Rather than talk about the new issue of Batman (which I always love to do), I thought I would shake things up and discuss two important sequel hardcover graphic novels that arrived this week.
First up, here’s the description for Grandville: Bete Noire: “The baffling murder of a famed Parisian artist in his locked and guarded studio takes the tenacious Detective Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard and his faithful adjunct, Detective Ratzi, into the cutthroat Grandville art scene to track the mysterious assassin. As the body count mounts and events spiral out of control, the investigation points to Toad Hall, where a cabal of industrialists and fat cats plots the overthrow of the French State … by use of steam-driven automaton soldiers! A Victorian anthropomorphic thriller, Grandville: Bete Noire signals the welcome return of master storyteller and graphic-novel pioneer Bryan Talbot to his Eisner and Hugo Award nominated steampunk detective series.”
I’ve tremendously enjoyed the previous editions of Grandville, and this sequel does not in any way disappoint. It’s made available in the U.S. through Dark Horse.
It’s fun to see our reality flipped on its head, with animals playing the role of humans, and humans trying to rise up and take their place in society in this alternate world. Because we see rats and badgers and toads, we expect them to act with a more “wild” feel to them, and that’s again the case this time.
LeBrock untangles devious plots, but at the same time, he can’t sort out his love life. And if there was any question about what Grandville really is, there’s no doubt left after the book’s final sentence.
The full-color art and story is once again stunning, and it’s a volume worth adding to your collection. I do recommend buying the previous editions so you can get the most out of this tale.
Next, here’s what Rust: Secrets of the Cell is about: “Picking up where the previous volume, Rust: Visitor in the Field, left off, after a second robot attack on the Taylor farm, Roman, Oswald, and Jet begin to seek answers to the mysteries of the past. Oswald becomes more and more suspicious of Jet’s connection to the robots, while Jet himself tries to connect with the flesh and blood family that has harbored him. Roman looks for comfort in his friendship with girl-next-door Jesse, but what he doesn’t know is that a new evil may be looming on the horizon for his family. Will they be ready when it comes?”
This book is very different from Grandville: Bete Noir in that it’s printed in a smaller size with more pages. Instead of full color, it’s done in duotone, meaning only black and a yellow-brown color. That’s perfect for the mood of the story, though.
Like Mouse Guard, Rust looks at individuals we root for, mostly featuring a young boy robot named Jet. Instead of an adult robot, this series chooses to make the main “person” we follow a boy, which really does remind me of the mice in the aforementioned books I dearly love. He’s always fighting someone or something bigger and stronger than he is.
This volume resembles the previous one, with loads of action and suspense as well as character moments that propel our understanding of what’s going on forward. For instance, we find out just why Jet is in the form of a young boy. And, most importantly, we begin to learn about the cell that powers Jet, hence this issue’s title.
The pacing is strong, and the art is dynamic and gripping. You’ll feel like you know the people in Rust well by the last few pages. And you’ll also get to read the Free Comic Book Day story “Oswald’s Letter,” which I’m glad was included.
Arcana seems at their best when they are creating hardcover books like this one. If you haven’t picked up the first volume, again I have to say that you’ll enjoy this release more if you pick up the first one.
This Week’s “New 52” Reviews: Batman #15 continues the shocking “Death of the Family” event, as do Batgirl and Batman and Robin. Next, I enjoyed Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. as the main character continues to delve into the “Rotworld” event. Demon Knights by Paul Cornell has Merlin, Lucifer and a connection to Stormwatch from the past that join up before the team enters what could be their final battle! Green Lantern Corps shows the Third Army continuing to rise. Legion Lost has the lost Legionnaires deciding if they are willing to sacrifice millions in order to save billions. Speaking of the Teen of Steel, Superboy continues the “H’el on Earth” event. Deathstroke has a long dead memory from Slade’s past resurfacing, looking for revenge. The Ravagers #7 features The return of Warblade and Rose Wilson. Suicide Squad shows the continuation of Harley’s rather unpleasant reunion with the Joker as part of “Death of the Family.” Team 7 features the mysterious Essence joining the team’s battle against the Heart of Darkness known as the Black Diamond. Grifter has the hero and Voodoo fighting the Suicide Squad.
Also out this week are:
- Batman: Arkham Unhinged #9
- Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #3
- Before Watchmen: Rorschach #3
- Green Lantern: The Animated Series #9
- Saucer Country #10
- Supurbia #2
- Atomic Robo: Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #5
- Walking Dead #105
- Bloodshot #6