Inbox/Outbox: June 5, 2015

In Inbox/Outbox, we document the rhythm of readers’ lives by sharing comics we acquired, the comics we finished, and the next comics we plan to read each week.

Inbox (Comics Acquired)

manplusMan Plus #1 by André Lima Araújo, Arisa Rozegar, Luis Guerrero, Tom Williams (Titan)

I was struck by André Lima Araújo’s distinctive style some years ago with images of a project called Crux Et Gladius (“The Cross and the Sword”), an anthropomorphic animal story set in the Middle Ages. These days, Araújo is rivaled only by Mouse Guard’s David Petersen in mastery of animal illustration, of capturing the texture and vitality of the natural world. As such, I was very intrigued when I saw his name attached to Marvel’s Avengers A.I., a series that centered on android characters like Vision, the Runaways’ Victor Mancha, and Doombot. The pairing was stellar, a combination of organic and inorganic. In interviewing the artist about that project, I was privy to some early insights on his passion project, Man Plus. Two years later, Araújo’s love letter to artificial intelligence is finally here. Fans of the genre will see notes of Mœbius and Katsuhiro Otomo — and he wears that inspiration on his sleeve — but I also see André Lima Araújo jacked-in and having the time of his life.

Grayson, Vol. 1 by Tim Seeley, Tom King, Mikel Janin, Stephen Mooney, and Jeromy Cox (DC)

Still slightly bummed they didn’t reimagine the first Robin as a low-rent Blüdhaven gumshoe and call the book Private Dick, but I’m still looking forward to catching up with this fun and frantic spy series.

Outbox (Comics Finished)

actioncomics41Action Comics #41 by Greg Pak, Aaron Kuder (DC)

I’m really excited about the new era of Superman, with two tremendous creative teams on his flagship titles (Gene Luen Yang, John Romita Jr., and Klaus Janson debut on Superman #41 later this month). He’s lost his powers as well as his secrecy, and that’s a great opportunity to examine the rest of what makes this character so vital and important to the modern day. I had a big smile on my face watching Supes revving up a second-hand hog in his heavily discounted Superman novelty T, ready for the long ride home. Hope comes in many forms, and so, as it turns out, can my favorite superhero.

The Divine by Asaf Hanuka, Tomer Hanuka, Boaz Lavie (First Second)

I mentioned this acquisition last week and, folks, this might be the must-read of the summer. Lavie and the Hanuka brothers took inspiration from a haunting photo taken 15 years ago of two twelve-year-old child soldiers from Burma. A fictionalized version of those twins, mysterious stewards of war-torn Quanlom, take an American contractor hostage in an effort to appease and protect the jungle’s gods. It’s a violent parable of colonialism and cultural appropriation, rendered in striking colors, from drab Eden, Texas to lush and vibrant Quanlom. Grab it.

In the Queue (What I’m Reading Next)

VinlandVinland Saga, Vol. 3 by Makoto Yukimura (Kodansha)

I’ve been savoring this series of viking adventures from Makoto Yukimura (Planetes), slowly picking my way through the action. It’s the 11th century, and sly Askeladd and his company are looting and pillaging through Danish occupied England. Young Thorfinn does a lot of the legwork, and it’s only a matter of time before he acts on a latent thirst for vengeance; Askeladd murdered his father, see. High drama and thrills with tons of political intrigue to boot!

One Piece, Vol. 4 by Eiichiro Oda (Viz)

Some time ago I picked up a boxed set that amounts to a modest chip in the iceberg of this enormously popular manga series. After a bit of a breather from Monkey D. Luffy’s early campaign, it’s time to take sail once more. One Piece is wonderfully bananas right out of the gate, and it endeavors to build the oddest ensemble of characters this side of a Grant Morrison comic. Pirates. Stretchy arms. A rich and imaginative seascape. And not a speck of Ritalin as far as the eye can see.

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