It's a haunting for good...
Phantom Road #1 (w: Jeff Lemire, a: Gabriel H. Walta)
Publisher: Image Comics
This book is one of those rare first issues wherein the establishing work draws me in more than the narrative work. It's honestly a fairly underwhelming first issue narratively. We spend barely any time in the world being built, only to get brief glimpses of development for one character and basically none for the other character. However, for anyone who has read Lemire's works before, character development is honestly what he does best and even the small glimpse we get of our lead is moderately compelling. Outside of the narrative, we have a fascinating setting of a dusty road that exists in some sort of liminal space. It may be dimension hopping, it may be time travel, it may be hell for all we know, but it is definitely a long, eerie stretch of road populated by faceless husks who attack when provoked. It's that melding of subtle but effective character development and a world that has yet to define it's genre that draws me into this book yearning to know more.
I love the opening of this book, too. Many books open in the middle of action and then flash back in time to establish what the heck is going on, but Lemire and Walta chose such an ambiguous scene to show. They show no violence, no creature. All they show at the very beginning of the book is our main protagonist being afraid. It's a super interesting choice, and I actually had to flash back when I realized the scared, screaming man in the beginning was the same stoic, polite trucker we end up following for the next few pages.
The last page is equally as fun, wherein the creators choose to forego showing a climactic moment of action and violence, instead delivering a splash page title card, and then return us to the main characters in the aftermath of whatever just happened out of sight. It's a cool choice. They are making some nifty creative choices here. I like.
Deadfellows #1 (w: Kody Hamilton, a: Ramiro Borrallo)
Publisher: Scout Comics
Trigger warning on this one, folks. This book talks about suicide, self-harm and domestic abuse.
A man named Pete is struggling with PTSD after being dumped by his abusive girlfriend and ultimately finds himself alone. He spent years in a relationship that forced him to burn all the bridges he had with friends, and his mother only wants to talk to him about the relationship. He moves into a cheap, run down apartment, clearly aware of the possibility that he might end his life there. One night, as the memories of his trauma flash through his mind, he inadvertently overdoses on acetaminophen. Suddenly, a woman appears and helps him purge the drug from his system before it gets processed. Turns out, his apartment is haunted by three ghosts, all who ended their own lives, who are determined to make sure he doesn't do the same and get stuck here himself.
And they plan to do so by making sure he leaves for good. Pete, however, is done letting someone else control his life.
I think this book has a really sweet premise and can do a lot of good if handled properly. It does a very good job showing how PTSD from relationships can manifest and handles the topic fairly delicately, while detailing the severity of it. Pete is a very well crafted sympathetic character. Anyone who has experienced similar trauma can relate to his mental state, and even those that haven't are given plenty of space for empathy. By the end of the book, you find yourself just yearning for him to make friends with these three kind specters. You just want him to find someone to talk to so that he can hopefully heal.
I did not expect this book to be as clever and well-written as it is. From the outside looking in, it was just another pump and dump horror book. Honestly, the cover almost undersold it so hard for me that I passed on it. Just goes to show that sometimes you have to dig a bit deeper to be completely surprised by an incredible story. If only there was some sort of idiom for that....
Glasses that offer more than X-Ray vision...
Two Graves #1 (w: Genevieve Valentine, a: Ming Doyle, Annie Wu)
Publisher: Image Comics
I can't guarantee that I totally understand exactly what is happening in this book, but I find myself completely drawn into it. It's enigmatic in the ways that comic classics like Sandman are: cool and mysterious with emotions lingering just on the edge of the narrative, out of reach and building a strange tension. It's a dark book that ruminates on death at every corner, and in both tone and art style, it drips late '90s/ early '00s indie works.
A man with a smoky face and a young woman with a nihilistic streak are journeying to the east coast so she can lay her mother to rest. In the middle, we see them enacting vengeance for the dead, visiting people at the end of their life, and floating on a cliffside. We are unsure of the relationship of the two, and it seems they themselves don't truly know the nature of it. There are allusions to Greek myths, discussions of the nature of death and a general bleak romanticism permeated through the pages. The alternating art provides a unique flip-flopping of perspective throughout, giving the world each character exists in its own specific vibe.
From the title, I went in expecting another vengeance story in the style of a Brubaker title or a modern western like Undone by Blood. I suppose there is still room for this kind of story to develop, but the supernatural elements and ties to myth were a very nice surprise.
Specs #1 (w: David M. Booher, a: Chris Shehan)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
On the surface, Specs is a pretty straightforward "Kids on Bikes" story that flips the formula a bit by making the focus on things the kids themselves do instead of things happening in the world around them. In the '80s, two high school best friends are living their lives as outcasts. Our main character, Kenny, is struggling with his sense of identity as he navigates high school as a young gay man, a fact he keeps hidden from everyone around him, including his best friend, Teddy, who he confesses to being in love with. Meanwhile, Teddy is the only black student at his school, and his family appears to be one of the few, if not the only, black families in the town. The two deal with the expected amount of high school bullying that is common in these stories, but they stick together and do their best to defend each other. One day, Kenny receives a pair of wish-granting specs from one of those novelty ads found in an old comic book that belonged to his brother (who it seems has been kicked out of their home). They dive into the expected whacky antics of using the specs to get small amounts of cash, pass tests, win at video games, and many other silly 1980s shenanigans. They realize that the specs can't grant wishes too large, so things have to stay small. That is until the local bully, Skunk, comes at them with a knife and Teddy pushes a bit too hard.
Beyond that, Specs is a story about being disenfranchised in small town America. It's a story about what its like to get wins in a world that tries as hard as it can to keep you from success. Any win, however small it may be, feels magical or miraculous. It's a story about living under the weight of having to hide who you are, or the pain of not being able to hide who you are in a world that looks down on you for it. The struggles Teddy and Kenny have to endure are incredibly relatable to a lot of people, making their journey with the magic specs a fantasy deep from the hearts of those same people. David M. Booher is producing some of the finest queer stories in comics these days, and this is certainly not one to miss.
Knockturn County #1 (w: James E. Roche, a: Axur Eneas)
Publisher: Scout Comics
The first issue of Knockturn County consists of two stories under the premise of "Dr. Seuss but DARK." The first story plays out much as you'd expect: It's a story of drugs and murder and deceit all done in the cartoony art style and simplistic rhyme structure of a Dr. Seuss book. While it's fun, it's pretty generic as far as stories go. It's a noir tale about a cop falling for the girlfriend of a mob boss and ends about the way you'd expect. This story admittedly almost made me stop reading in that it was just too generic. We have seen so many "kids-focused IP but DARK" stories that rarely do more than just make the character do drugs and get naked. As such, I figured this book was going to just be another flash in the pan as many of its predecessors were. Then I got to story #2.
The second story in this book is about abuse, plain and simple, and while it is simplistic by nature in its structure, there is so much being said subtly about the ramifications of abuse and the effects it has on a child's mind. It was horribly dark and not an uplifting story at all, but it was an amazing use of a very specific storytelling style to portray something powerfully. It was fascinating to experience and I hope the rest of the stories in this series tackle equally as important subjects. This is published under Scout's "Nonstop!" imprint, so the next we'll see of Knockturn County will be a full trade paperback, which I definitely plan to pick up.
A horror theme park with a dark... well, everything...
West Moon Chronicles #1 (w: Frank Jun Kim, a: Joe Bocardo)
Publisher: Scout Comics
Korean folklore gets aggressive in the back woods of Texas. Jae-Sun and his grandfather embark on a journey to uncover why the various folk creatures they've worked with and against for years are getting so surly lately, while also possibly journeying to a land of magic to rescue Jae-Sun's daughter. There's goblins, shapeshifters, racists, swordfights, dragons and much, much more, and this is only issue one! It's "Once and Future" meets "God Country" with a Korean cultural spin, and I am absolutely adding it to my file. You should do the same.
Dark Ride #1 (w: Joshua Williamson, a: Andrei Bressan)
Publisher: Image Comics
I see you, Joshua Williamson. You think I don't, but I do. You think it's cool to just reach into my brain and pull out a book that hits on most of my favorite things? Just invade my subconscious mind and create a wonderful comic that I'll love and cherish? Thank you, you psychic bastard.
Dark Ride is one of the coolest Indie-Horror-Film-Adjacent comics I've read in a while. We open with a theme park ride designer named Arthur Dante murdering his wife before striking up a mysterious deal with an unseen force. Flash to the future, Arthur has built an theme park empire around the idea of horror: Devil Land. Whereas most theme parks are about family fun, however, Devil Land is about all things creepy, spooky and scary. We follow new employee and Devil Land superfan, Owen, as he embarks on his exciting day one of employment. Eventually, he meets Samhain Dante, son to Arthur and current head of the park. They eventually both run into Samhain's bombastic and boisterous sister, Halloween. As we begin to see that the park may be in dire straits, Owen winds down his work day as something calls to him from the depths of the park's oldest ride, Devil's Due.
Owen does not fair well by the end of this book.
It's dark, it's spooky, it's got compelling characters - it absolutely rocks. This book drips with "Shudder Original," which is said as a compliment for anyone who doesn't know how much I love Shudder originals, and could only truly be improved with the addition of a badass soundtrack. I very rarely feel impatient for new issues to be released, but I am going to be biting my nails down to a nub waiting for the #2 of this series.
3Keys #1 (w/a: David Messina)
Publisher: Image Comics
So, okay, I like this book. I like the art of this book. I like the premise of this book. I like where this book is promising to go. However, I don't love the main character nor do I love the first half of this book. Honestly, it was Messina's insanely detailed art and wonderful use of layout that kept me going. The first few pages are an absolute SLOG of exposition since we're starting in media res. After that, we get a presumably comedic conversation about how much comics and nerds suck, which was more cringeworthy than anything. The cringe continues when we establish that the main character's personality is effectively "party booze city sex" and a handful of background characters spend two pages arguing about whether she is straight or not. I don't know, I just am not really feeling the direction here. It's like 14 pages dedicated to hefty, clunky exposition and then "hey, look how edgy and possibly queer my main character is! Neat, right?" Lotta cringe, gotta be real.
We then meet our second main character in Dale and her mentor Jacob. They end up fighting this horrible demon and the action is awesome. This is what I was promised by the solicitation for this book and it paid off here. I'm definitely gonna give #2 a try, but Sandra's character is my biggest hang up. I get that the whole "savior of the world is also an addict and their mentor has to struggle to keep them on track" is a popular trope, but it's just not for me. If you want a book that has some great art, a good bit of sexiness and some cool monster designs, pick this one up. If you're looking for a lot of character depth, probably best to give this one a pass.
Leonide the Vampyr: Miracle at the Crow's Head (w: Mike Mignola, a: Rachele Aragno)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
If there's one thing Mignola knows how to do, it's take concepts we're very familiar with - horror tropes, classic creatures, historical events - and make them feel completely new and original. In this instance, we're introduced to a casket that's been shipwrecked and washed ashore, filled with a not-so-dead young girl, suddenly bringing joy and vigor to a previously-lifeless town. We're all ready for her to drink somebody's blood, right? WRONG. And that's what makes this book so cool. I adore a horror book that mixes familiar tales with just a little bit of the unexpected. It feels exciting but also exactly like what I was looking for.
Any excuse to get into spooky season!
Creepshow #1 (w: Chris Burnham, Paul Dini & Stephen Langford, a: Chris Burnham & John McCrea)
Publisher: Image Comics
I love me some good B-Horror. This book is honestly nothing revolutionary and that's mostly what I dig about it. Creepshow is like coming home. It's that cozy, warm fireplace with a snuggly blanket in the middle of a dilapidated house wherein all your friends and loved ones were just devoured by a monster of their own design.
The book consists of two stories from different teams. First up is Chris Burnham doing the words and pictures of a story titled "Take One," wherein three douchey teens come across a bowl overflowing with full-sized candy bars on Halloween night. However, the bowl comes with ominous orders from the unknown in the form of a cardboard sign that reads "Take One." The boys of course do NOT and what follows is a predictable and silly traipse through gore and mayhem. It is seen coming from a mile away, but not all good things have to be surprising. If you're waiting for a bus, would you rather have it arrive exactly when expected or do you want it to surprise you. Like I said, b-horror is comfort horror. It's the full-sized candy bar after a long day of trick-or-treating a getting nothing but raisins and those unbranded strawberry candies. It wasn't a super creative story, but I didn't necessarily hate the shock value of it.
The second story was certainly more creative and definitely went more for the silly. In this story by Paul Dini and Stephen Langford, title "Shingo," we see a mother at her wits end trying to find a performer for her daughter's birthday party after her ex-husband dropped the ball. Her prayers are answered as she receives a mysterious card from a performer named Shingo, a large costumed character with a huge gaping maw. Shingo arrives and plays and laughs and sings and starts devouring things and sings some more and where did Joey go? and dances some more and has anyone seen my sister? This story has a lot going for it in a short time. It is self-aware, genre-aware and very tongue-in-cheek. It takes a look at the nature of the "oblivious character" trope in horror, wherein terrible things are happening to one or a few characters and other closely connected characters seem just absolutely unaware of any danger or supernatural happenings at all. This trope often happens in kid-focused horror, in which the parents and adults are the oblivious ones. Think all the parents in Stranger things minus Hopper and Joyce. This short tale analyzes just how silly that trope has to be as the kids are fully sold on the danger basically from the jump and all the adults just faffing about, waist deep in their own drama and a few glasses of wine. This one gave me strong Pooka vibes for obvious reasons but had it's own thing going, and I respect it.
Eternus #1 (w: Anastazja Davis & Don Handfield, a: Karl Moline)
Publisher: Scout Comics
This book is "Created by Andy Serkis and Andrew Levitas," but I can't help but notice they don't have a writing credit, so what does created by even mean? Anyway, here we have another comic pushed thanks to connection to a celebrity, which is becoming quite a common things these days, to varying degrees of success. This one, however, is an absolute hit. It is just all around a really, really cool book. I'm guessing it exists because a movie will eventually, which is the reason for most of these celeb tied books. I'm down with that.
Eternus is a mythological tale that takes place during the rise of Christianity. In this world, the myths and gods of ancient Greece are very much real and are struggling to find their place in the new world as the Christian God assumes control over more and more of the modern world. In the wake of Zeus's death, the gods struggle to find what power they can as all their energy and life force comes from belief. When both Hera and Athena's temples are sacked by a rogue centurion, it is up to Heracles and the help of a blind child to find the man who may have murdered the father of the gods. Also, Dionysus gets people wasted and meets Caesar. It's a crazy good read and definitely a file add.
Crashing #1 (w: Matthew Klein, a: Morgan Beem)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
This book has a lot happening and every time I thought I understood where the thrust was, it took another twisty turn. I loved it.
Crashing follows Dr. Allison Osler, a doctor a Mass General Hospital who loves some caffeine and has a history of struggling with addiction. We follow her as she takes control of an ER suffering from the fallout of a super-powered conflict at a government building. Allison kicks ass, saves some lives, gets chewed out by her boss and gets offered drugs from a coworker, all before going home to be "on call." What we soon learn is that "on call" may not be what it seems, and Allison's history comes back to haunt her and challenges her very morals. On the surface, this is an interesting take on the hospital drama genre set in the backdrop of a superhero universe. Dig a little deeper, and we instead have a very clever piece on the nature of addiction, the nature of good and evil, and an analysis of what it means to save a life at any cost. It's a fresh super story you don't want to miss.
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.
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.
Honorable Mentions: July 2022
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.
The post-apocalyptic murder contests are here to stay, folks.
Weekly Pull Highlights: June 1, 2022
We're back, baby! And with a couple excellent indie titles about being swept onto adventure without ever seeing it coming.
Honorable Mentions: April 2022
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.
Twins. In. SPAAAAACEEEE!
Weekly Pull Highlights: April 20, 2022
Please disregard the innevitable lawnmower noises in the background - we couldn't evade them, and now neither can you! But that didn't stop us from covering some very excellent space-age books this week.
Cover B Podcast
Chris & Tee host this weekly comic-focused show, providing insight on new comics, entertainment news and more.