March 24th, 2021

J.R.'s Picks:

Alien #1 – Hey all you Ridley Scott fans- your newest series to follow has arrived. Taking place in the year 2200, well after the Alien or Aliens film, the first issue centers on the retirement of Gabriel Cruz. Cruz has come face-to-face with the Xenomorphs during his tenure at Weyland-Yutani and the only thing he wants to do with his newfound freedom is reconnect with his son, Danny. Unfortunately, Danny resents his father for living off-world and leaving his family behind as one would. Even more though, Danny harbors a lot of anti-corporate mentality towards Weyland-Yutani which displays itself at the end in an explosive fashion. Packed with references and new lore to goggle over, this series is a must have for all sci-fi lovers.
Teen Titans Academy #1 – It’s superhero Hogwarts! A little too apt here as even Nightwing makes a reference to Harry Potter which the kids shoot down and say. “It’s too soon.” Yes, in honor of Roy Harper the original Teen Titans have opened an academy to teach up and coming supes how to vigilante. While the students get used to their new digs, many have one question on their mind: can Nightwing tell us more about Red X? Things get deeper there as for Nightwing’s birthday, someone anonymously sends him the original Red X mask. The pacing in this one is a little uneven at times mostly in regards to the Red X shoehorn but with a treasure trove of new characters and voices this one is able to shine by the last page.
Stray Dogs #2 – The plot thickens with this month’s newest Stray Dogs. It’s unfortunate that dogs have such bad short-term memory or otherwise this mystery might unravel faster. Nevertheless, Sophie is determined to find out if her new master killed her old master. Her and Rusty break into the room the master says is off limits to find…well, murder trophies. Women’s clothing, shoes and other odds and ends are everywhere. The clincher is when Rusty is caught in there and Sophie is left in a closet with their master thinking he’s alone. Her new master begins to talk to himself and what he says is rather revealing…this series continues to be excellent and with its cartoon charm and dark undertones, it will only get better.
Harley Quinn #1 – Harley’s back and with Rossmo’s cartoonish shifting style she’s never looked better! On a mission seeking forgiveness, Harley tries to give an apology cake to Killer Croc which goes exactly as you’d expect. She has a long list of people she needs to make amends to though as she shows Batman her yarned-out board in her dingy apartment. Batman gets called away by Oracle though as the citizens of Gotham are attacking anyone who used to be a clown in Joker’s army. Batman comes to their aid but once the angry citizens are gone, even he turns his own ire towards the clowns. He does, that is, until Harley sets him straight and says they deserve forgiveness too. Lucky for Bats, she has a little insight into the Joker’s brainwashing. An excellent start with a touching set up centered on making amends by writer Stephanie Phillips, this one is definitely going places.

Diarra's Picks:

Harley Quinn #1 - Harley has returned to Gotham, and she has something to prove. After the events of The Joker War, Harley can’t help feeling responsible for standing beside the Joker as long as she did. She is now choosing her own path, and with a newly cleaned record after working with the Suicide Squad, she is ready to repair the city she loves. There are still some bad memories here, and the people of Gotham aren’t ready to call her a “hero”. She even has a (long) list of amends to make, but her buddy, Bats, has turned into quite the mentor. Harley’s next mission is to rehabilitate former clowns in Gotham, but someone has a plan to bring in a familiar face to exterminate them! Rossmo I killed the art. I’ve never seen an entire Harley series drawn like this, and I’m excited for more!
Alien #1 - The year is 2200, and Xenomorphs are gone...well except the ones being experimented on. Weyland-Yutani isn’t going to give up on this possible cash cow, or maybe they actually want to study these creatures in case of another invasion. Regardless of their intentions with the Xenomorphs, their other actions on Earth have caused a rebellion, and an anti corporate group want to know what they are doing behind closed doors. That’s where security chief, Gabriel Cruz, comes in. He is as loyal as they come, but his son doesn’t approve of his work or his father. Newly retired, Cruz wants to rebuild their relationship and finally tell him the truth about the Xenomorphs. Unfortunately, his son just wants to steal access codes. This mission is accomplished and they break into a Weyland-Yutani facility, but things don’t go as planned. You guessed it...faces get hugged and the war begins anew! Our overlords at Disney have acquired another one of our favorites. This issue could easily play out on screen so I can’t wait to see what they do next! (Look out for the new Predator series!!)
Teen Titans Academy #1 - It’s the first day of school at Teen Titan Academy, and the new students are shaping up to be awesome heroes. But who am I kidding, we all want to know more about Red X! After the teaser in Future State Teen Titans, we know Red X will resurface, but now we get to learn how and why. Mr. Nightwing shows the kids around the new facility, and in pure tactless, teenager fashion, they ask about his time as Red X. He makes this a teachable moment and explains that Red X is what happens when you loose yourself behind the mask. He thinks the issue is put to bed, but later at the orientation party/surprise B-Day party for Nightwing, he receives the infamous mask as a gift. There is no note and no one is fessing up, but Nightwing is actually relieved to know the mask is in safe hands...but it doesn’t stay there for long. Someone new has donned the mask, and become the new Red X!

Stone's Picks:

Alien #1 - Feels like the beginning of a fantastic space horror that you'd expect from the Alien franchise. Forced to retire from his position on Epsilon Station due to an unnamed sickness, Gabriel Cruz is sent back to Earth where his main focus is to reconnect with his son. Following his retirement, Epsilon station is attacked by a group of radicals looking to expose Weyland-Yutani for corruption. What they end up finding is far worse. I was hooked from the start and I can’t wait to read the next issue. It felt like I was reading the start of a movie in my head. The relationship Cruz wanted with his son (and the one he has) will definitely be a big factor going forward, especially after that chaotic ending. Fans of the Xenomorph rejoice! This comic is for you.
Carnage: Black, White, and Blood #1 - Blood is abundant in this new anthology series that follows the sadistic Carnage. We are treated to three stories of varying degrees that see Carnage searching for his beloved Shriek, being hunted by a lawman in the old west, and a choose your own adventure story that involves the rolling of dice. The first story was the lesser of the three as it was lackluster and dealt with some themes that don’t speak to the character of Carnage. Choosing your own adventure is a neat idea and I remember a Deadpool issue doing this exact thing. The Agent Carnage idea was neat. By far the best story was the one written by Benjamin Percy. If you somehow didn’t read it with Sam Elliott's voice do yourself a favor and give that a try.
Harley Quinn Curse of White Knight #6 - The final issue of Harley's adventure in the White Knight universe. Following the dramatic ending of last issue, Harley is more determined than ever to stop Starlet. Suffering from the pain of having lost a loved one may drive her to act out like the old Harley Quinn, and ruin all the progress she’s made to distance herself from that person. If she’s going to be going full vigilante she’s going to need a new suit, and Bats has just the threads for her -  complete with adjustable mallet for knocking out all sorts of deranged persons. There are things that are left open, and may possibly be used as story points for future installments of the White Knight series. Hopefully we will see these characters again, and be able to see how far Harley comes in her journey to be a better person.