Batman 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 #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 #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 #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.
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 #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.
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 #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.
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 #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.
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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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.
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.
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.
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 #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 #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.