Wow, what an amazing batch of comics we’ve gotten lately. It’s tough to decide what to buy, so we’re here to help!
Bombshells United #1 (DC Comics)
Marguerite Bennett and Marquerite Sauvage return to their popular DC series this week with Bombshells United. Really, it’s as if they never left, but hey, it works.
I had not read any of the previous Bombshells series, but I always heard positive things. I was happy to see that was the case here. After a quick recap, we jump into the action, with Wonder Woman stepping into a hard situation as the Japanese Internment begins just outside of LA. It’s a dark time, and an unusual choice for a setting and theme of the story.
Bennett balances that wonderfully though, telling a great action tale while also addressing the political issues with the internment. Donna Troy’s plan is a little bit confusing, but overall, it’s a very solid story. Sauvage’s work is gorgeous. Every page is just a stunner. The two page spread the title sits on particular looks amazing, with a fantastic shot of Wonder Woman.
I think it’s a great story, but that said, it’s definitely not for everyone. The politics are a little heavy (without being heavy-handed), and the real world parallels are hanging over it. However, in the end, if you don’t mind a little politics with your superheroes, it’s well worth your time.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy if you’re open to some politics being served on the side.
Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #1 (DC Comics)
Meanwhile, for those looking for more straightforward superheroes, Scott Lobdell, Tyler Kirkham and Arif Prianto bring us a team-up of the Outlaws and Nightwing. There are two types of annuals, in my opinion, one being a place to burn off disposable stories, and the other being truly special story for the characters. Lobdell tries for the latter, and while he doesn’t completely hit the mark, it’s still a fun story with some great character beats!
Dick Grayson meets Jason Todd, Artemis and Bizarro at a Russian Circus just outside of Gotham, where they recruit him for their mission among the carnies. They know something is amiss, but they need a little help determining exactly what. Soon they find out the Russians are a front for gun runners, led by the former KGBeast.
Lobdell’s story is pretty standard but where he elevates it is in the character interactions. Jason and Dick’s relationship sings. They feel like brothers, even if they don’t get along. Lobdell writes a true bond between them. The conversations between Dick and Artemis are actually very interesting too, with underlying sexual tension that doesn’t skirt into the cliche. Even Bizarro gets a great moment, finding a mutual attraction with a bearded lady that feels very real for this gentle giant.
Kirkham’s art is solid. He’s a great member of DC’s stable, so his action is clean, and clear. One downside is that Dick and Jason without their masks look a little too similar. Considering they’re not actually brothers by blood, it’s a bit jarring. Prianto does a good job on color art, especially in coloring the bright lights of the carnival, as well as the subdued feel amongst the carnies backstage.
While not a perfect issue, it’s a lot of fun, and a good read for a fan of the extended Bat-family.
Rating: 7 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy if a Nightwing or Robin fan.
Savage Dragon #226 (Image Comics)
Erik Larsen has never been known for being subtle especially in his long-running Savage Dragon. I mean, this is a series which featured an orgy that resulted in most of the women getting pregnant, and a female villain whose power is menstruation. I should have expected that when I picked up the issue.
The story is split into two parts. The first half of the issue is the funeral of the series original star, the now deceased Dragon. It’s a great closing of the book on Dragon’s tenure as a character, and shows some amazing depth from Malcolm Dragon, the current star. There’s also some comic-science going on, with several of the characters plotting to bring Dragon back from the dead. The second half of the book ruined that strong set-up though, as the world begins to turn against aliens, using Donald Trump as a voice of hatred.
First of all, I’ve always loved Larsen’s art. I’m going to say right now, that side of the book was great. And the funeral/wake was extremely well done. My problem lies with the second half of the book. I agree with the viewpoints Larsen expresses here. There is no room for hate. There is no room for bigotry.
My problem is that Larsen does not show any opposition to the hate like we’ve seen in the real world. The mob is clearly a proxy for the white supremacists seen in America’s streets too often recently. But Larsen does not present any sort of counter protest like we’ve seen in the real world. The only opposition to hate is Malcolm himself. Because of that, the story isn’t just bleak- it rings false and heavy handed. People with opposing views should be siding with Malcolm and his family, and they simply don’t as if they don’t exist.
Larsen is trying to make an important point here, and it’s one we need to hear. Unfortunately, he doesn’t succeed.
Rating: 5 out of 10
The Verdict: Pass
Faith and the Future Force #2 (Valiant Comics)
Jody Houser teams with another pair of artists for this next chapter in what’s shaping up to be a very fun summer event. In this issue, Barry Kitson continues his work until the timeline resets again and Diego Bernard takes over. It’s one of the better creative touches I’ve seen in an event story.
Faith leads the Renegades into ancient Rome, where the team faces the killer robot who’s re-writing time (for an unknowingly second time). Neela the Timewalker watches and is horrified to see the group fail. Like last issue, she’s able to slip her past self a note as the timeline unravels, letting her know this time they need more than the Renegades. So what happens? They recruit the entire damn Valiant Universe.
Houser has a lot of fun with the story, playing up the similarities to a Doctor Who plot by constantly calling out the seminal BBC series. It’s a very funny touch. She also nails the action scenes, and the horror of these young heroes’ loss. Kitson’s work on the first half of the issue is great, and it shows why he’s been consistently working in comics for decades. Bernard steps in halfway through and is able to make a recruitment montage fun and interesting.
If you’re a Valiant fan, this series is a can’t miss.
Rating: 8 out of 10
The Verdict: Subscribe.
Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Year 3 #6 (Titan Publishing)
Titan finally enters the Bill Potts era of the Twelfth Doctor, in the second issue of this story from Richard Dinnick and Brian WIlliamson. While they don’t quite nail the chemistry of Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie, they come close enough to make this a very enjoyable read.
The Flood, the sentient virus at the heart of the Tenth Doctor’s The Waters of Mars, collides with the Ice Warriors, the Whoniverse’s other infamous Martians, and a crowd of panicked Vikings while the Doctor tries to keep the whole thing from all blowing up. Unfortunately there’s one more party in play, one that has a grudge against the Doctor.
Dinnick tells a very fun, if cluttered story. For the most part it works, with a couple small stumbles. There’s a few moments when all that’s happening makes the action a bit confusing. He also doesn’t quite get Bill’s voice right. Overall though, he does a good job, and addresses a long-time concern fans had with The Waters of Mars in a way that doesn’t feel forced. The pace is great, feeling like a perpetual chase throughout. Williamson’s art is a little sketchy, but it works for the horror movie feel of the story. He gets the likenesses of Capaldi and Mackie just right, and even with the couple confusing moments, he’s able to maintain a clear flow throughout.
For those who can’t wait for the Christmas Special in December, this is a great way to pass the time. A must-read for long-time Who-Fans!
Rating: 7 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy if a long-time Doctor Who fan!