Zojaqan #1 from Vault Comics -
Shannon Kind knows pain and grief. Raised by a loving, but demanding immigrant father, Shannon had high hopes and wide expectations as she ran the race of life. It all culminated in Luther's birth. He was her son, he was her greatest joy but became the source of her greatest pain when his life was unjustly taken. Now, Shannon finds herself suddenly plunged into a new, wonderful, treacherous world, a planet unlike any she has ever known. She'll have to draw on all of her skills, intelligence and pain to survive and thrive in a place where she's both predator and prey. Why is she there, and why does she find herself thrust time after time further into the planet's developing future? What can she teach the evolving life there...And what will they teach her?
From Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing comes the epic, Alice-In-Wonderland-type sci-fi tale, Zojaqan. Kelly and Lanzing have created a compelling and riveting protagonist in Shannon Kind - her vibrant inner thought-life is related to the reader through both the captions and art as she tries to survive on a beautiful, but sometimes hostile planet, and as she is thrust from the planet's prehistoric past farther and farther into its future. It's a masterful work of storytelling in which the backstory of the protagonist and the developing story run parallel, with the reader starting a bit confused in the first few pages, discovering both the new planet with the protagonist, and discovering the protagonist too, at the same time. Everything unfolds beautifully, which gave me a slight feeling of confusion, while at the same time gripping me just enough to sink deeper and deeper into the journey with the protagonist. Nathan Gooden lays down some of the most flowing, expressive and sensual pencils I have seen in recent years, topped off by Vittorio Astone's offbeat palette of colors that make Zojaqan impossible to put down. I have a feeling that Zojaqan is going to give us an amazing ride.
RATING: 10 out of 10.
Hi-Fi Fight Club #1 from BOOM! Studios' BOOM! Box imprint -
Chris is a teen-age tomboy who is the newest employee at the absolute coolest record store in town, Vinyl Mayhem. What makes Vinyl Mayhem so cool? It's the awesome people who work there, people that Chris idolizes for their several unique personality traits - from her boss, Irene, who is just the coolest adult alive, to Kennedy, the walking encyclopedia of music, to Dolores, the resident disinterested Goth girl, to Maggie, a walking ray of sunshine and Chris' secret crush. Although Chris is made to feel welcome, she often still feels like the outsider in a group of people who have known each other for so long. She just wants to fit in...She just wants to be invited to the secret meetings in the stock room at night, like the rest of the girls. However, when Rosie Riot, lead singer of a beloved band goes missing, Irene, Dolores, Kennedy and Maggie spring into action, revealing to Chris a secret that will thrust her into a dangerous new adventure that's sure to include lots of cool music and a whole lot of butt-kicking! Welcome to Vinyl Mayhem where you'll find the best music for your ears, and the hardest fists for your face.
Penned by Carly Usden, Hi-Fi Fight Club looks to be an "All-Ages" cutesy mash-up of two of the 90's most-beloved films, "Fight Club" and "Empire Records." And it works. Chris is a lovable protagonist - all heart and hormones - who just wants to fit in and be one of the cool kids. Luckily, the cool kids are all pretty neat people who stand up for themselves, and for those who don't know how. Each supporting character comes alive on the page with their own big, quirky personality which makes this book a joy to read. Nina Vakueva's high-energy, high-drama, anime-inspired, cartoony pencils pour on the sweetness and light in High-Fi Fight Club, making Usden's story even more of a blast. Man, do I ever miss the 90s sometimes. Rock on, Carly Usden. Rock on.
RATING: 9 out of 10.
And I'll leave you with a little Renée Zellwegger - before Jerry Maguire, before Bridget Jones, she rocked out and made me fall head-over-heels for her in...Empire Records! Enjoy!!!