Our monthly round-up of the best of ComiXology Submit returns with suicidal super assassin Gregory Suicide, post-modern superheroes in Joe Cape, bull fighters and kaiju creatures in Monster Matador and Kirby-style sci-fi superheroes in Ungrounded
Gregory Suicide #1 (Frankenstein’s Daughter)
Eric Grissom’s self-destructive take on the black ops super agent is both starkly original and also darkly unsettling. Undercover agent Gregory is the ultimate in disposable assets as when his mission is compromised he simply turns the gun on himself and his consciousness is reborn in another body back in a lab at HQ. Reminiscent of Tom Cruise movie the Edge of Tomorrow, it has a dark undercurrent that reminded us of a very different movie – Chris Nolan’s The Prestige – as Greg’s body remains unaffected by these missions but his mind begins to get warped in not entirely positive ways. Grissom’s script is darkly effective and feels like a sharp and fresh idea for this well-trodden genre, while Will Perkins and Phil Sloan’s art gives the whole series a slick and smart feel. However, the slightly flippant attitude it has towards suicide pushes this book very close to the edge of what people may find acceptable in comics and some may find it rather unsettling, so be warned.
Purchase Gregory Suicide from ComiXology for £0.69/$0.99
Joe Cape #1 & #2 (Webster Creative)
In Joe Cape, superheroes don’t just have to battle evil mechs and maniacal super villains, they have to take on the tyranny of…. red tape and bureaucracy! This might not sound like the most fearsome of villains, but Sam Webster’s smart self-aware series sees Superheroes Ltd. (a privately run insurance company who provide all your heroic needs) hamstrung by health and safety demands, litigious victims and an over-powering boss. All of which is worse than any megalomaniacal monster! Joe Cape is a cleverly written series that takes the post-modern idea of superheroes working in the real world into genuinely interesting and insightful directions. By merging the classic hero tropes with the ‘health and safety gone mad’ and ‘where theres blame there’s a claim’ culture of 21st century Britain, it has echoes of an English version Brian Bendis’ Powers with a bit of obscure ’80s Marvel series Damage Control thrown in for good measure. Although the artwork isn’t the most polished, Joe Cape is a really fun read that manages to inject a sense of originality into a well established sub-genre.
Monster Matador #1 (2510 press)
Steven Prince’s Monster Matador is the kind of high concept comic tale which instantly piques your interest as it sees a mourning Spanish bullfighter take on giant invading kaiju monsters in a truly one of a kind creation. Unfortunately for a book with such an action-packed title, this first issue has a bit too much matador and not enough monster, as our hero Ramon deals with the loss of his wife, who dies after giving birth to their daughter on the day the monsters invade. With very little actual monster-on-matador action, Monster Matador #1 ends up feeling like a book with plenty of potential, but that needs much more excitement and less ‘promises of revenge’ in future issues to live up to it’s unique concept.
Purchase Monster Matador #1 from ComiXology for £0.69/$0.99
Ungrounded #1 & #2 (Pandemic Meme)
When it comes to scientific mumbo-jumbo origin stories, Patrick Gerard’s Ungrounded has an absolute corker. Theoretical physicist Vincent Danner wants to give himself electromagnetic super powers, so creates a box involving unobservable theta fields, the principles of Shroedinger’s Cat and something about a dimension altering, mathematically impossible particle. Dispapearing into the box he is gone for six years, where he has an existential conversation with a Kirby-esque Egyptian deity called Thoth, and when he returns to earth with his new found powers he hopes to fix his broken homeland. Except while he was away, all sorts of weird phenomena have been happening thanks to his experiment, and despite his new found powers, he isn’t the only one to be gifted with unique abilities. Gerard does a brilliant job of subverting the age-old ‘superheroes are special‘ trope without ever descending into cynicism or snarkiness. An obvious love letter to silver age comics and golden age pulps, writer Gerard and artist Eryck Webb have created a fine roster of characters like Vivian Von Valiant the trillionaire adventurer and Ulysses the talking polar bear (who each get a profile at the back of every issue). Along with Danner’s new alias of Mr Solenoid, they would just as easily fit in to a Saturday morning cartoon, as well as the pages of Amazing Tales, and as a result you can’t help but be swept along by the ludicrous exposition, and colourful, fun-packed action.
Purchase Ungrounded #1 & #2 from ComiXology