Episode 184 - REEL EXTRA: Revealer
We got to review a HORROR film and we're really excited about it.
Grab your pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween soundtracks - it might only be September, but we're going full spooky season with this Shudder original, Revealer. Released with a comic promo/tie-in from Vault, get ready for an apocalyptic romp through the 80s, packed with religious zealotry and exotic dancers. This movie was super fun and we are REALLY hoping Shudder does more titles like this!
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.
Can you mind control someone into being un-mind controlled?
Weekly Pull Highlights: June 29, 2022
We're about to go on summer break for a month, but we're wrapping up this season of standard episode with three fantastic books, including a flamboyant noir, an attack on the MCU, and a venture capitalist getting offed with a fire extinguisher. What a week to go out on!
Banning mythical creatures would NOT surprise us... sigh...
Weekly Pull Highlights: May 4, 2022
Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day, but we can't even think about that right now with the huge load of excellent titles that already dropped this week! You've got some great reading ahead of you, folks!
We love some good teen drama, y'all.
Weekly Pull Highlights: April 6, 2022
Look, comics don't HAVE to be bleak and depressing and drab. They can be colorful and playful and feature young people with powers and drama and OKAY, THERE'S ANOTHER VAMPIRE BOOK. SUE US.
Horror that's relatable is just scarier.
Weekly Pull Highlights: January 12, 2021
We can't talk enough about the new title Rain, based off the short story by Joe Hill, and just how GOOD it is! The tension, the character development, the slow burn... it's rare to feel this affected by an event you know is coming from page one.
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.
Episode 126 - Fan Clubs, Episodic Appreciation, King's Reign of Cult Characters
So, who wants to get fan club jackets?
Weekly Pull Highlights: November 3, 2021
Get your honorary whistles out, this episode is dedicated to all the many fan clubs we've built on Cover B! There's something for Chip's Ahoy, something for Bunn's Huns, even something for the Spurritos... look, we don't make the rules. These things just happen.
Honorable Mentions: September 2021
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.
Kids... In... SPAAAAACE...
Weekly Pull Highlights: September 8, 2021
We've got a big theme of space in this episode, from the movie-in-a-comic in Deadbox, to the Space Case-meets-Alien vibe in Bountiful Garden, to the endless void built from grief in Mazebook. It's a lot, but it's really good, promise.
Cover B Podcast
Chris & Tee host this weekly comic-focused show, providing insight on new comics, entertainment news and more.