Shedding Light on This Week’s Indies (Manor Black, Tommy Gun Wizards, Necromancer’s Map, Resonant, M
Manor Black #2
Dark Horse Comics Writers: Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt
Art & Colors: Tyler Cook
Cover: Tyler Cook
Tyler Cook just stepped his game way up in the art and colors in this issue! It’s a spectacle seeing his messy watercolors behind his refined gothic outlines. Black, brown, and reds are this story’s theme. It’s just so beautiful that you know everything is about to go wrong! Bunn packed the story allowing us to learn about a number of characters in just two issues. Spoiler, but, this is black humor, everyone. What’s even more satirical is, that the old sorcerer Roman Black finds a young mage, one of the only Black people in the book, that poses a threat to his family’s birthright. Now, if that ain’t a provocative theme! But we don’t know yet how this will unfold… In this issue, we learn about his family and other sources of energy taking place!
Tommy Gun Wizards #1
Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Christian Ward
Artist: Sami Kivela
Colorist: Christian Ward, Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover: Christian Ward
This story was difficult to like at first because the panels were a tad messy. The second revisit was fun because this story was pretty damn original. It’s got a nasty 1930’s Chicago backdrop of Elliott Ness and his team, the Untouchables, who do criminal work against mobsters who sell the Link, a drug which gives magical powers - I know, I know!
It’s set in speakeasies, rainy streets, evening skylines, court hearings, and police stations with shadows and contrasting colors, you’ll be sipping prohibited whiskey in the dark… with just enough light from a candle. The way Sami Kivela draws mean facial expressions is a hedonistic crime in itself, and the lettering gives it the perfect touch of pleasure. Looking at those letters is so good because you know you just cannot be realistically in this world. There are some areas where the story’s a bit scattered, but hey, there are mages and monsters!
Necromancer’s Map #1
Writers: Andrea Fort, Michael Christopher Heron
Arist: Sam Beck
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Bethany, a necromancer who can raise the dead, seek help from an order of mages in The Foggard temple to unravel a map’s secret and ancient language. With the help of her ghost comrade, Elissar, they stumble on Jonas, a young wizard who may be able to help them with the secrets the mages might be keeping.
The Necromancer’s Map gave me a heroic feeling from it’s main protagonist, Bethany who seems curious and propelled to do good. It’s written so whole-heartedly with delightful art, and gave an original way of enjoyment with the quirky characters they portray. With a ton of dark stories out there, this is definitely a breath of fresh air! Its earth-toned colors, contrasting red, blue, and silent yellows is paired with old-aged lettering and peculiar language. Vault has really been giving us a variety of quality stories!
Writer: David Andry
Colorist: Harry Saxon
Inker: Ale Aragon
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Designer: Tim Daniel
Resonant’s first issue took me by surprise. It is evocative in the way this secluded world is colorful in bright baby blue, yellows, and greens, yet still grimy on the ink. You can’t fully see people’s faces like their identity has been taken away from them, and later in this issue we actually see a side of that. Of course, this may be from how burdensome this world has become.
It’s been ten years since the last Wave hit, that plunged this world into an apocalyptic wasteland while Paxton, a father of three, left his children in the household in order to find medicine. In the last issue, we see Paxton come across a stranger who looks like his skin has decomposed slowly. Paxton cannot offer him help but leaves him a fly-looking animal they call a chirper, which tends to be a commodity in this world. He finds a dog along the way, and other things, other… people... that are so scarred, it’s become Lord-of-the-Flies-esque, only more harrowing. We’ve seen this story before, but it doesn’t make it less far-fetched.
Writers: Michael Moreci, Gary Dauberman
Arist: Zak Hartong
Colorist: Addison Duke
Creators: Emile Gladstone
Letterer: Jim Campbell
There’s an Akira feel to the way time is portrayed in these panels - it gives you time to be imaginative. I’ve mistakened how funny I thought it’s going to be because this book is damn dark! The colors are so fadedly orange, brown, and purple that the end of the world seems outreaching. The art is probably one of my favorites this week next to Ryan Lee’s Mountainhead. Something about art that focuses on shapes, that just works and is so original and high-strung to me. Now, Necromancer’s Map, Resonant and Mall are my first Vault Comics but it appears like a lot of their stories are stylized yet still relatable. I’m curious how the ending of these books will hold up to their creativity.
In Mall’s shortened apocalyptic resources, Andre Reed runs from a bunch of masked folks who look like they came out of a punk concert. They’re claiming their territory and Andre is pleading innocent to a crime he’s blamed for. The lettering in this book is suggestive of the regressive… beings... in this apocalyptic world, but these kids sports padding attires are surprisingly chilling.
Knight’s Temporal #2
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Fran Gallan
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover: Fran Gallan
The first issue of this series was a fun ride, but now it’s starting to feel like a book I’ve read with all the time-traveling taking place. Gallan toned it down on the art during this issue which made it feel more all-ages. The colors are stealing this book for me. The way Fran Gallan did the prism double-splash of purple and teal last issue… can we please have that again? The letters adds pink vibes and make it exciting. If this is only five issues, I may grab the rest. I’m having a hard time deciding why I’d pick them up.
Writer: John Lees
Artist: Ryan Lee
Colorist: Doug Garbark
Letterer: Shawn Lee
The cynical views in Mountainhead mixed with its heart-warming story; the edgy art gives it a rocky unstable vibe. It’s really my favorite art this week next to Mall. There are themes of human trafficking and mental health that is so shocking, but these things happen folks!! You really should check out Ryan’s review :D
And that’s all peeps, what are you reading this week? I’m really enjoying this indie surge because there are so many people out there who still get to tell their OWN stories. That’s why we’re here; I hope you find this well. Til next time, peace!