There hasn’t been any interesting Image news to comment on over the past month. Which, from a certain perspective, is kind of refreshing compared to the constant stream of drama that comes out of the Big Two. It doesn’t make for an interesting way to begin a column like this, so let’s just dive into March’s solicitations.
Gideon Falls #1: Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino have developed a good working relationship on titles like “Green Arrow” and “Old Man Logan.” Now they’re teaming up to deliver their first creator-owned series together. It has a somewhat jumbled premise in that it involves a reclusive, young conspiracy theorist digging into a city’s trash and a priest who has just arrived in a small town full of dark secrets. Connecting the two is a mysterious structure known as the Black Barn which has appeared throughout history leaving death and madness in its wake. If this was coming from two creators that I’ve never heard of then I’d say you could easily give this series a pass. That it’s coming from Lemire and Sorrentino gives me enough faith to check out the first volume at least.
Oblivion Song #1: Now that he’s no longer busy with “Invincible,” Robert Kirkman has some time on his schedule to launch a brand new series. After the superheroics of that title, and the two different strains of horror he has given us in “The Walking Dead” and “Outcast,” the writer pivots towards sci-fi with “Oblivion Song.” A decade ago 300,000 people were lost to the wasteland of Obvlivion and while our government made every attempt to rescue them they eventually gave up. Not Nathan Cole. He’s still exploring Oblivion to try and find out what happened to these people, and maybe for his own secret reasons as well. Again, it’s faith in a creator that gets me onboard here. The artist is one Lorenzo De Felici. I’m not familiar with him but I have a feeling that he’s going to turn out to be pretty great if Kirkman brought him onboard for this title.
Infidel #1 (of 5): In which an American Muslim woman and her multi-racial-and-cultural neighbors find out that the building they’ve moved into is haunted. Not just by your garden variety supernatural entities, mind you. These entities feed off xenophobia. Which, given the current cultural climate, makes me wonder if the entire cast will be killed off midway through the third issue and the back half will involve an all new cast. Who will all be dead by the end of the series. It’s an intriguing starting point for a minseries, no doubt about that. It also sounds like a particularly depressing one too, minus the humor that made “Get Out” just a little easier to take.
Saga #50: Everyone’s favorite Image series reaches a milestone issue. It also happens to be the second issue of its current arc thanks to the title’s rock-solid six-issue arc structure. This makes for kind of an awkward way to celebrate this milestone… unless you want to find out who won the latest Saga Costume Contest. The winners of this contest will be revealed exclusively in the letters section of this issue! So #50 has that going for it at least. Between this and “Y: The Last Man,” which also had a #50 issue which was in the middle of an ongoing storyline, it’s clear that Brian K. Vaughan doesn’t really care about milestones. That’s probably one more reason why he’s not doing anymore work for Marvel or DC. I imagine he’d give his editor a heart attack if he told them that he didn’t want to do anything special for the latest milestone issue of whatever superhero title he was working on.
Deadly Class #32: It’s the start of a new arc and, as you’d probably expect, EVERYONE IS TOTALLY FUCKED! Our motley group of protagonists (including two characters who probably should’ve died already) is under fire from the entire freshman class, Viktor and his kill crew, and Saya’s vindictive yakuza family. It’s the kind of situation that you would think couldn’t get worse for everyone, but I’m sure Rick Remender has plenty of shovels to throw to his cast so they can get a head start on digging their own graves. Remember, this is the one title of his where the ruthless grinding down of its main cast is actually part of the fun rather than a reason to stop reading.
Port of Earth vol. 1: I still remember the premise for this series back when it was first solicited. It hinged upon the idea that when aliens show up on our doorstep, they’re not coming to conquer us. No, they’re coming with a business proposition. To open up a spaceport on Earth in exchange for advanced technology. The catch is that while aliens are welcome in this spaceport, the rest of Earth is off-limits to them. So there’s a special police division set up to catch any rogue aliens and ship them back to whence they came. This comes to us from writer Zack Kaplan (credited here as writing something called “Eclipse”) and Andrea Mutti (veteran of everything from “Star Wars” to “Rebels”) and I’m just curious enough about this new series to give it a shot.
Extremity #12: Described as an “extra-sized finale” which is just a little surprising. Usually Image titles tend to go on hiatus without warning or wrap up after several volumes. For this one to announce its end after twelve issues… actually makes me consider picking up the second volume. Vol. 1 had some fantastic art which was married to a story that felt too familiar for its own good. I wouldn’t say the whole product was bad, but I was planning on cutting my losses after that first volume rather than see how things played out over several more. If “Extremity” is only going to be two volumes and done, then I might as well stick around to see if creator Daniel Warren Johnson can add any interesting twists to this story (and see more of that sweet, sweet art).
Invincible vol. 25: The End of All Things, Part 2: As good as this series has been over the years I’m expecting the world from this finale. Given that Kirkman, along with artist Ryan Ottley (and returning co-creator artist Cory Walker) knew that this was going to be their big finale going into it, I think they’ve got a good shot at delivering a worthy finish.
The Walking Dead vol. 29: Lines We Cross: Meanwhile, in the Kirkman title that still has plenty of life left in it, we get the post-war fallout volume. All the communities have lost something in the course of “The Whisperer War” and now we see if they’re able to come back from it. Though the main attraction for this volume might be the debut of new character “Princess,” I’m looking forward to reading the final issue it collects. Apparently Rick made good on his promise to Negan and gave him his own solitary outpost to live in. Now the onetime antagonist turned true believer in Rick Grimes has to deal with whether everything he’s done up to this point was worth it. Seeing how this looks to be the culmination of all the development that Kirkman has put into the character over the last several volumes it should be something to see.