I Kill Giants #1

Written by Joe Kelly
Art by JM Ken Niimura
32 pages, black and white
Published by Image Comics

It’s been a while since I’ve read a comic by Joe Kelly, but there was something about I Kill Giants that grabbed my attention. Maybe it was the illustration style, maybe it was the idea of a young girl being a giant-killer. Either way, I decided it was worth a whirl—and I must say, if the remaining issues hold up to the promise of the first one, this is going to become a new favorite. It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a strong debut to a mini-series.

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Tim Sale: Black and White

By Richard Starkings, John "JG" Roshell, and Tim Sale
272 pages, black and white
Published by Image Comics

There’s nothing better than a good art book, and nothing worse than a bad one. A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but it does sum up the excitement and fear that I feel whenever I pick up a new art book. I always desperately want them to be good, but I’ve been burned by my fair share of disasters in the past. As a result, I was a little nervous about cracking the plastic wrap around Tim Sale: Black and White, with its new "revised and expanded" edition. I hadn’t picked Tim Sale: Black and White in the past, so I really had no idea what to expect. Good? Bad? In-between? Well, let’s just say that it didn’t land in the in-between category.

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Jack Staff #14-17

By Paul Grist
28 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

When I first read Paul Grist’s Jack Staff, I’ll freely admit that it was hard for me to see past its origins as an idea for a Union Jack comic. That was a while ago, though, and I’m glad that not only did I continue to stick with reading the book, but that Grist continued with it as well. It’s a strange, offbeat super-hero comic that isn’t really quite like anything else on the market.

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Screamland #1

Written by Harold Sipe
Art by Hector Casanova
28 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

Never let it be said that I don’t have a sense of humor. With so many different comics hitting the stands, one often has to make quick decisions on if a book will make the “review stack” or not, these days. In the case of Harold Sipe and Hector Casanova’s Screamland #1, I glanced at the first three pages—and promptly laughed so hard that I knew this was making the pile. I can’t think of a better way to make sure someone buys your book.

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Princess at Midnight

By Andi Watson
64 pages, black and white
Published by Image Comics

What little kid didn’t dream of having a fantasy life that was radically different from their own? It’s a simple and smart hook, and one that Andi Watson really uses to its best advantage in Princess at Midnight, a new one-shot comic. Best of all, though, is that I think Princess at Midnight could be used as an example of how a book can find just the right length.

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Pax Romana #1

By Jonathan Hickman
28 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

What is it with time-travel and alternate-timeline stories that involve the Roman Empire? Every time one turns around, a new one seems to crop up, ready for action. (The phenomenon is so commonplace that Lance Parkin’s novel Warlords of Utopia is about a war between every parallel universe where the Roman Empire, and every parallel universe where Nazi Germany was victorious.) The latest arrival in this genre is Jonathan Hickman’s Pax Romana. Can it transcend the tired genre that it’s placed itself squarely inside?

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Savage Dragon Archives Vol. 1-2

By Erik Larsen
616 pages, black and white
Published by Image Comics

When Image Comics debuted in 1992, there was a lot of talk from the founders about how these were characters they could work on the rest of their lives. Really, most people don’t take those sort of statements terribly seriously. It’s usually just a turn of a phrase, a promise that isn’t expected to be carried out, with the meaning behind the words usually something along the lines of, “I’m proud of this book.” With all that in mind, I don’t think anyone would have guessed that 16 years later, Erik Larsen would still be plugging away at his comic Savage Dragon, or that it would be at over 130 issues and counting. Now Larsen is releasing Savage Dragon Archives, fat 600+ page black and white reprints of the series. Reading over 20 issues together in a single edition, though, gives me a new-found respect for the creator.

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Sword #1-4

Written by Joshua Luna
Art by Jonathan Luna
28 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

I’m not entirely sure why I’ve never actually read a comic by the Luna Brothers before. Their debut title Ultra was a break-out hit (and stood out on the stands with their faux-magazine covers), and Girls seemed to fend quite well for itself as well. So with their new title, The Sword, it seemed like a right time to finally take a look at just what they’re putting together. The end result? Not at all what I was expecting. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a good thing or not.

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Gutsville #1-2

Written by Simon Spurrier
Art by Frazer Irving
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

Most stories aren’t really that different from one another. It’s the same basic ideas, dressed up in the same basic trappings. Every once in a while, someone’s changed the scenery slightly that makes you raise an eyebrow and think, “All right, that’s a tiny bit different.” But then, if you’re really lucky, you might just come across something that has dreamed up a setting so vastly different from what you’re used to that you can’t help but be enchanted by it. And that’s exactly how I felt after reading the first two issues of Simon Spurrier and Frazer Irving’s Gutsville.

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Infinite Horizon #1

Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Phil Noto
28? pages, color
Published by Image Comics

I am a sucker for Greek mythology. I grew up reading the stories as a child, and as an adult spent time studying the material in university, learning so much more than what the watered-down, sanitized versions of my childhood stories had shown. Maybe I’d just been oblivious, but I managed to completely miss the press roll-out for The Infinite Horizon, so it wasn’t until my second read-through that it finally sunk in—Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto had re-imagined Homer’s The Odyssey into present day times. And you know what? I’m doubly impressed with their efforts as a result.

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