Cover illustration by Bill Sienkievicz.
This issue kicks things back to the larger story of a 1980s video game that has twisted the lives of a group of young people who played it back when, and is returning to mess with them again. Some have gone off the deep end, others are already strange enough in their own ways to apparently hold their own. The pair of sisters who are somehow more than human are creepy and fascinating as they interrogate one of the less lucky folks. Another escapes from a mental hospital to wreak havoc in a hospital. Meanwhile, two men in Portland who seem to have resurrected the hellish game are making their own plans, and somebody has a really nasty neck bite with something hidden in it. I don’t quite know what to make of this book, but it has me in its grip, even though I have no interest in video games. The characters, the writing and the art are all good reasons!
Image © William Neal McPheeters.
Two friends and partners have traveled from the far future to a time that’s still well in the future for us, a time of war between robots and men. They’re on a mission to retrieve an item containing important knowledge. The setting is in the canyons of the American southwest. Ted, the man in the green shirt above, and Robear, the gun-toting intelligent bear, soon find themselves involved with a group of Native Americans who are the target of both robots and other humans. A red raven leads Ted and Robear to the woman named Raven and her friends, and the pair from the future agree to help them to a safe haven. Along the way, Ted and Raven become more than friends, and all face many dangers in the perilous war-torn canyon country.
My friend Neal McPheeters gave me an advance copy of his 64-page graphic novel to read, and I enjoyed it a great deal. I think you will, too. It combines elements of science fiction, western, action/adventure and other genres, but the characters and dialogue are what make it fun to read. It’s not yet published. In fact, it’s being Kickstarted. You can get in on the adventure HERE. Neal and I have known each other and occasionally worked together since the 1980s, and his latest project is one close to his heart, and well worth your support. And, hey, there’s a smart-ass talking bear with a gun!
Image © DC Comics.
Josh, the middle-aged man who tried to solve his problems with the wonder-pill called “Jacked” keeps getting in deeper with every issue. Now he’s hallucinating about being a super-hero. It’s true he does have drug-enhanced strength and resilience, but he hardly knows who he’s really up against, can’t tell the real attackers from the fantasy ones. Only his “sidekick,” the dangerous girl-next-door, knows what’s really going on, and who they have to kill to survive. Meanwhile, Josh is longing for his family, who are with his wife’s sister. Too bad he’s not the only person who knows that…
I enjoyed this issue more than the last one. The fantasy element makes it more entertaining and less depressing, though it’s hard to see how Josh’s life can turn around from the hole he’s dug himself.
This issue of UNFOLLOW focuses on one character, the man who calls himself Deacon of the Lord. He’s currently wounded and in a hospital bed on the island of Ferrell, the billionaire whose fortune he and 137 others are due to inherit…or however many of them survive. There were 140 to start with.
Deacon is remembering earlier times when the Lord first spoke to him, and told him to take vengeance on some bikers who were mistreating a couple of teenagers they’d kidnapped. That didn’t go so well for him. Here on the island, he’s accosted by the masked man who has already shown he’s very violent, too. Deacon is in no position to protect himself. The doctor who helped Deacon is still here, though most of the 138 have left. Now he decides to flee by plane with Deacon. The masked man may have other ideas.
This storyline has turned more violent more quickly than I expected, but is still gripping and well written by Rob Williams and well illustrated by R. M. Guéra. The insight into Deacon is unexpected but fascinating.
Image © Mike Mignola.
Just after I complained about the complicated and depressing storyline of Volume 11, this one turns things around nicely. In the first of two stories, Agent Johann, the one with no corporeal body who must wear a containment suit to hold his ectoplasmic essence, is coming back from a mission he led that went badly. The surviving troops are pissed, and won’t talk to him. Back at headquarters in Colorado, Johann thinks about the mission and wonders if he has become so much less than human that he can no longer lead the living. In a fascinating exploration of his feelings and fears, as well as the events of the mission, with excellent art by Peter Snejbjerg, we get more insight to Johann than we’ve seen in a long time.
The second story, with equally fine art by Julian Totino Tedesco, involves a suit of super-armor developed in World War Two and used by an American soldier to help fight Nazis. The same armor in the present is being examined by Johann to possibly help with their current dire situation against the monsters of Hell that are marching on their headquarters. The two story lines intertwine well and actually leave us on an upbeat note for once. Kudos to writers Mike Mignola and John Arcudi (who I suspect does the lion’s share).