Here I am again, ready to talk about new comics! After a more crazy and unenjoyable weekend than I expected, I’m back with not only last week’s picks, but what I found on the shelves this week, as well! That would be right, a massive double update. This is gonna take a while, so I’m just gonna go ahead and get started.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Shutter #2, by Joe Keatinge, art by Leila Del Duca
This series is fantastic so far, just like most of the series that Image is releasing right now. Kate’s story is already incredibly interesting, which is a feat considering the interesting world she’s in the middle of, whether it comes to a sentient cat clock that lives with her and her roommate, or the fact that ghost ninjas are just par for the course in the New York this universe holds.
For those who haven’t read this yet, Kate is the daughter of a great adventurer. Think of someone like an Indiana Jones type character, but not just through history, but out into space and the realms of the fantastic as well. Her father hoped she would be an adventurer as well, that she would take up after his footsteps in discover. For a time she did, but now she’s a photographer and writer in New York City. She’s written of some of her adventures in her past, and has quite the fanbase to show for it. She hasn’t been bothered by her past though. In issue one, that breather from adventure ends, when ghost ninjas, a robot with a wild west style, and a group of rats capture her while she’s visiting her father’s grave. Issue 2 picks up with her captured, the entire group being followed by a mafia of humanoid lions and NYPD officers in flying saucers through the streets of NYC. We get a small reveal into her past for a moment, and find out a rather surprising family secret she’s not even in possession of. This, combined with the grittier art with lots of action and movement really create something special, and makes me giddy to see more of Kate’s story. If this second issue’s any indication, things haven’t even really started yet.
Saga #19, by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples
Saga is one of the books that brought me back into the comics fold after a couple years of no comics thanks to no budget.I picked up the (fourth printing) of #1, and fell for it. This is one of those books where the art and the writing go so closely hand in hand that the book either succeeds on both points, or fails on both points. There’s not an in-between for a combination like this. Thankfully, I’ve not had the series fail me yet. I picked up that first issue, but then thanks to the shop not having any more back issues for two, three, or four, I picked up the first trade. I said I would only get the series in trade. I picked up the second trade months and months later, and then dropped the flawed idea and picked up the singles from where the trade left off. I haven’t stopped picking up the singles since.
They went on a break months back, making me genuinely a bit sad. They had this incredible story going, and now I was just sitting there having to wait. Finally, it came back this week, and it came back in force. For readers, I don’t want to spoil any details about this, as there are some status quo changes, but what you need to know is that our main family are all still here. Alana, Marko, Hazel, Klara and Izabel are with the ship and are on a new planet. This story focuses on them and doesn’t jump around to the multiple other stories that are going on around this universe of theirs. This actually plays into the favor of this, and we need a strong foundation for this group for what seems will be a trying arc for all of them. This is a fantastic book, and this is going to move into a fantastic story as we go through the next few issues.
THE BEST OF THE REST(Note: These won’t be in week order, and they aren’t ordered at all. These are just me commenting them as I get to them in the stack of comics sitting beside me) Captain Marvel #3, by Kelly Sue DeConnic, art by David Lopez
Captain Marvel was the book to bring me back into superheroes after the previously mentioned long break. I’d becomed disillusioned, by most of the series. I wasn’t (and honestly, I’m still not) a fan of Dan Slott writing Spider-Man. I’m still of the opinion that Zeb Wells should’ve taken over. DC went down the drain when I was in the break. I’d been reading Green Lantern almost religiously into Brightest Day’s beginning, but saw the quality drop beginning when I had to pull out of reading for other reasons. What I saw when I came back didn’t help my opinion, either. Captain Marvel, that was something special, though. Kelly Sue DeConnick took a character I’d marginally cared about in previous events (Carol Danvers/Ms. Marvel, the events being Civil War, Secret Invasion, Dark Invasion), and made her a powerhouse. She wasn’t just someone who felt like just another Marvel character thrown into various Avengers groups and big event stories. There were fantastic stories to tell about her, and an attitude to match what she could do. Then, you get to find out that there’s layer upon layer of realistic character aspects, both good and bad) that make her one of the most relatable and engaging characters in the Marvel 616 Universe.
This second volume that we’re currently in has her moving from truly accepting her new title of Captain Marvel to using it in full force. She takes to space on a special assignment, and by accident ends up engaged with the Guardians of the Galaxy. They’re a surprisingly good foil for her, and they add some of the comedy that could feel missing without Carol’s normal gang of friends, heroes, and neighbors.
With her ship being stolen by a mysterious alien child that thinks she can win some favor by capturing Starlord, Carol takes flight into space to try and get her ship (and her cat) back. Carol doesn’t really use her powers in this story, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a show of power and dominance. There very much is, and it’s a striking part of the story, especially when you consider it in comparison to what we see at the end of the story. She’s got power, she’s got dominance, yes. The question she needs to ask now is whether she’s using them the right way and for the right reasons. Empathy is something that’s always been a part of Carol in the stories I’ve read, and that’s something that always makes her feel more special than some of the other heroes. This issue ends with her empathy being brought front and center, and I have no idea where this book is going to go from here. This is a genuinely exciting prospect.
Lumberjanes #2, written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis, art by Brooke Allen
This is a series that I was turned to by a friend of mine, and it’s made a rather big splash since it was announced. It’s brought a lot of new readers in that would never have been comics readers otherwise. This has been a calling signal for women that are comics fans and the group of female comic shop workers and owners called The Valkyries. The short description is Gravity Falls meets Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It’s an apt description of this wonderful series about a group of girls at a summer camp where they keep finding stranger and stranger supernatural creatures and events appearing around them. The characters each have a distinct personality that fits in with their other campers well. They lean on each other and hold each other up. They also just flat out make a good team.
This issue followed them as they tried to get a badge for canoeing, which turned into an adventure they never expected. It was genuinely funny with just the right amount of intrigue. Also, I really want them to make actual versions of the badges, because those are great, and I kinda want one.
Bee and Puppycat #1, written by Natasha Allegri, Garrett Jackson and Madeleine Flores, art by Natasha Allegri and Madeleine Flores
I watched the two parts of the original short and fell in love with the story of the down on her luck Bee and her new pet-like friend Puppycat. The comic continues that strange and science fiction-esque story. This is created completely by Natasha Allegri, whom is better known as the creator of Fiona and Cake for Adventure Time. She’s a fantastic writer, and I’m so happy we’re not only getting more of her Bee and Puppycat animated series, but we’re getting a comic straight from her head as well. This issue was just flat out enjoyable, and sometimes, you need that. If you need a pick-me-up, this is a fantastic read worth your time. If you can, watch the animated short, first, as it’s so much more fun when you can hear their voice and cadence in your head.
HULK #3, written by Mark Waid, art by Mark Bagley and Andrew Hennessy
It can be so hard to find a good Hulk story. The movies have barely treated Bruce Banner or The Hulk well. The Avengers is the only film version that people feel got the characters right. In the comics, some writers are better than others at nailing just what this type of story needs to be. I can say that so far, Mark Waid knows exactly what he needs to do with Bruce and The Hulk. Having Bruce lose what his strongest non-physical asset, his intimidatingly intelligent mind, actually gives some agency and pity for the character that some may not have even considered before. It makes you consider what it would be like if Bruce was someone like Lennie from Of Mice and Men. The thing is, you don’t feel bad for him. For the first time in a long time, he’s happy. This issue is what happens when the happiness of his situation melts away. There were a couple story beats I didn’t expect, but truly cement Bruce as a hero, even with missing memories. This is a book I’m falling more in love with every time I read it.
Original Sin #2, written by Jason Aaron, art by Mike Deodato
This noir-ish story is a fantastically interesting read, and this issue is no less interesting. The Watcher was killed, his eyes were taken. No one knows why or how, but it is a fact that no one can deny, and the whole of the Marvel Universe is on the suspect list. There are a couple teams doing a couple different things in the search for the killer, and there’s a surprise on the final page that I don’t think anyone will actually see coming. I’m not going to lie, though, there are a few things that I’m not sure I understand yet, and I can’t tell if that’s because of my knowledge on the Marvel Universe not being perfect, or just something that will be revealed soon. Still, I’m ready to come back in the next issue to see just what we’re going to find out about some of our favorite characters.
All-New Ultimates #2, written by Michel Fiffe, art by Amilcar Pinna
While I enjoyed the first issue, I felt that the pacing didn’t quite work as well as it could have, and we didn’t really have much of a feel for anyone but Miles, Kitty and Jessica. This could very well be first issue jitters, and I think that it actually was. The second issue is much better on these fronts, and it has a feel for some actual tension. The group isn’t perfect in any sense of the word, and somehow they’re working together. I like this being an aspect of the group, considering they’re all new heroes (outside of Kitty and Jessica) trying to do what the adults did before, but without the resources. There was a reveal near the end that feels like it could have implications outside of All-New Ultimates, but we’ll have to wait and see if my thoughts on that come to pass. The series is worth a read, though it’s not perfect. It’s still finding itself, but that seems rather fitting for a story about superpowered teens.
Velvet #5, written by Ed Brubaker, art by Steve Epting
Ed Brubaker writing a spy story with Epting on the art duties. I really shouldn’t have to convince you with anything more than this. This spy story is enthralling, and each issue makes a turn you don’t expect. They’re closing in on the end of their first volume, and the chase that started in issue 1 looks to be nowhere near over. I want to see what Velvet herself is going to do now that she’s equipped with new information that she wasn’t in possession of before. It makes a massive change on her past and what happened between her and her husband. The story of Velvet is a tragic story in the spy world, and it still doesn’t fail at that front. Even with her confusion, Velvet isn’t compromised as a great character. There’s a lot of depth to her, which I expect to be the case with Brubaker writing her.
Seriously, this is Brubaker and Epting on the same book, with the story all about a spy. You have to pick this up.
That was a long one. It was a fantastic pair of weeks for comics, so I couldn’t help but gush a bit. Now I’m going to go ahead and go to bed as it’s nearly 1 AM when I’m posting this. Hope this finds you well. Tomorrow, it’s time to talk Godzilla. That’s gonna be an interesting one.