Flink

By Doug TenNapel
112 pages, black and white
Published by Image Comics

Having an effective ending to a story is, ultimately, crucial to how people will remember your creation. It’s the last thing that you encounter, so a mediocre story with a great ending will probably be thought of as better than its average level of quality really is. Likewise, a good story with a bad ending can poison the proverbial well, destroying a lot of goodwill that was built up with the audience until that point. In the case of Doug TenNapel’s new graphic novel Flink, the shift in my reception because of the last six pages? To say that it was immense was an understatement.

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Glister #1

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

You never really know what you’re going to get with Andi Watson. Dimensional hopping teenager and fox spirit? Unemployed factory worker with relationship problems? Big town reporter going to small-town paper? Goth girl exiled by parents to the countryside? Superheroes and hangers-on in love? I suspect Watson actually delights in regularly switching genres and styles, to keep his readership forever slightly confused yet eager to see what’s happening next. With his new series Glister, Watson is mixing things up again, with a real treat ready for those who give it a try.

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Repo #1-2

Written by Rick Spears
Art by Rob G
28 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

In stories set in the future, there are always some things that seem to carry forward from the present day. There’s still crime. There’s still greed. There’s still theft. So under the circumstances, it also makes sense that there would still be repo men, who come to take back what you have either defaulted on paying for, or never owned in the first place. The only real difference, I guess, is what you’re trying to repossess.

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Age of Bronze #20-25

By Eric Shanower
24 pages, black and white
Published by Image Comics

People who say that history is boring merely aren’t experiencing it very well. Be it a better teacher, or book, or movie, or some other form that it’s being told, historical stories can in fact be quite enthralling. Some events are more interesting than others, of course, and you’ve got to pick and choose carefully. When you’ve got an extremely talented creator like Eric Shanower recounting the story of the Trojan War? Now that is truly the fabled gift from the gods.

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Negative Burn #7

Written by Michael Cho, Shannon Eric Denton, Jim Dougan, Alexander Grecian, Ron Kasman, Ron McCain, Shane White, C. Willow Wilson
Art by Michael Cho, Georges Jeanty, Ron Kasman, Eric Kim, Pav Kovacic, Ron McCain, Rily Rossmo, Curtis Square-Briggs
64 pages, black and white
Published by Image Comics

With a long and prestigious 50-issue run at Caliber Comics, Negative Burn was one of the few modern ongoing anthologies a little over a decade ago that’s worth remembering. Now with the title back as a regular title, it seemed like as good a time as any to dip in and see how well it’s delivering up selections of short stories.

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Pirates of Coney Island #1

Written by Rick Spears
Art by Vasilis Lolos
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

There are some titles that just grab me the second I hear them. The Pirates of Coney Island was definitely one of them; the mixing of a familiar genre phrase (“The Pirates of…”) with the part of Brooklyn known for its boardwalks, beaches, and amusement parks. I actually laughed out loud when I first saw the title and figured I knew exactly what I was getting in for, with such a funny, silly name. And boy, was I wrong on all counts.

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Sam Noir: Samurai Detective #1

Written by Manny Trembley and Eric A. Anderson
Art by Manny Trembley
24 pages, black and white
Published by Image Comics

With a title like Sam Noir: Samurai Detective one would almost automatically assume that the comic is going to be a comedy. The merging of samurai culture with pulp detective fiction, after all, seems like something you can’t succeed with unless there’s a touch of humor involved. The more I read of Sam Noir: Samurai Detective, I began to have a nagging doubt. Could it be that Manny Trembley and Eric A. Anderson are taking the concept 100% seriously?

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Cobbler’s Monster

Written by Jeff Amano
Penciled by Craig Rousseau
Inked by Wayne Faucher
128 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

The retelling of classic stories is something practiced in different sorts of media. Sometimes it’s a sequel, other times an adaptation, or perhaps inspired by something else. In the case of The Cobbler’s Monster, what we’re getting is two different stories merged together, and it’s a combination that I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of in the past.

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Casanova #1-2

Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Gabriel Ba
20 pages, two-color
Published by Image Comics

So many books being published right now seem to be taking the wrong tactic to hook readers. The current trend seems to be “decompressed” storytelling, giving yourself additional space to slowly let everything unfold. The problem is that if you aren’t really good at this technique, it backfires and gives the reader an impression of nothing happening. I think what initially grabbed me about Casanova is that this book seemed to almost be flipping decompression the proverbial bird, reminding people that there’s another tactic waiting to be taken. Just how much can you pack into a single comic?

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Hector Plasm: De Mortuis

Written by Benito Cereno
Art by Nate Bellegarde
48 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

The problem with horror comics, I think, is that people are spoiled these days by special effects in television and movies. Horror becomes in the audience’s mind something continually moving, never letting you catch your breath. With the static nature of images in comics, that’s not the case at all. It’s a very different kind of horror, much more subtle—and if executed properly, in some ways superior.

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