February 8th, 2023

Caroline's Picks:

How I Became a Shoplifter #1 - This was the surprisingly fun read I needed this week. Our two main characters are Ethan and Phil, two best friends who committed their first petty crime in 1996 and never looked back. Told in a series of vignettes we see the boys starting off getting into some smaller trouble. A little revenge prank on Phil’s older brother after he beats the crap out of them starts them on their shoplifting ways, but after that the chaos they create only grows. Next time we see the boys they are determined to impress their crushes, so they go on a little adventure to the house of the Juggalo who lives across the street and buy their first handful of weed. And we learn Ethan's deepest, darkest secret to boot, though he’s pretty good at keeping it under wraps. Phil, well he gets a little excited. Turns out some people really don’t like Juggalos. But the last little adventure was easily my favorite. The boys are trying to sneak backstage of a ‘Mashmouth’ concert to impress their crushes once again and things certainly don’t go as planned. They’re high school kids after all, not criminal masterminds. Yet....at least.
Harrower #1 - Barlowe is your average small town, average high school with typical cliques and characters. What makes this place special is the lore, the stories the kids in high school now heard from their parents and teachers growing up. The Harrower is the biggest story of them all, an avenger who keeps their town ‘pure’. Some people still believe in him to this day, and with it being Halloween season it seems everyone in town is extra on edge in regards to the Harrower lately. The main cast of high school characters is easy to connect with, and immediately gives you an idea of the varying opinions on the myths and how real people believe they are. But something is definitely a little extra off when Jessa goes home before the big high school party. It’s the big Harvest Gala, but also a 10 year anniversary of an incredibly terrible night for the town. Slowly the mystery of what happened and who is responsible begins to unfold, and it seems like things are about to get as bad as they were a decade ago in Barlowe.
Static Shadows of Dakota #1 - Season 2 of Static Shock is finally here after weeks of delays and it does not disappoint. We pick right back up with Virgil after the events of the last Milestone season and the events of Paris Island. Things in Dakota are about as good as anyone can expect after the government's failed attempt to capture the Bang Babies. Normal citizens have started grouping up to catch Bang Babies and collect the bounties for their capture. That just won’t do for Static. He’s promised to keep everyone safe, superpowered or not, and he’s not going to let a couple thugs harm his friends or anyone else. So when a group of government vigilantes attack a Bang Baby meetup it’s right into the action for Static and company. Nothing they can’t handle. Virgil still has real life responsibilities to attend to and it's really nice to see the creative team showing him working on balancing his heroism with being a mentor to a young gifted kid like him. Saving the day happens in plenty of ways, sometimes it’s just showing up and giving support. That’s something Virgil knows first hand, but there’s still some uneasiness lurking in the air, or more specifically in the shadows.
Monarch #1 - If the idea that we’re all living in a simulation and nothing is real then I’d highly suggest you not read this book. If that’s not your take on life, however then this series is looking like it will be a wild but captivating read. Aliens exist and have visited earth but what happens next seems to be a bit of a mystery. Travon is a young high school kid, just trying to make it through the day, and past his bully. Today starts like any other day, sassing his sister and foster mom before outrunning the kid who wants to kick his butt on the way to school, but Zion intends for things to be very different today. And not just because there’s some weird rainbow cloud floating over the sky. All in all the day seems pretty normal though, classes pass and the school day ends. Then everything changes, mid ass-kicking the aliens attack and suddenly it's everyone for themselves, doing what they can to stay alive to the next day, to the next simulation.

Diarra's Picks:

Static: Shadows of Dakota #1 - Milestone Season II starts here! After anti-police brutality protesters were hit with experimental police gas, many were given super-powers and Static Shock has made a name for himself as one of the good guys. Last season, Static had to combat the folks who used their powers for evil, but his new adversary won’t be so simple. A mysterious swat team just infiltrated a gathering of the newly powered citizens dubbed “Bang Babies”, and are rounding them up for experimentation. Static steps in and frees the prisoners, but he knows this is just the beginning of the government invasion. Static’s longtime bff, Richie, begins digging into the folks that launched this attack and Static goes to handle Virgil’s responsibilities in a big brother-esc program. That’s because Static is a hero with it without his mask, who wants to help his neighborhood, but there is someone else keeping an eye on the Bang Babies. Someone from Season One that doesn’t have the same code as Virgil, has his eye on the folks rounding up Bang Babies too, but he is more focused on revenge! You’re not going to want to miss this Milestone return and one series I can’t wait for is Icon vs Hardware, dropping soon!
Joe Fixit #2 - Last issue, Wilson Fisk arrived in Las Vegas with the goal of extending his criminal empire manifest destiny style, but he didn’t know the casino owner he planned to muscle in on was under the protection of Joe Fixit! To add more complications, Peter Parker is also in town and just decided to extend his vacation to keep an eye on the two. After Fisk and Fixit have their first show down, Spidey swings by his hotel room to warn him Wilson Fisk doesn’t give up so easily, but our tough-talking, gray gangster isn’t worried. Unfortunately, Peter’s spidey sense and knowledge of Wilson Fisk was spot on, and he just drugged Joe with a mind control gas. Now this loyal enforcer is on a rampage destroying the casino floor and our friendly vacationing Spider-Man has to figure out how to snap his “old friend” out of this before he destroys the entire Vegas strip! It’s always a good time when Banner and Hulk take a break, and Joe Fixit is behind the wheel. You don’t want to miss this mini series!
How I Became A Shoplifter #1 - Bold titles are made to draw our attention, like how Something Is Killing The Children attracted horror fans, How I Became A Shoplifter was meant to target the delinquent in us all. More specifically, the former teen delinquents from “the final generation before technology took over”, and we meet up with 12 year old best friends Ethan and Phil. The year is 1996 and the two just turned Christmas Eve into a mischief night, which is the beginning of their petty crime filled youth. You see, in the 90s, having an annoying neighbor was a perfectly good reason to commit a felony (these kids now a days can keep their swatting), and the creators of HIBS want to transport us to that time through the eyes of these two boys! Each issue is made up of different chapters/short stories from a new year and a new creative team! In ‘97, they get revenge on Phil’s older brother causing him to miss the upcoming Manson concert, a thing that would make any young goth cry off their eyeliner. The last chapter covers ‘99 and the local film developing studio called their parents because of the explicit pictures on the roll they sent in. The parents are concerned they kids are turning to a life of crime, but they simply snuck backstage at a “Mash Mouth” concert to impress some girls. We are following teen boys, so doing dumb things to impress girls is definitely a running theme, and one of the boys Juggalo past might ruin all their hard work! This comic will leave anyone from this era with the feels, I know I’m hooked and definitely putting this on the pull list!

K's Picks:

Red Goblin #1 - I know for a fact I wasn't the only scratching their head when they saw the preview for Red Goblin. I assumed that Norman was going to find the carnage symbiote and then that was going to lead to his grand downfall. That wasn't the case at all! In fact, his grandson Normie is now the Goblin clad in blood red! A questionable surprise at first but after seeing the kid "Goblin out" for the first time, I was elated for potential future powers this kid could display! To give you the low down, the kid has some amazing taste. He straight-up references Gundam Unicorn, wild!  Norman Osborne, never in the history of ever, can get a break. His grandson is nearly bonded with a wild, candy-loving Alien and the Goblin Nation is raining havoc all over New York. On the other hand, Normie is having a lot of trouble keeping his alien friend Rascal in check. Rascal isn't as much of a issue to handle like some other red murderous ooze, so it's not all that bad. All in all, Norman Osborne can't catch a break and I feel like nothing good is going to follow after all this for him. 
Gospel #4 - I love this issue. There's clear progression and the writing does not failed to impress once again! It goes without saying that I absolutely adore Gospel. Everything from the art, time period and panel work have really kept me engaged. It's a dense read but by the time you hit issue four you're probably already knee-deep in the demon hunting shenanigans! I enjoyed this issue focusing on the friendship between Pitt and Matilde. Seeing as Pitt and Matilde are having a hard time finding their magical "McGuffin", things really turn for the worse as one disagreement leads to the duo splitting up. From there we see a cool perspective on Pitt's backstory and how the two operate in isolated settings. A pretty good read, I appreciate how their bond is forming over this long journey!
Gold Goblin #4 - Norman Osborne has grown to be one of my personal favorite characters in the entire Marvel Universe. From the performances of William Dafoe to the Spider-Man animated series, Norman Osborne cemented himself as a true nemesis to everyone's favorite web-slinging hero. This run of Gold Goblin and exploration of Osborne is more than welcomed! Last we left off, Norman was left beaten and defeated after his spontaneous encounter with the Mystical right hand of Limbo. Alone and depressed, we see things fall deeper as we learn his sins were transferred to his therapist, the newly-titled Goblin Queen. With every insane development unfolding for Oz, things proceed to get worse with a newly changed Jack-o-Lantern relapsing into crime again. One big misunderstanding has left Norman in a completely broken state, labeled a villain once more. It's really interesting seeing the likes of Norman go down this enthralling path of attempted redemption, only to fall flat all over again.