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Doom Patrol, Vol. 1: Brick by Brick

Gerard Way, Nick Derrington, and Tamra Bonvillain. DC, $16.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-4012-6979-1

Way (The Umbrella Academy) delivers a reunion that pulls a lot of the past into the future as this classic DC team tries to reunite around a new face, ambulance driver Casey Brinke. This requires a reintroduction to some classic characters like Robotman and Negative Man, and time to let readers get to know Casey and care about her mysterious role in the reformation of the team. In rounding up players from the past, including the ever-morphing sentient roadway, Danny the Street—now an ambulance as well as other things—and the unstable Crazy Jane—now a crucial final component to the team—Way offers a mind-bending chase through an alternate reality. While fans of previous versions of Doom Patrol will enjoy the reappearance of old favorites, Way’s breezy, humorous tone welcomes new recruits. Artist Derrington provides a cartoonish flair to the fun, and Bonvillain’s coloring adds a vibrant, surreal edge. (June)

Reviewed on 06/23/2017 | Details & Permalink

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One More Year

Simon Hanselmann. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (200p) ISBN 978-160699-997-4

Hanselmann’s bestselling parodic characters Megg and Mogg return in another collection of the nihilism, literally cartoonish cruelty, and bursts of the stoner comedy that the strip is best known for. Though this book isn’t a linear graphic novel like the previous Worst Behavior, Hanselmann weaves a few story threads throughout: long-suffering Owl’s crush on Megg; the slow downward spiral of Werewolf Jones; and Megg and Mogg’s crushing struggles with depression and anxiety, which often leave them all but unable to function. It’s in this strife that the book finds its title—the phrase is Megg’s mantra to convince herself not to die yet. Those flickers of nearly extinguished humanity are what guide Hanselmann’s narrative. Readers are forced to find sympathy for even the most abusive characters, and acknowledge the flaws in the most pitiable; Owl—often the victim of everyone else’s attacks—is himself prone to the same violent toxicity he experiences from others. Hanselmann’s world isn’t just devoid of heroes, it’s full to bursting with all humanity’s sins. While that’s far from a universally appealing lens for fantasy, readers struggling with their own demons will find this anthology chillingly real. (June)

Reviewed on 06/23/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Angel City: Town Without Pity

Janet Harvey and Megan Levens. Oni, $19.99 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-1-62010-426-2

Dolores Dare was once a starry-eyed ingénue, fresh off the bus from Muncie with a heart full of Hollywood dreams. Today, she’s an enforcer whose life is confined to Tinseltown’s shadows. When an old friend shows up in a dumpster, however, the tension between Dare’s past and present peaks–with violent results. Dare is embittered, exhausted, but ultimately hungry for justice. Though this midcentury noir treads familiar ground—slain starlets, mob bosses making their moves, intrepid journalists getting their hands dirty—Harvey (Batman) presents the story with style and verve. Levens (Madame Frankenstein) brings a wonderful visual weight to the cast: dresses drape luxuriously, suits strain at the shoulders, and the set lights throw the glamour and decay into sharp relief. This is Hollywood mystery at its most classic. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 06/23/2017 | Details & Permalink

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