After making its debut at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Vault Comics is ready to unleash its initial wave of titles in the first quarter of 2017. The new independent publisher is focused on science-fiction and fantasy titles, and Vault’s first six releases showcase the variety within those genres thanks to their distinct styles, tones, and narratives.
The launch begins in February with Natasha Alterici’s queer Viking fantasy, Heathen, and Tim Daniel and Patricio Delpeche’s socially conscious Fissure, two books that offer horror-tinged approaches to the fantasy genre. March brings the debuts of David Booher and Nathan Gooden’s Powerless, which blends superhero and dystopian sci-fi elements, and Chris Lewis and Tony Gregori’s Karma Police, a light-hearted action-adventure rooted in Buddhist principles. Ricardo Mo and Alberto Muriel kick off their retro sci-fi series, Colossi, in April, and the launch concludes with F.J. DeSanto, Todd Farmer, and Federico Dallocchio’s Failsafe, a militaristic sci-fi tale with a heavy dose of political commentary.
Adrian Wassel has assembled a strong line-up of debut books, and Vault has provided The A.V. Club with exclusive previews of each series. First up is Heathen, Natasha Alterici’s striking fantasy series about a young Viking woman, Aydis, dedicated to putting an end to the oppressive reign of the god-king Odin. You can learn more about Heathen in this Big Issues piece from last year, and Vault starting off its launch with this exciting series is a very promising move.
Tim Daniel and Patricio Delpeche’s Fissure takes readers to the border town of El Sueño, Texas, where the divided community is united when the ground splits open, creating a giant sinkhole and unleashing a supernatural force in the process. These preview pages do great work setting an ominous atmosphere for the story, and Delpeche’s artwork adds an ethereal quality that is visually compelling and appropriately mysterious.
Powerless is set in a world where everyone has superpowers, but it’s not a superhero comic. There are no superheroes in David Booher’s story, which revolves around a virus that strips people of their abilities and a Quarantine agent working to stop the contagion, and Nathan Gooden’s moody, textured artwork firmly places the book in sci-fi territory.
Karma Police is the strangest of the Vault launch titles, following a young woman that is the reincarnation of a Tibetan monk, tasked with taking out supernatural threats while adhering to Buddhist principles. Lewis’ script and Gregori’s artwork lean into the humor of this concept, and that comedic approach gives these preview pages a lot of energy and character.
A group of passengers is stranded in an oversized parallel universe in Ricardo Mo and Alberto Muriel’s Colossi, a throwback to the sci-fi films of the ’50s and ’60s. This preview shows that the creative team is having a lot of fun playing with this dangerously huge environment, and there’s some particularly strong work being done in Muriel’s composition and design for this world and the characters trapped on it.
A techno-thriller steeped in spy intrigue, F.J. Desanto, Todd Farmer, and Federico Dallochio’s Failsafe features a gruff mercenary tracking down nanotech-enhanced super soldiers, a mission that forces him to reconsider his feelings for a government he cannot trust. This preview highlights the action elements of the comic, and the fight ends with a development that dramatically expands the scope of the story.