Sam dove into Poe Dameron #2 from Marvel, as well as The Woods and Giant Days from BOOM! Studios , and enjoyed all three comics this week.
Kylee took a look at the first issue of Weavers from BOOM! Studios and is intrigued by where the series is headed. And wants people to know that there are less spiders than it seems in the series… so far.
Jackson tackled Hellboy in Hell #9 from Dark Horse Comics, the finale of Midnighter from DC comics, and the first issue of Dungeons and Dragons from IDW Publishing.
Check out all of our reviews below and let us know what you’re reading in the comments!
Poe Dameron #2
Author: Charles Soule
Artist: Phil Noto
It’s Star Wars Day (or, well, it was) and the release of Poe Dameron #2 just so happened (aka was carefully planned) to coincide with the annual celebration. The book picks up where the first one ended with Imperials arriving on the planet. Agent Terex is their leader and he’s an old school Imperial who tries to give Captain Phasma and the other younger generation a bit of talking to about the glory of the old days – only to be reminded that the Empire fell.
He’s got something to prove and he goes out on this mission to bring in one very particular pilot: Poe Dameron. It turns out Poe is more well known that we might have thought and his hotshot piloting skills earned him the attention of the First Order even before his recruitment to the Resistance. He knows Poe is on the planet so he breaks through all the stone doors protecting the mysterious egg and it’s people in search of him. Poe knows he’s outnumbered so he asks Snap and the others to give him some leverage and take out the troop ships and fighters that came with Terex and his stormtroopers. There’s just one problem: when they succeed and Poe starts trying to make demands Terex drops a bomb on them all.
There’s a battle cruiser out there waiting for them and the Resistance pilots are hopelessly outnumbered.
Another bomb drops, though. As the stormtroopers try to destroy the egg by setting it on fire the egg begins to hatch.
This was a great second issue that keeps the action going while offering up a lot of other plot development. Seeing how Terex’s position is established within the First Order was really interesting. It’s only 30 years after ROTJ so it makes sense that there are going to be old school Imperials jumping on board with the Empire.
Hell, Terex used to be a stormtrooper. And here he is all grown up and back to his old tricks basically. Another cool thing to see was how reluctant the Resistance and First Order were to engage with one another. It seems that though they are basically mortal enemies both have standing orders only to shoot if they are shot at first. I like that we’re getting a glimpse at the way things were before they really went to hell in The Force Awakens.
Keep it up, Poe Dameron team!
The Woods #22
Author: James Tynion IV
Artist: Michael Dialynas
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
The survivors from the school are now in New London trying to prepare to take on the Horde but it’s not exactly going well. The kids left behind to die were those who weren’t exactly at their peak. That was the reason they weren’t taken in the first place. Karen is having a hard time dealing with her frustration at their inability to come together despite the trainers in New London’s best efforts. With Maria gone she’s the presumptive leader and Sanami is trying to keep her from getting too down on herself.
Through flashbacks we learn a bit more about Karen’s past in the year that we jumped over. She wasn’t in a great place and she was having issues dealing with her various relationships with Calder and Sander and everything else. Sanami has a good reason to worry that Karen might slip back into that sort of funk and there’s no time for it. The Bay Point kids need a leader.
Eventually, Sander’s father discovers that his son is missing gets upset with Karen. He blames her for getting his son wrapped up in their problems even though Karen has no idea what Calder and Sander have gotten up to. Luckily, the New Londoners care about Sander and Karen is able to get the Hunters together to go after them – and the other kids.
It’s a good thing, too, because Sander and Calder are idiots and the issue ends with the two of them being captured by a group of not-too-friendly looking folks…
Giant Days #14
Author: John Allison
Artist: Max Sarin
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
The girls tackle one of the most challenging issues facing college students these days – finding good off-campus housing. This was an enjoyable departure from some of the other arcs that have been going on and it was really good to just have some fun with the girls. It’s not an easy quest and they see a lot of really terrible houses. They also find out they are competing with the boys as far as housing goes and they lose out on the perfect house – only to get hooked up by the homeowner in the end.
Honestly, this was probably the most enjoyable issue in awhile. It was also incredibly relatable to just about all college grads or college bound readers. Not everyone knows the hassle of dealing with ex-boyfriends or shady student government campaigns. But everyone knows the pain of trying to lock down housing for the next year.
Solid, standalone issue. I’m really glad the book is getting back into the day-to-day life sort of swing of things versus the weirdly political espionage deal they had for a while. I was in student government in college. It’s really not that exciting.
Sam Wildman is a co-founder and co-editor at Nerdophiles. She only wishes finding a college rental was as easy as Giant Days made it seem (and it didn’t make it seem easy). Follow her on twitter @samaside.
Author: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Dylan Burnett
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
Weavers has a pretty strong elevator pitch that seems to fall just short of execution in its debut issue, but I enjoyed the potential it has to grow into a fascinating body-horror urban crime mash-up story. Centered around a crime family that gains supernatural abilities through spiders inside their bodies, readers are introduced to the world in chunks as seen through the eyes of Sid Thyme, the newest – and possibly unwilling – member of the family.
Cutting back and forth between him working through getting the hang of his abilities now and showcasing how he got them in the first place is a little bit muddy and drawn out, with the reveal not happening until late in the issue despite the solicit giving it away. The art for these abilities is equally as mysterious, leaving a lot of unanswered questions that we’ll hopefully have time for in this limited six issue run.
That being said about the art, I do really like the almost cartoon stylized tone it sets and how Dylan Burnett makes use of shadows. He’s helped out greatly by the neon city coloring of Triona Farrell, whose chosen palette brings about a mixed feeling of glitz and grime so often associated with mobster tales. I haven’t quite decided if I love or hate the varied lettering that occurs to indicate different tones and volumes of voice. It’s interesting, but almost feels like spoon-feeding the audience how the issue is supposed to read without letting them come to the conclusions on their own.
Being a series limited to six issues, each one is precious in moving the story forward. I think the first issue just barely scratched the surface, but was enough of a wild ride to sell me on sticking with the story. I’m interested to see how the hapless new member, Sid, makes a name for himself or, eventually, harnesses his new-found powers for his own ends.
Kylee Sills is an associate editor at Nerdophiles. A spider crawled into her ear once when she was sleeping, but she hasn’t gained any new abilities… yet. Follow her on Twitter @kyleewho.
Hellboy in Hell #9
Author: Mike Mignola
Artist: Mike Mignola
Publisher: Dark Horse
From its first issues, Hellboy has been a comic of contradictions. It’s ostensibly a horror comic but one that operations by the logic of alternative superhero comics and Jack Kirby aesthetics. It’s a book about fairy tales and legends starring a creature who routinely punches them. The greatest contradiction of the book has always, however been in its motivation for its hero. From the first storyline, Hellboy is established as Anung Un Rama, the would-be King of Hell, the destroyer of Earth and the harbinger of the Apocalypse.
While so much of the series explores small scale stories about Hellboy encountering the supernatural, the macro plot will never let readers forget that this is the character who will doom us all. Every action that’s not Hellboy seizing the throne of Hell is just delaying the horrible, world-ending inevitable. The real trick of the series though, and the real proof of Mike Migola’s genius is that all those small stories still matter. Every choice Hellboy’s made, every person he’s impacted matters and pushed him towards the end of his story.
Hellboy in Hell has been dealing with this theme since the character’s death in 2011, as Hellboy, a puppet of fate and slave to madness, slays Satan and sends the Abyss into chaos. The last denizens of Hell have cloistered themselves, waiting for either their doom or to follow the new de facto leader of the pit.
Even with that inevitability hanging over Hellboy, the issue still sees him deal with a minor character from his past. His wife, a character from Dark Horse Presents #31-32 greets him one last time, reminding him of the ties that bind, in life and death, revealing her role pushing Hellboy towards his destiny.
It’s a wonderfully realized tragedy, one that feels as pulpy as a story about an alcoholic demonic ex-luchador can be and as operatic as one about a doomed son fulfilling his father’s promise could ever be. The art is wonderfully realized by Mignola and Dave Stewart’s moody, impressionistic colors continue to paint a picture of Hell not solely as a biblical location but as a place of impending, inescapable doom. As the series prepares to end with next month’s finale, readers are left with the same sense of inescapable Doom that its character has tried to escape from for years, with only the thinnest sliver of hope remaining.
Author: Steve Orlando
Artist: ACO and Hugo Petrus
Publisher: DC Comics
For the last year, Midnighter has been the most consistently excellent action comic on the stands. It’s a comic that will be a cult hit for years, one of those series people recommend years from now, passing around trade paperbacks and single issues like the gospel. All this is to say that I am very sad that Midnighter is ending.
At least it goes out with a bang. Midnighter #12 sees the titular hero team up with his ex and Amanda Waller to stop Henry Bendix and his genetic super weapon. It’s the series bloodiest, most brutal issue yet, with Midnighter using every weapon, every skill and every ability at his disposal to break his enemy.
It’s a fight that’s going to work best for fans of the Authority and those who know both Midnighter’s relationship with Bendix as well as his relationship with Apollo. Even after the fireworks have stopped, there’s still some extremely satisfying character work done by the end of the series that leaves the character in a way that both acknowledges who he fundamentally is with the person who’s had to accept new things about himself over the last year.
The issue’s wonderfully realized here through Steve Orlando’s dialogue and script as well as ACO and Hugo Petrus, who handle art. As throughout the series, there’s a focus on precision here, with stark dialogue and sharp, angular imagery that emphasizes every punch, bullet and broken bone all the way to the last page. Midnighter #12 aptly finishes the series, offering a definitive statement on one of comics’ greatest ass-kickers.
Dungeons and Dragons #1
Author: Jim Zub
Artist: Nelson Daniel
Publisher: IDW Publishing
I have played Dungeons and Dragons since I was 13-years-old and while it’s always been a game I’ve had an enormous appreciation for, I’ve never been particularly excited for adaptations of the game in other media. One of the things that makes D&D unique and has made it appeal to generations of players has been its ability to foster unique, specific stories tailored specifically to the people who play them. No two players’ experience are with the game and that sense of collaborative creation
This week’s Dungeons and Dragons #1 from Jim Zub, his second debut series of the week, and Nelson Daniel focuses on using established, well liked characters instead of trying to replicate the feeling of playing an RPG. It mostly works but depends some on familiarity. Minsc and Boo, who are leading a team of adventurers to recover an artifact, were major characters in the Baldur’s Gate video game series and they feel fully realized here.
For longtime fans, their appearance is charming and familiar but they might not feel distinct to unfamiliar readers. What does unquestionably work is the tone. Even before the shift that introduces one of the Lords of Ravenloft into the story, there’s a looming sense of dread and horror.
Dungeons and Dragons #1 feels like a companion to Zub’s work on Pathfinder and Skullkickers, keeping a light, comedic tone grounded in exciting and intriguing fantasy worlds. All that’s helped with cartoony, fun art from Daniel. Still, a lot of the issue is going to depend on reader familiarity with big, established ideas, like Ravenloft, Strand von Zarovich and the mythology both draw from. Still, it’s imaginative and gripping, with a sense of world-building and character far beyond so many other fantasy series in the market today.
Jackson Adams is a staff writer at Nerdophiles. He’s run “Castle Ravenloft” three times and has never seen someone beat Strahd. Follow him on Twitter @JacksonInACup.