One of the more impressive feats a good comic book can carry off is the ability to fracture time and create truly surreal moments on the page. Whereas film is forced to rely on single frames at a time, or novels are a linear flow of script, the page of a comic book can be taken in totality. This allows for some truly mind-bending stories. Exploring the afterlife is potent, introspective material, and telling that sort of story almost requires bending time and space. Writer Tini Howard’s Euthanauts is precisely that sort of story.
Aided by Nick Robles’ dreamy but well-defined illustration, Euthanauts is an ambitious book, looking to troll the unknown depths of the afterlife. Within the first issue, we have elements of magic, a semi-unreliable narrator, missing bodies, and some compelling philosophizing on what the afterlife means. In Euthanauts, death is an exciting new journey, provided you’re leaving behind people that will treasure your memory. Immortality may be impossible, but life beyond the grave is exactly what Howard’s story looks to explore.
Infidel #5 (of 5)
Being terrified isn’t just for Halloween, and for those unwilling to wait for the sequel to Halloween or The Devil’s Rejects, writer Pornsak Pichetshote has got your number. Infidel is a brilliant exploration of trust, spirituality, family, racism and inner demons, all within its 5-issue arc. It’s a charged and poignant story, with tear-jerking moments and total gut-drops in equal amounts. The most successful horror stories are the ones that ignore the sacred cows of standard survivors and victims. Infidel is a story where almost no one gets out, and it’s a brutal ride to the end.
Aaron Campbell’s masterful illustration is doing a metric ton of heavy lifting here, seamlessly transitioning from a straightforward, heavy-lined, emotive characters to nightmare-inducing scenes reminiscent of that old children’s classic you didn’t let your parents find out about, the Scary Stories books. Ethereal, virulent, and truly frightening, the monsters in Infidel have much more in common with us than any of us would like to admit, which is the artful twist on Pichetshote’s impressive story.
The Life of Captain Marvel #1 (of 5)
With Marvel juggling the MCU at large and the comic book explorations of Disney’s Star Wars canon, it’s no surprise that some of Marvel’s titles have gotten a little saggy (looking at you, X-Meh-n). That said, there’s still a lot of gas in the tank, and it’s fairly clear that the editorial staff has their eyes glued to the MCU film schedule. One of the best things to come out of comics in recent years is the industry’s often unvarnished look at mental health issues. While often turbulent, these stories are going a long way to helping those who suffer cope with their mental health. They’re also an incredible read.
Enter writer Margaret Stohl’s The Life of Captain Marvel. With the Captain Marvel film kicking off phase 4 of the MCU late spring of next year, it’s no surprise Marvel is throwing a spotlight on Carol Danvers. Sometimes the mightiest heroes bear the heaviest burdens, and this is precisely the case with Captain Marvel. Retiring to her bucolic childhood home after a breakdown, Danvers has a long road to recovery in front of her. Carlos Pacheco’s pastel-heavy flashbacks are an amazing counterpoint to the crisp and powerful still moments of the present day. This book is potent and triggering stuff, but at the end of its 5-issue run, it’s a solid bet that Stohl’s story will have helped readers and Captain Marvel alike heal. Just in time to be excited about that final trailer drop.