It's been a long 5-6 weeks with school being hectic, kids and myself getting sick, and just November-December Chaos which has stopped me from grabbing all of my new releases (finally fixing that this week...). So you're only going to see me write about #1's in terms of new releases until probably the second full week of January (1/11 NCBD). My first read for today however might have very well changed my expectations for artistic excellence and/or story-based intensity forever.
A Vicious Circle #1 (Boom! Studios)
By: Mattson Tomlin, Lee Bermejo, Becca Carey
Your story summary is going to be quite short, because I don't know what will/not be a spoiler because Tomlin packs a lot into an issue #1, but do not worry, it 100% all works. The story opens with a beautiful sequence with a young black family preparing for their daily routine of breakfast (and the son hopes they go fishing) upon the announcement of school closures with another attempt to prevent desegregation, the father, Shawn heads into town to "work." However, before he leaves, we learn that the basement is "where the monster lives." However, we learn that the monster is a man in a mask reminiscent of either Kane or Mankind (ah the Attitude Era). What we eventually learn is that the two men are somehow connected, but where their feud originates from or what gives them the ability to time-hop is not explained (yet!)l
What unfolds feels like a rapid crash-course in a variety of artistic styles Bermejo excels in. Across the 48-50 page journey, we witness the following styles/eras (ya'll know I'm bad at explaining art..): The book opens with a photorealistic depiction of life in 50's/60's life as a person of color in the south. The opening pages literally feel like I'm thumbing through a comic created from scanning someone's old family photos. We then are propelled into a cyberpunk-esque distopian future (think all of the good parts of Blade Runner + Shadowrun + Total Recall), the Civil War (this looks like two worlds expertly painted together), 17th Century England and maybe the Colonial US and more. Not only does Bermejo set the stage for each of these eras perfectly, but given the fluid nature of time in this story, you will often see eras blended together, and it all works and it is all beautiful.
I think Tomlin has created a wild ride of a world, and the only creator with the sheer talent to conquer this world is Bermejo. I'm almost willing to argue that this book coming in the dying breaths of 2022 might be my favorite issue #1 of the year, and hands down some of if not the best art of 2022 (and I've read almost 3k books this year). I have a feeling this book could be an explosive hit for Boom! just like several other titles I've written about recently. I can't remember if this pre-sold out, or if we will see this news later today. My honest recommendation is DO NOT WALK BUT RUN TO YOUR LCS to grab at least 2 copies of this absolute masterpiece today!