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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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351

God of Comics – Bloodshot: Salvation #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

September 18, 2017

Bloodshot: Salvation #1 (Valiant Comics)

Jeff Lemire returns to one of Valiant’s best characters and some of the most inspired writing he’s done.

Sure, his work on Sweet Tooth and Moon Knight and Descender are all fantastic – especially that last one – but there’s some aspect of Bloodshot that clearly speaks to Jeff and he’s done some impossibly cool things with the character for about three years now, starting with the self-contained event Valiant put out called, uh, the Valiant.

In it, a person in touch with the life force of the planet faces off with an evil older than time. All the heroes in Valiant come to the fight to throw down and all of them lose until Bloodshot steps up and saves the day and kind of dies in the process – I say kind of, because Bloodshot was already kind of dead.

See, Bloodshot is a weapon that was designed to kill god. He’s part of a program wherein various soldiers were injected with nanites that allowed them to heal through the consumption of meat, gave them enhanced strength and reflex, the ability to tap into and use local technology, among other things. What started out as a simple super soldier program got a huge upgrade when a man named Harada showed up.

Harada is a psiot – Valiant’s version of a mutant – who is basically god and wants to move the world towards a post-scarcity economy that focuses on individual creative efforts and the betterment of the planet as a whole. The greedy bastards that run the world saw him as a threat and turned to Bloodshot to take him down, which led to all kinds of fun.

One of the upgrades Bloodshot got during this period of time sort of maybe caused him to gain a soul, which became a huge problem. He faced down Harada, decided he didn’t need to kill him, but one god is as good as another and so Bloodshot killed himself and the god that would have killed everything on the planet.

In the process, he lost all his power, but his power comes from little machines. The machines spread and he ended up having to go across North America to collect them all, a process that turned one of the best pure action comics we’d ever read into one of the best action horror comics we’d ever read.

More secrets were unveiled, with Jeff Lemire using the character to explore everything from identity politics to corporate greed to political corruption to body horror. Seriously, his run on this character is the kind of stuff that should be fucking legendary, and it bothers me that more people haven’t read it.

Anyway, Bloodshot saved the world from his nanites when they got out of control, uncovered a conspiracy that hid the previous versions of himself, and earned his freedom. He also earned the one thing that has been driving him from the very first issue: his need for a family.

During his trek across North America, Bloodshot met a woman named Magic and the two of them became a couple. She’s seen him at his worst and the two of them came by their love honestly, and it’s weird how much they make one another better people. She’s preggers and Bloodshot is all excited and…

… and it seems Magic’s family has a thing or two to say about the whole thing. Seems Magic was also running away from something: her original family, a clan of backwoods criminals who aren’t about to let their Magic go.

But Jeff is unwilling to let us focus on the present. No. Valiant, more than any other comics company, has been very careful about how the consequences of their characters’ actions develop. With this in mind, we’re given a look at the future, where Bloodshot and Magic’s daughter, Jessie, has inherited the power and is on the run from the terrible corruption that has taken root in the American soul.

Jeff’s not alone in this. The heavy lines and tenebrous shading of Mico Suayan and Lewis Larosa compliment the story he wants to tell perfectly, resulting in a comic that deals in horror and dread and action, full of thrills and well-built surprises. This is one of the best superhero comics on the shelves, and if you want to see what mature superhero comics look like you would be hard-pressed to do better.

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386

God of Comics – Faith and the Future Force #2

God Of Comics, Reviews

August 30, 2017

Faith and the Future Force #2 (Valiant Entertainment)

I think I mentioned this last week, but Valiant has their first live action video project due out soon and it stars the Green Ranger and looks fucking awesome.

Awesome though it may be, however, we’re not here to talk about that today. Here, now, we’re here to talk about representation in fiction, the awesome writering of Jody Houser, and a damn fine comic that you might have missed that you really shouldn’t. That comic is, of course, this one.

What else would I be talking about?

Faith and the Future Force is really the story of a budding friendship between the living conscience of the Valiant-verse and the protector of time who might also become time’s greatest enemy. She’s also an Indian doctor and the inventor of time travel and she inherited a bunch of knowledge from a man named Ivar, an immortal being who made use of the things she taught him so that he could teach her because time travel is confusing and recursive.

Anyway, Neela Sethi is the aforementioned inventor of time travel, a Doctor who travels through the past, present, and future with her sentient human-sized dinosaur companion. The two of them go on adventures to save time and recently they’ve been running across a nasty artificial intelligence that is unwinding time from finish to start because it is basically the worst parts of /b/ and thinks ending everything that is, was, or ever will be would be best done for the lulz.

Faith is a plus-size superhero, a former fangirl and fanfic writer who gained the power of flight and carrying others with her from a third-rate messiah. Her infectious joy, sense of social justice, and compassionate conscience were already with her, and the reason why some people decided to frame her and drag her reputation through the mud – there are always going to be those that want to ruin good things simply to distract themselves from their own pathetic and often self-inflicted miseries.

Sort of like the worst parts of /b/.

Which brings us back to the artificial /b/intelligence. Neela believes that Faith is the only one that can stop it and Faith doesn’t stop to ask why because she’s a hero and a good person and if she can save everything from non-existence she will and also she’s really super excited to go time traveling. The catch is that Neela’s walked her through this before and Faith has died before, but Neela can always go and reset the clock and try again some of the time hopefully.

Most recently, Neela has let Faith know that maybe they should grab some other heroes – a task that Faith is more than happy to do and that others are more than happy to help with because everyone likes Faith. The question becomes if even those heroes can help her stop the /b/intelligence, or is everyone doomed to die and be forgotten as every possibility is lost?

Only Jody Houser knows the answer, and her telling is in the comic. She’s joined by Barry Kitson, Diego Bernard, and Juan Castro on art, with Ulises Arreola handling colors. Their combined work results in something beautiful, something that fans of the Doctor will certainly enjoy. It’s a lot of fun, and the introduction to some of Valiant’s best and brightest is all kinds of great.

Check this out.

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533

God of Comics – Faith and the Future Force #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

July 26, 2017

Faith and the Future Force #1 (Valiant Entertainment)

Hey, the Doctor is a woman now! That’s great! Super! And Valiant has had that character for years now, or close enough to it.

A few years back, Valiant introduced us to Ivar, Timewalker, who gave us the basics of time travel as he wandered lost through the time stream. His goal was to protect a woman named Neela Sethi, the inventor of time travel, from a despot bent on her destruction who was also the future version of Neela Sethi, the inventor of time travel because time travel stories are complex.

Stuff happened and that comic was Ivar, Timewalker and it’s been collected in a couple of mind-bending trades and you should go and look it up because it is awesome. It was all about Neela Sethi claiming her invention and her power and becoming the protector of time and that brings us to today’s comic and Valiant’s latest self-contained event comic. Also, there is an intelligent dinosaur woman that Neela hangs out with and I think that’s important to note.

Faith and the Future Force is about Neela Sethi fighting against a chronomantic virus unleashed by an insane artificial intelligence in the future and Neela Sethi running out of options. The virus is unwriting history from start to finish and our good timewalker needs help, so she comes to the modern Valiant-verse to recruit every hero she can find, signing them up to save everything but is adamant that Faith must lead them.

Why Faith? Why the heroes of now?

Jody Houser is too good a writer to simply handwave either of those questions, so you know this event is probably built around them. Valiant has proven themselves time and again when it comes to these events introducing new concepts and enhancing their collective universe with well-planned and thought out events that work with existing and already excellent stories and making them retroactively cooler.

Valiant’s also seen fit to bring artists Stephen Segovia and Barry Kitson on board and paired them with colorist Ulises Arreola. They all work well together, complimenting one another and highlighting different times, eras, and heroes with stylings that are unique to each part of the story. It works well and illustrates the cost of trying to save time by the skin of one’s teeth.

If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like when a company that knows what it’s doing does a superhero event they won’t have to retcon out of existence later, this is well worth your time. It’s also a good point to get into the whole Valiant thing, so if you like superheroes and want to see them written well this is your ticket.

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407

God of Comics: Rapture #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

May 23, 2017

Rapture #1 (Valiant Entertainment)

I get a lot of people accusing me of loving everything Valiant does. It’s mostly true – Valiant is doing the mature superhero comics that Marvel and DC Comics keep talking about, but focusing on story and character rather than shocking swerves for quick sales boosts that lead to ever-decreasing returns (I’m looking at you, Marvel, with your Captain Nazi: Nazi Empire).

But they do not do everything right: the initial run of Shadowman was overly ambitious and not very good. A lesser company might have tried to retcon the problem away, but Valiant has done something much more better: they ran at the problem full tilt and are fixing it by expanding upon it, keeping the problematic stuff in continuity but bringing it back into the fold and making it retroactively better.

Shadowman is a divine loa riding a human forever. The two of them can draw on one another, and the loa in Shadowman is one of the most powerful beings in the Valiant-verse. It is supposed to watch the boundaries of the living and dead worlds, but fell victim to a necromancer who then tried to overrun the living with the dead. It took the entire Valiant universe to stop him, but the consequences were pretty damn dire.

When that happened, though, Shadowman was taken in by MI-6 and they’ve recruited a woman named Punk Mambo to help him get his power under control. Good for them. The necromancer’s plan involved twisting the life-force of the planet into something it was never meant to be and allowed a new Geomancer into the world – a young girl named Tama who now has access to all the living knowledge and power in the world.

She knows that there is a war coming: the man whom the Tower of Babel was named for is coming to reclaim his home, and it turns out the necromancer that nearly killed everyone was cribbing Babel’s notes. Lucky for us, the spirit that inspired tales of wandering barbarians has taken up residence in the Tower and has no desire to give it up, but even the truth that inspired Conan’s legend isn’t enough to stand against a power like that, not alone.

Normally, Tama would call on the Fist and Steel of the living Earth to deal with her problems, but the Eternal Warrior hasn’t been the same since tangling with the necromancer and so she’s got to look elsewhere. MI-6 is right there, so she’s grabbing Punk Mambo and Shadowman and MI-6’s illegitimate lovechild of Batman and James Bond, the man we call Ninjak.

It’s five against one, but the one has an army and has already pierced heaven once – and if he does it again it could mean the end of everything, forever.

Matt Kindt is writing, and he does his best work when Valiant lets him run wild like he is here (see also X-O Manowar #3, out this week). The artist mortals call Cafu is playing with a lot of heavy concepts and different worlds, but this is where Cafu thrives and you can tell. Better still, as complex as I’m making all this sound, Valiant does a damn fine job of making their stuff accessible. If you’re looking for an alternative to DC Comics and especially Marvel, Valiant might be just what you’re looking for.

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690

God of Comics: X-O Manowar #2

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 25, 2017

X-O Manowar #2 (Valiant Comics)

Soldiers rarely know why they’re fighting.

The idea of peasants and serfs dying in a rich man’s war is one we can follow throughout history. Someone wealthy decides they want something and decides that other people are going to die so that he can have it. This is the act of aggression, but part of getting people to die for the cause is convincing those soldiers that they’re in the right. This often involves some for of mythology, some narrative that convinces people that they’re in the right regardless of what the facts are.

One of the many problems that arises from this is that soldiers may be fighting on the wrong side of a conflict, but will then turn around and double down on the lies they’ve been fed – despite whatever evidence might exist to the contrary. Worse, war always has unintended consequences: go to war with an oil-rich nation and depose the leader and throw the entire region into chaos, resulting in a bogeyman that haunts and destabilizes the region. The people you went into free hate you, and the reputation you think you have does not measure up when meeting the people you’ve hurt.

It doesn’t matter, though, not to the rich men that start the war.

And this is where we find Aric of Dacia, now Aric of Urth.

He saved his world and two peoples and vanished; he was tired, he needed to escape, and he’s armed with the most powerful weapon in his universe: a living suit of plant-based armor that gives him the power of a god and possesses it’s own intelligence. He waged war and then found a home for himself, a place to settle down because he knows the truth all soldiers know and all that glorify war run from – war is literal hell, and once you’ve fought in one the war never ever ends.

Aric went across the galaxy to escape it. He left behind his wife, hid the armor, took up farming, but war has found him and is forcing him to fight. He doesn’t know why and doesn’t care. All he wants is to be left alone, but they keep forcing him to fight and he’s better at it than any of the people at his back or the people he’s killing realize. The danger here for Aric isn’t mortality, but discovery. He could win this war single-handedly, but doing so would reveal who he is to people he wants nothing to do with.

The armor Aric wears knows that he can’t escape it, that running from the conflict that others bring to his doorstep will only make things worse. He’s married to war now, married to the violence, and the shape-changing armor he wears has scaled itself down to a wedding ring. The armor knows Aric down to the very core of his soul and has already accepted that which Aric struggles with: the war has found him and he can never go home again.

Matt Kindt is following up Robert Venditti’s legendary run on this title with a violent meditation on conflict and aftermath, on jealousy and ambition and the causes that lie behind every rich man’s war that results in innocent people dying. He’s given Aric a team of people to lead that increases the risk of discovery, and the tragedy of it is that if Aric unleashes himself on his enemies he will lose the refuge he has tried to build.

It’s a tale that demands a talented artist, and Valiant has found one in the form of Tomas Giorello and thrown in the detailed colors of Diego Rodriguez. It remains to be seen if this run on X-O Manowar will live up to what came before it, but it’s off to a damn good start.

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433

God of Comics: Britannia – We Who Are About to Die #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 25, 2017

Britannia: We Who Are About to Die #1 (Valiant Comics)

Last year, Valiant did a special little series that ended up being one of the best horror comics this side of Coffin Hill or the Clean Room – a mystery set among the borders and in the heart of ancient Rome, a story that dealt with the corruption and grandeur of the falling empire.

This year, they’re returning to that world to tell a whole new story, one that should be just as terrifying:

We who are about to die salute you. That’s what the gladiators used to say before entering the Coliseum, where fifty thousand Romans would drink and cheer and sate their bloodlust by watching slaves fight to the death. It’s what they were told to say, and not saying it – not paying heed to the whims of the mad Emperors and the greedy Patricians – could get one tortured, maimed and worse.

Gladiators could win their freedom by fighting, you see. It was important to stay healthy, to keep fit. The Romans also had a thing about female Gladiators, pitting them against impossible odds and impossible numbers in an effort to prove male superiority. The Romans were pretty high on the idea of misogyny, and watching women fail was a special treat for them.

Writer Peter Milligan knows all this and is thus introducing us to Achillia, a female Gladiator that is going to shake things up. The Romans pit her against five men and are shocked when she kills them all – her victory sends tremors throughout Rome, causing women to question their dependence. The men have noticed. The men are going to have to do something to defend their freedom to be terrible by being terrible… the question is if any of them are strong enough to stand against Achillia.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Rome, people are going mad. They claim to see a blood-soaked Apollo wandering the streets of Palatine Hill. The madness is spreading like a fever, unchecked and horrible. Emperor Nero takes aside the Vestal Virgin Rubria and demands that she petition the gods and find out what the hell is going on and get the insanity to stop – and if she can’t he’s going to have her executed.

The last time Nero threatened Rubria she called on Antonius Axia, Rome’s only detective, for aid. It worked out for her last time and she’s going to do it again, her visions of the divine offering him only a single clue: Achillia.

Peter Milligan’s take on Rome is some of the best historical fiction you’ll read, mixing historical records and data with Roman myth and bloodsoaked madness. It’s the sort of story that’ll stay with you and leave you wondering why western history ignores the many crimes of Rome, and why western society is so fond of repeating the same mistakes. Joining him are artist Juan José Ryp and colorist Frankie D’Armata, whose works speaks for themselves.

We who are about to read salute you both.

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285

God of Comics: Immortal Brothers: The Tale of the Green Knight #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 12, 2017

Immortal Brothers: The Tale of the Green Knight #1 (Valiant Entertainment)

When Valiant did their re-launch several years ago, they started with X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, and Archer & Armstrong. Each of those titles offered something unique while still feeling like part of a cohesive universe (well, not Shadowman, but Ninjak is fixing that retroactively). It’s the last one, Archer & Armstrong, that currently concerns us.

Archer & Armstrong was about a religious assassin and the man he thought was the devil, a ten-thousand-year-old immortal drunkard who isn’t bad or even drawn that way; he’s just kind of a well-meaning alcoholic. The two went on adventures and over the course of things learned the secret of the drunkard’s immortality and met his two brothers, also immortals.

See, ten thousand years ago, there were three princes who went to war with another nation. The youngest of them, the best warrior, died in that conflict. The eldest and most intelligent of them came up with a way to resurrect him, but the middle brother – our drunkard – had some questions about consequences that the eldest ignored.

The result of the eldest’s experiment did bring their brother back to life and made the three of them immortal, but it also murdered their entire civilization and affected them in different ways. The Eldest, Ivar, has become unmoored in time and had to figure out how to move through whens the same way he does wheres. The youngest, Gilad, became tied to the life force of the planet and acts as a champion for that same life force. The middle brother, Aram, got strong and tough and decided to get very drunk and eventually changed his name to Armstrong.

Previous series have touched on things the brothers have done throughout history, but writer Fred van Lente has decided to explore things in greater detail and look at how history and myth has been shaped by one or more of the three immortals as they weave their way through time.

We’re starting with Arthurian myth, as Gilad is serving as a knight of the Round Table when the Green Knight wanders by and lays out a challenge – anyone is free to strike him provided he can inflict the same injury on them in one year’s time. Gilad chops off his head but gets no quickening; instead, the Green Knight picks up his head and leaves.

Now, Gilad has to go and make good on his promise… unless he can figure out what the hell is going on. His two brothers hear of this and decide to get involved because family affairs are always a bit of a mess.

Sounds like fun.

Cary Nord from X-O Manowar is handling the art duties on this one, so this book is going to be gorgeous and weird. If you’re looking for a different spin on superheroes or Arthurian stuff or are just looking for something new, give this a read. Valiant rarely disappoints, and this is going to be awesome.

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215

God of Comics: Ninjak #25

God Of Comics, Reviews

March 28, 2017

Ninjak #25 (Valiant Entertainment)

Okay, take the best parts of Batman and James Bond and combine them, through in some nihilistic Buddhism, throw them in a blender, and the end result is Ninjak.

Ninjak is Colin King, a wealthy Brit who works as a spy after his parents died and he was left in the care of his abusive butler, a person so loving the Colin spent most of his childhood haunting the grounds of his estate rather than deal with the man.

He lends himself out to British Intelligence, combining all sorts of skills, gadgets, and wealth to take on the most dangerous assignments anyone can think to give him: in the past he’s been tasked with stopping alien invasions, assassinating X-O Manowar, and regularly hangs out with the Eternal Warrior. He’s a Badass Normal in the Valiant-verse, and so writer Matt Kindt gets to play with the full weight of this sort of character.

The end result is a comic that started slow and got progressively better, to where it’s now one of Valiant’s best but weirdest. There’s a lot of strange philosophy here, centered around a character who is effectively an adrenaline junkie with a death wish and enough skill to keep from dying. It’s blockbuster material.

At the start, Colin was investigating the Shadow Seven, a group of high-tech weapons dealers who dealt with cutting edge technology and weapons of mass destruction. Since then, he’s started working with them to fight off a larger threat: Master Darque, the Shadowman villain who beat his hero by recruiting him and is the background bad guy of the whole Valiant Universe, a literal god-made-flesh.

Shadowman was the weakest of the opening salvo of Valiant comics, a meandering tale that couldn’t come to terms with its hero or concept but who did have an immediately engaging villain. The protagonist faded and Darque has since plagued the Valiant Universe, causing massive destruction on a handful of occasions, and he’s one of those villains that wins even when he loses.

Back in the strongest issue of the old Shadowman series, we were given an origin story for Darque and that story has entered and currently haunts Ninjak in the form of Sandria Darque, a relative and another mysterious god-made-flesh who is clearly up to something, helping Ninjak for reasons of her own, reasons that have never been revealed, reasons that we just might learn this issue.

Artist Stephen Segovia is doing some interesting things in this book with panel layout that give an interesting illusion of movement while also making infodumps interesting. Writer Matt Kindt is Matt Kindt, so you know the story is going to be good and head in directions you might not expect – which is perfect for this title. If you like Batman and want to try something different you really should give this a look.

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713

God of Comics 2015-12-09

Culture, God Of Comics

December 8, 2015

All-New Hawkeye #2All-New Hawkeye #2

The previous version of Hawkeye is one of the better comics that Marvel has ever published – pretty much the whole run of individual issues were either top five winners or honorable mentions. This follow up is a little odd, hopping between different timelines and employing different aert styles for both, and highlighting a conflict between the Hawkeyes that feels a little forced. It’s pretty, but is a serious contrast from the previous series. Worth checking out.

 

Batman #47Batman #47

DC Comics is getting ready to deliver Bruce into the waiting arms of the Bat-God that rules him, so we’re going to be paying attention to that to watch how that plays out. Bat-gum Crisis – Jim Gordon in a hard suit – continues to be the GCPD-friendly version of Batman, and is getting in a little over his head. This is Gotham, though, so that should shock no one. These comics are, generally speaking, fun, but it’s clear the creative team is ready to do something amazing.

 

Batman and Robin Eternal #10Batman and Robin Eternal #10

It’s interesting that the limited Batman series – this and Batman Eternal – have had a stronger narrative drive than the titles they revolve around. It might be because there’s a finite story involved, one that adds to the mythos while still having a definitive beginning, middle, and end. Jason and Tim are teaming with Bane, while Dick and Harper go to meet a person that can craft personalities in people. That’s kind of horrifying, and Bruce had history with these people…

 

Batman - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1

You know, I don’t even care how ridiculous this sounds. Not one whit. IDW’s TMNT is one of the strongest comics being published today, and DC Comics can do amazing Batman stories when they feel like it. This crossover starts with the Foot coming to Gotham and the TMNT following, and I’m hoping this is before Saki died because I need – I need – to see Batman take on that version of the Shredder. This can, should, and must be fantastic.

 

 

Birthright #12Birthright #12

Imagine your pre-teen child goes missing, and a year later re-appears as a hulking thirty year old warrior. That would be troubling, right? And then his very pregnant winged girlfriend – she looks like a freaking angel – shows up looking for him, saying that something has gone wrong. What would you do? How would you react? This is one of the most original fantasy stories period, a tale full of consequence and weight, and if you like fantasy at all you should read it.

 

Black Knight #2Black Knight #2

Marvel continues to push some of it’s lesser known characters in the wake of Secret Wars, so at least hat unholy quagmire has that going after it. Dane Whitman has a cursed sword that makes him powerful while devouring his morality, which makes him a perfect for a world where nonsense rules and everything is chaos. He’s finally home, in a world where he fits, so naturally the Uncanny Avengers show up to bring him home. This should be fun.

 

Catwoman #47Catwoman #47

Fuck. I should probably explain that. Catwoman evolved – out of Batman Eternal, we saw Selina grow up, saw her change and evolve and struggle with who she was becoming. It was the most interesting Catwoman has been since Dixon, Loeb, or Brubaker. It was a fascinating study of someone who thinks in terms of solitary tactics being forced to thing about groups and strategically. Now? Now, we’re back to base thievery. Given what came before, my hopes are not high.

 

Codename Baboushka - The Conclave of Death #3Codename Baboushka: The Conclave of Death #3

There’s been a boom in spy comics – Velvet, Black Widow, Lady Killer, all that sort of thing. A lot of them feature female leads, and all of them do different things with the concept: Velvet is a serious Bond movie, Black Widow a meditation on morality and cost, and Lady Killer a critique of gender roles and politics. This is very much Burn Notice, a fun send up starring someone who is very good at what she does but works for the other side. Cool beans.

 

 

Constantine The Hellblazer #7Constantine: The Hellblazer #7

This comic has managed to strike a happy medium between the old Hellblazer comics and the lighter (comparatively) Constantine comics, which folded John into the main DC continuity. It’s done so mainly through the writing talents of James Tynion IV, though the sharp art stylings also help. John is a terrible person and a worst friend, and we’ve seen him mangle old contacts left and right in this series so far, so it should be interesting to watch him try to screw over Swamp Thing.

 

The Eighth Seal #1The Eighth Seal #1

We’ve all seen this, right? And we all know what they’re referencing? The New Testament has a book called Revelations, which details the end of the world in Christic lore. There’re seven seals that need to be broken for the world to end, so an eighth seal is sort of intriguing, especially given the political back drop this book is going to have. A woman running for office sees nightmares leech into reality. Is she mad or a prophet? We look forward to finding out.

 

Giant Days #9Giant Days #9

One of the best slice of life comics we’ve ever read, this comic deals with people doing their best to live their lives while being both exceptional and ordinary. It’s what Archie aspired to be before Archie got Mark Waid writing, only this is written by the guy who wrote Scary-Go-Round and Bad Machinery, which are weird web comics about being exceptional and ordinary. Adorkable defined. Hunt it down and mount it in front of your eyes.

 

Gotham Academy #13Gotham Academy #13

DC Comics has two major Bat-things going on right now – Batman and Robin Eternal, which we covered above, and Robin War, which spins out of We Are Robin. Basically, imagine if Anonymous was a bunch of kid vigilantes who ran with a Robin motiff, and you end up with that comic. Various police incidents have led to the corrupt government making Robins colors illegal, which got one of the Robins sent to Gotham Academy, where she’ll be safe. Or not.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy #3Guardians of the Galaxy #3

Gamora returns to her team book but still hasn’t been given her own solo book when everyone else has – even the Tree gets a solo series, but the most dangerous woman in the galaxy? Nah. About eight months have passed in-world since Secret Wars was inflicted on us, and she’s returned to let us know where she stands on, well, everything. There’s a lot of everything. Quill’s a Star King, for instance, and married, and we’re in the middle of a Bendis Build and you know the climax is going to be intense.

 

Monstress #2Monstress #2

Buy this comic. Go out, grab a copy, and buy it. The first issue was one of the most beautifully horrific things we’ve ever read, a tale mired in a post-apocalyptic steam-punk Victorian utopia, where gods are created and science~! is capable of anything and also there are kaiju maybe. This took the breath of everyone in the office away last week, so to say we’re looking forward to this is an understatement. First comic we’re reading this week, and it should be yours, too.

 

Ninjak #10Ninjak #10

Shadowman was important but terrible. It assumed too much, explained too little, and introduced some important concepts to Valiant comics that have been touched on a few times since, like the Deadside. British Intelligence tried to go exploring the realm of the dead and had things go, well, poorly, and so the sole survivor of that expedition teams with Ninjak to head into the world of the dead. This should end well, perhaps strongly enough to resurrect Shadowman in the process. Fingers crossed.

 

Scarlet Witch #1Scarlet Witch #1

Here’s a character with an ill-defined set of powers who is nonetheless interesting because of who she is as a character and what she means to the Marvel Universe in general. She’s a mutant, a magician, the daughter of Magneto, an Avenger, a villain, a hero… and the best person this side of Stephen Strange or Illyana Rasputin to fix the broken magic of the Marvel Universe, and maybe even figure out why it’s broken. This is either going to be incredible or awful.

 

Snow Blind #1Snow Blind #1

This sounds like it could be fascinating – a kid in Alaska posts a picture of his dad on Facebook, because what’s the harm in that, right? Social Media FTW. Well, turns out dad is in the Witness Protection Program, and there are people looking for him and now they’ve found him and put out a hit. Dad’s got some explaining to do, the FBI goes into panic mode, and there’s a hitman coming to this sleepy little burg in the middle of nowhere. If you like noir, this is worth a look.

 

Spider-Gwen #3Spider-Gwen #3

Back in Spiderverse, the various spider-people realized that dimension hopping was a thing. Some of them kept transporters so that they can move from one dimension to another, and Gwen’s feeling a little out of sorts so she’s going to go visit Jessica Drew. No, not that one, the other one. 616 Jessica Drew, who was in a damn interesting comic before Secret Wars. You’d think Ultimate Jessica would be more interesting in this instance, but in Latour we trust.

 

Star Wars Annual #1Star Wars Annual #1

Marvel’s Star Wars comics have been some of the best comics they’ve put out in a long while – and this is saying something, considering the strength of, say, Loki, Thor, Angela, Uncanny X-Men, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Punisher… and it’s those last three this comic is going to draw on, as a deep cover agent for the Rebels has to move a host of sympathizers from the Empire as the senate is dissolved and Palpatine claims all the power. That’s a hell of a set up.

 

Tomboy #2Tomboy #2

Action Lab, what are you doing to me? First, you nabbed my attention with Exit Generation, which had me giggling and enthralled. This is more the latter than the former, as a literal magical girl gets to deal with corruption on corporate and political levels after police murder her best friend and his father to sate the greed of the oligarchy. This is, simply put, amazing comics and incredible storytelling with art like you ain’t never seen and it’s likely going to be in the top five. Again.

 

Ultimates #2Ultimates #2

Okay, this? This right here? This is awesome. Black Panther. Spectrum. Blue Marvel… the team here are all a-list powerhouses, and they’re starting off their series by approaching Galactus with intelligence and respect and a plan to actually actively fix a problem. The only thing that kept this from a top five spot last time was some weird art and pacing issues, but they’ve had a month to settle in and get everything in order. This could be incredible. Fingers crossed.

 

Unity #25Unity #25

Valiant is ending their team-book with a bang… following the events of Book of Death, the members of Unity are going their separate ways. For now, at least. But now that the team is done, some of the more secret missions of the team can be disclassified, like that time they went on mission with Quantum and Woody. Or that time Faith helped them fight United. Or Bloodshot did between Armor Hunters and the Valiant. This is gonna be a lot of fun, peoples. Read it.

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