One of the most annoying things in the world is when people mistakenly assume that all local television weather people are also trained meteorologists. That is not the case.
Only one of this week’s best new comics is actually about a weatherman (who is also a meteorologist) specifically, but the heroes in each series are going through similar processes of self-reflection after terrible tragedies.
There aren’t nearly enough comic books that explore the very plausible idea that if superheroes were real, they’d become celebrities whose fame went to their heads and eventually caused them to become rich, raging assholes. In the world of Action Lab’s Aberrant, that’s more or less what happened with Lance Cordrey (codename 20/20), a former hero who became a billionaire by using his vision-based abilities to find ridiculously valuable deposits of oil and natural.
Because of 20/20’s fame and notoriety, an arms race of sorts was set off across the world as various governments worked to find deposits of dradium, a rare element that’s known to trigger metahuman transformations in baseline people. While on what he thinks is a rescue mission in Algeria, Major Colbrenner unwittingly leads his team into a horrific experimentation site where they’re attacked by enhanced extremists with a variety of devastating superpowers.
For reasons that he doesn’t understand, Colbrenner is the sole survivor of the attack. When he comes back to the States to find that no action will be taken against his superiors for knowingly putting his team in a compromised position, he sets out to get revenge on 20/20, who he feels is ultimately responsible. (Rylend Grant, Zsombor Huszka, Action Lab)
After the shared experience of a massive tragedy, it’s common for people to counterbalance the overwhelming sense of loss and sadness with extreme and sometimes inappropriate humor. The only reason that Martian meteorologist Nathan Bright is able to get away with saying all of the filthy, crass things that pepper his daily newscasts is because the people of Redd Bay, like everyone else on the planet, are still reeling from a calamity on Earth that killed billions.
Bright enjoys the mild celebrity that his on-air persona’s won him, but he also moves through the world constantly wondering whether people actually appreciate him for the person that he is. Bright knows that, on some level, he’s a spectacle—a distraction that gives people something to laugh at when they can’t cry anymore. But Bright is also mourning, and for him, the weather just isn’t enough to keep all of his inner gloom at bay.
That fact alone is what makes The Weather Man’s ultimate twist such a shocking turn of events, because as unfortunate as Bright’s personal situation is, things are actually much, much worse than he ever could have imagined or predicted. (Jody LeHeup, Nathan Fox, Dave Stewart)
You can always tell when comics come from a deeply personal place because there’s a distinct, yet intangible energy to the story that feels as if it’s a part of the creators’ lives that they’ve chosen to purposefully place into the book.
Proxima Centauri tells the story of the excellently-named Sherwood Bread, a teenaged wizard in the throes of puberty while aboard a fantastical spaceship that’s accidentally wandered into the spectral zone—a kind of Bermuda Triangle-like area out in the void. Writer and artist Farel Dalrymple uses the premise of Sherwood being magical to depict the boy’s tumultuous emotions in a truly gorgeous and conceptually fascinating way.
It’s difficult to always tell exactly what’s happening, but throughout the book, Sherwood’s adventures take him to a variety of strange, mind-bending worlds that are as beautiful as they are horrifying. All the while, Sherwood has to concentrate in order to keep his vast mystical abilities in check, which makes the book feel a lot like a reflection on the internal changes and struggles all teens go through. At times, Proxima Centauri can come across—visually speaking—like a beautiful though disturbing children’s book, but Dalrymple makes sure to cut through the whimsy with carefully-placed moments of adult levity that keep everything in perspective. Proxima Centauri is the kind of book you’re meant to get lost in and its first issue is exactly the kind of introduction that’ll win you over. (Farel Dalrymple, Image Comics)