June 14th, 2023

Caroline's Picks:

Spider-Man India #1 - If you haven’t seen the new Spider-Verse movie, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?! Go see it, and then come back and grab this issue to learn even more about everyone's favorite new Spiderling: Spider-Man India. I was immediately interested in the character when he was introduced in the movie and wanted to learn more about what his Spider-life and world are like. His scenes were humorous and reminiscent of my friends and I in high school, while still being able to show the immense pressures and trials of being a hero. I was still immediately interested in learning more about the newest Spider-Man: Pavitr and when I saw him getting a 4 issue mini series I was quickly on board for the whole thing. It's been really nice to see Marvel being so welcoming to the Spider-men, and women, from all the different universes and getting to see Peter, and Miles, share from their own experiences and failures is always a moment worth reading. Pavitr is just like any other Spider-Man, trying to find his way as a normal college kid while simultaneously trying to keep everyone in India safe. Doesn’t help that his world has its own Oscorp: Giricorps. I think you can tell where this is going. I’m definitely curious to see how Pavitr handles his own villains and key moments in his universe during this series.
Queen of Swords #1 - The Barbaric team is absolutely killing it this year. This new series is set in the world of Barbaric but expands upon other incredible characters that populate the world as well as the lore that defines it. We finally get to spend some more time with Deadheart and her own sentient sword Ga’Bar as well as seeing Ka from the Harvest Blade arc once again! And then there's Serra, the newest member of our gang. I'm never mad about another powerful witch joining the party, especially one with such close ties to my favorite necromancer from this world, Soren. The girls are on a mission to find the man who killed Deadheart and kill him. A simple enough revenge tale, but in the world of Barbaric is anything ever simple? To start their quest off the ladies need an orb, a special, magical orb that has the ability to nullify the magic inside of anyone. But of course an artifact with that type of power will have more than one party after it, good think Serra knows exactly who they’re going to be up against.
Spirit World #2 - Xanthe and John are still trying to find their way back to the Spirit World, and after a very quick pit stop back with their living relatives Xanthe is more ready than ever to leave this realm. John, being the amazing friend he is, is absolutely ready to go to bat for Xanthe if needed, and while he isn’t the best person he’s doing a rather good job of being a minor mentor to Xanthe when he can. Lucky for him they feel the same. A little bonding moment in the fold between the realms and a few bitter exes of Johns later and they’re almost home free. Xanthe’s powers are easily becoming one of my favorites, I just love seeing all the little trinkets she keeps pre-made and tucked away for emergencies. Cassandra, however, is still a living soul stranded in the realm of the dead. With no powers to help her she’s only got her regular Batgirl gear, and a few new friends, and the longer she stays the more chaos she’ll invite upon herself and anyone who helps her. But a major revelation could really shake things up for her down here. Hopefully Xanthe and John can get back soon.
XINO #1 - This issue is the first of 3 in a new anthology series that looks like it is going to be a great mix between Black Mirror and Love, Death, + Robots. Each short story inside leads to a wilder ride than the last. They're all somewhat tangible, rooted in our reality but just slightly to the side. As if any one of these scenarios could be where our world is headed should humanity manage to make some terrible choices. Technological implants and improvements meant to help average citizens with disabilities be on the same starting block as everyone else, hyper-nationalist American neighbors who think everyone’s a commie, overpopulation leading to the sacrifice of some of the world’s children, and a video game straight-lined into your brain. All of these topics are explored in this issue with massive twists and dramatic turns that I honestly did not see coming. The biggest takeaway: fear the bunnies, you never know what they’re really up to.

Rob's Picks:

Void Rivals #1 - Writer Robert Kirkman and artist Lorenzo De Felici (Oblivion Song) reunite for Void RIvals. Lost on an uninhabited world, two aliens from opposing factions become united by the struggle to survive the desolate planet. Mistrust is just one of many obstacles they must overcome. Their search for a means of escape leads to a surprising cameo from a huge IP, revealing this original series serves as the introduction of a new shared universe, which will include new creations alongside old favorites. This issue sets the stage for a series blending the new and the nostalgic.
XINO #1 - In comics like 2000 AD, or shows such as Black Mirror, the science fiction short story is used to express the ironies and anxieties of our times. XINO, the new anthology miniseries from Oni Press, makes its first contribution to that tradition this week with stories ranging from cyberpunk exploitation to suburban paranoia. Each is satisfying in it’s own right, but getting so much variety of tone and style in a single issue is what really makes this a treat. Gorgeous illustration by Daniel Irizarri for the story “Hue” is reason enough to get this book.
Venom: Lethal Protector #4 - The story keeps charging forward in another no-filler issue. Having thwarted the doomsday plot of Vanguard, Eddie and Silver Sable part ways. Our hero trades this partnership for a new, and less agreeable one with none other than Victor Von Doom. Dr. Doom thinks Eddie Brock’s symbiotic other half is the key to completing his oldest and most personal mission. Venom learns the hard way that Doom has no partners, only pawns. Writer David Michelinie is absolutely killing it, this series feels fresh and new while still being a throwback to the balls-to-the-wall action of Venom’s 90s heyday.

Solomon's Picks:

Static Shock and Anansi - Static Shock and Anansi was an enjoyable issue, putting two (in my opinion) extremely underrated heroes together to solve a mystery involving a close friend of Static. We see the two go through a few disagreements about how to handle certain situations and we also see moments of vulnerability from Virgil, struggling to grasp the idea of mystic forces. There are two panels within this that I love. Without spoiling much, I will say there’s a moment where Virgil is given a chance to fully appreciate his existence and family's legacy and another showing a team attack with Static and Anasi that immediately brought a smile to my face. If you’re a fan of either hero I would definitely pick this up as it compliments both of their characters extremely well!
XINO #1 - This comic is a collection of gripping sci-fi stories created by various writers and artists. It contains stories of a man with no vision now being able to see at an unfortunate price, a dystopian future where competition is god, and more. Every story is short, with the longest lasting 10 pages and the average being about 5 pages. While there were definitely stories that piqued my interest more than others, absolutely none of them were bad or uninspired, something I can’t say for many anthologies. I love that the differing art styles worked for each story, perfectly capturing the tone the writer was conveying. I personally enjoyed ‘Hue’ the most and think that everyone should pick up Xino to read through it!
You’ve Been Canceled - You’ve Been Canceled is an interesting first issue. It shows the act of holding public figures accountable, commodified, and in a very dystopian way. They have bounties placed on them and they are hunted; the entire process broadcast for the world to see. Even though it displays a culture of people obsessed with the morality of public figures, everyone has their vices, especially the main character. Though he is considered one of the best at “Canceling” in the present day, he has a disturbingly wicked past. The introduction to the world and setup of the few characters we saw was great and I am interested, yet weary of the next entry as these types of social commentaries have the chance to do something either amazing or awful. Here’s to hoping for another amazing issue!