26 Apr 2014

Caught In The Web: Roundup 26/04/2014

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: Guy Hasson
Art: Aron Elekes

Matt C: Another one of those stories that imagines the future of humanity as more fully enmeshed with technology, and very good it is too. There’s an almost dreamlike atmosphere that permeates through the issue, with the protagonist, Liz Wynter, often appearing more connected to her inbuilt operating system than the rest of the world, as though everything else is background. This effect is archived via the narration but also through some rather stunning artwork, with the dark, muted palettes ramping up the sense of isolation. The futuristic environments are well realised, with plenty of little details embellishing them, and the innate sadness Liz exhibits is quite a powerful hook into her world as it all begins to fall apart. A very impressive opener. 8/10

Writer: Martin Eden
Art: Martin Eden

Matt C: Not the kind of thing that crosses my path very often, and to be honest I probably naively didn’t realise what kind of demographic it was pitched at (although it became very quickly apparent, and I should've guessed from the cover!), but I’m not one to be too readily dismissive, so I gave it a shot. It’s kind of endearing (the relatively simple illustrations help a lot with that), has its moments of amusement and creates some entertaining friction within the team dynamic. Unfortunately, it positions itself rather squarely at an audience with a certain sexual orientation as it goes along, and while that’s more of an observation than a criticism, it’s an audience that I don’t belong to, which limits its appeal, for me at least. 6/10

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

Matt C: The cat is out of the bag now as the villain’s masterplan has been revealed, and while it appears obvious in hindsight, it’s still a bit of a rug-pull, one that I would not dream of spoiling for anyone else. Which leaves me to reiterate what I’ve said previously about this series: it’s a smartly constructed and paced noir riff, gorgeously illustrated by Martin (career-best stuff) and it bursts from the page/screen via Vicente’s bright, pop art colouring. I know everyone layers the plaudits on Vaughan for his work on Saga – and that series does indeed deserve the praise – but for my money he’s pipping it with The Private Eye. It may initially seem more contained than Saga, but closer inspection reveals it to be just as ambitious, its commentary much more pronounced and direct. It’s the kind of thing that’s a justifiable reason in itself to buy a tablet. 9/10

Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Mike Allred

Matt C: Marvel have done a handful of these free ‘Infinite’ introductions to new series (Ms. Marvel being another recent one) and it’s a great tactic, giving the reader the chance to sample a title they may have reservations about (or reward those that are committed already with a little something extra). I’m a longtime Surfer fan but I’m afraid, as is often the case with this particular artist, the visuals didn’t really fit in with what I really want to see from this character. But again, it’s free, and as such presents itself as an opportunity to show me I’m wrong. And I have to admit, it almost did just that. Slott seems to have a reasonably good handle on the character and Allred’s art, against my expectations, captures the otherworldliness of the tale quite well. Having said that though, I didn’t get the feeling that the series would be a must buy for a Surfer fan. It shows promise, sure, but the cynical side of me says it’ll either get cancelled before it gets going or it’ll loses its impetus before it reaches that stage. Either way, a valiant effort but not quite enough to sway me towards a purchase. The two-part Infinity tie-in from last year, Against The Tide, was much more up street. 6/10

Writer: Alex De-Gruchy
Art: Michael Montenat & Ron Riley

Matt C: It would easy to dismiss this as nothing more than a Crossed knock-off with added superheroes but it's actually smart enough to withstand a lot of the kneejerk criticisms. The idea that superpowered beings are personae non gratae in the post-apocalyptic world presented in The Fallen, blamed for the catastrophe that led to the ruination of the planet and the rise of an unhinged cannibalistic sub section of humanity, is a strong one, even if you may be able to trace its antecedents. This second issue may not be suitable for the squeamish (there are some disturbing sequences), but those who can stomach it may find something that has the potential to step out of the long shadows cast by certain, more prominent stories, and stand beside them as an equal. 7/10

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