A lot of highly rated comics are on our pull list this week, with the exception of a muddled issue of Star Wars for Jackson.
Check out what we’ve been reading and let us know in the comments what you think of our picks!
Author: Shannon Watters & Kat Leyh
Artist: Carolyn Nowak
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
If there was ever an arc of any comic designed specifically for Therese Lacson then this would be it. Mermaids are real, everyone! Of course, they prefer to be called Merwomyn. April shares Therese’s undying desire to be a mermaid but she’s always thought it was all just a dream. At least until now. But the merwomyn of the lakes aren’t exactly everything she’s been hoping for and more. Instead, she finds that their new aquatic friend Harlow is in a rough spot caught between her new friends and her old bandmates.
Instead of leaving things well enough alone and letting the other Lumberjanes have a little bit of normal camp fun she leads them all on a quest to find Harlow and help her get the band back together. Of course, that generally involves poking around the lake, getting attacked by lake monsters, and convincing Harlow to go along with it. I feel bad for the other girls, really. They just want to have some fun. And Jen is getting seriously bummed out by all the unusualness about. Still, mermaids! (Merwomyn.) This should be fun.
UFOlogy #5 (of 6)
Author: James Tynion IV & Noah J. Yuenkel
Artist: Matthew Fox
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
I hope you guys are prepared to finally get some backstory on what happened with Malcolm’s parents because we finally get it. The creepy goo-monster agent dude tracks down the kids but Becky’s dad shows up just in time to drive them away to safety. Except then they go to Malcolm’s home to talk with his dad. We find out that aliens really are real (well, we knew that) and that ten years ago Malcolm’s parents had seen them. Except his mother wasn’t abducted – she just left. She couldn’t handle the truth about aliens.
While Malcolm tries to come to terms with his betrayal by both of his parents, Becky realizes where Dr. Lehrer is gone. She finds him waiting in the old burned down house with a mysterious box belonging to the aliens. When the blue goo guy shows up, the good doctor summons a similarly structured beast of his own to dispatch it. It turns out that he can control it – and he has the same sort of markings on him that Becky does.
I’m kind of disappointed that we only have one more issue left for this story. I guess everything can wrap up well enough in that time. Tynion is an amazing writer. But while I’ve enjoyed this so far it lost a lot of it’s thunder in earlier issues. It’s not bad for a short series but it’s not The Woods by any stretch.
The Paybacks #1
Anyone can be a superhero in the world of The Paybacks – the catch is who can sustain the lifestyle? Following the lives of the superheroes who’ve gone bankrupt and made it their mission to repay their debts by repossessing the assets of other superheroes who can’t pay their debts doesn’t sound nearly as hilarious as the creators manage to make it in this debut issue.
Constantine: The Hellblazer #4
One of the DC characters most harmed by the New 52 was good ol’ John Constantine. Often seen hanging out without a smoke, without a joke and without that devilish sex appeal and charisma, he was neutered and dull, forced into a sexless, grating relationship with Zatanna and into a team that he never belonged in. Since taking the character over with the new Constantine: The Hellblazer, writers Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV have brought back the old devil we know. He’s cruel, impulsive, sexy, charismatic, the scariest bastard in the room and never without a cigarette dangling from his lips. This week’s issue of Constantine: The Hellblazer shows just why this is the ideal form of the sorcerer and this team has the skill to keep him going.
Still haunted by a spirit who’s feasting on the ghosts of his dead friends, John descends into booze and cigarettes as he wanders New York City, thinking about his long lost punk days and a woman he couldn’t stop himself from hurting, both magically and emotionally. While this isn’t the book’s scariest issue, unlike the truly unnerving #2, it hits the hardest, especially for anyone with a few romantic regrets and memories of even more boozy nights that turned into nightmare mornings.
Doyle and Tynion nail that feel of living like the party doesn’t end, not caring who gets hurt or why and the issue’s climax shows that John’s discretions are finally coming back to haunt him. Artists Vanessa Del Rey and Chris Visions team up to draw John’s boozy ruminations as well as the flashbacks to his club days and the pair up is jarring but feels right. It’ll be nice to have a more consistent artistic voice on the book but the dual storylines of this issue could not be served better by a true authorial and artistic collaboration like this one.
Star Wars #9
It’s hard to argue against Marvel’s relaunch of Star Wars comics. They’ve rapidly become one of the company’s top sellers with some of comics’ top talents attached to write and draw them. Naturally, Marvel clearly is invested in making sure these aren’t cash-in tie-ins to a movie still months away from a theatrical release. Still though, I can’t shake off the feeling that something just doesn’t quite click as the second arc of Jason Aaron’s Star Wars crawls to its conclusion.
This week, Luke races across Nar Shaddaa, looking to hold onto his lightsaber and find a way to get to Coruscant and the Jedi Temple as Han and Sana Solo try to extricate themselves and Leia from an Imperial trap. There’s some interesting new characterization, with Luke being taken prisoner by a Jedi-obsessed Hutt crime lord and it’s clearly meant to at least slightly resemble Han’s imprisonment on Tantooine in Return of the Jedi. It’s the sort of thematic rhyming that George Lucas famously alluded to but the pacing feels wrong.
Stuart Immonen’s wide-screen presentation gives the comic a blockbuster feel but breaking the issue across dual story-lines slows the arc to a crawl. It’s been three issues since Han’s maybe-kinda-sorta wife was introduced and Aaron still hasn’t told us anything of importance about her, her relationship with Han or her motives and Luke’s challenges are moving at only a slightly faster pace. At some point very soon, even incredible art and enlivening twists on Star Wars icons aren’t going to save transparent efforts to string readers along to the next issue or, more likely, buying the next collection.
Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #11
The last issue of Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier asks readers an important question: what do you want from an ending? To put it lightly, Ales Kot, Marco Rudy, Langdon Foss, and Michael Walsh’s take has been controversial among fans. It’s taken the Winter Soldier into space, cut off his relationship with Black Widow, been wildly experimental with art and characterization and added a twisty, circular, mostly symbolic storyline. On the other hand, it’s the wildest, most experimental comic Marvel has published, since, well, the last time Marvel hired Ales Kot to write a book.
Summing up the plot of the final issue is tricky for those not already on board for the story. Bucky from the prime timeline and Bucky from the alternate future both try to find a future with the same version of the Queen of Mer-Z-Bow after she destroyed a cosmic incarnation of King Loki from a possibly destroyed future who wanted to set up a space drug empire. Meanwhile, a pterodactyl riding Daisy Johnson returns to a now safe Mer-Z-Bow after shooting Crossbones and chasing him into a white hole only to be proposed to by an alien major domo. Look, if that doesn’t sound at least intriguing to you, this comic probably isn’t for you. Much like Kot’s runs on Secret Avengers and Zero, beneath the weirdness and complex, layered art, Bucky Barnes focuses on the idea of the circular nature of fear and violence and tells its story with challenging panels and often cryptic narration and dialogue.
Rudy’s loopy, non-linear panel work gives the issue a hypnotic, hallucinogenic, Starlin-esque quality and reinforces Kot’s commitment to never talk down to readers. This final issue is more concerned with creating a feeling, one of the idea of peace after conflict, rather than tying up every loose end. It’s telling the Queen’s last line isn’t one of love for Bucky or thanks, rather, “do you really want me to explain it?” Kot knows the magic of the reader putting the pieces together for themselves and for the readers willing to connect the dots and fit every disparate thread together, the final tapestry is more rewarding than any single line could be.