This month’s digital indie comics round-up features psychic super spy Elena Anchova in Elena: Divinity Rising, a genre mash-up that you never knew you needed to see in Wes Locher’s Hipsters vs. Rednecks, a depressed Prince of Darkness with an image crisis in Our Friend Satan and teenage werewolf angst in Some Kind of Blue Moon.
Elena: Divinity Rising #2 (Alien Apple Studios)
After the explosive finale of issue #1, Darren Pearce and Stuart Jennett’s psychic super-spy has to rescue her partner Alex from the collapsing remnants of the New York subway while also avoiding the threat of the mysterious skull-faced assassin who got them in this predicament in the first place. With a smart balance of action-packed present day, and monochrome tinged flashback, Pearce and Jennett are building the foundation for a really interesting character in Elena and as we approach the half way point in this 4-issue mini series the drama is beginning to simmer nicely. While the action in the present day is fairly generic super spy stuff, the flashbacks to Elena’s mysterious Soviet past, her murderous mother, and the revelations about her nascent psychic skills help give the book an intriguing premise and flesh out what otherwise could be a fairly generic female action lead. There is an obvious comparison to make with Natasha Romanov thanks to the Soviet-era back story, but thanks to psychic powers that allow Elena to read electronic communication and her Lisbeth Salander dress sense and haircut, she ends up being much more just another Black Widow clone. With a new adventure beckoning and a mysterious villain on her trail we can’t wait to see what happens next.
Purchase Elena: Divinity Rising #2 from In2TheReview Store for £0.99
HIpsters vs Rednecks (Gumroad)
Wes Locher’s quirky mash-up story sees the hipster inhabitants of a post-apocalyptic New York city plagued by beer-drinking, truck-driving, NASCAR-loving rednecks. But when a stranger called Sloane comes to town, hipster Pete is forced to re-evaluate his lifestyle as she brings a new perspective on the world and reminds him that life his about more than what coffee you drink and which Arcade Fire song you like the most. By pitting these two disparate sub-cultures against each other in a post-apocalyptic world, writer Locher has created a fun and enjoyable tale that gently ridicules both groups. There are some neat touches, but the comedy is fairly tame and predictable, relying on familiar jokes about choices of coffee and ‘trying too hard to be cool’, and so ultimately lacks a really cutting satirical edge. With some fairly haphazard artwork from Tyler Kelting, Hipsters vs. Rednecks meanders along on a nice enough journey, which is OK for a short and simple one-shot. But a bit like a malfunctioning milk frother, it just runs out of steam before the end.
Purchase Hipster vs. Rednecks from Gumroad
our friend Satan (Imago media)
Our Friend Satan is another ‘proof of concept’ piece for a Kickstarter (similar to the recent The Warden: Swamp Magic), and sees a grumpy Prince of Darkness summoned by some unsuspecting Satanists who get more than they bargained for. Instead of a horned, hooved demon they get a grumpy middle-aged man in a bathrobe. It seems that the devil is having an image problem and after years of misrepresentation by the Catholic church he decides he has had enough and opts to sue the Pope for defamation of character. As a set-up for a prospective series it is perfect – a brilliant idea, superbly executed. Writer Dominik L. Marzec has come up with a fantastic idea and writes a short story with a great hook while his art team of Lukas Lalko and Michael Murawski more than deliver on the visuals, creating a beautifully looking mini-comic packed full of character and some incredible detail (just take a look at who is doing in the washing up in Satan’s kitchen and don’t miss the Chthulu Vodka!). The Kickstarter has succesfully funded a future graphic novel project and there is even talk of turning into a movie, but for now check out the devilishly good 17-page introduction for free via their website.
Read the free 17-page preview comic via OurFriendSatan.com
Some Kind Of Blue Moon (Comicker Digital)
Like their supernatural siblings ‘the vampire’ and ‘the zombie’, werewolves have been a bit over-exposed in recent years with writers looking to exploit every post-modern loophole they can to try and create something new and original. While we’ve seen some, like Who Needs the Moon’s Todd McCullough, take things off in a darker more macabre direction, writer Michael D Stewart has instead gone for the more family-friendly end of the werewolf spectrum creating this smart mix of the Wolfman and a 1980s John Hughes movie. Bert is your average 20-something, who is trying to balance college and work while also turning into a wolf every full moon. Fortunately his best friend Ernie is there to help him, but when an enigmatic stranger turns up and some hooded wiccans want to involve Bert in their arcane ritual then things take a turn for the worst. The tone throughout Some Kind Of Blue Moon is kept mercifully light with plenty of quirky jokes and witty asides, which give the book a lightness without ever become too self-referential. It has the energy and smarts of a series like John Layman’s Chew, which manages to balance the serious with the surreal just perfectly. While the sketchy artwork from Thomas Boatwright is loose and fun and may seem a bit chaotic at times, hiding underneath some of the scribblier line work is a really great look and style with some fantastic characterisations, so if you love werewolves and Some Kind Of Wonderful then this is the book for you.
Purchase Some Kind Of Blue Moon for £1.99/$2.99 from ComiXology
Author: Alex Thomas
Alex Thomas is the Editor and founder of PIpedream Comics. He grew up reading comics in the 90s, so even though he loves all things indie and small press, he is easily distracted by a hologram cover.