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.
Honorable Mention Highlights: Summer Break 2021
Ordinary Gods #1
Wow, okay, this book is cool. Very fun world building, solid concept. It doesn't break too much ground beyond the "hey, you're a reincarnated hero and I'm here to save you" trope, but the action is intense and shocking and the characters are well done. This is a seriously fun book. It's going to fill the void Sacred Creatures left.
We Don't Kill Spiders #1
A viking murder mystery with necromancy?!? Yes please! These book drips cool, both with Schmalke's interesting use of color pallet and with his very unique Viking character in Bjorn, our investigator. I was super stoked for this to come out and am very pleased with the result!
The Lot #1
Gee wiz, finally something out of Bad Idea that I can actually recommend. The Lot is exactly my kind of B Horror movie but with a twist: the characters are not actually complete douchebags. A freshly hired CEO for a Hollywood studio, her assistant and her famous actress friend from college unlock the secrets of a haunted and possibly demonic studio lot left shuttered for 50 years. It's black and white, it's wonderfully dark and photo real, and it's just an incredibly good time all around.
M.O.M. Mother of Madness #1
MOM is an important book in a lot of ways. For one, it's another product of a celebrity bringing their ideas to the medium, an important trend for better or worse depending on who you talk to. Second, it's steeped in social topics that are important to keep in the forefront of our minds. The struggles of women, the dangers of capitalism, the shakiness of childcare and guardianship programs, and many many more pieces of our culture are on display here. The team does a good job lampooning these things in a way that feels believable and leaves the reader thinking "well, yeah, that's messed up." I really like this book.
It's a book about a cat imagining it's in a hardcore action/crime thriller. It's cute and funny, especially if you're a cat owner who can absolutely relate to what's going on. #LongLiveCinnamon
Moon Knight #1
This feels like a simultaneous return to form for this character as well as a promised expansion of his mythos. Moon Knight has always had some really cool stories to tell and I am WAY on board with the complex narrative Jed MacKay seems to be weaving at the moment.
Superman and the Authority #1
A unique take on the "alternate Superman" type of story that doesn't see Superman as a broody tyrant or evil unchained bruiser, but rather a pragmatic and altruistic-by-any-means kind of hero a la Batman. Morrison does has a fascinating team story building here. It's definitely worth checking out.
Campisi: The Dragon Incident #1
I didn't know how to feel about a story pitched as Mafia Messenger vs Dragon, but I gotta say this book is a ton of fun. It fits nicely into the pocket of campy enough while still being creative and I ique. The characters are fun and Campisi is particularly likeable.
Tales Told in Technihorror #1
This was a really cool concept book with some neat little snippet stories. This is like the comic version of the two-sentence horror stories and I dig it. None of the individual stories where particularly mind bending, but they were fun and fit the whole B-Movie Theater type theme they have going on.
Peter Pan meets Land of the Lost. This book I a fun, approachable adventure story for people who like their islands a bit less deserted. The map on the back of the book promises some pretty cool world building, so there is a lot of room for stories here.
Dark Blood #1
A story knee deep in some of the darkest points of American history, Dark Blood focuses on a WWII vet struggling with racial tensions back home and having to make the choice of living in fear or reflecting that fear outward. Kind of a disjointed 1st issue with a lot of action but not much information or development, but seems like a heavy, intriguing story all the same.
The Last Book You'll Ever Read #1
I think I would have liked this book better if it were about books or media being blamed for the horrors of society, but alas. I suppose it can still come to that, but at the onset it seems to be about a broody E. L. James by way of Wednesday Addams writing a book that unintentionally (?) send people into a bath salt rampage. Something about her "revealing the darkness" and "people aren't ready to hear that" and whatnot feels a little arrogant, but the concept is still neat enough and Leiz is quickly becoming an artist I'm going to keep my eyes on.
Honorable Mention Highlights: June 2021
Crush & Lobo #1
Crush is a fun character. Lobo is also a fun character. While this comic is steeped in a bit of recent history, it seems like it's gonna be a fun ride. Also, we might find out more about Crush along the way, which would be a cool edition to the DC mythos overall.
Out of Body #1
A weird and funky world of astral projection that follows one man's simultaneous journey of self discovery and a desperate fight for his life. This book had some shaky points, but overall is a very nifty concept with just enough magical elements to add some spice.
Freak Snow #1
What? What is happening? This book is absolutely b-a-n-a-n-a-YES. We follow a crazy man in the snow. That's about it. We don't know why there is snow. We don't really know who he is. But he's crazy and there is snow. It's a trippy, cold world with splashes of color and I truly, truly love it.
Compass: The Cauldron of Eternal Life #1
A delightful bit of historical fiction that blends multiple cultures into a tale of treasure hunting and treachery. This book reads like a modern adventure book but feels like a old-school pulp serial. It's refreshingly straightforward in it's plot set up and ha a unique cast of characters.
Batman Reptilian #1
Garth Ennis's Batman is weirdly passive aggressive and incredibly meta. He understands that people know the "rules" of Batman and uses that to his advantage. This book is easily set up to be a new entry in the Batman Dark Works of Art Hall of Fame alongside titles like Arkham Asylum or Long Halloween. Liam Sharps painted pages are profoundly peculiar, overflowing with the dark and gruesome world of Gotham like it's rarely been seen.
I love Vinyl. Hands down. I love the Suicide Squad of weird serial killers that is being advertised. I love the cult shit. I love that it starts smack in the middle but fully includes the ready in events that happened elsewhere. I love Walter, so much. This book is gory good fun and should be on everyone's list (check out Plastic, too - another fun serial killer romp).
United States of Captain America #1
A bit of a clunky start to the premise, but a fun idea. Cap and Falcon suiting up on a meet-and-greet-and-protect-from-assassins road trip is a cool idea, and this will be a great book to introduce more characters that people can feel represent them - more than many other heroes can. If you like to spec, might be a book to look into to, as any of these characters have major TV or possibly even movie potential.
This book is going to make you feel some kind of way - maybe sad, maybe fascinated, maybe concerned - but you will definitely feel it. Taken from the author's real pain about a brother he lost to drugs, and put to page like street art in a cover, you definitely know it's the 80's and that things just aren't going to end well for anyone involved.
It's not at all what you're expecting, and that's what makes it fantastic. A drinking, debaucherous barbarian is cursed to only do good - which is a lot less fun than his original plan. Plus, when you have a bloodthirsty talking axe coming along for the ride, everything gets a lot more metal. It's a good time, for sure.
When Godzilla's trying to tell you something, just listen already!
Honorable Mention Highlights: April 21, 2021
Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors #1
Big Hero 6 meets the King of the Monsters! Probably gonna have a nice message about the environment in it too. This book had some 90s Saturday morning cartoon drip and I loved it.
The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1
Wowsers, what a trip. Ram V and Filipe Andrade hit us with some super interesting interpretations of theology while creating a dark and captivatingly morose tale of vengeance and death, all built upon a sad potentially damaged girl named Laila. The title definitely does not lie!
Women of Marvel #1
Another fantastic compilation from Marvel, but this time entirely focused on new, up and coming women authors and artists - and HECK, is it fun. Running throughout the entire piece are short one-page stories from Mariko Tamaki who fully understands how to succingly describe the female experience, and how to make it hilarious. I mean, let's be real - sometimes you just have to laugh at the stuff we go through. Definitely pick this one up!
Tesla over Edison, ALL DAY, ERRY DAY, baby.
Honorable Mention Highlights: April 14, 2021
Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla #1
You guys know I'm a sucker for historical fiction, and this one presses all the right buttons. Tesla and his bird wife, conspiracies, science fiction, and a powerful female protag who smarts off to anyone who gives her grief. Match made in heaven.
Locke & Key/ The Sandman: Hell & Gone #1
Locke & Key and Sandman just go together so nicely. Not an expected combo like Peanut Butter & Jelly but one of those random combos that work like Cinnamon Toast Crunch & Shrimp. Anyway, this book picks up after the last run of Locke & Key and is going to be a wild ride.
Guardians of the Galaxy #13 [Legacy #175]
Al Ewing continues mixing things up with the guardians. We're presented with a new roster and a team that functions more like the Avengers than the spunky renegades they've typically been. It's an interesting dynamic and a good jumping on point for interested readers. Plus, a left-field bad guy reveal that has me super excited.
Some extraterrestrials from Disney that aren't blue & furry.
Honorable Mention Highlights: March 24, 2021
Lady Baltimore: The Witch Queens #1
You know, there's something about a new story from Mignola that just gets me all excited. If I had to pinpoint it, it's probably because they're ALWAYS good, and this one is - surprise! - no exception. Focused on some super badass ladies fighting super sketchy witches, plus one of our leads is constantly fighting time-period misogyny by, you know, being a badass. It's a good time, fast paced, and I could easily see it becoming a show on Netflix. Just saying.
New publisher, who dis? Marvel's first dip into the classic Alien franchise takes a step away from dark sci-fi action and instead turns the focus on shady corporate secrets and extreme activism. We get more of a look at what Earth is like in this time period and are introduced to a few (not all human) new characters along the way.
Firefly: Brand New Verse #1
The recent run of Firefly comics have been excellent, and completely unafraid to pull away from the original cast to bring in new friends, new foes, and new fears. This one comes in MUCH later in the future, and appears that it's going to follow (shocker!) Zoe & Wash's daughter, Emma. If you've been hoping to jump into some of the new Firefly stuff, this could be a good starting point, but the vibe is definitely a little different from the previous run, and is a little more lighthearted and maybe silly at points. Definitely has potential to be a fun ride, though!
There was just too much to cover this week!
Honorable Mention Highlights: February 3, 2021
Specter Inspectors #1
Remember how, for a few years, directors couldn't figure out how to implement a found-footage horror movie without making a team of TV paranormal investigators discover REAL horror in a haunted facility? This is that, but a comic. Not bad, not entirely surprising, but a fun romp if you're itching for another horror title.
The Encoded #1
This book starts out with a really interesting look at a plausible future, focusing on random strangers, in a random encounter, and it feels incredibly organic and cool and I really want more of THAT. But it sort of divolves into your standard 'I'm the only one who can save us all' sort of action vibe, which is... Fine? I think I'd rather have more of the slice of life, if I'm being honest. But there's giant robots, so that's dope.
Deep Beyond #1
A cool title from Mirka Andolfo. A bit different from her other titles that have hit the scene recently, this one deals with topics like pollution, propaganda and big ol' seas beasties. The first issue is a bit slow paced, but the story seems like it's gonna be a fun time.
Here we are again. I am once again talking about how much I love Red Sonja spinoff and else world books more than the normal Red Sonja stuff. I like the premise of this one: a multiverse of Sonja's that are judged and forced to battle one another but some sort of deific All-Sonja. The twist at the end was a real badass nod to the OG Sonja too. Fun book overall.
Happy, sad, silly - what's your book vibe this week?
Not a bad week for comics (especially with all the Future State stuff coming out - be sure to check out episode for it, live now!), but there just wasn't a whole lot to talk about. Instead, here are our reviews of some of the new titles we thought were worth mentioning!
Honorable Mention Highlights: January 13, 20201
I'm gonna talk about this one because it bummed Tee out too much. I LOVE THIS BOOK. As an avid Ice Cream Man Stan, this book is refreshingly familiar while also bending the rules a bit by grounded things a smidge more in the bleak, bland reality of the main character's world. Gone are the interdimensional, post-modern white capped gentlemen, but here to stay are the morbid reflections on the human condition. I'll try not to drool too much.
Space Bastards #1
This book is what would happen if a Lobo fan fell asleep while reading a CNN article about defunding the USPS while Falling Down was playing in the background. Bonkers, bloody and billigerent, it's just the right amount of comic mischief to be a fun time.
Red Sonja & the Superpowers #1
The second in Dynamite's line of "yo, let's hurl these golden age superheroes at our big tiddy super ladies" comics. I liked this one better than the Vampirella entry. Something about Red Sonja being angrily chucked at other IPs just works so well. I'm honestly excited to watch her back her way through a whole mess of super chuckleheads.
We interrupt your standard broadcast... for turkey.
While there's plenty of interesting books this week, nothing had us chomping at the bit to talk about - and with it being a holiday weekend, we figured we could all use a break. So instead, here's a handful of our recommendations for the week, and we hope you had an excellent Turkey Day!
Honorable Mention Highlights: November 25, 2020
The Red #1
The musical side of Equilibrium. The writing is at times a smidge on the machismo-fantastic side, what with hot, creative men demolishing the barriers of successful women with nary a stray glance and all, but the concept is dystopian enough to be interesting and a smidge relatable. In a world where emotions are treated like contraband, where is there any room for art or music?
I Walk with Monsters #1
A very interesting concept that feels one part Hack/Slash and one part Something is Killing the Children. A mysterious girl and her male partner (who may be some sort of werewolf or demon or both) travel the country eliminating those who would prey on the young and vulnerable. The first issue is good and introduces an interesting thrust, but leaves a lot of questions on the main characters.
Kaiju Score #1
You know, when it's a heist book that centers around giant mythological creatures, I guess I was just expecting... I don't know... more giant mythological creatures? Cool concept, interesting execution, I just think it could be more - maybe even better as a movie (which is not something said lightly).
Power Pack #1
Admittedly, this was feeling more like a Marvel: Action title until I realized where Ryan North was going to take this rambunctious group of youths on the very last page. I appreciate the irony this book is going to take Kamala's Law - when kids are fighting aliens in space, can you really consider them too young to fight at home?
The Other History of the DC Universe #1
A much needed retelling of the glorious rise of heroes from a less glorified perspective, this book retells the golden age of comics from Jefferson Pierce's, Black Lightening's, perspective. Detailed, ambitious and not even a hint of holding back, I think it should be the goal moving forward to tell more of these stories with more voices.
John Constantine: Hellblazer #12
Damnit, Spurrier, I'm not ready for it to be over. While there's plenty of books I look forward to, there's been something special about this run that has left me consistently putting the new issues at the top of my read pile. If you didn't pick this book up from the beginning, do yourself a favor and go get it now. Plus, there's been a big honkin' twist this issue that MORE than makes it worth it.
All I want for Christmas is an excellent horror story.
Honorable Mention Highlights: November 4, 2020
Wolverine: Black, White & Blood #1
Now, before you say anything, YES, this is in fact another collection of stories about the same guy that we've all read way to many stories about already. No, there isn't anything particularly new about the book or the stories. BUT, the art is fantastic and definitely deserves heaps of praise. If you're a fan of the snikting savage, this is definitely worth the buy.
Heavy Metal Elements: Savage Circus #1
This book has so much potential... we just didn't really get to the meat of anything in this first issue. Beasts, robberies, a sleepy town with a deputy who's bad at his job - you've set up an excellent horror tale that I'd be more invested in if anything actually... happened. Also, there were some things that could have used more clarity in the middle (raise your hand if you totally didn't realize the thieves & the circus WEREN'T the same people... my bad). But still, this book even takes place at Christmas, and GOD do we love a good holiday horror tale.
Tales of the Dark Multiverse: Batman: Hush #1
At this point, we've read our fair share of these "cannon but not really" Batman stories, but this one was quite fun. There's a special place in my heart whenever Batman gets depicted as an anti-hero - not particularly good (he's killing quite a few folks here), but he's still going after an inherently bad guy. Not complaining one bit.
This book looks beautiful, and has excellent opportunities for world building and establishing an extensive lore. The only thing is... no idea what this is even about yet. Sometimes, breadcrumbs aren't quite enough to follow the story, especially when they don't use the same bread the whole time.
Heavy Metal Elements: Dark Wing #1
It's a good old fashion sci-fi story, set in a distant part of space, with humans struggling to survive and desperately hunting resources to restart the population. There's a guy with an "I have to make tough choices" attitude, not afraid to fight against the status quo and push back against the higher ranks. It's all pretty standard fair, except for the name of this book, which kept me harkening back to a certain crimefighting duck. I'm just saying.
Cover B Podcast
Chris & Tee host this weekly comic-focused show, providing insight on new comics, entertainment news and more.