Cover is uncredited in the magazine - 8 - My appreciation of this cover grew as I examined it. While it's the typical "chick in some getup" format, it almost completely ignores the babe aspect (no offense, I'm sure she's perfectly fine under all that) in favor of iconography and busy artistic execution. A nice first impression of a giant Central-American-looking headdress, reminding me of a character in the first Den, and also a Gallery entry in #265 with Mark A Nelson. I happen to like looking closely and seeing things that aren't apparent at first glance. Here there is opposing red and black, skulls and fanged serpents, snakes, wires, and roses. I know little of real Mexican history, but I believe some of these symbols have relevance. The subject's gaze at the viewer is also intriguing, the pupils may have something to do with it.
Just inside the front cover, is an ad for Heavy Metal dot com. Fairly simple with a few current images, a list of stuff to do on the site, and a tagline More Metal For Your Eyeholes. This is better than earlier ads for the website, but somehow still uncomfortably bad. Strangely, I'm enjoying overanalyzing these ads.
Speaking of the website, it's growing on me a bit. There's still lots of uninteresting junk on there, it resembles a tumblr page that I think the kids do these days, but there's a bit more focus it seems on finding things actually connected or relevant to HM. Like the rotoscoped movie Spine of Night (same technique used in the first HM movie) that is looking pretty cool so far. And links to actual cool comics and work, like Djeska's Bal and Bul, for example. A story about an HM exhibit at a tattoo place in Chicago caught my eye, but I probably won't get there in time. The timelapse cover painting is pretty neat. So there's still guitargetpractice and other things I'm not interested in, but there's a bit more for me to enjoy. I'm starting to feel like this resembles the old Dossier sections of the paper mag, at least as far as it was sort of the news aggregator of its day.
After the credits pages, an actual ad for an actual movie, The Gift. I'm less interested in the movie than that there is an ad for something in HM.
New Moon Rising by Alberto Calvo, Omar Estevez, and FG Dr Stain Ortiz - 6 - Omens of the Gods in near-future Mexico City. Straightforward art and a somewhat flat story, but interesting enough. I wouldn't normally think fratricide is an answer, but...
The Eyes of Itzam by Martinez, MoraMike, Aburtov, Fdz, and JAME - 6 - a teched-up gringo is a one-man online hunting show, stalking a river god. The dialog is full of hashtaggery, but it's a bit interesting and the story has a unique resolution.
Gallery by Jose Quintero - 7 - I liked it more as I looked at it more. He shows a nice range of style and technique. I might like it more if I learn more about the context of Mexican folklore. Maybe I'll even go to his planetabuba sites to see more of his stuff.
Taxi by FG Dr Stain Rivero, Omar Trucu Estevez, and Alberto Calvo - 5 - A taxi picks up a fare late at night in a rough neighborhood. The art is nice and it looks pretty good, the story has a couple gags about how precarious life is, but I thought the ending was just another gag that didn't match the depth that the rest of the story seemed to be trying to tell.
Trees Feel No Rage by Bef and Alex Medellin - 6 - Police raid a bunch of hippies, fighting cybercrime. Of course it goes zen. Butterflies are another relevant motif it appears.
Another movie ad, for Agent 47, followed by an ad for HM #276 with the colorized Kirby Lord of Light. Almost like a real magazine.
The Data Mule by Jorge F. Munoz and Santiago Casares - 6 - Data smuggling in the disinformation age. There's collateral damage, and butterflies.
Isel by R.G. Llarena, Oscar Bazal, Raul Manriquez, Charo Solis Fdez, Felipe Sobreiro - 7 - Birth, death, and rebirth, of art. Told in a story consisting of the beginning and end of a musical career. Death and butterflies. Interesting to me that this issue guest-edited by Llarena, has only one story with him.
Untopia by Enrique Puig, Mario Guevara, Emmanuel Ordaz, Charo Solis Fdez, Felipe Sobreiro - 5 - Some techno-future revolutionaries try to take down "the system", apparently they are thwarted and assimilated. Art looks all right, and a few bits of wit exist in the dialog, but expressions like "eldritch" and "stygian" fall flat. The gaps in the storytelling are filled with murky confusion instead of mystery.
The Outsider by Homero Rios, Salvador Velazquez, Renato Guerra - 6 - A techno-prophet tries and fails to save a dying human colony, foiled by the residents' mob ignorance. The android's masters lament their mistakes and plan for improvements, but
Artist's Studio by Enid Balam - 7 - A handful of carefully crafted scenes and/or fashion studies. I like them for their imagination as well as their technique and precision.
Th 49th Key by Erika Lewis, J.K. Woodward, Deron Bennet - 4 - more chase scene, more unfired bullets flying about, another "letter" from the past, more expository blather. It's a good thing so much of the uninspiring art is covered by wordy dialog balloons. It seems to be trying to have something to say, but it's not doing it for me. To be continued, maybe something good will happen.
An ad for Hoax Hunters. I've never seen one of these, not that I've looked for it.
Motorcycle by Fernando Gonzalez - 5 - A motorcycle is really a man, held captive by a woman. He's freed by another woman, but is next seen as her husband, captive again?
An ad for Mechanism. Not too likely I'll see one of these either. It's kind of funny that I've got my eyes out for copies of the Heavy Metal Pulp paperbacks in the resale shops (found one, it's not really very good, but it's one fragment of the HM multiverse I'm interested in), but I'm not interested in some of these other HM offshoots.
And the back cover is another movie ad, for Terminator Genisys. It would appear that HM is pursuing advertising with more effort, or at least more success.
Overall this issue is ok, some good parts, and my appreciation will likely increase if I familiarize myself with Mexican cultural references.