What you may have missed in April!
Honorable Mention Highlights: April 2022
Alice Ever After #1
Have you ever wanted to read Alice in Wonderland and be like... super bummed out after? Well, good news! Check out Alice Ever After for a dark, reality blurring retelling of Alice's adventures in Wonderland. Alice moves through a cruel and unforgiving world as she seeks comfort through he imaginary friends that exist in a realm only accesible through the ingestion of special pills. Oh, and it's narrated by cats.
This comic absolutely drips with that classic blend of dry Manhattan wit and sarcasm. A young(ish) woman is assigned as a caretaker for an elderly (but don't tell her i said that) woman who lives alone in her modest apartment. When she arrives for her first day, the caretaker finds her caretakee acting strange. Turns out, she's performing some spells. Timey-wimey spells! Off to the 70s we go!
Miskatonic High #1
I will always appreciate the Breakfast Club formula of throwing misfit high schoolers at random problems and watching them bond. In this case, those problems are time traveling swords and demons with tentacles. It's leans a little heavy into tropes (hello, girl who lives for social media), but has a good enough setup that I look forward to issue two.
The Joneses #1
We've been seeing a lot of books centered around "what happens when normal folks get powers?" But what makes this one stand out is very current, very social-political focus this story is taking. While it definitely touches on the "great power comes with great responsibility" trope, it focuses more intently on what it means to be different, and how being different in a very homogenous community makes life super hard.
Immortal Red Sonja #1
Sonja is cursed! What is she cursed with? A SHIRT! pause for gasps
It goes deeper than that, clearly. Beyond just being upgraded to more practically effective armor against her (and her typical audience's) will, Sonja is shackled to a talking chainmail shirt and sent on a quest into a quasi-Arthurian land of fae magics, curses and legends. It's shaping up to be an absolute load of dark, bloody fun.
One of the great things about comic books is how creative you can be with a medium that incorporates words, images, narration, omniscience, and perspective hopping. This book does something we don't see every day - it's a first person viewpoint! Seeing everything from the main character's eyes means the beautiful art style is filled with nuance and specificity. Admittedly, there's not a ton that goes on in this first book, but the style is really, really cool.
What you may have missed in February!
Honorable Mention Highlights: February 2022
Speed Republic #1
We've had a handful of race-based books in the past couple years, but none nearly as broody as this one. It's a post-capitalist society, where everything is controlled by corporations and we're all manipulated for their amusement... Bezos, please don't read this one. Cool?
Land of the Living Gods #1
A dead world, roving gangs, cybery, shiny ghosts, and a magical plant. This book is unique, charming and generally lovely. I am excited to see where the story goes and who gets wrapped into the mix. However, post-apocalyptic stories are a dime a dozen these days, so it can be a bit exhausting digging through another. I like this book, but I am very close to the end of my interest in the post-apocalypse.
The Killer: State of Affairs #1
An assassin holds down a 9 to 5 office job as a cover while working on a possible maybe coup plot. This book, while not necessarily groundbreaking or ultra exciting, is a pretty approachable action book told by a character whose perspective we don't often get: a more reserved, almost introverted cold-blooded killer.
Honorable Mention Highlights: December 2021
Refuse x Last Resort Double Shot
One side is a beautiful, near-wordless journey of a woman utterly isolated and striving to get back to her world. The other side is a tongue-in-cheek exploration of how ridiculously exploitative capitalism is, and the complications of being surrounded by, well, yourself. It's a huge book being a double-shot and all, but definitely worth a pick-up.
Gotham City Villains Anniversary Giant
I don't have to say a whole lot about this book. You know why? Because the first story is by Danny DeVito, detailing how The Penguin and Catwoman fell in love, cured COVID-19, and saved the world. See, that's enough.
This book is zany, and fast, and honestly a little disorienting (but in a good way?). While many books struggle to gain speed in the first issue, this one feels almost like they put too much into the opening chapter, but with tech meeting ancient civilizations meeting an entertainingly diverse cast, I think I'm into it.
One-Star Squadron #1
If you aren't Batman or Tony Stark or Oliver Queen, it's unlikely your superhero-ing can serve as a moneymaking endeavor. That is, unless you team up with an agency that helps you live a secure life with a plan (and maybe a pension). I always appreciate a story talking about the mundane surrounded by the fantastic. And what's more mundane than paying taxes?
Lunar Room #1
I think this has a lot of potential to be a cool magical Neo-Noir story, but the first issue didnt entirely hook me. I like the world and the mystery thats building, but the characters were a smidge on the cliche side. Still, werewolves and magic in a gritty city underbelly, could appeal to the World of Darkness crowd and those adjacent.
No Holds Bard #1
SHAKESPEARE AS BATMAN. I love the concept of this, but the delivery is a bit ho hum. It is too aware of the joke instead of just letting the concept be funny on its own. Still, i had fun on the ride, even if there was an occasional eye roll in the mix.
Ms. Marvel: Beyond the Limit #1
I didn't know I needed Ms. Marvel to have her own Spider-esque web of multiverses - but now I do! Giving her a new story to help those unfamiliar get acquainted before her new show hits, I'm excited to see a very multi-faceted tale all about Kamala(s).
Apache Delivery Service #1
This book has a lot going for it - minimalist storytelling, an emotional time period and setting, a diverse cast with a broad experience, and evocative imagery. It's not a "nice" book, but it has potential to be an impactful one.
A King's Vengeance #1
Tonally dark, ultra-violent Adventure Time. This book lays out a fairly basic concept and then delivers with some dope art and cool character design. Nifty book all around.
What to get the comic lover who has everything?
What do you get for your favorite comic book reader? Well, we've got some ideas! From hard cover editions, to fancy Legos, to the nerdiest of jewelry, we have something for everyone in this year's edition of the holiday gift guide!
Secret Shortbox, Big Willy style.
If ol' Willy S had a box of comics under his (or her...look it up!) writing desk, what do you think would be in there? We have a couple guesses - in fact, that's what this whole episode is about!
Look alive, lizard people. It's your time to shine!
Weekly Pull Highlights: November 10, 2021
Well, I'm not sure what your bingo card said for "next recurring theme in comic books," but if you've got "conspiracy theories," you've won tonight's free coupon for a dozen donuts from the Bigfoot bakery! Adios, vampires - we were sick of you anyway.
Honorable Mention Highlights: September 2021
What happens when everyone passes out and then immediately wakes up being able to read each other's thoughts? Sounds pretty awful, doesn't it? Well, Straczinsky has taken on exactly this concept. Not a ton happens in issue number one, mostly just covering the finer details of "why" and "how," but with there being nothing more personal than your own inner-most thoughts, I could definitely see this book getting into some nitty gritty of what it means to have personal space.
Dark Ages #1
Oh look, Marvel has some sort of event going on. Been a minute since they've had one of those...
That said, this event is actually kind of neat so far. It's an interesting concept: how would superheroes function in a world of no electricity. It really only works for Marvel too, seeing as how so much of the Marvel heroism is based in science and technology. In a word full of Marvel cash ins, I'm actually pretty stoked for this one.
Search for Hu #1
Kind of like Pearl from Bendis, but set it inside a martial arts movie. There's some clichés, some "why did you never tell me" moments, some special military behind-closed-doors knowledge to be had - not a bad time, but not an exceptionally special one, either. It has potential, though, especially if you love a good "chosen-one" story.
Nine Stones #1
I like the characters of this book. The premise isn't entirely new. The narrative plays out fairly predictably. But the writing of the characters is what really shines. They just feel cute and realistic, and I find myself wanting to see their love blossom. And in general it's nice to have an LGBTQ story that just feels natural and not forced.
I have high hopes for Maw, but dang did the first issue not deliver. I get the message it's trying to say, but it's handling of that message is done with heavy hands. Like, filled with lead hands. That said, I dig the creepy atmosphere built around the self-help group/ cult, and the promise of body horror will always get me hooked.
Man, you know I love a good steampunk story. This one has that distinct "Victorian-era but MACHINES" vibe, which can be done so well in comics. What's cool about this one is that the main focus is on fashion, which just makes so much sense in a steampunk environment. The characters are well developed, the story is very familiar and engaging (I see you, Beauty and the Beast) and the twist is just twisty-enough. I'm only sad it's a one-shot, because this title sucked me in for sure.
10 Years to Death (One Shot)
This is another of those big, beautiful one-shot titles from Aftershock that we've been talking about a lot. This one is a horror title, but less gruesome than some of the others, and reads a little more like a supernatural thriller. The tale is told from the perspective of a now-grown man, retelling an experience he had as a kid with his uncle. It's well paced, spooky, and feels just grounded in reality enough to keep you sucked in the whole way through. Definitely worth picking up.
Impossible Jones #1
She was a criminal, in it for herself and the score. Now, she finds herself with powers she didn't earn, and a nagging feeling of responsibility to be on the right side of the law. Sounds impossible? Nah, just Impossible Jones. Cute, colorful, creative use of some superhero tropes - I think this is going to be a super fun titles to follow moving forward.
I'm a sucker for a good "group of ragtag, brash yahoos out in space on some sort of dangerous mission for a corporation and/or to save the earth in a mundane way" kinda scifi story. If you feel the same, are a fan of the alien franchise, or just looking for some interesting sci-fi that is more of the "this spaceship runs on diesel" type, then this is a good choice. Unborn doesn't try too hard to break the mold, but instead chooses to tell a story about interpersonal relationships and coping with the past against a backdrop of clunky space mechanisms and regenerative alien bugs.
Turbo Kid: Apple's Lost Adventure #1
This is apparently a prequel to a movie. If the movie is anywhere as balls-out bonkers as this book, I need to watch it. Turbo Kid appears to be one part Mega Man, one part Tank Girl, and if I need to say more than that then you just don't understand joy.
Human Remains #1
So, the whole "emotions are bad" thing has been done before, but usually under the umbrella of government control. Here we have some sort of mysterious entities that teleport in and obliterate anyone feeling to strongly a certain way. Cool premise that I can't help but feel like is based on something. The entity attacks people playing outside, people at weddings, people congregating at church, people gathering for concerts and parties, people blowing off steam at a bar. Where we come in, everyone is pretty much forced inside and all the revelry of the social world is gone. Where have I seen that before?
I love a good superhero book with scruples. Frontiersman was not what I expected. After Image's recent tangles with the superhero being a bit lame (looking at you, Mr. Radiant Black), I expected this to be another run of the mill super story. What I got instead was a very natural feeling character in a slowly built world struggling with concepts like relevancy, climate change and the nature of social media martyrdom. It was a moderately paced, chill kinda read with some nice world building. I'm rooting for you, Frontiersman.
It's almost like we never left at all!
Weekly Pull Highlights: August 18, 2021
Did you miss us? We're finally back from summer break with three awesome indie books that bring the retro-chic, the wealthy elite, and the Victorian bleak. It's good to be back, baby!
Shoutout to all our Slytherin listeners!
Weekly Pull Highlights: June 16, 2021
We're feeling a little ssssassy this week with a whole lot of titles starting with "s" - and what's even better is that they're all really good! From a Supergirl book not focused on Supergirl, to a fun twist on the "we're here to save the world" trope, there's all sorts of really need sssstories this week!
Definitely NOT a week to skip your LCBS...
Weekly Pull Highlights: June 2, 2021
This week came out swinging HARD, man! An excellent new horror title from Cullen Bunn, a bold new sci-fi title packing a ton of narrative threads from Ryan K. Lindsay, and one of the most stunning horror pieces we've ever read from James Tynion IV - and we mean ever. Hope you're ready to go get some books, folks, because there's plenty to choose from this go round!
Cover B Podcast
Chris & Tee host this weekly comic-focused show, providing insight on new comics, entertainment news and more.