One of the nice things about sick days, is that when I wasn’t blowing my nose or napping, I got caught up on things.
First to check off was a few episodes of “Fringe” I had on the TiVo. Nice to finally see some movement in what has been a rather lackluster season. It was also a fond farewell to “Chuck.” I’m really going to miss that show.
Then I got to curl up in the recliner (or, in one case, in front of my computer because I only had a pdf preview copy) with a thermal mug of Throat Coat tea and some comic books: “Justice League Dark” is done, as far as I’m concerned. Too much gore. “The Intrepid EscapeGoat” finished its first, fun miniseries. Reed Gunther faced his latest monster. And, finally, a couple all-ages graphic novels that deserve further attention:
“Polly and the Pirates: Mystery of the Dragonfish” by Ted Naifeh and Robbi Rodriguez (Oni Press): After concentrating on “Courtney Crumrin” for a while, Naifeh has returned to his more adventurous heroine, the Pirate Queen Captain Peg, aka Polly.
I like both series immensely, but I probably like the outgoing Polly a little more, so it’s great to see a new story.
In the tale, Polly once again ventures out from her floating boarding school to take to the seas and the skies to rescue Emperor Norton, the kindly old self-proclaimed Emperor of the Americas, who’s been arrested on trumped-up charges. But he sends her and the crew on a more important quest — to find and protect a Chinese man who’s on the run from the mad king of Vervenvania.
Things get a bit muddled, but it’s still a great story of derring-do. Polly is a fun, engaging, witty character, and she has some great moments with her rather dim schoolmate Anastasia, who has trouble believing her dishrag of a friend Polly Pringle could be the dashing Pirate Queen.
This time around Naifeh is working with artist Rodriguez (“Tek Jansen,” “Maintenance”), who takes Naifeh’s original designs and gives them his own, fluid spin. It’s a nice pairing. I love the way he draws the girls’ eyes.
Hopefully we”ll see more from them — and Polly — soon.
“Rust” by Royden Lepp (Archaia): After several publication delays, this one sat on my to-read pile for too long. Archaia describes it as a “high-octane adventure,” but it moves much more slowly and deliberately than that before a burst of speed at the end.
It’s set on a farm some time after a war in which robots were brought in to turn the tide. A lot of those robots are scrap now, and Roman Taylor is reconstructing one to help on the farm. Some of those robots also appear to be randomly wandering the countryside, and Roman saves a boy, Jet Jones, from one that has found its way on to his farm.
The generally slow pace of the farm is matched by Lepp’s slower pacing. It drags a bit, and there are lots of lingering shots of the farm, the workshop, the people. The flashback introducing Jet stretches longer than it needs to, but it’s still nicely put-together.
The whole book is a set-up for the second volume, and it reads like it. Not much happens to hold its own until the end, when you’re abruptly cut off with a cliffhanger ending. My initial thought is that a more condensed version of the first two volumes may serve the story better, but it’s hard to say without a second volume yet.
But the art and premise are strong, and I look forward to giving that second volume a chance.