So last week was a good week for funnybooks. But, as sometimes happens, life has gotten in the way of me discussing them in my usual depth. So this’ll have to be quick. And, since the four books I’ll be covering are also real pretty to look at, I figured I might as well pick one really spectacular image from each, and share those. Some of them will be SPOILERY, while others… Well, okay. All of them are going to be a bit SPOILERY. But some more than others. Consider yourself warned.
Anyway. Without further ado (’cause I ain’t got no time for ado)… FUNNYBOOKSINREVIEWAREGO!!!!!
Lazarus 16, by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, Owen Freeman and Eric Trautmann
A taut, suspenseful issue this time out, with some really nice “artifact” pages put together by the Lazarus production team of Owen Freeman and Eric Trautmann. These are pages made to mimic actual documents, screens, and camera feeds from the story. They add depth and verisimilitude to the proceedings, and are neat to look at, besides.
But I’m not sharing one of those images. Because Michael Lark, bless him, decided to trump all that production gloss with one of the best action images I’ve seen in quite a while:
Velvet 10, by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Elizabeth Breitweiser
More cool period spy stuff as this book’s second arc concludes. Or… I dunno… Actually, I guess that’s the second act of the first arc. Whatever. The story reaches a turning point here, and keeps on rolling.
As usual, however, it’s the artwork that makes the book so very good. I don’t often credit colorists here, because while their work is certainly important, it doesn’t add enough to the experience of reading the book for me to consider it worthy of authorship. Elizabeth Breitweiser’s work on Velvet, however, goes above and beyond. She’s tops.
That said, this issue’s image highlights her less than it does artist Steve Epting:
Sure, Breitweiser picked a nice shade of orange for the background there, making the swirls that much more psychedelic. But the framing is fantastic, too, with Velvet going down up-front, and her attacker framed perfectly by the swirls surrounding him. And speaking of the swirls… Embiggen that picture, and look closely at them. That’s some fine brush work there, the varying line qualities allowing for a certain fuzziness around the edges that add just the right touch of “gettin’ whacked upside the head” to the scene. It’s a small panel, but a masterful one.
Mind MGMT 32, by Matt Kindt
An “all-out action issue,” as they used to say when I was a funnybook-reading tyke. An all-out action issue that still delivers on the weirdness I’ve come to expect from this book, but an all-out action issue nonetheless. And I don’t have that much more to say about it, honestly. So luckily, the issue’s big splash probably says enough all by itself:
Satellite Sam 13, by Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin
A pretty spectacular issue, in which we start to see the payoff on 12 issues of slow burn and character development. The shit hits the fan, in other words. Various other bodily fluids hit the fan, too. In a variety of positions and locations. In the interest of keeping the site relatively clean, however (WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!), I’ve decided to just show you the blood…
I love Chaykin’s framing choice here. Having Ginsberg’s face being snapped back behind the floating panels just makes the punch seem that much worse. The pencil shading… zip-a-tone… charcoal… whatever-technique-he’s-actually-using around the blood adds to the impact, too. And the blood itself! Exploding out of Ginsberg’s head in a torrent that also defines the movement of the punch, making it a very dynamic shot without a single speed line or sound effect. And I don’t know if letterer Ken Bruzenak is responsible for that little grey smudge behind the word balloon or not, but… That’s nice, too.
SUCH nice work. SUCH a great comic. A pleasure to read, even as things turn nasty.