Sunday Digest 13/10/13 – this weekend’s must-read digital comics

This weekend’s must-read digital comics in the Sunday Digest features the latest instalment of Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s The Private Eye, Josh Williamson’s Ghosted #4, post-modern super villain story Unmasked from Aussie comic company Gestalt Comics and something a bit less masculine in Katie Rogers is on TV from Madefire.

Private Eye #4 (Panel Syndicate)

private eye 4Just when you think you’ve got a handle on Brian K Vaughan’s The Private Eye it throws you for another loop. With issue 4 we continue the investigation into Taj’s murder as P.I. looks to dig deeper into her past to find out a motive. Securing the services of a ‘naughty librarian’ in order to gain access to her search history – the ultimate secret in the closed world of The Private Eye – with the hope that he and Raveena can learn more about her life. With its layered world of secrets and lies, old world tech and new world morals, this latest instalment really lets you appreciate The Private Eye’s unique tone and feel. As you sit and read It, you feel like you are reading a classic hard boiled crime noir, as it has all the languages and conventions you would expect from Hammett or Chandler (or even Brubaker or Rucka). But then the informant who P.I. is about to squeeze for information puts on a fish mask and you are completely taken out of your comfort zone of genre convention and taken off in a weird and wonderful new psychedelic direction. It’s a tribute to Vaughan’s excellent script and Marcos Martin’s stunning artwork that this doesn’t feel out of place, because it makes The Private Eye into so much more than just another murder mystery book. Add to all this a ‘smashing’ finale and a slightly seedy epilogue, and it means we cannot wait for issue 5 to come around to give us more of this truly unique and wonderful book.
The Private Eye is available from panelsyndicate.com for whatever price you choose!

Ghosted #4 (Image Comics)

Ghosted 4Reading like an R-rated Scooby Doo, Joshua Williamson’s Ghosted is one of the most under-rated books around right now. With a brilliantly simple premise – an assembled team of misfit experts and cynics are attempting to capture a ghost to deliver to their rich/blackmailing benefactor – it feels like a movie adaptation to a movie that hasn’t been made yet. As the terror begins to elevate in this latest issue and things begin to go bump in the night, Jackon’s rules are beginning to get broken as they stay in the house after dark. In doing so the crew make an important step closer to achieving their ultimate goal, but at what cost?! Williamson’s awesome script is backed up with some truly chilling art from Goran Sudzuka which should give you nightmares for weeks (just in time for the next issue to hit the stands!)
Ghosted #4 is available via ComiXology and the Image Comics App for £1.99/$2.99

Unmasked #1 (Gestalt Comics)

Unmasked #1When it comes to post-modern superheros, we’ve pretty much seen it all now – they’ve been parodic, pathetic, self aware, ultra violent and every combination in between. But what about the villains? We’ve seen Chris Roberson’s Edison Rex twist the classic superhero/super villain dynamic on its head, but what about a good old fashioned tale of bad guys being bad? Well you need Unmasked from Australia’s Gestalt Comics. Simon and Nancy are retired super villains who work mundane jobs and are craving the excitement of thir bad old days. Now this may sound like The Incredibles in reverse, but it’s anything but, with a definite adult tone to match its villainous leads. As you’d expect, they are called out of retirement for one last job, but instead of going after the nearest hero and plotting world domination, they use their criminal skills to get rich, quick – but without the conspicuousness of capes and cowels. This allows them to go about their evil business without distracting the heroes and it’s a really smart twist that blends superheroes and crime books to make a really intriguing story. It has a tone that is reminiscent of the best of Garth Ennis’ The Boys (but without the ultra violence, swearing and convoluted political plot line) with artist Emil Smith’s cartoonish, yet gritty style reminiscent of Darrick Robertson at his best. Backed up by writer Christian Read’s punchy script, this makes for a book with a ton of potential. For a first issue it does a great job introducing us to the characters without getting bogged down in exposition, however it does have a slight miss-step with an odd shift in narrative half way through that comes out of nowhere and confuses things quite considerably. But, having had a sneak peak at issue 2 we can definitely say it is for the better and really helps the subsequent story come together in the long-run.
Unmasked #1 is available digitally via ComiXology for £1.99/$2.99

The Trouble With Katie Rogers (Madefire)

Katie Rogers 3If all this is feeling a bit too male and testosteroney, then how about adding a bit of girly glamour to your weekend’s reading. Des Taylor’s The Trouble with Katie Rogers may not seem like the most obvious of fits for the Madefire roster as it mixes Betty and Veronica style cheesiness with a generous dose of Bridget Jones Diary style sass, but somehow it works. Proving that the  Madefire Motion Book doesn’t just have to have characters with rippling biceps, blood soaked fangs or huge futuristic weapons, it’s a brilliant way for the company to expand it’s audience and it’s roster alongside other all-ages books like The Heroes Club. Fortunately, it is also a really fun read with some great artwork, (and isn’t that what we want from comics at the end of the day) with a plot that doesn’t take itself too seriously as Katie looks to keep her nemesis Crystal Douvalle at bay during MAMIE fashion week. It may not be for everyone, but don’t let it’s glamorous exterior put you off.
The Trouble with Katie Rogers is available from the Madefire app as a free to download preview and then £1.49/$1.99 for the whole thing