3 Oct 2013

Caught In The Web: Roundup 03/10/2013

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.

THE BUNKER #3
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art: Joe Infurnari
Horse And Buggy $1.99

Matt C: A lot of buzz about this one and it’s fairly easy to say why. A group of teens stumble across a hidden bunker emblazoned with their names (bar one of them) and once they venture inside they discover messages from their futures selves warning of a great catastrophe awaiting the globe. A neat set-up but it’s the delivery that really wins the day as nothing is quite how it first appears, a theme that continues into this issue. The premise may come off initially as a touch unlikely but it’s weaved together so well that doesn’t become a concern, and Infurnari’s black & white, smudged-charcoal palette really sells the ominous tone of what the kids learn will befall not only themselves but the entire planet. After the twist ending of the debut, one that threw things entirely on their head, the narrative has settled – relatively speaking – as the characters start to get to grips with what they’ve learnt of their future selves. A cleverly orchestrated chapter to an immensely promising series that continues to indicate that great things lie ahead. 8/10

INFINITY: AGAINST THE TIDE #2
Writer: Jason Latour
Art: Agustin Alessio
Marvel $1.99

Matt C: Free to those who've purchased Infinity #3, the final instalment of this two-part tale spins out of the events of that Marvel’s current event title, focusing on the perspective of that gleaming cosmic nomad, the Silver Surfer, whose conscience won't allow him to ignore the unfolding carnage the Builder invasion is bringing to the galaxy. After arriving on a besieged Skrull world, the Surfer has intervened only to find his foes are more powerful than he anticipated. On the surface it’s pretty standard stuff for this character, his resilience balanced nicely against his trademark introspection, always seeing hope in a situation and refusing to give up, but Latour clearly ‘gets’ his voice and as such it’s a far more heartfelt read than it perhaps would have been in other hands. Alessio’s lushly illustrated and coloured artwork adds gravitas to the proceedings, intensifying the emotional power. Not everyone gets this character right but on this evidence I’m more convinced than I have been in a while that we need the Silver Surfer to return in a big way. 8/10

HIGH CRIMES #5
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Art: Ibrahim Moustafa
Monkey Brain Comics $0.99

Matt C: High Crimes takes the familiar premise of a civilian getting entangled with deadly espionage games and spins it into fresh pastures by approaching it from a rather unique angle. Graverobbing in Mount Everest’s ‘Death Zone’ turns up the body of a black-ops spook and before long brings the black-suit-and-guns brigade on top of Zan Jensen, already on the run from her scandalous past. We’re now at the point where she’s decided to stop running and face things head on, not only the guys who’ve been trying to kill her but Everest itself. It’s a gripping thriller, expertly paced by Sebela and crisply drawn by Moustafa. High Crimes is a veritable ‘page-turner’, seamlessly transplanted to this new method of consuming comics. 8/10

MOTH CITY #5
Writer: Tim Gibson
Art: Tim Gibson
Flying Whities $1.99

Matt C: Desperate men taking desperate measures to get themselves out of a desperate situation. That’s where we’re at presently with Moth City as the ‘infection’ spreads across the titular island and both Governor McCaw and Major Hong take separate steps to put an end to it. It may briefly seem like this series has morphed into something familiar, but scratch deeper and you find a tale that’s far removed from predictable period zombie fare. Idealism, power, greed, heroism… these, amongst others, are the themes running through Moth City, and are sometimes the contradictory traits displayed by a single character. There’s an intensity to the art work that amplifies the perilous situation unfolding, cleverly paced by the panel transitions, with Gibson playing with ideas on a grander scale than the elements might suggest if taken separately. Not just one of the most impressive digi-comics of the year, but one of the most impressive comics of the year, full stop. We’re probably not far away from that distinction becoming irrelevant. 9/10

REAL WEST #1
Writer: John Arcudi
Art: A.C. Zamudio
Monkeybrain Comics $0.99

Matt C: “This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” The famous line from the classic Western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance resonates through this short story from writer John Arcudi (of B.P.R.D. fame) and artist A.C. Zamudio. It looks at the rough, bloody reality of the Old West and how it became glamourized and romanticised by tales of Cowboys and Indians, how fact and fiction rarely married up, and why that might have been the case. Zamudio subtly amends her style from slick action for the fantasised sequences to something more grim and unpleasant when the truth outs. An effective opener for a series that will hopefully help reiterate that this genre still has plenty to offer for the medium. 8/10

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