Image Welcomes Newbies

Image Comics is a publisher free from the multi-layered complexities inherent at Marvel and DC, and therefore have become a haven for new readers. They may not have pop culture screen stars like their more famous competition, but that’s sure to change with Hollywood’s fruitful love affair with sequential art.

This month’s Monster Pile-Up #1 offers four new short stories of relatively new characters. All produced by their original creators its an accessible introduction in to some of Image’s titles. Firstly, a four page look at Gary Hampton’s world. Every full moon he becomes The Astounding Wolf-Man (complete with simple, but cool costume) and is currently on the run for a framed murder. Next up is a look at teenager Duncan Rosenblatt, otherwise known as the winged Firebreather, son of the monstrous Belloc. In this five page tale, all he wants is to get a grasp on his geometry homework but receives an attack from a wannabe super villain hoping to prove his worth. Then a tale in which The Voices of the Night radio show receives calls from people detailing their experiences with The Perhapanauts, members of The Bedlam (think Hellboy’s B.P.R.D. but more fun) Lastly, a teaser for Proof in which we see a Christmas tale from 1805 where Bigfoot aids American explorers, Lewis and Clark. All four adventures give enough of a taste of these unique series to decide if you’d like more. In a world of comic book confusion, it’s a nice sampler of new-reader friendly creations.

So is Invincible. One of Image’s most successful series, it follows the adventures of Mark Grayson, AKA the titular hero. Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) is a great writer and handles Mark’s romance with fellow hero Eve just as deftly as he does the battles. It’s obvious he’s building a saga here, but one that can be understood in bite sized chunks. I’m not a regular reader but this month’s #51 is a great jumping-on point. Mark gains a new blue costume and a younger brother/sidekick and there’s enough out of costume moments to keep interest, such as family dynamics and brief intros to teams in Mark’s world, like the Teen Team and Guardians of the Globe. Kirkman and penciller Ryan Ottley have been the book’s regular creative team for the majority of the book’s run and are here joined by new colourist Fco Plascencia. Nice touches abound in this ish, such as the discussion of code-names (Omni-Boy or Kid Omni-Man?), the Firebreather preview and the announcement in the letters pages of the new Invincible web-toon series. This is a book crafted with care. That’s why its legion of fans are growing and will surely continue to after more newbie friendly issues like this.