Blood Stain Volume 3
This book is brilliant. I’m hard pressed to think of comics that are screwball comedies but this is and it works so gloriously.
Does that much happen in these books? Nope, it’s all about the characters, with Serge being perhaps the sane one, in the middle of the perpetually blinkered Vlad and Ellie’s frequent attempts to make sense of where she is.
In itself, that doesn’t sound like a brilliant book, but doesn’t factor in stunning execution. Linda Sejic nails it brilliantly, with page after page of smart imagery, while riffing on pop culture and games - the panel where Elly sees herself as a Marlboro using Bad Breath on Vlad in a Final Fantasy / Pokemon style battle scene is ingenious.
You don’t even have to pay for the trade, it’s also a webcomic - so go read it!
p.s. At the end of this book it says Volume 1 is done, with 2 more volumes planned, each of 3 books. I always like seeing that sort of confidence in a book, it’s great. So reward it for that too!
From the team that did C.O.W.L, this is a very effective space murder mystery that also weaves in galactic and personal politics.
The future vision here is squarely in the Aliens mould of a corporate world. It also weaves in some quite sly jokes, like maths skills being neglected and people just going with whatever a computer says.
This is not the kind of story where saying much about it is a good idea, but suffice to say it resolves effectively.
It’s not without one weakness which is that there is an art change for 2-3 issues in the middle and Reis’ absence is noticeable. The substitute is not bad but neither is it Reis’ distinctive style.
Finally, at a time where 4-issue trades are becoming the norm, that they issued this as one 8-issue complete trade deserves praise, even more so that they issued it with an RRP of £17.99 / $19.99. This is a big book at an excellent price.
Red Team: Volume 2: Double Tap, Centre Mass
A very final sequel to the first volume - there won’t be another - this is a story that reads far better in collected form. As monthly issues it would have been very slow, but read asa block that slow speed becomes a strength.
And the story? Well, it isn’t what you think - Trudy and Eddie don’t simply decide to restart what they were doing a year ago. No, rather it’s like before, circumstances force them into it. And why? Because they’re both broken cops who were broken by the world they inhabited. This second volume is, more than anything else, a character study in how they come to realise that and what they must do about it.
It’s a very smart and very well-executed piece of work and if I see these two teaming up again, I’ll definitely give it a look as Cermak’s a very good artist for Ennis.