Review: Aces Weekly Volume 1 (Aces Weekly)

ComiXology volume 1 cover (ComiXology)V For Vendetta co-creator David Lloyd’s award-winning digital art anthology, comes to ComiXology with Aces Weekly Volume 1, a collection of it’s fantastic first 7 week run. But how will this new digital format compare to the original online edition?

ComiXology volume 1 cover (ComiXology)Publisher: Aces Weekly
Writer: Carl Critchlow, Phil Elliott, Esteban Hernandez, Phil Hester, David Hitchcock, Kerry Hitchcock, David Jackaon, Mychailo Kazybrid, David Leach, David Lloyd, Alain Mauricet, Lucy Stone, Lew Stringer, Alexandre Tefenkgi, J.C. Vaughn
Artist: Carl Critchlow, Phil Elliott, Bambos Georgiou, Esteban Hernandez, David Hitchcock, David Leach, David Lloyd, Alan Mauricet, John McCrea, Lew Stringer, Alexandre Tefenkgi, Rory Walker, Mark Wheatley
Price: £6.99 from ComiXology

Originally released via the Aces Weekly website, the first volume of David ‘V For Vendetta‘ Lloyd’s digital comics anthology has now been collected together into one edition and is available via ComiXology. Because Aces Weekly is first and foremost a digital publication, each story has been written and produced specifically for the medium by comic artists from all over the world (including big name’s from the UK scene), meaning the stories work perfectly on your iPad’s screen with many making the most of a dedicated landscape orientation. In fact, they work even better in this new ComiXology format as you do not have to rely on the website’s intrusive nav bar to go from page to page.

There are 5 distinct stories on offer in Aces Weekly Volume 1 (as well as a collection of one-off comic strips) and they range from gritty crime drama to dinosaurs and aliens. They also vary from one-offs to more long term story arcs and it is this unconventional mix that is half of the charm of Aces Weekly and follows in the footsteps of classic UK comic anthologies like 2000 AD, Deadline or Revolver.

Publisher Lloyd clearly knows a thing or two about crafting a story and he sets the tone for the collection brilliantly with Valley of The Shadows. Along with writer David Jackson they create a slick noir-ish crime thriller about a caretaker who gets involved in a high end kidnap plot, which has stunning hand painted artwork from Lloyd that takes his own brand of classic sequential art story-telling and mixes it with this new cutting edge publishing platform to create something rather special.

There are also a pair of intriguing science-fiction stories – Progenitor from Phil Hester and John McCrea sees a group of high-tech aliens stranded on a low-tech world where they are forced to take on the resident dinosaurs for survival in the kind of series that feels like it has stepped straight out of the pages of 2000 AD. And Shoot For The Moon which is a tense murder/supernatural thriller in space from Alain Mauricet & Alexandre Tefenkgi that looks at the lengths to which mankind will go to succeed in achieving their dreams. Shoot For The Moon is a really enjoyable one-off series with some stunning artwork and a great final scene on the lunar surface, while Progenitor leaves things open-ended and looks like it will be a series we will see return in future volumes, which can only a good thing and gives fans a reason to continue reading Aces.

Rounding off the full scale series are two of the stand outs from volume 1. David & Kerry Hitchcock’s Paradise Mechanism is a bizarre mix of semi-religious science-fiction and medieval knights on a mission that really makes the most of the landscape orientation with some daring layouts and exquisite painted artwork. While JC Vaughn & Mark Wheatley’s Return of the Human is the only story to really push the narrative possibilities of digital by creating a comic which uses multiple text objects appearing over gloriously painted 1940s pulp style images to create a kind of scrapbook montage style of story-telling. This works particularly well with ComiXology’s Guided View and although the story isn’t the easiest to follow it is certainly the most interesting of the bunch in terms of pushing the envelope of what is possible.

Rounding off volume 1 are some humorous one-shots such as Lew Stringer’s Combat Colin, Estéban Hernandez’s Harmony, and Carl Critchlow’s Thrud The Barbarian, as well as some character sketches and some fun little extras that all add up to one hell of a collection.

At £6.99 for volume 1 it is not cheap (but is the same price as a monthly sub from the Aces Weekly website), however for your money you get one of the most interesting and diverse collections of digital comics around. (And there will be another volume along next month!) There’s no ‘conventional’ comic stories here (i.e. no superheroes) which may put off some, however for those who are after something a bit more cerebral and intelligent then give it a chance as Aces Weekly is an incredibly exciting development for the world of digital comics and by making it available on the world’s largest comics platform it now has the best possible chance of succeeding.

pd_review4half“Aces Weekly is a  unique platform for creators to create the kind of intriguing and exciting digital comics that you don’t see anywhere else. Because they’re created specifically for a digital format they work perfectly on a tablet screen and although not the cheapest product on the market, the quality is second-to-none – so be sure to see why this was rightly voted Digital Comic of the Year 2013!”