Across the Ocean: Izneo Pubwatch August

Welcome to the August Izneo Pubwatch! We at WWAC have been diving into the latest in European graphic novels translated into English, and I can’t wait to share with you my latest finds. There are also some exciting offers from Izneo this month that you might enjoy. As always, if you haven’t had time yet, please do check out Izneo’s site, it’ll be fun!

And now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the latest news from Izneo. I’ve also got a few mini-reviews of their newest comics for you to read.

In the News

Izneo have started August off with a massive limited sale on Cinebook titles. Over 150 titles—including classics such as Thorgal, Valerian, Black & Mortimer, and Worlds of Leo are available from as little as CAD $1.99 up to $3.69. Enjoy this offer while it lasts!

Another limited offer you don’t want to miss is Izneo’s mega summer sale on Europe Comics titles. Over 100 comic volumes are available at half price, from CAD $2.99 onwards. Offer ends August 15. Hurry!

If you love IDW comics, Izneo has a sale on 90 IDW comics till August 25th. Books including Locke & Key, Judge Dredd, Silent Hill, Star Trek, Transformers, and Wynonna Earp are available from as little as CAD $1.99.

Christofer Emgard is helming the prequel for Tom Clancy’s The Division, Extreme Malis, based on the hit Ubisoft game. Published by Dark Horse Comics, Izneo is currently offering the graphic novel for $13.49.

Mini-Reviews: Loved It!

Ignited: Triggered Chapter 2

Philippe Briones (Art), Andrew Crossley (Colours), Kwanza Osajyefo (Writer), Leonardo Paciarotti (Colours), A Larger World Studios (Letters), Mark Waid (Writer)
Humanoids (English, 2019)

Content Warning: Discussion of school shootings.

Ignited Chapter 2 Cover-July 3 2019-Mike Mckone-Leonaro PaciarottiIn the second instalment of Ignited, we learn about when @Wave and @Viral got their powers. But they’re as much in the dark as to how or why it happened, as we the readers are. Meanwhile, the push to arm teachers is gaining momentum. Will these people never learn?

This second issue is more action and suspense focused than the opening issue, but it is still as hard-hitting about its subject matter. The students are clearly reeling from the school shooting and the apathy of the people in power is shocking, and painfully true to life. This series isn’t planning to hold back in its takedown of gun control laws, even including short essays from real survivors. We need this series, now more than ever.

Ignited Chapter 2 Page 11-July 3 2019-Mike Mckone-Leonaro PaciarottiThe art is absolutely gorgeous, stunningly textured and rich in detail. This is the kind of art I adore in comics: bordering on hyper-realistic and a testament to the artists’ abilities. A fitting combination for such a powerful story.

Hammerfall: While the Serpent Sleeps

Cromatik Ltd (Letters), Irène Häfliger (Colours), Tom Imber (Translation), Sylvain Runberg (Writer), Boris Talijancic (Artist)
Europe Comics (English, 2019)

Hammerfall Volume 1 Cover-July 17, 2019-Nicolas FructusIn the Scandinavian lands of yore, the family of Lars the Faultless are celebrating. It is his younger son’s wedding and the event has brought a number of tribes together. Until Björn the Beautiful comes looking for revenge.

The sprawling tale of one man’s vengeance against the family that banished him is as bloody as one would expect. For anyone fascinated with Norse mythology, this book is a fantastic read. It’s exciting, it’s unexpected, it’s got a badass female character who will not stop fighting even though her people have lost.

Hammerfall Page 16The art is gorgeous, capturing the stunning beauty of the Scandinavian landscape. My only grouse is that a couple of the characters look too similar—it took me a while to distinguish them. But other than that, every page is gorgeous.

I was worried about this being a dense book, but it’s a surprisingly easy read. I can’t wait for the next volume.

Mini-Reviews: Meh ¯\_()_/¯

Atom Agency: The Begum’s Jewels

Cromatik Ltd (Letters), Hubert (Colours), Tom Imber (Translation), Oliver Schwartz (Artist), Yann (Writer)
Europe Comics (English, 2019)

Atom Agency Cover-July 17, 2019-Oliver SchwartzYvette Labrousse, wife of the Aga Khan, known popularly as the Begum, has her jewels stolen in a daring robbery. The police are on the case, but so is Atom Agency, a private investigating firm run by Atom Vercorian and Mimi Bagatelle. The agency isn’t doing well, but if they can solve the mystery of the robbery, that could change their fortunes. But that is a very big ‘if’.

I mostly enjoyed this slow-burn of a mystery. There are a number of layers to it, which I wasn’t expecting. And I like how the writers tied in so many elements together—from wrestling matches to intrigue among the police. It did end up making the book feel a bit dense, as a result.

The characters don’t have much to recommend them, unfortunately. Atom is hopelessly out of his depth as a PI. The only reason he gets anything done is because of sheer dumb luck. The female characters are all ditzy and vapid, except for Mimi, who at least tries to do something, but is still damsel-ed.

Atom Agency Page 6-July 17, 2019-Oliver SchwartzThe book is set in 1949 and seems to embody those sensibilities a bit too well. This is to its detriment, because the reader ends up feeling a bit annoyed (at least, I definitely did) at how old-fashioned some scenes and plot points were. The book tries to brush this off as humour, but it doesn’t work.

This isn’t a bad book, but it is a bit staid in some ways, which makes it a strange read at times.

Shanghai Dream: Life Drawn

Mark Bence (Translation), Delf (Colours), Jorge Miguel (Artist), Philippe Thirault (Writer)
Humanoids (English, 2019)

Shanghai Dream Cover-July 30, 2019-Bernhard and Illo used to be the biggest draw in Europe cinema—him directing, her writing. But under the Nazi regime, Jews are no longer allowed to work in films. They make the difficult decision of leaving their home, and Illo’s father, to go to Shanghai. But only Bernhard makes it to Shanghai, another war-torn city like his home. Life is difficult; Illo’s loss even more so. But then he gets the chance to make Illo’s last script into film. Will fate allow him this last luxury?

There are so many elements of this heart-breaking story that I adored. I was incredibly moved by the trials of Jewish life in WWII Germany. And of life in Occupied China. It should have been enough for me to put this book in the ‘Loved it’ section.

But this epic story is still told through Western eyes, and in that sense it is problematic. Lin Lin, one of the major Chinese characters in this story is written and drawn as a subservient Asian trope, even though there is no reason for her to be so in the context of this story.

Shanghai Dream Page 42Bernhard refuses to learn the names of his Chinese crew, giving them nicknames instead. I find scenes like that distasteful—it’s meant to be humorous, but it comes across as othering.

Had it not been for these oddly racialized elements, this story would have been one of my favourites of the month. It is beautifully told and hard-hitting. The art is stunning. There’s so much going for it, and I would encourage you to read it, even if it isn’t perfect.

Mini-Reviews: Ugh, no!

Sole Survivor Trilogy

Stéphane Louis (Writer), Montana Kane (Translation), Jose Malaga (Artist), Thomas Martinetti (Writer), Christophe Martinolli (Writer), Javi Montes (Colours)
Humanoids (English, 2019)

Sole Survivor Book 3 Cover-July 7, 2019-Jose MalagaThree accidents. Each left with only one survivor, hell bent on a mission to right the wrongs done to them. Are they linked? Are they cursed? Why does death follow them everywhere?

I really wanted to like this trilogy—the concept is good but the execution is anything but. There are far too many clichés for a modern story, which takes one out of the narrative. And the third book… don’t even get me started. The series’ attempt at queer representation ends up as nothing more than endless scenes of pandering to the male gaze. It is beyond gross and the exact opposite of what representation is supposed to be.

Sole Survivor Book 3 Page 17-July 7, 2019-Jose MalagaI liked the art for the most part but 90% of the characters look exactly the same. I have no idea why anyone would make such a stylistic choice—it’s so jarring to read.

All in all, a half-decent concept that was so poorly executed that the entire series felt like a waste of time. I want my two hours back.

That’s all for now, folks. Come back next month to see what Izneo has for you!

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books or video games. She always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media.