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493

God of Comics – Shadowman / Rae Sremmurd #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

October 5, 2017

Shadowman / Rae Sremmurd #1 (Valiant)

Okay. This is just… weird. I mean, what?

There’s a fine old tradition of celebrities crossing over with comic books: William Shatner was in some old science fiction books as himself, Eminem guest starred in some Punisher comics, like, the precedent is there and it sometimes works but is most often forgettable. This might be different.

Rae Sremmurd is the hip-hop working name of two brothers that go by Slim Jxmmi and Swag Lee. They’ve been working at this for a while now, starting their own label out of their basement and hitting it big a couple years ago with the album StremmLife and following that up last year with StremmLife2. Their hook is haunting vocals and subtle instrumentals that work towards a high-impact sound that stays with you and keeps with you.

Here, take a listen for yourself:

Oh, yes, and like the very best hip-hop acts, they are deadly political.

It’s interesting that the two brothers and their label have such a spiritual bent and thus can weave themselves into Shadowman without effort. Shatner’s presence was jarring and Eminem’s appearance was trite because they had only a passing association with the comics they were guest starring in – given the heavy questions that Rae Sremmurd asks and the deep introspection that Shadowman is capable of, this has the potential to be much more engaging.

The plan here, story-wise, is for Rae Sremmurd to hop over to New Orleans for a show and slip on close to the Deadside borderlands, that twilight world that Shadowman is the keeper of. Rae Sremmurd often feels like a quest for meaning and origin, both concepts that Shadowman is tied to, and the history of both should intermingle nicely in the strange places where the latter dwells.

I expect Shadowman to change more from this than Rae Sremmurd will, but we’ll see how this goes. Writer Eliot Rahal is the one responsible for tying these powers together, and he’s done some great work for Valiant and Dark Horse that should lend itself well to the story here. Presumably, Slim Jxmmi and Swag Lee will also be adding their input, which should make their presence much stronger. Renato Guedes is on art, and he’s worked with Eliot at Valiant before and flirted throughout the Super-books over at DC with strong line work and dark shading.

This is going to be very pretty and might end up stronger than the sum of its parts. Check it out for that reason alone.

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423

God of Comics – War Mother #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

August 25, 2017

War Mother #1 (Valiant Comics)

Hey, did you know the Green Ranger is going to be in an official Valiant movie? True story. Check out the teaser below:

That looks really goddamn cool. It’s kinda awesome to see how far Valiant has come in so short a time – they relaunched just a few short years ago and have sort of gone out of their way to put out some of the best comics since. That initial run of X-O Manowar, for example, remains one of the best comic stories you’re likely to read. Bloodshot did a lot of interesting things and played with a host of genres while Harbinger and Imperium delved into the complexities of politics and greed.

But the minds behind Valiant weren’t content with showing people what mature superhero comics looked like; they also poked fun at conspiracies and the grimdark philosophies of some companies with Archer &Armstrong and Quantum & Woody. Also, Jeff McHale has signed up to play Woody in an upcoming project, so that’s exciting.

All of this is a roundabout way of getting to one of Valiant’s most intriguing concepts: their 4001AD line. Valiant jumped a couple thousand years into the future and began to explore what their world would look like and how the technologies they had developed in our time would complicate the future going forward. The first title in this series, Rai, slowly exposed those complexities while investigating a murder in the floating city of Japan.

From there, we got to see that our planet was turned into a desolate wasteland through fascist politics and corporate greed, with only a handful of places managing to hold back against that onslaught and the consequences that followed. One such place was called the Grove, the final vestige of pure scientific knowledge protected by a prosperity born of biotechnologies.

There are, of course, people from outside the Grove that would love to get their hands on what’s inside the Grove, but they have a protector that keeps them safe and knows the horrors of the world outside: they call her the War Mother and take their lead from her and her sentient sniper rifle because comics. Thing is, the Grove is dying. War Mother might have a way to save the world, but doing so means risking everything and everyone she’s sworn to protect.

It’s exactly the sort of writing that Fred Van Lente excels at, as those of us that have followed his run through Valiant know all too well. He’s been paired with Stephen Segovia, who does some interesting things to highlight the dangers and risks and beauty of the world to come while delineating the differing circumstances the people of that world have had to live with. If you liked Mad Max: Fury Road or the Wonder Woman movie, you will dig the hell out of this.

Hunt it down. Read it. Love it. You will not be disappointed.

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382

God of Comics – Secret Weapons #2

God Of Comics, Reviews

July 19, 2017

Secret Weapons #2 (Valiant Entertainment)

Holy gods. Did you see Arrival? This is a comic written by Eric Heisserer, the guy that wrote that screenplay. He’s moving in and taking the reins of mythologies set in place by Harbinger and Imperium, two of the best comics published in the modern era, and is dealing the complexities that Toyo Harada has left for everyone else.

Oh, Harada. You make everything harder for everyone.

Toyo Harada is a psiot, which is basically Valiant for mutant. He’s a mix of Charles Xavier’s dream of a better world and Magneto’s ruthless drive to acquire it and enough power to think himself god. He started a corporation and used his power to fight a shadow war so he could drive the world towards becoming a post-scarcity utopia where everyone would be better off, which pissed off the rich and powerful who really did not want to reveal him to the world.

No, the people he pissed off on the other side of the spectrum did that. See, Harada has a tendency to not see the forest for the trees and a distinct inability to see people as people – everyone and everything are pieces of a game to him, and he managed to alienate the only person with powers equal to his own, a terrible mess of a human being named Peter Stanchek.

What makes Harada and Peter unique – aside from their incredible power – is a single ability that sets them apart from any other meta-human on the planet: they can activate latent psiots. Basically, if there is a chance that you could have a super power, either one of these two can awaken that power within you. Peter is better at it than Harada, who kills about one in every four people he tries it on, but those are the risks Harada is willing to take.

Sometimes, though, the powers he awakens in others aren’t… well, they’re not that great. Take, for instance, the guy that can make inanimate objects light up. Or the girl that can talk to birds. Or the dude that uncontrollably sometimes conjures things to his hands and can’t control the when or where of it. They’re not useful for Harada’s cause but he can’t get rid of them and still feels responsible for them, so he sets them up with housing and lets them alone.

The problem is that when Stanchek and friends revealed Harada to the world, they did so by exposing his email account and spreading out all the information he was carefully keeping hidden, including the housing he had given these psiots who basically had no training and no place in his plan. There’s plenty of other people who would like to get their hands on or kill these kids, though, so they’ve had to go into hiding or to make their own way in the world.

Not that that’s going to stop the people that want them from hunting them down.

Thankfully, these questionably powered individuals do have one ace in the hole – a psiot who calls herself Livewire, who gained the power to interface wirelessly with any machine. She was Harada’s second in command until she called him out on his mistakes, then ended up leading Unity (Valiant’s big super team) and is one of the most powerful people on the planet. She’s awesome. She’s also obsessed with making up for Harada’s (many) mistakes, and so she’s going to do her best to protect these kids from the people that are hunting them.

So, as mentioned, this comic is being written by Eric Heisserer, and he’s joined by Raúl Allén of Wrath of the Eternal Warrior fame. Check this comic out – Valiant is doing stuff with superhero comics that are like nothing you’ve ever seen.

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433

God of Comics – Harbinger: Renegades #5

God Of Comics, Reviews

July 12, 2017

Harbinger: Renegades #5 (Valiant Comics)

Harbinger was an important part of the Valiant line-up back when they first relaunched. It was more down-to-earth than the operatic X-O Manowar, more serious than Archer & Armstrong, more compelling than Shadowman, and more thoughtful than Bloodshot. There was a lot going on here, a lot of high concepts broken down and made relatable through excellent writing and characterization.

This is the story of two men: Toyo Harada and Peter Stanchek, both alike in power and both alike in their flaws. They are what Valiant calls psiots – essentially their version of mutants, with Harada playing the role of both Xavier and Magneto and Peter being a very damaged child who only sees what is directly in front of him. They’re both heavyweights, the most overtly powerful beings on the planet, but they are diametrically opposed to one another.

See, Harada sees that late-stage capitalism is killing the planet and he’s doing everything in his power to save it: he started a corporation to do so, trying to move the world towards more progressive views in order to build a utopia. Sounds good, doesn’t it? The thing is, Harada often doesn’t see the forest for the trees and he’ll break the world if that’s what it takes to save it.

Peter is very much among the broken. His powers manifested when he was a child and he broke his father, broke his mother, became a drug addict to dull his power and fled from a government that he knew wanted nothing but the worst for him. He did terrible things for which no one has forgiven him and has tried his best to make up for them, never expecting to be forgiven for what he’s done.

It’s made for a very complex story.

Harbinger was followed up by the incredible Imperium, where we got to see the fallout of two gods battling it out for control of the world, where Harada was outed and Peter fled. Harada tried to rebuild his empire and save the world from itself, but the corporate overlords that have enslaved the world kept attacking him, kept attacking him, kept attacking him, and we got to see the horrific lengths he was willing to go to.

Peter was largely ignored, given that he had removed himself from the world. Now, in the fallout of Imperium, he’s been forced back into a world he believes he doesn’t deserve. One of Harada’s old proteges, a psiot and genius by the name of Alexander Soloman, has the ability to analyze and predict potential futures. He’s using this power to make a play for himself and he’s got a bunch of Harada’s old goons and psiots desperate for protection backing him up.

See, the American government has a system to make use of psiots: they capture and vivisect them, drug them into unconsciousness while doing nothing for their pain, and then plug a bunch of tech that tends to drive people insane into soldiers so that they can make use of powers stolen from those victims. It’s pretty horrific. The people that do this are good patriotic Americans who do their duty without questioning it, because patriotism.

This is the comic where theses three powers meet and find themselves exposed to the world, and if you think writer Rafer Roberts is going to make this anything less than epic and heartbreaking than you need to track down the back issues and understand what you’re getting into. Artist Darick Robertson, likewise, will lovingly craft every line of agony and hope and terror and…

Look, Marvel is having issues right now. DC Comics is doing better but who knows how long that will last? If you’re looking for an alternative to the big two, for an integrated world full of progressive superheroes and complex stories that really are the best the medium has to offer, this is it. This is the mature storytelling that everyone talks about and then misses done properly, this is the wonder and scope and scale that comics promised you.

This is also meant to be a jumping-on point, so jump on. You will not be disappointed.

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164

God of Comics – Bloodshot’s Day Off #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

July 3, 2017

Bloodshot’s Day Off #1 (Valiant Comics)

It was Canada Day up here over the weekend.

July 1st is the day that we celebrate our country – we danced for our independence instead of fighting for it, handled thing diplomatically. We’ve made a lot of mistakes as a country and we’re still making mistakes today, but we’re trying to do better and I like to think that one day, we will.

But you can’t know yourself unless you know your history. You have to know where you’ve been to get where you’re going, and that includes all the terrible things you may have been a part of. In the case of a country, that means knowing the things your country did in your name. Residential schools are as much a part of who we are as anything, and we need to move past that by acknowledging that it happened and striving to do better.

So, this comic.

Bloodshot is a comic about a super secret weapon that was designed to kill a man powerful enough to think himself god. He was a golem, an unstoppable killing machine, but over the past five years we’ve seen him evolve, gain a soul, lose and understand and claim his identity. We’ve seen him strive to do better by acknowledging who and he was and contrasting that to who he is.

He then discovered that he was only one in a long line of such weapons, each a refinement and improvement over the last. There was a Jewish man that was changed in World War II and an African American that was changed in Vietnam and after their wars they were locked on an island until they managed to escape and returned to America, where they helped defeat a virus that was tied to their condition.

As a comic, Bloodshot has dabbled in all sorts of genre – horror, sci-fi, action – and always done something interesting with whatever it is that is being presented. This is something else again, though: this is aftermath. After the war, after the fighting, after the violence – what’s left? Can you ever go home? War changes everything, the trauma of war changes everything, and there’s far too many people that are happy to send soldiers off to die but leave them to their own devices when they return.

These two? They’ve been fighting since their wars and were never given an off day, never allowed to speak to their families, cut off and forced to die and kill and die again. Now that the general public knows about them, though, the government is being forced to acknowledge them and their ridiculous amount of non-stop combat hours, and so both of them are being given shore leave.

We get Holocaust-era Bloodshot going back to say good-bye to the world he knew, visiting the grave of the woman he was supposed to marry, meeting the grandson on his old rabbi. Vietnam-era Bkloodshot goes to make peace with his dying father, a minister who tried to save his son from the war. And both of them – always at one another’s throats – find themselves alone, find themselves relying on one another. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming and a good place to start if you’re looking to get into Valiant, which, if you like superheroes, you should.

Writer Eliot Rahal does a good job of exploring the aftermath of war from two very different eras and putting two lost people into a modern context. Khari Evans does some beautiful linework, capturing expression and the weight of loss, while colorist Andrew Dalhouse brings out the light and and adds flow to some very emotional moments.

This is a comic about finding family and home when the world has passed you by, when the war is done and aftermath is all that remains. It’s a comic about accepting what was and trying to find a way to be human when war has made you a monster. It’s fantastic and a great way to reflect on what was and what could be.

Happy Canada Day.

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445

God of Comics: Eternal Warrior – Awakening #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

May 9, 2017

Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 (Valiant Comics)

… Robert Venditti is returning to Valiant with the Eternal Warrior.

I’m continuing writing this directly from our article on Dragon Age: Knight Errant #1, which you can find here. So, yes, this, this comic right here, this is the comic I’m most looking forward to reading this week and that can be laid at the feet of Robert Venditti. The man wrote the initial fifty-issue run of X-O Manowar, the comic that Valiant used to relaunch itself and a comic we still talk about being the best of all comics.

Wanna know why? Click here~!

This is, sadly, a one-shot. It’s the second of four comics that Valiant is publishing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the character. That’s not the sad part – the Eternal Warrior is a great concept, a man tied to the earth, kept alive by the life force of the planet to be both fist and steel. The sad part is that this isn’t an ongoing, and Robert Venditti is so good at getting to the core of Valiant’s characters.

Here’s the set-up: a man was born the youngest of three brothers, all princes in the ancient world: the first was intelligent, the second was strong, and the third was skilled. The skilled one died in some long-forgotten war but his brothers would not let him pass; the intelligent one discovered a means of bringing the skilled one back from the dead, and the strong one helped make it possible.

They succeeded in doing what they set out to do, but they destroyed their whole civilization in the process. Wiped it and every person in it from existence so that only the three of them remain. The intelligent one became lost in time, a phantom haunting different eras as he tried to chart when he was. The strong one, alone, became a drunk and would eventually become Armstrong over in Archer & Armstrong. And the skilled one…

His name is Gilad Anni-Padda, and the rite that brought him back from the dead tied him to the living earth forever, made him the champion of the biosphere as a whole. When forces gather that would destroy our world, destroy life, he is called to do battle once again. You can kill him but the killing never takes, and this is a tale from the ancient world when he’s just getting started, when he was forgotten who he is due to a vicious head wound and a single man’s pride is in danger of destroying humanity as it emerges from civilization’s cradle.

It’s pretty cool stuff that’s limited only by the single-issue format and it makes me hunger for more. The Eternal Warrior is such an interesting concept that needs to be expanded upon, its mythology given the respect that it deserves – especially in our modern world, where the pride of a few is going to destroy us all. Gilad is essentially the Lorax with axe and sword, someone who will make you listen, someone who will save humanity in spite of the pride or greed of our species. There’s something to be said about that.

Artist Renato Guedes and colorist Ulises Arreola capture a breadth of human emotion and create a world that feels real, that feels lived in and give life to Robert Venditti’s words. This comic is awesome and if you’re looking for an easy way to into Valiant or an alternative to Marvel, this is it.

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347

God of Comics: Faith #11 (Valiant Entertainment)

God Of Comics, Reviews

May 2, 2017

I love Faith. It’s hard not to. The character is designed to be loved; she’s the best part of any serious fandom, hope and dignity and compassion given flesh and superpowers. She was literally a fanfic writer and geek girl who got the power to fly and carry others and has stood toe-to-toe with some of the biggest scariest players in the Valiant-verse.

That list includes people like the Eternal Warrior, Peter Stanchek, Toyo Harada, X-O Manowar, Obidiah Archer… hell, she dated that last one. She was even recruited by Unity, the Valiant-equivalent of the Avengers, but left because those people couldn’t live up to her standards – and they felt bad for letting her down.

She’s awesome, is what I’m saying.

But there’s this weird thing where people view any sort of kindness or compassion as a personal attack. I think it comes from Ayn Rand’s Objectivism and the weird Mammon-cult that’s taken hold in the heart of America, but I know those are more recent faces of a much larger problem. It’s crab-bucket mentality taken to its logical extreme: how dare you be kind? How dare you be compassionate? A response born of knowing that an action is bad and doing it anyway.

Those are the sorts of enemies that Faith has managed to attract, and they are as ridiculous and selfish and horrifying as you’d expect. They’re terrible not for their power but for their reality. We know these villains. We meet them every day. And, yes, Faith has managed to beat them one at a time because they are awful and evil and self-destructive, but their hatred of her is greater than their hatred of one another – though perhaps not as great as their hatred of themselves.

See, their selfishness sees the pain they cause as part of a game. The people that they hurt and kill aren’t real, not for them. They’re tearing someone down because they think it’s fun and because they’re nihilists (even if they couldn’t spell it or understand what it means). They want to wear her down and destroy her identity and think that will make her like them and that will somehow make them okay people.

It won’t. It never does.

Cruelty solves nothing.

Jody Houser continues to write one of the best and most thoughtful superhero books on the shelves. Joe Eisma and Marguerite Sauvage illustrate everything beautifully, giving Faith presence and making the ugliness of her villains all the more apparent for their physical attractiveness. This comic is always a good conversation starter, and I urge you to pick it up and find out why.

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398

God of Comics: X-O Manowar #1

Books & Writing, Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

March 22, 2017

X-O Manowar #1

We spent four years calling X-O Manowar the best of all comics. We then went into detail explaining why we said this, and you can read that explanation by clicking here. Everything we said still rings true and Valiant is about to take Aric of Dacia into a whole new storyline.

For those that don’t know, Aric of Dacia was a land-locked proto-Viking at war with Rome who mistook some aliens for Romans and attacked him. He got abducted, led a revolt, was chosen by their God, teleported back to earth more than a thousand years later, fought Italy until Italy surrendered, went back to free his people, and then brought his people home.

I’m brushing over the finer details for the sake of not repeating myself, but Aric saved the world, an alien civilization, and all sentient life in the cosmos. He learned and fought and began to desire only peace, and we learn that he found what he wanted at the beginning of this comic.

He’s given up the armor, settled on an alien world, and is tilling the land. All he wants is to tend his crops and live with his mate, an alien woman he’s met on this new and primitive world. He wants to be left alone, free from the war and violence that defined his every waking breath. Even the god-armor that gave him power lies dormant and Aric is finally at peace.

So, of course, some people are going to cross him and spoil everything.

Here’s the set-up: an alien army comes recruiting and decides to drag Aric to the front lines to be used as canon-fodder, but this is motherfucking Aric of Dacia, and he will win this battle so that he can go home, but the aliens leading this army won’t let him leave, won’t hold up their end, and are going to force him to fight. They have no idea who they’re dealing with or what they’ve awoken, because Aric of Dacia is not the sort of person you want to push around.

Matt Kindt is taking over writing duties from Robert Venditti, and if there’s anyone that can bear the weight of Venditti’s crown it’s got to be Kindt. He’s the force behind the utter brilliance that is divinity, also from Valiant, and if he brings the same sense of pathos and epic to this title that he brought to that one, then we’re in for one hell of a ride.

Tomas Giorello is handling the art, and you might know him from his work on various Star Wars and Conan the Barbarian comics, which might be the single greatest resume possible to work on X-O Manowar.

Seriously, get in now. If this run ends up being even a tenth as good as the original it will still be mind-blowingly excellent.

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342

God of Comics: Bloodshot Reborn #1

Books & Writing, Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

March 22, 2017

Bloodshot: Reborn #0 (Valiant Entertainment)

Quietly, subtlely, Jeff Lemire has been writing an opus to the different flavors action stories come in. Taken as a whole, Bloodshot has been a masterwork – the sort of nuanced and detailed storytelling that you wouldn’t expect from something that started as a pure action story, but both the comic and the character the comic is about have evolved over the past four or five years through the application of consequence, a thing that Valiant Comics excels at.

The story began with a super soldier named Ray being deployed against enemies of the United States. Ray was an ordinary looking person who, when activated, turned into a snow white-skinned ghoul with solid red eyes and a red circle on his chest. He was super strong and fast, able to regenerate from all kinds of damage, and could hack into and take-over any machines in his range.

He was also part of a conspiracy, his family and memories a lie concocted to keep him loyal. The powers behind the politicians of the world – the bankers and corporations that profit off of human suffering – were worried about a man named Toyo Harada. Harada combines the best parts of Professor X and Magneto, only he started a corporation himself and was working against profit and capitalism, subverting the system from the inside. He was also, personally speaking, on par with gods so far as power: a telekinetic and telepath who can affect things on a microscopic level. Bloodshot was created to kill Harada, but in the process of his creation he ended up with a soul.

Since then he’s gained power, lost power, had allies and watched them die, been the subject of a manhunt, fought himself, discovered the full weight and history of the conspiracy that created him, and fought against the powers that be to free all humanity from the shackles of greed and avarice. He’s also made a massive mess in the process. This is not a comic for the faint of heart, but those of you that want some thought packed in with your ultraviolence really should be reading this title.

Also, Sony is planning a Bloodshot live-action film and Valiant did a web series where Bloodshot was played by Jason David Frank (the Green Power Ranger), so Bloodshot has that going for it. No idea if Frank will reprise the role for the movie, but Dave Wilson is directing. Wilson did promotional videos for some small projects like Halo and Titanfall 2 and that awesome mini-movie that announced a new Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game. He’s also the partner of Tim Miller, who you might remember having directed a little film called Deadpool.

With Sony having finally clued in that making good movies that happen to have comic book characters in them rather than making comic book movies is why Marvel is doing so well (as evidenced by Logan and Deadpool), we have high hopes for this eventual release. If you’re looking for the early scoop on something that can and should be awesome, get into the comics now.

It’s the perfect moment. Jeff is starting the next part of his epic saga here, so this? This is the moment that you’re going to want to jump on board. Renato Guedes, on art duties, will shock you with how pretty his art is. Do not miss this.

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2328

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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