This week’s Sunday Digest, features must-read titles from the world of digital comics including Marvel Infinite: Rocket Raccoon, Thrilling Adventure Hour from Archaia Entertainment, Motorcycle Samurai from Top Shelf ComiX and Molly Danger from Action Lab Comics.
Marvel Infinite Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket Raccoon (Marvel Comics)
Available for free this weekend, and starring the Guardians’ most charismatic (and furry) member, Rocket Raccoon Infinite is a great introduction for anyone looking to get into the book’s continuity ahead of next year’s movie. Part of a series of one shots that were released earlier in the year, Rocket’s adventure is built around a tall tale in a seedy bar that ends with his evening taking a turn for the worse but also setting him off on a quest to find clues to his past. With the expert Brian Michael Bendis on script duty and artwork from Ming Doyle, whose loose ‘scratchy’ style is very different from the polished look of other Infinite books like the current Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted, it works really well as a one off and should be enough to entice you into reading more stories from the world of Rocket Raccoon and co.
Thrilling Adventure Hour #1
Ben Acker and Ben Blacker’s old timey serial is becoming a fixture of the LA theatre scene, attracting major names like Nathan Fillion and John Hamm to perform in their retro radio show. Already available as a podcast, this new digital comic version from Archaia Entertainment captures the wit and humour of the stage show in a smart and knowing digital comic form. Released as chapters via ComiXology (before a larger scale graphic novel version is released later in August) this first instalment features the adventures of Sparks Nevada Marshal on Mars (which mixes the smart tone of knowing western books like Cow Boy from Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulous with the kind of modern smarts of mash up titles like Cowboys vs Aliens) as well as the briliantly murky sub aquatic crime noir of Philip Fathom. There’s also the kooky Captain Tick Tock’s time travelling adventures with cavemen and time tornados. With a brilliantly jokey tone, packed full of smart gags as well as plenty of adventure, this is how parody/ mash up books should be, mixing genre conventions with smart ideas to create something which feels familiar but also new. In coming months we’ll get all sorts of other great retro inspired titles packed full of Acker and Blackers’s trademark wit, but for a first instalment this is a great read and it comes with an endorsement from Ed Brubaker, of which there is no higher praise in our book!
Motorcycle Samurai #0
Mixing the best elements of spaghetti western, Tarantino-inspired samurai movies and digital comics, Motorcyle Samurai is the newest digital only title from writer artist Chris Henderson and Top Shelf ComiX and was released at SDCC last weekend. This issue #0 works as an awesome prologue to the title which is set to debut in the autumn and introduces us to an eclectic groups of character including our hero, the enigmatic White Bolt, her captive ‘Happy’ (a mute dude on the back of a motorbike with a smiley face drawn on a burlap sack) and the Hornets – a group of (not so) bad ass baddies who are looking to take ‘Happy’ as well as make a name for themselves. Alongside the Setgio Leone style western backdrop, it also has some great Tarantino style dialogue that is reminiscent of the best bits of Kill Bill, but with a generous dose of digital comics nous for good measure. Henderson’s artwork is brilliantly retro with distressed effects and a loose style, but also smartly uses ComiXology’s Guided View to make the most of wide pages and panels appearing smartly in sequence as the story progresses. It’s a classic first issue in that it introduces the world and the characters, but without giving too much away, and gives you just enough to make you want to check out the full first issue. Plus at 69p how can you go wrong?!
Molly Danger Digital #1 (Action Lab Comics)
Molly Danger is the ‘princess of finesse’ and protector of Coppersville, New York, a sleepy up state city that has an annoying tendency to be hassled by giant mechs and super villains with brains in jars. Our plucky heroine is part Teen Titan and part government weapon, but in a pinky mini skirt and pigtails. Don’t be fooled by her youthful face and wardrobe though, this isn’t some schmaltzy pre-teen adventure (although it does have a good all ages tone), Molly may be young and plucky but she’s not one to be messed with and once danger hits Coopersville she is all action. This first issue is a bit low on exposition but is high on action, which works well for this kind of digital story-telling. A creator owned offering from writer atist Jamal Igle, best known for his work on Supergirl and the aforementioned Teen Titans, and features smart transitions and a great look that is up there with the Marvel Infinite and Thrillbent books in terms of quality and smart use of the medium. What’s more its loads of fun and so is definitely one to watch in the coming months.