COMICS SANS CAPES: Intersect, The Last Broadcast and Lumberjanes

G.D. Kennedy takes a look at Ray Fawkes‘ new Image series, Intersect, as well as a couple titles from Boom! that are worth checking out. 

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Intersect #1, Image. Writer, Artist: Ray Fawkes

At an initial glance, Intersect is a cumbersome read for no reason other than the sheer strangeness of its first issue. Ray Fawkes’ new series is anything but accessible, as it offers a non-linear story that shifts and moves in a dream state, tossing out hints and clues of some underlying narrative, but clouding them in almost stream-of-consciousness visuals and storytelling.

If the first issue tells anything, it is that a general synopsis of the series will not be forthcoming and, in any event, would shortchange the mystery and experiential elements of the story. The issue reads very much like a dream and, as such, confusion and shifting spaces are core elements: rather than offer a clear set-up or explanation, the series jumps in somewhere in the middle, as the narrator awakens in the midst of undergoing a metamorphosis. The other protagonist, the Kid, has grown a second face, and the first goes silent. The two are fleeing from something large and unseen, some type of beast called Lucky that is constantly at their heels, but always just slightly out of sight. Adding to the sense of uncertainty, Fawkes’ art is wholly painted, and the airy watercolors lend to the dream-state, rough and at times ambiguous. While this can occasionally be frustrating as the characters and settings are not plainly delineated, this is also clearly a deliberate device to pull the reader into the confusion of the story. (The art is also quite beautiful in its own right.)

None of this should be read as a negative, but merely that Intersect will be a more demanding title than others, an open and interpretative story that may require re-reading and will certainly be confusing and riddled with mystery, a journey down some strange rabbit hole. Certainly, this will not be a title for everyone, but the first issue suggests that for those willing to put the time into the series, it will be an engaging interpretive experience with, hopefully, a meaningful payoff at the end.

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The Last Broadcast #7, Boom! Studios/Archaia. Writer: André Sirangelo, Artist: Gabriel Iumazark

The Last Broadcast is a seven-issue mini-series by writer André Sirangelo and artist Gabriel Iumazark that seems to have flown mostly under the radar, which is a shame, because the book as a whole has been a well-written mystery with nice stylized art that deserves better than to simply melt into the ether. The story generally follows a fledgling magician, Ivan, as he stumbles into an undiscovered world of urban adventurers and a cult obsessed with the ostensible prophecies of a long-dead conjurer.

What makes the series so strong is the inventive storytelling, which wanders between the past and present to build the larger mystery that is the foundation for the series, while being narrated by Ivan, who is learning of the mystery – and his deep role in it – along with the reader. Adding to the sense of tension, Sirangelo plays with the principle elements of any magic act, namely themes of slight of hand and deception, creating a story that is, at times, deliberately confusing and where, until the very end, you are left questioning who the hero of the story even is. Due credit must also be given to Iumazark, who sets the tone for the series with excellent architectural urban designs and a great use of wide, open spaces, while employing largely monochromatic or muted colors, using the occasional addition of more additional colors only to highlight specific elements of import. If you have been on board with this series since the get-go, the final issue will be fulfilling resolution; if you are late to The Last Broadcast, then a hardcover collection is set for some time in 2015 that will let you catch up.

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Lumberjanes #8, Boom! Studios. Writers: Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis, Artist: Brooke Allen

Lumberjanes is a bit of a deviation from my normal read, a story about a group of pseudo-Girl Scouts at a summer camp who, time and again, find trouble for themselves until after a series of run-ins with otherworldy beasts, they discover that they have stumbled into a competition for power between a pair of juvenile Greek gods. But writers Noelle Stevens and Grace Ellis have managed to craft with the Lumberjanes a group of young girls who are so persistently endearing, both as individuals, but even more so as a group of distinct and diverse personalities playing off of each other, that it is hard not to look forward to the book’s general warmth. Simply put, this is a fun series to read, both for the characters and their incessant ability to cause mischief.

Author: 13th Dimension

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