August 30th, 2023

Rob's Picks:

The Plot Holes #1 - Writer/illustrator Sean Murphy (Chrononauts, Batman: The White Knight) presents The Plot Holes, a new original series that takes an irreverent look at the creative process. When stories turn mediocre, this elite team arrives to edit with extreme prejudice. Recruited by the mysterious Ed, these cast-offs, the forgotten and unpublished, do battle with cliches. Saving stories from their authors is hard enough, but the job becomes much more perilous with the arrival of the Bookworm, destroying volumes as it burrows through manuscripts. This book is a fun read with a self aware, fourth wall breaking sense of humor.
The Devil’s Cut: One Shot - This large format anthology is the first publication from creator-owned indie publisher DSTLRY, and something of a mission statement as well. Eleven stories by authors like Scott Snyder and James Tynion, each delivering their own distinct style and atmosphere. Snyder's “Spectregraph” and “What Blighted Flame Burns in Thee?” by Cloonan and Lotay are standouts in this collection, but the quality of work across all stories makes choosing favorites difficult. The truly spectacular art in this one-shot is well served by the choice to print in magazine size. The work of Christian Ward, Joelle Jones, and Eduardo Risso provide a visual feast, making this book worth picking up for the art alone. I’m curious to see what DSTLRY’s creators produce from here, but the variety of high quality, engaging material packed between these two covers makes me hope we get a second shot of the Devil’s Cut.
Conan: The Barbarian #2 - The pitch perfect throwback to Conan comics of yore returns with it’s second installment. Conan and his new companion Brissa, sole survivors of last installments undead assault, track the army of the dead as it moves ever northward, to the barbarians homeland of Cimmeria. Knowing they can count on no aid from the so-called “civilized” kingdoms on their border, he has little time to warn his people of what is coming. Brissa has already seen her fellow Picts destroyed and returned as undead warriors, but Conan believes his people to be made of stronger stuff. A homecoming quickly turns to another confrontation with the enemy and a first glimpse at the dark power that controls them. Zub and De La Torre continue to revel in the hard boiled prose of Robert E. Howard and grittily detailed style of John Buscema. If you like sword and sandals action of series like Barbaric or have any nostalgia for Marvel’s Conan titles, this title should be the next thing on your list.

Solomon's Picks:

Ms. Marvel #1 - Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant finally arrives on shelves and marks an exciting new era for Kamala Khan. This issue also serves as Iman Vellani's (MCU actress for Kamala) comic-writing debut! During the Hellfire Gala, Kamala was resurrected, and shortly after that, an anti-mutant group known as Orchis attacked the Gala. This issue follows up on that, with Kamala receiving orders from the X-Men to enroll in a Orchis-led school to spy on the group due to the fact her mutant gene isn’t detectable. We see that her resurrection hasn’t been easy on her subconscious, with Kamala having a disturbing, repetitive nightmare every time she sleeps. Furthermore, she has been struggling to adjust to the X-Men and how the group operates. She's also struggling with mutant-hate targeted at her, as well as the fact her family have no memories of her death and how it’s affected her. The art by Carlos Gomez and Adam Gorham was perfect for this story, and I loved how depending on if she was asleep/awake; the style changed. She shares intimate moments with Bruno that the artist(s) further complimented through body language and facial expressions. In fact, expressions in general were wonderfully drawn, and seeing as Kamala is a very expressive character I can’t wait to see how they continue to draw her. This was a wonderful first issue and I can’t wait to see what lies in store for Kamala.
Blade #2- The second issue of Blade was a blast! The pacing of the story was slower than the last, though that isn’t a bad thing as it gives room for the relationship between Blade and weapons dealer/former lover Tulip to be explored. They talk about the situation Blade has gotten himself into, the dreams Tulip has been having (she’s clairvoyant and has visions when something is off in the occult world), and banter about the past. Midway through the story, they’re attacked and we’re given a wonderfully illustrated scene of Blade taking down an armed helicopter in mere seconds. The art was amazingly drawn for his issue and I particularly loved the panel work during certain sections. The cinematic feel this story has had so far has been working in its favor, as everything flows together and keeps a decent pace as you read through it. All in all, this was a wonderful issue and I can’t wait for the next!
Batman/Catoman Gotham War #1 - Gotham War was an enjoyable first issue and shows a promising look for the series. Bruce has awoken after the events of Knight Terrors, and Catwoman has taken over the city with her crew, making changes to Gotham in her own unique way. The Bat-Family is called upon by Selena to discuss how they feel about current Gotham and how Selena has impacted it. Without giving away too much, they obviously have differing viewpoints and emotions run high as they confront each other. What I loved about this issue was the interactions amongst the Bat-family, and how relieved each of them were at seeing Bruce alive and well. I'm interested to see how this series progresses and how the story will continue to evolve.