Hellmouth #1: The Hellmouth cometh! Sunnydale is about to be overrun by a shit-ton of ghouls and monsters thanks to Drusilla’s meddling. After she starts the ritual, the Slayer gang rushes around Sunnydale to make sure victims are save from the wrath of hell that’s appearing everywhere. More important than the end of the world though: Buffy and Angel formally meet for the first time while battling demons!!! The rest of her class also becomes more aware of her abilities but that’s a bridge to cross when the threat of them being eaten is gone. Buffy is looking to save everyone in Sunnydale but the hardest lesson that’s gonna come up is that she just plain can’t.
Powers of X #6: With the final issue here, Hickman’s X-Men saga is now definitely one of the best X-books ever made earning a placement on the top shelf next to Claremont’s best. The year 1000 story that I thought was too lofty? Circled back around to the beginning of the book and solved one of the biggest questions of the series. I love being phenomenally wrong when it comes to storytelling. Moira X is now one of the most compelling characters in the X-verse with her manipulations and timeline tweaks ushering in the Dawn of X soon to come. A majority of the book is a central discussion between Moira, Magneto and Xavier who discuss the implications of what is to come in the nation they have built. The antagonists are now laid out beautifully for issues to come and I for one cannot wait a second to see what they are to wrought.
Ginseng Roots #1: OK, I’m going to get this one out of the way so I can continue with my review: Craig Thompson goes back to his roots with Ginseng Roots #1 to tell a tale of childhood ambition and the industrialization of rural farming. There. I’m sorry. What I’m not sorry about is how good this memoir of the rural working class turned out to be. A study of both farming economies, cultural blending and rural work ethic; this book takes memory and industry figures to create a beautiful story told in muted colors. There are Chinese hanzi and kanji displaying how ginseng was first looked at and how its work is maintained today. Pop culture touchstones make appearances to show what the work amounted too as well. A highly recommended read for those looking for a literal down to earth story.
Joker/Harley Criminal Sanity #1: This book contained by far my favorite interpretation of Harley Quinn I’ve read. No longer a lovesick puppy making excuses for a repugnant murderer, Harley was driven to police consultant work after her roommate Edie was a victim of the Joker. Since then, he has gone underground for 5 years without making a splash while Harley has made a name for herself at the precinct and at Gotham University where she teaches behavioral analysis. A series of staged murders start cropping up though so it looks as if Joker is making moves once more. The whole issue reads like Law & Order: Gotham as thrives because of it and hot damn, the art is gorgeous. Seriously, crack this one open.
Pretty Deadly: The Rat #3: DEATHFACE GINNY IS HERE!! Sorry, I just really love this character. In super dope period attire, Ginny appears to help the Conjure-Man find out what happened to his niece, Clara. Apparently she had been rubbing elbows with a Hollywood big-wig Jack Kaufman. His films brought her out to Hollywood but his star had been falling for a couple years at that point. After Ginny knocks him out and takes him to a fancy-ass bathhouse for the most gorgeous water-boarding interrogation scene I’ve ever seen (thank you, Emma Rios), he reveals that Clara was the one responsible for his last two big hits. With this info, the pair set off now knowing their culprit is most likely otherworldly in nature.
Batman’s Grave #1: An interesting perspective starts this one off with the reflection that Alfred tends to the Waynes as much in death as he did in life. Every morning he walks to their plot on the manor’s grounds and cares for the grave site. In this reflection though, he notes he knows he will bury Bruce as well. That’s where the crux of this issue takes off with Alfred arguing with Batman about the need for him to even be around. This is cut however by the investigation at hand as Bruce gets inside the mind of a victim killed in his apartment as he lived alone. He digitally reconstructs the apartment while talking his way through the case, finally rushing out as an epiphany hits him in the face. The strengths of this one are in the details as both Bruce and Alfred show huge idiosyncrasies that define them heavily.
Reaver #4 – The road has been long, but our band of misfits have made it to the city of Anvil. They are able to make it past the heavily guarded town walls under the guise of neighboring soldiers with prisoners in tow. Once inside, everything is going as planned until one of the gang goes off script in a big way. Now they’ve gone from wrapping up the mission and going home, to sure death. We’ll see how they get out of this next issue.
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity – We have two DC Black Label Harley books out right now! Good news, it appears they are taking two very different approaches to telling Harley’s story. Here we have a very confident Harley, oppose to the meek woman we met in Harleen. This Harley is a bad ass psych consultant for the Gotham Police Department. She has helped them close dozens of cases, but it was the murder of her former roommate that got her into forensics. Five years later, they are still no closer to finding her roommates killer, but she is sure Joker is responsible. While trying to keep that case from going cold, a new killer has arrived in Gotham, and his/her perfectly staged crime scenes are keeping everyone on the force busy.
Shoppers Will Be Liquidated #1 – At the Caucasus Super Store, shoplifting is a serious offense. No one takes that more seriously than Nussbaum, the store’s security guard. Since he started, loss from theft has gone down exponentially, but management still wants more. After having to save one of the store’s executives from himself, he is afraid his job may be at stake. That’s when he comes across a big secret under the mall. Nussbaum is sure, if he fixes this problem, there is no way he will lose his job.
Powers of X #6 – Well everyone is reading this, if you aren’t you are missing out. We’ve watched mutants really go through it, from death to rebirth and here we are living Moira’s last life. We are still getting redacted documents so I guess we will have to wait for the next series. Here we get to revisit Professor X and Moira on that park bench. The ups and downs of optimism and hopelessness. The end of House of X filled us all with optimism and this last issue has us questioning it all. There is no way I’m not reading every X book after this!! I’m doing my best to leave out spoilers, but please read these books because once the new X-Men book drops I’m not holding back!!
Ginseng Roots #1 – Blankets is one of my all-time favorite comics and I feel like Craig Thompson (no relation) works best in this autobiographical format. This comic is the first in a series that illustrates the adventures of Craig and his little brother as they pick ginseng for a Summer job. It leads Craig to find a love of comics, among other things. Can’t wait to see where this goes.
Copra #1 – A damn cool “first” issue that makes me regret not checking into this series before. Armed with a new publisher, Michel Fife’s Copra makes an accessible start for both old and new fans. The story begins as Copra team is chilling in a hotel while the team lead Gracie tells an anecdote about buying weed from her high school German teacher. Shots ring out from the room next door where other Copra members were staying and so they go into action. A series of gorgeous panels show the action inside: one of their government handlers is now am robot assassin attacking them for some odd reason! It’s great pulp superhero action with enough irreverent humor to make it a helluva fun read.
House of X #6 – Yeah, he did it. Hickman has crafted one of the singular best X-Men stories. The final issue of HoX shows the meeting of the established council of mutants who sit down to craft the new laws of the mutant state Krakoa. After a dire warning and promise to humanity at large, Xavier commands the room as the three tenants of their society are discussed in turn. Along for the ride is Sabretooth who finally faces judgement for the events of the first issue which provides excellent closure and a foreboding future for lawbreakers. Ultimately the end is a celebration for all mutants to come under one banner, best displayed by Wolverine opening a six pack and offering one to Gorgon. The bridges being built by these mutants are looking to take them very far. Here’s hoping Powers ends half as well!
Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #4 – Time to hit the beach! Destiny Beach! After straining himself whilst lifting a few issues ago, Flex Mentallo remembered the cosmically unknown location of his original home Destiny Beach! When Doom Patrol shows up to kick back though, it’s a disgusting wasteland left in disarray since its Hero of the Beach had been gone for so long. His old lifting buddies keep losing to another bodybuilding group because they possess the Secret Spandex, a hilarious rip-off of Spidey’s black suit. Meanwhile, Robotman and Mento are going around doing good deeds in Dannyland so Cliff can keep positively upgrading. Will his penchant for positivity go too far???
Die #8 – We’re back to focusing on the three who stayed with Matt the Grief Knight taking the central focus in this issue. After a month in Angria, Sol is questioned endlessly by Ash and the Ruling Party there while Angela makes plans to infiltrate Glass Town to learn what the robots are up to. Matt feels useless as a knight, his fighting prowess not coming into play in these doldrum times. That is, until his asshole sword starts spewing insults into his ear. He then receives a note to go to the eight-fold temple where he claimed his grief sword. There he meets a legion of joy knights who promise to join his cause on one condition: they fight it out and Matt wins. It’s a good thing he’s been hecka sad missing his family to power up for this one…
Nomen Omen #1- Man, this story has a whole pile of threads but I have no idea where they’re leading. In 1995 on a winding road on a mountaintop, a couple named Meera and Claire discover a tractor trailer hauling apples smashed into a car. The driver is dead but a pregnant woman covered in blood from what looks like a ritual stumbles out of the woods. She speaks in a “I’m totally possessed way” until she speaks normal, speaks in possession again and then IMPREGNATES MEERA WITH OWL MAGIC. All while an orgy with people in animal masks happens in Meera’s head. Yeah. Then it cuts back to modern day where the comic goes to black and white in an interesting touch because their daughter has achromatopsia. The ending to this is WILD so I’m interested to see where they go from here…
Green Lantern #12 – Grant Morrison’s epic Green Lantern saga with Liam Sharp coming to its peak! For now! Don’t worry, there’s plenty of insanely obscure Silver Age quirks in this one as well. After coming upon a squad of lanterns who had fallen to his Anti-Matter Doppleganger, Hal Jordan surges in to put a stop to him. Surprisingly, he has a purple-clad ally to assist him too: Sinestro! Only for him to be taken out pretty easily…The Lantern Corps sends in reinforcements but most are also taken out easily. It seems bleak but just as Jordan starts pummeling his evil clone, he’s teleported away by the Blackstars! This is a love letter to the Silver Age and it definitely reads as such with all the twists left to come in the new Blackstar book and apparently season two of this main series.
Nomen Omen #1 – If you are looking for new spooky a October series, add this one to your list. At the beginning we find Claire and Meera, two lovers on a road trip get away. After hours of driving in the mountains, they come across a car wreck and stop to help. Things go a tad awry after that. The second half of the book is set decades later, and covers their daughter Rebecca. The family seemed to forget the events of that night, but it looks like it’s coming back to haunt them.
Ruby Falls #1 – Lana lives in Ruby Falls, a small town that doesn’t see much excitement. Lana goes to visit her grandma at the local nursing home. Her grandmother suffers from dementia, so some days are better than others for visitors, and today was a good day. As they talk, Lana’s grandmother starts telling her of a murder she witnessed when she was younger in grave detail. Before Lana could ask any questions her grandmother’s behavior/mood shifts and the nurses ask Lana to leave. Lana investigates on her own and even finds help from an old friend. There is still a possibility her grandma was having an episode and made it all up…but maybe not.
Dead Eyes #1 – Dead Eyes is more than a man, he is a legend. No one knew his true identity, but his reputation was well know. He was a theft banks, crooks, no one was safe, and after his last big score he retired. Well that’s what everyone thought, including his wife. He even got a 9-5 at a grocery store after the funds ran out without telling his wife so she didn’t worry. Still, after seeing the items in a shopper’s cart, he decided to adorn the Dead Eyes mask once again. Little did he know, someone had been waiting years to see that face again!
DCeased #5 – Welp, hope is lost. I’m pretty sure this series is going to end with the world burning and dying 🤷🏾♀️. Issue after issue we watch more of the Justice League getting infested by this plague and then the remaining members have to take them out back and put them out of their misery. The remaining members are taking refuge with Harley Queen and Poison Ivy (where the keep of the grass rules ad punishable by death). This issue we see Superman go full A-Train (*see The Boys which is great, too) and explode the Flash. He even got a bit of Barry stuck in his belly, and guess what? Now Superman is a flesh-eating monster. He says goodbye to his family and goes to kill himself, but did it work…or are we going to watch him melt the world in the next issue? (Based on how things are going I’m going to put my money on planetary fondue.)
Olivia James took over the classic 80 year-old Nancy comic strip in 2018 and put sweet Nancy in today’s not-so sweet society. The mash up is perfect and James’ commentary on modern life hasn’t seen its match in cartoon strip form since Calvin and Hobbes was alive and well. Hilarious, thoughtful and sweet – gift this book or grab a copy for yourself, no one will be disappointed.