It’s always exciting to jump in on a new franchise as it opens up, whether it's a small creator-owned comic series, or a new superhero (which is very, very rare these days). Weird Detective, the first comic reviewed in this week’s roundup, hammers home that exciting feeling of discovery. Works like this, which often come from these “middle-tier” companies like Dark Horse and Image Comics, marry the high production values of DC or Marvel releases with a push to tell new, challenging stories. This week, we also explore a piece about an assassin in a world where extreme beauty is an STD, an occultish western ending its 50-issue run, and a return to Descender, a comic about persecuted robots.
Detective Sebastian Greene spent most of his life as a totally normal, by-the-books detective. Oer the past few months, however, he’s landed amazing cases—and his intuition is making the rest of the department curious. With supernatural powers, and a much-deeper story than meets the eye, this Cthulhu-inspired detective story delivers on its evocative title. This is a must-read for fans of H.P. Lovecraft’s legacy of spectral, cosmic horror.
The Beauty is a comic about a sexually transmitted disease that makes those who catch it beautiful. Within that framework, each issue provides a snippet of a story of people living in its world. In #8, Ezerae balances being an assassin, being accepted by society, struggling against assholes from her past who use her dead name, and finding love and companionship. Though there’s a streak of violence and a bit of objectification in this issue that might be triggering for some, there’s some good explorative work on display from this comic team.
The Sixth Gun takes place shortly after the civil war, where a set of six pistols have been imbued with dark powers, giving their wielders magical abilities. Up until this massive, triple-sized final issue, all sorts of monsters, undead generals, and spirits have been vying for the weapons. Now, the good guys and gals make their final stand on a mountain made of graves. While there are 49 other issues of this series to go through, curious readers will find plenty to enjoy in this big, ten-dollar issue.
Descender, reviewed for the first time on this column way back in TWIC #4, follows a group of outlaw-robots on the run from scrappers who fear them and want to destroy them for parts. In this issue, readers learn a bit about the origins of TIM-21, a young boy robot with a lot of secrets. The plot’s fun, classic sci-fi stuff, but, as mentioned in the previous review, it's artwork by Dustin Nguyen, mostly watercolors and pencil-work, that's the real show-stopper. The best part is that it’s so gleefully out of step with what one might expect from the art of a renegade robot comic. This issue hits hard on an emotional front, giving readers some extra baggage to carry around with TIM-21.