October 25, 2022

MARKLEY’S FEVERED BRAIN: all in color FOR $9.99

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Wayne Markley

by Wayne Markley

For some time now, image has been issuing the first volume of trade collections for the very low price of $9.99. This is a marketing trick to release the first volume at a low price with the hope people will try the book and then buy the monthly issues or future volumes. They did The walking Dead Vol. 1 and sold a ton of copies. (Although in later printings they did raise the price to $14.95.) I think this is a terrific idea and a terrific way to try a trade at a very good price. most of these trades have five or six issues per volume collected in them. This $9.99 promotion is not with every image trade as within image the creators have the final say and some have chosen not to go the $9.99 route. This blog I am going to briefly look at a number of these trades. I will give overviews of what they are about and my thoughts on the title. These will be brief and I will not be going into a lot of detail but hopefully these reviews will inspire you to buy some of these trades. For no particular reason, I am doing these reviews in alphabetical order.

Autumnlands Vol 1: Tooth & Claw

Autumnlands is written by the terrific Kurt Busiek and has art by Benjamin Dewey. The story is a fantasy tale about a group of wizards bringing a champion from their past to save the present day, and the result are far from their expectations. As always, Busiek paints a lush and layered story with beautifully detailed art by Dewey. While most of the characters are anthropomorphic and the story is a fantasy tale, neither of which are my favorite genres, this book won me over with the first issue with the complex and detailed story that is being spun. This first story arc is terrific and well worth reading.


Birthright by Joshua Williamson (writer of one of my favorites, Nailbiter) and has nice art by Andrei Bressan and Adriano Lucas. This is another fantasy story about a little boy who disappears only to return a year later and twenty years older. He is now a warrior from another dimension and he takes his brother on a quest to fight evil from his alternative world. It is a strong story that draws you in and lays out an interesting premise. This is a book that obviously has a long range plan but the first volume only teases what is to come in the future. Still very enjoyable.

Black Science

Black science is written by Rick Remender with art by Matteo Scalera. This is the story of a universe where science and magic co-exist and it benefits no one. This book has a strong following and the art is very stylized and pretty but the subject matter does not appeal to me. I know from talking with a number of people I am in the minority in this opinion so I would recommended it to fans of science fiction and of Rick Remender’s writing.


Drifter is written by Ivan Brandon with very nice art by Nic Klein that is another science fiction tale set in the future. mankind has spread throughout the universe and in all this expansion has not improved their way of live. This is the story of Abram Pollux who lands on a pit of a planet and finds out how little man has changed over the years. A very good book.


Fuse is written Antony Johnson and has art by Justin Greenwood. This is a science fiction detective story. There is a murder in an orbiting energy platform and it is up to two detectives to solve the crime. This is a very good crime story with a science fiction background. The killers are not obvious and the art is perfect for this story.


Humans by Tom Neely with art by Keenan Marshall Keller is a story of a world run by apes but the apes are a biker gang causing terror. It can best be summed up as a ‘70s exploitation movie with planet of the Apes as the cast. Traditionally, this book premise would be right up my alley but this book left me cold. It is nicely drawn and the story is fine, but to me it is missing something. There is extreme violence and nudity and is for mature (and immature) audiences. I really wanted to like this book more than I did.


Low is also by Rick Remender and drawn by Greg Tochhini. It is a science fiction story set in the future where man has moved to live in the depths of the ocean after making a mess of the world above. one of man’s attempts to save themselves comes back to haunt them from beyond the stars in this underwater fantasy. Again, I am not the world’s biggest Remender fan, but this book is very good and the art raises it to a higher level. A very good overall book.

Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny is written by Chris Dingess and artist Matthew Roberts are telling the story of Lewis and Clark, but their trip down the Mississippi is nothing like the trip that Lewis and Clark we all know and learned about in history class. I love this book. It is part historical fantasyand part horror story. It is very character driven and is filled with twists and turns. Every issue is a joy and it is so original that you will not have read anything like it. filled with monsters, lowlife thugs and some stunning women.


Nailbiter is written by Joshua Williamson and drawn by Mike Henderson. The story here is there is small town in Oregon where 13 of the world’s worst serial killers have come from and now the FBI wants to know what is so special about this town. This book is creepy, original, and humorous at times and overall a terrific read. This is one of my favorite titles and month after month the story goes in unexpected directions. It is easily my favorite story by Williamson, outshinning both Ghosted and Birthright, which are also very good, but not as outstanding as this one.

Nowhere Men

Nowhere men is by Eric Stephenson and Nate Bellegarde. This is an excellent story of four of the world’s greatest scientists, who are rock stars as they change the world for the better. but in the end, the world lands up far from where they wanted to be. This is a terrific story with excellent art that is both original and surprising as you do not expect where this tale ends up.


Outcast by Kirkman & Azaceta is created and written by the walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman and has art by Paul Azaceta. This is easily one of my favorite image books (along with velvet and Nailbiter). It is as creepy as the walking Dead yet is it worlds different from it. It tells the tale of Kyle Barnes who has a problem with demonic possession his whole life and now he wants to find out why and how to stop it. A terrific read and this collection has a slow build that creates a sense of dread that the single comics with the monthly drag time do not.


Rumble is written by long time comic author John Arcudi and drawn by James Harren and it is in the traditional Arcudi vein of urban horror that strikes close to home. The basic story is a 10,000 year old god come to a modern city and continues his ancient battle and destroys the city in the process. This is a very good book in the tradition of Mignola’s Hellboy material.


Shutter is by the creative team of Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca. This is the story of Kate Kristopher, the world’s greatest explorer; well she was until a family secret destroys her world. This is another science fiction/anthropomorphic tale. once again this is not my favorite genre but I must say this book is a very good read. It is a fun story that holds your attention and moves at a quick pace.

Fables #150/Vol. 22

Fables wrapped up last week with the unusual move of the final issue, #150 also being the final trade collection of the series, volume 22. It is a enormous book that wraps up all of the storylines from issue one through #149. I must say it was masterfully done. The story is pitch perfect and ends perfectly. I do not want to say a lot as most people will have not read it when this blog posts, but I found it to be very satisfying. There is a main story and a number of short stories wrapping up all of the characters after the earth shattering final story. almost every Fables character in the series is finds their final fate here. also of note mark Buckingham’s fight scenes would have made Jack Kirby proud. bill Willingham wrote the entire book and the art is by a variety of people but with bulk of it is drawn by Willingham’s longtime collaborator mark Buckingham. There are also extras such as sketch pages and scripts and a special fold out cover featuring every fable character that has ever appeared in the series (I think). Not to worry, inside the book there is also a diagram explaining who everyone is. overall this is a terrific package and well worth the wait. I hope to write a comprehensive overview of Fables at a later date, and you can read my review of the Fables companion book, Fairest here.

That wraps this blog. There are a number of terrific books here that deserve your attention. There is a wide mix of genres, styles and creators, surely something for everyone. I would encourage you to take $10 from your weekly comic budget and try one of these collections, even if it means passing on a variant cover or skipping a new number one or two. all of the opinions expressed in this blog are mine and in no way reflect the thoughts of Westfield Comics or their employees. I welcome your thoughts, both positive and negative at MFBWAY@AOL.COM. As always…

Thank you.