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God of Comics: Saucer State #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

May 23, 2017

Saucer State #1 (IDW Publishing)

This has been a weirdly political week, I think. Why not end it that way?

Check this out: there was a comic called Saucer Country that was about alien abductions taking place within America, and it was a lot of fun. There was a democratic governer that was abducted and had to deal with the fallout of that while playing politics that were as ruthless as anything you’d see on, say Game of Thrones or House of Cards. Do you know Charles Fort? He once said “The Earth is a farm. We are all someone else’s property.” This governer came face to face with that as a reality and was then stone-walled by various people in the know.

She managed to make it out of the initial run with her political career intact, though it took some doing – seriously, read Saucer Country, it’s one of the best comics that came out in 2012, it’s fourteen issues long and you can grab it in trade by clicking here – and now she’s upped her game and pulled an Underwood and become President of the United States of America.

Her goal is to find out who and what abducted her and why using the resources now at her disposal, and to wage war to protect America and the world as necessary. Did I mention she’s PoC? She’s PoC and politically brilliant. This comic is amazing.

Saucer State is the brain child of Paul Cornell, who you might remember as the genius behind Demon Knights, one of the few bright spots of the nu52, and the awesomely complex new iteration of Vampirella. He’s being joined by Ryan Kelly, the artist who worked on the original Saucer Country and has proven that he can capture the social complexities and weirdness that comes with having memory alteration be part of your story while juggling alien science-magic.

This is going to be incredible, and both Cornell and Kelly have promised you don’t need to be familiar with Saucer Country to dive right in to Saucer State – but I would recommend reading it anyway because it is seriously that good.

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God of Comics: Night Owl Society #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 25, 2017

Night Owl Society #1 (IDW Publishing)

IDW Publishing has made a name for themselves by taking older properties and building upon them: Ghostbusters, TMNT, GI Joe, MASK, Transformers, Jem and the Holograms, all their like. The truth is that all of them are good – all of them take every iteration of this properties and mash them up and take out the best bits and add new ones and make them better, but it’s rare for IDW to come up with something new.

By which I mean that IDW had very few in-house properties, but when they do decide to do something it tends to fucking rock. Locke & Key comes immediately to mind. This is something new, something unique, and it sounds like it’s going to be interesting.

David is one of those lonely kids, a misfit who doesn’t fit in – not at home and definitely not at school. He’s got very few people he legitimately cares about, so when one of them is killed by the local mob, David takes it personally. Now, in a better world, the police would deal with it… but the police are corrupt. Look at those cops arresting the people that showed up to talk to their politicians in Flint, or any of the murderers that kill unarmed citizens every few days for no real reason.

No, the police are not a problem for the wealthy, and crime pays when you’re running things. David’s friend was killed by an actual mob boss, the sort of person who pays politicians and sits on corporate boards and isn’t going to be given any hassle by the police. There’s no justice, and David is old enough to understand that and young enough to be angry about it, young enough to do something about it, young enough to take matters into his own hands.

The thing about marginalized peoples is that they find one another and form bonds stronger than anything outside of those groups could possibly understand. Their ties aren’t based on faux-oppression or similar likes but by a simple need to not die, and when one of them does die the others tend to react badly.

In David’s case, that means organizing his friends, figuring out what skills they have, and going after the mob on their own. The police won’t do it and the politicians are actual criminals themselves, so someone has to make good. Why not David? Why not his friends? All they have to do is make the world a better place and avoid getting killed… or grounded.

Hey, the kids are alright. JamesVenhaus is on writing duties and this is a weird one: he’s a playwright whose done some awesome stuff, most notably Ugly People (about running an electoral campaign) and Weird Sisters (which is Macbeth set in a modern high school where the students are studying the Scottish Play). His work is quirky dark comedy with soul, the sort of thing I keep hoping one of the local theater troupes will do (hint, hint). He’s a treasure, is what I’m saying, and if this comic brings more attention to his work that can only be for the best.

Pius Bak is on art duties and I feel that should sell the comic all by itself. This is the comic I’m most looking forward to this week.

Do not miss it.

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God of Comics: Jem and The Misfits #4

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 25, 2017

Jem and The Misfits #4 (IDW Publishing)

When Kelly Thompson started writing series it felt like one of her goals was inclusivity. She set up a reason why Jerrica needed Jem, set up complex relationships between the various members of the Holograms and the Misfits, both with themselves and one another. It’s made this comic one of the best on the market today, and the most outrageous thing about it is how it isn’t getting the attention it deserves.

And I know it’s got a massive fanbase and is one of IDW Publishing’s top-selling comics, but it deserves more. It took some rather ridiculous source material and made it intriguing while still staying true to its roots, modernizing it making it better in every way, really digging into the core of what makes these characters interesting and exploring why the core concept still rings true decades after the cartoon faded away.

The comic is so good, in fact, that it warranted a spin-off: the Misfits (whose songs are better) have gotten their own comic, rampaging out of control after trampling through the early issues of Jem. Pizzazz and her crew have been investigated, their characters and obsessions and cruelties laid bare. We feel for them even as they were the primary antagonists of the Holograms and especially when it looked like they were going to lose everything.

Pizzazz is not going to let her dream die, though. For her the music is everything and earlier issues of this comic have shown us how hard she’s worked and how much she’s sacrificed to get where she is, how she bound a group of young musicians together and conquered her world. Yes, things got out of hand, and yes, her label dropped her and no other label would touch her, but that isn’t the end in this strange modern world.

There’s a company that is willing to touch them, but it comes with a cost: they’re now being filmed 24/7, the lives of a troubled band of highly competitive musicians turned into a reality show. Pizzazz hates it. They all do. It’s the only way they can see to save themselves, though, so they’re doing it.

Kelly Thompson has taken the opportunity to look at the flaws of these characters, the shortcomings that society says should be ruinous – Pizzazz’s ambition, Stormer’s weight. The Misfits are loud and extroverted characters mostly, but the comic has done a good job digging into their souls and speaking to its readers, shedding light on very real and personal problems through fiction.

That’s what art is.

This month, Kelly is turning her eyes to Roxanne Pelligrini – you might know her as Roxy, the drummer. Roxy is guarding a crippling secret: she’s functionally illiterate. Some of her band-mates know but they also know she’s kind of ashamed of the whole thing, so they’ve held her trust. The media will not be so kind, Roxy fears, and the moment they know she’s going to be outed and mocked into destruction.

Anyone that thinks words can’t hurt anyone hasn’t been paying attention.

It’s nerve-wracking, the sort of danger that could destroy her ability to do anything in society. Roxy is driven by shame: she left high school to get away from words, has problems with Jetta due to her own insecurities, lets jealousy get the best of her because of her intrinsic sense of worthlessness. Her presence in the Misfits is the core of her identity, her success as a musician the thing she’s built the entirety of herself on, but even that might not protect her from the truth.

Every nerve and line of anxiety-wrought tension is captured perfectly by artist Jenn St. Onge, her talent with expressions, body language, and motion bringing to life a breakdown caused by the casual cruelty of a society that has become based around tearing people down and the fight of Pizzazz to make something better. The vibrancy of M. Victoria Robado’s colors just makes this that much better.

We might not agree with all the things Pizzazz does, but her end goals – the protection of her adopted family, her dedication to her craft, and an end to the entropy that is killing the world around her – are noble.

Sounds complex for a kid’s comic, doesn’t it? That’s because this is what maturity looks like.

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God of Comics: Jem and the Holograms #24

God Of Comics, Reviews

March 28, 2017

Jem and The Holograms #24 (IDW Publishing)

Kelly Thompson has been quietly writing on the most inclusive comics ever published. This needs to be explored and needs to be read. Let’s get the obvious Jem and Holograms is outrageous out of the way before really digging into the guts of this thing, because these are some pretty impressive guts.

Okay, we’ve got outrageous out of our systems? Great. Four young women who live together discover their father left them an artificial intelligence that can project holographic images into meatspace that appear real. This is good because they are a struggling band and their lead singer, Jerrica, is shy, so with the AI they come up with an alter ego for her: Jem.

They’ve got fame now, having deposed the Misfits with some pretty light writing, by which I mean everything that has happened so far has been because of character and character development; there’s not a single issue where you can feel the sledgehammer of plot, not a single moment where you might think self, the writer is trying to force things along.

It’s a feat that would be impressive with four characters and an artificial intelligence, but we have the main four, their AI, a reporter, a spy, two different bands that have their own unique members with unique goals, business managers… everyone has a voice, everyone is either up to something or wants something, and none of it ever takes itself seriously which allows for this comic to cover some pretty heavy issues.

Contract negotiations, for example. The difficulties of dating outside of cis-normatives when you’re famous. The difficulties of dating someone your friends consider a rival… from both sides of the relationship. The price of fame. The power of music. The mania that comes with obsessive art. The cost of devoting yourself entirely to an art form. The splitting family when people feel the need to pursue their own dreams. The power of family to heal, even when that family is dysfunctional, and how artists need to put ego aside if they plan on getting anything done.

Did I mention the different body types? Because no two anyone looks alike. You can tell who these people are from their silhouettes, and the comic does go into the horrors of fat-shaming and eating disorders and how some people hurt themselves or suffer because of societal expectations. The entire thing is amazing… and that’s before you get into the songs.

Yes, it’s a comic about a rock/pop band, of course there are songs. Splash pages that hint at movement, at tune, that give you just enough that you can almost hear the tune, almost hear the words being sung. It’s an amazing accomplishment that makes the comic hard to put down, this weird slice-of-life comic that deals with epic and small moments with equal aplomb. It is, really, everything the movie wasn’t.

Anyways, Jem and the Holograms are heading to Hawaii for some sorely needed rest and relaxation after rival band the Misfits nearly spoiled a performance with a zany scheme that could have gotten people hurt or killed, and from the creepy stalking of another rival band, the Stingers, whose lead singer is obsessed with Jem herself in a creepy stalker way.

Oh, except the Stingers have rented the cabin next door to where Jem is staying. Because that’s not creepy or stalkery at all.

Kelly Thompson continues to write and amaze and Gisele Lagace is on art, and this comic’s art is gorgeous. If you’re looking for something that is insane and good and dayglo that exists outside of the superhero set, this is your title. It’s one of the best comics IDW is publishing, which is saying something given how great some of their other comics are (I’m looking at you, TMNT). Highly recommended.

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God of Comics 2015-12-30

Culture, God Of Comics

December 29, 2015

All-New Wolverine #3All-New Wolverine #3

I really like Laura. I dig her character and I’m glad she’s stepped in to fill Logan’s absence, even if the traditional Wolverine outfit looks kinda ridiculous on her. Still, I like what they’ve done with her pretty much from the get-go, and this comic continues that trend – we’re getting stories that explore concepts of personhood and agency, and adding a little spy thriller melodrama to the mix. Her relationship with time-displaced young Angel is presented as a healthy thing here, two characters that know and trust one another. It all makes for good reading, unlike…


All-New X-Men #3All-New X-Men #3

… this. This is not good reading. This is not good reading because everyone but Young Time Displaced Scott feels like they’re being written out of character. All that interesting stuff between Laura and time-displaced Warren I mentioned above? Short circuited here for some trite melodrama. Also, pretty much everyone else is relegated to comic release, or forced so far outside of what they were or what you’d expect them to be as to make them unreadable. The artwork is good and there’s some really not concepts here, but slogging through the mire of this dialogue is tedious at best.


Batman and Robin Eternal #13Batman and Robin Eternal #13

Okay, so Bruce maybe sorta ordered himself up an heir after a young Dick Grayson kinda screwed up enough for mother to realize who Batman was. We got to see the two of them chatting and talking about murder and other things, and I’m assuming that there is a trick coming – every writer on this is too skilled not to have something up their collective sleeves. This continues to be an excellent little mystery, an even keel that is ramping things up as we return to the DCYou version of Cassandra Cain. This is fun and if you like DC Comics you should be following it.


Black Magick #3Black Magick #3

If you like comics, however, or incredibly strong stories with a rich history and mythology implied on every page, then you really must be reading this. It’s Greg Rucka inventing another world in which to play in, this one involving a witch who is also a cop and the politics of a centuries out coven that is running from a group of witch hunters who are now using magic, or getting someone to use magic for them. There’s a real sense of menace here, some awful and thus far unseen power that is wrecking havoc on people’s lives. It’s great stuff, is what we’re saying. Check it out.


Drax #2Drax #2

We told you. We told you last month that CM Punk was going to write something awesome, and he went out and wrote something awesome. Drax is the muscle for the Guardians of the Galaxy, but all of them are going off and doing their own things in their own titles. Drax, of course, gets a turn, and heads off to find and kill Thanos because that is what Drax does. His ship cuts out, stranding him on a world with Terrax, so they go to get drunk and maybe go on a crime spree so they can raise some money to fix the ship and go kill Thanos, maybe even together~! Comics are amazing.


Harley Quinn & Power Girl #6Harley Quinn & Power Girl #6

Jimmy Palimioti and Amanda Conner have quietly been writing one of the best runs with this character that has ever been, and one of the best titles that DC Comics has ever published. This run is part of her epic team-up with Power Girl, when the two of them went galivanting through other dimensions and saved a Seventies Disco Sex God from an alien invasion led by aliens that are against fun in all it’s forms. Having done this they now have to find a way home, which might involve Power Girl marrying the aforementioned Sex God. There are no words for this. You must experience it. Yes.


Jughead #3Jughead #3

Wow, this comic is weird. Like, really, really weird. Jughead is the classic character we all know in love, now updated (again) for the modern world by… not really changing very much of anything. Jughead is one of those characters that is iconic because he fits into any situation. There’s something very Zen about Jughead. He is, of course, still subject to the vicissitudes of fate, and this comic is exposing him to the horrors of crumbling personal freedoms and enforced mediocre conformity within the modern American school system. He is, however, armed with his imagination, so my money is on Jughead, but then I hate people that abuse the authority they think they have.


Rat Queens #14Rat Queens #14

Has there ever been a tighter fantasy comic than this one? Rat Queens hit the world at the exact best moment for itself – a high-stakes fantasy adventure starring a foul-mouthed, life-loving, all-female mercenary band. It’s given us some of the deepest characters in the medium while exploring a number of absurd and harsh realities, all while never losing sight of itself. Take Hannah, the necromancer half-elf, half-tiefling who is sometimes the voice of reason but is now getting lost in some pretty terrible family stuff that was wide-reaching implications for her world. The timing of this – right after Christmas – is magic, the sort of thing we could all use.


Southern Bastards #13Southern Bastards #13

One of my favorite books growing up was a science fiction novel called Illegal Aliens: some aliens land in Central Park in the mid-eighties, and an entire chapter is dedicated to explaining how the world responds. When these reactions are summarized for the UN, it’s explained as “America during Superbowl Sunday.” There is nothing more important in the American consciousness than Football, especially when you leave the trappings of civilization behind for the ever-present heat of the broken south. This is a tale of that broken south and football. This will not end well.


Star Wars #14Star Wars #14

Do you ever think that, perhaps, a company decides to drag something on longer than they should? Sometimes, events happen on their own, necessitated by story: that’s what appeared to be happening with Vader Down, but aside from the last few pages in the last part of this event, well, there didn’t seem to be much happening. A holding pattern. I’m not sure why – the art is good and the writing is Gillen, and even bad Gillen is better than some people’s best. Let’s see if we can get this thing back in track with the one thing we all need: Wooke Wrestling Entertainment. BAH GAWD.


Sunstone Vol. 4Sunstone Vol. 4

Stjepan Sejic was goofing around on hid deviantart page and accidentally created one of the best romance comics, period. Sunstone is a mature and honest look at love and knots, the absurdity of kink mingled with the trust that any healthy relationship needs to be built on, and how insecurity and a lack of communication can kill even the strongest ties: let’s be clear, love never dies, love is murdered when people aren’t clear with one another. There’s a little something in hear for everyone, and if you’re not familiar with this book you really should look into it.


Welcome Back #4Welcome Back #4

Imagine reincarnation. Imagine lifetime after lifetime, bound to repeat some of the same events with the same people, but imagine, too, that this is no love story. Imagine you are in a war, a war without end – born again, die again, forever and ever. Is there any room for change there? Any room to be anything other than a victim, a killer, a corpse? And if the road ahead looks like death without end, is there a point? Where does it begin? That’s what this comic seeks to answer: what fate looks like, the importance of beginnings in understanding the present and changing the future.

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God of Comics 2015-12-23

Culture, God Of Comics

December 22, 2015

Angela - Queen of Hel #3Angela: Queen of Hel #3

You ever meet an over-achiever? Someone who just, by their very nature, tends to reach higher and farther than other people ever think to? That’s Angela. Born to Asgard and adopted by Heven, she doesn’t really feel comfortable with either, having learned about the flaws of both. Those flaws have sent her on a new quest, one to carve out her own place and her own realm, so she’s looking to take over Hel and become an equal to her adopted parents – Odin and Frigga – and her adopted mom – the Queen of Heven. This is who is starting a rebellion in Hel. Needs a metal OST.


Arcadia #7Arcadia #7

How great is the Expanse? The answer, of course, is “pretty great.” I was chatting with a friend and he was like “ity’s been so long since we had good sci-fi” and I was all “are you reading Arcadia?” And that is why, Casey, you’re going to be getting the Arcadia trade for Christmas, the moment that it comes out. Anyway, a terrible disease has ravaged the world and ninety-nine percent of humanity has been looked in cyro-storage, their minds shuffled into an MMO hellscape that is falling apart, because the tech they’re using was not meant for what they’re using it for. Awesome stuff.


Batman and Robin Eternal #12Batman and Robin Eternal #12

We now know exactly how horrific Mother is, and how terrifying her ability to sculpt minds is. They’re not kidding around with what they’ve built here, either, with some of the best writers in comics coming in and adding so much to the Bat-mythos. Jason and Tim are working with Bane and have just bumped into an Azrael, which should go poorly for Jason and Tim and maybe Bane, while Dick and Harper try to understand the horror that nearly swallowed Bruce back during the earliest days of the Bat. This is awesome and heady stuff, a rather awesome spy thriller.


Bloodshot Reborn #9Bloodshot: Reborn #9

I need to know how this ends. An unstoppable golem was created by the military industrial complex to kill god, but somewhere a long the way it gained a soul, questioned the violence of it’s being, and gave up the power of itself. That power went elsewhere, infecting others and turning them into almost unstoppable killing machines, and he’s had to go and reclaim his power from those that never wanted it… except for one guy, who did want it and came to the same conclusion the golem did: kill everyone, get all the power. These comics are insanely good existential action-terror.


Daredevil #2Daredevil #2

Matt Murdock is back in New York, has managed to hide his secret identity (again, dammit), and is still moonlighting as Daredevil. Good on him? He has changed a little bit, though, as he’s now working for the district attorney in New York as opposed to running a private practice. To show him how much they love him, they’ve stuck his office at the bottom of an elevator shaft, with the excuse of not wanting to waste windows on a blind man. Interestingly, studies show that blind people can tell – they need Vitamin D just like the rest of us. Could be okay. Was liking him in LA.


Dark Knight III - The Master Race #2Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2

No, no, don’t walk away, it’s readable, I promise. Yes, Frank Miller’s name is on the cover, and, yes, he’s got some creative input. Someone else is translating his ideas to paper, though, making this a much more interesting comic than it has any business being. The art is very much in line with the original Dark Knight comics, though things are a little more detailed here than they are in, say, Sin City. Anyway, Bruce is dead, the new commissioner forgot what she learned in the Dark Knight, and Carrie Kelly just got herself good and captured. Far better than it has any business being.


Darth Vader #14Darth Vader #14

Holy God but the Force Awakens was good. We can all agree with that, right? The D-Cast (link) thought it was incredible, and this? This comic here? Just as freakin’ good. Marvel has done an incredible job of getting from the end of Episode IV to the beginning of Episode V, particularly with Vader re-establishing himself following his loss of a whole Death Star. Along the way, Vader discovered Luke and has been actively hunting him, leading to him crashing on a planet where the rebel alliance was training an army specifically to deal with Vader. They failed just as Leia arrived. Also, Vader’s hench-people just had a battle with Han, and we get the fallout… now. Do not miss this.


Deadly Class #17Deadly Class #17

Things have not gone well for Marcus. He fell in love with two girls in a school for assassins, abandoned one as the other got killed, and has since fallen apart. He’s going through some terrible things and feels utterly alone, falling in with the wrong crowd as everything good in him erodes. It’s not just me thinking this; the faculty agrees, because final exams for the year include hunting Marcus down and executing him. This book is haunting, hunting, the sort of thing that is difficult to read but impossible to put down, the unblinking grit of slivered goodness in humanity’s worst.


Dr. Mirage Second Lives #1Dr. Mirage: Second Lives #1

It’s a Valiant comic, which I think should be enough of a recommendation on it’s own. Dr. Mirage is a medium who deals with the dead, like her husband, and the two of them work together to perform exorcisms, banishments, and other forms of benevolent necromancy while pondering the weight and circumstance of death itself. Here, she’s discovered a means of giving her husband flesh once more, but it’s an ancient rite that was never meant to be performed and you can already see where this is going… but, like life, this comic is about the journey, not the destination.


He-Man The Eternity War #13He-Man: The Eternity War #13

In order to win, in order to defeat the Horde that threatened to devour everything and everyone forever, He-Man had to give up the Power of Greyskull. This left him little more than a broken Adam while his uncle, Skeletor, stepped in and claimed that power. He now dominates everything and everyone, trapping Adora to keep himself on a throne that was never meant for him. Now, Adam must take back his power before King Hiss devours his soul in a series of comics that are far better and deeper than they have any business being. This is science-fantasy opera and it needs to be read to be believed.


Justice League 3001 #7Justice League 3001 #7

Speaking of science-fantasy opera, this comic features soul-devouring genetic overlays of various Justice League members teaming up with other immortal Justice League members a thousand years in the future, where things have gone weird. Also, villains have brought back other Justice League era villains to fight the new Justice League, which is going about as well as you’d expect given that a lot of details have become sort of muddled. Also, there’s some kind of robot invasion and they just killed Superman. That can’t be good. And this Superman? Not coming back. No one is safe.


Lazarus #21Lazarus #21

Oligarchy took over – this is the world of President Trump, a corporatist dream where the rich rule and the rest of humanity is referred to as ‘waste,’ used to the last drop. The corporations have gone to war, the CEO of the best of their lot poisoned and taken down while his company flounders and their chosen champion struggles to make a difference in the field. There’re powerplays and politics and ruthless plans all coming to fruition, written by one of the best writers in the game and illustrated in a haunting style that will follow you into your dreams and stay there. Poignant, intelligent, and very much a must-read.


Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #2Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #2

This is insane. Okay, a smart girl who is being vilified for being smart and believing in science and being ahead of the curve makes friends with a giant indestructible Tyrannosaurus Rex in modern day New York, which should make bullies a little easier to deal with. This is her school’s faculty’s fault for fiddling around with her science projects when they had no idea what the hell they were doing, which is something some of us might have experienced and gotten in trouble for. This comic celebrates intelligence and ingenuity while also showing how both qualities are mucked about with by a system and society that embraces conformity. Important in the same way Ms. Marvel is. Did I mention the genius girl is black?


Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat #1Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat #1

You saw Jessica Jones, right link? Of course you did. It was incredible, one of the best things to come out of Netflix for a long while and a nice apology for that third season of Hemlock Grove link. Jessica’s adopted sister in that series was Trish “Patsy” Walker, an old and established character who is now getting her own series and that should be awesome. Trish used to date a literal partially reformed anti-Christ and is a partial celebrity and street level hero who’s kinda good at the martial arts thing. She’s pretty great, and this sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Give it a chance.


Pretty Deadly #7Pretty Deadly #7

Deathface Ginny returns to stare down the barrell of the Great War – which is what World War One was called back before people knew they were supposed to name them. This comic is a weird meandering treatise on the weight and responsibility of death, both from the perspective of the living and dying. It’s odd and beautiful and terrifying all at once, edged in with the scripture of the old west and married to the narrative of the early twentieth century. There’s a lot going on here, in other words, and this book is dense, the sort of thing you could use to prove comics-as-art.


Rai #12Rai #12

This is the weirdest book… okay, you know how Aphrodite IX and IXth Generation and Justice League 3001 are all about the futures of their respective universes, using the mythos of today to build a landscape set in the far future? That’s what Rai has done, taking the disparate parts of their various titles and making them more important by showing what the eventual consequences of those people, places, and things are. It’s beautiful and detailed and stranger than a badly cut eighties anime, moving at a breakneck pace and expecting you to keep up with introduced concepts.


Rocketeer At War #1Rocketeer: At War #1

Somehow, this character is still a thing. The movie link holds up pretty well, and there’s enough here that a company like IDW Publishing should be able to put out something cool – a stunt pilot discovers a jetpack back in World War II, and goes from being a nobody to being a major player because of the technology he has mastered. The man in question, Cliff Secord, gets by on his wits and is very much a chip off the Han Solo block, a guy who just wants to be left alone to do his thing, but given the proper circumstances can be a hero. I’m curious to see how this plays out.


Star-Lord #2Star-Lord #2

I’m trying to decide of I care. This is now young Peter Quill by way of John Crichton, having stolen a space ship and gotten himself stranded in space. This goes against the movie – and wasn’t Secret Wars supposed to do two things? One was fix the mistakes of Jonathan Hickman, and the other was to being the comics closer in line with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This serves neither, but still could be interesting if we weren’t comparing it to the series that came before Secret Wars, which was, well, stellar. We’ll see if this gets any better this month. I’m hoping it does.


Switch #3Switch #3

Stjepan Sejic is one of the most gifted artists working in comics today. He’s got a knack for writing engaging characters, even if English is not his first language. The trick is that in looking past his weaknesses to view his many strengths, and few comics illustrate those as well as this one. The Witchblade falls into the hands of an ordinary school girl who has no idea what she has or what she’s gotten into. Like spider-Gwen, this comic then takes familiar faces and puts new spins on them, so if you’ve never read Witchblade, this might be something you’ll dig. We dig it quite a lot.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #53Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #53

Hamato Yoshi killed Oroko Saki. It happened – we all watched it happen, and Saki welcomes it at the end. It brought an end to a struggle that traversed lifetimes, and might finally allow Saki to overcome with karma and evolve. Everyone who was watching understood… except Michelangelo, who fled to an old enemy for succor. He doesn’t know how bad Old Hob can be, because his family protected him from the worst of Hob’s excesses and he’s buddies with Slash, but without that barrier he’s likely to learn some things he might not like. The only sure thing is that this will be excellent.


Venom Space Knight #2Venom: Space Knight #2

So, Flash Thompson went to the planet of the symbiotes and got the madness within his other half expunged, aligning himself with the monastic heroic order the symbiotes are supposed to be. Now, he gets to wander like a knight errant throughout the cosmos, writing wrongs and fighting evil whenever he’s not hanging with the Guardians of the Galaxy. The first issue was a surprising pleasure, setting the stage for a strange heroic space opera, which is exactly what this feels like. The art is also gorgeous, matching the quality of the writing into an incredibly strong whole. Recommended.


Velvet #13Velvet #13

Every week, it seems, there’s one comic where we stop and say simply read this. So, to wit: read this. Velvet is a female James Bond operating in the early seventies, cutting a world-wide swath to expose a double agent in British intelligence while clearing her own name. We don’t know the full scope of the conspiracy, but neither does she – what we do know is that she’s good at what she does, an expert in the field and dangerous in every way conceivable, and that the people that messed with her made the mistake of forgetting who she is. Don’t make that same mistake. Read this.

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God of Comics – Top 5 for 2015-11-18

Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

November 19, 2015

Clean Room #2

Clean Room #2

Reality is questionable. We’re all stuck within our heads, our realities defined on an individual level by electrical impulses. You assume that other people are autonomous, because solipsism is a little too self-involved and there’s easy proofs that reality is not entirely self-contained. We use science to explain reality, agreeing on a few ground concepts and going off from there to build paradigms, and we then apply those paradigms to the species reality as a whole. What this comic deals with is what happens when one person can enter and manipulate the personal paradigms of those around them through technology, and the power that allows them to wield. It’s heady stuff, in other words, which is very much the sort of story that we enjoy, and the art team does the narrative an exceptional favor in filling those objectively real moments with hints of awe. There’s majesty here, a sense of grandeur that works well with dread, and it defines this book. If you like Lovecraftian horror – the real stuff – then you need to be reading this comic.


Hacktivist Vol. 2 #5

Hacktivist #5

I don’t just read these comics. I study them. There’s thing thing about taking this job too seriously, but the truth of things is that I write and I walk into every story to pick it apart. I want to know why things work, or fail to work. So I study and I read a lot of these books with a sense of awe, and every now and again I pick something up and I think this fucking wins. It’s an involuntary reaction; it’s 1:30 am as I’m writing this and the only other person in the office is a dog and I just said this fucking wins aloud. And why? This is one of those comics that manages to retroactively add depth to every character and motivation we’ve seen from the beginning, while revealing a big bad whose motivations are understandable, sympathetic, and terrifying. The pacing and art combine to make this a taut thriller that takes the high ambition of the first volume and makes it look childish by comparison, then ends on a cliffhanger that looks so epic and deceptively sensical that one cannot help but sit in wonder. Go buy the first volume and catch up. This is brilliant.


Jem and the Holograms #9

Jem and The Holograms #9

Continuing on the idea of studying comics as much as reading them, this comic continually leaves me in awe. The raw skill needed to juggle an ensemble cast is staggering at the best of times, but what sets this book apart is the way it gives eleven different characters full on stories, beats, and plot points every single issue. Something as simple as an open-house slumber party becomes a means by which everyone gets a chance to move their stories forward and evolve as a whole, while still doing a cool call out to eighties movies and showing the consequences of a foul temperament. The artwork is as fluid as ever, showcasing the grace of the individual members of the cast while adding an incredible sense of motion to still images. This is strangely immersive and has been from the beginning, digging into your attention with the bright day-glo colors, interesting lyrics, and strong characterization that focuses on everyone moving, growing, and becoming. That last line is absolutely chilling in what it could be leading to. I love this comic.


The Mighty Thor #1

The Mighty Thor #1

We all know cancer is bad. We don’t need to say it, right? Cancer is bad. Jason Aaron, though, gives us the full deal on the radiation therapy we use to combat cancer, and how utterly devastating it is. Jason uses that to set the stage and highlight the differences between the frailty of a dying human woman and the utter power that is Thor. It’s a powerful juxtaposition set against a back-drop of rampant corporate greed and political corruption, aping the failings of the first Star Wars movies and improving upon the plot holes there dramatically. The art is, of course, gorgeous: Thor has been one of Marvel’s prettiest books for a long while, and Secret Wars hasn’t changed that in the least. It’s amazing how much scope we’re given in this single issue, though, with political and character intrigue, the threat of revolution, and a true scope of power, sacrifice, and tragedy besides. My only concern is that Loki might be a mere villain again, and I definitely preferred the God of Stories. Still, Jason Aaron has earned my trust. I can’t wait to see where this goes.


Star Wars: Vader Down #2

Star Wars Vader Down #1

And I kind of get the feeling that working on the Star Wars comics has made Jason Aaron want to do his own version. Thor feels somewhat like the prequel trilogy, but over in the actual Star Wars comics he’s taking over for Kieron Gillen, building on the foundation laid by one of the most brilliant myth-writers of our time. Jason spends no time moving Vader into an epic tale, where he flies into a trap, destroys a squadron of fighters single-handed, is beaten through a kamikaze action and lands without a scratch, and the proceeds to destroy another group of fighters with nothing more than the force. Vader is a force of nature here, stranded alone on a planet where the Rebels have been training people specifically to kill him, and he’s cutting through them with casual disdain because Vader. It’s awesome. The artwork perfectly captures Vader’s terrible majesty, which is a neat trick given the apparent expressionlessness of the character. It’s all in stance, body language, and choice. This is going to be incredible, so get in now.


Didn’t quite make the Top Five. Still worth your time.


Bloodshot Reborn #8Bloodshot: Reborn # 8

We thought the final collection of nanites was going to be in that crazy old farmer, but we were wrong. Everyone was wrong – Bloodshot, the FBI agents chasing him, everyone – and the final revelation of what’s happened here takes what little comedy there was in this series and makes it terrifying. This comic is all about inserting horror into the action genre, and has ended up becoming something wholly unique along the way.



Jughead #2Jughead #2

There are people that think that tough love is the answer for everything, that breaking people down is the right way to raise them. There are people – teachers – that think it’s okay for kids to be attacked in schools and to have their human rights violated, as if they being students makes them somehow less than human. Riverdale is suffering from an influx of these idiots, and Jughead is having to punch up to protect himself, his identity, and his friends.



Ms. Marvel #1Ms. Marvel #1

I hated Secret Wars. I hated the idea that a bunch of incredible stories were interrupted to fix the mistakes of another writer on another series that had nothing to do with this one, and I was worried that this title might have suffered from whatever came out. I needn’t have worried; the creative team does a fantastic job of establishing what the new status quo is while working off of what came before. This character is going to be Marvel’s most popular in about five years.

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God of Comics 2015-11-18

God Of Comics

November 17, 2015

Batman and Robin Eternal #7Batman and Robin Eternal #7

DC Comics seems to have learned quite a lot from their time plotting Batman Eternal – this feels like a much more even ride so far, with the lows being nowhere near as bad and the story clipping along at a brisk pace. This is really Robins Eternal, as Bruce is still out of commission and Bat-tlegum Crisis hasn’t clued in yet, but we’ve gotten some shocking revelations about mother and the kids are off to investigate a criminal organization that makes designer humans. It’s a good read, and about as close to Batman: City of Crime as could be expected. Cool beans.


Black Knight #1Black Knight #1

Really? This guy gets his own comic series? Okay, the Black Knight is a sometimes-Avenger who wields a cursed sword. The sword makes him more powerful the more he uses it, but it drives him towards damnation as its powers grow. It’s an interesting horror or psychological device that has never been used in that way, but now that character is being warped to Weird World so maybe we’ll actually get the story that this character was designed for? I’m going to read this more out of curiosity and a love of Weird World than anything else. Fingers they be crossed.


Bloodshot Reborn #8Bloodshot: Reborn #8

I don’t even know what’s happening with this book anymore, and that’s not a bad thing – this was the single best action book on the shelves, but writer Jeff Lemire decided to move into action-thriller and then action-horror, showing the versatility of this concept and exploring the guts of the character. Equal parts Terminator, Dracula, and the X-Files, Bloodshot combines the best of those narratives and creates something wholly unique: a monster who became a man and now seeks to become a monster to trap the monster he was. This series is unspeakably cool, and you should read it.


Clean Room #2Clean Room #2

Hey, Gail Simone is writing Lovecraftian horror with a Scientology analogue, and you know what it is? If you said terrifying and awesome, than you are correct. We don’t know what the Clean Room is; those in-world that do know of it speak of it in whispers, and our protagonist, Chloe, is hunting for answers held by someone who many view as a savior. The thing is, we’re dealing with a false messiah that has a dangerous following and access to a perspective that puts everyone that might challenge her at a disadvantage. This book questions that nature of reality. Check it out.


Cognetic #2Cognetic #2

You know what’s fun? Starting a story off by showing how effective a character is, and then having them outplayed at every turn by someone so far above their paygrade that it makes them look… well, silly. Things did not go so well for Amie, but they worked out stellar fashion for the villain men call Blue. Now, Amie is back to less than where this story began – lacking resources burned and trust lost among colleagues. This is okay. A story with a decent enough hook, but it’ll be the next few issues that determine whether it’s going to be worth following.


Extraordinary X-Men #2Extraordinary X-Men #2

That was quick. Wasn’t issue one a week or two ago? Are we all that eager to put Secret Wars behind us? The short answer to that is a resounding yes, because fuck Secret Wars. The X-Men are in dire straits as all the mutants are sterile and the x-gene is no longer propagating because of Fox. Storm, eager to be a worthwhile character again following the taint Wolverine left on her in the last few years, has put together a team to make that happen. Wasn’t overly impressed with issue one, but I am curious to see where this goes and what Marvel has in mind.


Hacktivist #5Hacktivist #5

Read this. Read this. Do it now. Go to your comic book store or Amazon or wherever and get the first trade and then every single issue of the second volume. You’ll thank us. This is a reprint of a formerly con-exclusive cover and we’re okay with that on the basis that it gives us an excuse to bring up this series again. In essence, Alyssa Milano wanted to talk about the emergence of an information-centric economy and the real politick of of greed and corruption that is destroying our world. Like a superhero, she put together the best possible team and struck gold. You must read this.


Harley Quinn #22Harley Quinn #22

You get weird stuff out of the big two, sometimes. Parodies of their own stories and one another. Marvel has Deadpool, for the most part, and DC has Harley. This version of the character is insane, yes, but also incredibly bright and is past her Joker-obsession and trying to make a life for herself. Sometimes, that means making friends and helping them out. One of those friends is Sy Borgman, a retired supervillain who is having trouble with an old lover who may or may not have been impaled on a rhino. This series is batshit insane in the best possible way.


Huck #1Huck #1

I find Mark Millar hit-or-miss. There’s an unhealthy amount of self-loathing in some of his works, a hatred of himself and his craft and his fans that I think is born out of the fact that he writes comics. The thing is that he is impossibly talented, so even when he’s in the mire of his damage his work comes out qualitative. This sounds like Millar without the deprecation: a superhero living in a small town as an open secret finds himself being blackmailed by a reporter who discovers that he exists. This could be very interesting, and we’re looking forward to getting our mitts on it.


Jem and The Holograms #9Jem and The Holograms #9

Gods, but that movie was terrible. Who decided to lock down Kesha as Pizzazz and then not use her? That’s criminal, that is. That’s outrageous. Equally outrageous, but in the opposite direction, is this comic. Kelly Thompson has expanded the mythology of this series beautifully, growing her characters and taking the time to make her world make sense, at least to itself. Jem and her sisters feel like family, which is nice, and Synergy has hinted at how dangerous she might be… and with the Misfits sneaking into a house party Jerrica is throwing, things are about to get wacky.


Jughead #2Jughead #2

The modernization of Archie continues with Archie’s closest friend, Jughead. This version of the character is a teen who grew up rich and lost everything at a young age, which explains his name and apparent lack of money. He continues to be intelligent and tricky and maybe the single best character in comics (it’s arguable). Here, he’s having to deal with Riverdale High’s faculty being replaced by people that are mucking about with his world, and clearly do not know with whom they are mucking. Jughead’s imagination is his refuge and font of inspiration, and this is one of the better comics coming out this week. Give it a look.


Kanan The Last Padawan #8Kanan: The Last Padawan #8

We got the history of Kanan leading up to this point, watching as a young Padawan lost his Jedi and then learned to give up the Force. It was a tragic tale, but we’re moving even further back now – to the point where a young Caleb Dune was first taken in by a Master, and how the two of them found one another and learned from one another. It’s an interesting device that adds depth to Star Wars: Rebels, which has been the best way to kill time while waiting for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Do you have your ticket yet? Good. Need something to read? This is it.


Ms. Marvel #1Ms. Marvel #1

So, with any luck, this series is going to pick up where it left off prior to Secret Wars because here’s the thing: this comic is pretty much perfect. It’s the best young adult comic series going right now, honest and awkward and heartfelt and, most of all, important. It doesn’t talk down to its readers, it doesn’t shirk away from difficult content, and it is frank, honest, imaginative, and entertaining all at once. Better still, she’s now officially an Avenger, which has to be about the best thing ever for a geeky fangirl like her. Kamala Khan is the best thing ever and if you like fun you will like this.


The Mighty Thor #1The Mighty Thor #1

Marvel’s absolute king when it comes to epic level storytelling, Jason Aaron, continues to evolve the mythology of Thor. The Goddess of Thunder was revealed to be Jane Foster, which is an interesting twist: Jane is dying of late stage cancer, so when she’s not Thor she’s frail on death’s door. As Thor, she is one of the mightiest beings in the Marvel Universe, which is good considering the mess the Asgardians have made of the Ten Realms. Clever writing and beautiful art combine to make a story worthy of the best bards and one of the best comic runs Marvel has ever published.


Pretty Deadly #6Pretty Deadly #6

Deathface Ginny is back. The daughter of Death Himself returns with her small band of friends, having survived the encounter with her parents. Now, a new century approaches with the promise of a war larger and more brutal than anything that has come before – can Ginny, now Death Herself, handle the weight of her inheritance? Those of you that missed this the first time around might want to dive right in; this series is weird and excellent, with flowing artwork that feels wet and a meandering writing style that feels like the best parts of a vision quest.


Public Relations #3Public Relations #3

Nerdcouver is in the process of making some changes, but credit where credit is due: they’re the ones that turned us on to this series, and we will cover it in their absence. Why? It’s fun. A prince ran away from a magical kingdom to live in the real world, but was dragged back by co-workers and now everyone is regretting the decision. This is about making a place for yourself when you feel like you don’t belong, a slice-of-life book that went off the rails somewhere in the most entertaining way possible. Those who get it cannot explain; those who do not will not understand.


Rat Queens #13Rat Queens #13

The best high fantasy D&D-inspired comic ever comes back for unlucky thirteen, but who is that lack of luck for? The students at Mage University, where magic-users go to learn their craft, are having issues because the faculty is cracking down on the concept of education. The Rat Queens are involved because their resident necromancer’s dad seems to have kicked the whole thing off, and the others are looking to get drunk and get to the bottom of things. Or a maybe a glass. You know, whichever comes first. Look, it’s Rat Queens, if you’re reading this you know it’s fucking great. Recommended.


Red Thorn #1Red Thorn #1

We get a lot of Celtic mythology in modern fantasy. A lot of Roman and Norse and Egyptian. Some Japanese or Chinese, maybe. And, well… that’s pretty much it. Maybe some Santeria, if we’re lucky. No Sumerian, no Hindu, slivers of Meso-American and Polynesian. This comic seeks to redress some of that by going into Pictish and Scottish lore, playing with the monstrous beings that lurk under Glasgow in the modern era. A girl discovers she can make her drawings come to life as a demi-god emerges from underhill. Sounds like exactly the sort of story we like.


Secret Six #8Secret Six #8

Turns out some things have gone awry on the mystical side of things in the DCYou, and it’s adversely affecting the various mystical people that normally would deal with this sort of thing. The only person left that can do anything about it is Black Alice, who is a sullen traumatized teenage girl who happens to hang out with a bunch of other sullen traumatized people. Thankfully, the lot of them have a guide in the form of a literal demon, Etrigan. This should end well. For us readers, anyway; things rarely end well for the Secret Six, which is kind of the point.


Star Wars #12Star Wars #12

Jason Aaron, who we’ve already called Marvel’s resident master of epic scale storytelling, was given the wherewithal to tell a Star Wars story. It’s been a lot of build and expansion, showing what happened between the destruction of the Death Star in Episode IV and the attack on Hoth at the beginning of Episode V. The short answer is chaos, as Luke investigates every scrap of Jedi-lore he can find, and Leia gets caught up in Hans’ smuggling past. It’s a fun little tale that will get us from one point to the next, and it’s well worth picking up if you’re a Star Wars fan.


Star Wars Vader Down #1Star Wars: Vader Down #1

More Jason Aaron, this time building on the framework laid by Keiron Gillen. That’s basically saying that Michelangelo is working on something started by Leonardo da Vinci in a collaborative manner. Yeah. Following the Machiavellian machinations of the Vader comics, the Dark Lord of the Sith decides to go after the Rebel Alliance by himself. Everyone gets involved from both sides, because if there is one person (besides Palpatine) that the entire galaxy lives in terror of, it’s Vader. This is going to be awesome, and is almost a shoe-in for a top five spot. Get this.


Star-Lord #1Star-Lord #1

Okay, so this is about how Peter Quill basically stole his way into space, back before he was a member of the Guardians or Star-Lord. The problem with this is that it goes what we know about Quill being in space as a kid, but we trust Sam Humphries to tell his tale; the man writes a better Peter Quill than anyone else in the history of ever, though I’d much rather get more details on what Star-Lord is doing, you know, running an empire juxtaposed with what his wife is doing while guarding the galaxy. Should be fun and worth a look if you’re a GotG fan.


Tomboy #1Tomboy #1

We don’t look at Action Lab Comics too much, so we’re hoping this series changes that. The cover looks gorgeous, and the story sounds interesting – a young girl who spends her time playing field hockey loses her damn mind when a childhood friend is murdered. She decides that murdering the people that did the murdering is the best thing she can do, especially given the utter corruption she discovers is lurking all about her. The best part? The narrative promises to look at the deeper terrors of revenge, namely that fighting monsters can turn one into a monster. Looking forward to this.


Wayward #11Wayward #11

You’re reading this, right? You need to be reading this. Go buy the prior two trades, because spoilers lie ahead. The revelation of evolving divinity has recast what this comic is about, establishing who our characters are, why they have the powers they do, and what is happening all around them. Now that these characters understand who and what they are, the old gods are running for cover and trying to survive this latest celestial emergence. Spectacular artwork and a heady concept mingle with excellent characters, witty dialogue, and deceptively simple storytelling. Also, the appendix in each of these comics is worth the cover price alone. If you haven’t read this yet, fix that and do so now.


Welcome Back #3Welcome Back #3

We’ve seen the story where two lovers are resurrected time and again, through the ages, finding one another and falling in love all over again. Sometimes it’s effective; most times it comes across as sort of meh. This takes the basic concept and does something different with it – the two people being reincarnated are warriors, and arch-enemies on top of it. They’ve been hunting and killing one another for eons as part of a war of other immortals that are, likewise, caught up in the same conflict. Discovery and character are the hallmarks of this book, and make it well worth the read. Check it out.


Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1

I want to be excited by this book. I do. I love the character of the Eternal Warrior. I love the concept of him, and I love the stories it should be easy to tell with him. He’s a character full of age and gravitas, a living record of what has been and what is told bluntly. Trick of it is, Valiant has tried this twice already and failed. Admittedly, they didn’t have Robert Venditti – the man who writes the best of all comics, X-O Manowar – writing it then, and… you know, that does make a difference. I just talked myself into being excited by this book, and it might be my first read this week.

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God of Comics – Top 5 for 2015-10-14

Culture, God Of Comics

October 15, 2015

Jem and the Holograms #8

Jem and The Holograms #8We get some more songs in comics, which is a weird thing that shouldn’t work but does because of page layout and art. With luck someone will turn it into an actual music video – IDW can, should, and must do a Jem video. Just saying. We also get more character development, as Jerrica has to deal with the paperwork of being famous, Pizzaz and Stormer reach an accord, and Kimber comes under fire for the dangers posed by her inability to use foresight. This last part could be especially dangerous given how potent Synergy is and could be, and playing up both that danger while hinting at what might be coming is a good thing. Lives up to the outrageous tagline and then some.


Ms. Marvel #19

Ms. Marvel #19This comic. This comic right here. We talked about how powerful this comic is previously and its real world impact, but every time we think that G. Willow Wilson can’t possibly give us a greater emotional gut punch, she surprises us. Here, we get to see the impact of a single person doing good for a community faced with the end times, and her impact on her family, and even what family means. It’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming, especially the opening moments with Ms. Marvel and her mother. An absolutely fantastic comic that shows how powerful the medium can be in capturing youth and hope. If you’re not reading this you should be.


Ninjak #8

Ninjak #8Valiant gets a lot of praise from us. It’s because most of their comics have incredibly strong writing and characters with, but they’ve had their failures, too. Those comics suffered from a lack of direction and mythology, which ultimately cost them. Ninjak had direction but little voice; it held quality without impact, but that changes here. This issue finally shows the depth of what previous issues built upon, retroactively making those issues better. It’s a neat trick that has me more interested in the series than I would have thought possible and makes me want the trade. The various points of time this story touches on are finally weaving into something great. Well done.


Switch #1

Switch #1Been waiting on this one ever since Stjepan started doodling this on his DeviantArt page, which, well, go and check out his DeviantArt page. It’s good times, and dude has an excellent sense of humor to go with his gorgeous art. This is a retelling of the Witchblade story, with new takes on familiar characters and concepts, like the Darkness and the Angelus and whatnot, but done through the wonders of Sejic-vision. Dude does incredible characters with tight mythology, though his English is sometimes a little… off. It’s worth dealing with for the incredible artwork and story, though, and this was the first comic I hunted down and read this week. I want more. Awesome stuff.


X-O Manowar #41

X-O Manowar #41The best of all comics is now approaching the idiocy of war profitering and the battle that exists between societal expectation and self. There’s some beautiful and maudlin moments here, with cooler heads trying to prevail and those that see violence as the only solution pushing for a war that no one can win. Explanations are interspersed with action, keeping this story moving like a taut political thriller that features time displaced vikings, alien refugees, ancient conspiracies, and the military-industrial complex all vying for supremacy in a game of Xanatos Speed Chess. The art is good and the writing and characters exceptional. One of the deepest, most nuanced, and complex stories currently being published.

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God of Comics 2015-10-07

God Of Comics, Reviews

October 6, 2015

1602 Witch Hunter Angela #41602: Witch Hunter Angela #4

So, Marvel is still doing their idiot crossover event thing that no one cares about and their best writers are doing their best to work around while still telling the stories they want to tell. This team is one of their best, and they’ve actually managed to progress the plot of Angela: Asgard’s Assassin while setting up Angela: Queen of Hel, which will be the ongoing once the idiot crossover wraps up. This is excellent, writing and art both, and set in the underused medieval setting Neil Gaiman made for Marvel a while back. Ignore the event crossover and this is awesome.


Batman and Robin Eternal #1Batman and Robin Eternal #1

Batman Eternal was sort of a mixed bag, decent most of the time but fucking excellent when it was working. The ending was meh, with the sub-climax being all sorts of awesome, but it featured some writing greats and… wait. Tynion, Seeley, Valentine, Brisson, Lanzig, and Kelley are on this book? Holy fuck. This is going to be incredible. The story surrounds an old human trafficking case that Batman and Robin dealt with early in their careers coming back to haunt the Gotham where Selina is queen of the criminal underworld, Dick Grayson is a secret agent, and Bruce Wayne is no longer Batman. Batman Eternal mostly lived up to the hype, and this should be incredible.


Bloodshot Reborn #7Bloodshot: Reborn #7

You remember Terminator, right? The first one? Classic movie. Ray Garrison is Kyle Reese, a man who doesn’t know as much about the world as he thinks he does, fighting to save a woman from a threat only he truly understands, while the authorities hunt him down for crimes he is connected to but is not responsible for… sort of. See, Ray was Bloodshot and must become Bloodshot again, reclaiming the powers that he gave up and have driven their new users insane. This needs a Soska Sister movie adaptation yesterday.


Cluster #8Cluster #8

The themes of political corruption, family regret, guilt, imperialism, and enslaved prisoners all come to a head in the climax of this epic series. A rich kid’s daughter maybe sorta kinda accidentally killed her sister and was sentenced to military service in a war that the authorities are lying about – there’s resources they want, and the indigenous population is in the way of that, so reasons were manufactured for public support. Can the truth be revealed? Will it matter? Read this comic and find out…!


Darth Vader #10Darth Vader #10

You are watching  Aaron and Dale  talk about these comics, right? You really should, and you really should read these comics: they go a long way towards giving Vader back his dignity and menace, even retroactively making the prequel trilogy better. This follows that time Vader lost a whole Death Star, and his quest to regain a position of authority within the Empire while seeking the pilot that cost him the Death Star in the first place. Intrigue, subterfuge, and murder; Vader is good at all of these, striking like a hurricane. Tremendous.


Doctor Strange #1Doctor Strange #1

Stephan Strange has been a mixed bag when it comes to series based on him. Like Superman, he’s a difficult character to write for: what are his powers exactly? What are his limits? Why don’t more people realize that isn’t what his stories are about? Dr. Strange is closer to Doctor Who than anything else, and if there’s one writer not named Christopher Bird that is likely to get that, it’s going to be Jason Aaron. Aaron is responsible for some of the best myth-work we’ve seen out of comics in a long while, and artist Chris Bachalo has given us some of the most gorgeous issues of X-Men Marvel has ever published. I’m excited to see what they come up with.


Imperium #9Imperium #9

This? This right here? This is some of the most intelligent and well thought out storytelling in the medium. Harada is moving towards creating a world where everyone is happy, and those that profit from misery are trying to stop him. Among those that profit from misery are an alien species called the Vine, more notably a complex piece of X-O Manowar, but those that have been living on Earth have their own agenda and Harada is a threat to it. The old shadow war that dominated our world burst into the light, and things are going to go wrong. It’s going to be beautiful. Jumping on point, for those of you that aren’t reading this. Trust us on this – read this series.


John Flood #3John Flood #3

As those of us that don’t sleep can tell you, insomnia sometimes gives you superpowers at a price. Intuition and fuzzy logic seems simple at a certain point, but everything else becomes ridiculous. John Flood takes that experience and translates it into comics perfection, and then has a perfect intuitive who can’t figure out the waking world tracking down a serial killer who is also aware of him. This is psychological chess starring two madmen and those that one of them care about.


Jughead #1Jughead #1

Did Archie Comics strike gold with their reboot of Archie? Yes. Yes, they did. Archie, Afterlife with Archie, and Archie vs. Predator have all been surprising highlights among the medium, with surprisingly excellent writing and art and everything that makes a comic good. This series focuses on Jughead, who is easily one of the most interesting characters in comics as a whole, and has only been made moreso by the reboot. There’s few comics coming out this week that I’m looking forward to more, and given this week? That’s saying something.


Nailbiter #16Nailbiter #16

We mentioned serial killers up before, but this series? This series takes serial killing to an entirely different place, with a town that seems to breed them somehow, a false mythology to trick the unwary and something very real and very threatening lurking in the shadows of that town. And this is a Halloween issue, so the sense of dread this comic typically plays with should be ramped up to terrifying level. Trick or finger-licking good treats, kids. This is going to be good times.


Public Relations #2Public Relations #2

Honestly, this is a bit weird. A prince on the outs with a magical kingdom returns there from the real world because his girlfriend wants him to go to his dad’s birthday. Magic happens in the worst possible way. Someone somewhere is calling this series It’s Always Sunny in Westeros, which is a television show that I now need to watch. Can someone out there make it happen, maybe with the Sims or Lego or something? Meanwhile, this is absurdly fun.


Rowan's Ruin #1Rowan’s Ruin #1

Things go wrong for a girl named Katie when she does a house-swap to get a cheap vacation in England. It seems like a good plan, and England itself is charming – but when she moves in there’s some horrible nightmares that crop up, and a history to the house she’s staying in that make the house itself the sort of threat that most people cannot deal with. I love a good haunted house story and this sounds really neat. Another one I can’t wait to read in what’s looking like a very busy week in comics.


Star Wars #10Star Wars #10

Oh, Luke. You are the worst. Luke’s gone off on his own, hoping to learn more about the force now that Obi-Wan is dead. His first time out and his lightsaber got stolen, then he got captured while trying to get it back, and now he’s being forced into gladiatorial combat because of course he is. Thankfully, everyone else is on their way to save him, or they would be if Han’s wife hadn’t just turned Han and Leia over to the Empire. Oops? Things were already real, but now they’ve turned lethal.


Star Wars Lando #5Star Wars: Lando #5

Speaking of all things Star Wars and lethal, Lando has been talking his way out of trouble since issue one, only to get himself back into trouble, than out of it, then back in but even deeper. Currently, he’s sitting in a stolen ship that is also Palpatine’s private art gallery and collection of Sith artifacts, and the Emperor is a little miffed that this is happening. You might say that things have gotten weird, but this is where this story ends. Things gotta wrap up, and you know a smooth operator like Lando is going to end up with more than what he started with.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50

Oroko Saki has been a force of nature since his introduction in this series. He’s been unstoppable, claiming one victory after another, from one lifetime to the next. Here, finally, we see the culmination of four years’ worth of incredible storytelling as Shredder faces off against the TMNT and Splinter, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. This has been one of the most patiently crafted rivalries in modern comics, and the payoff should be spectacular.


Toil & Trouble #2Toil & Trouble #2

A certain Scottish Play being told from the perspective of three witches who set everything in motion, and the one of them that decided to bungle things up after returning from exile. This is why plans don’t work – everyone needs to be on the same page, or even the strongest groups can fall apart. They might yet be able to fix things, but this story is a tragedy, and these comics are about the journey more than the destination. This is all sorts of fun, and well worth the grab.

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