This month’s Small Press Spotlight takes a look at a gritty winter crime thriller If On A Winters Night, the third and final volume of BHP Comics’ Plagued: The Miranda Chronicles, and the second volume of Samuel George London’s Victorian aliens adventure Beyond Milford Green.
If On A Winter’s Night (Tritagonist Press)
We picked this up via a recommendation on Comixology indie comics section, and picked it mainly for its bleak and mainmast cover. Once we got inside we found a really smartly put together crime story about a pair of twenty somethings who work in a bar run by a Russian gangster, who find a body and a bag full of the alley at the back. What ensues is your classic one location crime drama, in the vein of reservoir dogs, and writer grant McLaughlin does a great job of ramping up the tension as Alice and Simon discuss what and how they should take care of the bag. Once you get it the end it perhaps lacks a really dynamite ending, but there is a sufficient enough twist you leave the story resolved nicely. And at just 69p what else could you ask for. The artwork is provided by Dan franco who does a great job of rendering the snowy alleyways which feel completely chilled to the bone. Whileand the insides of the bar are renders with a sractchy very stylised look which feels both very slick but also quite raw and rough in
Laces, and reminded us a bit of more gritty Lyndon white. Overall this is a really great one shot and perfect quick read if you are looking for an icy moral conundrum.
Plagued: The Miranda Chronicles Volume 3 (BHP Comics)
Set in a world where witches are blamed for a deadly epidemic, the third and final volume of Gary Chudleigh’s Plagued: The Miranda Chronicles sees former witch hunter Mackie and his pal Miranda take on Salem: The Greatest Witch-finder. He is looking to demonise witches even more after learning Miranda has a cure to the epidemic. Our heroes join forth with the enigmatic White Thorn Coven aka Miranda’s old war buddies, and form an uneasy alliance. Plagued is a fun and enjoyable read, that is perfect for a young teen audience. With themes of friendship and doing the right thing in adversity as the core it has a great heart. It’s action packed and frequently hilarious too. Tanya Roberts’ artwork continues to improve and she make the world of Plagued her own. While the story for this final volume is relatively basic, there is still enough depth and edge to the story that it is not completely lightweight and throwaway. And so leaves Plagued as a series in fine health.
Beyond Milford Green (Signal Comics)
After the success of his first chapter of this aliens in Victorian England adventure, Samuel George London is back and this time Alfie and Mary are a long way from their quaint English village. Soaring through space , they encounter more alien life and are taken aboard an alien starship where they meet Queen Narsuma and her gruff security adviser Rongarra. As they are recruited to help negotiate an intergalactic treaty, people begin to cross and double cross each other, but can Alfie and Mary survive in the scary new world. While we enjoyed the first Milford Green book for its original concept, it lacked a certain something, however this second volume feels much more confident in tone and like a story where the writer is really beginning to find his voice. It’s not perfect, and the story feels a bit overly long in places, however it definitely feels a more complete work that the first volume. Visually it is also a real step up with artist Mikael Hankonen no longer having to draw quaint English villages and can instead cut loose with crazy spaceships and aliens, which much better suit his tight and intricate style. A really fun, albeit slightly lightweight, second issue, however it is a great chance to see characters and creators grow in confidence and this is starting to feel like a really strong series that has more depth than is that first issue might have suggested.
Purchase Beyond Milford Green from the Signal Comics Etsy Store