About a year ago, I posted recommendations for Girl Genius, Fables, and Halo and Sprocket. Now I’d like to recommend a few more.
Planetary, by Warren Ellis and John Cassiday. The premise of Planetary is “archaeologists of the impossible.” Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner and The Drummer are the field team for Planetary, an organization devoted to uncovering the secret history of their world. Each issue focuses on a different genre or archetype. There’s a Godzilla issue early on, there’s a Vertigo issue, one focuses on Hong Kong action films, and the latest is reminiscent of Rendezvous with Rama. Along the way, Planetary has uncovered a series of conspiracies — some positive, such as the Pulp Heroes of the 1930s, and others malicious, such as the mysterious Four (a twisted analogue of the Fantastic Four) who may be the most powerful people on the planet — if they’re still human. After a long absence, the series is now being published every two or three months. It’s expected to run around 25 issues, although it could take longer to wrap up the story. The first 18 issues and several specials are collected in four graphic novels. (Bimonthly/quarterly from DC/Wildstorm.)
Fallen Angel, by Peter David, David Lopez and Fernando Blanco. The fictional Louisiana town of Bete Noire is a magnet for strangeness, ruled by the enigmatic Magistrate Juris during the day and protected by the equally enigmatic Fallen Angel by night. But nothing is as it seems. Is the Fallen Angel a heroine, or just a loose cannon? The main focus of the series is moral ambiguity and duality. Can you map “order” and “chaos” to “good” and “evil?” What happens when a force for good turns out to be sinister, or when someone once evil seems benign? Or when someone uses cruel methods to achieve a noble goal? The first few issues have been collected as a graphic novel. Suggested for mature readers – there’s usually violence and sometimes sex. (Monthly from DC Comics)
Powers, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Avon Oeming. Bendis is known for his crime fiction, and that’s the focus of Powers. The book follows homicide detectives Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim as they investigate the deaths of super-heroes. Up until recently, their world was one where super-heroes were the A-list celebrities everyone followed, and the Powers world is as full of lawsuits, grudges, politics and sex scandals as Hollywood. That was volume one. Things have changed: after a particularly powerful hero went mad and rained destruction across the globe, world leaders have declared all powers illegal. Volume two picked up last month with the city trapped in a gang war between super-villains — with no heroes in sight. The first series has been collected in six graphic novels, with one more yet to be published. Another mature readers title – there is sometimes very graphic violence and sex, despite the cartoony style. And if you’re at all sensitive, don’t read the letters column! (Monthly, previously from Image Comics and now at Marvel/Icon.)