Welcome back to a brand new edition of Independent Comic Spotlight! Blue Juice Comics is the most recent publisher to send me copies of their line of comics to review, and I have to say, they are just as high of a quality as anything coming out from the Big Two companies. They have two current titles, Anne Bonnie and The Accelerators. If you like complex (but not pretentious or obnoxious) sci-fi, Accelerators is for you. If you like fantasy, pirates, and adventure, Anne Bonnie is for you. But if you (like me) like girl power, great characterization, excellent artwork, and compelling storytelling, then they are both for you. Here is a quick SPOILER FREE run-down of the books I just recently had the pleasure of reading through.
Anne Bonnie #1-2
Tim Yates has successfully created a pirate adventure fantasy story that just might restore faith in the genre once and for all. Occasionally we get something awesome with pirates, whether it’s Mike Grell’s DC Comics classic Warlord or my generation’s version of Star Wars, the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. In the first story arc, “The Journey Begins,” we meet Ariana, the treasure hunter, who is immediately likable in her sassy, adorable, and potty-mouthed adventuring antics. She’s on the run from a king she refuses to bow down to, looking for treasure, destiny, and her own secret origin. An orphan by fate and a mystery that ties back to the legendary Pirate Queen, Anne Bonnie. We also get a glimpse of an impending Elf invasion, which backfires and adds a second cast member to the list. And then there’s a little touch of cute humor thrown in in the form of a magical phoenix, which Ariana befriends after accidentally killing the first time she meets it. There have only been two issues so far, but I will most assuredly be seeking out the following comics to come because after only a few pages, I am completely and utterly hooked on this character and her story. And the second issue cliffhanger, though not out of nowhere, raises lots of new questions and creates a whole slew of possibilities for future stories. Is Ari related to the legendary Anne Bonnie? I sure hope so. This is a great read for anyone: man, woman, boy, girl, comic fan, movie lover, video game fanatic, or casual and even reluctant reader alike. I would recommend this to my friends, my fellow comic nerds, and even my own high school students. You should do the same.
(Issue #3 coming out in October!)
My Rating: 5/5
The Accelerators #1-6
Time travel has never been more clever than in The Accelerators. Creator and writer R. F. I. Porto and artists Gavin P. Smith and Tim Yates create an experience unlike any other in today’s fast-paced world of superhero comics and survival horror quick-to-relabel horror graphic novels. We are immediately presented with a confusing setup, but not to the point of losing the reader. Rather, one that immediately engages us and leave us wanting more. We see a gladiatorial future where time-lost men and women (and monsters) fight to the death for the amusement of other travelers. Then we meet our core cast: a bi-racial couple from the 1970s consisting of a black army sergeant and his white scientist wife, who appear to be trying to kill one another and a 1990s grunge era slacker with a knack for technology. We then get a huge cliffhanger with issue one, with one of the three main characters seemingly dying! What follows in the next five issues is a little bit of science fiction time-travel theory, some crazy mad scientists, a villainous and sexy monarch named “Bob,” and a few twists and turns (and surprise identity revelations) that keep the pace going. Oh, yeah… and a dinosaur. The only problem I have with the last issue of the series is that it seems to be asking more questions than it has answered. This is great if we are in store for a volume two or an issue seven in the near future. Pick up these books. You won’t regret your decision.
(Trade paperback coming October!)
My Rating: 4/5
So there you have it. Check out these comics while you still can. Order them for yourselves through their website, check in with your local comic shop and see if you can get them from Previews, or just order the next issues and jump on with those. Either way, make sure you check them out. These would both make great movies (or even TV shows), so it won’t surprise me at all if they get picked up for either or both of those in the not-so-distant future.