We’re coming off a holiday, which means TONS of great books to talk about. We’d love to hear what you bought and loved!

 

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Star Trek: Boldly Go #14 (IDW Publishing)

IDW’s Star Trek line has put out some stellar stories (pun intended) since they acquired the license. The long-running Star Trek series that led into Star Trek Beyond last year was a prime example with this, retelling some popular stories with a new twist, or telling completely new stories entirely. Boldly Go has continued that tradition by telling a blowout story featuring one of Trek’s oldest tropes- alternate realities. This time though writer Michael Johnson and artist Megan Levins go nuts. Instead of Kirk and company meeting one alternate timeline, they throw in DOZENS, including the gender swapped universe from the previous series.

While Jane Kirk and Kelvin-timeline Kirk try to prevent the spatial anomaly from causing too much chaos, the Orphan, a “Klingon” version of Kirk, attacks the Enterprise of his timeline, leading to the crews of the various Enterprises getting mixed up and scattered across various planets and universes.

Johnson just goes nuts here and does what every Trek fan would dream of doing. Creating these odd timelines, strange versions of familiar characters (such as Simon Grayson, a version of Spock who has abandoned his Vulcan side), and throwing them all in a blender has created a great conflict and just absolutely thrilling story for long-time Trek fans.

Levin’s art is a bit cartoony compared to the usual, slightly more grounded, style used in Trek stories, but she finds her stride after a few pages and turns in a fantastic issue. She does a fantastic job of making the unfamiliar new versions of character familiar enough to be relatable (such as an android Uhura or female Chekov).

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Verdict: If a long-time Trek fan, subscribe, NOW!

 

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Aquaman Annual #1 (DC Comics)

Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Max Fiumara team up for this unique stand alone tale of the Sea King.

After a brief prologue, we jump decades into the future in a city that is half-undersea and half-surfaced, where Arthur and Mera are raising their son Tom. A prison break reveals that not all is as it seems and the story twists to reveal one of DC’s most infamous and unusual antagonists is behind it.

Johnson did two very smart things here. He knew he was writing a stand alone, so he gave it a great weight without creating a lasting effect. He recalls one of DC’s greatest annual stories (if not THE greatest), “For the Man who has Everything” and uses the Black Mercy. He also smartly doesn’t just mimic Alan Moore’s infamous story, using Arthur and Mera’s unique personalities as well as the peculiarities of Atlantis. It’s a great character piece, and a solid stand alone story.

Fiumara is a perfect choice to draw a story about a world both as familiar and as alien as Atlantis would be. His heroes are majestic and powerful, but the Atlanteans are foreign and slightly alien. It looks amazing.

In a week where it might have gotten outshone by other annual offerings, this story is an excellent glimpse into the sea king’s world, and worth every penny.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy

 

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Wayward #25 (Image Comics)

I’m sorry Zub. I’m really behind on Wayward. But I couldn’t miss this landmark issue, so I’m skipping ahead to read it.

The story begins with series lead Rori getting stabbed in the back. It just escalates from there, with the entire cast battling the supernatural forces that threaten our world.

It’s honestly difficult to summarize Zub’s story. However, after a little over 2 years of stories with this group it’s still a captivating journey. He has succeeded the most by making these characters feel very real and not just cliched sketches. The only downside is that we jump right into the action, which was disorienting given how behind I’ve been with the series.

The art from Steven Cummings and Tamra Bonvillain continues to look amazing. Cummings line work keeps getting better, rendering the fantastic in a very realistic way. Bonvillain has become a master of special effects with her color art, and that makes this issue really shine.

In all, a rewarding issue for long time issue, but not a good starting point for a new reader. (If you want to start the series, pick up volume 1 from your LCS or Comixology!)

Rating: 7 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy (unless you’ve never read the series- then buy the trade!)

 

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Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #13 (Marvel Comics)

When I heard original creators Gerry Conway and Ryan Stegman were leaving this series, I was incredibly disappointed, and really the only thing that made it better was an INCREDIBLE creative team being announced. There’s no question that Jody Houser and Nick Roche were exactly that.

We pick up eight years after the conclusion of #12. Annie May Parker (currently Spiderling, new codename maybe pending?) is just wrapping up a summer training with the X-Men, and Peter and MJ are trying to find a way to end the summer with a bang. They end up disappointing a bit (and what parent hasn’t?!) by taking Annie to Coney Island instead of an expensive new VR theme park. It was a good choice though, because the Spider-Family end up facing the Lizard.

I’ll be honest. I was disappointed that the series was jumping ahead such a large amount of time, but I knew if anyone could sell it, it was Houser. I was right. Jody keeps Annie May in character with the work we’d already seen from Dan Slott, Conway and Stegman, but is able to age her up in a realistic way. Though Peter is still a bit immature, that just fits Peter wonderfully.

Roche’s line work is a bit more indie flavored, which helps the transition a lot. It sells that this is a book about a Spider-teenager. His facial expressions are just wonderfully done, and her nails the surly teenager body language that comes with Annie growing up. I LOVED the scene with the rigged carnival games in particular. It was some great physical comedy.

I really hope that Jody and Nick take advantage of their alternate universe setting a bit more than their predecessors on the title, but wow, this was a fun start to what I hope is a long run on this title.

Rating: 7 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy

 

 

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