Alright, I love a good anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist, anti-consumption piece of art. It explains why I LOVE movies like Dawn of the Dead, Sorry to Bother You, or They Live. It also explains why I loved the book Everything from Dark Horse. Naturally, my love of anything that critiques capitalism (it's the debate coach in me) I immediately added Shoplifters will be Liquidated by Patrick Kindlon with artwork by Stefano Simeone.
AfterShock billed this book as "Imagine Judge Dredd working for Amazon." And, I can't think of a better comparison. Maybe: "Imagine Pol Pot working for Pottery Barn" or "Imagine Josef Stalin Managing a Sears" or "Imagine if Mussolini owned Macy's." You get the general idea. You may be thinking....did this idiot just pick a bunch of fascists or socialists to review a book that critiques capitalism.....yup....
Our adventure takes place in the Caucasus SuperStore's flagship and home office where the penalty for shoplifting is an on the spot headshot. Why? Because blood oils the wheels of the commercial machine. As you flip through the pages, maybe the all-encompassing megastore is precisely what you want in a chaotic dystopian world. Halfway through one of the clerks yells before killing a shoplifter "You don't want it to be like outside! So don't treat it like outside!" Which begs the question, what is going on in the world outside of the Caucasus SuperStore?
We get a small glimpse into this question in the final page as a man armed with a shotgun falls through a trap door while hunting someone down in the clothing department, but we have to wait until the next one to get a real answer.
There are a couple of things that I love about this book aside from the storyline. First, I'm trying to figure out why some of the patrons of the store appear normal, and why others appear like they are wearing masks. Not some sort of prosthesis, but like, when Buffalo Bob puts on a skin mask of someone else's face. Its eery, and I want to know why it's happening. Is it a condition of the grander world?
Second, I love a directors cut book, the Directors Cut of Immortal Hulk has been an interesting pulling back of the curtain, and you get to see some of those creative baby steps throughout the back of the book.
Third, I'm pretty sure I see something Cthulhu-esque on the final page with the presumed cover for the next issue, and if this book takes on a Lovecraft style turn, this might just be the kind of insanity I need in my life right now.
All in all, I'm intrigued by the perspective this book offers and want to see how it turns and what in the hell is going on beyond the walls of the SuperStore.
As a history teacher, I'm a sucker for the Arthurian legend. Even if there are eras of world history I hate, the notion of the great king and all of his quests has a certain allure. But what if we didn't know the intentions of Arthur if he were to return to a modern era? That's the essential question that Kieron Gillen's Once and Future asks.
The first book of this series was not 100% on my radar, until I heard Jason Springer talk about it on the Chops Shop podcast. And I was drawn to the storyline. If you haven't read the first two books, essentially someone finds the hilt to Arthur's sword and want to use the sword to resurrect him. But when he returns will he do good or bad?
Not going to lie, for as much as I loved the first book, the second book was a drag. Book 3 raised my excitement. Badass monster-hunting granny (maybe I'm seeing a theme based on my STK review) and her grandson are on the hunt for those who are resurrecting Arthur before he knights and dubs a new Galahad, for if Galahad is chosen and finds the grail it may bring a plague back to the land (in a new sense of saving the world).
I also laughed because the worst date in history is extended from book one. You see an awkward, terrible date come to a quick end when our protagonist has to answer a call from his grandmother and then helps her escape from her nursing home (because she has him at gunpoint). You find that she is trying to now train him in her monster hunting ways, and they have to go to the home of his date, because she is a history professor who can help understand what the motives of Arthur's resurrectors may be attempting to do (oh the fate!). This book has a strong build throughout and ends on another cliffhanger....will Galahad survive, or will granny take him out since he's already in her crosshairs.
Dan Mora's art is also quite impressive. There is a gritty reality to some of the conflict sequences, but also a throwback cartoonish style when we see things like "knock knock" float above doors. Additionally the color palette used by Tamra Bonvillain hits all of the right notes in the right moments, and is quite complementary. It adds a lovely layer of eeriness to a story that normally champions the return of the king.
This book effectively erased any bad taste I had left in my mouth from book two, and now that "THE KING IS UNDEAD" as the back of the book proclaims, I am anxiously seeing what happens to Galahad and the monster hunters.
It finally came out! I'm going to act like I stopped writing some reviews for a while because my review of Bad Reception 2 was so good, but really, I became incredibly busy at work, and now that i have a few down moments during my planning period, I can read and write about some books. This is also interesting for me since I'm revisiting the first series I started this blog with.
Simply put, Tynion, Dell'Edera and Muerto killed it. If you haven't picked up the first book, in a small town named Archer's Peak....something is killing the children... At the end of the first book, we meet our monster hunter who is there to find the monster and any survivors, and I was hoping we would get some insight into her method, which happens....sort of.
Instead of focusing exclusively on James, who survived an attack in book one, we meet Tommy. Tommy is the older brother of one of the children who has gone missing, and no body has been found. On the third page spread of the book we see Tommy getting into his car, with something demonic hulking over him, but it seems as if Tommy can't see the nightmarish figure with blood dripping from its body. But it is scary as hell.
Tommy goes to work at the local Applebeans (and as someone who is in the midwest where there is a proliferation of Applebees I smiled) where he has to agonize through a day of work in addition to putting out missing persons flyers for his sister. Tommy meets our hunter who is looking for a place to set up shop for a few days while carrying out her hunt. All we get from the exchange is that she is using James to set up a map of where the victims lived, their bodies were found, and apparently she is looking for a cave where "food" is being stored.
Our monster hunter gets in a fight with Tommy, flees the Applebeans and the police show up at her hotel, where it appears she's talking to a weird stuffed animal like my toddlers do. When she opens the door, there is a random-ass spirit that is hovering over the animal....and that's where the book ends.
WHAT THE HELL! I flew through this book twice to let it soak all in and see if I could find any nuggets to help figure out the hunt. We get some qualifications of our hunter across a couple of panels where she is absolutely tearing through a pile of something awful, after James asked "have you done this before..." But we still don't have a good sense of who she is, who sent her there or she speaks to on the phone, or WHAT IN THE SAM HILL that spirit is.
Again, the art is on point. I'm haunted by the visage of our monster hunter when the front cover is opened, there is a grit and darkness to each panel (especially given the content) and the nods to things like Applebeans makes me smile. This book both infuriated and excited me at the same time. While we got some more insight to how the horror of murdered children is tearing at the citizens of Archer's peak, I still have no goddamn clue as to what is killing the children, or how our hunter will find them. Still, I'm coming back for more, and will keep reading the first two books constantly until #3 drops in a month.
The journey of a 30-something father of three who's trying to break into the world of reviewing comics after a loooooong hiatus...