Markley’s Fevered Brain: Urgh More #1s

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

In the world of comic books, since they first appeared there has been one thing that is constant, change. There are always new number ones and titles being cancelled and fading away and often forgotten. With Marvel and DC, due to their business model and history, they often bring back characters ether from the dead or with the same name and a new person in the costume in an attempt to revitalize the title. This was the backbone of the Silver Age of comics. I recently devoted two columns to new Marvel number ones based on existing characters. Image Comics has a different business plan. While they also do a lot of number one issues, and end a lot of titles, their business plan is driven by creators, not characters. So when a creator or creative team decides they are done with a character or title, the book simply ends. More often than not with an ending or resolution. Due to this way of doing business, Image is always launching new books, sometimes from brand new creators, and sometimes from existing talent. Overall their books do not have long lives, although there are a few exceptions like Spawn and Savage Dragon which have been around since the beginning. They also tend not to have major success in terms of the sales charts, with the exceptions of Saga, Walking Dead and Monstress which have all become huge hits. I would argue that Image does have the most diverse line of comics out there and some of the best titles. While not all of their releases work for me, and I find it frustrating that there are frequent delays in the publishing of certain titles (which has greatly improved in recent years), overall I enjoy more title from Image than I do not. So here I am going to look at a few recent number ones and new series from Image that I have really enjoyed. In no particular order they are:

Die!Die!Die! #1

Die!Die!Die! #1


Die!Die!Die!. This a new series by Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. He is joined by his former Walking Dead executive producer and Simpsons Comics writer Scott Gimple, and artist Chris Burnham. As the title would imply, this book is very violent. The basic premise is there is a secret cabal in the United States government that is devoted to assassinating evil people. This ranges from individuals to governments and this is the story of the men and women who do all this killing while trying not to get themselves killed. So far there is only one issue and it is packed with death and violence. It is a good set up for the future and there is a lot here, and there is certainly a tantalizing tease as to what is to come, but somehow this book did not thrill me. It is good, but the first issue did not make me scream when I got to the last page because I wanted more. But often with Kirkman’s writing he is telling a long term story so it is not fair to judge him on one issue, so I am going to give this book first story arc before making a final decision. Again, there is a ton of blood and guts in this book.

Farmhand #1

Farmhand #1


Farmhand is written and drawn by Chew artist Rob Guillory. It tells the story of the Jenkins farm where Jedidiah Jenkins grows “fast healing, plug and play human parts”. Yep, if you lost a hand this farm can grow you a new one. Alas, this is not an all happy story of making people complete. There is something evil growing, both in the soil of the farm and in the people who get these new parts. So far there are only two issues out but this book has such a twisted plot and interesting ideas that I really like it. Guillory’s art is unique and not for everyone, but I think this is one of the more unique books out there and I am looking forward to seeing where it is going. It is an absolute must read for fans of his work on Chew, which was also a twisted and brilliant read, and has been collected into ten convenient trade paperbacks!

Flavor #1

Flavor #1


Flavor is the newest book by Joseph Keatinge with art by Wook Jin Clark. This is a great book about a world where cooking is held in the highest esteem. It tells parallel stories of a young girl, Xoo Lim, who works in a family restaurant as an unlicensed cook, who along with her dog, are doing their best to help keep the family business alive. Meanwhile there is a young boy of the ruling class who is going to culinary school and has a whole different set of issues. With each issue the story expands the world of these two characters and exposes new dangers and challenges. This is a quick read that is filled with charm and warmth. It is obviously manga influenced, both in the look and the concept (there are a ton of manga centered on cooking), but it has its own unique style. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It leaves you satisfied after reading but wanting more, like a good meal. There are four issues out so far.

Leviathan #1

Leviathan #1


Leviathan is written by Chew’s Jonathan Layman with art by Nick Pitarra. The story opens with a party that runs out beer. So Ryan DeLuca goes off on a booze run. While he is gone, his buddies in his apartment think it would be funny to perform a magic spell that summons a giant demon that looks remarkably like an orange Godzilla that proceeds to destroy the city. This first issue was a lot of fun with perfect art for the story being told and a new take on an old idea. I am a huge fan of John Layman’s writing, I thought both his Chew, and particularly his run on Detective Comics, were great. There is only one issue so far, but this book has caught my attention. I cannot wait to read more.

Outpost Zero #1

Outpost Zero #1


Outpost Zero is written by Sean Kelly McKeever with nice art by Alexandre Tefenkgi. It is about Alea, who lives in an outpost when a storm hits, and this causes massive havoc. As the outpost is in the middle of nowhere and manned by all scientists, they have to secure the location or people will die, but someone is not on the up and up. This is a crime story set in an alternative world, or maybe our world in the future, but the story is gripping and makes you want to read more. The main characters are a young couple who don’t realize what they mean to each other and are having a hard time accepting that not everyone is idealistic and as altruistic as they are. A really interesting story, even though there are only two issues so far and great art.

Skyward #1

Skyward #1


Skyward may be my favorite of the books I am discussing in this blog. It is also the book that is further along than the others with four issues out. It is written by Joe Henderson with very nice art by Lee Garbett. It is a fun story that is a mix of science fiction, family drama and crime. Set in a world where gravity no longer exists, a young girl is trying to get her father to accept this new world. Except he is too scared to leave the house in a world without gravity. And on top of that, his former boss is somehow behind this world changing event. This reminds me greatly of the kind of story you would find in the pages of 2000AD, which is a high compliment.

Weatherman #1

Weatherman #1


Weatherman is an odd duck. At first I did not care for this book but then a friend told me I really should give it a chance. (Thanks Brian, father of Willis.) I am still not totally sold on it but after three issues I am enjoying it enough to keep coming back for more. It is written by Jody LeHeup with art by Nathan Fox, who has a very kinetic art style which I am not a huge fan of, but does seem to work here. The story premise is Nathan Bright has a perfect life as the number one weatherman on Mars, until he is accused of the worst terrorist attack in the planet’s history. From there the story becomes a non-stop action thriller packed with violence and killing. There is also a strong political bent to this story as obviously Nathan did not commit this horrible act (I don’t think), but someone is pulling the strings. The story is so good it brings me back issue after issue even with my reservations with Fox’s art style.

None of these books have been collected yet as they are all early in their runs, but I have no doubt by next spring they all will be available in trade paperback collections if you prefer to read your comics that way.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the new Image number ones. Every month Image issues a number of new titles and with each month a few title come to an end. While I do not always enjoy everything they are doing, I do commend them for the diverse line they are publishing, and Image has the broadest spectrum of titles of any publisher covering more genres than anyone else. I would think it would almost be impossible to not find at least one Image title you would enjoy. Maybe one of the ones I have discussed here, or one of the multitude of other titles they have published.

That is all for this blog. What are your favorite Image titles? What am I missing out on? I can’t read everything so I would love to know what you are reading, and enjoying and why. I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley. All the words here are mine and do not reflect the opinions of Westfield Comics or their employees. (Especially KC Carlson who will not read an Image book!) Until next time…

Thank you.

 

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