Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro's Bitch Planet has the single best comic book title of the year. It's the kind of title where I stopped in my tracks when the book was announced months ago, and just from hearing those two words, thought "that's perfect" -- and that's before I heard that the premise backing it up was a modern feminist sci-fi take on women-in-prison flicks. From the moment I heard about it, I knew this comic was going to be amazing. Until I actually sat down and read it, though, I had no idea just how amazing it was going to be.
That's the thing about the first issue of Bitch Planet. It doesn't hit the ground running; it kicks off by blasting you into space and setting up a story of a world where the penalty for not knowing your place is a life sentence in a violent, neon-pink hell, juggling multiple points of view for a story of just how cruel that world can be. It's thrilling, it's violent, and it's one of the best first issues of the year.
Today sees the release The Names #1 by Peter Milligan and Leandro Fernandez. Published by Vertigo and described as Kill Bill meets The Wolf Of Wall Street, the book tells the story of Katya Walker, a woman who is thrown into a web of financial and technological intrigue after the sudden suicide of her husband -- a suicide that we learn in the first pages of issue #1 was not committed out of despair but at the behest of a man called the Surgeon, working for a world-dominating cabal of financiers known only as the Names. Dubious that her husband would take his own life, Katya's search for the truth takes the reader through a violent, decadent and technologically advanced world of money and power that teaches the young woman not just about the chilling reality of how the world works, but about the role her husband was subtly preparing her to take should the Names ever go too far.
Drawn in a wildly expressive and sexy style by Leandro Fernandez with delicate, mood colors by Cris Peter, The Names is has some aesthetic and narrative similarities to Vertigo's revenge epic 100 Bullets, but with a very contemporary theme obviously inspired by current events such as the Global Economic Crisis and, presumably, the enduringly frustrating fact that its cruel architects have not been brought to justice.
ComicsAlliance sat down with Milligan to talk about the real-world inspiration for The Names, his plans for the project, and to break down some special moments from its first issue.
Earlier this year, Marvel announced it was dusting off its Marvel Knights imprint -- which had been dormant since 2010 -- with three new comics under its banner. The initial launch of Marvel Knights was unquestionably one of the most significant moments in the publisher's recent history. The imprint's focus on creator driven stories, largely unencumbered by continuity, saw both critical and commercial success, and its effects are still felt today throughout the industry. You could argue that titles like Hawkeye -- which features a "B List" character operating in stories largely unaffected by the rest of the Marvel Universe -- are direct descendants of the initial Marvel Knights launch, which featured Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada's Daredevil and Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's Punisher, among others.
Now comes this next wave of Marvel Knights titles, with three miniseries helmed by writers more known for their creator owned work. Each title has an interesting creative team, but the one that stood out most to me is Brahm Revel and Cris Peter on Marvel Knight's X-Men.
The third, and by our estimation most intense, arc of Casanova will a potentially mind-bending conclusion next week in the pages of Casanova Avaritia #4, by writer Matt Fraction, artist Gabriel Bá, colorist Cris Peter, letterer Dustin K. Harbi...
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