Jeff Lemire is certainly one of comics’ rising stars. Even with what I consider a “rough” art style, he can write and draw compelling tales, and this week, he struts his stuff in three new releases. Sadly, I didn’t get to the store in time to pick up The Underwater Welder, but I did get the rest of the books he worked on that came out this time.
National Comics: Eternity #1. Here’s the book’s description: “An exciting new series of stand-alone comics that feature unique takes on classic characters! JEFF LEMIRE (ANIMAL MAN) and CULLY HAMNER (RED) bring a contemporary approach to the hero we used to know as KID ETERNITY! Can introverted medical examiner Kid Eternity solve a deadly crime in just 24 hours?”
So, just what is National Comics, anyway? Here’s what dccomics.com has to say: “NATIONAL COMICS, a new print comic series, will debut this July and feature a series of stand-alone stories built around some of DC Comics most intriguing characters. The first four key characters that comprise NATIONAL COMICS include ETERNITY, MADAME X, ROSE AND THORN, and LOOKER. Each character will have a stand-alone issue.” It’s something like Showcase used to be, a place for interesting characters to get their chance before a wide audience.
And who better to start this new book off with than Mr. Lemire, who can handle offbeat, oddball characters with great skill? To see what I’m talking about, just look into Sweet Tooth or Lost Dogs. They aren’t your standard comics fare, but are very engaging storytelling.
In the past, this character was known as Kid Eternity, but Christopher Freeman isn’t really a superhero. After a near-death experience, he has the ability to resurrect the spirits of people who recently died for 24 hours. The bad news is that they often can’t remember who killed them or how they died, so Chris has to sort out just what happened within that limited time frame. And only Chris can see and interact with the recently departed.
This initial issue follows Chris as he attempts to sort out what happened to a jewelry store owner who was shot in the chest. We slowly get to know the man and eventually find out what happened. We also see that Chris has a crush on a female co-worker, which leads to a very interesting final page (and a just-as-engaging second issue, I bet).
Lemire’s pacing, as always, is strong and moves us forward as we want to know just what’s up. Also, Hamner’s art is clear and easy to understand, so that enhances Lemire’s plot.
It’s a powerful debut for the new series, and if you like variety in your reading diet as much as I do, you’ll enjoy it, too! Don’t miss it!
This Week’s New 52 Reviews: Here’s my take on the New 52 DC books out this week. My favorite was Batman: The Dark Knight #11, with the high-octane team of Gregg Hurwitz and David Finch continuing a Scarecrow story that has me gripped! Green Lantern #11 has Hal and Sinestro dealing with the return of the Black Hand. Next, I really enjoyed The Flash #11, in which the Scarlet Speedster ends up between Captain Cold and Heatwave. Aquaman #11 continues to reveal secrets from the character’s past. Teen Titans starts to explain just who Wonder Girl is. Next, I enjoyed Superman, as we learn about his new armor. The Savage Hawkman has the hero fighting a villain in a cathedral in Rome. Justice League Dark is going great with the aforementioned Mr. Lemire doing the writing. Also, Green Lantern: New Guardians #11 has many of the Lanterns chasing Larfleeze. The Fury Of Firestorm continues to be a strong read. All-Star Western has Jonah Hex in the middle of a story with a Talon from the Court of Owls and a group of believers in the Crime Bible. Voodoo #11 features the main character taking on aliens. I, Vampire was the least of the bunch, but we’ll see if that’s included in the upcoming culling of three books coming our way soon!
Other books worth picking up this week included American Vampire #29 and Before Watchmen: Comedian #2 from DC; the excellent Vic Boone: Malfunction Murder trade paperback from 215 Ink; Hit-Girl #2 and Venom #21 from Marvel; True Blood Ongoing #3 from IDW; Near Death #10 and Super Dinosaur #12 from Image; Planet Of The Apes #16 from BOOM! Studios; as well as Lord Of The Jungle #6 from Dynamite!