This week, Sam enjoyed The Woods and Giant Days, both from BOOM! Studios, and Jackson continues to enjoy Batman from DC Comics.
Check out the full reviews below and tell us what you’re reading in the comments!
The Woods #16
Author: James Tynion IV
Artist: Michael Dialynas
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
Calder gets to act like a bad ass in this issue of The Woods. After knocking out Casey he cuts his hair and tries a bit of character acting. He manages to convince the Taisho’s people at the prison camp where the others are being kept that he’s Casey long enough to smuggle weapons in to his former classmates for a daring escape mission. Eventually they manage to escape and while the kids start heading towards freedom, Calder tries to create a distraction.
Unfortunately, it ends up getting him killed.
He goes up to one of the Taisho’s men and kills him, causing him to scream and draw everyone’s attention. Karen and Sander rush to help Calder and they seem to have held them at bay. But then a spear basically goes right through Calder and the Taisho taunts Karen a bit before leaving. Calder ends up dying in her arms asking her if he mattered. He’d had a dream previously – a fever dream from his drugged out days – of having a real life back at home with Karen and going to prom. It looks like that’s as good as he’s going to get.
I suppose Calder could be alive. Magic and shit could save him. But his sacrifice at the end of ‘Year Two’ on this strange planet is a good culmination of his story arc. I always liked Calder. He was a really great character. He’s had a really rough go of things. But he was always sort of the goofy sidekick. In his final show of real bravado, he saved the lives or numerous students and at the very least got to share one last moment with Karen.
His death also sets Casey up for an interesting redemption arc in later issues – if the New Londerers don’t execute him, of course. It also sets Karen to really take charge among her peers. Calder’s sacrifice isn’t something she’s going to be able to ignore. There’s some sort of confrontation between her and the Taisho coming down the line and hopefully she can look back on Calder’s determination and bravery and hopefully get through whatever comes next.
Year Three is going to be a hell of a ride.
Giant Days #16
Author: John Allison
Artist: Max Sarin
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
At the end of the last issue Esther was losing it because she caught Susan on Tinder. It turns out that Susan has been trying to get over McGraw by turning to the world’s seemingly ubiquitous dating app. It’s rather hit or miss. None of the guys she meets with seem to click with her. One is too picky, one is too sporty, one is too much of a hipster. There’s always a problem.
Esther has her own problems – namely being cut off by her parents. She needs to make money fast and no one is hiring. With Ed’s help she goes around to all of the shops in town but they’re already overrun with student workers. She even tries to get hired back by the same chain of convenience stores she worked at back home. But they don’t have any hours for her anyway. She gets a promising lead from the local comic book store but that’s about it.
Meanwhile, Daisy is working for free giving campus tours. One rocker-type turns out to be a lightweight at the pubs. One super studious dude she things is top notch is actually going to a different school already and just wanted to come along on the tour. And the one girl on her tour – the Berlin bad girl – has her questioning everything after a very unexpected kiss in the bar. Nice!
Seriously, these girls have a way more interesting undergraduate life than I ever did.
Author: Tom King
Artist: David Finch
Publisher: DC Comics
Like few other superheroes, Batman runs are often defined by their art teams. While the late ‘80s and early ‘90s feature some of the most memorable stories of the caped crusader ever, more than anyone else, Jim Aparro is credited for the book’s style. Creators such as David Finch and Tony Daniel have gotten writing jobs on the title on the strength of their art on the series. It’s often easier to recognize the era a Batman issue came out in by the artists than by recognizing the story itself.
I’ll be frank; the most worrisome thing about the new run on Batman for me was the art team. I’m not the biggest fan of David Finch’s scratchy, heavily penciled details and was worried that it would be a poor fit for the more stylistic, delicate, writerly flourishes of Tom King.
Over the last two issues though, the book’s avoided those problems and colorist Jordie Bellaire is really to thank. Finch’s scratchy pencils are still here but they’re smartly dealt with by her ambitious color palette. Gotham City’s draped in purples, oranges and teals which ameliorates the grittiness of Finch’s pencils in a way that really works. It’s a wonderfully realized, cartoonish take on Batman’s world and it works really well when the book takes a turn for the horrific.
That turn is mostly in service to setting up the upcoming “Night of the Monster Men” crossover but it works well. What’s most interesting here is setting the tone, casting Gotham City as a Halloween-esque city of monsters and murderers, both fanciful and fearsome. It’s a smart fit for a slightly horrific story and one worth exploring for all Batman fans.