Weaving together several, at this point unconnected, story lines, Material explores and addresses overtly political themes (police violence and the consequences of terrorism) and philosophical questions (the nature of intelligence, the mediation of reality). It's jagged and often flat art pairs well with equal parts dense and sparse writing. Additionally, each issue features a short essay by a guest author.
"Hilarious space opera" is perhaps the best way to describe Kaptara. "Cleverly veiled cultural critique" is another. Sucked through an inter-dimensional rift, our anti-hero Keith Kanga (a gay, Indian biologist) is thrown into a world populated by cat tanks, a floating orb that communicates only in cliched aphorisms such as "Every journey begins with a single step," and Glomps, a tribe of hyper-masculine elves that speak like members of a Men's Rights Organization. Colorful art resonates with crisp, witty dialogue.
Centered around the adorable TIM-21, a robot boy who holds the key to unlocking a tragic mystery, Descender hits all the right science fiction notes while pulling the appropriate heart strings. Layered upon TIM-21's story is an exploration of the limits of robotics and the political complexities of trans-specious interaction. Beautifully painted to allow both for intricate details to standout and an ambience to emerge, Descender does a lot of its work visually. That said, the writing holds its own alongside stunning images.
The Odessey. In Space. No men. Such is a sparse description of a truly mindblowing comic. Fraction writes ODY-C in Homeric Verse (Issue #4 contains a short essay by a classicist), which creates quite the foil for Christian Ward's breathing-taking and fucking wild art. Working with and against the original story, ODY-C seems designed to mess with expectations whether they be gendered expectations of heroic Greek gods, the writing and organization of comic books, or just how long one can look at panel and still feel engaged by it.
Looking for a comic that provides a translation guide? One with ambiguous speciation and sexual differentiation? A vague, Chaucerian quest? Looking for all of these things? 8house Arclight is the comic for you. Only two issues are out, but this comic has already found its stride while not yet showing its hand. Sparsely written by Brandon Graham (using the style he honed penning Prophet) and hauntingly drawn by Marian Churchland, 8house Arclight is worth investing in early. Also, there is magic.