Commentary Fetish Fix Image Comics Reviews

Lazarus #27: Jonah Carlyle . . . Long Lost and Found

Story: Greg Rucka | Art / Cover: Michael Lark

After a long layoff of a full year (and some change), I am so happy to finally have  LAZARUS proper back into my hands, gracing my eyeballs! When last we received an issue of LAZARUS written solely by co-creator/author Greg Rucka and artist exclusively by co-creator/artist Michael Lark, it was March 2017’s LAZARUS #26, the conclusion of the “Cull” storyline which saw the Russian family Vassalovka — a deadly new piece on the LAZARUS chessboard — make their devastating assault.

Well, with a presumably recharged Lark back in the groove of producing awesome pages again, issue #27 arrives as the first of a 2-part prelude to “Fracture”, the next multi-part storyline which promises to bring major changes as this wonderfully intricate and progressive story moves forward. In the intervening months between issues #26 & 27 there was a 6-issue miniseries, LAZARUS: X+66 (co-written and drawn by various creators) that served to chronicle some key side-characters and events that get us from year X+64 to where we’ll eventually arrive in year X+67 when “Fracture” starts.

Thankfully issues #27 & 28 also chronicle events between those parameters, but they focus solely on the previously unknown fate and misadventures of one Jonah Carlyle, the disgraced, disowned and discarded son of the Family Carlyle, who — having been betrayed by his sister Johanna Carlyle who was at one point his co-conspirator to seize control of Family Carlyle by taking out their patriarch Malcolm Carlyle along with their historically loyal, weaponized “sister” and Lazarus Forever Carlyle, the embattled star of our show. [see LAZARUS #1-9]

After his fall from grace and ouster, Jonah had desperately tried to appeal to–and seek asylum from–Carlyle’s hated rival, the Family Hock (whose own patriarch, Jakob Hock, is one sadistic S.O.B.) Well, Jonah’s desperation plan for survival via Hock had actually backfired and led instead to his capture, imprisonment and inhumane torture by the Family Hock because Jakob Hock wanted to extract the Family Carlyle’s longevity technology from Jonah’s DNA. [see LAZARUS #10].

Meanwhile, Malcolm had ordered Forever to execute Jonah, while he used his son’s pitiful plight to ultimately facilitate what is called a Conclave between all the families in the Dystopic world of LAZARUS [see LAZARUS #11-13]

However, Forever’s encounter with her brother did not go as commanded because Jonah did what no other Carlyle would do for her, which was tell her the very old, well-guarded secret truth about her very existence. Jonah plead for his life and Forever opted not to kill him in that confrontation, instead she helped him escape his fate in a way that would help incriminate the Family Hock–which pleased Malcolm–and sent him away to never return [see LAZARUS #14].

Jonah has been presumed dead, yet readers knew better than that. So that’s the backstory. LAZARUS #27 (and 28) is the story of what happened after Jonah escaped into the North Sea.

So fast forward to now and we find — well, a Scandinavian family finds Jonah floating in the North Sea near Denmark and rescues him from certain death by hypothermia. A lovely lady by the name of Pernille Møller Jensen is especially sympathetic to him and helps nurse him back to functional vitality. Jonah assumes a slightly altered identity to avoid more suspicion, scrutiny and worse, and chooses to live and work among these fine Danish folk who naturally are also in cold-but-quickly-heating up war with the same factions Family Carlyle are.

Without spoiling too much, I’ll conclude that this rather fulfilling issue ends with a love scene that — judging by the cover of May’s #28 — may or may not lead to the eventual birth of a child as the next chapter chronicles the remaining years of Jonah’s exiled adventures. Given the world of LAZARUS, I do not anticipate a happily-ever-after ending to Jonah’s new life.

I wait impatiently for “Prelude to Fracture” Part 2.


Commentary Fetish Fix Image Comics Reviews The Fetish Life

SAGA #51: Middle-Aged, Poised and Graceful

Written by Brian K Vaughan | Illustrated & Colored by Fiona Staples

At just past the would-be half-way mark of what’s speculated to likely be a 100-issue epic creator-owned series, SAGA is that comfortable, reliable favorite series that you come to simply expect to deliver exactly what you need from a series — not unlike a favorite TV showing deliver the goods each and every week of the season. That’s exactly what I experienced reading Chapter Fifty One. Saga’s vast cast of characters never fail to be compelling from scene to scene, issue to issue. The plots never meander and rarely fail to surprise and thrill.

A relatively “quiet” issue, this one opens with Squire and his father Prince Robot discussing the suspiciously missing Princess Robot. Longtime readers know the truth behind that story. Next we find young Hazel in the ocean, not-quite being babysat by Ghüs, Friendo and Doff. A “mustached kingfish” leads photojournalist Doff off to this chapter’s climax at the end, but not before we discover Hazel’s dad Marko writing a novella that gets lovingly criticized (not too harshly) by his wife and Hazel’s mother, Alana. Oh, and there’s the matter of Petrichor’s (along with Prince Robot and Squire’s) new identity plan that starts heading toward a resolution (well, maybe — you never know in this universe).

That aforementioned adventure to photograph the usually elusive mustached kingfish? Well, that adventure ends tragically, unfortunately. However, that death is an honorable one thanks in no small part to loyalty. Of course, SAGA remains an epic story that is no stranger to purposeful deaths.

All in all, a rather fulfilling chapter, especially if you consider how the plot continues to serve a variety of characters in its twenty-two pages. After six years and fifty-one issues in, SAGA enters its middle-age poised and graceful while its co-creators Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples continue to show the comics industry how it’s done!

Commentary Fetish Fix Image Comics


A few reads from April’s Fetish Fix.

Story: Gerry Duggan | Art / Variant Cover: Declan ShalveyJordie Bellaire

So ANALOG #1 was an excellent start. So good I’m very tempted to get it monthly. I will get the $10 trade in October. I’ve been transitioning away from monthlies in my creator-owned comics since last fall, and this is a series I know will be so rewarding in book form. I’m happy to wait a few months for this first arc.

Story: Brenden FletcherKarl Kerschl | Art: Karl KerschlMsassyk

ISOLA #1 was also an excellent start and so gorgeous. I’m in for this one as well. And like the aforementioned ANALOG, I’ll trade-wait this one also. This one will clearly be a better reading experience in book form, not because the first chapter wasn’t satisfying, just that as beautiful and immersive as it is, it will be a breathtaking experience in book form. Come on October!

Story: Joe Henderson | Art: Lee GarbettAntonio Fabela

And there was yet another fine start in SKYWARD #1. Image is 3 for 3 on new series for me this month, hitting it out of the park as usual on high concepts. This one particularly could be really cool for an animation or live-action adaptation as well.

Story: Robert Kirkman | Art: Lorenzo De FeliciAnnalisa Leoni

And finally, I am already off the OBLIVION SONG train after two issues. Cool concept but creator/writer Robert Kirkman’s style & execution remain unimpressive, as is Lorenzo De Felici’s art, I’m sorry to say.  Of course, it’s all subjective, and I like a wide variety of art styles, am even tolerant of many more “crude” styles. But whatever the style, it has to appeal to the beholder, especially the facial work. I really don’t like De Felici’s faces.

As for Kirkman, I have always had a problem with Kirkman’s dialogue. Plotting wise we know since all the way back to THE WALKING DEAD and INVINCIBLE (and OUTCAST too) that he plots SPECIFICALLY for the 6-issue arc and trade (a tactic ingrained in him while at 2000s-era Marvel). I suppose if you read him in trade form you can get a more fulfilling reading experience. But, ugh, that dialogue . . . one reason I like TWD TV show better than the comic.

p49zeiaptpb01Another recent read, ACTION COMICS #1000, I will address in a separate post.

April Fetish Fix List

From the Pull & Hold Box
  • Kill or Be Killed #18 (IMAGE)
  • Lazarus #27 (IMAGE)
  • Paper Girls – Vol. 4 Tpb (IMAGE)
  • Redneck #12 (IMAGE)
  • Saga #51 (IMAGE)
  • Savage Dragon #233 (IMAGE)
Off the Shelf
  • Action Comics #1000 (DC)
  • Analog #1 (IMAGE)
  • Black AF: Widows and Orphans #1 (BLACK MASK)
  • Isola #1 (IMAGE)
  • Oblivion #2 (IMAGE)
  • Skyward #1 (IMAGE)
The Wish List
  • Birthright – Vol. 6 Tpb (IMAGE)
  • The Black Monday Murders – Vol. 2 Tpb (IMAGE)
  • Copperhead – Vol. 4 Tpb (IMAGE)
  • Coyotes – Vol. 1 Tpb (IMAGE)
  • Gasolina – Vol. 1: Tpb: Bienvenido (IMAGE)
1st Issue Fetish Image Comics Reviews The Fetish Life

Gideon Falls #1 by Lemire and Sorrentino | Image Comics | 1st Issue Fetish

Gideon Falls #1 |
By: Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino & Dave Stewart |
Published: March 7, 2018 by Image Comics |

From the Image Comics solicitationA brand-new ongoing series from the acclaimed bestselling creative team of OLD MAN LOGAN and GREEN ARROW! The lives of a reclusive young man obsessed with a conspiracy in the city’s trash, and a washed-up Catholic priest arriving in a small town full of dark secrets, become intertwined around the mysterious legend of The Black Barn, an otherworldly building that is alleged to have appeared in both the city and the small town, throughout history, bringing death and madness in its wake. Rural mystery and urban horror collide in this character-driven meditation on obsession, mental illness, and faith.

Writer Jeff Lemire and illustrator Andrea Sorrentino have reunited for a tour de force of a comic series that promises to deliver plenty of suspense and psychological horror. Lemire and Sorrentino have been developing GIDEON FALLS for years, always with the intention of it being created for Image Comics. Lemire has actually had the character of Norton Sinclair for over twenty years — he’s his oldest character. Yet he has admitted that the fully developed series was inspired by TV shows such as TWIN PEAKS and TRUE DETECTIVE. Also in a recent WORD BALLOON interview Lemire confessed that he was “venting” his own Catholic frustrations through this particular story.

Driven by a dual narrative, this first issue delivers great suspense and dark, yet dynamic, gorgeous and expressive art. Sorrentino’s page layouts are immersive and worthy of repeated viewing, no doubt made all the better by Dave Stewart’s muted, yet very effective coloring. Visually is what puts this comic over the top for me, though that’s not to take anything away from the writing, it’s just that the visual storytelling does most of the heavy lifting here and makes the read even more compelling.

The two narratives of Norton’s trash collecting and his subsequent return to the mental hospital for a therapy session, and of Father Fred’s arrival to Gideon Falls to replace the dearly (suspiciously?) departed Father Tom appear to be unrelated, save for a shared vision of the The Black Barn mentioned in the solicit. There’s something about the reveal in the last couple of sequences that I have a feeling will tie/twist things together even more. There’s a specific reveal that may hit toward what’s happened to Father Tom, who is supposedly no longer with us.

Aside from those two jaw-dropping final sequences that are sure to compel any readers to be curiously intrigued by the series to come, the portion in the middle really grabbed me as well. It’s the part where Norton’s psychiatrist thinks he’s regressing, undoing all the progress he’s made in his mental health by being obsessed with hunting through the city’s trash for clues to uncover some great mystery/conspiracy. The conflict here is Norton believes he’s uncovering the work of the Devil — real and true evil. It begs the question: is he on to something? Or is he truly delusional and in need of some better meds? Given that this series is billed as a psychological horror  . . . well, it could be a little of both? Whatever it turns out to be I’m confident it’s all going to be a very compelling read. One for which I’ll be along for the ride. I predict that Gideon Falls will join Lemire’s other ongoing series DESCENDER as a long term creator-owned success.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 | Sticking with it?: Yes!


Art Covers Gallery Image Comics

Savage Dragon #227 Cover Art by Erik Larsen

Scheduled to ship in August 2017 . . . A New Beginning in which Toronto, Ontario welcomes the Dragon family. This advance cover look is courtesy of Mr. Erik Larsen himself via his Facebook page.


Covers Gallery Image Comics Solicitation

Savage Dragon #223 April Fool’s Cover from Image Comics

I’m really digging these April Fool’s covers from the Image Comics gang. I grabbed the UNCANNY AVENGERS-inspired BLACK SCIENCE one last week. Unfortunately, I passed on the “Gwinvincible” INVINCIBLE one last week, (though I got a picture of it). Tomorrow I will snag up this “SNYDER – JOCK SAVAGE DRAGON” one for its sheer coolness.


( W ) Erik Larsen (A/CA) Erik Larsen


Mr. Glum devises a plot to merge the multi-verse and restore the love Angel Murphy had for him. Malcolm Dragon fights to save his reality and the lives of everybody on Earth. It’s an awe-inspiring, world-shattering, cosmic event told in three chapters.

In Shops: Apr 26, 2017
Commentary Image Comics

EXTREMITY from Skybound Entertainment and Image Comics

Finally read the first two issues of Extremity and I gotta say I’m really digging this new series from Image Comics via Skybound Entertainment. Action packed, fast-paced storytelling with good and very energetic art. I think in this case it really helps that the creator/writer/aritst Daniel Warren Johnson is drawing the story himself. With Extremity it looks like Skybound has yet another fine comic series on its roster, along with Redneck, Green Valley, Birthright, Manifest Destiny and of course the Robert Kirkman books. Does Skybound even publish a bad book? I don’t think so. Many kudos to Kirkman, editor Sean Mackiewicz and co. for their eye for talent.

Incidentally I recently noticed that these newer Skybound books are coming in with a $3.99 price point, while the mainstays retain the $2.99 price point.

And any rate, keep an eye on this series. I think it’s going to be a sleeper hit.