By Stefania Rudd and Jarrod Jones. Our Week In Review collects our thoughts on the comics that demand attention. Do you have a deep-rooted desire to know what we think about all your favorite books? Well. This is where you need to be.

downloadPaper Girls #4


Written by Brian K. Vaughan.

Art by Cliff Chiang; colors by Matt Wilson.

Letters by Jared K. Fletcher.

SR: Annnnd the action just keeps moving forward in the fourth issue of Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang’s Paper Girls. In real time, a mere few hours have passed for its story and so far we’ve discovered 1) Earth is under alien invasion 2) family and friends have vanished into thin air (or so it would seem), and 3) our gal squad of Erin, Mac, KJ, and Tiffany are left to figure out what in the heck is going on. Oh, and let’s not forget that Erin has been shot and some monstrous-looking teen dudes say they can heal her. With little options for help and less time afforded thm, what other choice can our girls make than to believe them?  

Vaughan’s dialogue between the characters and his use of varying languages (from teen speak, to one alien language we can read with a minimum of fuss, to another alien language in what looks to be code) continue to solidify him as one of the best writers now, and quite possibly ever. In this issue we get more of an idea about the girls and their lives through their conversations and how they react to the various things thrown at them: when KJ and Mac get into a tiff about following the not-what-they-seem teen dudes into the woods, we get insight on their family’s socioeconomic statuses as well as the values taught to them. Chiang’s art and Wilson’s coloring are beautifully done to bring the story to life through emotive expressions, filling in blanks when there are no words to help us otherwise. This is perfectly illustrated in the four page spread of Tiffany’s life flashing before her eyes, as an alien monster places her in a stranglehold. Don’t worry, she survives, and is more shaken up that her life up to now was filled trying to beat a particular video game.

Paper Girls #4 allows us to embark on this crazy journey as if we were the fifth member of the group. The stakes continue to get higher (as a God-like figure is introduced in the first few pages of the book and we know he is in control of one sect of the aliens, while the other monstrous looking teen dudes have taken Erin in their space vessel and have vanished out of sight). I imagine things will progress quite nicely as the story unfolds. This is, after all, a book by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. Expectations need not apply.

9 out of 10

REPLICA-2_Page_01Replica #2

AfterShock Comics/$3.99

Written by Paul Jenkins.

Art by Andy Clarke; colors by Dan Brown.

Lettered by Clayton Clowes.

JJ: If you find yourself among those who frequently ask after the bygone hard-assed, too-cool-for-you era of Vertigo, you ought to know that it’s alive and well over at AfterShock Comics. To put a finer point on it, the muck-encrusted world of Transmetropolitan lives on in Paul Jenkins and Andy Clarke’s utterly hilarious, often exciting new series, Replica.

Take a quick glance at Replica‘s grimy underbelly of The Transfer, with all its weirdos and scumbags and oddballs and ristorantes, and it would be perfectly natural to think that you’d been transported to some future plane where The City still thrived, churning with shifty-eye alien ambassadors and mustache-twirling teddy bears. Transmet‘s muckraking hero journalist would find such a challenge more than adequate. Thing is, The Transfer is decidedly Detective Trevor Churchill’s beat. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Because as much as I admire the sheer crustiness of Replica, I’m absolutely gobsmacked by the book’s chutzpah. I’ve never sat back and enjoyed two issues of such a vulgar, caustic book since I was a wee one leafing through Preacher when I was positive my mother wasn’t looking. Paul Jenkins has an uncanny knack for making the unlikable likable. He’s probably a fantastic drinking partner. And he can make the fantastic seem completely plausible, but Jenkins doesn’t do it alone; Andy Clarke’s skritchy linework works overtime to capture The Transfer’s zeitgeist, his work a dedication to offer us a fully-realized world. Every species looks as though it came from its own unique planet. Clarke has mastered nuance so deftly, he can make an armada of clones look like a brigade of distinctive individuals. How he does it, well. Beats the hell out of me.

As fully realized as their world is, it’s not enough for Jenkins and Clarke. They have to give every single nimrod who crosses Trevor’s path a personality wholly befitting their appearance. But they go so much deeper than that: it would be enough to denote the nefarious Scarlets with a sinister red hue, but they had to make them absolute bastards on top of it. Sit back and watch Trevor “handle” the Scarlet Ambassador Gar’el: Detective Churchill certainly ain’t one to mask contempt at any point during his day, but Gar’el has completely embraced being an exceptionally shitty person. It’s a fascinating exchange that pinballs from “hardly cordial” to “outright hostile”. (Example: it only takes six panels for Trevor to threaten to have the testicles forcibly removed from his suspect.) Trevor Churchill may not have the lyrical eloquence of Spider Jerusalem, but he certainly has his flair for hollowed-out cynicism. He also has Spider’s driven need to do right. Replica is one of the funniest, finest, and most endearing comics published today. Trevor Churchill rules.

9 out of 10

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