Sam enjoyed both of her offerings from BOOM! Studios this week, Giant Days, which is coming to the end of freshman year for all of the girls, and The Woods, which provided… some answers, kind of.
Mystery Girl from Dark Horse doesn’t hold a lot of suspense for Kylee, knowing that the main character can solve any mystery, but it continues to intrigue none the less.
And DC Comics showcases what makes Superman so great to Jackson in this week’s issue of Action Comics, with the de-powered Man of Steel struggling to continue saving humanity.
Check out all of our reviews below and let us know what you’re reading in the comments!
Giant Days #11 (of 12)
Author: John Allison
Artist: Max Sarin
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
Susan’s life essentially falls apart in this very Susan-centric issue. With the election coming up at about the same time as her very first live dissection as a medical student she’s forced to pull all-nighter after all-nighter. This does’t really do her much good. Sure she’s getting things with her candidate (who isn’t McGraw) set up and sure she’s got the best scores on her dissection simulations. But she’s also exhausted. She has no contact with her friends or her boyfriend. And after a while she starts finding herself drifting into ‘the Night World’ – a distorted, sleepless place where the darkest dwellers of the night exist.
Esther and Daisy save her from the darkness but they can’t save her from herself. She freaks out during her disection screaming in terror after the cadaver starts to talk to her. And as much as McGraw loves her, the fact that she’s done nothing but ignore him throughout the election is too much for him. He dumps her – on her birthday. Which is also election day. Wow. Talk about rough days.
Granted, we don’t know the election results. But are they really worth McGraw? Who knows. But hopefully we’ll see some resolution to things next issue considering issue twelve will signal the end of the girls’ first year in college!
The Woods #20
Author: James Tynion IV
Artist: Michael Dialynas
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
All right, so, the battle between Casey’s monsters and those Bay Point students deemed ‘unworthy’ by the Taisho and the rest (aka all of our heroes, basically) comes to an end this issue. No, Maria is not magically resurrected. She is still dead. But luckily the rest of them seem to be more or less all right. I say more or less because some crazy, freaky stuff happens to Isaac. Apparently Isaac some how absorbed the dark, dangerous powers of the planet that had taken over Adrien. Except in a weird sort of way he seems to be somewhat controlling those powers, too.
After Isaac loses control for a bit, Karen takes over and then finds herself whisked away to a strange otherworldly plane of existence where she, Adrien, and Isaac have a bit of a heart to heart. When they come back, Isaac orders the beasts that had previously been attacking everyone to ward off Casey and the rest while Karen takes control and leads the unworthy survivors to safety. Then Isaac poofs out of existence. (Uhm. Yikes.)
It’s good to see Karen forced to step up to the plate. And it’s good to see Calder stick it to Casey before rappelling away to join his friends. Where everyone is going to go from here remains to be seen. Will the book split occasionally to show us what’s going on with Casey and the people that were ‘worthy’ to join the Taisho’s crew? Will we have any idea what’s going on with Isaac before he just magically poofs back into existence at some point? Who knows. That was a weird resolution to what was going on. Who knows what’s next.
Sam Wildman is a co-founder and co-editor at Nerdophiles. She actually was in student government in college and it was nowhere near as dramatic as they make it out to be in Giant Days. Follow her on twitter @samaside.
Mystery Girl #3
Author: Paul Tobin
Artist: Alberto Albuequerque
Publisher: Dark Horse
Source: Dark Horse DRC
The third issue of Mystery Girl really picks up speed on the plot. While the villain is in the air and out of cell range, Trine works with her friends to quickly dispel the threats leveled against them. After all, the man gave her a mystery and she’s solving it with ease. That takes the load off of her mind and allows her to enjoy the trip with Jovie to the Arctic Circle and the mammoths.
Once they make it there, however, this series really takes a dark turn. It turns out the mammoths aren’t the main mystery, where they’re located was once a diamond mine. With hundreds of graves of past workers, Linford makes his flourishing entrance with some gratuitous and graphic sled dog death (readers be warned). His mission is revealed, to collect some notebooks that prove ownership of the mine for his client, and now he plans to leave Trine for dead, as well as going back to kill her friends now that he can’t be stopped.
Reading this issue and how we left Trine, I really don’t feel a lot of peril on her part. Isn’t the conundrum they find themselves in another mystery? How are they going to survive? Doesn’t that mean that Trine already knows the answer and can bring them to safety? Along with other hinted powers throughout the series, I can only guess that she’ll tame the wolves and they’ll bring her to safety, where she can stop the bad guy and save her friends. I’ll be interested to see where this series ends up.
Action Comics #49
Author: Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder
Artist: Aaron Kuder and Ardian Syaf
Publisher: DC Comics
The most common criticism leveled against Superman is that the abundance of powers and the overwhelming nature of his strength makes him ill-suited for comics that primarily focus on his ability to fight villains and monsters. I’ve always thought it was a bizarre critique that can be leveled against Clark Kent as easily as it can be leveled against literally any other hero in the modern canon, however its prevalence has made it a question many writers are forced to reckon with. In many ways, the recent stories of Superman losing his powers have at least been partially a response to this criticism but more specifically has allowed writers Gene Luen Yang, Greg Pak, and Aaron Kuder to focus on the character behind the S.
It’s what makes so many of the criticisms of the recent era of Superman ring false. This week’s Action Comics #49 focuses on what makes Clark Kent as a man such a potent figure by focusing on the lengths he’ll go to to save his fellow man. After undergoing Kryptonite chemotherapy in Superman #48, he’s gained a new set of electronic-signal based powers but those same strengths are also slowly killing him. Here, he teams up with Wonder Woman and prepares to make one more final run at Vandal Savage and his team of super-powered bastard children.
I’m pretty firmly in the bag for Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder’s now two-year run on Action Comics and would definitely put it as one of the best Superman books of the last decade and there’s a lot here that shows off why they’ve earned those laurels. They’ve really nailed down an image of Clark as a hero, both in and out of the cape and putting the focus on a slowly deteriorating Man of Steel desperate to save just one more life at the cost of his own is heartbreaking and inspiring in equal measure.
The only real detriment in the issue is some iffy art. Reliable fill-in artist Ardian Syaf is drawing over Kuder’s layouts and the former’s focus on realism and devotion to DC’s house style doesn’t quite mesh with Kuder’s idiosycnchratic, instantly recognizable figures and images. Still, like the writing team, he nails the big moments with aplomb, including a last page reveal that’s a true gut punch to long time Superman fans.
Recent solicits have revealed we’re pretty close to the end of the era of depowered Superman, as it seems he’ll be back to full strength next issue but this run has had such a great feel for exactly who this character is, even when he’s not the hero he wants to be. As a longtime fan of the character it’s genuinely beautiful to see writers and artists so fully embrace the idea of Superman as a truly human hero, regardless of the powers he can draw on at any given time.
Jackson Adams is a staff writer at Nerdophiles. Action Comics #49 was a better book all around but this week’s JLA #7 involved Superman smashing a giant space church into the moon so we’ll see what stands the test of time. Follow him on Twitter @JacksonInACup.