October 4th, 2023

Rob's Picks:

G.O.D.S. #1 - A brand new series from Jonathan Hickman (House of X/Powers of X) and Valerio Schiti (Tony Stark: Ironman) that expands the cosmology of the Marvel universe in this extra large premiere. Behind the scenes of the familiar world of heroes, mutants, sorcerers and super geniuses, a conflict as old as the universe has been fought between The-Powers-That-Be and The-Natural-Order-of-Things. Wyn is the one and only Avatar of The-Powers, and after a few millennia on the clock he’s a jaded but effective agent. A master of magic with an “I’m so over this” attitude defending the universe from supernatural threats, Wyn comes across as a blend of sorcerer supreme and John Constantine. He rubs elbows with the likes of Dr. Strange, the Possessor, and the Collector, establishing the Avatar as a known quantity in Marvel's supernatural/cosmic realm, but Hickmans real mission is to introduce us to new concepts and characters. The reader is fed a steady drip of lore throughout the issue. It’s enough to understand the players and the stakes, and the following issues will certainly fill in the details. The writing bounces between breezy and epic, expository and action-packed. Hickman doesn’t allow the story to get too grandiose or lose sight of character in the epic scale. Moments like the extended and intimate dialogue between Wyn and his ex-wife Aiko show us that despite the series title, this is a story about human beings.
The Sickness #2 - The second issue of The Sickness builds on the tone and themes established in the first. The slow burning approach and mundane goings on leave the reader in constant suspense, waiting for horror to invade the banal suburban world. With this issue the creators delve into real world horrors and how even terrible things can become mundane. In 1951, Dr. George Brooks continues to investigate the hallucinations that drove a housewife to murder, uncovering a similar case from years ago. His dive through hospital files puts the dark history of psychiatric medicine on display. For many years the lobotomy was used as a catch-all treatment for a variety of mental illnesses. The procedure was performed routinely and for a time this barbaric act was seen as ordinary medicine. It fell out of favor in a matter of years, leaving many victims of medical hubris. The parallel story of 1945, the horror of the atomic bomb arrives, a shocking event that changes the world, and while some ponder its potential with dread, others celebrate, accepting the new terror as long as it's America's. Dr. Brooks' growing obsession and the body horror imagery throughout the book give this installment shades of Uzumaki.
Transformers #1 - The Energon Universe kicked off with Void Rivals, which has only offered us a few cameos from the robots in disguise. This week the Transformers finally arrive. The new ongoing has Daniel Warren Johnson (Do a Powerbomb) at the helm and he gets this series off to an explosive start. There’s familiar names and faces, the war between Autobots and Decepticons, but this doesn’t play out as a retelling of the Transformers story as we know it. Watching Johnson play with his new toys is a blast. The characters feel true to their origins even while the events deliver surprise after surprise, and the action manages to be gripping while also delivering amazingly over the top moments like a giant robot doing a suplex. The human part of this story is less developed than the rest, but it’s enough to begin placing the newly awakened robots into our world. The series has a long time to explore the depths of these characters, and can be forgiven for choosing to give us an extra helping of what we came here for. To describe the plot without getting into spoilers would make it sound like just what you’d expect from a new intro to the Transformers, but there are some huge surprises and moments that will defy the expectations of long time fans.


Solomon's Picks:

Ranger Academy #1 - The first issue of Ranger Academy was a wonderful debut into this next chapter in the Power Ranger universe. The team behind this did a wonderful job with Maria Ingrande Mora as the writer, Jo Mi-Gyeong as the artist, and Fabiana Mascolo as the color artist. This is a YA approach to Power Rangers (Well, MORE YA) and could actually serve as a great starting point to newcomers as the main character, Sage, has absolutely no idea what a Power Ranger even is. This isn’t much of an issue though, as a few pages into the book it’s strikingly clear that she is more than deserving of the role. She shows tremendous courage and unwavering passion as a new Ranger. There’s so much charm within this single issue and even if you’re not a fan of Power Rangers, it would be hard to deny that this series is going to be a favorite. And if you are Power Rangers fans, there are plenty of easter eggs and character appearances for you to enjoy. While it’s hard to gauge a series success from a first issue, the gorgeous art, loveable characters, and relatability the YA format allows is definitely going to leave a strong impression on many!
Transformers #1 - It’s a new era for the Transformers and this first issue is definitely one you don’t want to miss. Brought to us by Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spicer, and Rus Wooton, this is a wonderful first issue that wastes no time throwing you straight into the mix! You’ll see longtime fan-favorites, intensely illustrated fight sequences, fantastic art, and did I mention how awesome the fights were? Seriously, there’s a lot of action in this first issue. If you aren’t a fan of Transformers (what’s wrong with you?) you won't have to worry about being lost in the narration as it seems to be extremely welcoming to newcomers. There were so many incredible things packed into this book, but my favorite would actually have to be the lettering work. It was eye-catching, bold and really helped to enhance the action scenes and overall tone of the comic (and compliment the already jaw-dropping illustrations). All in all, this was a fantastic read and I highly recommend it to everyone!
Fire and Ice #2 - Fire and Ice is back on shelves this week and I adored this chapter. It’s keeping the energy flowing from the previous issue, choosing to focus on the character’s personalities and ambitions rather than an impending threat. We see Beatriz’s obsession for fame and admiration lead her to make pretty drastic moves, attempting to exploit old villains you may or may not recognize. We also see Tora ditch her superhero threads to hit the town with an old friend and see the ‘real’ Smallville. The stark contrast between the two characters is handled well as you can tell they still have love and respect for each other, but are having a difficult time adjusting to this new life and all their differences makes for an entertaining and relatable read. I’m loving Fire and Ice so far- It’s fun, quirky, and chaotic in all the best ways. If you’re like me and can quickly get burnt out by all the hectic events superheroes always seem to get thrown into nowadays, I highly recommend you pick up this story!