February 28th, 2024

Rob's Picks:

Savage Sword of Conan #1 - The relaunched Conan the Barbarian from Titan Comics has been a big hit with fans of the original Marvel series, drawing praise for its dedication to capturing the style and tone that came to define sword and sorcery comics of the 70s and 80s. This has opened the floodgates of nostalgia for fans of this sort of comic, and while the Barbarian title gets plenty of love, the conversation always turns to Savage Sword. Marvel launched Savage Sword to capitalize on the appeal of Conan and similar stories among more mature readers. Featuring higher quality art presented in the larger magazine format, the title turned up the sex and violence while dodging the Comics Code by including non-comic content. Titan has taken the same “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach with Sword as they did with Barbarian and the results are just as satisfying. Our A-story from Writer John Arcudi and artist Max von Fafner finds the Cimmerian acting as a soldier of fortune, laying siege to a city said to be built on a literal gold mine. The prince he follows has promised great spoils, but an army held together by greed alone can’t defeat the mighty beasts that defend the city. As the army melts away in the desert heat, Conan allies with the crafty and beautiful siege engineer Ineah, and discovers what their patron truly covets behind the city walls. This one checks all the boxes for Robert E. Howard style pulp fantasy; exotic locale, monsters, betrayal, combat, boobs. This issue also includes prose by Jim Zub, an essay from pop culture historian Jeffrey Shanks, and a new story of Solomon Kane, Howards monster slaying Puritan, from Patch Zircher. Savage Sword is a worthy successor to a venerable series, as gritty and fun as any issue of the original.

Duke #3 - Our Real American Hero, who spent his first two issues on the run after witnessing a robot in disguise, has been caught and thrown in a secret military prison known as the Pit. This cage for the worst of the worst is running at low occupancy, but he has good company in Clutch and Baroness. Anastasia Cisarovna is in a chatty mood and very curious about what Duke did to land on the wrong side of the USA. His captors, Stalker and Rock n’ Roll, are having second thoughts about locking up a fellow soldier, but they hardly have time to voice their concerns before the Pit is under attack by the forces of Destro, led by Major Bludd. Seeing an opportunity to escape, Duke and Baroness team up, but how far can our boy trust a terrorist aristocrat? As with the previous entries, Williamson and Reilly serve up a little intrigue and lots of action, slowly building out the Joe end of the Energon universe with the same deliberation as the other titles in this shared universe. Like Transformers, this book is willing to take big risks with these characters and so far they are paying off.

Spider-Punk: Arms Race #1 - The last entry in the Spider-Verse film series put even more Spider-people in the limelight, and few characters caught more buzz than Hobie Brown, aka Spider-Punk. Marvel has been slow to respond to this newfound popularity, but they’ve finally got their act together, and the wait has been worth it. Writer Cody Zigler brings us into the anarchic world of Earth-138, where Hobie leads a team of earth's punkiest heroes, such as Riotheart and Captain Anarchy. The writing is breezy and playful, and artist Justin Mason is channeling Kevin Eastman at his best with his leather jacketed mohawk sporting depiction of the Lizard and other punk twists on classic character designs. Of course, there’s story and action, but this book is really carried by the sheer charm this team is cramming into every panel and bubble. For everyone who's been wishing for Spider-Punk to ride again, this book is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. Hopefully, enthusiasm for this character persists, and maybe we’ll get to see more lighthearted and just plain old fun Spider books in our future.

Solomon's Picks:

Spider-Punk: Arms Race #1 - Hobie Brown finally received a new run this week with "Arms Race," and new and old fans alike are sure to be thrilled! Given to us by Cody Ziglar, Justin Mason, Morry Hollowell, and Travis Lanham comes this action-packed new story, each page filled with personality! It opens up with Hobie and his Spider-Band taking down The LZRDZ and The Vulture in a hectic fight in the middle of the city. After Hobie gets lectured by T’Challa and Shuri for the senseless damage to the city caused, we see what sinister plans The Hammer and Doc Ock are planning for Spider-Punk, and we actually see a tiny piece of that plan in action. In a few short pages, the two unleash havoc, and I’m very interested in how they are going to continue to escalate this. My favorite part about the story (Besides the humor) would be how they touched on Hobie’s natural ability to be a leader, but for some reason, he shies away from it whenever he can. With eye-catching art, a quick-paced story, and more, I’m sure this run will satisfy the overwhelming demand for more Spider-Punk comics. Copies are going fast, so grab one while you can!

Hack/Slash #3 - After a very long hiatus, Zoe Thorogood returns with a new issue of "Hack/Slash," and it did not disappoint! Seems like each issue is more gruesome than the last, and this one was filled with wonderfully designed creatures and atrocities that will definitely leave an impression on you. We get much more backstory for the supporting cast and some wonderful relationship building amongst everyone. Cassie and the gang are assigned to stop a Slasher operating out of a strip club that seems to be kidnapping the new hires and using them for a twisted experiment. They run into a sickly, Junji-Ito-Like monster and have to put all of their training to use if they hope to finish the mission and return to the Academy safely. This may have been my favorite issue from the series yet, from the charming dialogue, story progression, and wonderfully crafted illustrations! If you haven’t already picked up this series, now is the perfect time so grab some copies today!

Resurrection Of Magneto #2 - Seems like anything focusing on Magneto right now is going to be filled with many introspective questions and discussions of grief and forgiveness- and I’m all for it! Storm finally reaches Magneto who is trapped within a prison of his own shame, surrounded by the names of everyone he killed (By his hand, or by his name) and he is refusing an easy exit. He is allowing himself to wallow in his past sins, much to the annoyance of Storm who is not happy with the pity party he is throwing himself. As I said, this was a very introspective issue, and the way it handles grief, shame, and personal responsibility is sure to be relatable to many readers. This story has been amazing so far and I can’t wait for more!