Travis sez: Some thoughts of a trade waiter!

Yep, it's another post by everyone's favorite bloviator, Travis Pelkie. I always thought I was everyone's favorite bloviator, but I think Travis has surpassed me!

SPOILERY BITS ahead for Postal volume 3, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur volume 1, R.R.H. volume 1, and Dark Corridor!

Postal volume 3 was the latest volume of this Top Cow book, collecting issues 9-12. I've read the first 2 volumes and enjoyed them. The concept is that the small town of Eden, Wyoming is a safe haven for criminals, their final chance at a normal life. Mayor Laura Shiffron took leadership of the town after the apparent death of her husband Isaac, the town's founder. Their son Mark is the main character, a mailman with Asperger's syndrome. He's got feelings for Maggie, the local waitress with her own dark past. The first 2 volumes introduced the town and some of the brutality that occurs when a town like this has to stay off the grid and stay nonviolent. Mark learns some of his family history and also discovers that has the capacity for the brutality of his parents. We also learn how the FBI keeps the town under wraps, although events occur that make the fragile peace of Eden even more fragile.

Volume 3 has Bryan Hill take over as sole writer after co-writing with creator and former co-writer Matt Hawkins, while art continues from Isaac Goodhart, colored by Betsy Gonia, lettered by Troy Peteri, edited by Ryan Cady. Agent Bremble of the FBI transfers to the Wyoming office to investigate Eden, new arrival to town Molly comes singing Sarah McLachlan, and bad violence occurs. Molly is untouchable in town for an interesting reason, and she doesn't make friends easily. Her popularity takes a hit, really. As Bremble's past is revealed to a degree, he decides to move forward with investigating Eden despite being told by superiors that there's nothing to see. Mark comes up with a plan to take care of Molly without affecting her untouchable status but to also protect the citizens of the town. Maddeningly vague, ain't I?

But this volume amps up the violence and tension of the series very nicely, showing that Hill has some good solo chops. Goodhart's art has improved as well. His artwork before seemed to have an unfinished or sketchy quality to the art, whereas now the lines are slicker and better rendered, backgrounds create a world, layouts are interesting without being confusing, and the book is looking great, undoubtedly thanks to the moody lighting and coloring of Gonia as well. There is a bit of back matter, with script to page process and letters from fans. The variant covers for each issue by Goodhart are wonderful Norman Rockwell homages, although the regular Linda Sejic covers are moody and creepy as well.

Overall it's another good volume in a really good series that I'm looking forward to read further, as well as getting me hyped for the upcoming crossover with Think Tank and The Tithe, called Eden's Fall. Uhoh, that doesn't sound good ...

My main nitpicks are relatively minor, with the timeframe on some things being wonky (ages and the time of Eden's founding), and the odd way that the killings in issue 9 changed from 2 dead to 3 dead by issue 10. Um ... oops? Highly Recommended!

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur volume 1: BFF from Marvel collects the first 6 issues of this new series. Lunella Lafayette is a 9 year old science geek tinkering inventor who's smart but not quite smart enough for the Future Foundation et al., so she's stuck in a public school near Yancy Street. She's obsessed with trying to find a cure for the Terrigen Mist, as she claims to have Inhuman genes and she fears the change (don't tell her about puberty!). She finds an apparent Omni-Wave Projector, which is/was also the Nightstone worshipped by the bad tribe of Killer Folk that the original Moon Boy faced off against with Devil Dinosaur by his side. Time portal shenanigans bring Killer Folk and Devil Dinosaur to the present, where Lunella, aka Moon Girl, meets up with them. The Nightstone gets lost and found, Devil Dinosaur rampages, the Killer Folk adapt to their new time period, and by the end Lunella faces her greatest fear.

This is an odd book. Tonally it seems off. I don't really get why everyone's an asshole to Lunella, except maybe because she's a bit of an asshole too. She's an apparent inventing genius who thinks she's too good for everyone, but she actually is too good for everyone intellectually. There's an air of absurdity, but it's not quite wacky enough. When Devil Dinosaur is captured, he(?) is held in a wing of the Natural History Museum, because, hey, that's where they have the bones of dinos! And the Killer Folk somehow learn English quite well and start a gang, and seeing these monkey creatures dressed as gangbanger types is amusing. But sometimes the absurdity takes you out of the story -- if the media identifies Lunella as being seen with Devil Dinosaur when he first rampages, why aren't the authorities questioning her? How does Devil Dinosaur get into the giant lab Lunella has at the school? Why does the Cho Hulk dismiss Lunella so easily and harshly? Eighth smartest my ass. Why are matches and fire so impressive to Lunella's classmates?

Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder co-write the book, with Reeder doing the covers, and they co-wrote Halloween Eve, which was ok until the unearned feel good ending, and Rocket Girl, which was decent from what I remember. They appear to still be feeling out their writing, as they didn't make me like Lunella's story as quickly as I liked, say, Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel.

However, the art by Natacha Bustos is amazingly good. Reminiscent of Javier Pulido on She-Hulk, maybe some Phil Hester, it's got a wonderful cartooniness and expressiveness to the characters. Layouts are fun without being hard to follow for the most part. Colors are bright when they need to be and moody when they need to be, thanks to Tamra Bonvillain's work. Letters are by VC's Travis Lanham, edits by Mark Paniccia and Emily Shaw. Also nice covers by Reeder, with swell variants like the Trevor Von Eeden and Paul Pope ones.

Overall it seems to be a work in progress, still finding its footing. If the absurdity got ramped up a bit, especially with the great art by Bustos, the book might become really good. As of now, I enjoyed it and am cautiously optimistic for the future, which I'll read in further trades. Recommended.

R.R.H. volume 1 from Devil's Due/1First, created and written by Orlando Harding, art by Andres Esparza (with inks by Ulises Curiel on issues 1 and 2), letters by Ed Dukeshire, colors by Steve Cobb, logo and pub design by Nick Accardi, edits by Ken F. Levin. The first 6 issues of this decent book are collected here. The Dread Lord featured them a while back, which led me to put them on my radar. The concept is that Little Red Riding Hood fought werewolves way back when, and there's a lineage where the women of the bloodline become werewolf hunters when they got old enough. Sydney Woodman turns 17, gets a new car, and is followed by an ogre. When the remains of her cat are discovered the next morning, she's told about her family legacy. Later, she's kidnapped from her workplace by a werewolf (or bloodwolf, as this book calls them) who is apparently a descendant of the original Big Bad Wolf. She escapes him through taunting and a save from the ogre. She proceeds to go werewolf hunting, does extremely well, then her parents face witches at home.

While the concept is interesting enough, it's certainly not a new type of story (see Buffy, for instance). As wonky as the tone is on Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, it's even stranger in parts here. It seems to be only as upsetting to Sydney as losing her cat when her coworker is killed. She hasn't been told any of the werewolf stuff before now, but is able to use the "redneck" training her family has given her to kick major ass. There are murmurs of how there's bad stuff coming because of the werewolves, but Sydney's parents seem blasé about maybe, oh, I don't know, telling her more about it? It's frustrating because when the book is good, it's pretty darn good.

The art is quite nice. Parts of it become action movie fight scenes with only speed line backgrounds, but a lot of it is quite good. There's a certain cartooniness to what I believe are the first 2 chapters (not sure where the issue breaks are, which is good, actually) that works well, particularly the strut Sydney has when she gets to school after driving there in her new car (on the first page in the above link). After those chapters and the loss of Curiel on inks, it appears the art is digitally colored straight from the pencils. It's an interesting, moody look that uses shading to give atmosphere. The coloring seems darker in a good way in the later chapters, and the art is reminiscent of what Tom Mandrake's done in more recent years.

The only major problem I have with the art is when Sydney suffers facial bruising from her kidnapping, but doesn't want that to stop her from going to school. She rests and over the weekend the swelling goes down and she uses makeup and shades to hide the rest. Except we don't see a face that's still bruised but not too badly, we see a perfect looking face. Apparently no one checked the art against the script. Oops. Also, my copy had some printing error color streaking down certain pages. Grr!

Overall a decent book that I'll continue to get in trade, as the concept and characters are intriguing enough to stick with. The art improved nicely over the trade, so I'm hoping the book continues to improve overall. Recommended.

Ooh, one more thing, I see in the indicia that 1First is co-owning trademarks and owning copyrights again? Good luck with that. Ask Baron and Rude how that worked.

Dark Corridor from Image, by Rich Tommaso. It's a twisty story of a mob infested city and the women who have devoted themselves to ridding the city Red Circle of the mob. Intriguing, a slowly revealed grim noir where there are no winners and everyone pretty much deserves their fates.

I don't have much to say about this complete volume here. If you like Jim Thompson or other noir, Tarantino movies, comics by Gilbert Hernandez, with art that looks like Daniel Clowes, Seth, and Herge in parts, and wouldn't look out of place in RAW. There are a few confusing layouts with double page spreads that don't look like double page spreads, but mostly there's easy to follow art in relatively simple layouts. If you like it bleak, go for this book. I look forward to seeing She Wolf in trade as well. Recommended.


Thanks, Travis! I read two of these, and I already reviewed Dark Corridor, but I didn't review Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, but I will say that I tend to agree with Travis. I didn't like it as much as he did, but I had many of the same thoughts that he did. For what that's worth!

Will Travis have more to review? Only time will tell!

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