The Most Interesting Comics of the Week

Dan Panosian/Dynamite Entertainment
Dan Panosian/Dynamite Entertainment / Dan Panosian/Dynamite Entertainment

Every week I write about the most interesting new comics hitting comic shops, bookstores, digital, and the web. Feel free to comment below if there's a comic you've read recently that you want to talk about or an upcoming comic that you'd like me to consider highlighting.

James Bond #1

By Warren Ellis and Jason Masters
Dynamite Entertainment 

Warren Ellis writes smart, gritty, techno-thrillers (Transmetropolitan and Injection, among others) and is a good fit for Bond, especially considering that he plans to write 007 to be more like novelist Ian Fleming’s original incarnation—a “vicious bastard,” as Ellis refers to him. He has been working closely with the Fleming estate to get the character right, and until Daniel Craig brought some of Fleming’s original grittiness to the big screen, most of us didn’t realize that Bond actually is the perfect Ellis character: acerbic, brilliant and damaged.

This new ongoing series coincides with the opening of the latest Bond film Spectre, and it shares enough similarities with the recent films to appeal to those fans. Ellis starts the comic with a film-style cold open, a nearly wordless action sequence in which 007 tracks down the killer of a fellow agent.

Here’s a preview.

iTunes Terms and Conditions: The Graphic Novel

By R. Sikoryak

Cartoonist Robert Sikoryak can skillfully mimic other cartoonists' styles, a trick he used well in Masterpiece Comics, a parody of literature drawn like classic newspaper strips. He is now using this talent for a weird but utterly brilliant new project, iTunes Terms and Conditions: The Graphic Novel. 

Every day, Sikoryak adds a new comic to his Tumblr, taking a portion of the famously verbose legal language one has to agree to in order to use Apple’s iTunes software, and illustrates it in a different style. He takes from a vast array of cartoonists like Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace), Chester Gould (Dick Tracy), Daniel Clowes (Eightball), Hergé (Tintin), Kate Beaton (Hark! a Vagrant), and Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead). A cartoon Steve Jobs narrates text that is pulled—unedited—straight from the agreement.

As of this writing, there are 48 pages posted. Follow along here.

Extraordinary X-Men #1

By Jeff Lemire, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado
Marvel Comics 

For fans of 1980s X-Men, this new series may have the closest team lineup you’re going to get to that classic era, though not without a few weird, modern twists.

Marvel is in the midst of its “All New, All Different” line of comics, and every week we get new #1 issues with new creative teams. With Extraordinary X-Men, Jeff Lemire—who has been everywhere from DC to Valiant to Image in the past few months—gets his first shot at writing the X-men. Joined by Marvel veteran artist Humberto Ramos, they’ve created a team led by Storm that includes Iceman, Nightcrawler, a now-bearded Colossus, Illyana Rasputin (Magik), Jean Grey, and Wolverine. As the new series begins, the team must confront the Inhumans and their Inhuman-creating Terrigen Mists which are causing mutants to go extinct.

Since both Jean Grey and Wolverine are dead, these are alternate versions displaced from their own timelines. Jean is the teenage Marvel Girl from the original "Silver Age" X-Men, and Wolverine is “Old Man Logan," who was introduced in a series of Wolverine comics back in 2008. 

Here’s a brief preview.

The Sandman: Overture

By Neil Gaiman and JH Williams III
DC Vertigo

There was quite a bit of excitement in the comic publishing world in 2013 when Neil Gaiman returned to The Sandman, the book that made him famous two decades earlier, for a six-issue series called The Sandman: Overture. Some of that excitement fizzled when it became plagued by delays. But for those who prefer to read graphic novels in one sitting, publishing delays of individual installments hardly matter once the final collection is in bookstores. That’s where we are now.

For those unfamiliar with The Sandman, it was the cornerstone of DC’s Vertigo line in the 1990s. It is one of the most universally acclaimed comic series to ever come from one of the “big two” publishers, and it helped turn Neil Gaiman into a world-renowned author and media superstar. The original 75-issue series was a gothic fantasy exploring the nature of storytelling, and it featured a family of immortal beings known as “The Endless,” one of whom is the title character, The Sandman, a.k.a. Morpheaus, a.k.a. Dream.

The Sandman: Overture is essentially a prequel. When we first met Morpheus in The Sandman #1, he had escaped from 70 years of captivity, but we never found out what had led to his capture in the first place. That is, until now.

Here’s a preview.