X-Men Black: Mojo
Writer: Scott Aukerman
Artist: Nick Bradshaw
As the struggle for the soul of comic books continues to be waged in angry blogs and twitter screeds, lines are being drawn. While the fanatics foam at the mouth, many creatives in comic books are putting those lines to paper. Rarely has there been a take down of toxic fandom put as succinctly or a beautifully as the Scott Aukerman’s first few panels of X-Men Black: Mojo. As a true connoisseur of the X-Men, Mojo believes only he understands his obsession and is more than willing to liquidate characters created in the name of inclusivity. It’s pure poetry that none other than the affable Glob shows up to provide an angel on Mojo’s putrid shoulder. Glob has never been, nor will likely ever be, a leading character, and his prominence in the story provides one of many levels to this middle-fingered salute to angry basement-dwellers.
Nick Bradshaw provides great visuals, really capturing the difficult Mojo, who couldn’t be further from your standard superhero. It’s a fun and loose read, and not nearly as emotionally taxing as the initial X-Men Black entry with Magneto. The moral of the story is fans and Mojo alike need to find some chill in order to be happier. It’s not a surprising moral, and it’s not a new one either, but when it comes to lampooning the rotten bits of the comics world, you could not ask for a better vehicle in Mojo. Whether the message of hope through chill will resonate is anyone’s guess, but until it does, the Mojos of this world are never going to get the ratings in life they believe they deserve.
Writer: Ryan Cady
Artist: Andrea Mutti
The gloomier physics nerds of the world will often delight in reflecting on the cosmic insignificance of humanity, the impending death of our sweet little yellow sun, or the thermal extinction of the entire universe. Cheery stuff, to be sure, but neither here nor there for our generation or the next seventy. Infinite Dark speeds up the timeline and puts us at the end of forever, on the Orpheus, a station built as the last refuge of humanity. Despite this amazing technological marvel, humanity couldn’t outrun the cold death of the universe, and the first panels of exposition in Ryan Cady’s spooky sci-fi mystery are aglow with the explosive final moments of ships bound for salvation that just weren’t fast enough.
Andrea Mutti’s illustration gives the book a haunted feel, and there are some very strong Gothic elements in the storytelling. Whether it’s the guilt of watching the rest of humanity founder on the rocky shores of oblivion or just being one of the few thousand humans left alive on a station built to house ten times that number, there’s a palpable ache in the story. The panels of pristine space station scenes are intermixed with black swatches at the edges, the hollow feeling of dread underpinning Cady’s story. While a sudden, seemingly random murder on a lonely space-station would be fertile enough ground for storytelling, the murder is linked to the icy black that blankets the station. Glyphs of blood on alloyed bulkheads and a peek into the void itself is where we leave the first issue, but it looks as if the void is already colonizing the Orpheus.
The Weatherman #5
Writer: Jody Leheup
Artist: Nathan Fox
The Weatherman continues to thrill and surprise in its penultimate issue to the finale of the first volume. Jody Leheup’s world-building has exploded in terms of scope, and every little scrap of dialogue paints a highly-detailed window into the conjectural future. Of special note are some of the amazing call-backs to sci-fi standards. Amy’s tactical suit is right out of Neon Genesis Evangelion, the fighter she uses in issue five looks like a certain Space Cowboy’s, and villain The Pearl is living his best life as a game show host of sorts, and not far off from Killian in The Running Man.
As the book has progressed, Nathan Fox’s art has gotten more improvisational, and the panels shiver with movement and sonic signifiers. The story line has gone from a straight-ish shot to a cluster bomb of interwoven threads and dead ends, with plenty of collateral damage along the way. As characters’ motivations are unfurled, the reader really develops a sense of exactly how bleak the populace’s outlook on life must be. With a hole in humanity’s heart the size of Earth itself, that’s hardly surprising. What is surprising is that blended seamlessly between the explosions and intrigue are the very human moments of vulnerability that keeps The Weatherman just grounded enough to be the shiny, high-octane romp it reads as from first glance.