Monday, February 13, 2012

Stranger Knights

By Bill Volk, Casey Bohn, and Mary Soper

The introductory page of this anthology says that it's a collection of comics about "brave men, women, gods, and radiation beasts who venture into an unjust world and punch those things that need to be punched", so you can probably already guess that I'm going to give this comic a good review.

Despite reading lots of zines and minicomics for this site, I still read a surprising amount of superhero comics (I'm currently rereading Ed Brubaker's Captain America run, hurray libraries!), and I still _like_ superhero comics, even though most of the stuff from mainstream publishers is pretty awful. One thing I do enjoy are indie comics creators versions of superheroes. I've dug the Strange Tales collections that Marvel has put out, James Kochalka's SuperFuckers, and similar books.

Of the three stories in here, the first (pictured below) is written and drawn by Bill Volk and features the god on earth Shamash as he fights infinity robots (yes, that many), teams up with other superheroes, and travels to other dimensions. It really combines a lot of my favourite things about comics, mostly that it is full of bizarre creations, humour, and fighting. This story reminds me of superhero comics I enjoy like Incredible Hercules, Atomic Robo, SuperFuckers, and Invincible (I cannot believe that Robert Kirkman hasn't created a character called Jillhammer yet).

The art is mostly good, and while one of the gods that appears is kind of weird looking, it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story.

The second story in this anthology is also written by Volk, but is drawn by Mary Soper. This one is a sort of space-fantasy hybrid whose interstellar princess hero reminded me of some of the magical girl anime and manga I've read. The comic features the princess fighting both dinosaur-men and sexism, and has her using her powers in a pretty cool way to avoid a major battle. My only real problem with it is that I'm kind of sick of rich and idle superheroes and/or royalty being the focus of stories. Screw them! Even if they are fictional. Also the story ends on a cliffhanger, and I don't know how to find out what happens next.

The third story is about a guitar player who's probably into transcendental meditation and stuff like that as he says that "The echoes from that planet are all wrong." The art style in certain panels was interesting to look at, but the overall piece didn't really come together.

But still! Two out of three stories is pretty good for an anthology, and I'd be interested in reading future issues.

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