March 10th, 2021

J.R.'s Picks:

Children of the Atom #1 – This new series from Vita Ayala and Bernard Chang is off to a really exciting start. A new team arises but even after introducing themselves, the question as to who they truly are remains unanswered. When the Hell’s Belles are up to their old tricks of small time robbery, a group of teen heroes modeling themselves after the X-Men step in and make short work of them. After they vault from the scene, three of the real X-Men come to congratulate them and ask why they haven’t seen them on Krakoa. The teens make an awkward exit here but word hits the higher-ups of Krakoa who want to find this group and shelter them from harm they could be coming their way. The real question remains though: why don’t these kids want to meet their obvious heroes? I was unsure of this one at first but this is definitely going in my monthly reading here on out.
The Joker #1 – The clown prince of crime gets his own monthly but this first issue is mainly a slow burn centering on Jim Gordon. Newly retired from the GCPD, Gordon is trying to find his place but is haunted by images of the Joker and thoughts of what that man did to his family. They even try to pull him back in after the events of A-Day, where Joker gassed all of Arkham killing every inmate as a result. After visiting his son’s grave, a woman in a stretch limo picks him up and offers him 25 million dollars to do one thing: kill the Joker. The follow up to the main story features Punchline’s ongoing legal battles but more importantly THE RETURN OF HARPER ROW. A quality, expository first issue that’s going to blow up big with what’s coming down the line.
Blade Runner Origins #1 – Titans Comics’s extremely great line of Blade Runner comics continues this week with the story of the world’s first Blade Runner! Detective Moreaux has seen the damage that replicants could do to humanity firsthand in a mysterious space shootout in 2007. These flashbacks lead into 2009 with him reading to his comatose sister at her bedside. Now a detective in the LAPD, Moreaux is assigned a suicide case with the utmost discretion as it involves the Tyrell Corporation. There’s definitely something more here and Tyrell is definitely covering it up…a great mystery read that can’t be missed by anyone with even a passing fancy for this franchise.
Proctor Valley Road #1 – Grant Morrison returns once more and boy oh boy, did they serve up a good one with their latest horror series. August and Rylee are two ne’er-do-well cousins who are just trying to make some fast cash to get them and their friends to an upcoming Janis Joplin show. While out at the carnival, some assholes bothering one of their friends mention some deaths that happened on the aforementioned PVR. Smelling a way to make quick cash, August tells them they’ll take them on a ghost tour of it: for a price. Once there though, the gang gets a better idea as to what may be killing things. A great period piece that nails the turbulence of the times and those willing to take a stance against them. An easy recommendation!

Diarra's Picks:

Joker #1 - Joker #1 seems like it should be named Gordon #1! We don’t even see Joker until the final page, that is except for when he’s haunting Gordon’s nightmares. He is fresh off the force and after recent events in Gotham, Gordon is beginning to feel hopeless. After a sobering visit to his son’s grave a mysterious car rolls up and a woman (and creepy body guard) persuades Gordon to get in. Once at their destination, the mystery woman tells Gordon, Joker has escaped to Belize and they want Gordon to hunt him down. Gordon agrees, but no matter what he won’t return the same man because his new partners want to get rid of the Joker for good!
Karmen #1 - Whew, this was a heavy issue, and Guillem March’s fluid and funky panels completely suck you in! Although we don’t learn much our cool haired skeleton lady, Karmen, she seems to be some sort of shepherd to the afterlife. So the issue focus on Catalina, the recently deceased. When she decides to take her own life, Karmen arrives to show her a good time before...well we don’t know that yet. Catalina still hasn't quite figured out this is the end, but no fear Karmen is there to show her how fun being dead can be. Catalina starts to loosen up, but what follows might not be so fun.
Proctor Valley Road #1 - A group of misfit high school girls are racking their brains on how to earn cash for Janis Joplin tickets (it’s a period piece). After a failed attempt at “robbing” a gas station, they just ended up earning a stern talking to from their moms. At the fair later that night they hear some muscle heads sharing rumors about Proctor Valley Road. Spooky stuff happens on Proctor Valley Road and that’s when the girls get a brilliant idea. They’ll host ghost tours in their Volkswagen bus (high schoolers with cars perks!) and charge local kids tickets. They decide to try it out tonight with those kids who were already seemed in the mood for a scare. Unfortunately when they get there those boys are in the mood for something else. After the boys declare the tour a snooze fest and storm off, the girls head home, assuming they did the same. The next day at school they find out those guys never made it home, and the girls were the last ones seen with them. Turns out those fellas found what’s been haunting that old road, and now the girls have to explain the unexplainable.

Stone's Picks:

Non-Stop Spider-Man #1 - From the jump this book throws you into the action and doesn’t want to give you a second to catch your breath. There are points where the action dies down and you learn a little of what has caused Peter to go full throttle. That being said, the sorry isn’t all too interesting. There seems to be some kind of illegal substance going around town, and this drug just so happened to kill a classmate of Peter's. The best part of this book to me was at the end after Spider-Man's story where you get a short story involving Baron Zemo and a splinter cell of Hydra agents. For some, this could be just what you are looking for, but for me it just didn’t impress.
Batman: Urban Legends #1 - Four awesome stories focusing on other characters besides Batman. Chip Zdarsky kills it writing about Red Hood, and his quest to help a young boy who reminds him of himself. It delivered the same energy as one can expect from his stellar run on Daredevil. Following that we get a Harley Quinn story that has her reminiscing about Poison Ivy. These two ladies belong with each other, and you can feel the sadness Harley displays as she wishes Ivy was close. Black Lightning and Katana get into some action with a quick Outsider story. I haven’t read any other Outsiders material, but with what was shown in this book I’ll gladly give it some more attention. Finally, for all you Grifter fans out there you won’t want to miss what’s going on with Cole as he dukes it out with Batman once again. The fight is good and the banter from grifter I really enjoyed. If you had doubts about picking this one up I’d highly reconsider.
Joker #1 - With all the Joker madness that has recently gone on in Gotham it’s safe to assume that most people may be burnt out on the Joker, and may want to cool it with all the Joker content. It’s completely understandable. This book, however, doesn’t seem to be focused on Joker so much as it does Jim Gordon. For the majority of his career as commissioner, the Joker was a Cancer that spread to all points of Gordon's life and completely decimated them. When a man has been put through the ringer the way James Gordon has, how is it possible for him not to lose his conviction? When terrorized by true evil how could he possibly sleep at night? This book gives you insight into the pain and brutality that constantly weighs on Jim’s shoulders, and moves the ongoing feud between these two individuals with the conclusion barreling towards either Joker's death, or Gordon’s.