10 May 2013

Caught In The Web: Roundup 10/05/2013

In Caught In The Web, we set aside the printed funny books temporarily to delve into the world of digital and web comics. Here we 'roundup' a selection of releases that have been launched into cyberspace over the past few weeks.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Michael Del Mundo
Marvel $0.00

Matt C: I’m starting to lose patience with the regular Guardians comic and to be honest I haven’t been especially impressed by the free Infinite offshoots so far. They’ve seemed more notable for giving slightly more leftfield artists the opportunity to work on mainstream characters, but they’ve by and large been throwaway, lacking any real insights into the various individuals who make up the team. The same could be said for this issue, which is the easily the best of the bunch so far, but then it’s incredibly difficult to provide an insight into a character whose vocabulary is limited to the words “I am Groot!”. It’s a simple but effective tale of defending the downtrodden, wonderfully illustrated and with panel transitions that actually enhance the way the story is told rather than simply being decorative. It doesn’t convince me that Bendis is the right man for the job of scribing the Guardians' adventures, but for a freebie this was a more than fine read. 8/10

Writer: Tim Gibson
Art: Tim Gibson
Flying Whities $0.99

Matt C: Moth City offers a fine example of how comics can take you places you never thought they would, blending history and fantasy in a thoroughly arresting manner. My knowledge of the Chinese Civil War is negligible at best but writer/artist Tim Gibson wisely doesn’t linger too heavily on the politics, instead focusing on universal themes like the power, corruption and betrayal that swirl around the titular island and the inhabitants who supply weapons to the Nationalists. His art brings the tale to vivid life, sturdy and emotive, and there is some inventive use of panel transitions to emphasise the constant undercurrent of tension. A hugely impressive debut that marks Gibson out as a creator to keep tabs on. 8/10

Writer: Jonathan Larsen
Art: Cecilia Latella & Paul Mounts
Thrillbent $0.00

Matt C: It begins in what appears to be a distant future that crunches technological advances against a blend of the medieval and the stone age, with some rather implausible dialogue making things difficult to engage with. There then follows an explanation of sorts for said implausible dialogue, but that’s replaced by some generally unrealistic dialogue that pushed me away from the reading experience even further. The art’s fine but the transitions are a bit uninspired, and even as a freebie there’s not really a strong enough hook to make me want to see what happens next. 5/10

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Marcos Martin & Muntsa Vicente

Matt C: There’s nothing original about taking a well-worn PI/noir storyline and transplanting into a different time period and/or genre, but rarely is it fashioned into something as dexterously exhilarating as The Private Eye. It’s the way Vaughan’s created a future that’s at once almost alien but also has a comforting nod to a past not bombarded by a relentless torrent of information via the world wide web, and it’s the way that Martin’s art pop art stylings provide the visual equivalent of a sugar rush, leaving you high from each beautifully constructed panel. The method of delivery is important, and potentially game-changing, but the final product is what it’s all about, and at this early stage I'm calling The Private Eye my favourite new series of 2013, regardless of the format. 10/10

Writer: Curt Pires
Art: Dalton Rose
Monkeybrain $0.99

Matt C: This looks like it may well turn into something special. It reimagines Leon Theremin, inventor of the musical instrument the theremin, as a time-travelling secret agent (or assassin? - not entirely clear just yet!) with his creation being the means by which to traverse the spacetime pathways. It’s a very arresting blend of real history and science fiction, tightly scripted to lay the groundwork for what lies ahead, leaving Theremin as something of an enigma at this stage, but one that you find yourself rather keen to decode. The art shifts from traditional panel composition to images that beautifully conjure the idea of crossing the fourth dimension, and juxtaposition between the mundane and the fantastical is masterfully achieved. An excellent debut issue loaded with an abundance of dazzling sci-fi ideas. 8/10

Writer: James Tynion IV
Art: Jeremy Rock & Nolan Woodard
Thrillbent $0.00

Matt C: Horror’s not really my thing on a day to day basis, but my attention can easily become diverted by an impressive example of the genre. Or one that’s free. Okay, so perhaps the fact that this is another freebie released under Mark Waid’s Thrillbent imprint got my attention initially, but Tynion’s a name I’ve been keeping an eye on (mostly through his collaborations with Scott Snyder) and really that’s reason enough to take a look. This debut by and large sticks with a woman relaying to her shrink the extent of her horrifying visions, and how she slowly learning to enjoy them, but without spoiling anything, there’s a little more to it than that, with the kind of twist that makes you want to see what happens next. The script doesn’t give away too much too soon, and the art reminded me of Gary Frank’s style at points (a good thing!), so while I wasn’t completely sold at this stage, there are more than enough positives on display to warrant further investigation. 7/10

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