The future is feline in 'The Family Trade' #1, an intriguing debut from Jordan, Ryan, and Beem

The future is feline in ‘The Family Trade’ #1, an intriguing debut from Jordan, Ryan, and Beem

By Brandy DykhuizenOur Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while taking time for a new review or two before it’s all over. Did we miss your favorite books this week? Well. This is where you need to be.

The Family Trade #1The Family Trade #1

Image Comics/$3.99

Written by Justin Jordan and Nikki Ryan.

Illustrated by Morgan Beem.

Letters by Rachel Deering.

In the future, the civilized world has been whittled down to one giant, stacked island called The Float, and a family of friendly assassins work to keep the clans in line. Sounds intriguing enough, but to top it all off, there’s a hint that the cats pulling the shots might be, well… actual cats.

Morgan Beem does dystopia well, lending a little steampunkishness to the crowded metropolis without getting eye-rollingly lost in the aesthetic. There’s a darkness to the city, which looks like it could be swallowed up at any moment by the surrounding inky waves, but real doom and gloom is kept at arm’s length to allow the levity of the book’s main character — here, an assassin — shine through.

Slinking silently through the shadows (and trailed by an enormous cloud of hair), Jessa botches the hit of a lifetime, only to learn she shouldn’t have even been there in the first place. Justin Jordan and Nikki Ryan weave an intriguing story that’s part history, part foreshadowing and all adventure. Within the first few pages you immediately want to learn everything there is to know about Jessa. She’s witty, talented, a little brazen, but has a heart possibly too big for the work at hand. But being born into The Family, she doesn’t have much choice in the matter.

If there’s anything to complain about in The Family Trade, it’s the antagonist’s Trumpian demeanor. He’s an easy bad guy to hate, of course. But I, for one, am so tired of the real deal that it felt a little deflating to have to look at him here. But that’s just one woman’s opinion. And it almost seems possible we’ll learn that the future is feline by the end of the series, so I’ll keep tuning in for that.

8 out of 10

God Complex #1God Complex #1

Image Comics/$3.99

Written by Paul Jenkins.

Illustrated by Henry Prasetya.

Colors by Jessica Kholinne.

Letters by Jaka Ady.

God Complex gets to work right away establishing a deeply-rooted and somewhat digital mythology in the unceasingly dark and rainy city of Delphi. Greek, Roman and Christian allusions are hurled around with the frequency of Seneca’s glowering gazes. In no way does this book shy away from moodiness.

Paul Jenkins cleverly reveals quite the intricate world in just a handful of pages. The murder mystery, while the primary driver of the plot, is almost secondary to all the other cool stuff going on around it. Ghosts in the machine, polarity clusters, deep data walls… there’s an endless list of sci-fi tropes that would sound trite with a less masterful writer weaving them together.

Which brings us to the titular allegory – one so often used and abused. We get it. Leaders shouldn’t play God and humans should never be treated as pawns. However, Jenkins devises tiers of power plays, from the societal to the personal, illustrating that damned human tendency to lord over whatever we can. Past the obvious conceit, God Complex lays out that constant struggle to stay humble and not take a mile when given an inch.

And it’s all quite pretty. Henry Prasetya serves up some seriously stylized landscapes made almost entirely of light. If you’ve ever wondered what the Kölner Dom would have looked like in Tron, you should definitely read God Complex.

7 out of 10

From earlier this week — 

PREVIEW: Things are getting H.A.R.D Corps in this preview of ‘Harbinger Renegade’ #8

IMAGERY: Niles & Sampson’s ‘Winnebago Graveyard’ a dependably terrifying carnival of frights

ADVANCED REVIEWS: ‘Wrapped Up’ #1 a sugar-coated blast of pizza, magic and other equally awesome things

REQUIRED READING: Masterful restoration of ‘Marney the Fox’ a gorgeous tome from a bygone era

INTERVIEW: Shelly Bond, Black Crown, and the future of comics: a vital connection is made [Part 3]

STAFF PICKS: Hey, there’s a ‘Ragman’ haunting Gotham City, let’s go check it out

PREVIEW: Who can know for whom the bell tolls? The ‘Ice Cream Man’ can

PREVIEW: The Kingpin takes control of New York City — no, seriously — in ‘Daredevil’ #595

‘Atomahawk’ a vivid fever dream of metal, circuits, and carnage

UNDERCOVER, or: Five covers from this week that we won’t live without

BUILDING A BETTER MARVEL: Stirring, exceptional ‘Falcon’ #1 respects Sam Wilson as a legend in his own right

What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.

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