June 30th, 2021

J.R.'s Picks:

Beta Ray Bill #4 – Full stop: Daniel Warren Johnson deserves a take on every single character Marvel and DC has. I could look at his visuals forever and this issue cranks them to full throttle. A giant space squid has wrapped itself around Skuttlebutt on its way through Surtur’s realm and infiltrated the ship’s records room. In order to stop Bill and Skuttlebutt from moving forward, the squid displays Bill’s memories across various rooms including Bill’s first time meeting Thor, his terrible surgeries and the last time he was able to speak to his mother before the destruction of their home world by Surtur. It’s tough for Bill but he soldiers on and perhaps will be getting a huge power upgrade soon enough…the best action you can see in a book right now guaranteed.
Infinite Frontier Secret Files #1 – A deep dive into DC lore and all that Infinite Frontier has to offer! The course of this story takes place in Director Bones’s office where the skull-headed bureaucrat is going through various files on this super team assembled throughout the multiverse. The short stories that follow are then snippets of times before the team was assembled: Superman Calvin Ellis and his time juggling his presidency and superheroics, Roy Harper and his struggles after Green Arrow dumped him as a sidekick, Alan Scott’s kids and how they became closer and Psycho Pirate causing trouble for Director Bones. All in all some great character studies (not to mention art from Phil Hester) make this a sure-fire pick-up for any DC fan.
Green Arrow 80th Anniversary Super Spectacular – Hells yeah, more Phil Hester art! Clocking in at a whopping 100 pages, this special is another great anniversary anthology addition to all the others DC has put out. Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott’s is a stand-out in that it features Batman ragging on GA for stealing his car and cave combo while also showing how Ollie came up with the idea for his boxing glove arrow thanks to Wildcat. Ram V writes a lovely story encapsulating the relationship between Green Arrow and Black Canary as Phil Hester unmasks Ollie and shows why he has such a great heart. The end of the issue features a touching tribute to Denny O’Neil as well, the man who left an undeniable mark on DC Comics. Simply fantastic and not to be missed by anyone who’s ever read an emerald archer comic.
Barbaric #1- Michael Moreci and artist Nathan Gooden bring the heat with this interesting set-up to a swords and sorcery tale. Owen is a barbarian who wields a cursed axe which he hates as it binds him through powerful magics to always to do the right thing. The morals are decided by the axe who talks and quips as he tears into anyone he decides deserves to die. After stopping the execution of someone Owen and the axe deem to be innocent, it turns out she is more than she seems and reveals herself as a witch. As an ominous clouds of demons swirls around a monastery just ahead, the newfound trio must unite to reluctantly do some good. Hilarious and vulgar, definitely one for all murder hobos to grab while they can.

Diarra's Picks:

That Texas Blood #7 - Time to jump back in the saddle with next arc of That Texas Blood! Sheriff Joe is still on edge after all the blood shed in the previous arc. This isn’t the first gruesome case to come his way, and all those memories come flooding back. Back in his early days on the force, a Satanic Cult ripped through his small Texas town. The local police couldn’t make heads or tails of the crime scene, but that’s when P.I. Harlen Eversaul shows up. On the 20th anniversary of that case and with everything going on, Joe still believes the worst isn’t over. I’m so excited to see what’s next in store!
Parasomnia #1 - After reading Maniac in New York, I was pumped to see Andrea Mutti was illustrating this series! Cover A represents the inside of this issue so well. It’s a story of a homeless man, which has its own set of daily trials, who is on the hunt for his missing son. All awhile plagued with nightmares that he is revolutionary fighter with the same goals. In his dreams he uses the tip of his saber to get answers, but in both worlds he comes up short. Someone does know where is son is, but why and how is still left unanswered. Hopefully he doesn’t have to tap into his dream world persona to get answers!
The Electric Black #1 - After picking up Black Caravan’s book Cherry Blackbird last week, I knew I had to check out their new series. The issue begins with an unlikely duo, a hot blonde and creepy Dracula-esc fellow, bored at home. The blonde decides to run some errands, but is stopped when some jerk snatched her purse. The mugger has done this many times before, but can’t believes his luck when he jogs by a new pawn shop. He enter and who is the owner but the blonde’s creepy friend! Coincidence? I think not. As the thief looks around at the shop, fake Dracula tells the tales of the misfortunes that lead to the acquisition of these items. No surprise, the purse snatcher doesn’t make it out alive, but one of his tattoos leads to another mystery. If you love things that go bump in the night, this book is for you!

Stone's Picks:

The United States of Captain America #1 - I don’t read much of Captain America unless it’s an Avengers comic, but after what I read from Christopher Cantwell on his Dr. Doom run I couldn’t help but be intrigued. The beginning of this book is a look inside the mind of Steve Rogers as he breaks down the American dream. He feels as though sometimes he's dividing the country more than helping to heal it. The main story seems to focus more on the theft of Captain America’s shield and Steve’s discovery of a legion of Captains across the Country trying to help anyway they can. I can only hope that with each issue, Cantwell breaks down a little more of what America means to Steve as it could end up being the best part about the book.
Shang-Chi #2 - Time to suit up and look their best because Shang-Chi and Brother Sabre are heading to an auction! The Cosmic Cube is up for sale and in order to stop it from falling into the wrong hands, Shang must try to secure it for the Five Weapons Society. This issue continues to explore the struggle that is Shang-Chi having to be perceived as a villain. His attitude toward others at the auction, while not hostile, is evidently lackluster as he’s being forced to bump shoulders with people he's fought many times. Throw in the fact that you have to find some balance between leading this huge criminal organization and bringing your own family back together and it gets a little rough. mind you, this is the same family that would rather Shang embrace his ruthlessness over the desire to be a hero.
Barbaric #1 - This comic was awesome! The best description I can give it is Ella Enchanted with a brutal fantasy overlay. Instead of family friendly comedy there’s skulls being smashed to pieces and monsters being slain...and a lot of sex. You’ll get the point after a page or two. The main character, Owen, is similar to Conan in being called a barbarian. Besides that, Owen is funny and when teamed with his blood craving axe, their interactions with each other are great. The axe has its own personality by the way, and the fact that he gets blood burps when he feasts on to much blood is a nice touch. This was a good comic that while not necessarily having done anything new, felt refreshing.