March 20th, 2022

Rob's Picks:

Star Wars: Visions - Takashi Okazaki #1 - The latest Visions one-shot revisits one of the biggest hits from both the Disney+ series and subsequent comic; the Ronin. Takashi Okazaki (Afro Samurai) is back as both writer and artist, once again clearing the high bar set by his previous entries in the Visions series. This issue explores the Ronin's origins, leapfrogging through past events for both the main character and some of his supporting cast as well. Like everything Okazaki does, this book is overflowing with style. His writing and illustration evoke the hard-lined action aesthetics and the pulpy yet lyrical prose of Lone Wolf and Cub. From the original Visions episode, followed by a book and now two comics, Disney has certainly noted the overwhelmingly positive fan response to this samurai remix. This issue proves this concept stands as more than a one-off, so hopefully we’ll see an ongoing title in the future.

Cobra Commander #3 - This series exploring the depths of evil in the Energon Universe still hasn’t found the bottom. Issue #3 sees more villain-on-villain action as Cobra Commander falls into the clutches of the Dreadnoks. The gang of biker mercenaries have possession of an energon cube, and the Commander is more than willing to sit though a night of torture to get one step closer to ultimate power. The Dreadnoks take turns applying their brutal methods, our title character plays a more subtle game. Writer Joshua Williamson gives the Commander shades of Hannibal Lector, toying with the minds of captors, exploiting the divisions in their twisted “family.” This book is a perfect example of what has made the Energon Universe titles such a surprising success. A one-note villain with a speech impediment is elevated to a truly credible threat, yet the heightening of the darkness and violence does not feel at odds with what came before.

Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees #4 - The gruesome murders have taken their toll on Woodbrook, turning the once-happy community into a ghost town. Three issues of following the clues have finally led Sam to Woodbrook’s other home-grown serial killer, and they’re a fan of her work. The confrontation between the small-town psychopaths begins civil enough, but for Sam, who has hidden in plain sight for years, being seen and truly known by another disturbs her to the core. Her carefully ordered world now completely out of balance, the walls closing in, we drift with Sam through surreal reflections. It’s hard to find anything to criticize about this title even after four issues. This relatively slow-paced issue has an underlying tension that makes every feel like a vital moment, and that deliberate plotting sets us up for this story’s next shocking turn. With the early issue reprints back on the shelves, it’s a great time to get caught up on this title before the final two installments arrive.


Solomon's Picks:

Web Of Spider-Man - Web Of Spider-Man released this week and has given us several sneak peeks at a few of the major upcoming releases for the Spider-themed heroes of Marvel. There have been several complaints thrown out by many fans through the years of how Peter’s character has been handled in mainline titles, or how Spider-Verse stories were treated, and it seems Marvel is eager to apply some of that feedback. With loads of promising titles, such as Chasm, Ghost-Spider, and Miles Morales, I’m particularly excited about the new Scarlet Spider story teased midway through this book as Kaine has always been a favorite of mine, and I know many have been waiting for more stories centering on him to release. This book has left me incredibly excited about the releases for this year, and I can’t wait to see how our favorite characters continue to develop!

Man’s Best #1 - Presented by legendary writer Pornsak Pichetshote, Jesse Lonergan, and Jeff Powell, is an interesting spin on sci-fi stories featuring a cast of house pets! Man’s Best caught my attention with its striking art-style (credit to Lonergan), charming dialogue, and most importantly, the fact that it places emotional support animals in specially designed mechs. While the plot hasn’t been explored much yet, we definitely have gotten glimpses into what the main conflicts are going to be and the distinct personalities of each character, all of whom are enjoyable in their own right. We see the story go over many topics, such as the age-old debate of optimism vs. pessimism, what the “true nature” of humanity is, love in times of suffering, and much more which I am confident will only be further explored through the coming issues. This was a fantastic opening issue, and I have high hopes for this series going forward!

If You Find This, I’m Already Dead #2 - If You Find This, I’m Already Dead is back, and nothing could have prepared me for the twists this story would offer! There’s a short time skip between this issue and the last, and in the opening pages, we see Robin get eaten by a living planet, we watch her at the center of a prison revolt, we witness her narrow escape from a blood ritual, her struggles in getting used to the customs of this planet, and so much more. With the wonderful illustrations by Dan McDaid and Bill Crabtree and Robin’s immersive self-narration of the horrors she witnesses, this issue is exactly what I was hoping for and then some when I finished the previous installment. The perfect blend of horror and sci-fi, I am absolutely loving this series and can’t wait for the next!