One of the better X-Men comics from before Secret Wars continues to be one of the better X-Men books post Secret Wars, largely by ignoring Secret Wars. The original five X-Men were brought to the present by present Hank McCoy, largely to screw about with present Cyclops, only for the past versions of those characters to upstage the current versions by being generally awesome. Since then, they’ve picked up X-23 – or Wolverine, now that Logan’s dead – Kid Apocalypse, and Oya. Good art plus good characterization equals good comics. All this needs Jean Grey.
Imagine yourself playing an MMORPG or any game that uses a similar interface. Shouldn’t be hard. A lot of us have experienced the sense of wonder and power that comes with playing those games. Now imagine that you could be your character from that game in real life. That’d be cool, right? Unless other people can do that, too, and they’re not good people. That’s the premise of this comic, which would be cool even without the identity-based consideration. It does have that, though, and that might make this comic exceptional. The ride to find out is going to be hella fun.
This is an interesting character, both as a metaphorical case study and as a story. In the former case, she was a thoughtful and considered character in the DCU before becoming the ultimate expression of the grimdark nu52 before evolving into the segueway into the more hopeful and entertaining DCYou; she is, in many ways, the soul of the company. In that sense, Batgirl is the soul of DC Comics, the star by which the rest of DC positions itself. As a character, well, her comics are among DC’s best and brightest, and well worth reading. Check ’em out.
We normally don’t mention trades when they come out, which is weird considering trades are what we buy to keep in office. We make rare exceptions for rare works of art, and this is one of them: it’s Batman versus Cthulhu, and anyone that didn’t get to see this when it came out needs to read it this time around. It’s great stuff, featuring a Cthulhu Mythos-compliant Batman and Gotham, with Dick, Jason, and Tim, helping their dad after he unleashes a terrible madness on his city by accident, ruining lives and shattering sanity. It’s breath-taking stuff. Make sure you grab it.
You’re reading this, right? You should be. You must be. DC Comics is going out of their way to do a weekly thing, expanding the Bat-mythos in the wake of Bruce losing the Bat. We’re getting strong narrative arcs with Dick, Harper, Tim, and Jason, the re-introduction of Cass Cain, and an increased presence of Spoiler. It’s all good stuff, with an utterly chilling villain that is worthy of the heroes assembled to fight her – a corporation that makes custom people for those that can afford to pay. This issue, we get to learn about their techniques. This should be fun…
… but not as much fun as this. Gail Simone is writing a tale about madness and the nature of reality. See, we all live within our subjective perception of reality, but one of the characters in this book has created a space wherein one can enter the core subjective realities of others, and thereby influence the objective reality we all share. It’s a monstrous concept that is played to the hilt, because Gail Simone is awesome and can do things like this whenever she wants. This comic is about what sanity truly means and the illusion of definition, which plays well with horror. Tremendous.
If you like Star Wars, read this. Marvel has been firing on all cylinders since getting their hands on Star Wars again – even the worst of these comics is ‘only good.’ Everything connected to Vader, however, has been outstanding, while rebuilding the dignity and terror that were associated with the Dark Lord of the Sith before the prequel trilogy robbed him of such. Story here is that a planet has gone against the will of the Emperor, so Darth Vader is sent to get them back in line. This won’t be hard for him; Vader is a force of nature in these books. If you’ve avoided them until now, hop on.
It’s Jason Aaron retelling some of the darker parts of the Old Testament, all the terrible stuff that inspired God to try and wipe everything out with the Flood. The epic nature of these stories play to all of Aaron’s strengths, and the brutality of the artwork drives home every possible degradation, the various evils that required the Flood in the first place. The first issue was a chilling look with the reveal of Cain, the first murderer, and this looks to continue his journey through the lands of Nod and all the evils and corruption that followed. Come see what made God repent.
Go read this. The Internet is one of the most powerful tools mankind has ever devised, and we’re losing it, bit by megabit. There’s those that are fighting the power and those that are being used to keep us in chains, and this comic is a crash course in the realities of hacker culture and real politick in the modern world. If this was an ongoing series it would be a serious challenge for the best of all comics; as it stands, this is the office go-to comic, the one we all look forward to with baited breath, and we cannot recommend it enough. Everything here is intense and driven, an impossibly powerful reflection of our times. One of the most important pieces of literature in the whole damn medium.
This might be DC Comics’ best consistent book, at least in the main line. It’s pure insane fun, a romp through the absurdity of comics and media in general, Jimmy Palimiotti and Amanda Conner poking fun at every sacred cow with some truly gorgeous artwork. Harley returns home from her vacation out west to lead a two-pronged assault with the Gang of Harleys. She needs to break a friend out of prison while also dealing with an ancient supervillain who would like to kill her, and doesn’t care who gets caught in the crossfire. Sound grim? It won’t be. It’ll be amazing.
An interesting tale: a simple man living in a world without heroes lives in a small town, helping out as best he can while avoiding the attention celebrity would bring. A couple of greedy out-of-towners reveal his secret to the world, bringing cameras and opinions swarming like flies and buzzing around the head of a simple man who just wants to do good. This has an incredibly strong premise and a fascinating first issue, and we’re expecting more of the same here, along with art that highlights how good the story is. If you’re looking for realistic superheroes, this is for you.
This could be so damn cool. Various supervillains get caught, serve their time, and then try to re-integrate into society. Normal criminals have a difficult time with this, as so much of the world is willing to punish them for past mistakes and make it impossible for them to do more than repeat their mistakes – how much worse would it be for people with superpowers? The reveal at the end of last issue implies that they’d be duped by another supervillain into doing terrible things. There’s a better story to tell than what’s on tap here, which is frustrating, but there could be merit here.
Buy it. Trust us. This is one of the best comics being published today, a long running look at what happens when the ends justify the means, and the consequences that come with that sort of thinking when you have power on an almost absolute level. Harada is trying to build a utopia to show people that it is possible, which offends both the human powers that be and the alien species called the Vine, who have their own agenda that has been playing out over centuries. This is one of the most thought-provoking and well-crafted comics you’re ever going to read, and you should read it.
Okay, so, the inventor of time travel rescued this immortal guy and taught him how to time travel so that he could rescue her from herself, as she becomes someone who breaks time by shattering time lines. We knew some of this, but now we get to the end game – the part where Neela Sethi becomes the villain of her own story and Ivar tries to fix things… again. This is the cleverest story on time travel you’re likely to see, regardless of medium, with head-ache inducing dialogue that’ll still make you smile and art that catches the absurdity of everything. Awesome stuff.
Music journalist Rico Pacheao digs deep and pries back the layer of two of music’s hottest acts – the old guard known as the Misfits, and the up-and-comers known as Jem and Holograms. We’ve seen both bands through their own eyes and through the eyes of one another, but now we get the perspective of a historian and professor of music culture, the sort of guy that understands history without being a part of it. For those of you that were disappointed with the movie, give the comics a try. Those of you reading the comics already know how incredible they are.
This week we get a double-dose of Jem and the Holograms, because we’ve all been good this year. The record label that has signed both the Holograms and Misfits is demanding that both bands exchange gifts with one another, which should be interesting considering the Misfits maybe kinda sorta tried to kill Jem earlier, and then crashed the Holograms house party, and then Pizazz nearly got herself killed. Maybe the holiday spirit will get to even these most bitter of enemies? It’s going to be fun to find out, and for those few of you not reading this, give it a try.
I’m hoping we all saw Dredd. If you haven’t seen it yet, do so… maybe around the same time you watch other Christmas Classics, like Die Hard. Then settle in and read this comic, which sees Dredd having with deal with a Mega-City One devoid of people. That’s going to be hard for Dredd to deal with, a man who has devoted himself to the rule of law suddenly finding himself with neither, as both require a society to have any relevance. Also, is that Archie on the cover? Are Archie and gang responsible, or their doppelgangers? Perhaps the Explorers of the Unknown…? Okay, I’ve dated myself.
Had some family members over a few nights ago. They got comfy and we ate some Thai while watching the cartoon version of this, which they’d never seen. Their daughter was as enthralled as they were, which is a credit to the power of good narration – the ability to capture the attention of different age groups through strong characters and storytelling. These comics further flesh out that story by giving us the backstory of Caleb Dune, the last Jedi, and here we see he and his Master take control of a Clone troop back during the Clone Wars, as they face off with General Grevious.
The Lucifer comics by Mike Carey have a special place in my heart, and an exalted place on my bookshelf. They are unassailable, a complex interweaving of mythology that acts as a character study of the Devil. This? This looks like it might have more to do with the TV Show, which was fun but nowhere near as good. Still something I plan on watching, though… basically, the angels of Heaven find that Nietzsche was right and God is dead. Or murdered. Gabriel accuses Lucifer, who claims he can prove his innocence, and off they go to try and solve the murder of God. Of course I’m going to read this.
Kamala Khan returns~! Kamala’s crush has started dating someone else because Kamala didn’t have time for him, what with all the superheroing she’s been doing – but while no one was looking, someone copyrighted her likeness and is selling toys and things while destroying her neighborhood, ruining her good name in for greed and profit. How can Kamala defeat the corrupt forces that threaten not just her home, but the spirit of America itself? Also, there might be something about a bad hair day. This is the logical successor to the original run of Spider-Man, and one of Marvel’s best.
Of course, why should Marvel stop there? Jason Aaron has been rocking his run on Thor, with everything he pens feeling like the most important thing happening in Marvel on a macro-cosmic scale. Jane Foster has proven Worthy of the Power of Thor, which is killing her even as she’s using it to save the world a bit at a time. For the first time however, Jane gets to deal with Loki – who is no longer the God of Lies, Evil, or Mischief, but the God of Stories. He was pretty tight with then Thor and now Odinson before Secret Wars, but it remains to be seen how the new Thor and Loki will get on; the only thing we know for certain is that it will be excellent.
There’s something about the British Isles – that whole little patch of islands, where a world-spanning empire emerged from. What drove people to leave that place and conquer? What ancient and unknowable power could have made people flee with such terror all over the world, only to conquer the demons of other places? My book has an answer, and this comic has another. A woman looking for her vanished sister finds folk who are not fair, a gentry that isn’t gentle and a presence that has been waiting a very long time for a crown. Sinister and haunting. Merry Christmas.
Someone at DC Comics must have remembered how interesting a character Swamp Thing can be, because he’s popping up in a lot of books right now. Here, he pops by as a mystic character being effected by whatever it is that has Black Alice in such a such a tizzy. A group of barely-getting-by grey-area villains band together to save the world out of their own self-interest and trauma, because sometimes that’s how things work out. Also, they’re going to New England, because that always works out for anyone looking to avoid creepy things what are terrible.
Cindy Moon is another character that seems custom-built to capture the energy and creativity of the initial Spider-Man run that so many people at Marvel are obsessed with. Here, Cindy is someone else with Spider-powers who was locked away in a bunker and released ten years later. She’s trying to build a life for herself with that disconnect, while also being a double agent, working with the recently re-criminalized Black Cat. Sadly, some people that should know she’s a double agent don’t, and that includes a certain Peter Parker. He’s going to do something about it. Should be fun.
I remember someone – a letterer – mentioning that no one gives letterers their due. So, fair’s fair. The writing in this is excellent and immersive, thrusting you into a strange world that feels lived in. The artwork goes a long way towards completing that feeling, but it’s the lettering here that makes the comic as effective as it is. You can feel accents here, which is not a thing I would have thought possible until I read this. The Spire is one of the final bastions of civilization in a post-apocalyptic world that was fought with gene-engineering as a weapon, and it’s on the verge of civil war.
Squirrel Girl really is unbeatable. She has a handful of superpowers – the proportional speed and strength of a squirrel, the ability to talk to squirrels, and the inability to ever be defeated by anyone, no matter what. MODOK? Beaten. Doom? Beaten. Thanos? Beaten. Galactus, who was last beaten by the full might of the Ultimates? Beaten. This is a problem for some people, so she’s been sent back in time so she can’t effect the present. This was slowed her down somewhat, but her friend Nancy remembers her from before she was shuffled through time and is going to fix things. There is nothing else like this on the shelves. It is a thing that must be read to be understood.
Hey, did you know Ed Brisson is going to be at Big Pete’s Comics tomorrow – December 16th, 2015, for reasons of signing comics? Now you know. You do. And you should go there if you live in Vancouver. And on the note of Vancouver, this comic deals with the weird realities of living in a city where the housing market keeps raising prices, where people are dispossessed and kicked out of their homes to make way for condos that no one can afford and the minimum wage is about a third of what you need to actually live in the city. Ed veers between good-topical and great-topical, and this is veering towards the latter; a slice of life comic without whimsy, just grim modern realism.
Read this comic. There’s a handful of titles that we have complete and utter faith in, comics that we know are going to be excellent every single time they come out. This is one of those. Take everything you’ve ever loved in Japanese mythology or anime and give it a greater context while also going into historical and theological detail and that’s what this comic is. It’s unreal, with gorgeous art and truly epic storytelling, characters as fascinating for their identities as for what they represent, and an appendix that only adds to the weight of what’s on display. This is outstanding stuff.
So, spider-verse worked out really well for everybody. As event comics go it was mostly self-contained, made sense, had some cute cameos, resurrected forgotten characters, introduced new characters, and generally evolved the character upon which it was centered. It did so well that Marvel has decided to continue with it, and this isn’t a terrible idea. Basically, this gives Marvel a chance to explore new Spider-Man archetypes and identities, to play with their mythology in extremis and across multiple realities. Here, Spider-Gwen is lost in space and needs a pick up. Neat.
Imagine yourself. Who you are, but younger. Like, back when you were maybe ten years old. Imagine you were on your way to school and instead of ending up in school, you found yourself in WEIRD WORLD, a place where magic is real and everything is insane and nothing every truly makes sense, but, man, everything is pretty and everything is possible. It’s a sword and sorcery tale where the lead character has no experience with either, and all she really wants to do is go home. This is another comic that Marvel is doing to create new IP, which has worked well for them so far. This should be no exception.
And we get a cat god. The Egyptian Goddess of War, Sakhmet, who is also a Goddess of Healing. There’s a few of those throughout mythology – a very few – but this is WicDiv, and while the gods here are recognizable they are also very different than what anyone might expect. This is also the final guest issue before series creator Kieron Gillen returns to move his story forward, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t important: the guest comics have all revealed bits of lore that made the preceeding comics more interesting, and this should be no exception.
DC Comics decided they needed their own version of Anonymous, and get it with We Are Robin, a group of kids that decided to get together and save Gotham through vigilante action and general hackery. The corrupt city government has since made anything robin-like illegal, up to and including wearing the color red while being a minor, and the Court of Owls has decided to be sinister in the background while some actual Robins – Jason and Tim – have ended up at one another’s throats. This has been a fun little event thing, but Hacktivist is out this week, so…
Charged by the earth itself to live forever, to fight in every war, the Eternal Warrior did everything possible to save all life on Earth from the very dawn of human civilization. Sadly, he’s been removed from that fight, taken to some other place… and not being on Earth is killing him. There might be a way back but he’s going to have to fight for it, which, well, he’s had an eternity of learning the ins-and-outs of violence. First issue was pretty decent and I’m curious to see where this goes.