Happy New Years, and welcome to a whole new decade of WWAC’s AfterShock Comics Pubwatch Coverage! The year has already started out with plenty of news and new releases from AfterShock Comics, as they encourage us to #readdangerously for another year.
A new month means new book announcements, and January was no disappointment. This month, AfterShock has announced two new books already, Disaster Inc. and Dead Day. Both books are due out in April but the first issue solicit and preview artwork for each can be seen below.
Disaster Inc. #1 / $4.99 / 32 pages / Color / On sale 04.01.20
Joe Harris (Writer), Carlos M. Mangual (Letterer), Sebastian Piriz (Artist, Colorist).
In 2011, the worst earthquake in Japan’s history breached the coastal Fukushima Daiichi power plant, causing three of its four nuclear reactors to melt down. Forced evacuations followed as the event released enough radioactive material into the air, ground and water to force officials to set up an “Exclusion Zone”, effectively sealing off the land for what may well be the rest of human history.
But that’s only if you don’t have the right connections and the desire to experience catastrophe, failure and misery as it really is! Enter DISASTER INC., an underground tourism outfit intent on helping people of means, secrets and agendas explore the dark corners and off-map attractions typical tour groups won’t go to (and various laws don’t allow). Only Fukushima, known for its famed warrior class and their protection of the land and people dating back to ancient times, is full of deadly surprises and old ghosts.
Writer Joe Harris (Great Pacific, Rockstars, The X-Files) and artist Sebastián Piriz begin a disaster tour checking out the worst places on earth while digging up more trouble than they can probably handle. Then, in a world on fire and rife with calamity, catastrophe, war and unrest… you’re going to need the right guides to see it for yourself!
Dead Day #1 / $4.99 / 32 pages / Color / On sale 04.15.20
Evgeniy Bornyakov (Artist), Ryan Parrott (Writer), Charles Pritchett (Letterer), Juancho Velez (Colorist).
If the dead could come back for just one night, would we want them to?
Meet the Haskins, a seemingly normal suburban family, as they prepare for the annual macabre holiday known as “Dead Day” – when the deceased rise from the grave from sunset to sunrise. Some come back to reunite with family and friends, others for one last night of debauchery, still others with only one thing on their decomposing mind: revenge.
From writer Ryan Parrott (Oberon, Volition, Power Rangers) and artist Evgeniy Bornyakov (Descendent, You are Obsolete) comes an unnerving tale of existential horror with grave consequences.
The AfterShock Army is recruiting! AfterShock Comics is looking for dedicated comics fans interested in becoming brand representatives across North America. More information is available on their website, along with a link to the initial informational survey for potential recruits.
There were plenty of new comics and trade paperbacks from AfterShock in January, with one Wednesday still left in the month. Out in January were Animosity #26, Dark Red #9, Knights Temporal #5, Midnight Vista #5, Shoplifters Will be Liquidated #4, and You Are Obsolete #5. Additionally, AfterShock released trade paperbacks collecting issues #1-5 each of their series Descendant, Killer Groove, and Orphan Age.
Finally for news, AfterShock have released their March 2020 solicits since last month’s Pubwatch. For March, they’ve solicited the first issues of the newly launched series announced last month, Artemis & Assassin #1 and Join the Future #1. Additionally, Godkillers, The Man Who Effed Up Time, and Undone by Blood will each get a second issue in April, while the rest of AfterShock’s line of ongoing titles will be on hiatus for the month. AfterShock also plans to release a trade paperback collecting Knights Temporal #1-5.
Marguerite Bennett (Writer), Taylor Esposito (Letterer), Elton Thomasi w/ Rafael de Latorre, Rob Schwager (Colorist).
January 29, 2020
In the second issue of the “King of Texas” arc, we enter the arena. The issue balances multiple interwoven storylines, following various characters in search of each other, and each occurring in their own places and times. The coloring distinguishes the plot threads neatly so it’s easy to distinguish the multiple narrative threads, as they coalesce to tell the past and present stories of the bloodhound, Sandor. The issue digs into Sandor’s character, exploring what in his past drives him, and gives depth and interiority to the dog.
The art this issue excels in implying motion, especially in scenes of violence set in the current day arena and in the underground domain of the Three Princes of New York in the past. Carnage is suggested, without being explicitly depicted. Panels of Sandor shaking blood out of his fur suggest the violence he has done and now carries with him more poignantly than any illustrations of brutal fighting could.
I really appreciated the coloring this issue, particularly in how effective it was at delineating the various threads of the story from one another. The New York City of the past is depicted in blues and purples, while the capital city of the New Holy Texan Empire in the present is golden and yellow, accented with shadowy purples in Jesse’s storyline and bloody reds in Sandor’s story in the arena. Even as warmer oranges creep into the scenes of New York, characters are thrown into contrast with their surroundings are hued blue. In the final pages, the colors shift, and suddenly Jesse’s walk through the capital takes on the cool purples of the old New York, while scenes of Sandor in the past, shaking the blood out of his fur, take on the orange and red of the arena, to connect his violent rage in New York with his carnage in the arena.
Midnight Vista #5
Mark Englert (colorist), Taylor Esposito (letterer), Clara Meath (artist), Eliot Rahal (writer).
January 15, 2020
Midnight Vista #5 brings the series to a close, as Elliot’s flight comes to an end. In the final issue the plot is neatly tied off but some questions are left open. This isn’t a bad thing; in leaving parts of Elliot’s story open-ended, the book leaves room for interpretation, allowing readers to engage with the text in their own ways. However, after the introduction of so many new ideas this issue, the ending of feels somewhat abrupt. Perhaps Midnight Vista could have benefited from a sixth issue; extending the story just a little further could have given the concepts introduced in this issue more room to breathe.
Mark Englert’s colors are one of my favorite things about this issue. They bring urgent vibrancy to Clara Meath’s art, lighting up the backgrounds of panels in hues of teal, goldenrod, and lavender- each new setting taking on a distinct coloration. Meath’s distinctive, expressive art style captures the range of emotion conveyed in the issue and highlights the extremes of the Children of the Stars cult.