By Brandy Dykhuizen. Our Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while taking time for a new review or two before it’s all over. This week: ‘Proxima Centauri’ #1 and ‘Hungry Ghosts’ #4.
Written and Illustrated by Farel Dalrymple.
In Proxima Centauri, Farel Dalrymple isolates the frustrations and loneliness of one’s teenage years and paints them against the cold, blank canvas of outer space. Sherwood, the hero of the story, is trapped approximately 4.25 light-years away from his family and friends, and his ragtag team of space cohorts aren’t exactly scrambling to help him return to Earth.
By bouncing back and forth between busy scenes of adventure and Sherwood’s inner monologue, Dalrymple makes sure the reader feels the full effects of the teen’s detachment. Remember in high school, when you were sulking around, and some helpful adult would point out that you should be having fun, because these are surely the best years of your life? It’s kind of like that, only Sherwood’s devotion to his angst and ennui transcends small town halls of learning and remains steadfastly unaffected against the wonders and surprises of alternate dimensions.
The slings and arrows of adolescent hormones truly know no bounds. It’s a charming read. Really, you just want to give Sherwood a hug. And if you spent more than five minutes being a self-absorbed brat between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, it’s super relatable.
The art is amazing, somehow positioning the reader to view the internal and external conflicts simultaneously. Gorgeously inventive landscapes, simply yet perfectly colored, stretch out between topsy-turvy scenes of shifting gravity. Get lost in the details – devote ten minutes to a page, taking it all in. It’s time well spent.
Dalrymple also has a real knack for naming characters, as young Sherwood Presley Breadcoat holds his own with Duke Herzog (“The Scientist”), Shakey the Space Wizard and the Time Traveler named Mr. EXT. But what would you expect from someone boasting a moniker such as his own? Proxima Centauri is a fun, sweet read from all angles, blending new and exciting worlds with a strong undercurrent of the familiar.
‘Proxima Centauri’ #1 hits stores June 13.
9 out of 10
Berger Books/Dark Horse Comics/$3.99
Written by Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose.
Art by Irene Koh and Francesco Francavilla.
Colors by Jose Villarrubia.
Letters by Sal Cipriano.
The great thing about folk tales is that we hear them so much growing up that we become a little numb to their implausibility. As a result, this can induce some fantastically “WTF?!” moments when diving into folklore from other cultures.
In Hungry Ghosts, Anthony Bourdain, never one to shy away from the outré, retells some of the more maniacal tales he’s encountered as a travel and food writer. Gruesome, horrifying, punctuated with downright baffling morals – what more could you ask for in a collection of fables meant to be shared over a few bottles at the end of a grueling shift? Bourdain and Joel Rose aim to deliver.
In the fourth and final issue of the series, Irene Koh illustrates the Japanese tale “The Snow Woman,” capturing the ethereal beauty of what might have been a young man’s hypothermic hallucination, had it not terminated so terribly. The prose is stripped down to an unexpected degree of simplicity, perhaps to keep true to the nature of oral tales, unfettered by the minutiae of detail.
The second part takes a turn towards the more subversive, with its rusty palette invoking the parched, sunken desperation of starvation. Francesco Francavilla’s artwork in “The Cow Head” trims the fat from all the nice things that make us human, asserting that we really aren’t a cut above animals after all – at least not when our food source is threatened.
A grand finale of butchery and blood awaits the reader. Hungry Ghosts comes to a close, tying together a collection of satisfying late-night tales from America’s favorite snarky globetrotting scribe. Fans of folktales and food writing alike will surely enjoy these books, as they bring something a little out of the ordinary to the table.
7.5 out of 10
From earlier this week —
What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Make it short and sweet — the best response wins a free set of DoomRocket stickers!