June 21st, 2023
Scarlet Witch Annual #1 - Wanda has finally managed to wrangle her inner demon, literally. She’s brought the Darkhold into her soul and made herself an eternal prison. Sounds like a normal day for her. But holding one of the most powerful beings in the entire multiverse inside your soul is bound to attract some unwanted attention. Not the nightly demons Wanda has started keeping a menagerie of, but beings much more dangerous and powerful. Enter Agatha Harkness! If you've been missing her since the TV series ended then this issue is going to be an absolute joy for you. Auntie Agatha is front and center in keeping Wanda safe from her unknown terrors that await her in the other realms. Of course the ladies have to fight things out before they can sit down and have a nice girls chat about life. But a few punches and interdimensional portals later they’re as close as ever. Extra bonus for the Darcy fans, this series has really seen her character develop and become her own, competent person who is 100% there to help Wanda however she needs. Little shop tasks or big friend moments, she’s always there. A very wholesome read that really has me excited for the House of Harkness series to drop.
Wonder Woman #800 - This issue is an absolute love letter to Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince. We see Diana passing between realms of life and death, meeting those most important to her and those she is most important to. She has such an important presence in the DC universe and her impact on everyone she meets is noticeable. Others are often working towards being the best of themselves after they see Diana working so tirelessly to do the same. We get to see some of her most iconic looks and artists again, the Jen Bartel pages were easily my favorites here. Once back in reality Diana is even more determined to do what is right and required to be the beacon of hope she is seen as. Flash forward a few years though and her daughter Lizzie is about to break every rule she ever taught her. Lizzie aka Trinity is ready to do whatever it takes to learn her truth, and her brothers are there offering to help no matter what. Afterall with family there are never favors, they love her till the end. Whenever that may be.
Titans #2 - Wally West is dead and the Titans have no idea who's responsible or how it happened but luckily for them it's not their Wally, sort of. He’s their Wally just from the future, and the team is determined to keep this outcome from coming to fruition. Usually the Justice League would handle things from here, but with them gone the Titans are going to have to trust themselves, and the years of training their mentors put them through, to save their own. And with the next environmental disaster hitting a little too close to how it seems their future Waly died, Nightwing is playing it safe. He and Wally are staying put until they can get more clues into what’s going on. With Donna in charge the Titans head out to the Amazon, someone has intentionally set it on fire! Seeing the emotions that each member of the team goes through on this mission is a great look into how they’ve grown from past failures as well as how they’ve learned to work together on missions through years of practice. Tom Taylor has been doing an incredible job of keeping the nostalgia of the Teen Titans woven into the new Titans team and letting us see how they’ve naturally grown through the years. And of course no coming of age story would truly be complete without at least one major betrayal from a friend.
Cyborg #2 - Another day, another problem for Cyborg to solve. With his father's death and this new Robot Silas running around claiming to be him Cyborg might be in a little over his head. It's one thing to be developing a working relationship with your father after years of not getting along but its a whole other level of relationship to have his AI personality living in your head with you. Especially during a fight. Ray had always had trouble proving himself to his father, and apparently this version isn’t much easier to please. He’s trying to remain calm, cool, and collected and be the hero and Titan that the world knows him to be. Yet every time his father is involved he seems to be suck as the kids just wishing his father would tell him he’s proud. But now, now Ray has to do more than that. He has to figure out who was after his father, and why. What did he discover or create that led to his death and the creation of his robotic-self. If nothing else he’s going to need several more sessions in therapy to really work through this experience. But for now they’ve got to get to Solace. STAT.
The Incredible Hulk #1 - Bruce Banner is on the run again, fighting to keep the Hulk contained and stay one step ahead of their many enemies. Far from being a return to an old status quo, writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson gives us a new and decidedly dark story by dialing up the psychological and bodily horror, with the help of some gnarly transformations from artist Nic Klein. Horror has been a part of the Hulk formula from the character's creation, but this feels less like a horror inspired superhero comic, and more like a horror comic starring a superhero. Pick this one up to catch up with Banner, meet some new adversaries, and see a fresh take on a classic series.
Guardians of the Galaxy #3 - Peter Quill gets a letter from home, sending him and Drax on a side quest. Starlord has long avoided any royal duties, but at his sisters request he takes part in a ritual hunt with Spartoi aristocrats. They are unconcerned with Grootfall, except as another trophy to hunt, and are soon butting heads with our hard traveling space adventurers. Paring down the cast for this side story gives us a chance to appreciate the Peter and Drax as a unit, to see the commonality in their notions of justice and honor. This months book is loaded with character, but still gives some hints to how the guardians got to where they are, and where they go from here.
Bone Orchard: Tenement #1 - Lemire and Sorrentino are expanding the bone orchard mythos with a new spin-off, Tenement. This first issue opts for vibes over exposition, moody narration carrying the reader through snapshots of the various characters that thread their way through this story. They are neighbors in a run down apartment, the kind of place where people are familiar, while still being strangers. They pass each other by in hallways and courtyards, occasionally intersecting, and sometimes colliding. Something connects them. It could be the place, or some malevolence that dwells there with them. The style of this issue gives it the feel of a horror movie trailer, and a very effective one. If this is a preview of what’s to come then we can expect this creative team to continue their run of top notch horror titles.
Ultimate Invasion #1 - Ultimate Invasion is here and I can't recommend it enough. Especially if you grew up with The Ultimate Universe like me or are just a big fan of it in general. I was actually caught off guard, but pleasantly surprised (as I'm sure a few people were) at Marvel's return to the Ultimate Universe considering it wasn’t exactly the most beloved series. If i’m not mistaken, it’s been 8 years since the last entry, though it feels like no time has passed! This first issue comes in swinging, and just in case you forgot, it reminds you that The Maker isn’t a villain to sleep on. It’s hard to discuss anything that happened without spoiling a bunch of its contents. I loved that they leaned into The Maker's overtly cryptic personality in this issue. There is a moment (MINOR SPOILERS) where The Maker and Reed share a very intense dialogue exchange and it was so satisfying to feel the tension and weight of their words in that moment (SPOILERS OVER). All in all, this was a wonderful issue filled with quite a few memorable moments that made me extremely impatient for the next issue! It seems like they are utilizing the more loved aspects of the universe and I hope this successfully revives the Ultimate Universe!
Titans #2 - The new issue of Titans was an excellent blend of drama and plot twists that you would expect from this group. Picking up right where the last left off, it surprised me with almost every page. Showcasing different aspects of a few characters in satisfyingly subtle ways. My favorite has to be a moment with Nightwing who has a VERY interesting moment that highlights his similarities to his mentor, Batman. We are also given a hint as to who another potential antagonist of this run may be, though it’s still a little too early to call for sure. I love the pace and they’re feeding us hints towards the greater mystery revealed in the last issue. So far, they’ve done a good job at making the Titans feel like an organized hero group who care for each other and the world around them. I see this having a lot of potential to be a long-time fan favorite run and this is definitely a run I recommend you keep an eye on!
Scarlet Witch Annual #1 - This was a spectacular issue that I recommend to everyone! Agatha visits Wanda to ensure that she is responsibly using her new abilities and that she is maintaining a healthy mindset. It’s a very grueling test, but a perfect way to open up this story and brand new arc for the iconic characters. Besides an interesting story, the art is phenomenal! There are many moments where the artist(s) get to flex their talents and enhance the already incredible moments. I’m excited to keep reading this new Scarlet Witch run. Don't sleep on this, the trade of the first arc is out soon.