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This week on The Comics Alternative podcast, those funky PhDs, Andy and Derek, discuss three recent titles revolving around the mercenary side of crime fighting. They begin with Jules Feiffer’s Cousin Joseph (Liveright Publishing), the second in a planned trilogy of noir-tinged graphic novels. It is the follow up to 2014’s Kill My Mother, a text that Feiffer discussed with the Two Guys in a previous interview. The events in Cousin Joseph predate those of the earlier book, making it a sort of prequel. In fact, many of the major players in Kill My Mother make appearances in this new work. Most notable are the characters Elsie and Annie, whose husband/father Sam becomes the central figure in the current narrative. Derek and Andy note the fact that Cousin Joseph is a more tightly constructed, and even a more ambitious, work than its predecessor, especially in its engagements with the sociopolitical matters of its setting.
Next, the guys look at the first issue of a new series by Kurtis Wiebe and Mindy Lee. Bounty (Dark Horse Comics) is a futuristic adventure focusing on the exploits of two anticorporate criminal sisters who eventually become bounty hunters. Almost from the beginning, the guys compare this title to Wiebe’s Rat Queens, but both Andy and Derek feel that the first issue in this new series lacks the humor and cohesion of the earlier comic. Indeed, there were parts of the story that were unclear — some of it due to writing, and some because of the its visual perspectives — and the exposition at the very beginning unintentionally compounded this confusion. Nonetheless, the premise shows promise, and Mindy Lee’s art went a long way in carrying the narrative forward.
Finally, the Two Guys wrap up with another first issue…sort of. The Paybacks #1, written by Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal, with art by Geoff Shaw, is part of Heavy Metal’s new initiative to produce monthly ongoing series, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this title. Last year Dark Horse published the series’ first narrative arc, four issues recently collected in a trade, and now this recent manifestation picks up where the earlier one left off. Derek and Andy set a context by discussing the Dark Horse series and then segue into the new issue. The transition between publishers is seamless, with Cates and Rahal sustaining the humor and action of their high concept. But what really gets the guys’ attention is Shaw’s art, with its detail of character expression and more realistic flourishes. Andy and Derek comment that if The Paybacks is the kind of story we can expect coming out from Heavy Metal Comics, then we might just have a publishing endeavor similar to AfterShock on the horizon.