October 26th, 2022
Punchline: The Gotham Game #1 - Punchline is back! I have been not so patiently waiting for her to get her own series after being in the back half of The Joker series and it has finally arrived. Punchline is a free and judged innocent woman and she’s ready to start living her life again. IS she about to have her hero/redemption arc? Ha, no. Absolutely not. She’s not the type of girl to save someone unless it benefits her in the end, sometimes an accidental hostage makes the perfect addition to her hand. And since she’s planning on taking control of the Royal Flush Gang she’s going to want a full deck to pull from. She’s started her ‘game’ and the first step seems to be getting as much of her new Joker drug into the hands of as many people as possible. And she’s done it in the most brilliant way, she seems to constantly be several steps ahead of everyone in this, even Batman and the GCPD. Now she just has to keep her notorious online presence down while she works. The girl who got famous and free for her online presence can surely manage that, right?
Damn Them All #1 - We’ve got yet another well timed horror series for Halloween. This time we’re messing with summoning demons. Seventeen year old Elle has finally convinced her Uncle and ‘renowned’ magician to show her magic, real magic, for the first time. Despite all his arguing he finally gives in and her journey into the mystical arts officially begins. She learns about all the rules and sacrifices necessary to perform magic first hand. And she learns just how terrifying it all can be. Twelve years later her Uncle has died and at his was summoned an insanely powerful demon, sent to kill one of his co-conspirators. And now it's up to Elle to figure out why, and how, this has happened. A few conversations, and bullets, later we find out the demons have been cast out from their plane and at this point anyone can summon and control a demon despite their lack of training or power. Elle definitely has never prepared to face anything like this and it very well might take all of the different sectors of the occult working together to save humanity.
Barbaric Axe to Grind #3 - Man oh man has this been a big week for the Barbaric fans. This last issue of the current arc dropped and we got an announcement for the next series at the start of 2023, a one shot set in the world, a spin-off series in the world, and a 4th volume of the series to wrap up the end of 2023 release schedule. So much Barbaric goodness is coming in the next year and I cannot recommend jumping into this series enough. This finale issue to the second arc pulls absolutely no punches. Owen and his crew are constantly being separated and put through the ringer. They’ve each got their own demons to battle and each is more than willing to get violent to achieve their goals. One fight with a magical tree elemental later and Owen finally comes face to face with his greatest regret and failure, finally given a chance to finish the fight that's long overdue. But things never go quite the way he wants, after all half his plans are to simply smash his way through with Axe. The gang seems to have taken things from bad to worse, maybe next time things can go their way. The series ends on the perfect note to have you already wanting the next volume, can it be 2023 already.
Vanish #2 - This might be the darkest opening for a comic issue I've ever read. Oliver takes us back to a pivotal moment in his magical education, where some students have been taken on a field trip of sorts to our world. They’re there to watch and learn, see how the citizenry act and what their daily lives are like. The day they came to visit: September 11, they were there just in time to watch the planes hit, and while their teacher stops the first he does not a thing to stop the second. This is when Oliver realizes that maybe this was intentional, maybe it wasn't just a coincidence they watched humanity do their worst to each other. The rest of the issue is Oliver reaching out to his oldest friend, think Chris Angel but with real magic, for help. Only to be berated for starting a war he had no business inserting himself or anyone else in. Magicians escape from their realm all the time and come to ours pretending to be superheroes, why is this one any different? And why is it Oliver’s responsibility to stop them? Even his wife has some choice words for him when Oliver gets home. He’s started something, something dangerous. And even though she’s the strongest wizard of their generation, she’s worried what's going to happen next now that this team of not-really-superheroes knows Oliver is after them.
Strange Academy: Finals #1 - Skottie Young knows how to make a YA (young adult) book that can be enjoyed by all ages! Doctor Strange began ‘Strange Academy’ so young magic users could have a place to learn and be amongst their peers…think Hogwarts, but with our favorite ‘heroes’ as teachers. From Doctor Voodoo to Scarlett Witch, but the students are just as unique as the faculty, with Asgaurdians, demons, fairies, and Frost Giants, to name just a few that can be found in the halls and all are welcome. A recent expulsion of a student, who was dealing in illegal magic, has started a bit of a civil war between students, and one fraction has left the school. Sticking with current Marvel cannon, Doctor Strange has past and everyone is adjusting to his passing. But there is no time to dwell on that, because like any good magic school, there is a looming prophecy! Dormamus’s son is amongst the students and the prophecy depicts him raging a war on campus. This frightens him just as much as the staff, but as time passes turns out he isn’t the dark force in the future, but the light that will save Strange Academy! I’m so excited for the third arc of this series! If you’re a fan of this, add DC’s ‘Teen Titans Academy’ and Dark Horse’s ‘Blackwood’ to your list!
Damn Them All #1 - Move over John Constantine, there is an new tortured magician in town! Don’t fret, Ellie “Bloody El” Hawthorne is nothing like you’ve seen before! El entered the ‘magical’ world from a place of skepticism, but after her Uncle walked her through her first demon summoning, she hasn’t looked back. When her Uncle passes, El is forced to sit Shiva with menacing bunch, but laying a friend to rest is “hollowed ground” and everyone is to be on their best behavior. Unfortunately, a rival mobster ‘heeds not to your bro code’ and sends in a couple of goons donned in balaclavas. This is a pretty tough group and a couple of lackeys waving AKs isn’t going to make them sweat, but when they suddenly summon a demon, even they start wetting their knickers. El, on the other hand, has seen it all before, it’s not the violence that throws her off, it’s the demon apologizing after that leaves her head spinning. She knows how in-depth it is to get a demon to do your bidding, and this all seemed too easy. El finally gets the demon alone and realizes it’s being held against its will…and there are more demons being controlled my humans. Let’s. Go. The layouts/art in this book really show they aren’t fucking around with the lore/world building, and I’m definitely subbing this one!
Lovesick #1 - Luana Vecchio always puts pieces of himself into his work. I first learned that while reading Bolero, which had stories after each issue about his inspiration/headspace at the time of writing, and this book is no different. While creating a gory fiction comic about the dark web, red rooms, and radical incel culture, he made sure to express how researching this information made him feel. Seeing this side of humanity was causing him to lose hope in mankind, and had to dig deep to remember the more beautiful parts of life. He made sure not to disparage the BDSM community and acknowledging/respecting the spectrums of sexuality over all…but Mother Domino and her girls aren’t so kind to the little piggies in the red room. She has men volunteering everyday to be lucky enough to spend their last moments getting destroyed by her fem-don energy, and last minutes they are because these aren’t fake snuff films. People love her work and pour into her livestreams, but even porn has trolls. After a group of men start threatening Dominio, they decide to bring one in for a show so his friends can watch his fate. But what if these guys are an actual threat? I’m invested. Oh, and if you want more sexy, gross energy, check out Red Room from Piskor (we have the trade and plenty of issues!!).
Judgement Day #6 - The epic conclusion that tied multiple heroes in a trial of death is here! The end of the world is finally realized, with only a handful of heroes left to defy the Progenitor's wrath. We come full circle in the lives of the everyday civilians; including how they've either given their lives for others and what was taken in order to preserve those lives. It's all pretty heavy on the humanity side of things as they are the focal point of the apocalyptic event. I wanted to know how things were going to wrap up, but never did I think we'd see a perspective change on the Eternals and Mutants. Peace and deep-rooted scars seem like the only realistic result of a flawed God deciding the fate of humanity, mistakes were made and lives were lost. Surprising to say, permanently lost. All and all I liked what came out of this and the Phoenix Foundation is a really cool idea. Looking forward to the Omega issue.
Lovesick #1 - Bloody, crazy, sick and wicked as hell! Luana Vecchio is a badass in the comic book industry, always putting down really detailed and awesome references in their work. Really dope and writing, you gotta appreciate the research and work put into it. Bolero was the first book in a while to bring back the personal joy I can only get from this style and direction, and it definitely holds strong in Lovesick. From a place I can only describe as a horror flick you'd see today, Lovesick doesn't miss a beat with its ability to make you want to keep turning to see what the hell is happening! It's dark and uncomfortable but that's what makes it so good for any fan of the genre. It's quirky take on Red Room streams and dialogue felt like something you'd find in the most putrid chats, it's insane. I don't want to get to deep into it because I smell something more human coming out of this series so I don't want to put out the vibe I know what's coming next. Fortunately, it really gets the gears turning in anticipation!
The Riddler Year One #1 - Written by Paul Dano, the actor who played The Riddler in The Batman! If you ever wanted a Riddler comic in the sane vein as the Joker movie, look no further. Edward Nashton is the Riddler, well not yet at least, this is Edward's story and never in a million years would I have thought I'd love a book so much. There's a lot to pick up from book one, and we see how Edward was affected by working for a shady firm for years and how the Bat's existence changed him. The seeds are more or less being planted here in a masterful level of detail, things are being set up slowly and I'm here for a genuine story of descent into madness Besides just seeing this amazing watercolor, there's a lot of dope transitions displaying Edward's mental state. Edward Nashton was always a little crazy, BUT it's all a matter of what turns out to be just one bad day. Easily one of the coolest and subtle ways to start an origin, hopefully book two blows this out of the water!