By Stefania Rudd and Arpad Okay. Our Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while squeezing in 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 Electric Sublime #2
Written by W Maxwell Prince.
Art by Martín Morazzo; colors by Mat Lopes.
Letters by Good Old Neon.
AOK: There is an unspoken understanding within the pages of The Electric Sublime. There are two worlds. One, a perfect, timeless world of pure imagination. Then there’s our flawed world, where the ideas from the other side are made manifest, trapped, destined from birth to fade into dust. Touch that other world, the spirit world, and you will never be the same again. Margot Breslin, director of the Bureau of Artistic Integrity, has been through the canvas and back again. As a result, her life has become a Cronenbergian nightmare, expressed in primary colors.
Though the series is ostensibly about Art Brut, master detective and madman, or the Winking Woman, a suicide plague brought on by living works of art, Breslin steals the show in general (and this issue in particular). We get a look into her life — the stack of books towering over her desk, the beautiful painting her girlfriend is currently working on, the horrors of her day job. We get to get right up in her face. What we see is Margot wearing a worried expression, evident on nearly every page.
Margot ought to take pause, as we are only two issues in, but the series is hurling itself at meteoric speed towards a grisly darkness. Conflict in the other world, what Brut calls the Electric Sublime, is cartoonish. Beasts go out with a bang; a pop, really, like a balloon full of rainbow toothpaste pierced by a pin. And our world, the real world, standing on the side of the paintings we are much more accustomed to, where things are significantly worse. Artists turned into killers are brutal, ugly things.
For all this talk of uneasiness, The Electric Sublime is still written with a delicate touch. If half of it is murder, half of it is the quiet comfort of being in love. To have those two side by side… it’s worrisome. Breslin’s professional and domestic lives are already overlapping. She dates an artist. But then what’s to stop the rest of it from spilling over? Artists are in the crosshairs. Breslin has brought Art Brut into her home. Who is to say that the body count and property damage that surround Brut won’t follow onto Breslin’s doorstep? This book has a tendency to pay off mysteries by creating new ones. I am confident Margot will make it out. I just hope she makes it out alive.
8 out of 10
Grand Passion #1
Written by James Robinson.
Art by Tom Feister; colors by Davis Curiel.
Letters by Simon Bowland.
SR: These are the facts: James McNamara is a cop, new to a small town in Southern Illinois due to a transfer he requested after the loss of his wife. James isn’t well received by a majority of the force because he’s considered an outsider. (According to his partner, if he gives it “ten… twenty years” he’ll eventually become a “part of the place.”) Mabel and Steve are bank robbers wanted in multiple states with elaborately detailed schemes that have given them a lucky streak that simply can’t last for much longer. At some point, one would guess, James, Mable, and Steve’s paths will cross. Someone’s luck is about to run out.
In the first issue of Dynamite’s Grand Passion that day is today. However, there’s a twist from all the typical “Bonnie and Clyde” and “new cop tries to make a name for himself” tropes at play. This time there’s a straight to the heart, struck by lightning romance interjected right in the middle of a shootout. James and Mable will never be the same again.
James Robinson has written a story that immediately grabs you. From the opening lines from an omnipotent narrator to the the last line delivered by Mable, we’re left waiting in anticipation, wondering how this will all unfold as each page turns. As to whom the narrator actually is, well. Their identity is kept secret, but Robinson tosses us an engaging regional dialect and bard-like tone that we only become too happy to contend with.
The artwork by Tom Feister and Davis Curiel is lovely. Just as Robinson’s words give a feeling of warmth and excitement, Feister and Curiel keep our eyes just as captivated throughout the issue. From falling leaves in Vermont all the way to the trail of dust Mable expels from her car as she gets the heck out of town, the attention to detail is tremendous. Then there’s the panel placement — each block varies in size, which allows every page to look as though a puzzle was being put together.
Grand Passion #1 is an thrilling beginning to a promising new series. So buckle up, buttercup, and hold on to that heart of yours — we’re all in for a grand new adventure.
9 out of 10
From earlier this week —
What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.