April 10th, 2024

Rob's Picks:

Ultimate X-Men #2 - The second issue from writer/artist Peach Momoko finds Hisako shaken by the encounter with the shadow and the emergence of her powers. She’s alone and unsure of what to do until she makes a new friend, Mei, who has some strange abilities of her own. The white-haired punk joins Hisako in her next confrontation with the shadow. It’s a memorable climax where Momoko indulges in some very effective body horror. Her style as a writer and artist have made this book the most unique of the new Ultimate titles. Rather than rearranging the series history, X-Men is recontextualized as a supernatural teen manga. This issue leaves us with a glimpse at the man behind the shadow, and the new mystery of Mei, whose arrival is perhaps a bit too conveniently timed. Ultimate X-Men is a great example of what can happen when Marvel lets artists follow their instincts; nothing else in superhero comics looks or reads like this book.

Rat City #1 - Writer Erica Shultz and artist Ze Carlos explore the cyberpunk side of the Spawn universe with Rat City. Like Spawn, this story begins with an elite soldier on a mission gone wrong. Al Simmons died and became hellspawn, but in the year 2107, Peter Cairn lives. Having lost both legs, Peter agrees to be a test subject for experimental prosthetics. The cybernetics soon have him not only back to normal but better than ever. For reasons known only to them, the researchers expected something far more dramatic, and Cairn is removed from the program. That is a lot of turns for a life to take in just one issue, but the most damning reversal of fortune occurs when the past deeds of Al Simmons echo into the future. This number one issue is front-loaded with action designed to excite the reader while revealing the character of Peter Cairn, with the more expository second half playing out with a montage-like brevity.

Uncanny Valley #1 - Tony Fleecs (Stray Dogs) makes an amazing first impression for Uncanny Valley with this first book, an incredible cocktail of sincerity and absurdity. The series follows Oliver, a boy who seems ordinary enough, except for the fact that strange things seem to always happen to or around him. If there is a reason he occasionally runs through a wall leaving a silhouette shaped hole, it lies in his family history. Oliver’s mother has kept that history a secret, but it finally intrudes on the present when they are menaced by talking crows. It’s a sharply written book, but artist Dave Wachter really sells the swing in tone from the grounded childhood drama of the opening pages and the over-the-top absurdity of this issue's climax.

Solomon's Picks:

Edge Of Spider-Verse #3 - Another entry into the Spider-Verse anthology with Edge of Spider-Verse 3! Star-Spider’s story was definitely my favorite of the two, with wonderfully illustrated panels and an enjoyably quick-paced story! Following a Kree Invasion of Earth-1978, Persephone Parker is an assistant to Professor Osborn, helping with the maintenance of the highly advanced space station named after the NYC borough “The Bronx”. She performed her daily duties as Star-Spider with little to no issue before a group of Kree led by this universe’s “Doc Ock” somehow boarded the ship and began wreaking havoc on her home. So many wonderful things in this story but the character design/expressions are probably my biggest takeaway as there were many panels I found myself doing a double-take to fully appreciate the art on the page. I thoroughly enjoyed Persephone’s character and would love a future series revolving around her!

Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace #2 - Ms. Marvel’s journey continues with the second issue of Mutant Menace! Kamala was transported to a planet where Lila Cheney was performing when the beloved punk-singer requested the young hero’s help in rescuing her fan club. This issue provides a bit of room for Kamala’s personality to shine as we see her placed in front of the camera multiple times and her charismatic nature can’t help but shine through. There were many laugh-out-loud moments in this book, and it also demonstrated how, even if she’s not directly fighting the bad guys, Kamala is still a natural inspiration to the people around her. The Punk-Like design she sported in this issue was also welcomed and fit her character perfectly! This was definitely a fun issue, and I’m excited for the follow-up as towards the end Kamala was visited by a very underrated character!

Ultimate X-Men #2 - Ultimate X-Men returned to shelves this week with an interesting issue! Following right where we left off, Hisako is looking for any sort of answer to the strange happenings around her when she is approached by a girl named “Mei,” who has an extremely similar look and vibe as Storm. The two instantly hit it off, as Hisako begins informing the girl of the issues she’s been having lately. The two explore an abandoned school, but it doesn’t take long for the shadowy figure from the first issue to make an appearance and cause the two to go on the offensive. The girl, who will be known as “Maystorm,” reveals her mutant abilities, and Hisako accidentally reveals her powers to Mei. Momoko has brought a different energy to the Ultimate Universe compared to the other two entries, and I personally have been enjoying this series so far. While it’s definitely taking its time to build up the story, based off of Momoko’s other stories, I’m confident once everything is properly set up we will be in for an insane storyline!