Devin McKenzie is a librarian that likes to solve puzzles, she’s pretty good at it, actually she’s really good at it. For her birthday her mother sends her an ‘unsolvable’ puzzle which she takes care of pretty quickly, this alerts a group of the greatest thinkers in the world who decide they need to recruit her. About the same time a masked crime fighter breaks in and saves her from many men with guns. From there it’s a case of being chased after and running for her life while trying to figure out which side is good and which is bad. Eventually she falls in with a group of highly intelligent people, everyone there seems happy but there certainly seem to be something wrong with the place. Soon she finds out she’s in bigger trouble than she ever thought and it just keeps going downhill from there. This is a four issue series published by Dark Horse, Written by Dennis Hopeless, with art by Mike Norton. I enjoyed this way more than I had expected to. I tore through these four issues in no time. The story not only sucks you in pretty quickly but there’s plenty to keep you guessing so you don’t feel bored or think you know how everything is going to end. I’d say The Answer! is highly recommended.
The Black Well is a comic by Jamie Tanner, and it’s a strange one. It parts to it that seems to be their own thing yet still connected. There’s a man with a dog’s head, a disappearing woman, a headless vampire and a strange doctor. Overall the only part I really found interesting was the man with the dog head, and even that started to run stale, mostly I think because it kept getting intercut with all this other stuff that I didn’t really care about. The best thing about this book is probably the art, it’s simple but I really liked it a lot. The Black Well isn’t for everybody, most likely just people that like the really strange stuff will be into this, so if you’re not prepared for that don’t waste your time.
It seems that shows that Tony Pence is involved with are always great and this was no exception, I mean the fucking Liars Academy played for christ sakes! How cool is that? I was at Tony’s 30th Birthday show and now his 40th ten years later was just about as cool.
Strike Anywhere - I hadn’t seen strike anywhere in a long long time, partly because nothing ever amazed me like that first album did but they were always a great live band. Here they proved it again that they’re still great live, they played all my favorite songs and they crowd simply lost their mind the second they started playing. I (and anyone else) should go see Strike Anywhere anytime they come near you, they’re pretty fucking incredible.
Liars Academy - Liars Academy are my favorite Maryland band of all time, they hadn’t played in a very long time and I was fucking stoked to see them again and they did not disappoint. The opener had a hiccup but after that it was like they never stopped playing together. They were so fucking good. The band even busted out a Mega City Four cover, it was pretty damn awesome. They also played all of my absoulte favorite songs (except one) so I basically couldn’t have asked for a better time. I really wish these dudes would just be a band again. Seeing them again made my year.
Mindset - I’d never seen Mindset, never even listened to them much but they were really good. Another hardcore band that brought it. Tony got up and sang one song with them, over all a pretty rad set.
Coke Bust - Man I forgot how good these guys are. I hadn’t listened to Coke Bust in many years and man they fucking killed it. They’re a band that says there’s still some great Hardcore around. They set the bar for the whole show.
Toxic Pop Records brings us this great split between to incredible newer pop punk bands. First up is the Capitalist Kids with two of their songs and a cover. Their two songs are fast catchy and just all around great. Pretty much the stuff we’ve come to expect from this band. The third song is a Bee Gees cover. I’ve never been a big Bee Gees fan but their version of this song is pretty good. Tight Bros don’t waste any time with their side, they’re kicking ass right out of the gate with ‘Little Bird’ which is just as good as if not better than anything on their incredible LP. Their second song ‘Markers’ as a bit of a weird flow to it but it’s still really great, it fits them perfectly, with other bands they might have been able to pull that one off. And just when you think they’re done Tight Bros finishes you off with ‘Relocate Me’ a song which is almost as good as ‘Little Bird’. Their side of the record is simply incredible. I like Capitalist Kids a lot and their side is great, but Tight Bros simply owns this split. I recommend you pick it up as soon as possible.
The Capitalist Kids
1. Special Looks
2. What Have You Got To Hide
3. Claustrophobia (Bee Gees)
4. Little Bird
6. Relocate Me
The Underwater Welder is a story by Jeff Lemire, the man behind the brilliant comic ‘Sweet Tooth’. There’s an introduction by Damon Lindelof basically calling this the best episode of the Twilight Zone never made. I don’t think I agree with that but I certainly agree with the Twilight Zone connection, it’s a weird story for sure that seems like it’d be right at home with that series. Jack Joseph is an Underwater Welder; he’s got a pregnant wife at home and goes out for another job before the baby is born. When he’s underwater he finds a pocket watch that his father gave him long ago, from that point on things get strange. Jack is taken through a world where no one is around for a while and also explores the mystery of his father’s disappearance/drowning many years ago. The art looks a lot like Sweet Tooth, which I guess makes sense though I don’t think it works quite as well for this book but really that’s my only complaint. For people that like strange stories this is one you should enjoy.