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 March!
Honorable Mention Highlights: March 2022
What a cute, cheeky little book. Another tale of a spunky girl with a talking robot friend (I'm honestly surprised that's so common nowadays), but it's set up with a fantastical world and very creative mystery building. I'm excited to see just how deep this story goes.
Broken Eye #1
It's like the Dead Zone meets Trainspotting. A blue color dockworker in Liverpool gets embroiled in the workings of a crime lord. Because, y'know... his eye can see the past and stuff. Characters are a little flat, but it seems like it will be a tasty little neo-noir.
We Live Rise of the Palladiums #1
Done in two different issues, Black and White, this premiere issue of the new volume of We Live is told from two different perspectives. We are sent back into the We Live world with new problems and a completely original vibe. Did you miss We Live? No problem, this story does an excellent job standing on its own with all the weird, colorful post-apocalypse-y goodness we're familiar with.
Beyond the Beyond #1
It's a tale as old as time - a rebellious young girl seeks the exciting world outside her walls, and isn't afraid to break the rules and get in trouble to get what she wants. Okay, except this time she steals a spaceship. I mean, at least she didn't grow legs or whatever, right?
Cities of Magick #1
I want to like this book so bad. It seems like a cool concept: a post-apocalyptic world where tech is replaced by magic. There seems to be setup for a later discovery that perhaps the magick isn't as different from tech as we think. I cool concept, interesting thrust and fun representation of magick? Sign me up. My main issue is just the characters feel SUPER flat and lifeless. The dialogue being a bit bland just throws this off for me, but it still deserves a mention for those sold enough on the concept.
Zombies vs Robots Classic #1
Ten years or so ago, ZVR hit the shelves. It's a wild book that sees two different apocalypses go ahead to ahead across time. Just like... such a fun, wholesome concept. ZVC is now back with reprints of early issues that include new stories and art mixed in. Fun stuff and a classic read.
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.
What you may have missed in January!
Honorable Mention Highlights: January 2022
Bylines in Blood #1
A mystery circling around an independent news source willing to tell the truth. This book has extreme Jessica Jones vibes and presents a painfully relatable tale in a world too close to home for comfort; people record every moment of their lives, the truth has all but vanished as the elite invent facts to serve their purpose, and journalism as a career has effectively been eradicated. It's gritty, it's dark, I like it.
She Hulk #1
Jennifer Walters has been many things. Successful lawyer, savage monster, weird Blonde and Red Russian hit machine, my green-skinned crush for the last 30 years or so. Many hats worn by this lady with a new one being forced onto her head each time we see her. That pattern stays true in this book, which finds Jennifer humbled and having to start over since her stint as the Gamma blasting Hulk of the most recent Avengers team. She is hunble, grounded, and focused more on altruism than heroism. Could be a cool direction for her.
Batman/Catwoman Special #1This book is a fascinating look at Catwoman and Batman's growing relationship over a span of decades. It injects humanity into these bombastic characters much in the way Marvel's Life Story series do, while perfectly displaying just how complex Selena is as a character. It's also a nice memorial for John Paul Leon who tragically passed in May of 2021. Definitely worth a grab for Bat fans.
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.
Honorable Mention Highlights: November 2021
The Dark Knights of Steel #1
Remember when you were a kid playing make-believe and you'd merge together very different IPs to the point where suddenly Optimus Prime is driving Mario to the next castle? This is kind of like that. Suddenly you're in a fantasy setting, but still watching the same DC characters you'd expect in a big crossover. I think is most surprising is how well it works - well done, team, I definitely care about the princes after all.
A Thing Called Truth #1
Relatable, fun characters embroiled in a tale of misogyny and betrayal. This book is delightfully developed and honestly is a story unlike a lot of what's out there. It's realistic and grounded while building to an exciting thrust.
What if Batman was a pervy jerk, got accidentally killed by a random loser, and then replaced by said random loser at the behest of "Alfred" (who absolutely hates Batman to begin with)? If that premise isn't enough to delight you, then just know that this book is incredibly clever and wonderfully cheeky. Sure, it's another "what if popular super hero but different" story, but it's got some fun twists and turns.
My Date with Monsters #1
What a fascinating concept for a book. Bad science leads to real nightmares, and the only way to avoid the apocalypse is for a very single mom to fall in love and build a stable family. Has it already built in some pretty predictable plot points? Yeah, but that doesn't take away from my investment in the very likeable characters. I'm excited to see how it all plays out.
Provenance of Secrets #1
Another day, another noir - but this time, our gumshoe is investigating a theater cult (that as a former theater kid, seems completely believable). Boldly black and white, with a swiftly unraveling mystery, this one has set up to be a very interesting read.
Good Boy #1
If you had told me I would one day read a comic book adaptation of John Wick where the dog lives and the person dies but it still turns into a bullet blasting blood bath, I would have told you to seek help. And yet, here we are. This book shines mainly for the novelty of the concept, but does have some fun art and tongue-in-cheek moments within to earn a mention.
Turkey Day One Shot
The perfect story for the holidays! It's got it all! Community. Family. History. Alien-possessed murder turkeys. If you like B-level horror movies, this book will be a fun ride for you. In the mix is also a nice bit of cheeky commentary on the problematic nature of the Thanksgiving story and the treatment of indigenous people in modern society. Oh, and also gore. Lots of gore.
Honorable Mention Highlights: October 2021
Soul Plumber #1
Goodness, this is an ugly book. If you are looking for a polite, clean, puritan reflection on the soul, run very, very far away. Soul Plumber is shockingly relatable beneath the layer of filth, and I'm rooting for the lead.
Chicken Devil #1
Oh my goodness, this book I just one big fiasco and I love. Hot chicken magnate gets involved in crimes because the world around him deems it. Why not? This is the least character driven book I've read, but I kind of love just watching this dude on a log flume of misery and guns. Also, they have a restaurant menu in the back and it looks damn tasty.
Marvel Legends: Black Panther #1
Not much more to say aside from this is a cool look at young Tchalla earning his stripes (do panthers have stripes?) and showing his mobility in the face of a unaccepting world. This book handles heavy topics like racism and capitalism in a delicate way but still delivers a solid message. A great book for young readers.
Batman: The Imposter #1
A prequel/sequel to the new Batman movie? Hard to tell really, as it feels fairly originy but also seems to also reference movie things? Weird flex releasing a sequel to a movie that does not yet exist, but hey, that's DC. They flex more than an insecure, pre-workout addled Chad on a busy day at muscle beach. Still, I like the angle that they are taking with this Batman and this left me kinda jazzed for the movie. Not really a super new story, but still a nice level of grit.
What do you do when the veil between two realities is lifting and demons are co-mingling with humans on a regular basis? You create a new police force, obvi. Our main character is pretty predictable, but the world building keeps me intrigued enough to want to read more in issue #2. And that's really all it takes, isn't it?
DC vs Vampires #1
Well, hot damn Tynion, you're aiming for a Cover B fan club name, aren't you? The cheesiest of names gives way into an excellent, thought provoking book that not only makes sense in the given DC universe, but made me gasp unexpectedly at twists. I am definitely looking forward to the next issue of this one.
Pop Star Assassin #1
When I saw the title, this was NOT the book I was expecting to read. An Elvis impersonator, a waitress, and a psychic vagrant escape from a bar - be sure to stop me if you've heard this one. Oh, you haven't? I'm not surprised. This book is bonkers, but has a lot of potential if you like fast-paced, off-the-wall chaos.
Cross to Bear #1
...Are they Templars? Are they Masons? Is it a brand new cult we've never heard of? What is their real mission? What are they protecting... or who? I love a good secret society, and I love even more when our supposed protag is more fallible than forgivable. Who doesn't love some character depth, amiright?
Winchester Mystery House #1
You've heard the legends. You've probably even seen the movie. But there's something so eerie about the Winchester House that I'm glad it's being given a chance in the comic format. The ability to come from different perspectives, show more intimate details of the house's machinations - there's a lot that can be done here, and I'm very excited to see it go down.
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.
Cover B Podcast
Chris & Tee host this weekly comic-focused show, providing insight on new comics, entertainment news and more.