March 17th, 2021
Ultramega #1 – Ultraman meets Pacific Rim in a wild and crazy time from James Harren. Jason is a failed boxer just trying to make it in an unforgiving world when an alien comes to him in a dream, tells him of his great destiny, and drops him back on Earth. There is a terrible cosmic virus now infecting the planet and its citizens. When one of these poor souls transforms into a monstrous kaiju, Jason and others turn into giant men in the vein of Ultraman to punch them down. The art and action in this one are phenomenal with the kaiju epically stomach-turning and the semi-futuristic world beautiful in scale. If you love giant things punching other giant things, do yourself a favor and scoop this one up.
Radiant Black #2 – Our hapless millennial superhero returns with just as little ambition as when last we left him. The issue starts in an all-too familiar way for those forced to live with their parents. Nathan’s dad confronts him as he comes in late at the breakfast table, saying Nathan needs to earn a paycheck even if it’s the meager tips from his drive-share job. It’s somber and well-done with bleak panels repeated for emphatic impact. This is followed-up rather strangely: the two cops from the day before come to Nathan’s door and threaten him vaguely to use his powers for vigilantism. They also give him a lead on his powers: someone has his same suit but red out in Chicago which gives Nathan an idea…definitely a cool new superhero to follow outside of Marvel or DC.
Orphan and the Five Beasts #1 – Good God I love James Stokoe’s art and he absolutely kills it with this love letter to martial arts media. Mo is a lone student of a martial arts master at the top of a mountain. One day while she is practicing her art, a man with an evil mark on his head collapses at her and her master’s feet. Her master tells her of a grave mistake he made long ago that she must right. He taught five people in the valley below his art so they could vanquish a bandit king with the promise that once they vanquished this bandit, they would return and train under the master. None did and their powers grew, taking advantage of the art. It’s now up to Mo to stop them one by one. This book was just fantastic, I honestly can’t recommend it enough.
Superman Red and Blue #1 – A very well-done, meditative look at the man of steel that shows some of his best moments don’t need to be punching things in space. The first tale by John Ridley shows Clark Kent face his once captor from a soviet-controlled country. Easton’s next look takes a deep insight into the perils of only facing world-threatening events and not paying attention to the street-level ones. Wes Craig of Deadly Class fame takes a look at someone who emerged as a hero of Superman’s past, Watters’s story has a fifth dimension being stealing all colors and Marguerite Bennett shows how Supes learned compassion in kindergarten. All these stories are deconstructions of the best part of Superman: the hope he represents and instills. This simply is an excellent book for anyone with a fondness for capes and what they do.
Jim Henson’s The Story Teller: Tricksters #1 - I grew up with my grandmother telling me stories about Anansi the spider, and it’s super cool to see Caribbean folklore on the shelves! Like always, Jim unnecessarily teaches his dog a heavy life lesson after he catching him trying to kill spider. He starts a tale about one of the most famous spiders and trickster, Anansi. In this story, Anansi’s father gives him the impossible task of taking down three of the jungle’s toughest members. Instead of brute strength. Anansi takes them down with slick words and clever traps. The prize for such an amazing feat? All the stories of man! At first Anansi plans to horde them, but after falling victim to his own arrogance he realizes it would be better to share them with the world. Hoping that reading the lessons others have learned will help the world from making the same mistakes. Over the years I read countless Anansi tales, and Jim hit the nail on the head with this fable master!
Ultramega #1 - After their sudden appearance years ago, Kaiju attacks have become apart of everyday life. Three individuals are gifted with the ability to sense, and the powers to defeat, these monsters. These days there is only one champion, and he is staying busy. No one knows the origin of these creatures, but someone out there is planning on making matters much worse. They don’t shy away from the gore, so if body horror is your thing, this is the series to start. I’ve been going through Kaiju withdrawals after the awesome arc in (shameless plug) After Shock’s, Kaiju Score just ended. I can’t wait for the next issue and find out how they survive their greatest foe yet!
Orphan and the Five Beasts #1 - I know we are all pumped to get a new James Stokoe series. He brings his amazing line details and unique color palette like always, guaranteed to make you laugh and gross you out. An orphan’s sensei finally sends him out on the mission they’ve been training for. Alone he must go defeat the Five Beasts, five of the sensei’s former students that are plaguing the land. When the Orphan helps stop a coach robbery, the kindness is repaid with a lead. The first beast is introduced (a gent who never misses leg day) and leaves you on the edge of your seat anticipating their upcoming fight!
Nightwing #76 - Tom Taylor on Nightwing, 'nuff said. He does a fantastic job at writing Dick Grayson, and returns the character to his former glory. Dick is no longer an amnesiac cab driver, but back to being a wholehearted guy who just can’t let anybody be taken advantage of, and that is exactly what you get in this book. You also get your heartstrings pulled as Dick gets to read a letter written by Alfred. Alfred has much to say to Master Grayson with the most important part sure to bring a tear to your eye. If you haven’t read Nightwing before but were looking to give it a chance, now is the time. It’s the start of a bright future for the Bright Knight.
UltraMega #1 - Round of applause for Mr. James Harren, because this book is awesome. A Virus that has infected the population causes individuals to transform and grow to abhorrent and grotesque shapes and sizes. A few chosen protectors are given power that activates upon proximity to this dangerous viral infection. It’s sort of like PowerRangers were rated R, and instead of using a Megazord they grew giant themselves. The artwork is beautiful and aids in delivering the feelings of suspense or awe that comes along with the story. Seriously this book was just great. Highly recommended that you give this book a shot!
Justice League #59 - This is the beginning of a new era for the Justice League. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, The League finds themselves up against a threat from a different dimension that shares something with a certain superhero. I'm also very interested to see how well Black Adam will be able to work with the Justice League. He aids them a little in this but isn’t part of the crew, yet. Marquez and Bonvillan's artwork is awesome. It’s bright and colorful. There is a vibrancy that brings the pages to life and allows them to pop. A solid first showing for the newest Justice League title.