Fairest #1

Written by Bill Willingham
Pencilled by Phil Jimenez
Inked by Andy Lanning
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo

The idea behind Fairest, the new spin-off from Fables, seemed simple enough. The back cover declares it to be about "the fairest flowers in the land" and in interviews creator Bill Willingham has talked about it being a place to tell stories about characters like Snow White, Rose Red, Cinderella, Rapunzel… in other words, the female characters of Fables. So why is it, then, that Fairest #1 is starring Ali Baba?

Read the rest of this entry »

Unwritten #24

Written by Mike Carey
Layouts by Peter Gross
Finishes by Al Davison
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

Where do story characters go when their series are over? Mike Carey and Peter Gross’s series The Unwritten has over the past two years explored the between-the-pages lives of fictional characters, secret societies that manipulate the written world, and the strange relationship between a story and the real world. One of the most memorable issues of the series, though, was The Unwritten #12 where Carey and Gross introduced us to Pauly, a human transformed into a rabbit and trapped inside a thin analogue of the Winnie the Pooh universe. Now he’s back, and this time he’s going to drag all the other characters into hell with him.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less

By Sarah Glidden
208 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

It’s hard (although not impossible) to find someone who doesn’t have a strong opinion on Israel and Palestine. Sarah Glidden is no exception to that rule, so when she got the chance to go on a Birthright tour of the country, she was skeptical even as she signed up for the experience. Her opinions of Israel and Zionism were well constructed by this point in her life, and she figured nothing that she saw or experienced in Israel could change her mind. What she found? Well, it was meaty enough to result in her graphic novel How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less.

Read the rest of this entry »

iZombie #11

Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Michael Allred
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

With iZombie on the verge of wrapping up its first year (and with its first collection due this month), it seemed like a good at time as any to check back in with Chris Roberson and Michael Allred’s zombie series. Of course, it’s not really a zombie series. In fact, Roberson and Allred seem to be delighted in taking everyone’s expectations for iZombie and then throwing them out the window. Do I approve? Of course.

Read the rest of this entry »

Northlanders #35-36

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Becky Cloonan
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

With the temperature well below freezing in the DC area, it’s nice to pull on some blankets, eat a hot bowl of homemade soup, and get down to an afternoon of reading. But ironically, the idea of reading about warm, sunny destinations gets old before long, so it seemed like the perfect time to give the latest Northlanders story, the two-part "The Girl in the Ice," a whirl. If nothing else, it’s a good reminder that while it may be cold in my neck of the woods, it could just as easily be distinctly worse out, and not just because of the advent of modern heating.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fogtown

Written by Andersen Gabrych
Art by Brad Rader
176 pages, black and white
Published by Vertigo Comics

After several initial disappointing releases from the Vertigo Crime line of books, I pinned a lot of hopes on Fogtown by Andersen Gabrych and Brad Rader. I’ve loved what little art of Rader’s I’ve seen in the past (most notably on an early Catwoman story written by Ed Brubaker), and his animation pedigree has shown him to be an expressive and inventive artist. And while I’d never read any of Gabrych’s stories for DC Comics, having two openly gay men working on a crime thriller in 1953 San Francisco certainly held a lot of potential. What I actually found with Fogtown, though, is a book where some parts of the greater whole fail, while others try and pick up the slack.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sandman Mystery Theatre Vol. 8: The Blackhawk and the Return of the Scarlet Ghost

Written by Matt Wagner and Steven T. Seagle
Penciled by Guy Davis and Matthew Smith, with Daniel Torres
Inked by Guy Davis and Richard Case, with Daniel Torres
224 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

Reading a new collection of Sandman Mystery Theatre is a guilty pleasure, but not in the way one normally uses the phrase. Having stopped buying the series during its first year due to finances, there’s a certain amount of guilt now that shows up alongside Sandman Mystery Theatre, that nagging thought that once I had a little more money I really should’ve started reading the series again. Still, when all is said and done, it’s not a bad thing to read it now via collections. If anything, I think some of the slight flaws in the book are better mitigated when read in a large chunk.

Read the rest of this entry »

Northlanders #30

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Ricardo Burchielli
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

Brian Wood and Ricardo Burchielli are known for working together on their series DMZ, also published by Vertigo. So when I heard that Burchielli had come on board to draw a story arc for Wood’s series Northlanders, I was intrigued. Ancient Viking settlements are about as far from a war-torn wasteland of Manhattan, but at the end of the day there’s no need to worry. This ends up being an entertaining first chapter in the latest Northlanders storyline.

Read the rest of this entry »

iZombie #1

Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Michael Allred
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

Over the past decade, Chris Roberson’s come seemingly out of nowhere to carve himself a career in comics, books, and publishing. Originally part of the Clockwork Storybook collective of writers (which included Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges), he’s gone on to have novels and short stories published, as well as start his own MonkeyBrain Books. He’s also started to crack comics, his first major project the Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love mini-series, and now his first ongoing series iZombie. And while iZombie #1 reminds me a bit of some other creations out there, on the whole I’m pleased to see that Roberson’s rising up through the ranks in no small part because he’s a strong writer.

Read the rest of this entry »

American Vampire #1

Written by Scott Snyder and Stephen King
Art by Rafael Albuquerque
40 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

Lately, Vertigo’s launched their new series with a gimmick of a $1 cover price for the first issue, to try and pull in new readers. I’m amused that they didn’t feel the need to do that for American Vampire, although I do agree with their assessment. After all, when half of the issue is written by Stephen King, who needs a lower sales point to grab attention? The funny thing is, though, of the three main creators to work on American Vampire #1, I think I’d probably place King as only the third best in this comic. That’s not so much a slam on King, though, but rather how well Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque do.

Read the rest of this entry »