This week, I read a trio of comics from Radical Publishing, a relative newcomer to the field but no less unable to attract top talent. (Current notables in their lineup include Warren Ellis, Nick Sagan and Wesley Snipes.) The titles we’ve received to date are mostly marked for mature audiences, and rightly so; they are rife with language and situations that are easily intended for older audiences. (Looks at self.) The enjoyment level of the following titles varied from mediocre to outstanding, but nevertheless the premises offered have me wanting to see what happens next.
Each of these titles is the first issue of a three-issue run…
In Time Bomb #1, a long-forgotten underground facility is found in Berlin by the New World Order corporation. The discovery unintentionally launches the Nazi Omega missile, a biological weapon that gives the human race less than 72 hours to live. NWO quickly reinstates their Time Bomb project, sending 4 special agents (including a newly divorced couple) to the recent past to prevent the discovery of the Omega missile. But — surprise! – something goes wrong and the team is transported back to World War II Berlin. The contrived premise here is very nearly eclipsed by the cliché characters (the loose cannon, the womanizer, etc.), but not quite. I’m interested in seeing where the story is going, but the foreshadowing regarding the Time Bomb project’s creator was so heavy, it won’t be a surprise. There’s also an awful lot of coincidence tied into this premise. (WWII Berlin? Really?) Ultimately, one is left unimpressed and wondering why this elite team adheres to the warnings about changing the time stream when they have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by breaking those rules. My Rating:
In Hotwire: Deep Cut #1, tough detective exorcist Alice Hotwire is recalled to duty after a 6-month self-imposed exile that followed a traumatic run-in with the Blues. The Blues are the ghost-like dead that roam the Earth feeding off electromagnetic waste and wreaking havoc amongst the living. Writer Steven Pugh takes this premise he and Warren Ellis created and populates it with interesting characters, particularly Alice, herself a misfit but a super-intelligent girl who sometimes takes intelligence dampeners to either fit in or escape altogether. Although Alice has firsthand experience with the Blues, she questions their true nature claiming that science does not accept the presence of ghosts. The prevailing impression is that Alice is more of a Scully than a Muldar and hopefully future issues will bear this out. For now, it’s enough to revel in Pugh’s quick-moving story and wonderfully garish illustrations. My Rating:
Driver for the Dead is a kick-ass Southern fried tale of the undead and the man who hunts them down. That man is Alabaster Graves whose job as a hearse driver takes him to all the right (or wrong) places. Graves fights the undead in various forms, including vampires, witches (are they supposed to undead?) and zombies. The setup for the series (written and created by John Heffernan) is perfect: atmospheric, likable characters, the right amount of world building, and just enough undead-fighting to make you want more. Issue #1 sets the stage for the battle between Graves and Fallow, a zombie straight out of something Joe R. Lansdale might have written. Good stuff all around made even better by Leonardo Manco’s spectacular artwork and wonderful coloring by Kinsun Loh and Jerry Choo. The only negative thing I can say is that this series is apparently only slated for a 3-issue run. I already know I’ll want more. My Rating: