A lot of comic arcs ended this week, starting with Lumberjanes #24 from BOOM! Box, which Sam reviewed and enjoyed. She also read the second issue of Jonesy and its begun to grow on her.
Kylee reviewed the first issue of Paknadel & Trakhanov’s Turncoat and is still in awe of Alex Paknadel’s creative writing abilities. She was less impressed with the ending of Mystery Girl from Dark Horse and wouldn’t feel too terribly about not learning what’s next.
Similarly, Jackson thought Superman #50 from DC Comics ended without much of an impact. However, he did greatly enjoy All-New X-Men #6 from Marvel Comics.
Check out all of our reviews below and let us know what you’re reading in the comments!
Jonesy #2 (of 4)
Author: Sam Humphries
Artist: Caitlin Rose Boyle
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
While I thought the last issue was a little over the top at times, this second issue really hit it’s stride. Maybe it’s because I’m used to Jonsey now. Or maybe it’s just because the whole story was so damned charming. Seriously, I loved this issue. So much. It was so cute and just hilarious. I had very few problems with it. But we’ll get to all that in a moment.
The setting for this issue is the town’s annual talent show. Jonesy is stuck looking after her father’s donut shop stand while agonizing over the fact that she’s not at home online waiting for the latest music video from her favorite artist Stuff to drop.
She tries to shirk responsibility by making everyone fall in love with a rival booth’s frozen gopher pops but it’s not long until classmate Susan comes around to distract her. They get to talking about Stuff and reading through her zine articles on Stuff. They even share their secret crushes – Jonesy’s on Stuff and Susan’s on a girl in their science class. But then they realize the other issues of her zines have been stolen!
They set off to find them, christening themselves the Secret Crush Investigation Squad! Instead of just looking for her zines, though, they go around enjoying the whole festival and having a really great time. Susan seems to think they’re becoming really good friends. But then Jonesy finds two rocker brothers reading her zine and becomes so flustered in figuring out how to make them give them back (it turns out they really love Stuff, too) that she makes them fall in love with Susan’s hat which they then steal.
Susan is upset and Jonesy realizes she’s screwed up. She realizes just how much that hat meant to Susan when Susan is forced to go up on stage and sing her country song without it. (At least Jonesy tries to make up for it by telling the whole crowd they love her song.) She does get the hat back, too. Susan is pretty upset – at least until Jonesy breaks down and tells her everything about her powers. Friendship saved! But, uh oh. Someone – a coach at Jonesy’s school – notices hearts on the rocker bros and realizes he’s seen them before…
Okay, so, like I said. Great issue. Loved it. But I did have one big problem. Jonesy never tried to make good with the rocker bros. Why didn’t she just exchange some of the zines for the hat? They seemed to genuinely like Stuff. This was an opportunity for her to not only make one friend in this issue but three. Instead she solves the problem by making them love gopher pops which they really find repulsive. That’s mean, Jonesy.
Author: Shannon Watters & Kat Leyh
Artist: Carey Pietsch
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
The Sea Fairin’ Karen and the selkies arc comes to an end this week in a very satisfying fashion. Ripley and Molly show up in the nick of time to rescue the others after their ship wrecks. First with lost pool noodles they’ve found in the alternate dimension and then with a pirate ship Ripley finds while out chasing a moth. Molly feels guilty that she didn’t come to help them sooner and that she basically ignored everyone to help the Bear Woman close portals.
But no one seems to mind. They’re alive! And they even find the lost selkie pelt though it’s not an easy task getting it back. Still, they manage to get the pelt and harness the power of the portals to get back home – after a brief reunion and a super sweet kiss between Molly and Mal, of course. In the end, everything works out and they’re all ready to put the past behind them. The selkies apologize to Karen (who admits that as a wolf she played with the pelt and accidentally tossed it into the water where it was lost) and eventually decide to join her crew as the new pirate ship is hard to manage on her own.
Everything seems to be back to normal. And the girls get their knot tying badges! (Talk about a hard badge to get.) They start heading back to camp when someone unseen looks at them through a lens that shows a magical, colorful glow around all the girls with Molly’s seemingly growing to far surpass her friends after her time with the Bear Woman. It’s a great way to end an arc that stretched out maybe an issue longer than I would have liked. The next issue should be especially good, though. It’s the supersized second anniversary issue!
Paknadel & Trakhanov’s Turncoat #1
Author: Alex Paknadel
Artist: Artyom Trakhanov
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
It’s hard to find unique sci-fi these days, with such a saturation of the market, but Paknadel & Trakhanov’s Turncoat brings a completely new twist on dark sci-fi by blending it with hard-boiled detective noir and giving us an intriguing protagonist in the form of Marta Gonzalez.
A former cop working for an alien race known as Management helps spur their exit from Earth, after which she finds herself on the fringes of society working as a private detective.
Mystery Girl #4
Author: Paul Tobin
Artist: Alberto Albuquerque
Publisher: Dark Horse
Source: Dark Horse DRC
The things I enjoyed most about Mystery Girl initially have, sadly, fallen by the wayside as this (arc?) series finds its end. I liked the exploration of quiet moments with Trine – the stagnancy of her life, the relationship with her maybe-boyfriend, etc. – of which there are none in this issue.
After the massive cliffhanger, issue #4 fails to give us any immediate closure. Instead, readers are shown a multipage homoerotic wrestling fight between two hapless lackeys and Trine’s naked maybe-boyfriend. Follow that up with a look at lecherous Alfie and the villainous Linford before we see that Trine survived her stranding in Siberia without much hardship. With little fanfare, she takes Linford down. It’s chaotic, violent, and gratuitous – and not in a good way.
While ‘girl who knows all the answers to every mystery except her own’ sounds intriguing in concept, it didn’t leave a lot of conflict to be had in execution. Over our issues, Trine was recruited to a research mission, flew to Russia, traipsed all over Siberia, saved her friends from hitmen, cracked open an economic goldmine, and took down an violent criminal enterprise – all without breaking a sweat. There were few stakes and fewer hardships for the main protagonist.
And when the dust settled, Trine didn’t even seem ruffled by her experiences. She returned to status quo, along with readers whose time might have been spent better elsewhere. Sadly, the happenstance of a woman knowing the only answer Trine doesn’t might not even be enough to draw me into the next series/arc, but only time will tell if Dark Horse continues this series.
All-New X-Men #6
Author: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Mark Bagley
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Before it became, if briefly, one of the darkest books of the X-line, Chris Claremont’s New Mutants was about a group of troubled, excitable, impulsive kids trying to prove they were anything but. That struggle formed the backbone of the series for years and it’s a dynamic Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley have been tackling with their run on All-New X-Men. Free of the expectations of who they may be forced to become and with new members, for the first time, it feels as if the time displaced X-Men have all of the shine and expectation-free clean state the New Mutants did way back in 1982.
This week’s issue #6 sees the team taking on the Blob throughout Paris, having to work together to stop a character who the main team has effortlessly battled dozens of times. It’s neat to see the young characters struggle and fail as often as they do here before it all comes together and it shines a light on the unique makeup of the team. Idie’s powers mesh well with Angel and Iceman’s while Hank and Scott both struggle to define their role on the team.
Only Evan is really left out of this issue, stuck in the b-story setup of a future issue rather than tangling with the main threat. It’s a little bit of a disappointment, primarily because Kid Apocalypse has been used as a McGuffin or plot device so many times in the past that it’s disappointing to see him feel a bit like an also-ran in a comic that doesn’t have to deal with those same Apocalypse-focused subjects.
There’s solid development here as well. Hopeless and Bagley do an admirable job showing off Angel’s new, deadly powerset, something that wasn’t really examined during Brian Michael Bendis’ run on the title and it draws a unique parallel between him and X-23, something much of the subtext of their relationship has been building to.
Those beats, examining romantic relationships as well as team ones through adversity and combat is something Claremont and, later, Louise Simonson did so well in New Mutants and it feels familiar and welcome here. It’s a comic that feels like it wants to deal with the same ideas of growing up, self-acceptance, and cooperation and it’s a dynamic so rarely explored in comics in 2016. All-New X-Men feels like a throwback but doesn’t read like one and it’s a more than welcome addition to a fairly dark, relentlessly bleak X-Men line.
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Artist: Howard Porter, Patrick Zircher, Ardian Syaf, Jon Bogdanove
Publisher: DC Comics
Let’s get this out of the way right now: Superman #50 isn’t the ending you want for the massive four-month long, line-wide “Savage Dawn” crossover. After last week’s Action Comics #50, which saw Clark finally gain access to his powers again, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to say that readers were probably expecting an all out brawl between Superman and an asteroid-empowered Vandal Savage but that’s not really what we get.
Instead Superman #50 reads more like Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “For the Man Who Has Everything,” Superman Annual #11 from 1985. In that story, referenced in a recent episode of Supergirl, Superman is infected with the Black Mercy by Mongul and gets a vision of his life on Krypton had his parents not sent him away. It’s among the most powerful stories Moore and Gibbons ever created, a testament to Superman’s care for humanity and his desire to protect others at the expense of his own happiness and well-being.
Here, the Puzzler, under the sway of Savage, runs a VR program through Superman’s brain allowing him to see alternate universes that could have come to fruition had the power of Savage’s comet been harnessed earlier. He sees a Krypton that survived, having seized the power for themselves, an Earth where Vandal’s rule is absolute and guaranteed by Superman’s military strength.
It’s an interesting idea, one illustrated well by Ardian Syaf, Patric Bircher, and Jon Bogdanove, but it feels both anticlimactic and a bit expected. It’s a story that would have worked better outside of Superman’s return to power in the New 52. After nearly a year of excellent comics where Clark put his life on the line to save others, even without his powers, it’s a little disappointing for the story’s finale not to explicitly deal with the issue of his strength. It feels disconnected in the way the line hasn’t since the “Truth” storyline began and it’s genuinely disappointing.
The resolution, that sees Superman attempt the impossible to finally stop Savage once and for all is heartening and the way it ties Savage’s desperate, family destroying hunt for power to Lor-El and Jor-El’s final sacrifice is enlightening and a strong way to tie Savage tighter to the Superman mythos.
It’s ultimately just disappointing to see that the issue didn’t solely focus on that dynamic. Still, it’s a mostly satisfying way to finish off a strong, albeit bloated, crossover and finally see a new status quo for Superman put in place, one that pays homage to the best years of the character without ignoring the excellent storyline readers have just witnessed.