Heavenly Blues #5
Writer: Ben Kahn
Artist: Bruno Hidalgo
When you know a person as a cowboy getaway driver, you tend to create a fantastic origin story in your head. What makes the one Ben Kahn writes for James better is it’s not fantastic, going against the tide of the Western genre to put more stock in truth than legend. When James runs into someone from his past in heaven, their conversation completely strays from the way you think it’s going to go. None of the relationships in this series are by the book (consider that there’s a storyline this issue that relies on our faith in Erin and Jefferson’s loyalty to each other) and with a game changing discovery, the stakes are higher than ever.
Further glimpses of heaven by artist, Bruno Hidalgo, continue to push for it being unremarkable. People look normal and go about their business but there’s a cheesiness to the smiley train, and trumpeting angel statue.
It’s easy to root for Jefferson and his crew, but this is the first issue where I felt sorry for heaven’s locals. Having spent all our time with angels (Uriel’s dialogue bubbles glow!), it didn’t matter when the job was being pulled on them, because they’re hypocrites (though Jefferson having to work through some religious guilt was an unexpected character twist) but while James cites heaven’s softness as a weakness, he’s basically saying, humans are asking for trouble because they assume they’ll be safe. Wrong or right, they should be able to make that assumption and James is wrong for deriding it
~ Rating: ~ 4.3
Heavenly Blues #5 goes on sale February 7th.
Long Lost #3
Writer: Matthew Erman
Artist: Lisa Sterle
There’s a look Piper has on her face, not at the very end of this issue but after the main ordeal, where you realize why she kept such a steady routine in issue one. One too many nights like this would drive a person to stay close to home. Stuck on the side of the road, after their car runs out of gas, the sisters’ traumatic return to the place where they grew up is having a trying start.
Issue three has the best realization yet of the flashback every issue’s had to the sisters running through the woods as young girls. There’s a wish fulfillment, to Lisa Sterle’s art being cinematic in this section, because in the movies their story would be a dark fairy tale, not real life. They tumble down a hill and it looks like animation, while the ending is a silent horror film, that would close on an iris shot. When Frances hides, Sterle realizes any safety comes with the terror of having time to imagine the worst.
Writer, Matthew Erman, starts the issue with back to back poetic passages. There’s some frustration, on a literal level, but the importance becomes the mood that’s instilled, of looming dread. There are also a few savior characters this issue, none of them on the level, and one comes as a real surprise for what it could mean next.
We’re only halfway through the first arc, but already these characters really track, from Frances reacting to their new threat with the same impetuous temper she showed the creature in issue two, to Piper being as set as ever on protecting her younger sister. Issue three keeps the sisters isolated but issue four will send them to town, where they’ll see if their allies actually check out.
~ Rating: ~ 4.3
Long Lost #3 goes on sale January 31st.
Writer: Mina Elwell
Artist: Eli Powell
Colorist: Tristan Elwell
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
The hero’s journey makes for great stories but just because almost everybody answers the hero’s call, doesn’t mean it’s a gig you want to have. InferNoct is the hero’s journey without any hollow offers of appeasement.
A new character is brought in. She must be here to help Sam out, except she gets a name keychain instead of an introduction, and that keychain’s on her car keys, so she’s not sticking around.
The best friend who always has the hero’s back. Surely Sam must have one of those… yeah, we saw how that turned out.
InferNoct’s the kind of bleak where you almost have to laugh when two people ask Sam where her bike is. She’s carrying a bike helmet. The path they took to making their deductions is clear.
For all its cynicism, and lack of answers (four issues was never going to square this series away), I really like that InferNoct doesn’t try to explain everything.
I love how the location of the final showdown is telegraphed, that artist Eli Powell uses closed down businesses for his deserted mall (Blockbuster! Tower Records!), that colorist, Tristan Elwell, uses cream for an apostasis scene, and that letterer, Marshall Dillon, has Sam lose her cool during that scene. I love the voice Mina Elwell’s given this character and Sam’s acceptance of her journey, where she ends up climbing a beanstalk for no reason and keeps on going. It’s not grand, but it’s typical, and now you can read the final, complete arc for yourself.
~ Rating: ~ 4.5
InferNoct #4 goes on sale January 31st.
All three issues will be available on Scout’s online store