Avatar Press…Is Awesome?

Avatar Press, a little known comics studio that’s been around for quite some time, has recently been gaining something of a fanbase. This is largely thanks to Warren Ellis, who launched two books there at the same time – Black Summer and Doktor Sleepless – and also an OGN or two, like Crecy.  He continued to launch series after series, each of which gained a small, but loyal fanbase that often outsold most of the Vertigo titles.  Black Summer has wound down to a fair amount of critical acclaim, and with that, Ellis began No Hero. Meanwhile, Doktor Sleepless completed its first 8-issue ‘book’ (the conclusion of which both Billy and I enjoyed), and began its second.

No Hero #1

Warren Ellis’ newest series, titled No Hero, is about vigilantism in America, or so it seems – its history and power in our culture, its relation with heroism, etc… – as a longstanding group of extreme superheroes find themselves recruiting when a few members are murdered. Straight-edge young Josh Carver wants to join the group, because Josh has some violent tendencies and a desire to make the world a better place.

The first issue is entirely set-up for what’s to come as we meet The Front Line, a group of super-powered vigilantes, Josh Carver, and the man who set it all up, an eccentric inventor capable of giving superpowers to whomsoever he decides is worthy.  It’s interesting set-up – as all of Ellis’ best series’ are, it’s built around various social issues rather than costumed brawls and continuity wanks – but it’s hurt by messy art from Juan Jose Ryp, and while it has a strong voice, not much happens. Enjoyable, and I look forward to seeing more from the series, but not without flaws.

Grade: B

Doktor Sleepless #9

Doktor Sleepless #9 marks the beginning of Book 2, and it’s interesting to note that the good Doktor doesn’t appear at all in this issue, nor does scary Nurse Igor. Instead, we’re introduced to a brand new character, a stranger to Heavenside, named Sarah Berlin. Sarah has come to Heavenside two months after the events of Book 1, and man, how things have changed. Seers in masks, riots, bombings – Heavenside has become a far more dangerous place to live while under the influence of Doktor Sleepless, and I have a feeling that much of Book 2 will be an examination of the changes he’s wrought.

Doktor Sleepless has always been a powerful series – if you have the money, I strongly urge you to check it out, especially now that you can read that entire first chapter in a single sitting. As a new beginning, Doktor Sleepless #9 doesn’t work at all without #1-8, and I’d recommend re-reading the series before sitting down with this one, but as the beginning of a second act, it’s a pretty excellent read.  We learn more about the world outside of Heavenside, and about Heavenside itself. The issue is well-written, and artist Ivan Rodriguez continues to improve. Highly recommended.

Grade: A-

3 thoughts on “Avatar Press…Is Awesome?

  1. I stopped reading Ennis books when I realized that every single one was a less-quality copy of Preacher, so I didn’t read Crossed or Wormwood. Anna Mercury and Black Summer, I didn’t pick up – Black Summer, I definitely plan on getting in trade, and Anna Mercury is a probable purchase as well.

  2. like a douche, i missed this comment from you:

    “Have you been following the Doktor Sleepless online community at all? A lot of the websites mentioned in the book have actually become websites either started by or approved by Ellis himself, from the Doktor Sleepless wiki that fans can contribute setting material to to my personal favorite, grinding.be, which just tracks ‘outbreaks of the future’ and plays around with the idea of a body-modding culture.

    I’ve just started looking through it all, and a lot of it is sheer awesome.”

    i haven’t been following it AT ALL, but i totally want to find the time to sort through it. it’s definitely the type of shit i’m interested in.

    but then there’s all the science journals stacked up in the corner of my room that need attention. UGH.

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