Published on February 17th, 2016 | by JCDoyle0
Boom Studios – On The Shelf
Another week another selection of comics. This week Boom Studios have another great set of trade paperbacks coming out, among them the collected Bill and Ted ‘s Most Triumphant Return. There are also these wonderful offerings on the shelf:
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Dragons
A beautiful tale magnificently realised. This is an endearing comic to be read on a Sunday evening, sat in front of an open fire, surrounded by loved ones. The beauty of this is that it can be enjoyed intimately or shared with family and friends.
In this issue the Storyteller tells the tale of Albina Popovich, a powerful warrior who couldn’t bear to remain at home so she travelled the world, seeking adventures. On one occasion, while visiting home, her parents almost plead with her to adopt Mara as her squire. Reluctantly she agrees and the story of their friendship unfolds. Together they search for a purpose and a place in the world but it’s the life threatening struggle with a form changing Dragon that brings them together as companions.
Both the script and the art have a mythical feel to them with Hannah Christenson’s pencil work reminiscent of wood etchings or medieval illustration. The central characters are swept up in a swirl of earthy colours and intimate panels and they pull you along on their wild ride. The pacing of the story works wonderfully with the art work as Albina and Mara encounter a variety of rich and magnificent characters. Christenson has produced a very satisfying, all ages tale that is a worthy edition to The Storyteller’s collection.
Writer/Artist: Hannah Christenson
Additional Illustration: David Petersen
Speaking of ‘all ages’; the latest Lumberjanes hits the shelves this week and the gang are all over the place. Storms at sea, reality portals and strange guardians of the forest all feature heavily this month.
Jen is concerned for the Roanoke group as they have ventured out into the storm and, despite some reassurance, her worries appear to be well founded. On the small sailing ship and under the watchful leadership of Seafarin’ Karen everything is far from “perfectly safe”. Group dynamics are stretched to breaking point and just when the crew thought it couldn’t get any worse they fall through a hole in reality.
There are some big fantasy elements on show in this story but writers Watters and Leyh manage to control them so they never become over whelming. The story becomes complex but it never loses sight of its main aim; to be an entertaining all ages comic. Pietsch’s art is dynamic and bold. In places it even becomes very minimalistic with the use of flat, single colour backgrounds but it all helps to heighten the adventure while keeping a light hearted tone.
Lumberjanes has been a runaway success for Boom and this issue continues to reach the high quality its readers have come to expect.
Writers: Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh
Artist: Carey Pietsch
Colours: Maarta Laiho
Bill & Ted Go To Hell
The eccentric, time travelling, guitar wielding due are back for some more non bogus adventures this week as they round up some old friends and take on some old enemies. To be fair, it’s a name dropping, character referencing piece of twaddle but let’s face it you wouldn’t expect anything else.
The last series started off really well but, in my opinion, lost its way towards the end but I was still excited to see this title on the release schedule. Brian Joines is on writing duties and he writes the central characters with ease. The Bill and Ted everyone knows and loves are in these pages and the guest characters are how you remember them from (mostly) Bogus Journey. From the opening scene with Death practicing his Connect Four skills you know you’re on to a winner. The quirky humour and distinct lack of sense is splashed across the pages with wild, and brilliant, abandon.
The story? Well, if you’re insistent that there has to be one you’ll not be disappointed; it’s an exercise in nostalgic showcasing but entertaining none the less. Death has been kidnapped and the demonic Colonel Oats is on a mission to dispatch Bill and Ted. That’s the actual Demonic Colonel Oats and not the real Colonel Oats who isn’t really a friendly dude but tends not to have empty burning holes for eyes. Managing to dispatch the demon, Bill and Ted have an out of body experience, come face to face with their worst nightmares; again! Then they put a team together to journey into Hell itself. You know, the usual bogus day.
Despite being a rehash of the second movie and swamped with guest characters for name drop reasons only, it is actually an enjoyable read and nothing if not fun. The art work is pleasing, capturing as it does the essence of the characters without being cartoonish. The panel layouts are bursting with the energy of Bill and Ted and each page flows seamlessly which came as a pleasant surprise. And this is the reason this comic is worth reading if you’re not a fan of the franchise; yes the story is a little cheesy, it feeds the need of the fans which is something that could put others off but the artwork is actually a pleasure and helps the narrative become more than history gags and film references.
I am hoping that this series can maintain this standard through to the end because I was let down by the last series however when you start with Death practicing his gaming skills and then end with, well that last panel is a cornucopia of surprises. You’ll have to buy it to see what I mean.
Writer: Brain Joines
Colours: Jeremy Lawson