Gert, the heroine of Skottie Young’s excellent I Hate Fairyland, has a bit of a temper problem. Now considering that she has spent years stuck in the fantastically infuriating realms of Fairyland with little of hope of returning home, frustration is understandable. It is doubly understandable when the reader remembers that she ceased growing a while back, leaving her with an adult mind in a child’s body. So yes, you would be upset as well. Problem is Gert is not too good at the whole anger management thing. She favors a disembowel first, do not bother with any ####### questions later approach. In such a way, she has been cutting a bloody swath through Fairyland and in the process made some questionable decisions. The second arc concluded with her making a spectacularly poor choice which may have doomed not only herself but all of Fairyland. Luckily those consequences have been postponed for a later date, allowing readers more time for enjoying Gert’s twisted, entertaining antics.
By Jody Houser, Jim Krueger, Shawn Crystal, Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Jean-Francois Beaulieu & Trish Mulvihill
From the beginning, Mother Panic has had an identity problem. The first issue of the Young Animal series opened in a compelling manner by introducing readers to the jet legged, jet set heiress Violet Paige. Writer Jody Houser gave Violet an intriguing voice, which engaged the reader despite the many overly familiar elements of her backstory. Still, there was potential to the character. Unfortunately the following two issues almost entirely ignored Violet in favor of her costumed vigilante alter ego, Mother Panic. As a crime fighter, Mother Panic was effective but lacked the personality of Violet. Houser corrects this imbalance in the current issue which goes a long way to reconciling the dueling halves of Violet Paige.
On Wednesday the ever prolific Matt Kindt launched his latest creator owned series, Grass Kings. A collaboration with artist Tyler Jenkins, the project is his first with BOOM! Studios. While Grass Kings begins with a familiar feel, Kindt and Jenkins gradually subvert expectations leaving readers eager to learn how the intriguing setup will further unfurl.
By James Tynion IV, Marcio Takara, Alvaro Martinez, Eddy Barrows, Dean White, Brad Anderson, Adriano Lucas, Raul Fernandez & Eber Ferreira
Last week Detective Comics released their milestone 950th issue. However, instead of using the occasion to focus on Batman or one of the title’s other central characters, such as Batwoman, writer James Tynion IV choses to put the spotlight on figures who have not been prominently featured in his run so far. While Orphan and Azrael have functioned well within Tynion’s excellently executed group dynamics, they have not been given the same amount of attention as Spoiler or Red Robin. Tynion rectifies that situation with his anniversary issue.
By Marguerite Bennett, Cameron Deordio, Audrey Mok & Kelly Fitzpatrick
“I was reading Machiavelli at age 11. My gym teacher had to politely dissuade me from playing dodgeball.”
A few months ago, Archie expanded the scope of their recent revival with a relaunch of Josie and the Pussycats. Having gotten the band together in the debut issue, writers Marguerite Bennett and Cameron Deordio quickly sent them on the road and away from the familiar environs of Riverdale. The initial chapters were fun rollicks, full of Bennett’s trademark charming character work and meta-humor. These traits continue in full force for #4, wherein Bennett and Deordio’s references range from Homer to Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull to Zach Snyder’s Superman movies (as is “Damnit Melody, crime fighting isn’t in our contract! None of our moms are named Martha!” Seriously, David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio are never living down that one). However, in the midst of all these madcap hijinks, Bennett and Deordio are also crafting an ever deepening portrait of female friendship and empowerment. Last issue saw Josie confront some of her failings towards Alexandra, a scorned childhood friend. The latest installment offers up lessons about romance and self-worth. Josie is shaping up to be not simply an entertaining comic, but an affirmational one as well.
By Ryan North, Will Murray, Erica Henderson & Rico Renzi
“You said you’re ten, right . . . [so] why are you already deciding there’s things you can’t do, Doreen Green?”
by Ryan North, Erica Henderson,Rico Renzi, Will Murray & Steve Ditko
Last week, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl celebrated the 25th Anniversary of its title character. Co-created by Will Murray and Steve Ditko, Squirrel Girl debuted in a one-off tale for Marvel Super-Heroes #8. In the story she tussled with Iron Man before defeating the latest egotistical machinations of Dr. Doom. Despite some initial editorial skepticism, she would stick around the Marvel Universe over the next couple decades landing gigs on The Great Lake Avengers and as Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ babysitter. Her biggest spotlight, however, arrived in 2015 with the premiere of her first solo series. Writer Ryan North and artist Erica Henderson invested the title with a distinctive flavor which was an immediate success, winning over new legions of fans for Doreen Green. North and Henderson bring that same spirit to the anniversary issue, crafting a charming, heartfelt portrait of a girl discovering herself.
What is the role of ritual, specifically religious ritual, in society? Regardless of the beliefs behind the actions, is there something inherently soothing in such ingrained ceremonial motions? In the first issue of The Black Monday Murders, wealthy financier Daniel Rothschild was murdered. Four issues later, the series’ initial arc concludes with Daniel’s funeral. #4 is full of religious imagery, yet, for what purpose? Is there something within these formulas which soothes the soul of Daniel’s twin sister Grigoria? Such questions add new layers to Black Monday Murders, which from its debut has proven to be one of the most fascinating series of the year.
By Jody Houser, Jim Krueger, Tommy Lee Edwards, Phil Hester & Trish Mulvihill
After three reboots of pre-existing concepts, Gerard Way’s new Young Animal imprint unveils its first original character: Mother Panic. The debut issue of her adventures is an intriguing hybrid which mixes new ideas with familiar tropes. Protagonist Violet Paige is introduced lounging on her private jet as it approaches Gotham City’s airport. She downs a glass of wine as an unidentified companion warns Violet of overexerting herself. The context is vague, leaving the reader unclear what sort of destructive tendencies the aide is referring. Violet immediately conveys the spoiled apathy of the privileged, flipping off the paparazzi greeting her at the airport with questions about the latest gossip. Internally, Violet muses about this corrupt city to which she keeps returning. Perhaps she should simply burn it to the ground and be done with it all. Still, for all that cynicism, she remains capable of brightening a stranger’s day. When she glimpses two fans timing their selfie for the moment Violet will pass in the background, Violet offers a sly grin for their camera. In the course of these initial two pages, writer Jody Houser successfully introduces these multiple aspects to Violet’s personality, immediately drawing the reader into Violet’s story.
By Kieron Gillen, Leigh Alexander, Dorian Lynskey, Laurie Penny, May HK Choi, Ezekiel Kweku, Kevin Wada, Jamie McKelvie & Matthew Wilson
From the beginning, The Wicked + The Divine has demonstrated a willingness to continually alter its shape. The scope of the series is large, not only in terms of character and plot, but thematically as well. At the outset, writer Kieron Gillen established a narrative which would tackle issues of fame, creativity, popular culture, identity, legacy, youth and mortality. Such rich material naturally allows Gillen the freedom to spin his story off in different directions adjusting the tone along the way. Recently #22 brought to close the Rising Action arc with dynamic action set pieces and wrenching character moments. What followed was an interlude of a more reflective sort, the 1831 Special. Set amongst the 19th Century Romantic Pantheon, it cultivated a more atmospheric, quieter vibe. Tonally quite different, yet, each outstanding in their own way. On Wednesday, Wicked + Divine took another experimental left turn. The result is a fascinating, stunning comic.
Archie’s line of comics have experienced a fair amount of resurgence lately, first with their acclaimed horror title Afterlife with Archie. Following on this success, they turned their attention to more tradition iterations infusing them with A-List talent along the lines of Mark Waid, Fiona Staples and Adam Hughes plus rising stars such as Marguerite Bennett, Annie Wu and Erica Henderson. After Chip Zdarsky wrapped his run on Jughead, Ryan North took over writing duties last month with #9. On Wednesday, his second issue hits the shelves confirming that North’s goofy, upbeat sensibility was a perfect match for the series.