July 19th, 2023

Caroline's Picks:

Star Wars The Rebellion #1 - Mon Mothma is really being given her time to shine in Star Wars right now. Between her key role in the Andor series and this new one-shot about an attempt on her life right before the key battle of Endor, Mon is truly running this show. Just as things are about to get underway with the attack on the Death Star Admiral Ackbar receives some intel that Mon is going to have an assassination attempt on her life. She swears up and down that the Rebellion is not going to be toppled by the death of one person, and so she prepares herself to be stabbed in the back by someone close to her. All for the sake of the Rebellion. But Admiral Ackbar can’t, and won’t stand for that, he’s still got 2 perfectly good cards hidden up his sleeve. And with any luck they'll be able to save Mon, and the galaxy.
Scrapper #1 - Scrapper is just your average good boy, living his best life in New Verona. He lives a simple life keeping the streets clean and free of rats and riff raff and his evenings eating ravioli with his people. New Verona is a hi tech dome city, run by the organization SMITE, they’re constantly reminding people that life is better inside the dome. Despite the crime, violence, drugs, and lack of general safety, life is totally better inside the dome. Just don’t ask anyone how they really feel about it. We spend the first issue with Scrapper, learning the rules of staying happy and alive in this world. He’s a good dog, dumped on the streets as a puppy and taken in by a loving family. He does what he can to take care of those he loves. And when SMITE comes to his home he’s going to do more than any god ever has to get his vengeance.
Harley Quinn Black + White + Redder #1 - It’s Harley Quinn’s turn for the black, white and red treatment! These mini stories are definitely love letters to the classic Harley. Whether she’s stealing from the elite, running a con, or working on her gymnastic skills Harley is always leaving a trail of chaos in her wake. Each story highlights a key part of her character, showing her motives or the way Harley approaches changes in the plan and how she seems to always be able to take the bad times and look for her possible best outcome. As per usual my favorite of the 3 was the one where Harley and Ivy trek through the snow to the Fortress of Solitude for a quick little theft, only to be thwarted in the most unexpected way. Having Red as such a staple for her color palette means that this issue is nice and bold, giving it a more whimsical feel than her stories normally do.
XINO #2 - The weirdest and coolest anthology series to come out is back this week with an issue packed with Sci-fi short story goodness. Each issue is like its own season of content, packed with short tales that are each somehow more unique than the previous one. This issue focuses on cycles of life and death; how the choices made at one point in our lives can seemingly impact them forever, even if we don’t realize it. The first story in this one might be my favorite, a tale of a predetermined destiny for a chosen child who only ever wanted to live surrounded by love. But a close second is the nightmare fuel of a story called ‘Testimonial’; imagine you work for some massive conglomerate company in the warehouse for years, you die, then the company spends months and millions to bring you back to life and keep you as an employee eternally. No one should show this to Amazon…

Rob's Picks:

Void Rivals #2 - One might expect the tent-pole series of a nostalgia driven IP shared universe to go all in on fan service, but it’s clear that writer Robert Kirkman intends Void Rivals to stand on its own merits. This week’s issue provides more lore regarding our warring factions, the Agorrians and Zertonians, their shared history, and how conflicts of ideology and scarcity lead them to war. This is valuable context for the ongoing struggles of our two protagonists, who are coming into sharper focus. The flippant and often fatalistic humor of Darak clashes with the sincere and determined Solila, yet they’ve managed to turn a hopeless situation into a slim chance at survival. The issue features a deep cut from the Transformers, a reminder that we’re in the Energon Universe.
Guardians of the Galaxy #4 - The western vibes get dialed up again as we check in with a guardian who has managed to sit out the series thus far. Refuge is just one planet of many under threat from Grootfall, and the only thing between Refuge and a fiery doom is the Star-Sheriff. It’s a job that requires nerves of steel and a gigantic gun, so it’s not too surprising that Rocket Racoon is wearing the tin star. After whatever events lead to the creation of Grootfall, he left the team to defend this one world rather than the whole galaxy. Destroying Groots has left deep scars on a character already haunted by past trauma, but he keeps up the fight, perhaps more as a penance than a duty. It’s a strong, single character focused story that dives into the emotional core of this series.
Alien #4 - The Xenomorphs have arrived in full force and everyone’s best laid plans have gone up in smoke. It’s chaos and claustrophobic violence, the desperate fight for survival that defines the horror of the Alien franchise. With Weyland-Yutani’s ship under an icy lake, Batya and Zasha Zahn have to find a plan b. Zasha is proving herself to be resourceful and brave, using all her wits to save her mother and unborn brother. Family dynamics get complicated by a series of shocking reveals in rapid fire succession. Meanwhile, our Weyland-Yutani mercs are being picked off one by one as they race to beat the Zahns to the last way off moon LV-695.

Solomon's Picks:

Blade #1 - A. NEW. BLADE. SOLO. STORY. IS. HERE! If that doesn’t get you hyped, I’m not sure what will. This issue was filled with PLENTY of action and drama that will be familiar to fans of the iconic character. A simple and intriguing enough first issue, that if you aren’t familiar with the character's past stories/adaptations, this should be a decent jumping on point. The overall plot itself hasn’t done too much just yet, though there're still plenty of intriguing moments in this issue that will keep you invested. The pacing is wonderful, and you’ll most likely fly through it without realizing. The newly revealed antagonist also has several noteworthy moments, my favorite being their last few panels where they are ripping their flesh away to step into a new form. The art is phenomenal all around. I can’t think of many pages that aren’t eye-catching, especially with how dynamic the lighting and colors are at times. Something I did find interesting is that this is only #29 of Blade's Legacy Number. A character as old, beloved, and important to Marvel as Blade should be well into the hundreds by now.. This *does* give the team behind this series a chance to really set the bar for future runs of this character. With all that being said, with the new movie releasing this November and the way this issue ended, this ongoing story will definitely be something you’ll want to keep a close eye on!
Hawkgirl #1 - Hawkgirl finally returns for her own fresh new story. This is another wonderful story coming out of the Dawn of DC and I hope this level of quality continues to be delivered! She’s moved to Metropolis and is in the process of piecing her personal life together and discovering new avenues for herself. She talks with many friends about her old life and it’s obvious she hasn’t come to peace with many things. It seems like she’s distracting herself from her recent breakup and the League’s disbandment with her duties as Hawkgirl. Even that portion of her is called into question as she asks if she’s outgrown the mask before the brand-new villain, Vulpecula, interrupts her. This issue also serves as Galaxy’s, a character created in the ‘Galaxy: The Prettiest Star’ story, introduction to the DC main canon and I'm interested in seeing how she fits into the world. This was a great first issue with an enjoyable story, interesting new characters and fantastic art and I can’t wait for the next!
Void Rivals #2 - Void Rivals' next issue is finally here and I loved it! We got much more backstory on the Agorrian and Zertonian peoples, as well as some hints into what the story will be leading towards. We get back to Darak and Solila who, after finding out in the last issue that underneath their armor they were the same. The war their two races have been fighting was built on lies, so they've decided to more-or-less put their people's history aside and work together to repair a ship and escape the meteor they were stranded on. The selling point for the story so far has definitely been the dynamic the main characters have and how they bounce off of each other in so many ways. There were so many fantastic world and character building moments in this one issue and I can’t wait to get more in the issues to come. Void Rivals is shaping up to be an instant classic so grab a copy today!