By Stefania Rudd and 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. Did we miss your favorite books this week? Well. This is where you need to be.
Written by Neal Holman.
Art by Clayton McCormack.
Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick.
Letters by Crank!
BD: As caustically clever as bathroom humor can get, Redline is exactly what you’d expect from a sci-fi Martian romp brought to you by the producer of FX’s Archer. It’s an ensemble cast feeds off each other by swapping insults while they solve espionage-fueled crimes.
Much like Archer, the characters of Redline are at their most frenzied state of productivity only when their barbs are thrown around like confetti — the bon mots are everywhere at once, only a few land where they’re supposed to, and the lion’s share end up inhabiting empty space. Rapid-fire wit is impressive, but too much errs on the side of filler too easily.
The plot is undeniably engaging: a group of soldiers investigate an explosion on a (human) base camp on Mars. It’s quickly assumed the locals (Martians) are to blame, but holes in the on-site evidence prevent the team from jumping to conclusions. Was it a set-up? Was the squishy alien body found at the scene the perpetrator or was he trying to warn the locals? In a crime scene littered with multiple body parts and contaminated with diarrhea (yeah, it’s that kind of story), only the best team will be able to uncover the truth.
Redline is whip-smart and heinously immature in a way that ensures it will net the same fan base as Archer. It’s the kind of book that exists to provoke: create a character so reprehensible that all the anti-PC jokes you can possibly come up with will get a pass, and put a woman in charge so you can repeat quips about who’s banging the boss lady. There are blurred lines there for sure, but as long as it’s packed with action and the jokes never rest, this near-future Martian comedy is sure to provide a chuckle or two.
7 out of 10
Space Goat Publishing/$1.99
Written by Katie Schenkel.
Art by Cal Moray.
Letters by Tom Napolitano.
SR: Poor Renee! All she wanted was to help, and all she got for her trouble was a bite.
Writer Katie Schenkel puts a spin on the werewolf mythos in her new series from Space Goat Publishing, Moonlighters. In it, main character Renee reaches out to a group of what she believes to be monster hunters (The Moonlighters) for help in tracking down the girl that bit her. Soon after comes the tantalizing twist: The Moonlighters are themselves werewolves.
What’s more? Renee’s bite comes from a werewolf too, which makes her one as well. Moonlighters #1 is a whirlwind debut, one that lays its foundations in a well-structured way. Schenkel, teamed with artist Cal Moray, supply this kick-off issue with plenty of propulsive action. This one’s tough to resist.
Moonlighters is an all ages book that is intentionally written as such. Sometimes that balance can be tricky to pull off, but Schenkel does a great job at keeping the dialogue understandable (and relatable) for younger readers, but it’s not so simplistic that it would put off older readers. The rapport between the characters is natural and gives the reader a sense of welcoming inclusion — as Renee is accepted into the group, so are we. Cal Moray’s art is cartoonish, but not in an overtly cutesy way. Characters have defining characteristics that match their personalities, and even after they change into werewolves their identifiers remain. I also appreciated the diversity of the characters, their ethnicities, body types, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
Schenkel and Moray’s Moonlighters has a lot of heart. It also has the potential to grow into a fun episodic adventure story. The overarching themes of friendship, belonging, and transformation (both emotionally and physically) make this a must-read.
7.5 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.