called Typhoon, which injects fresh life into the plot and makes it more than just a serial killer with an axe to grind against these guys. Like the previous issues, the story of Sam Winter’s past is also explored in a bit more detail. This flashback features more of Sam getting bullied, only this time by actual bullies. His penchant for standing his ground is on full display, as is a soft spot for a new girl named Casey Day. The two share a brief moment of love almost and it adds a bit of humanity to Sam’s character.
The art by Munoz and Riquelme continues to impress. These are two guys you should be hearing a lot more about and hopefully will in the immediate future. Munoz includes very intricate details in the art that really conveys the grittiness of the city, further accented by Riquelem’s colors. The killer is depicted essentially as a series of hash marks, which make him out to be quite the killer indeed.
The fourth issue adds new life to the story by referencing Typhoon, proving that it’s still moving at a moderate pace. It’s slowly unfolding in front of the reader and all the reader has to do is sit back and enjoy.
Winter City #4 is available now.
X-O Manowar #6
Ninjak knows how to make a lasting impression. He appeared at the end of the last issue and he’s sticking around for X-O Manowar #6 from Valiant Entertainment. The issue is written by Robert Venditti, pencils by Lee Garbett, inks by Stefano Gaudiano, colors by Moose Baumann and letters by Dave Lanphear.
Ninjak is the man called in when the opponent gets too tough. It’s safe to say that Aric is an opponent that can be considered tough, considering he’s already started a revolution and fought off multiple armies trying to stop him. The two faced off with less than favorable results for Aric, leading to his current predicament. Alexander Dorian was the man trying to stop Aric in the first place and Ninjak bailed him out. He finds his allegiances torn after an enlightening conversation with the Vine. A conversation that proves Alexander will likely need both Aric and Ninjak. It could be the start of an uneasy alliance.
Venditti stays at the top of his game in the latest issue. This is most evident by the characterization of Ninjak, a man who’s pretty much just plain awesome. Readers are pretty comfortable with Aric and Alexander at this point, but Ninjak continues to impress. He and Aric get a few panels to throw down against one another and it’s likely just the start of some great battles.
The art team also does a great job depicting the fights and settings. When Alexander talks to the Vine, the art moves into an ethereal-like realm, showcasing the telepathic conversation. It’s a unique take on the changing scenario and keeps the art in the issue from getting stale.
Again, Ninjak is the star of the show here. The story doesn’t really advance much overall, although the end of the issue does present an interesting storyline for Aric, Alexander and Ninjak to pursue.
X-O Manowar #6 is in stores now.
Typically, an anthology has some common thread that links all the stories together. It could be a theme or character, but sometimes it’s an item. Winter’s Eye from Grim Crew is an anthology with a mystical object called the Winter’s Eye as the glue holding the stories together.
The series of short stories boasts multiple talents. “Through the Silence” is written by Brandon Barrows and illustrated by Kay. “Birth Pains” is written by Amanda Orneck and illustrated by Fede Marin. “Problem Solver” is written by Tommy Brownell and illustrated by Cary Stringfield. “The Other Side” is written by Gianfranco Staltari and illustrated by Marco Zorzan. “Have You Seen Me” is written by Martin Brandi II and illustrated by Charles Dowd. “Hooky” is illustrated by Barrows and penciled by Rowel Roque (letters by E.T. Dollman and tones by Ionic). “Inheritance” is written by Brownell and illustrated by Ben Soto.
Each story features a different creative team, all of them with only one “mandate” so to speak: include the Winter’s Eye in some capacity. The stories show the artifact existing throughout history, bringing a range of emotion to the owner. There’s a wide variety of stories here, all of them similar to something you would find in The Twilight Zone or Tales from the Darkside.
It’s hard to evaluate the overall writing or art in the book, because there is so much talent involved. The creators do a great job of including the Winter’s Eye in ways that seem natural to their respective stories, making the whole book feel like one entire story. The writers have put the owners of object in some very trying situations, such as Brownell in “Problem Solver” and Barrows in “Hooky.”
While there are multiple artists involved, the art is all in black and white, which helps with the horror behind the Winter’s Eye. This is an artifact that seems to bring despair and ill luck to its owner and illustrating it in black and white hits that point home really well. Winter itself is typically viewed as barren and isolated and the association between the season and the artifact is bolstered by the stark illustrations.
There’s a lot to like in Winter’s Eye. The book takes the Winter’s Eye through time and space, showcasing a myriad of different scenarios and settings for it to demonstrate its possessive influence. Little is included that explains the origin of the item, but it’s pretty clear that it has a strong magical influence. This is a horror anthology that focuses more on psychological horror as opposed to gore and will resonate with those looking for that type of atmosphere.
Winter’s Eye is available October 27, debuting at Annapolis Comic-Con. It’ll be available more widely shortly thereafter.