Three for Thursday: Independent Comic Reviews: Mythic #2 and More


Every week, I want to talk about my impressions of a handful of independent comics released that Wednesday. This week, we look at three.

Mythic #2
Writer: Hester, Phil
Artist: McCrea, John
Cover Artist: McCrea, John
Published by Image

I enjoyed the first issue of Mythic. It introduced us to a team of mystery hunters that was just unique enough to get us interested. Throw in the fun art and capable scripting and the title would seemingly have enough going for it to have a long run. After reading the second issue, I am even more comfortable with my assessment. The team behind this comic has built up their world that much more. The characters are showing more depth, and the threats they face have become more fearsome.

Instead of picking up where the first issue left off, Mythic #2 begins by showing us another team of Mythic Lore Services members as they investigate a disturbance in Ireland. A rock giant hundreds of feet tall has emerged from the rocky coast, and though he is familiar to Mythic (showing up every few decades to mark his territory), his behavior goes against the file they have on him. He starts to act out, destroying the airship the Mythic team is in. It looks like whatever has happened to this giant is neither good for him nor the humans that came to check on him.

Back in the States, the Mythic team that we got to know in the first issue has summoned a demon to help them with the odd domestic dispute they stumbled across (A wind spirit and mountain spirit’s conflict had caused a drought for the locals). The demon jumps into the fray only to be beaten back again and again from the seemingly more powerful wind spirit. The fight suddenly ends when the mountain spirit exerts its will into the fray, making any more violence unnecessary. The battle is over, the drought is done, and it begins to rain. It is at the point that the team becomes aware of the losses their wider organization has suffered. In addition to the lost team in Ireland, they are told that all teams save theirs have been destroyed. The two-way radio they get this information from is not the best quality, so some details get left out. The issue ends by giving the reader a glimpse of the shadowy figures that have caused the losses to Mythic. Both in their appearance and nature, as well as their great plan, these villains strike me as original and fun.

I might nitpick at the just-too-seamless scripting of a story that sees an airship get too close to a rock giant (you would think monster hunters would be the last to make that mistake) and radio communications that come at just the right moment (static-filled and breaking up, not telling everything, but just enough).  And if the creative team behind this comic continues to push the logical limits of their tale, I may begin doing exactly that. But for now, they have created a fun world where mountain spirits and wind spirits fall in love, demons toss their heads as living weapons, and malevolent beings plot from beneath the British Museum. If they can keep this up I will be happy to look past a plot hole or three.

From the  publisher:

"Science is the key to our understanding of reality; it also happens to be one big lie. Magic is how the world works, and a secret army of troubleshooters fights to keep these unseen gears of the universe turning. But when they become the hunted, the end of everything nears."

Resident Alien Sam Hain Mystery #2 (of 3)
Writer: Hogan, Peter
Artist: Parkhouse, Steve
Cover Artist: Parkhouse, Steve
Published by Dark Horse

The first issue of Resident Alien introduced us to the character of Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle. Or rather, we were introduced to an alien masquerading as a Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle. It was an original take on the fish-out-of-water story and a fun conceit of storytelling. No one in the town of “Patience, USA” knows an extraterrestrial is in their midst. “Dr. Harry” is also kind-hearted and curious. The warmth that the comic generates is infectious.

The second issue of Resident Alien brings us more of Dr. Harry and his life in Patience. The mystery Dr. Harry is trying to figure out has not become much clearer though: the briefcase that he found holds some notes and a manuscript for a short novel, but what any of this has to do with the broader narrative is vague. Half of the issue is a depiction of the manuscript Dr. Harry found, a plot device (and use of space!) that would not seem to support any larger “mystery.”

In any event, the other half of this issue shows Dr. Harry as he interacts with the townsfolk of Patience. A genuinely kind being, Dr. Harry tries his best to help those around him while getting closer to whatever secret he thinks he has uncovered. (I don’t mean to sound vague, but if and/or when you read this issue you might understand where I am coming from. The creative team behind this title seems to have gotten the show vs. tell approach to storytelling a bit backward.) The issue ends with him meeting someone who may or may not have to do with this mystery.

Aside from the odd scripting in this comic, the alien passing as human shtick has begun to fail. The first issue worked well enough, but after reading this second issue, I could not help to wonder why we had an alien impersonating the doctor. It could be an angel, elf or another human for as much difference him being an alien makes. He does not have any cool alien tech, monstrous appetites, or even an interesting appearance. Based on what I have read so far, I would usually stop following a story like this. Seeing as the next issue is the last in this run (and someone sees the doctor as he truly is!) I think I can stick it out. The doctor, his town, and his Scooby-Doo mystery have given me just enough to want to see how it ends.

From the publisher:

"Stranded on Earth and hiding in the small town of Patience, Washington, the alien known as Dr. Harry Vanderspeigel attempts to solve another murder mystery. When he finds an old briefcase containing an odd confession, a violent manuscript, and a crime novel signed with a mysterious inscription, Harry sets out to uncover the truth once again!"

Sons of the Devil #2
Writer: Buccellato, Brian
Artist: Infante, Toni
Cover Artist: Infante, Toni
Published by Image

As I mentioned in my review for the first issue of Sons of the Devil, the story that Image gave us is reminiscent of TV’s The Following or any story based on the Manson family: our hero has some connection to a violent cult, and it is all he can do to stay ahead of said violence.  It was well scripted, and the art brought the characters and their world to life. Issue #2 follows the same pattern while upping the tension level by giving us more blood, mystery and devil worship.

Travis, our hero, is moving in with his longtime girlfriend. Before he and she can get too used to the idea of domestic

bliss, however, the law comes knocking, trying to get answers from Travis in regards to the death we caught at the end of last issue. Exonerated from any wrong-doing, Travis was still at the center of the investigation as the victim seemed to have an obsession with Travis and his origins. As readers, we know by now that Travis was born into a devil-worshipping cult and that this cult is making efforts to get close to Travis again. But neither Travis nor the police know this yet.

While this issue is entertaining enough, I doubt I will continue with this series. Travis is not totally likeable, his problems are not very interesting, and the bad guys are just a little too stereotypical. The art is great, but the plotting has become predictable. Sons of the Devil has a neat premise, but the creative team behind it did not do enough for it to stand out. Instead they gave us a tired old tale that leaves you feeling dirty and disliking the protagonist.

From the publisher:

"After the suspicious murder of his friend, Travis tries to move on with life. But when his girlfriend Melissa follows a clue that might lead to his birth family, they wind up in the crosshairs of a killer. Also, a look into the past and the cult of David Daly! Grounded, character-driven psychological horror."

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