I want to talk about a few of the new Image titles from last week.
by Mark Millar and Sean Murphy
Chrononauts debuted last month with beautiful art and a charming, if flawed, pair of protagonists. While the first issue was focused on setup, this issue introduces us to the conflict and overall storyline of the series.
Dr. Corbin Quinn was presumed lost in the time stream at the end of the first issue. This prompts his partner and friend Danny Reilly to jump back in time on a rescue mission. The problem is, Dr. Quinn doesn’t want to be rescued. When Danny finds him, Quinn convinces him to join him on an epic romp through the ages. While the two throw caution to the wind and destroy the time stream, scientists at NASA are planning a military strike to stop the two chrononauts.
Millar takes the series in an unexpected direction, bringing our protagonists into a situation that also makes them the villains of the piece. It makes for an interesting challenge as the two are hardly sympathetic characters. Millar does a great job of keeping them likeable through their friendship. For now, I’m on board. I’m excited to see what Millar does to keep readers on the side of Quinn and Reilly.
If we’re being honest, even if Millar’s story loses its way, I’ll still be picking up every issue for Murphy’s art. I can’t get enough of his work. The level of detail found in each individual panel is astounding. A lot of the story is riding on the art, from building all of the different worlds to the execution of the jokes between characters. Combined with the coloring work of Matt Hollingsworth, this is easily one of the most attractive books on the stands.
by Jon Tsuei and Eric Canete
RUNLOVEKILL joins Chrononauts as another of the most attractive books on the stands. Artist Eric Canete delivers stylish and absolutely gorgeous panels consistently throughout the issue. Despite the strong art, however, the series has a lot to prove in terms of the story.
The story as it is presented in the first issue is vague and not especially unique. Tsuei and Canete seem to have borrowed some common tropes from dystopian fiction, giving us a hero with a mysterious past fighting to escape a faceless dictatorial entity known as The Origami. Our hero, Rain, has potential to be an interesting character but for now she is just too similar to every other lead in current young adult fiction. The story isn’t doing anything poorly, but it has yet to bring something unique to the table.
Canete’s art, on the other hand, is more than enough to grab a reader’s interest. The first ten pages of the book are silent, putting all faith in the art to tell the full story. It’s an incredibly successful start to the series, capturing two distinct tensions for the nameless character. The settings are fleshed out and make some really fantastic backdrops for our protagonist. The layouts are simple and straightforward, but this lends to the implied rigidity of the society in the book.
The Tithe #1
By Matt Hawkins and Rahsan Ekedal
The Tithe takes a genre most people are familiar with, heists, and combines it with a morality tale about corrupt megachurches. It’s a concept that’s immediately intriguing and the first issue capitalizes on it spectacularly.
Samaritan is a hacker group akin to Robin Hood for a modern generation. However, they’re not targeting the rich from Wall Street or Hollywood. Instead, they are stealing money from giant churches that are misappropriating donations for personal gain. After committing their most recent heist, FBI Agents Dwayne Campbell and Jimmy Miller arrive to investigate the hacker group and their target.
Hawkins does a great job of running with the ideas behind The Tithe. The heist scene in the beginning of the book is tense and satisfying, hitting all of the right notes of the genre. While we don’t learn a lot about Samaritan, we do get to spend some time with the FBI agents. The pair of them are entertaining and drive the story forward through their differences as much as their investigation. Hawkins is clearly against the ideas of the mega church, but the material never feels disrespectful in any other aspects of religion.
Ekedal keeps the story flowing nicely with some dynamic layouts that ramp up the pacing and tension in the heist sequence. Some of his panels have a cinematic feel that works really well for the genre. Character design in the book is good overall, but there were some moments where the faces seemed distorted. However, it’s a small hiccup that doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the book.