July 5th, 2023

Caroline's Picks:

Swan Songs #1 - Swan Songs, helmed by the man who created Ice Cream Man and Haha, is another series of one-shot horror stories but the big twist this time around is that each issue will be drawn by a different artist than the last. Fans of The Department of Truth will immediately recognize the art for this issue and should feel right at home jumping into this uniquely weird world. Each issue tells ‘the end’ of something. This time around we’re told a story of the end of the world. The nuclear apocalypse is minutes, seconds away. So many things have gone as wrong and dark as they possibly can, but not for Brian. He takes it one step at a time, one small moment he can control followed by another. He takes us on a small tour of his little corner of the end of the world, teaching us a few tips along the way to help our lives bloom. Just like his. If i wasn’t already sold on the premise based on the creators this issue was definitely enough to have me already looking forward to the next.
Barnstormers #1 -Tula Lotay absolutely stuns with her art in this series, adding a layer of mystery and grit to the story that helps set the tone before a speech bubble has even been read. Hawk E Baron is the greatest pilot this country has ever seen, just ask him! He’ll tell you all about his adventures flying and performing across the states. He puts on a good show, takes people for rides and barrel rolls, all to make a few bucks at the end of the day and move on to the next town. But Barnville is going to be different, he met a gal who assured him she’d have a whole gaggle of fans waiting for him when he arrived. With a crowd like that his name is sure to spread, and fast. Only problem is his ‘friend’ was lying. Now he’s ruined a wedding, ‘kidnapped’ a bride, and is being stalked by a robot man. A totally normal life for your average 1920s American pilot. Now Tillie and Bix, aka Hawk, are on the run. They’ve got her newfound family and the Pinkertons, yes those Pinkertons, after them. Hopefully they can con their way to happiness before they meet an untimely end.
Captain Marvel Tempest #1 - I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Captain Marvel’s tenure as the leader of the Avengers and so I'm definitely ready to see more of her in her solo Dark Tempest run. She’s got a lot on her plate both professionally and personally but she’s always got time to make her way back home for a drink and a storm. And a few side bets don’t hurt the local morale either. But Carol is a busy woman after all and even if she wishes for the simple life if not in the cards for her right now. Insert one deep space threat, one Negative Zone problem, and one Problematic Teen Talk and she can hardly keep up with her notifications. But Carol doesn’t even know what she doesn’t know. She’s been fighting herself and her ‘haters’ her entire life, now she’s got another out there looking to take her down. He might be a little deranged and drunk on conspiracies but a villain is a villain, and Nada isn’t too picky on who their helper is. Despite the constant hurdles Carol always seems to manage to keep a positive outlook, one she’s sure she can share with the world. She’s got her team and her friends by her side, nothing can keep her down for too long…
Untold Tales of I Hate Fairyland #1 - Have you been missing more tales of Gert in your life between the Fairyland series? Then this is the issue for you. Scotty Young is finally delving into the time between the first Fairyland series and the current run and he’s got years of content to explore. Gert has always been, and always will be, a chaos gremlin so why would these shorts be any different? Whether she’s facing down a giant barbarian or fighting this world's equivalent of the 3 little pigs, Gert is a no hold barred psycho. And we love her dearly for it. These two short stories just cement ever further into the Fairyland history how much Gert dispersed everything about it. She wants to be there just as much, if not less, than everyone there wants her around. But Gert is going to keep trying to make her life relatively normal in her insane world. That is until someone else looks at her funny. I’m hoping we get many more of these stories, i loved the original series and getting little snippets and stories of the time we didn’t spend with Gert is always a joy for me as a reader.

Rob's Picks:

Knight Terrors: First Blood #1 - Writer Joshua Williamson kicks off DCs next world shaking crisis with Knight Terrors: First Blood. In the land of dreams John Dee, AKA Dr. Destiny, encounters a mysterious evil scary enough to send this long time villain running to the Hall of Justice. This book gives the Trinity the most screen time together since the Dawn of DC began. Supes, Batman and Diana spring into action but soon find themselves facing their worst nightmares. Who can save Earth's greatest heroes? The aptly named Dead Man! This title is packed from cover to cover with phantasmagoric art from Howard Porter and Brad Anderson, blending classic DC design with hallucinatory horrors.
Steelworks #2 - The people of Metropolis can be their own heroes, if John Henry Irons can just give them the tools. That's what he believes, but does anyone else. This second issue brings our series villain and his goals into sharper focus, while showing that resistance to progress can even come from our supposed allies. After the success of last week's trial run, business tycoon Charles Walker III and his newest creation/pawn, the Silver Mist, gear up for another assault on the Steelworks. John hardly has time to assess the damage when the whole super family arrives. They are shocked, perhaps even personally offended, by the suggestion that they should take a step back, lest their constant intervention do more harm than good. Much like the politics of progress here in our world, those used to having the most power and prestige think they know what's best for the rest of us, that the bystanders of the world couldn't make it without them. Michael Dorn is doing some amazing work for a first time comics writer. This may be the most thoughtful and thematically rich titles in DCs current run.
Hairball #4 - With every issue Kindt and Jenkins find another way to evolve this story, keeping the reader always on their toes. What began as a bleak domestic horror about a toxic family and a malevolent cat has become a globetrotting supernatural thriller steeped in mythology. Anna's quest to understand the nature of Bestie takes us from ancient Egypt to modern day Greece. The black cat has found a new home, just as troubled as Anna's once was. Does evil follow Bestie or does Bestie follow evil? Whether she's a monster or a divine protector, her new owner jumps at the chance to be rid of the ominous feline, a choice that has terrifying consequences.

Solomon's Picks:

Captain America #750 - The latest issue of Captain America was a beautiful anthology focusing more on the “Human” aspect of both Sam and Steve. It’s a collection of short stories, with most of them having an overlapping theme of grief, insecurity, and the weight that comes with holding their respective shields and what that symbol means to them. My favorite story would definitely be the first one, featuring Sam and Misty Knight, titled “A Cup Of Tea”; which goes over the reasons Sam decided to continue being Captain America, the reasons he quit, and how he came into possession of his shield. It’s a heartfelt conversation between Sam and Misty where Sam is experiencing a lot of self-doubt at the idea of picking up the mantle of Captain again, and Misty reminding Sam that he has every reason to trust himself as much as the people around the world and close to him trust him and his abilities. There is also a story focusing on Steve titled “The Hero” which introduced me to a character I personally didn’t know existed, named Arnold Roth. This was one of Marvel's first gay characters, and Steve’s childhood best friend. He’s existed since the 80’s but has been forgotten as time moved forward, so it was interesting being introduced to a character who Steve himself states: “Captain America wouldn’t exist without you.” All in all, every single story in this issue was worth a read!
Swan Songs #1 - Swan Songs ‘The End of The World’ presents a very intriguing story about the end of times and what that means to different people. We follow a man named Brian, whose only concern during an apocalypse is making his sick mothers last few moments worth it by reading her favorite magazines to her. He ventures out into a crumbling city to search for the final issue of her favorite series, all while reflecting on the words his therapist once told him, his former life, the state of the world in its last few moments, and most importantly, how much his mother means to him. Across the city, everyone is handling their issues in unique ways though the majority of folks we see are distracting themselves from the end, one way another. A huge theme in this story is shrinking the world to only focus on what you can control, and Brian is a great character in that regard- even when people are trying to force him to lose sight of what matters to him the most important thing to Brian is getting his mom her magazine because that’s his world, and as long as she’s happy what happens outside of their room isn’t important. Along with an interesting storyline, the art is wonderful, and I love the creativity poured into every page. I can’t wait for the next issue “The End of A Marriage” to release, but until then grab issue one of SWAN SONGS today!
Captain Marvel Dark Tempest #1 - This first issue of Captain Marvel's brand new run was very interesting. It opens up with Carol relaxing in her hometown after her previous run, though that relaxation is quickly interrupted as she’s reminded that her life as leader of the avengers, and life as Captain Marvel will always take priority. We are reintroduced to Nitro, a longtime Captain Marvel villain. He is against modern society's reliance on technology, and would go through great lengths to go back to a time where people prioritize real connection over “effectiveness”. He has a strong vendetta against super-powered humans, with Carol being his least favorite. He teams up with an unfamiliar foe named Nada, who claims to be the child of Despair and Chaos. She has plans that will somehow reset the universe to a time before technology and is obviously manipulating Nitro as a means to an end. I personally think her character is interesting, and can’t wait to see more of her. In fact, this run promises to introduce more new characters into the marvel universe, villains and heroes alike and I am looking forward to that. I loved the conversations Carol shared with Jessica Drew, really highlighting the differences between the two of them and showing that Carol will always try to be an optimist even if everything looks doomed. In fact, that’s probably my favorite thing about this first issue is it did a great job showcasing how even though Carol may find a way to save the day in a marvelous way, that effort may not be appreciated by everyone but her can-do attitude will never go away. I’ll be keeping an eye on this run and suggest you pick up a copy and do the same!