Today was Free Comic Book Day and I live directly across the street from my local comic shop, The Danger Room. So, at 10am I hopped on over and treated myself to 4 free comics (the limit), and went home to eagerly read each of them in the hopes I’d found something interesting and new to dig my teeth (or eyes) into.
Here’s what I grabbed and what I think of them:
Lady Mechanika, May 2018:
Lady Mechanika, by Joe Benitez, is a late 1800s steampunk, the demon-hunting quest for identity. While there are a couple things I really like in that last sentence, namely steampunk and demon-hunting, the quest for identity is overdone and too tried. Lady Mechanika lives in a world that is pretty cool without needing to have horrible amnesia or some other type of memory loss, to form a plot. The premise of the story, absent of the setting or subgenre, is the Lady Mechanika needs to figure out where she came from–who she is. I just couldn’t deal with it. The art is cool, I guess, but I can’t help but feel this is one of those comics by men for men, about a woman. This is to say it has a masculine ideology of what a woman should look like. I was definately a bit dissapointed.
Harrow Country is a anthology style comic of horror and the weird. #1 is about a witch that lives in the country town and is shot, hung, and burned. While she burns she speaks–even though she is already dead, and promises vengeance. That’s just the beginning. We meet Emmy, 17, who lives on the same property where the witch was hung. It becomes pretty clear that Emmy is the witch reincarnated, which is cool. The writing is really great, from the narration (in captions) on down to the dialogue which uses a lot of country dialect. The art is chilling as well, even though it uses a lot of bright colors. The colorist and line artist did a great job making even a lovely autumn time forest look creepy and sinister. Thoroughly enjoyed this.
Silver is a black and white comic, which is automatically limiting, furthermore, the art is not among my favorite. However, when I finished the issue was totally into the story and the characters. Creator, Stephan Franck did a great job at creating an action-packed first issue that still gives enough background to let readers feel like they know the characters. By the name of the comic and the cover, I thought I was going to run into vampires (something I’m not thrilled with, typically), but the whole issue turns out to be more of a heist type scene. It’s super fun and I can’t wait to get more.
Probably my favorite of the lot (though Silver comes in as a close 2nd, I think). Shadow Roads is about. . .well I’m not completely sure. But it blends western and fantasy with a tad of steampunk thrown in and dabbles with Native American lore and myth. It also points a damning finger at the appropriation and commoditization of the Native Americans in England during a time of westward expansion and the territories. The cast of characters that are introduced are interesting and varried in backgrounds, ethnicities, and race, but it doesn’t feel like tokenism as much as essential to the story that is going to be told. There’s also a gunslinger who can see ghosts and doorways to the spirit world, which are the types of things I love.