Sam had fun with both Joyride and Jonesy from BOOM! Studios this week, while Kylee is still onboard for Aliens: Defiance from Dark Horse. Jackson reviewed the final issue of The Omega Men and gave it a glowing review.
Check out our full reviews below and let us know what you’re reading in the comments!
Author: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Artist: Marcus To
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
I didn’t do a review of the first issue of this series but I should have because it was awesome. But I was nervous about falling in love with a sci-fi comic that was set to be nothing but a miniseries. But good news! It’s now an on-going series. So here’s what you missed last time. A pair of rebellious young adults rebel against a tyrannical government shielding the Earth from the universe beyond. Unfortunately their plan goes south when a loyal soldier gets wind of their plan and then their ‘rescuers’ turn out to be be slavers. Or does it? It was fun and quirky and had a great cast of characters so I made sure to pick up the second issue to make sure this fun, adventure-filled series lived up to the promise of that first issue.
After taking over the ship that came to rescue them Dewydd, Uma, and Catrin head off to spend some loot they discover in the hold. Of course it takes like ten seconds for Uma to get into trouble after stealing something. Catrin at least manages to rescue Dewydd from the authorities. She pegs him as the weak link in their group and she tries to get him to see her side of things. You know, the side of things that keeps them alive with a plan and a little bit of forward thinking. But he’s a lot more focused on escaping reality like Uma. He doesn’t realize that it’s not entirely being true to himself. At least not yet.
While Dewydd and Cat go off shopping, Uma connects with the criminal underworld. In the end they wind up taking off with Uma’s new friend Kolstak while Dewydd continues to pine away for her and Cat basically rolls her eyes at all of it. Oh, and Dewydd’s brother is on their trail and it doesn’t seem like he’s all that interested in being gentle about bringing him home.
In short, this book remains awesome and I can’t wait for the next issue. They are just a bunch of mismatched kids exploring a super weird galaxy and I love it.
Author: Sam Humphries
Artist: Caitlin Rose Boyle
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
Guess what other series is now an on-going series!? Yup, Jonesy was bumped up to an on-going which means we’ll have all kinds of super-powered fun for months to come. So what is Jonesy up to this time around, you ask? Well, she’s trying to destroy prom. When some of the popular crowd insult her Jonesy starts whipping up a plan to ruin the in-crowd’s cohesiveness with a well placed rumor.
Rumor? Yup. Unfortunately her principal is getting hip to her superpowers and is close to revealing her. So Jonesy has to keep things under wraps. Unfortunately things don’t go according to plan. Susan is too busy worrying about her crush on Nisha and their friend Farid, who they enlist to help, is too busy worrying about dancing. When Jonesy’s plan doesn’t work out and the popular girl’s boyfriend who she’s trying to manipulate ignores, her she goes off the deep end. She’s just about to use her powers to ruin prom for everyone when Farid points out Susan and Nisha.
It turns out Susan got up the nerve to ask Nisha to dance while Jonesy was busy trying to ruin prom for people. So at the last minute she changes her magical orders to make sure everyone has a great prom. All for Susan. Her principal tries to call her out on her powers but Jonesy tells her she can’t prove shit and goes off to dance with Farid and have fun. But at the very end of the issue… STUFF ARRIVES AT PROM. Yes, that Stuff. Jonesy’s not so secret crush Stuff. Whaaaat?
Aliens: Defiance #2
Author: Brian Wood
Artist: Tristan Jones
Publisher: Dark Horse
Source: Dark Horse DRC
Aliens: Defiance has given fans of the franchise another piece of the universe with Zula Hendricks’ story, and while it hasn’t been groundbreaking in terms of storytelling, it has been nice to explore another strong female protagonist. The second issue gives more of Zula’s backstory, though it does a lot more telling over showing, with a quick flashback to start the issue and then a lot of bitterness over how she came to be in the position she’s found herself in. There’s an appreciation of her sacrifice and dedication, her determination to prove herself, and yet there’s still floundering, as her only companions on this journey are synthetics who have gone rogue themselves. The hodge-podge crew bent on stopping the evil corporation isn’t new, but sometimes we all have to step back and blow up some xenomorphs, right?
The artwork and coloring from Tristan Jones and Dan Jackson continues to feel like still shots from a movie, the way things are framed, how the shadowing of a panel creates tension for the readers. We have seen just enough of the xenomorphs and their horrors to be properly creeped out, while obscuring Hendricks’ – the only human’s – face on more than one page in this issue. Would it be better as a movie? Maybe. But there is enough going on with this series that I’m happy to take Zula’s adventure however we can get her.
The Omega Men #12
Author: Tom King
Artist: Barnaby Bagenda
Publisher: DC Comics
DC’s biggest comics release this week was the much anticipated DC Universe: Rebirth #1, a comic with the dual purpose of setting up something of a new status quo for its comic universe as well as offering something of an apology and explanation for the publisher’s many mistakes during the New 52. While reactions have been numerous and mixed, DC Universe: Rebirth #1 argues, above all, that certain darker, bleaker stories the company has told both over the last 5 years in particular and the last three decades more generally, may have been a mistake. It’s a bold statement but, more importantly, it’s one that focuses on obscenity over maturity.
DC Universe: Rebirth #1 lumps in the faux-edginess of stores like Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales’ rape-obsessed literary train-wreck Identity Crisis or the misogyny and racism of Mike Grell’s The Longbow Hunters with more mature, thoughtful stories that used the company’s legacy, characters and history to tell complex stories focused on people. It all really comes down to the idea of maturity.
DC Universe: Rebirth #1 argues that mature storytelling written for an older, more literary-minded audience is fundamentally the same as overly violent, bloody and dark stories that sprung from comics like Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns. One needs only read the finale of The Omega Men, to see the difference illustrated.
The Omega Men #12 sees Kyle Rayner and the Omega Men on the cusp of winning a costly war, left to decide only how to tell the story of their victory. They’re forced to decide whether one life can be spared in order to end the Citadel’s threat. It’s a story that’s been told before in traditional superhero media, whether heroes can kill someone who’s inflicted tremendous pain or whether to spare them, proving their morals but Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda’s The Omega Men has never used traditional superhero tropes to tell its stories. This is a bleak issue, usurping readers’ expectations and forcing audience surrogate Kyle and readers themselves to examine the cost of victory and the moral conundrum of fighting a totalitarian regime only to give rise to a new one.
While The Omega Men #12 is a bloody issue, it doesn’t revel in the violence committed therein. The blood that soaks ground, walls and characters is a damning condemnation of the people who spilled it. That blood is a consequence of the violence committed here, impossible for the characters or reader to ignore. It’s not there to raise the stakes or make characters seem like edgy badasses. It’s there to not let readers forget the violence committed to get to this ending. Thousands of people died and The Omega Men #12 forces readers to ask, “Was it worth it?”
The Omega Men #12 ends with the nine-panel grid the series has come to be known for, with Kyle openly acknowledging both the limitations of comic book storytelling and how that form frames stories as linear, simplistic and cut-and-dry. He argues that readers are allowed to read a story and see it to the end, without having to examine the consequences or crimes committed outside of the little boxes and grids.
The Omega Men frequently forced readers to examine what was missing, what we weren’t being shown and why that matters. It’s a comic maturely examining that nature of violence, belief and fundamentalism and holds readers accountable for the answers they come up with to the heady questions it asks. Unlike the comics DC’s apologizing for in its soft-relaunch, The Omega Men uses violence to question readers, not characters and creates something equal parts challenging and rewarding. The Omega Men is the singular best comic DC’s released in years, a comic that will be there for readers long past its issues have fallen off shelves.