Reasonably Priced Comics returns on April 6th with the second issue. The anthology comic brings us three more stories, so let’s break the issue down and find out what’s inside, shall we?
Reasonably Priced Comics #2
In part two of Voyaga, intrepid explorer Dean Kirkland must face the fact that he never left Earth. After 1,000 years, Earth has changed a great deal. Dean doesn’t know about the nuclear war that pretty much wiped out the human race. He gets his bearings, packs some supplies, and sets out to explore the new terrain of Earth. Aside from the vegetation of the planet taking over and the sun shining brighter than what he remembered, many of the animals of the planet still exist. However, he’s not found any other humans, and the recognizable animals seemed to have grown bigger than what they were before – birds are the size of dogs and cats, and cats are now the size of their larger cousins found in jungles and savannas. After rafting to the mainland of Florida, he uses a solidly built hotel as shelter. Unfortunately, those much larger cats, who are no longer frightened of humans, are in control, and it would be curtains for Dean if some much more familiar inhabitants didn’t show up to save his skin…
If the first part of Brandon Barrows’ story was reminiscent of the classic pulp tales of 1950s sci-fi, this second part really brings to mind some of the more classic, and paranoia-inducing, episodes of The Twilight Zone. Trust me, this is a very good thing. While reading this story, I honestly felt nervous and anxious. It really captures the idea of being alone with thoughts, and being completely unaware what might be waiting for you around each corner. The planet is the one you always knew, but the life on it has changed beyond recognition. Even the air is cleaner and the sun shines brightly through an atmosphere no longer strangled by toxins or pollution. While watching a lone character thinking things out, getting frustrated by not finding information about his surroundings, and hopeful he can find safety, I found myself feeling a lot of what our hero does. Even though Ionic takes over as the artist in this second part, I feel this part of the story fits his style very well. Rudolf Montemayor’s art style fit the more Silver Age-y style of the opening act, but Ionic comes through big time in this segment of the story and helps Barrows get the feeling across. It’s very effective writing and visuals that fans of Serling’s Twilight Zone or the original Planet of the Apes should find enjoyable and captivating.
Welcome to the Starlight Lounge, an intergalactic hang out for nightclub singers from many different moons, alien bookies to place your bets with, and, of course, crime bosses. Tonight’s very special guest is a recording star hailed by many civilizations as a being with a golden voice, Leppy Jooker. After wowing the crowd, he’s approached by one of the worst people to owe money – Mr. Bock. You see, Leppy is a pathetic gambler whose debts have gotten a little out of hand and it’s time to pay up, or lose his life. Fortunately for Leppy, he’s got some friends to help him out a big surprise for Mr. Bock and his gang. Thanks to a little misdirection and enough explosive materials, he can make his escape… But will he be able to pull it off?
My Way is a fun little story that pretty much takes the 1940s and 1950s Las Vegas lifestyle and puts it on an orbital rock in space. It’s much more straight forward science fiction story in contrast to Voyaga, but it has the more familiar sci-fi elements of interplanetary space ships and alien beings. We don’t have humans to relate to, but the situation is a very recognizable one. Sure, you could say that bad gamblers being chased down by even worse mobsters isn’t a new story, but the infusion with the more classic sci-fi elements of showing us a classic situation and twisting it with aliens and technology like space ships puts a new spin on the mob-type of story. Like I said, it’s a very straight forward story from writer Alex De-Gruchy, but a fun one to read. Plus the art from Robert Durham is really very good. His black and white tones set a good tone and he does an excellent job of mixing the classic Silver Age character designs (kind of like Voyaga), but the alien designs are really pretty cool and pretty well conceived. Overall, My Way is a fun story that was pretty satisfying on all levels.
The final story in Reasonably Priced Comics is from writer M.E. Nichols and artist Joshua Calloway. The Communicators tells the stories of two men who worked in the same room, at two conjoining desks facing each other, for their entire careers. As the years pass, the world changes around them. The company they work for sees many other employees come and go, but these two men are constants throughout the decades. There is but one word bubble in the entire story, but it’s an important one showing the true difference in the similarly appearing and matching dressed gentlemen.
Coming from a much more story-driven background, I can’t speak too much on this story because it is almost entirely told through Calloway’s art. What I can say is that it’s a visually stunning story with a conclusion that really got to me. Since I can’t really give you a proper review of the art, nor should I really say what the ending involves, I can speak of how this short story felt. I once took a film class in college and I got to see a lot of short films that ranged from the narratively linear to the more experimental. Either way, they all told a story. The Communicators felt like one of those more experimental short films that used images to tell the story instead of speaking lines or narration. Of course, the title itself is a deception. Only once do you ever see the two colleagues communicate with one another. Through all those years and all those changes around them, the two men sat facing each other, but both wrapped up in their work. Some might be more challenged than I was with this story, but I immediately found beauty in the story. In fact, that beauty made me want to go through the story multiple times and drew me into to wanting to understand the narrative more clearly. Visually, I believe Calloway’s art for The Communicators is the best I’ve seen in this anthology series to date.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Each of the three stories offer very different levels of storytelling. Voyaga is still the star, and rightfully so, but My Way’s straight-forward style puts a fun spin on the usual mob story, and The Communicators’ art is absolutely beautiful.||None. These types of books at a great price point of $2.50 an issue for 24 pages of stories delivers the goods and gives an outlet for so many types of stories. Especially this series that is an open forum for stories of any genre.|
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