If you’re doing 4-issue arcs and then a collection of the quartet and you sell it at the same price as other 5-6 issue collections then you really have to make your four issues are up to scratch! Fortunately, these two are more than up to scratch:
Eclipse Volume 1
I became away of this by being intrigued by Kaplan’s new book Port of Earth. I didn’t realise it was his first book, but it’s a hell of a debut.
Smartly fusing horror and SF by having sunlight become lethal, Kaplan does another smart move by rendering the origin quite simple - massive solar flare. Is more than that needed? Nope and it removes the whole mystery angle at a stroke.
I found it was best if you know not much more than that, they do an excellent job of easing you into this strange, new, terrifying world. Then they do all manner of smart riffs on what it really means.
Timpano’s artwork is also superb, detailed, careful - the extras where the creators talk through Issue 1 is well worth a read, as there Timpano covers the artists who influenced his imagery.
I really enjoyed this, have just ordered the second and like that they’ve taken a break while Kaplan works on his new book. That gives Timpano some time.
This is an Image $10 / £9 trade, you can bag it for just over 6 quid, there are worse things to spend your cash on.
Copperhead Volume 4
Wile I still miss Godlewski, I’m starting to warm to Moss’ art - it’s not spectacular but it’s a clean, clear style that tells the story well.
And the story? The book has been circling around Laura’s past for a good 12 issues so it now decides to address it. There are times when postponing this amps up expectations too much, that the eventual revelation doesn’t warrant the build-up. That doesn’t happen here, the revelations are effective and they’ve been revealed at the right time.
I continue to really like this little book, I didn’t expect it to keep going never mind have its fifth trade due later this year!
EDIT: A few more:
Valerian & Laureline: Shingoulooz Inc
This is a very fun little tale by a new team, which includes Lauffrey on art, so know it’s going to look great.
What unfurls is a grand farce on the nature of business and commerce that never takes itself too seriously.
Port of Earth: Volume 1
Like his debut, this is a smart, smart book from Kaplan. Aliens come to earth in the near future and a dubious deal is struck. The story picks up a few years later with the consequences of that deal becoming clearer, but the deal remains.
Mutti’s art is pretty good, with smart alien designs, but it’s Kaoplan’s story that makes this work.
Elephantmen 2259: Volume 6
So, about a dozen trades and 80+ issues later, this quirky and brilliant, yet still under-the-radar book comes to a quiet close.
It’s a strange final volume that only works in the context of ‘things end, but life goes on’, for this story does. But it feels quite abrupt, as if this and the last trade were the epilogues for a series but didn’t realise that is what was being done. For the last few stories have been setting characters on new paths that we don’t get to see the realisation of.
At the same time, there’s a certain level of world-weary cynicism to the book - it’s always had it and it’s at work in the finale. Bad people keep doing bad things, about the only question that really matters in the end is: Are you going to join them or tell 'em to get lost? The book knows its answer and that has to be enough.
So, a strange, strange finale, but also one that does things on its own terms right to the end.