Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Smash Pages crew has been reading lately — including comics from the past, present and future.
Let us know what you read this week in the comments or on social media.
This week I received advanced copies of two new books by Vault Comics and both have been really sticking with me.
The first is Giga by Alex Paknadel, John Le, Aditya Bidikar and Rosh. Giga‘s imagery and characters made a mark and they continued to roll around in my head the entire weekend.
It’s about a civilization that centers around, and in, giant deactivated mechs. I found the world built around these mechs fascinating. It’s one of those ideas where you ask yourself, “How has no one done this already?” It’s not only brilliant, but it’s executed so well that you’ll be seeing these images and thinking about the world and the characters within it well after reading the first issue.
The art is superb and I love all the little details that Le and Rosh add to the book. The wear on the mechs, the overgrown plant life, the grime. The world feels lived in and real. As for the story, It’s all too easy to identify with characters going through a massive upheaval of their lives, losing the familiar, and fighting for the things they care for, risking their lives to hold on to whatever or whoever makes them still feel alive. I can’t wait to read more.
The second book is The Devil’s Red Bride, and it evokes so many familiar moments from other stories while at the same time being something completely different. It feels like part Usagi Yojimbo, part Kurasowa, part Mulan, all wrapped up into its own new story. This is a good thing.
Much like Giga, the sign of a good comic is when you think about those scenes contained within after the book is over and this book has that in spades. I think that’s because of the magic that the team has pulled here, drawing from the familiar, and adding their own unique spin. After reading the book I found that why it seems familiar is it was inspired by real events. It made me want to know more about “onna-bugeisha” and the life of Tomoe Gozen where they drew inspiration.
This ancient world that Sebastian Girner, John Bivens, Iris Monahan and Jeff Powell have created is haunting in its familiarity. It’s a perfect way to tell the story of a woman haunted by her own past while attempting to avenge a bloody legacy so she can become something new.
DC’s FanDome event is now in the history books, and unfortunately just about all the content they posted yesterday was only available for 24 hours — and it’s now gone. One of the things they shared, though, was Milestone Returns Zero, a preview comic that teased the return of the Milestone line. The comic captured the feeling of those early Milestone titles, but with enough updates to make it relevant two decades later, bringing back Icon, Rocket, Static and the Shadow Cabinet, while also introducing some potential new characters. I’d love to read it again, DC, so hopefully there are plans to share it digitally between now and the return of Milestone in February.
I’ve been enjoying Rob Venditti and Bryan Hitch’s run on Hawkman, to the point I’d consider it one of DC’s very best titles right now — so, of course, it’s been canceled. Which really sucks, especially now, as the most recent issue takes the Hawks back to their roots and features the return of the Justice Society of America. Venditti and Hitch have managed to keep things new and inviting with each story during their run, tackling a variety of genres, and this one is a good old-fashioned superhero story, complete with nostalgic villains, banter and a fun surprise appearance at the end. I’ll miss it when it’s gone.