It's rare to get to feel smarter than Sherlock...
Blue Book #1 (w: James Tynion IV, a: Michael Avon Oeming, Klaus Janson)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Blue Book is a very interesting comic. Here we have two creators known for incredibly bombastic work, be it Something is Killing the Children, Powers, or any of the other wildly successful titles these two creators have brought to the world. However, the work they're teaming up for is incredibly subdued. It's a very cool style that we don't really see much outside of the graphic novel space: it's a non-fiction book. More importantly, this book functions as one of those "fact or fiction" types of TV shows, wherein Tynion explores real stories of aliens and other bizarre occurrences in a series he's calling "True Weird" in an attempt to explore the validity and mysterious facts surrounding those events. These are the stories of real people in the real world, which is a massive departure for Tynion. In a way, we really get to see Tynion's writing shine in a new light as he takes on the role of a journalist more than a fiction writer. Meanwhile, Oeming is also producing very subdued art, which is complimented perfectly by a reduced pallet limited to blue, black and white. It's somehow calm and eerie at the same time, which works perfectly for the tone of the story.
The follow up story at the end of the book puts Klaus Janson in the art seat as he and Tynion recount the bizarre history of Coney Island, specifically that of the sightings of a mysterious flying man in 1880. It's a much different story than the UFO tale that precedes it, but again finds Tynion acting more as historian than fictioneer, and it's a fun read unless you're a fan of elephants.
I personally am a huge fan of TV shows that explore strange occurrences and the possibility of the supernatural, and I never realized how primed the comic anthology space was to produce similar content. This is a very nifty book and definitely one worth picking up, whether your a UFO fan or just a follower of Tynion's work.
Local Man #1 (w: Tim Seeley, a: Tony Fleecs)
Publisher: Image Comics
First, I just want to say that Tim Seeley does an absolutely INCREDIBLE Liefeld...
Anyway, Local Man is a story about a super hero going home. However, it's not all ticker-tape parades and keys to the city when Crossjack returns to his sleepy hometown. Instead, he's met by vitriol and disappointment. Though we aren't shown exactly why yet, we are given hints that Crossjack was fired from his superhero team, Third Gen, and is a bit of a disgraced hero overall. Makes him a little less than welcome around here.
Local Hero is a dark superhero story on its surface, but below that are a handful of very relatable themes. Themes of growth and opportunity. The ever present worry of disappointing those you care about. How generally shitty everything is in a post-capitalist society. It's a character piece as much as it is an exploration of a unique superhero world. I figure one day I'll get tired of these "what if superheroes but dark" stories, but writers like Seeley have been around for so long that they are the right type of creators to approach the subject.
This is going to be a hard book to read, I'm sure, but if I made it through Blue Flame, I can make it through this.
Moriarty: Clockwork Empire #1 (w: Fred Duval & Jean-Pierre Pecau, a: Steven Subic)
Publisher: Titan Comics
Sherlock Holmes and his ever-faithful companion Watson fight robots. Also, Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde are there. Yep.
I'm honestly not a huge fan of modern takes on Sherlock Holmes. I've read a few of the Arthur Conan Doyle original stories, but the modern stuff tends to be so "Holmes solves things just because he does" instead of showing the audience hints of a logical thread. That said, while there are MOMENTS of that in this book, it all typically pertains to the more superficial elements of Holmes flexing as opposed to the larger mysteries. The writers do a good job building suspense and mystery while laying down bread crumbs for the audience. Add to that a bit of delicious dramatic irony, and we're actually left in a fairly interesting position where we actually know MORE than Holmes does, which is refreshing.
The writers are taking a very traditional approach to the Holmes format and characters, while instead making the world around Holmes modernized and unique. This London is one of automatons, clockwork machinations and steam-punky goodness. There are self driving cars, automated airships, airships in general, and poker playing robots. It's a fun world to see Holmes and Watson pottering around in. A great choice for Holmes fans or fans of Victorian stories and steam punk and the like.
Small heroes, big impacts on the MCU.
You know, it feels really good to be able to come here and talk about a Marvel movie and actually feel really happy with the outcome. After a couple real bummer-inos, this new installment of Ant-Man introduced some really great characters, some long-lasting villain implications, and a good bit of depth to a majority of the established heroes. Heck, Marvel, it's almost like you DO know how to make a movie.
Who doesn't love a good slasher?
Monarch #1 (w: Rodney Barnes, a: Alex Lins)
Publisher: Image Comics
On its surface, this is a story about kids surviving a horrific alien invasion.
At its heart, this is a story about the difficulties of finding love and peace in a harsh world full of violence and hate. It's about the things that the world shapes us to be in the face of all that. How refusing to let go of isolated moments in our life can destroy us. Monarch is a story about hope as much as it is a story about the lack thereof.
It's a cool book and I'm wary to say too much about the story itself to take away any of the impact. The art is wonderful and shockingly visceral. The characters are sweet and their pain resonates with the reader. Barnes and Lins have hit on some magic with this one. Go pick it up.
Harrower #1 (w: Justin Jordan, a: Brahm Revel)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
A nice, straight-forward slasher that seems to be setting up some significant beats dealing with PTSD, loss and conviction.
Harrower takes place in the town of Barlowe, New York: a town gripped by superstition. Legends in this town tell of the Harrower, an avenging spirit sent to punish the wicked. On Halloween night, as all the adults prepare to attend the Harvest Gala, Jessa and her friends are preparing for a night of high school debauchery. However, this particular Harvest Gala feels especially grim, being the ten year anniversary of a massive tragedy that rocked the town. We don't know much about what occurred, but Jessa lost her brother, and others in the town also lost young family members. As all the preparation builds, we see a police officer attacked by the Harrower himself. The officer admits to wanting to reveal some sort of secret and blaming others in the town for his demise. His son, Carter, discovers the body and decides to take his father's mission into his own hands.
As I said, Harrower delivers a nice, recognizable slasher premise. Halloween night, small town, teens out to get murdered. What it provides to enhance the experience are hints of a deep web of corruption among the adults in the town and a very upsetting betrayal toward the end of the book. There is something happening - some secret behind the Harrower that will hopefully provide a very shocking reveal down the line.
This is a great book for slasher fans or people who like a good "teens getting picked off one by one" horror story. For people who need more, I feel confident that this can please them too, whether it be for the folklore elements or the general sense of intrigue.
The Finder #1 (w: Christos Gage, a: Tomas Giorello)
Publisher: Bad Idea Comics
This book is a bit more actiony than what I typically prefer, but I really dig the overall premise. I am an absolute sucker for superheroes with very subtle powers, and the Finder fits the bill.
The story follows the eponymous Finder, a woman with the power to find anyone by resonating with something they cherish, as she carries out her duties of finding a kidnapped superhero, First Responder. We learn over the course of their interaction that this world is made up of two types of powered individuals: natural powers like the Finder, and scientifically enhanced powers like First Responder. The first category of hero make up the Ground Crew, a group of heroes who perform less than glamorous duties in order to set the stage for the enhanced heroes, known as Frontliners, to claim their glory or to clean up afterward. The Frontliners themselves are mainly government pawns, enlisted and enhanced by government units to perform bombastic tasks in order to grab media attention and whatnot. It's a really fascinating world, especially for anyone who likes superhero content like The Boys and such.
The story itself is a little bland. A lot of cliché action movie badass-ering, silly lines about being too tough for their own good, etc., etc. I did like the characters and the design of the world, just some of the dialogue felt a bit too "Vin Diesel movie" for me.
Anyway, cool book overall with some great art. Dialogue choices aside, I highly recommend.
You've got to draw a line somewhere. Here's where we draw ours.
We hate to bring in the raincloud, but we really felt this was something that needed to be discussed. There's been a lot of discourse around how to handle loving an IP or a book or movie when it becomes unfortunately connected to someone problematic. In today's Key Issues, we share where we draw the line for our own ethical consumption.
Law & Order: Special Angels Unit
Blood Tree #1 (w: Peter J. Tomasi, a: Maxim Simic)
Publisher: Image Comics
I want to start by saying that the 'A' cover to this book portrays a very different story than what you actually get...
That said, the story we do get might be void of giant, night-vision goggle adorned angel murderers, but it is compelling all the same. Grizzled NYC Detective Dario Azzaro is running routine security for big wigs in the St. Patrick's Day parade when something falls from the sky and impacts onto the pavement, narrowly missing the Governor and Mayor, thanks to Dario's snap to action. Once the commotion dies down, Dario and his partner Maria Diaz discover the falling object to be a naked man with wings surgically grafted to his body. They set off to try and discover why this young man would throw himself 50 stories to the pavement below, leaving behind a note that only says "Blood Begets Blood," and they find themselves at a loss for any sort of solution. Then, the second body shows up.
This book is a very straight-forward procedural drama, great for fans of Law and Order or True Detective and the like. Where it excels is honestly creating a compelling mystery. The "Wingman," as he gets casually named by Diaz, is a fascinating character with, so far, unclear motivations. I think this tale will be a compelling mystery to watch unfold. As for the characters, they are pretty much what you'd expect from a procedural set in NYC. That said, we have yet to see any instances of debauchery or infidelity or substance abuse in Dario's character, which are things all too common in super-tropey entries in the genre, so I'm hoping it stays that way. Dario seems to have a very stable home life, and that is a nice breath of fresh air in a world full of muck.
Where Monsters Lie #1 (w: Kyle Starks, a: Piotr Kowalski)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Wilmhurst is a peaceful community. They take care of each other here, as long as everyone adheres to easy-to-follow rules. Simple requests like "don't leave your trash cans out" or "maintain a healthy yard" or "no killing your victims within the walls of the community."
Oh, right... Wilmhurst is a sanctuary for Serial Killers.
This book sees various slasher pastiches, everything from Jason to Jigsaw to John Wayne Gacy, living within the walls of a quaint rural community headed up by a woman named Zel. Here, the killers work together to help plan excursions, recover injured or incapacitated killers, build death traps and weaponry, and much much more. The only requirement is that each member of the community must sew discord and fear in the world while keeping Wilmhurst out of the attention of law enforcement. It's all going according to plan until one killer gets a bit over-zealous.
This book is brash and hilarious. It's a wild concept that sees typically cold, ruthless killers reduced to petty neighbor squabbles. It's a fun ride for slasher fans and, honestly, just a funny book for anyone in the mood for a different type of horror comic. Starks and Kowalski have laid the ground work for a really good time and I am here for it.
We predicted WAY MORE this time than during X-Men...
Holy heck, James Gunn just dropped a LOT of information on us about where the DCU is headed in a recent social video drop, and we've taken the time to process what it all means, decide what we're most excited about, and most importantly, pinpoint exactly which things we TOTALLY CALLED in our Coverspiracy from last December!
It's a Monster Mash, and maybe even a graveyard smash.
Lucky #1 (w: Tim Seeley, a: Troy Dongarra)
Publisher: Keenspot Entertainment
Tim Seeley returns to his "edgy girl in a skirt kicking monster ass" roots this time with a unique superhero angle. The book follows Lucky, a super-powered cat girl (maybe) with the ability to borrow luck from those around her. She began as part of a super team called the Super Beasts, which included Dracula Man, a ghost, a Frankenstein's monster-kinda guy, and like a rock lady. Anyway, Lucky didn't last long on the team since her ability resulted in her comrades having increasingly frequent stints of bad luck. Eventually, the team disbanded and went their separate ways.
For Lucky, this meant barely scraping by as a delivery driver. For Dracula Man, this meant becoming mayor. Super duper fair.
After a routine attempted mugging, Lucky eventually uncovers a corrupt political plot and begins her journey to thwart it, all building to her comeback as an official solo superhero. It's a fun romp with an incredibly cartoony art style. The whole adventure is set in a world comprised entirely of Halloween-y/monster-y people (a la Halloweentown in Nightmare Before Christmas, but mixed with more urban sprawl and less Tim Burton). For fans of Tim Seeley, this will be a refreshing story as his roots in Hack / Slash are easily apparent. It's quirky, it's angsty, it's a little silly. It was an overall good time.
Zombicide Day One #1 (w: Luca Enoch, Stefano Vietti, a: Alessio Moroni, Marco Itri)
Publisher: Source Point Press
Is this the best zombie apocalypse story ever told? No, not really. It's fairly run of the mill, pretty straight forward. However, what it lacks in nuance, it makes up for in being just darn fun. Maybe I'm biased out of my love for the Zombicide board game, but gosh dang it, I love me a zombie story that features a diverse cast each with unique abilities. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this is the "large fries" of the comics available this week: it isn't going to sustain you, and yeah, sure there are healthier choices, but it is definitely going to be an enjoyable experience.
Cover B Podcast
Chris & Tee host this weekly comic-focused show, providing insight on new comics, entertainment news and more.