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Comics: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
by Dee. 11/30/2017Welcome all:
This month, we have several substantial choices for monthly comics: Demon: Hell is Earth , Realm, and Runaways.
Demon: Hell is Earth (DC Comics): Etrigan, an infamous demon known for his frequent Shakespearian speech, gains increasing control of his bonded human Jason Blood who is searching for the answers to a haunting nightmare.
After a nuclear explosion goes off in the nearby Death Valley, Jason begins to understand the origins of his mysterious vision. Etrigan is released, and a new threat begins to emerge.
The art is dramatic with deep shadows, and a mix of reds, oranges and yellows with muted blues and grays to emphasize the contrasting human existence and hellish landscape. One of the most impressive visuals is gaping demonic maws boiling out of the powerful nuclear blast.
It is an interesting beginning to this story, which is a short mini-series, only six issues long. I will be interested to see more of this story as it progresses.
Realm (Image Comics): This is a post-apocalyptic tale with an unusual twist: here there be dragons. Some people have set themselves up as kings for various lands, and thugs enforce taxes and tolls on anyone who wanders in. Scavenging for antibiotics and clean water is a way of life among desolate buildings, and enemies akin to orcs plague the land. Sacrificial magic and demons lurk at the edges of everything, and guides are needed to make long treks. That is where our heroes come in. Molly enlists a no-nonsense gun-for-hire, who has a grave injury to his arm.
This is an engrossing story, with a compelling cast of characters who are thrown together in the worst of environments. The art is also quite excellent, bringing a realistic edge to the fantasy elements. The character design of Molly kind of reminds me of Michonne from Walking Dead, in the best way possible. You don't want to miss this comic.
Runaways (Marvel Comics): Before I jump into this review, let me just say that I haven't watched the new series yet, and I read Runaways years ago in 2005 or so. This is a different group of artists and creators than the original Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, so I come to the series with vague memories about the overall plot and development. This story starts after the fallout of the first series, and so I'm re-learning slowly about these beloved and unique superheroes.
The script flows nicely along, not feeling like forced exposition to catch everyone back up, though it does provide enough detail to jog my memory, especially of Molly and Old Lace. (Not really a spoiler, I swear.)
All in all, this is a great revival of characters that I loved, and they already talk about their different motivations and goals in a way that feels reasonable for people to interact when they are living in the moment. There are hints to someone nefarious in the wings, so this won't be an easy reunion road-trip.
I would definitely recommend reading the older series, to appreciate how the kids grew and changed as people in the aftermath of their previous experiences. I don't think that this is a series that could be entered without a (re-)read of the original material.