Go forward to go backward, but also go unfunded because academia sucks.
Forever Forward #1 (w: Zack Kaplan, a: Arjuna Susini)
Publisher: Scout Comics
I feel like time travel has become another hot-button concept for comics recently, but because they come out so sporadically, we as readers feel less overwhelmed than by things like vampires or, Odin help us, Norse mythology. This book does its best to make time travel feel more grounded, more realistic, and more centered in today's world and timeline, but by doing so, they had to steep it in the miserable world of university-funded academia, and honestly, no one wants that.
The main character is an insufferable PhD-hunting prat who's knocking off all the tropes of being a bad friend, to the extent I was less surprised when everyone got yeeted into the future, and more surprised that any of his "friends" showed up for his birthday at all. I think the story could be interesting - rarely do we have a full group of mostly-unscientific normies fighting their way as a team through the war-torn future - but it's going to be a slog if our lead continues to be as pretentious as he was in this issue (and weird flex to have him call out a historical figure that had their science stolen in the same breath as revealing himself as an Edison-stan.... k, sure).
Thunderbolts #1 (w: Jim Zub, a: Sean Izaakse)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Whenever a new movie or show is revealed or picks up some steam in the MCU, you can bet your bottom that a similarly-titled comic is going to come out to milk that hype. What's nice about the new Thunderbolts book is that it has effectively nothing to do with the MCU Thunderbolts (US Agent is there, but not there) and is entirely about poor Luke Cage having to deal with a rebrand with an unstable Clint Barton as his leading show-pony. As someone who deals in brands every day, Luke is gonna need a stiff drink, stat.
They've already done a good job setting up some weird up-comings, like America Chavez spewing after a portal-making attempt and Gutsen Glory (not kidding) struggling to keep some strange energy/demon/spiritual awakening at bay. At the end of the day, I just really enjoy watching comic-based Clint be a hot-mess-express; makes me feel a lot better about what I've got going on in my own day-to-day, that's for sure.
It's getting hot in here...
Summer may be winding down for us, but in Summer Fires, by Giulia Sagramola, we get to start the summer all over again... the summer of two-thousand-(insert mumbled date here). But in all fairness, this story of youthful awakening, sisterhood, and learning to drive is a beautiful story set to beautiful color shading. The fires burn hot, but nothing burns hotter than adolescence.
Less "She-Hulk" and more "She-just-wants-to-live-her-life"
After a rapidly paced, action-filled first episode, She-Hulk's second entry slows things down a bit and takes a look at Jen as a person dealing with a sudden shift in the dynamic of her life. It was a welcome energy shift that not only did a lot of work developing Jen's character but also provided a lot of insight into the world of the MCU that we haven't been given by most of the previous shows and movies. We get to see what it's like for a super powered citizen of the MCU who doesn't have a government contract, isn't a villain or hero, and, most importantly, doesn't have a secret identity. It's a compelling angle that breathes a lot of much needed life and realism into the MCU.
Episode 2, titled "Superhuman Law," picks up right after the smash-tacular conclusion of it's predecessor. We are shown glimpses of news stories talking about the events of the trial, including one reporter who coins the term "She-Hulk" and definitely will never stop bringing that up for the rest of his career. Jen is now thrust into this new world of celebrity as a brand new superhero on the scene. However, her moderate annoyance at the attention quickly turns even more sour, as her boss informs her she no longer has a place at the DA's office, which makes sense. Imagine getting called in for jury duty and the prosecutor is Santa Claus. You're probably gonna be a bit biased in your decisions from there on.
Jen bounces from rejection to rejection at that point, constantly being told that she has too much attention to be hirable, succumbing to the fact that becoming a Hulk has potentially ruined her life (but sure tell me more about how changing the origin to an accident as opposed to Bruce willfully giving her Hulk blood was a bad thing). Begrudgingly, she makes a visit to her family, who all have questions about the Avengers (whom she's never met) and generally just treat her like families tend to, trying their darndest to connect but also being a bit awkward and condescending. Her father gives her some sage advice, and Jen leaves feeling maybe slightly better. It was a cute segment overall that didn't provide a ton for the story. However, it clearly separated this Jen even further from her comic counterpart, whose father was a tough Sheriff taking on the mob. Here we have a Jen that comes from fairly normal upbringing. An unexceptional, unsuper, loving family living out in the suburbs. I like it, honestly. As we'll discuss in an upcoming Key Issues episode, it's nice seeing characters with an uncomplicated family structure. Too often characters are forced into drama/conflict because a familial connection drags them into it, and while those stories aren't inherently bad, they can often be a bit stale. Having a super person be connected to just the most normal, basic people provides new opportunities for depth in the character themselves while also giving an easy outlet for grounding the character if things ever get a bit too larger-than-life-ish.
Toward the latter half of the episode, we get to the main hook of the show that was shown in many of the recent trailers: Jen gets hired to be a defense lawyer for a big firm that is setting up a super person division. It happens to be the same scummy defense lawyer she was going up against in episode one and who filed for a mistrial that subsequently got her fired, but hey, second chances are what Hulks are all about, yeah? Jen herself has mixed feelings about this arrangement, feeling as though she was hired for her green and not her mean. For her smash and not her flash. For her, uh.... tallage and not her knowledge? Because she's a Hulk. She is worried she got hired because she's a Hulk... Anyway, while being a fairly obvious commentary for being hired for reasons beyond one's merits (whether that be for diversity or nepotism or large green punchy hands), Jen's entry into the firm creates an interesting hook for the show, putting a prosecutor on the other side of the aisle and sending Jen face to face with the man who tried to kill her cousin - Emil Blonsky. Tim Roth returns as the Abomination and is Jen's first client. It's nice to finally have a solid connection to the original Norton Hulk and also provided a really fun joke regarding the actor change.
My only lingering worry from this whole thing is the direction the show is going to take. At this point, we've all seen the articles talking about how the writers discovered they couldn't do serious court room drama. Which, fine, it's definitely not an easy genre to write in. However, after the second episode I don't know if I truly WANT anything else. Tim Roth's return as a reformed abomination, Jen's navigating the law firm mine-field and the cavalcade of good and bad press shaking things up are all fun things, but I don't know how much life they'll truly have without court room sequences holding them down. Think of EVERY SVU episode you love and imagine it without the LAW portion. At that point it's just Stabler in tight pants, punching hoodlums and scowling. I'm exaggerating, obviously, but my point is just that I worry. I've liked both episodes so far and have the highest of hopes that I'll continue to enjoy the show. Tatiana Maslany is an incredible lead and makes every episode an absolute delight. I'm excited to find out the reasoning behind the 4th wall breaks, which has been said to have an in-universe explanation. I hope we find out what Bruce is up to as well, that sneaky ol' Hulk. All worries aside, I really do dig this show and am confident the showrunners are going to take it to incredible places.
She-Hulk Episode Three premieres September 1st. I'll see you then.
When getting hit by a train means joining an IRL dungeon crawl...
Heart Eyes #1 (w: Dennis Hopeless, a: Victor Ibanez)
Publisher: Vault Comics
Lupe is a fascinating character. A person who is fearless, not out of a hardness or rigid attitude toward things, but more out of a general lack of fear through innocence and kindness. This book isn't perfect and I honestly debated talking about it, since the first half felt a bit bland and samey to some other books. However, I really just find Lupe to be very interesting. The subtle hints to her backstory and what may have shaped her into the hyper-positive creature she is leave me wanting for more. On top of that, Victor Ibanez's art and Addison Duke's colors are hauntingly beautiful. The book itself is a post-apocalyptic story set in a world ravaged by huge, Lovecraftian beasties. Again, it doesn't really break a lot of new ground, but it is weirdly cute, so it's worth picking up and trying it on.
Minor Threats #1 (w: Patton Oswalt, Jordan Blum, a: Scott Hepburn)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
This is definitely a book for those looking to scratch that "The Boys" itch. I hate to make such a direct comparison, but it's honestly hard not to. That said, this is less of a story taking inspiration from "The Boys" and more a story sitting down at "The Boys" dinner table and grabbing some mashed potatoes without asking. It's fresh, unique and alive in it's own right.
Minor Threats takes place at a very interesting point in a superhero universe: The moment where stories get dark. We've seen it happen in Marvel and DC, the moment that the playful, single issue romps of do-goodery turn into epic, sprawling stories of death, darkness, and betrayal. Heroes that were once stalwart icons of truth, justice and looking good in spandex become damaged, broken and in need of a positive parental figure. The nexus is where this book lives, at the point where a villain pushes things too far, forgetting the rhythms and patterns they are supposed to follow and stretches the heroes into desperation. For a book coming out of the mind of Patton Oswalt, this is not a comedy as much as a dark look at what it's like being the lowest on the hierarchy when your entire universe shifts for the worse.
Minor Threats follows Frankie, a former villain named plaything and sidekick to her mother, the Toy Queen. Having been in and out of jail, Frankie is done with that life. She has a daughter, a parole officer and the desire to move on into legitimacy. After getting out of prison, she gets a job as a bartender at the Lower Lair, a bar for villains to congregate in order to unwind, hatch new plans and lick their wounds. It is here where Frankie both experiences her universe change and also decides to ride the tide of that change in a bold and dangerous way. Oswalt and Blum have crafted a familiar world, albeit with new characters and unique terms for things we all know, while moving the focus way, WAY down from the galaxy-spanning, world-punching heroes we're used to watching. The audience finds themselves in the gutter with the D-listers, just struggling to survive and make it to that next page. With Scott Hepburns sharp and grimy lines and Ian Herring's use of extreme contrast in colors, we are taken on a dumpster dive of broken, downtrodden and probably pretty smelly villains who are damned-determined to take their lives back. Hope they survive the experience.
,META: Metalinguistics Crime Division #1 (w: Marcelo Sarava, a: Andre Freitas)
Publisher: Scout Comics
This book has one dude without facial hair. That's not a criticism or anything, I just found it interesting.
Anyway, the story is pretty cool. It's like Crossover in reverse, to some extent. It also opens with a guy torturing a cartoon cat as an interrogation. Funny, funny stuff.
The META Division deals with things going meta. Seems to be focused on fictional characters milling about in the world and committing crimes. First the cartoon cat, then a character from a play. Eventually, they end up in the world of comics after an artist is killed. The story mainly follows the artist's brother-in-law, a failed writer who hustles writing classes and gets swept up in the weird world of meta murder. As the book goes on, we find out that Alan may have more of a tie to comics than initially led on.
It's a fun setup for a story. As part of Scout's "Nonstop" line, it will be issue one and then graphic novel, so shouldn't be long before you can take in all the mystery of the story. Art wise, it's fine. Nothing really exceptional and the one-note fair styling of both the male and female characters just felt like an odd choice: all dudes have black hair and beards (except one who has a mustache and one who has no facial hair) while the ladies both have basically the same hairstyle, just one is blonde and the other is red. It seems nitpicky, but it honestly just made things feel a bit boring. Maybe there's a story reason for it, who knows.
Little Red Ronin #1 (w: Garrett Gunn, a: Kit Wallis)
Publisher: Source Point Press
Wasn't it just a week or two ago that we had an adorable pupper running around being a heckin mean samurai? Well, this week we have a fluffy, fighting twist on Little Red Riding Hood. Confused? Don't be, it's not as strange as it seems. We're immediately introduced to Red and Dave, two anthropomorphic animals on a quest through the woods. Dave, who can manifest ice cream like my dream persona, is following a begrudging Red who is clearly on a hunt for revenge, vengeance, and violence. All the V's. What we learn is that she lost a loved one to the big, bad wolf and is now very ready to take that huffin' and puffin' butthead down. But our traveling twosome are thwarted by a rapscallion gang of d-bags, led by perhaps the meanest of the three-not-so-little pigs.
This book is weird, and creative, and engaging, and cute, and gruesome - when you take a ton of concepts that have all been done a lot, and make it into something I don't think I've seen done at all, I find myself very impressed.
End After End #1 (w: David Andry & Tim Daniel, a: Sunando C)
Publisher: Vault Comics
People have long theorized what happens after we die; do we go on to reincarnate into a snail or a goat or something? Do we go to an ice cream-filled heaven or a consistently-sunburnt-forever hell? Do we simply go back into the earth and become one with the trees? Well, according to this book, we don't actually die at all. A fascinating spin on the afterlife, for our protag, getting hit by a train doesn't mean getting met with the sweet release of death, it means waking up in some strange, foreign fantasy land with fairies and dwarfs and a beautiful princess... queen... ruler... unclear. Anyway, they are perpetually in battle, and apparently, when we die in our world, we go immediately to their world until we die there, too. Then it's lights out. But you do get this strange, not-quite-limbo, battle-beaten middle life that I think has a ton of potential. Not a whole lot happens in the first issue to be fair, but the concept is so intriguing I'm willing to give issue two a go just to know more.
*Insert Smashing Pun Here*
It's no mystery that Marvel has had a hard go of things in their movies lately, but it has truly been their shows where they've found their new stride. While their movies are being repetitively judged for boring stories and tonal similarities, their Disney Plus productions have found legs as tonally varied productions with compelling characters and unique stories. After Moon Knight's completely isolated adventure and Ms. Marvel's heavily referential but very street level escapades, She-Hulk feels a little bit like coming home to the Avengers franchise that built the MCU from the ground up, featuring a highly powered character in New York and the return of OG Avenger Bruce Banner. However, despite existing in the Avengers bubble, She-Hulk quickly establishes itself as yet another unique and exciting outing. It was a SAVAGELY good start for the series.
Episode one is an origin story done in great haste. We actually open with a post-hulk Jen. As she rehearses her closing statements for an upcoming case, she deals with a male colleague condescending her and mansplaining and generally being a.... dude. He's all chafed because she's good at things, which is going to be a recurring theme in this episode and presumably the show (and definitely many of the super salty boy reviews out there). As her friend mentions that she can always just "hulk out" to earn some points, Jen turns on a heel and kicks in the fourth wall, addressing the audience directly. She then guides us to a flashback of her getting her powers, which I won't dwell on too much, since it's the entire episode. Here's the rundown in possibly the dumbest, most confusing way I could do it:
Overall, this was an incredibly fun first episode. I certainly have some qualms, namely the reason by which Jen gets her powers seems a bit odd. Ultimately, the blood swap just felt very quick and rushed. It felt weirdly "we need to figure this blood thing out and oops we forgot to figure it out and the show launches tomorrow!" See, for those unaware, in the comics Jen gets Bruce-blood from a transfusion after being shot and nearly dying. Sure, Bruce being the only person able to give her a transfusion is a hard nut to crack, especially with Ruffalo's very "afraid to be the Hulk" type of Hulk. I like the "you got red on me" kind of angle, but I just feel like they didn't linger on it enough. She touches him ONCE and then gets enough radiation to Hulk. So, Bruce's blood can dose people with lethal radiation that quickly and easily, but in all the absolutely insane fights Bruce got in as Hulk with the Avengers, he never bled? Didn't Iron Man make him bleed when he used the Hulk buster armor? Like he hits him and hulk wipes blood away and is all:
The chemistry between Tatiana Maslany and Mark Ruffalo is absolutely wonderful. The two do an amazing job working together and feeling like family, even when they are giant green computer monsters. The whole segment provides a lot of depth to Bruce that we were honestly missing, what with him being mostly a side character for much of the MCU. Here we see a Bruce that is a bit more boastful and arrogant, something that has been hinted on in other movies (like the wonderfully cringe selfie moment of Endgame). While I think they held back a bit from making him truly an arrogant butthead, it was a nice compliment to Maslany's Jen who also has her own flavor of arrogance, especially when she's showboating as she out-Hulks Bruce. Personally, I like the angle of She-Hulk being better at certain things than Bruce, I just feel as though the writers set up a slow pitch for the misogynists and silly salt bois to wail on. A female lawyer in a big city would absolutely have taken various fitness classes, self defense courses, done yoga, etc. etc. etc. So, Jen can balance better than Bruce, Jen can fight the Hulk successfully, during which the director did a fun job of showing Jen doing subtle self-defense moves. However, despite my acceptance of these issues, a lack of including them in the story either visually or through dialogue leaves room for the nastier males of the internet to sharpen their pitchforks and start off with all their "it's just not true" or "how unrealistic, chaps" kind of crap. It's sad that we live in this world, but I really need more writers to do better at helping us live in it.
To close out, let's address the giant elephant that an over-worked team of VFX artists were asked to edit into the room on a short deadline: Yes, Bruce and Jen are CGI for most of this. While I certainly don't agree with how Marvel treats their VFX people, and I hope they learn from the recent outcry, the VFX team did an incredible job making two large VFX characters feel natural and be able to hold the attention of a 30 minute episode. Are there uncanny moments? Sure, but that's the way CGI is. We want to pretend like we are, but we are NOT at a "CGI looks exactly like real people" place yet. CGI has improved exponentially over the years, but it is still very subjective. Some people get extremely uncanny valleyed, some don't. Not everyone is going to like how the Hulks look, but it shouldn't take away from the acting, direction, story and overall fun of the episode.
I am very excited for this series. I have been for a while and the first episode really delivered for me. I think Marvel has found their stride with their shows lately, and it's honestly made it easier to be fan after a series of very disappointing cinematic showings. I hope She-Hulk is able to keep up this level of energy and humor throughout, because episode one sonic-clapped its way into my heart.
She-Hulk airs on Disney Plus every Thursday. Look out for episode 2 on August 25th.
But how did everyone in this show get so attractive?!...
From beautiful visuals, to incredible effects, to brilliant casting with dynamic portrayals, this is one of those adaptations we'll be talking about for a LONG time. Hey, HBOMax, if you need some advice... maybe you should be chatting up Netflix?
What a good widdle slaughtering pupper!
Love Everlasting #1 (w: Tom King, a: Elsa Charretier)
Publisher: Image Comics
Love is a many splendored time loop...
This is a dream team of comics creators. Words by Tom King, art from Elsa Charretier, colors from Matt Hollingsworth and letters by Clayton Cowles. This comic is like that sundae that you make for yourself at home so it has exactly all your favorite ingredients and exactly the right proportions. It's a masterclass in comic creation, tbh, from top to bottom dripping with an understanding of the medium that only comes from a super group of creators. To be fair, I could be a bit biased since I've been in love with Elsa Charretier's work for years (Infinite Loop is still in my top 5 books of all time). That said, this book knocked my socks off.
I think what I liked most about it is the choice to keep the pace incredibly slow. This book is mysterious and slow feeds the greater plot at foot. In the beginning we are presented with a basic romance comic to the tune of books from the 50's & 60's with titles like "Modern Love" or "Teen-Age Romance" or "Betty and Veronica Do Dallas." Joan is our femme principale, and we experience her blossoming romance with her boss George. Then marry and the story ends. We then move on to tale of tail (heh) number 2, wherein we find main character Joan (huh?) as she falls in love with a musician named Kit. Finally, we are yee-hawed our way back to the wild, wild west where Joan (hm...) is being courted by both the sheriff's son and the new ranch hand her father hired, and it's up to Joan to decide which one get-alongs her lil' doggies. Joan, Joan, and more Joan. Different tales, different loves, all Joan. What force has pulled her into this time twister? Who is it that seems to have trapped her here? Why does the Clay Mann cover make my nose bleed so much? This and many, many more questions leave the reader head over heals by the time they reach the back cover.
This is an incredibly genre aware, super charming, and painfully well-constructed book that could only be created from the minds, hands and hearts of true masters of the medium. I love this book now, I love it in the 60s, and I'm sure I'll love it whenever I'm a cowboy. I hope you do, too.
Samurai Doggy #1 (w: Chris Tex, a: Santtos)
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
much ronin. so vengeance. wow.
Winning the award for best use of [what to me looks like] a shiba since memes and crypto, Samurai Doggy is definitely trying to dine on some turtle soup. In the sense of earning the respect of the TMNT and sharing a nice bowl of soup at their house, maybe also some finger foods. It will be a nice evening, y'know, maybe they'll invite Usagi Yojimbo. Not in the sense of him eating the turtles. We don't promote creator beefs here.
I say this because too often "anthro animal becomes a warrior of vengeance" stories just kind of bore me and feel too TMNT inspired or adjacent to really grab my attention. This one, however, felt fresh. I like the world and the characters being constructed here. While I am jealous that he has a much more rootin' tottin' name than mine, Chris Tex does an absolutely amazing job creating a solidly paced ronin story in with a decent enough hook to keep me wanting more. Mixed with Santos's somehow simultaneously bright and gritty art, it's a refreshing take on both the cyberpunk and revenge stories that seem all too popular these days and dreadfully nocturnal. Is it too much to ask for my broody swordplay to happen during the magic hour?
Is it necessarily the MOST unique story out there? No, and that's a fair criticism. Revenge stories, especially those taking place in some sort of cyber/industrial collapsing society are fairly common on the shelves these days. I honestly don't know how to explain it, but I just find myself really drawn to this one. The character seems much more approachable than the ultra-walled off broodsters we often get. They take the time to chow down on a steamed bun, go out of their way to help a kid ride a Ferris Wheel (granted, in exchange for info, but still) and are also a cute one-eyed puppy floofster. It's cool action, a fun if familiar story, and some wicked neat art all in a T H I C C first issue. It just works for me.
Honorable Mention Highlights: July 2022
There's Something Wrong with Patrick Todd #1
A kid down on his luck using his supernatural mind control powers to pay for his mom's medical care. Also, there's mysterious men in masks, a noble detective trying to fit together a mystery, and a guy named Zeus beheading people. It's the Neo-Noir "Life is Strange" you never knew you needed.
Above Snakes #1
A by the books Western revenger story with a teensy bit of added supernatural flavor. Following the saga of a wringed man out for revenge with his talking, blood-drinking vulture, this book doesn't bog itself down with trying to be unique in a familiar genre but instead tells the story it wants to tell while letting the reader fill in the necessary beats. It's not necessarily groundbreaking, but that's where it finds its charm.
She Bites #1
A little girl needs a babysitter. Well, mainly she needs someone who can help her buy cigarettes. Because she's 134 years old.... and a vampire. It's a silly, fun premise with two interesting characters both with plenty of room for some heavy discussions. I think if Hale really takes their time, they can make sure this series DEFINITELY doesn't bite.
Brother of All Men #1
Strong Wicker Man vibes set in 1920s Canada. A Private Eye named Guy is looking for a missing woman, utilizing a reference photo to ask for her whereabouts. Also featured in the photo, Guy's brother Bastien. Problem is, Bastien has been dead for years. The mysteries get even more stacked up when Guy discovers both his brother and the missing woman are tied to a cult run by an enigmatic man named Brother XII.
Dark Spaces: Wildfire #1
A heist set during a chaotic California wildfire. Granted, this may hit too close to home for some people, but the slow-drip character development and the general "tear down the rich" theme of this book has me hooked. Sherman has a CRAZY way of laying out the panels too, which i absolutely dig and totally fits the tone if trying to keep all the chaos of a wildfire in line.
Flavor Girls #1
There are some concepts that tickle that delightful nostalgia bone and this title is absolutely one of them. A Sailor Moon-esque story where aliens invade and four girls are turned into sceptor-wielding fruit-themed superheros is basically the best sounding plot I could never have come up with. It's adorable and fun - just go get it.
Is it a cult? Is it a society from another dimension? Is it aliens? Is it time travelers? None of those questions are answered in the first issue of Blink, but watching our main protag try to figure out where she comes from and why she can remember something that never should have been, I definitely want to find out.
High school is hard enough without multiple personalities, amiright?
The Sacrament #1 (w: Peter Milligan, a: Marcelo Frusin)
Publisher: AWA Studios
It's like 40K with less Space Orcs and more pea-soup vomit.
Sacrament takes place in a dark future where mankind has abandoned earth and made to the stars. Knee-deep in the depressing voidness of it all is Father Vass, a womanizing priest suffering from a serious crisis of faith who has gathered notoriety for participating in a particularly grisly exorcism. Vass and his compatriot, Novice Rais, bounce from planet to planet holding mass and blessing people with an iPod Touch, all the while running from a law enforcement organization that does an incredibly terrible job at catching two people wearing heavy cloaks and not trying to hide their occupation in the slightest. However, Vass's whole steez gets turned upside-down when said law enforcement approach him with a proposition.
This book is sold as "Alien meets Exorcist" but honestly I get more Warhammer 40k meets Event Horizon meets the Last Exorcism. Marcelo Frusin's art does an incredible job capturing the cold bleakness of the universe as Milligan's story weaves us through Vass's doubt and fear. It's dark, it's harsh and it's exciting. A really cool book for people who dig absolutely ghastly sci-fi.
Elle(s) #1 (w: Kid Toussaint, a: Aveline Stokart)
Pub: ABLAZE Publishing
Listen, High School is hard. Even harder with multiple versions of yourself fighting for control. Big oof, am I right, kids? Sheeeeeeeeesh, ha, right?.... I'm so painfully old...
Elle is the new girl in school, and honestly she's handling it pretty well. She makes friends quick, stands up to the mean girls. Life is going pretty well. However, below the surface, there is a war brewing. A mysterious, dark version of Elle is out to make mischief. Once Elle finds herself in enough strain to drop her guard, Dark Elle strikes, replacing Elle with a different version of herself, while even more versions wait in the wings for their turn at the helm.
This is a really unique YA story that kicks off by instantly letting you know that it is going to be different. All the typical "new kid" tropes are immediately dashed. No mean teachers or communication issues. Elle is not a shy girl or even really that quirky. She makes friends quick, shoves away the bullying quickly. We are given a "new kid is doing pretty well" story, and honestly it's super refreshing. It leaves room for the story to focus more on an analysis of what it means to try and find identity as a young girl. How do teens define themselves and how do they allow outside factors to define them? How do teens change as time goes by and what happens to the friendships they made along the way? This book is absolutely enthralling and adorable. The art is perfect, the characters are fun, and I am sold 100% of the way.
Survival Street #1 (w: James Asmus, a: Jim Festante)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Bigots are gonna pay
On my way to pick up more R-P-G's
Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Survival Streeeeeeeeeet
Look at the cover of this comic and tell me you don't want it. Do it. Lie to my face like that, you monster. The absolutely diabolical geniuses of James Asmus and Jim Festante apparently decided that the world needs a hardcore, gritty Sesame Street story and holy fluff were they right. This book takes place in a world where the US government has officially been seized by corporations and turned into a capitalistic dictatorship. It also happens to take place in a world where puppets are actual creatures that live and breathe, and some of them are on TV teaching people the power of fairness and stuff.
Our cast of Felt Americans were abruptly thrown to the curb when their edutainment show was cancelled by the New Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or N.I.C.E. In response to the loss of their livelihood and the general sweeping mistreatment of their brethren, the cast has rebranded themselves as a gang of revolutionaries, sticking it to mans of all kinds and teaching the powers that be the meaning of the word "fairness," as well as the meaning of the words "vengeance" "caliber" and "High-Yield Explosives." Festante's playful use of the page and high-octane style keeps the action screaming forward from cover to cover as if the book was brought to you by the letters B & A. It's a no holds barred felt flingin', ice cream munchin', system dismantlin' heck of a good time, and I am absolutely hungry for more.
My favorite thing about this book is how well integrated the puppet aspect is. The narrative never loses the puppet angle, but also doesn't spend a ton of energy dragging the pacing down while making jokes about it. Shockingly, the puppet characters come out feeling shockingly real, almost more flesh and blood than the politicians and corporate shills they're fighting against. As an avid Muppets/puppetry fan, this book appeals to me on so many levels, and I will definitely be recommending this book to people for years to come. I would absolutely LOVE to see this come to a screen of some kind.
It's time to change things up!
This may not be the episode you were expecting, but we promise only good will come of it! We're changing things up with a format change, added blogs to our website, and even more content to our socials. It's an exciting time for Cover B!
Cover B Podcast
Chris & Tee host this weekly comic-focused show, providing insight on new comics, entertainment news and more.