Sandman Universe Presents: Hellblazer #1 – My favorite bastard in comics is back in action with his own book. The best part is: this one now comes with more Constantine than ever! Turns out the plucky kid from Books of Magic has always been destined to destroy the world in a brutal magic war. Failing to save the world after sacrificing his friend to help the capes find an opening, John sits down for one last cigarette and prepares to die. Before he can, he meets a version of himself he’s never known. This older, happier, content Constantine sits down beside him and offers him the same deal he’s always been given by demons: for your soul I’ll keep you alive for now. He has always been his own worst enemy after all. A really cool kick-off point for Hellblazer for sure. Old Man Constantine also says “unholy fucktangle” which is the funniest way I’ve ever heard the holy trinity referred to. Pick this up solely on the merit of that line and bad-ass story.
Excalibur #1 – Tini Howard absolutely kills it in another installment of the Dawn of X. Betsy Braddock is still feeling very distant from the rest of the mutants even in their newfound nation. Escaping from one body and returning to one only her family has ever known can do that to a person. She’s summoned by the mutant formerly known as Apocalypse though for a dire situation: Krakoa tried to reach out to Otherworld in order to craft a gate but the Queen Regent there, Morgan Le Fay, ain’t having it. Betsy and her brother Captain Britain go to parlay with her but things break bad fast…La Fey orders the eradication of all witchbreeds (fantasy talk for mutants) and pulls Captain Britain into her thrall. A helluva lot of magic and redemption are going to make this book one to look out for.
Invisible Kingdom #6 – After a few months since the end of the first story arc IK is back and the Sundog is still in trouble. Running low on both fuel and food, the crew decides to make a pit stop on Vess’s home planet Rool. Unfortunately, the Roolians aren’t happy to see her since she ran off to the renunciation and abandoned joining a poly-amorous family unit which essentially amounts to a baby factory for her people. They begrudgingly help but tell Vess never to return since she’s let down her people. Good riddance to no personal freedom, I say. The Sundog unfortunately heads straight into disaster afterward though. The junk rings around Rool hide many junkers, one which just so happens to latch onto our good ship’s hull.
Silver Surfer Black #5 – I am now convinced that Tradd Moore can see into 50 different planes and can draw while looking into all these realities. Never have I seen such unique and brilliant art in a book before. The Surfer wages his final conflict against Knull, the god of the dark. The epic clashes at the beginning of the Marvel Universes creations literally echo through eons as Knull’s necrosword clangs against the Surfer’s board sword. Colors swirl as action rises in panels no one else has ever dreamed up before. At one of the climactic moments Stan Lee’s greatest work on the Silver Surfer, the Parable, is even quoted. This is the best superhero book of 2019 (yes, that includes HoX and PoX), get it in your brain if you haven’t checked into it yet.
Pink Lemonade #1 – Stealing a word from this book, it’s nice to see something so pure on the stands from time to time. Pink Lemonade is a racer is a colorful costume with a bike to match but no idea how she got anywhere. After a dream sequence involving a space race, an Adam Strange knock off and a talking dog; Pink Lemonade wakes up on a bench and makes friends with Linda and her daughter Pammy. The trio head to Linda’s house where Pink Lemonade learns all about OJ-Bot by watching cartoons with them. She then decides to go out into the world and wander doing good along the way. Something’s not quite right moving forward though, as it seems she’s not as a reliable narrator as we once thought. Check this out for a cool story and a super dope Jim Rugg cover.
Fantastic Four Grand Design #1 – Holy innovations in the medium, Scioli. Tom Scioli manages a beautiful retelling of not only FF’s origins but the Marvel Universe itself. Sometimes you forget how tied to the start of the world that Marvel’s first family really are. After a quick rundown of Uatu, the Eternals, Inhumans, Black Panther and Namor, Scioli comes back around to tackle the original adventures the four got into. His style is gorgeous as always and lends itself very well to this book as it looks like the old newsprint comics from back in the day. And the paneling…at some points there are 24 to 25 panels on a page without it feeling cramped or too much. How do you do that? Pick up a copy and find out.
Joker: Killer Smile #1 – Black Label has been doing some really cool stuff with Joker and Harley this month. Here we see Joker once again, getting his hooks into another psychiatrist sent to ‘help’ him. Ben believes he has what it takes to cure Joker completely, but he has two weeks left before he is off the case. He wants to fix Joker, but Ben might be the one broken in the end.
Basketful of Heads #1 – So, we don’t get to see inside this basket of heads. Mildly disappointing, but the build up has gotten me interested in reading the next issue. In this issue we find ourselves in the small town of Brody Island, Maine in the early 80’s. Today is Liam’s last day doing some sort of apprenticeship with the local police department, and he wants to spend as much time as possible with his girlfriend. Unfortunately, the entire town is on high alert after a group of prisoners break free and are somewhere on the loose on Brody Island. Now Liam must take all he has learned over the summer to keep him and his girlfriend safe.
Silver Surfer Black #5 – I was so excited to write the review on the first issue of this book, and now that it’s over I’m just as pumped. From the amazing abstract art style to an engaging story, there isn’t a person I wouldn’t suggest this book to. Silver Surfer has his big show down with Knull, and with some help from the planet Ego, he wins this battle. Still, he remains badly injured and he travels the cosmos to bring light back to his body that is quickly being taken over by darkness. What he finds instead is a way to balance the two, and embraces the new Silver Surfer Black!
Harleen #2– Welp, goodbye Doctor Harleen Quinzel and hello Harley Quinn. Joker got his hooks in and we get to watch the good doctor turn. Still we still haven’t gotten to see her in her full horrifying Harley action. We do get a fun surprise with Harvey Dents transformation to Two-Faced, and this is after Gotham PD officers decided to go the vigilante route (one vigilante in Gotham is very displeased). I said in my first review I was apprehensive about this story, but as we are awaiting the November issue I can’t help but be excited! I’m here for this next issue’s codependency realness.
Excalibur #1 – If you like magic and Arthurian legend then this is the X book for you. Morgan La Fey has found a portal that opens to Krakoa but not the other way around and now the mutant formerly known as Apokolips is getting a band of mutants together to run interference. So now we have the mainline x-book, the pirate x-book and the magic x-book. Excited to see what other x-niche’s the rest of the books will play.
The Last God #1 – A band of warriors got together and killed some elder god and now 30 years later that god is back because they either didn’t kill him or did a really bad job at it. As with any new fantasy series, this debut issue is fantasy noun heavy with none of it really clicking yet because it’s all new and I don’t know anything about this world or it’s lore. The art is pretty solid though and the paper stock for the pages is also quit nice. Not only that, but it’s nice to have a DC Black Label book that isn’t magazine sized large. I also think we’re running out of fun fantasy land names because if i’m going to be honest, “Tyrgolad” does not rank up very high for me.
Basket Full of Heads #1 – Joe Hill/Stephen Kings son kicks off his new line of horror comics at DC with this debut issue. Liam is a volunteer summer cop on Brody Island Maine about to wrap up his summer internship and head back to school when his lady friend June visits him in town. On the way to a good ol’ fashioned New England oyster roast, they pass by his fellow cops investigating some escaped convicts from Shawshank (CONNECTIONS) Prison. The sheriff assumes everything will be fine because they’re low level criminals and tells the couple to head on to that roast and eat and he’ll meet them there. Only he doesn’t because there’s been a MURDER and an approaching storm. So at night, our couple is doing an 80s version of Netflix and chill when some unwanted guests arrive and that’s where we end things. A really enjoyable first issue that I’m curious to see where it goes because the beginning of the book had two pages of our titled basket of heads that doesn’t appear again and there’s also a nordic axe that will seem to come into play somehow. Not only that, but we get a neat little back up story about some werewolves who are bout to rip apart some lobsterbacks/red coats/brits and help us win the revolutionary war. Here’s hoping the rest of the “Hill House” line of comics are as enjoyable as this one.
Joker: Killer Smile #1 – This was too short and I need more! One of my favorite writers ever Jeff Lemire takes a stab at The Joker which makes me read a book about the joker which I wouldn’t normally because DC is beating that horse to death, but here we are. Another psychiatrist is yet again attempting to analyze Joker which is obviously going to go over really well. Once he gets home from a hard days work, he decides to read a nice children’s book to his son which turns out to be not so nice and really creepy. Not only that but he has a wild dream and next thing you know it’s 8 AM and his wife catches him standing in the kitchen like a freak. Back at work, Joker makes some comments that eerily line up with the book he read the night previous and now it’s certain he and/or his family are probably going to die soon. Cest la vie in the world of Gotham. Lemire’s writing is wonderful as always and his art collaborator puts in quality art duties as usual even if this first chapter wasn’t too action heavy.
Marauders #1 – Kitty no longer! Captain Kate Pryde leads a team of pirate mutants for adventures on the high seas! I had no idea how this book was going to come together but it blew me away. At the start, Shadowcat tries to go through a Krakoan portal in New York but for some reason her way is blocked. Instead of borrowing an X-jet, for whatever reason she steals a boat in California and with a hull full of Wolverine’s hooch stash she makes her way to Krakoa. She’s then telepathically offered a proposition by Emma Frost: go to places where Krakoan portals are blocked by territorial governments (Russia, Brazil, other nationalist countries) and help mutants find a way to freedom. After this STELLAR first issue I’m excited to see where these freedom fighting privateers end up!
Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter #1 – Jerri is a failed newscaster who gets canned for exposing a renaissance faire for using boxed wine instead of from esteemed vineyards as was claimed. She turns to her usual solace, drinking heavily, but her boss brother who’s running the local family news station makes sure she gets another chance. So she comes back to the station to run the late night horror flick show decked out in bad makeup and a cape. The new gig goes well, that is until an actual honest-to-god werewolf shows up looking for her help, thinking she’s the old Count Crowley. A damn good story and real funny, don’t sleep on this one.
Batman Curse of the White Knight #4 – The GTO starts to splinter after their team leader fell to Azrael last issue. Unsurprisingly, Barbara goes off-the-rails in a rampage way to track down Azrael and break the biggest cape snafu: kill him dead. Meanwhile, Harley has successfully given birth to twins and is left in the care of Batman’s longtime ally Leslie Thompkins. She regales him with a story of how after a secretive message long ago, she and Alfred headed to the basement of an old-time apothecary. There they meet a man who appears to be Jason Blood, who tells him he stole this journal from the Joker and Bruce needs it in his fight. Then the fanciful room disappeared and they were left with only the journal…magical things are beginning to happen in this one which is exactly my shtick!
Ascender #6 – Having just been collected, Ascender is off to its next story arc! After being saved from drowning, Andy is penned up with a few other wretches and sent off to feed the vamp camps. Mila on the other hand is now onboard ship with Captain Telsa who has not been doing great since her father was vaporized in Descender. Both thinking Andy is dead, the two bond reluctantly on the deck of the ship before the greatest goddamned monster I’ve ever heard of appears: werewhales! Meanwhile Mother is out on their heels flying inside of her dragon to capture the two of them. A lot of questions are about to be answered it feels like soon.
Second Coming #4 – If you haven’t caught on to this impeccable religious satire do so soon! Marc Russell is absolutely killing it again. Jesus has been locked away for blasphemy and now with all this downtime he can read the New Testament, a bit of his history that wasn’t written by his apostles. Sunstar on the other hand rushes around to find other heroes to track down Jesus Christ. Their plan goes horribly awry until Sunstar’s S.O. calls in to the local jail who agree to release JC into their custody. In the clink, Jesus learns how his words were misinterpreted or otherwise cut for profit and the ramifications that it’s had on society as a whole. An extremely interesting thought piece brought to you by the greatest satirist in the business.
Swamp Thing Giant #1 – With Halloween just around the corner it’s good to see some collected stories of one of DC’s spookiest heroes. It’s not just Swampy though! My favorite bastard John Constantine makes an appearance alongside his green pal and Paul Dini’s Zatanna solves a magical murder mystery at the end of the book. Swamp Thing’s creator Len Wein even has a story for you with his plant behemoth teaming up with the Phantom Stranger. All the shorts wrap up their main threads nicely and horrifyingly in some cases all for a great deal at 100 pages. If you need help tracking down where some of the “to be continued”s continue, just let us know and we can give it a go!
Money Shot #1 – Dr. Christine Ocampo and the other scientists on her team are fed up with having to beg for funding. The research they are doing is important, but the space race isn’t the new cool thing anymore. Christine’s team was giving up hope when she came up with a plan to get space exploration back on everyone’s minds (and into their wallets). Two words: Space Porn. We aren’t just talking about humans banging each other in zero G, this full-on inter-species Captain Kirk banging across the galaxy realness. So far this plan has worked, but Christine has an idea for her next stream that will have the viewers and the science community come running!
Count Crowley #1 – Don’t forget to stock up on the spooky mini series coming out this month! The full title of this book is Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter, and they weren’t kidding about the reluctant part. After biffing it pretty hard on live TV, local news reporter Jerri Butler, is left out of job. Her brother runs the station and offers her the “Count Crowley” slot on the show. At first Jerri says no, but with bills piling up and her serious whiskey tooth, she agrees. Plus, it’s the stations ‘spooky theme’ movie hour so she will be covered in so much make up, no one will ever know it’s her. The first show goes well, and Jerri plans on keeping the gig. She’ll soon find out, there is more to being the Count than she thought.
Batman: Curse of The White Knight #4 – Welp, if last issue didn’t ruin your whole frickin’ day, come along as we watch Barbara Gordon mourn! Obviously, Gordon will be missed by many, especially Batman. Nevertheless, Bruce and the Gotham Task Force have no time to grieve, something must be done about Azrael. The Task Force is working on finding his location, while Bruce gets another piece of the puzzle that is this really fucked up ancient family feud. Barbara refuses to let this lie and sneaks off to get revenge for her father (she’s also made it clear, she isn’t following the ‘bat-code’ and is out for blood). Barbara finds Azrael and things don’t go how she wanted. Good news though, she might get a fresh set of wheels out of this…
You Are Obsolete #2 – It’s been about 48 hours since Lyla has been on this island run by children and things just get stranger by the second. She has her first real meeting with the children, and it doesn’t go very well. Lyla finds out the children have been recording all her moves on the island and even before, from using the bathroom at home to going out partying, it appears no where is safe from their eyes. She still doesn’t know what they want, but she has seen the proof that they will kill whoever gets in their way. At the end of the day Lyla is a reporter, and she came here to get a story. Lyla has no plans on running away, and the kids have no intention on letting her leave. Hopefully we get more answer on how we got here next issue.
Marauders #1 – Avast ye hearties, and prepare to set sail with the X-Pirates. Kitty Pryde can’t go through the portals to get to Krakoa for some reason, so Emma Frost gives her the proposition that she might as well become a sanctioned pirate for the Hellfire Club Corp and rescue any mutants who aren’t able to make it to the island for whatever reason. And so now we have a bonafide group of mutant pirates sailing around for the greater good and I’m genuinely excited to see what story arcs we get out of this book.
Money Shot #1 – In the not so distant future, the sciences are just as underfunded as they are now. Sadly for a particular group of scientists, that means they have a cool Stargate device called the “Money Shot” that they can’t even use now and all their individual projects are put on hold as well. But luckily for them, one scientist named Christine on a particular horny evening, has cum up with the bright idea to use this star gate to more or less turn into a fuck gate and travel the cosmos shooting intergalactic porn and selling it to subscribers to fund their research. Great debut. Totally here for this series.
Batman Curse of the White Knight #4 – The best sequel Batman book in years to the best Batman book in years continues to be the best. After the events of the last issue, Batgirl is on a quest for vengeance against Azrael and Batman’s stupid moral code can go kick rocks. Really this is all Batman’s fault and he’s going to hate himself even more after this issues cliffhanger and so might everyone else on team batman. The cracks in the foundation are cracking.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Full Circle – So this surprised the fuck out of me and turned out to be one of the neatest things I’v read in awhile. Basically this one shot is a big ol’ comics jam between seven creative teams including the likes of Hickman, Al Ewing and Jason Aaron, where one team kicks of the story and writes about 10 pages with a cliffhanger for their chapter and the next creative team picks up where they left off, adding their spin on things and ending it with their own cliffhanger that the next team then picks up on all culminating in one full story. It’s all incredibly entertaining and hilarious and something I’d LOVE to see more of and something you should definitely pick up because since it’s just this one issue, who knows when or how it will get collected in a trade.
X-Men #1 – The Dawn of X has broke and with it a fun start as a jumping off point from HoX and PoX. Yep, you read that right, this issue was good-humored fun. Cyclops and Storm did need to save a bunch of kids from Orchis at the beginning and some major things were hinted at towards the end of course but this one was mostly about a family dinner at the Summers’s house. On the moon. Corsair stopped by for a visit which provided great comic relief through his disconnected space pirates and Vulcan’s burning heart of fire and passion. The floor plans did reveal an amazing turn for the once heated love triangle- Cyclops, Wolverine and Jean Grey are now in a poly-amorous relationship. It’s so refreshing to see alternative relationships shown honestly and without judgement. This new era of X-Men is going to be fan-freaking-tastic if this is an indicator. So stoked for next week’s Marauders now!
The Marked #1– Magic users with rad tattoos! A lot of overly referential things happen in this one, sometimes walking a very thin line of homage. After sending away a picture to one of those “Can You Draw This Lady?” card things, Saskia is recruited by the Marked. The Marked are magic users who for centuries have protected us from “dark forces”. There’s a throwaway line where Saskia asks her new teacher why they don’t help with war, slavery, poverty-you know, “dark forces”. That’s swatted away as “human mischief”. Gross. This after just after explaining how they helped in WWII…Saskia then hangs with the cool Marked kids for a bit who encourage her to use a dangerous side of her new powers and then things break bad in a big way.
Once & Future #3 – The story starts to take hold of Duncan as are unwilling hero follows his Gran into ever-increasing danger. Using a bomb made of the most magic-killing stuffs, the two escape. Unfortunately, they need a historian from Bristol University which just so happens to be who Duncan went on a date with in the first issue. As his Gran says the story of this adventure is now dictating his path which is something to be feared. Rose guides the two to Bath Abbey where the first king of England was crowned which allows them to spy on King Arthur as he finds a sword more suitable to his tastes. Things are about to get mega worse from here…
Superman Smashes the Klan #1 – Based on the historic radio show which helped to spread the horrible secrets of the KKK across the nation, this first issue is really something special. On one hand, it’s nice to harken back to the days of the 1930s when Superman was still figuring out his powers, had no clue what Krypton was and where the whole world thought Nazis were creeps that needed to be punched. On the other hand, this story is just extremely well-told. Superman finds Kryptonite for the first time which causes to struggle with feeling alien in human society just as a young girl and her family move into Metropolis from their old Chinatown home causing her to feel like an outsider and alienated as well. When the Klan of the Fiery Cross burns a fiery cross in their front yard and kidnaps her brother, it’s up to Superman and her to stop their racist ways!
Something Is Killing The Children #2 – Holy hell, this story is ramping up in the coolest ways! We’re introduced to Tommy at the start, a manager of a local stand-in for Applebee’s whose sister was taken by the monster but no body found yet. The mysterious bad-ass blonde girl takes James to that same Applebee’s to plot out where the monster is snatching and killing kids. Unfortunately for them, even after bribing him, Tommy becomes suspicious of their work and tries to rough up the bad-ass girl. Not a good idea. They’re asked to leave while Tommy calls the local sheriff in order to report their suspicious activity. When he investigates blonde girl’s hotel room though, we find out there’s more to her stuffed octopus than we once thought…
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #4 – Y’all, the amount of times I laughed reading this book made it hard to read at the counter. All the various threads that have been laid out come together and form one sprawling story and Jimmy’s crazy board. Assuming a Logan Paul-like YouTube persona (with less shitty entitlement) of Timmy Olsen, Supes’ pal gets into crazy hijinks to get views and more revenue for the Daily Planet. While doing so, he stays out in Gotham trying to figure out who murdered his decoy corpse and put him out on the lam. It didn’t really take a crazy board but Lois Lane comes to his aid to figure it out: it was Lex Luthor! Too bad he’s pissed off not only Lex but Batman himself with all his tomfoolery! Seriously the funniest book on the stands right now.
Something Is Killing Children #2 – So, the first issue did not disappoint and we got to see lots of children die! Now, we get to look at a small town that doesn’t know what to do. Lucky for them, there is a monster hunter in town to fix their problems. Not everyone is happy about their presence. When one of the missing children’s older brother overhears the hunter talking about the kids, he gets suspicious. Now the monster hunter is the one being hunted!
Gwar – Growing up in Virginia, Gwar was a household name (well, amongst my scene kid friends at least). I’ve never seen them live, but The GwarBQ is always the event of the season. Gwar is known for their over the top theatrics and the uneasy feeling they leave their audiences with. It’s a Gwar comic so, of course, we see the band members being badasses and kicking butt, but this issue has more to offer. We get an in depth history of the band, from how they got together to all the members who have come and gone. They even pepper in some facts about our capital and home to the band, Richmond, VA. In 2014, the lead singer and last original member of the band, David Brockie aka Oderus Urungus, died, inspiring this book. You’ll enjoy this book Gwar-anteed.
The Mask #1 – This was one of my favorite movies growing up, so I had to pick up this issue. The book starts out with our favorite green faced jack of all trades using his powers for good. Shortly after we see him discarding the mask for who knows what reason. Meanwhile, we get to meet some of the shadier characters in this town from local gangsters to politicians. We don’t exactly how they all fit in together, but they are definitely people we don’t want to get their hands on the mask. They even reference our original Mask, Stanley Ipkiss. They don’t paint him in the same charming light as movie though. We’ll have to keep reading to get a clearer picture, but it looks like it’s time to Make America Green Again!
Once & Future #3 – Duncan is still trying to wrap his head around the fact his grandmother is a monster hunter. Unfortunately, there is no time for contemplation because they are in the middle of a monster fight. They are no match for this herd of undead, so they make their escape and try to figure out where the newly resurrected king will go next. Granny needs a history expert; good thing Duncan just went on a date with one. Of course, it takes Rose a little time to wrap her head around what’s going on, but with Granny pointing a gun in her face she has no choice to join the gang. As more magical things occur, you see Rose warming up, and I’m sure she will stick around (this time without being held hostage). While she grows intrigued, I don’t know if Duncan will be able to stand by his grandmother’s next decision.
X-Men #1 – A new X-era is upon us. Everyone is getting settled in their new home. The Summers are having a lil’ cookout in their new house on the moon. An X-Strike team is attacked by gorillas with PHD’s. Oh, and Jean, Logan and Cyclops have connected bedrooms and are into swinging/banging each other. Fun stuff.
JJ Abrams’ Spider-Man #2 – Peter Parker’s kid is super annoying. It also felt like this issue was missing key panels and I was left to magically infer things like the OSCORP building explosion and those weird cyber xenomorphs just running away for what reason? Pacing felt off. I don’t know how I feel about this series anymore but the bad guy still looks cool.
Something is Killing the Children #2 – the monsters take a back seat this issue as we make a pit stop at Applebeas for some character development and new character introductions. Also the monster slaying chick who’s name escapes me at the moment has a very peculiar stuffed toy she communicates with that might not be just a regular toy
Superman Smashes the Klan #1 – Gene Luen Yang recreates an old Superman radio program about a family of Chinese immigrants who move to Metropolis after the father gets a job as the Chief Bacteriologist. The kids, Tommy and Roberta, deal with the struggles of trying to assimilate into this new culture and shedding their Chinese roots so they can fit in. Tommy makes the local baseball team and the star pitcher isn’t too pleased that he is now off the team because of it and his racist uncle introduces him to the Klan of the Fiery Kross where they plan to do what all Klansmen do terrorize the new minority family in town. Superman witnessing all this also makes me recall his own feelings of being foreign/an alien and different and what he’s had to do to fit in. Yang also writes a back up piece explaining his own personal experience with Superman and his dealings with racism growing up as well as background on history of the Klan and abuses Chinese immigrants received when they were coming to America. Overall, a really great book for all ages with some wonderful art attached to it.
Superman Smashes the Klan #1: This isn’t a joke! When I first heard the title of this comic, I was immediately intrigued. It turns out that it’s based on an old Superman radio show from the 40’s. Avatar the Last Airbender writer Gene Yang and artist Gurihiru do this story so much Justice! Great for all ages and we love seeing racists get their comeuppance!
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.