Two reviews in one day? The reward for getting all 3 kids to bed by myself before 10 pm!
The second book I dove into from this week's haul was SFSX (Safe Sex #1) from Image Comix written by Tina Horn with art by Michael Dowling.
This was a real judge a book by the cover add to my pull list for me, but something about two either feminine or fluid individuals kissing but being pulled apart by riot cops intrigued me.
The book starts with a massive sex party/orgy/celebration of all things kink at a club called "The Dirty Mind" on sex worker appreciation night. The protagonist (Simona) speaks about how embracing elements of her sexual desire was truly liberating to her, but during her post-orgasmic bliss, the dirty mind is raided by government forces (the Party) citing how the perversion of this space is leading to moral decay. Simona and her significant other (George) have to flee the cops, and return to their San Francisco residence.
Fast forward a few years into the future and you find that sex is a highly regulated practice by the government, and the Dirty Mind has been turned into a government hub known as the "Pleasure Center." The pleasure center is where they track "purity" scores of everyone and the goal is to have a high score (like a sexy credit rating). To raise your purity score, it appears you have to have vanilla sex with your spouse, and then file your paperwork.
The next day, as George he heads to work at the Pleasure Center runs into the woman in charge of this neo-purity movement, and he makes it to a floor where he is not authorized to be, and then is disappeared. Cut to Simona attempting to file her paperwork (I think) while we hear propaganda stating how the purity movement and monitored sex has created productive feminism, which has decreased violence etc. This made me think of Lysistrata, but the exact opposite. Instead of withholding sex to stop war, apparently this monitored sex created a peace. However, when Simona returns home, she finds that George has been arrested, and they find unapproved kink in the home and attempt to arrest Simona as well. In showing how her prowess as a sex worker helped free her from the police and a very gratuitous shot to the eye with a heel (in a very Single White Female sort of way), we find that Simona flees to find her old friends from the "Dirty Mind" which has gone further underground, and may be preparing to challenge "the Party."
This was an interesting read, which as you can note, pulled me into a couple of interesting literary and film references. The artwork in this book is interesting, all of the sex acts have a lifelike grit to them, however after the arrest and storming of the dirty mind there is a whitewashed/sanitized feel to it, which I think is the point. The other thing that was nice while reading the book, was the paper quality. This is the first book I've read in months that I didn't feel like I was going to accidentally rip the cover or the page.
I can't wait until the end of October to see what exactly George spotted in the pleasure center, and more importantly if Simona will be reintegrated with her old band of trans/nonbinary/genderqueer pals from her past. If you are looking for a unique read, pick this one up!
As I was unloading my haul from my weekly pull list and other various finds at my local shop, I attempted to come up with some well-reasoned method to determine which book(s) I wanted to review this week. After 5 minutes of staring at a big stack of books, I just grabbed whichever book was on top. Lucky for me that book was:
While I've lost my love of gore and horror that grew when college (thanks to a squeamish wife, I cannot enjoy it unless she's out of town and theres a 100% chance none of my kids can walk in to the room), this book brings back some of the intrigue that I miss from a good horror story.
In the first book we meet Blaise, who is an author of a new off-the-grid style movement which encourages folks to give up their cell phones. We also meet his bride to be, Gaia. Who is the exact opposite of what his philosophy calls for. Gaia is an international superstar who boasts an online following of 750 million adoring fans and she is on the quest for 1 billion followers. In book one, we discover that their marriage is what many famous individuals call for, a small endeavor that remains off the grid, until their official wedding photos are released. While attending the festivities, all parties are required to turn in their phones, which are locked away until they return home. At the end of the first book, we get the feeling that things don't end well.
This book picks up with Gaia's father (who had been in prison for embezzlement) toasting the newly wedded couple and when he finishes the hors d'oeuvres are served and the bar is open. While people are enjoying the food and drinks we get more information on the guests and the real struggle they are facing without their phones. Gaia's manager is pissed that they can't post photos to pass that 1 billion mark, another woman is seeking to reach social media stardom, and wants the reception to raise her clout, and her father is nowhere to be seen.
While meeting the guests, the official wedding photographer is sent to the darkroom to begin developing the evening's photos where he, across a two page spread talks about how photography develops a keen eye, you see things in the moment that the average person may miss, and.....the spectre of death is everywhere....AND THEN IN A GLORIOUS SINGLE PAGE, WE SEE HIS KEEN EYE REMOVED FROM THE BACK OF HIS HEAD!
With the discovery of a dead body by Gaia's father and manager (who both had stowed away an illegal phone and camera) the question becomes how do they tell Gaia and get the hell away from the reception...
The first book piqued my interest, and I am glad this book was on the top of the stack, because it shortened down my review process. As soon as I was done, I said "yep, this is it" and grabbed my laptop. This book is produced by Aftershock comics and is both written and drawn by Juan Doe. The art matches the quality of the story. The whole book is dark and gritty. Even in a well lit room, I'm dragging the book inches away from my face to find every little detail that could be hidden to figure out who the shadowy figure is who carried out the murder. If you haven't read the first book, run to your local shop and pick up the first two immediately, you won't be disappointed.
I'm thoroughly excited for this week's pull. I'll have a busy week of reading as I've got the following waiting for me tomorrow afternoon:
First, I think I'm the most excited for my Zdarsky overload for the week. White Trees, Daredevil, and Invaders. Yes Please!!!!!
That first issue of White Trees bites off a whole lot, and I'm excited to see how it wraps up in the second book, and I am absolutely in love with both Daredevil and Invaders (the more Namor the better!).
I picked up Event Leviathan on a whim, and am hooked (especially if it is a hard reset of the DC universe). I am also way behind on my Carnage books, and am looking for a binge in the quest to become God.
What are yall picking up this week? What are you excited for?
For the past 20 years of my life, I've had a disconnect from a desire to read fiction. Everything I have consumed (aside from assigned texts in High School or College, or fictional works I've read with students I've coached), I've forced to have a grounding in the real world. Everything has been historical collections of documents, postmodernist theory, works of political science etc. Aside from reading Ready Player One 4-5 years after it came out (because I like nostalgia, and Cline's poetry) I cannot name a single work of fiction of which I've read for pleasure.
Which makes my re-dedication to comics all the more intriguing. I love thumbing through endless pages of Frank Castle wasting hundreds of agents of HYDRA or the coming battle vs the Quest Beast in the next Once in Future, or the chaos that Namor is waging in this run of the Invaders. These last two months of re-emergence in a cornucopia of comics, make me wonder, have I been missing a piece of something wonderful by obsessing in the throws of academia. I've now used reading several comics a day as my suspension of my focus on my daily classroom focus on politics, history and/or the "real world." Then, on a whim, last week, I picked up Lois Lane #1-3 after seeing this cover sitting on the rack at my local shop.
What can I say, based on my last review, I'm a sucker for an intriguing cover...
DC's new 12 issue maxi series by Greg Rucka with art by Mike Perkins focuses on storied journalist Lois Lane preparing to expose a dark secret the government isn't prepared to go public. In addition to hiding her husband's secret identity...she is now hiding her sources, and the true meat of what she is working on or really knows from her editor and her husband. While I am fully naive of what's going on in most of the Superman Universe (references to something that have been happening with her father and son in space?) this is a story I can really sink my teeth into.
After reading the first 3 books, I tweeted this:
This story feels like it is ripped straight out of modern times with the following elements:
All of these things are ripped out of today's headlines, with the added benefit of Superman, plus two versions of the Question (I think) which is weird, because I thought both: The question was dead, and I think there was a different explanation of what happened to him in Event Leviathan, but like I said, I'm out of touch on my Superman Universe.
This story is intriguing, and the art gives both elements of classic Action Comics-esque nostalgia paired with panels of media coverage, which looks like screen shots of modern news networks. I'd say that I was lucky that I stumbled onto this story, as it offers a clear bridge between my over-hyped obsession with academia, the fact that I have to focus on political happenings because of my day job, and my new found love of the variety of fictional tales I'm finding throughout the pages of my newest comics each week. If you haven't read this yet, do not walk, yet run to your local spot and pick up Lois Lane 1-3 and add future issues to your pull list, if your shop makes your life super easy each Wednesday!
After picking up 17 new books on Wednesday, I struggled with which book I wanted to select for my inaugural review...however, one cover kept catching my eye, daring me to read it first. Instead of getting caught up with this week's House of X or Absolute Carnage issues, this face drew me in first:
Something is Killing the Children (find it here...) is written by James Tynion IV with artist Werther Dell'Edera (and I believe the cover art is from Jenny Frison) pulling no punches. This book is haunting right from the start. If the cover didn't creep me out immediately, then opening the book to a darkened forest with the silhouette of the woman on the front still staring me in the face will probably haunt my dreams tonight.
This book basically asks the question, what happens if your ghost story turns out to be real? This is the very real problem facing the children of Archer's Peak. In the opening pages, what seems to be a sleepover ends pretty badly when a group of boys go out into the woods, and most of them are torn to pieces, yet one young man survives, the boy who shared a horror story with his friends. After being interrogated by the police and harassed by kids at school, we learn that an outsider is coming to help save the day.
I flew through this book and had to read it twice to let it sink in. What is killing all of the children, why Archer's Peak, and who is this monster-hunting outsider? I guess I'll be left in waiting until the second issue drops on October 16th.
This is a must pick-up, book regardless of if you like horror or not, I am anxiously waiting to see what happens next, and will probably read it again a dozen or so times until the next one!
The journey of a 30-something father of three who's trying to break into the world of reviewing comics after a loooooong hiatus...