Back into Image’s wonderful world of inventive and diverse comics today with part 2 of my favourite Image series, old and new. Today I’m doing a brief bit on two relatively recent series, both worlds apart in almost every aspect. Let’s go!
Alex + Ada
Art & Covers: Jonathan Luna
As with any comic that comes with the “Luna” name on it this one is an especially strange one at times, though not as weird as other books I’ve read with the name. Alex + Ada is set in the near future, a time when you can have a robotic freaking coffee machine set to make your coffee at a certain time in the morning then float into your room to hand it to you. I want a flying robotic coffee maker! Alex is a mildly successful young man who suffers from crushing loneliness, but refuses to jump onto the X5 train, X5s being incredibly lifelike robotic companions designed for, well, you can guess. But not just that, you dirty minded people you! They are, as I said, as much made for companionship as anything else. Well Alex’s grandmother goes ahead and gets one for him anyway, and while unimpressed to begin with Alex soon realises there’s more to Ada than initially meets the eye. Now, as you can see by the cover the art style is very Luna, it’s simplistic yet impressive, with a really nice, soft colour palette making it a frankly gorgeous book to behold. Story wise, you have to prepare yourself for a very slow read, sometimes it can almost feel frustratingly slow but generally I find it a pleasant change of pace from all the frenetic superhero comics I gorge on. It’s one I’m actually picking up on a monthly basis rather than trade waiting, so the week it drops I usually save it for last and essentially use it as a way to wind my mind down from all the previous craziness. Definitely not a book for everyone, certainly those that prefer to get almost instant resolution to story threads, but for those willing to take a slower pace to their stories and commit to the long play, it’s a real treat to behold.
Art: Rod Reis
Cover: Trevor McCarthy
COWL (sorry, can’t be arsed with all those full stops) is a story set in Chicago during the early sixties, following an organisation of the same name comprised of career superheroes, folks with super human powers or crazy gadgets that allow them to take on super powered villains. It’s one part crime thriller, one part superhero romp and one part historical twist, all under the umbrella of gritty, noir styled artwork. This is an art style I don’t think would suit a huge number of comics, but it’s wonderfully suited to the dark, rainy streets of Chicago and, actually, when superheroes do pop up it adds a greater element of spectacle because of the very real feeling world they’re in. Things aren’t going very well for COWL where the story picks up, they’ve canned the last remaining superhuman from a network of organised crime, they’re losing the faith of their law enforcement peers and more importantly, losing the faith of the public they keep safe. Dirty secrets and dodgy underhanded dealing start surfacing and things quickly go to hell, resulting in even more scandalous activities just to try and keep the organisation running and funded. A book unlike any I’ve read before, not only is it entertaining from start to finish it’s incredibly intriguing when pieces start falling into place and you begin to realise just how desperate these people are to stay in work. If you’re a fan of superheroes and want something a little bit different from the standard fare, or if you’re a fan of classic crime noir movies/shows, this is absolutely the book for you and I would highly recommend you give it a go. With Volume 1 out now and being released at Image’s introductory price, the value for money here is staggering. It translates to £7.50 for us in the UK, for the first five issues. Can’t argue with that!
And those are my two for today, as I said, two very different books that will appeal to some, not to others. I thoroughly enjoyed both and can’t wait to read more. Tomorrow’s look into the world of Image will be focusing on a couple of Volume 1 trades that have been around for quite a while, and actually are both also very different from one another. Anyway, I hope anyone reading can maybe take away a new series they’d like to try from this.