Heaven and Hell: Single Minded on February 9th, 2022

Welcome to the all new, all different (not really) Single Minded! This is a column we haven't used in awhile, but we've been looking at a way to talk about comics in short form that isn't appropriate for a preview column like Catch It. You'll notice the format is a bit different from its sister column, including the fact that if more than one of us looks at a book, you'll get our takes back to back. So these will be signed off by the Patter-er at the end of each mini-review.

When we did our survey, folks told us they'd like to see us to more, shorter reviews on current comics. This is a way of trying that out. Let us know what you think!

And now, some short reviews of this week's comics:
Daisy #3
Story and Art by Colin Lorimer
Color Art by Joana Lafuente
Letters by Jim Campbell
Published by Dark Horse

Lindsay's allied herself with Daisy and the children in an attempt to reunite with her son, Conor, but the cost looks to be incredibly high in this third issue that really ratchets up some of the horrific elements we got in the first two issues in this examination of faith and the apocrypha taken to eleven. 
A double-pick by Sean and I when issue one came out, Daisy opened with a lot of religious overtones and mixed them with the type of cult horror I can really sink my teeth into. What I liked about this one is that it picked up on the days of when angels may have mixed with men, something I haven't seen as often in these types of mash-ups. Further, we get an additional twist to the story. Instead of what the story looked to be--an outsider trying to crack the cult--the cult itself is warring, with our viewpoint character (Lindsay) swayed up by her own emotions. It's a neat trick and really makes Daisy stand out among strong competition.

As I said above, Lorimer really puts the horror of the whole situation front and center. After the demonic(?) animals we saw in issue two, this time we get the full force effect of the deformed children in some striking splash pages, along with a really good look at just how daisy's extreme gigantism isn't the only problem for her--her entire body is pocked and marred and held together by metal mechanisms. It's positively skin-crawling body horror. When combined with the restrained colors by Lafuente, extreme close-ups on the characters as they express their anger and fear and the creeping claustrophobic air of everything (even as we see some spaces open wider), it makes for a building horror that times perfectly with the end reveal that leaves Lindsay (and the reader) questioning everything. Great stuff and I can't wait to find out where this appeal/challenge to God goes next. (ROB)

Faithless III #1
 Words by Brian Azzarello
Art by Maria Llovet
Published by Boom! Studios

Faith disappeared months ago, leaving the art world reeling (and art dealers making a ton of money). With her return comes questions--and danger for those she once cared for before the days of Poppy and Thorn.

There's no doubt this series tries hard to be transgressive; that's part of its appeal. This time it's right out of the gate, as we see Faith having dreams(?), nightmares(?), and/or actual experiences(?) that are extreme erotic horror. Llovet's depictions of them are positively striking and not for the faint of heart. They're arguably the most graphic we've see so far and really show how good Llovet is as a graphic artist (in multiple sense of the word).

The main driving piece in this issue is Faith's return and how it impacts on her friend Ginny. Ginny's still at the coffee shop, with her child growing older. Ginny's the typical good mom, but given what she's up against (if the hints about Thorn are correct), I can't see her finding a way to stop whatever is going to happen, unless this is the one thing that can upend all of what he's built from the first issues of the first volume.  Sometimes Faithless can be a little maddening in that it feels like there's a desire to be more artistic than clear when it comes to the plot, even as the visuals shine through. It's early yet, but with this being the announced finale, I feel like we have a lot of ground to cover and I worry a bit about how the ending is going to play out. But I'm confident it will be gorgeous, dark, and sexy, and that's good enough for me. (ROB)

Bylines in Blood #2
Words by Erica Schultz & Van Jensen
Art by Aneke
Letters by Cardinal Rae
Published by Aftershock 

Full disclosure: these bylines won’t be written with all of our names in mind. At face value this is a fictional story flirting dangerously close to the inevitable tomorrow. Stories of this nature oftentimes get lost amongst the weeds of their own nuance as they get outcast by their own relevance. Many tell this story, while few tell it well. Bylines in Blood has so far been among the few.

All new mythology and fiction begins somewhere and this one began at the end. Satya, our story’s leading character, is on the brink of her own despair watching a world pick itself back up from an economic collapse coming off the heels of a pandemic; one that we have yet to be told anything more. (I told you that this won’t be for everyone, but trust me ..it’s a palatable comparison to our own). Printed journalism has lost its way and truth belongs to anyone with enough power to make it be so. Drones resemble a human eye (literally) as they follow “truthers” willing to document their every moment of existence, and a handful of questionable characters make it difficult and interesting while reading and anticipating the bad from the good of what makes this story so damn fun to read.

Last month’s debut was all about world and character building. Satya, being one of these foundational achievements, was a definite highlight. Her wit, her attitude, her sarcastic swagger and ..let’s just go out and say it ..her choice in business name (“Lady Dick Investigations”) are a mere scratch to the surface for why this character is already leading the charge for who will end up being my favorite protagonist in 2022. Very quickly she finds herself down a rabbit hole trying to uncover the truths ..the real ones ..and find the killer responsible for a man’s death; the man who she held close to her during her time as a print journalist.

This story really is a joyride so far. I’ve already been fortunate enough to have read issue 2, which is out this week, and things get much more convoluted. Genre nearly renames itself when search becomes chase. I know nearly nothing of this creative team but I’m already locked on the sidelines reading along these bylines cheering them on. I’m ready for more of this one. Keep ‘em coming, folks. (SEAN)