Just a little extra spoiler warning for this week. Some big books that I’m going to spoil a little!

 

Elsewhere #3 (Image Comics)

Jay Faerber and Sumeyye Kesgin continue their new fantasy epic, building some incredibly interesting mysteries along with the rapidly quickening plot.

Amelia Earhart, her native allies and DB Cooper (YUP!) are trying to escape a swarm of flesh-eating bugs and troops of Lord Kragen. Along the way, they are split up, with Amelia’s group finding shelter in a Nazi U-boat. Amelia begins to realize that there’s a lot more to what’s happening to her, as well as to this new world she finds herself in. This leads to the main villain making an ultimatum- Amelia or the second group of natives she’s befriended.

Faerber sets up this mythology incredibly well. Using Earhart as a gateway character works incredibly well. The mystery of her own disappearance does a lot to drive the story. Adding human elements from other eras also casts doubt on what’s going on. It’s not just that she was stolen from space, but time as well, as adding the element of DB Cooper helps convey. It’s not just all mystery and world building though. The characters are engaging and realistic. For example, though Amelia takes charge, she’s still baffled by this new world and her situation.

Kesgin’s art is wonderful. She nails the personalities on each character, and goes to town designing this alien world. Combined with Ron Riley’s colors, this strange new world comes to life, and really shines.

For anyone looking for something new to add to their read-pile, this is a can’t miss.

Rating: 8 out 10

The Verdict: Subscribe

 

Moonstruck #3 (Image Comics)

When I first saw previews of Moonstruck from Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle, it reminded me of some of the better webcomics available. I was pleasantly surprised with this issue to see that was true.

Chet- a centaur- has had his magical essence ripped away, making him fully human. That leads to lead character Julie and her girlfriend Selina (who are both werewolves) trying to help while Chet wallows in self-pity. But when the girls are endangered, Chet jumps into action!

I could sum up this issue in three words, cute, fun, and queer. This is a very fun story from Ellis, light and breezy, with low but personal stakes. Keeping it personal to the characters ramp it up though. It’s a lot of fun. Beagle’s art compliments it perfectly, with great cartooning. The designs are wonderful, and she does a great job of fitting the fantastic with the mundane.

It’s not a book for everyone, but if you’re looking for a fun, light fantasy read, this is your book.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy if a webcomic fan

 

Harley Quinn #29 (DC Comics)

Normally artist jam issues really bother me. When I see more than two line artists on an issue, I worry. This issue though, continuing the Vote Harley story, utilitizes its three artists- Mirko Andolfo, Tom Derenick and Michael Kaluta (!)- extremely well. Paired with solid and smart writing from Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, this is actually the first issue of Harley Quinn that I’ve enjoyed in a long time.

Harley is deep into her mayoral campaign and is rapidly gaining support. Because of this, one of her opponents brings in the Scarecrow to help take out Harley. In a debate, Scarecrow springs his trap, leading to a kiss from Poison Ivy saving the day.

Like I said, this was a much improve issue of Harley. The plotting was smart, it wasn’t nearly as crude as normal, and it was pretty funny. The supporting cast all got moments to shine, and Scarecrow felt like a solid, credible threat throughout. It did have over-the-top moments, but they didn’t pull me out of the story. Great work by Palmiotti and Conner.

The art looks great throughout, with Derenick supplying the pages featuring Scarecrow, Andolfo chronicling Harley’s preparation for the debate, and Kaluta working on the hallucination thanks to fear gas. It all comes together fantastically in the end.

If you’ve been holding off from Harley for any reason, give this issue a try. It changed my mind a bit.

Rating: 7 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy

 

Green Lanterns #32 (DC Comics)

One of the biggest disappointments I have right now is that Sam Humphries’ Green Lantern run is coming to a close. I mean, I get it. If I was offered the reins of Nightwing, I’d take it too. However this run of Green Lantern stories is as strong and as good as any in the series history. It’s reminded me of the early Kyle Rayner stories, which is a good thing.

After Jessica and Simon stop a comet-lava-monster in California, before traveling to Simon’s hometown and getting pulled into a house party. Simon and his brother in law Nazir patch things up while Jessica is helped out of her shell by Simon’s sister Sira.

This is a smart choice by Humphries for his last issue. First he shows how much the duo have grown as heroes, with them ably and creatively stopping the monster, and then their growth as people. The party scenes are equally touching, funny and realistic. In all, it’s just about the best set-up Humphries could have had for a send-off.

Scott Godlewski is quickly making a name for himself at DC. He draws the action incredibly well, with creative GL constructs and great motion. The party has just as much weight though, with the party in constant motion around Sira and Jess, and the conversation between Simon and Nazir as dramatic as the fight with the giant lava monster.

A great send-off to a great run. I’m truly bummed to see Humphries go.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy

 

Iron Fist #73 (Marvel Comics)

Ed Brisson was an unexpected choice for me to take on Iron Fist, to be completely blunt. However, paired with superstar artist Mike Perkins, it’s come to be one of my favorite Marvel reads. With Legacy starting in earnest this week, I picked up this issue with hope that it continued the strong work of the first two arcs.

When Danny Rand returns home from the whirlwind that was the previous two arcs of the series, he discovers his condo has been broken into and the Book of the Iron Fist has been stolen. To recover the book, he enlists one of his deadliest enemies to help him recover it- Victor Creed, AKA Sabretooth!

One of my complaints of the series to date was that Brisson was writing Danny as a bit of a sad sack. This issue picks that up a bit. He’s acting a lot more like himself, and that makes this issue a lot stronger than the previous several for it. He also nails Sabretooth’s character well, writing Creed halfway between the noble savage of the past few years and the classic wildman of most of his existence. Combined with a fun plot, this is the strongest issue for this series to date.

In the previous few issues Mike Perkins’ art looked great, but was a bit stiff, especially for a kung-fu book. This issue makes it apparent that Perkins has found his groove. The action is kinetic, and fun. Perkins’ depiction of Shou Lou the Undying is also just amazing. The dragon’s first appearance was perfect. Color artist Andy Troy compliments Perkins wonderfully, giving the issue a layer of grime, without leaning too far into it.

Although I’ve enjoyed the rest of this run to date, this issue really digs in with the most solid issue to date. I just hope this team can keep it up!

Rating: 8 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy

 

Heartthrob, Season 1 #1 (Oni Press)

I missed this series by Christopher Sebela, Robert Wilson IV and Nick Filardi the first time. This week, however, sees the $1 re-release of the issue, so at that price, it’s a can’t lose.

Set in 1977, Callie has been sick all her life. The kind of sick that kills you twice before you get a heart donated. In the late 70’s, transplants are still a new science, so at best Callie has five good years before her heart fails her again. Shortly after returning to her life, she discovers that she’s on the hook herself to pay for the surgery. That’s when things get weird. She’s visited by the ghost of the man whose heart she now has in her chest. And that’s when it gets really strange.

Sebela does a wonderful job, building Callie as a real person before jumping into the heist that the story is all about. In fact, the heist doesn’t even enter the picture until the second to last page. Her struggles feel real, and setting it in the 70’s takes a lot of the work-arounds that we may have today out of the picture. Instead of suing for disability discrimination, or fighting the insurance company, Callie’s choice makes a lot more sense because those protections that exist today aren’t there in 1977.

Wilson and Filardi are in lockstep. The pathos of Callie’s situation is written on her face, and her tension is rapidly building. It’s perfectly paced. Meanwhile, Filardi’s color palate sets the scene just as much as the fashions and hairstyles Wilson uses.

If you haven’t given it a try, it’s a fun issue and I know I’m definitely going to check more of it out soon.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy

 

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