Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Home  >  Features  >  MightyVille Publisher Spotlight: Aftershock Comics



My entry into the world of Aftershock Comics began with the owner of my local comic store, World's Coolest Comics, urging me to check out the first issue of SUPERZERO.  And that was pretty much all it took to get me hooked!

Th store owner's wife is a huge fan of Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner and she grabbed on to this title as soon as it was announced.  I was not sure what to think when I opened the first page, but right away the cover art instantly reminded me of the current HARLEY QUINN series over at DC Comics penned by the same team.  For the first few pages I thought I was reading a comedy book about a ridiculous young girl who dreamed of super powers, but by the end I knew this book was more serious then it first appeared.  The main character of Dru Dragowski is flawed and full of teenage angst and awkwardness, but written in such a way that we do not laugh at her as she stumbles through her quest to attain super powers.  Instead, we end up rooting for her to succeed despite the odds.  SUPERZERO sends a strong message about adolescence, bullying, and how far teenagers might go in their desire to create the world they want.




After SUPERZERO, I was hooked!  The next week I went back and purchased the next two issues of SUPERZERO that were on the shelf along with AMERICAN MONSTER, by Brian Azzarello.  I burned through all three that night and was beyond impressed with the quality of the books that this new small publisher was putting out.  It was then that I decided I would check out as much of their line as my local comic shop had to offer.  While not every book was as much of a success as SUPERZERO, the lineup as a whole was impressive and shows that those behind the scenes of Aftershock know what they are doing.

The first issue of AMERICAN MONSTER reminded me of Azzarello's other seminal work, 100 BULLETS, as both throw the reader into a complex situation full of characters and their ulterior motives.  The first issue was big on character and short on explanations, but it had me wanting to read the next issue as soon as I finished the last page.  A strange man with no face wanders into a small town and instantly unsettles the locals, but who is he?  What does he want?  Why is he here?  We as readers are left with these questions and more, including the reason behind the brutal home invasion, and murder of a man and his wife at the hands of some gun runners.  The table is set for trouble to unfold and we cannot wait to see where it goes.




Continuing the parade of A-list talent is DREAMING EAGLES, written by Garth Ennis with art by Simon Coleby.  Ennis' talent for writing compelling stories about individual soldiers and airmen in WWII is second to none, but in DREAMING EAGLES he uses the story of the famous Tuskegee Airmen to not only tell a story about the trials of war, but also the civil rights questions that America faced in the 1960's.  We are introduced to Mr. Atkinson, shop owner and father in 1966; P-51 pilot in 1943.  He is conflicted by his son's use of violence for retribution of oppression and the knowledge of the violence he himself committed in the name of justice during the war.  Is using violence to fight Hitler and kill Nazis any different than using violence to fight white supremacists and stop racial oppression? It is an interesting question and Ennis handles if with a deft touch, which is impressive coming from a writer who is often quite blunt with his ideas on sensitive issues.




Marguerite Bennett is an up-and-coming superstar of the comic book world with her work on RED SONJA and now writing A-FORCE for Marvel Comics.  She has teamed up with Ariela Kristantina on art to bring us INSEXTS, a wildly sexy comic for mature readers about a pair of Victorian era vixens who use their new found powers to ensure their love remains secret and their child remains safe.  Sex in comics is so often mishandled by either coming off as crass and blunt or misogynistic.  Bennett avoids these pitfalls by creating genuinely passionate scenes and by writing two characters with extremely strong emotions for each other and their well-being in a society that would scorn them both for their love and for being women in a world ruled by men.  




Trevor Carter is a human detective who has been dispatched to The Transfer, an intergalactic hub full of alien races and politics.  Once he arrives it is soon apparent that one lone officer is not enough to get the job done, so he does what anyone would in that situation, he creates an entire police force of his own clones.  The only problem is that each clone seems to have amplified aspects of Carter's personality, from a rage fueled fighter to a beatnik hippy.  Thus the stage is set for police drama and clone antics in REPLICA from comic legend Paul Jenkins.  The first few issues of this book were a lot of fun to read as we are introduced to a larger portion of the clones as the story evolves.  From complete head cases to physical deformities the seemingly endless supply of odd characters adds humor to what otherwise would be a rather run of the mill murder mystery.




Bringing the horror element to the lineup is writer David Hine with SECOND SIGHT.  During a drug induced trip, Ray Pilgram realized he could see through the eyes of a serial killer, but through his desire to help he ended up implicated in the very murders he was trying to help prevent.  Now 20 years later, Ray's daughter is blogging about a secret group of child sex offenders, a group that consists of some of the most powerful men in Britain and they will stop at nothing to keep their secrets.  The horrific imagery of the killer alone is enough to send chills down the reader’s spine, but add to that the stomach churning corrupt group of aged pedophiles and my skin was crawling from cover to cover.  While Hine might not be as well known as some of the other writers in this article, he has been active writing comics since the 1980's.  




The final Aftershock book I could get my hands on at the local comic store was STRAYER, by Justin Jordan and Juan Gedeon.  STRAYER is fast and furious with its action and pace as the titular hero is thrust into battle with a titan in what is left of a world fallen from grace.  The world has become a barbaric place since the fall of civilization.  Strayer is different from other humans, though he is not sure why.  His lineage is lost to him, so when he crosses paths with a Archemancer named Mala Tenboom, they team up so she can return the world to the high times and he can learn of his past.  While this book was probably my least favorite out of the bunch, it was still a solid comic in both writing and art.  As of this writing I have only read the first issue so here is to hoping the story progresses and we get more background on Strayer as his story unfolds. 




The remaining new releases of the Aftershock lineup were not available at my local shop.  BLACK-EYED KIDS, JACK POT, ROUGH RIDERS, and VOLITION all hold varying degrees of interest in subjects from Westerns to Sci-Fi to Horror.  Hopefully as the other titles take off and gain notice, smaller stores like mine will be more willing to order these titles.

Aftershock Comics launched in April of 2015 with the goal of combining the strengths of both independent publishers and major labels like Marvel and DC. In my opinion they are off to a fantastic start.  Similar to Image Comics, big talent has been amassed and those creators are free to let their imaginations run wild with a large variety of creator-owned titles.  Hopefully these books sell well enough to all make it through their opening story arcs and get some legs under them. There are some amazing stories here that could end up being seminal runs of 50 to 60 issues if all goes well.  


Tell us your favorite Aftershock Comics titles below!


More Spotlights on MightyVille:

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW: Ruairi Coleman (Co-Creator of IDENTITY)

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW: Joe Khachadourian (Co-Creator of IDENTITY)

By Plane, by Train, and by Foot - Our First Journey to Midtown Comics!


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