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Future Imperfect: Warzones! & The Vision

From Hell

By Alan Moore (Author) and Eddie Campbell (Illustrator) Top Shelf Productions (Publisher)

Alan Moore, comics’ most acclaimed writer (Watchmen, V for Vendetta) is best known for re-imagining fictional characters created by others (Swamp Thing, Miracleman, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Batman: The Killing Joke). He has written only one historical graphic novel, From Hell, and it’s a doozy. From Hell is a Jack the Ripper novel. But unlike most others in the genre, it is not a whodunit. The murderer and his ostensible motive are known from the start—“ostensible” because everything in an Alan Moore novel is more than it seems. As his gripping tale unfolds, Moore explores spiritualism, freemasonry, London’s dark psycho-architecture, the ominous churches designed by Nicolas Hawksmoor, vivisection, the nature of time and the practices of Victorian prostitutes. Eminent Victorians appearing in the book include novelist/playwright Oscar Wilde, John Merrick (better known as the Elephant Man), the artist Walter Sickert and Alexandrina Victoria herself, better known as Queen Victoria, who ruled Britain from 1837 to 1901. Moore appends footnotes to every chapter. Most record his research but many are droll commentaries on the act of writing his story. Moore, whose published manuscripts reveal that he demands much of his illustrators, found the perfect collaborator for From Hell in Australian artist Eddie Campbell (Bacchus, Alec, The Black Diamond Detective Agency), whose skritchy black-and-white pen-and-ink drawings perfectly evoke the illustrated broadsheets of 1880s London without sensationalizing the violence of the Ripper’s murders. From Hell is a weighty tome, 477 illustrated pages, 42 pages of footnotes and a 24-page appendix that illustrates the vagaries of Ripper research. For all of that, it’s impossible to put down. Fair warning: From Hell is strictly adult reading.


By Adam Glass (Author) and Federico Dallocchio (Illustrator) DC Comics (Publisher)

If you’ve seen the film trailers, then you already know that the members of the Suicide Squad comprise the worst heroes ever. They’re bad guys, and what they do best is f@%k things up—for the U.S. government. Kicked in the Teeth compiles the New 52 interpretation of the team, under the control of mega badass Amanda Waller. The Squad is sent to contain a techno-organic nanovirus loose in a stadium by killing every single person there, save for Patient Zero, who holds the secret to the cure. But surely they won’t kill hundreds of innocent civilians, right? Well, with expert marksman Deadshot in charge, you can bet the Squad will get the mission done, and even provide a built-in patsy for the authorities to blame. The book’s second half involves a break-out at Belle Reve prison that the Squad is tasked to quell by any means necessary, and a hunt for the woman responsible, Harley Quinn. If you want a taste of the coming film, this book gives you that. It’s a thrill ride that simply does not stop, driven by Adam Glass, whose writing nails the characters’ personalities, and Federico Dallocchio, whose art is sharp enough to put your eye out. You’ll enjoy getting to know what makes Floyd Lawton tick, seeing inside his head to view why he kills as Deadshot. As for Harley Quinn, you’ll see a retelling of her origin, how she went from psychologist Harleen Quinzel to the lovable and hilarious psychopath we know today. The book delves deep into their motivations, but read fast. By the end of the book, one of them will be bleeding out on the floor. Fair warning.

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