This week, Sam enjoyed Joyride and Lumberjanes, both from BOOM! Studios! Kylee is continuing to read Kurt Sutter’s venture into comics, Lucas Stand, also from BOOM! Studios, and Jackson took a look at Star Wars #21 from Marvel Comics. He also reviewed Snotgirl #1, which is Bryan Lee O’Malley’s first monthly comic ever from Image Comics.
Check out the full reviews below and tell us what you’re reading in the comments!
Authors: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Artist: Marcus To
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
So last issue we found out that Catrin isn’t just some goody-two-shoes army brat. She’s also the princess of the whole tyrannical regime that Dewydd and Uma fled. But we quickly learn that she’s not the only one keeping secrets. It turns out that Dewydd has a big one – he could have taken out the whole regime in an instant. The thing is that to have done so would have meant getting himself killed the day before they took off. And as good of a guy as Dewydd might be, he’s also a bit selfish. He wanted to escape more than he wanted to fight back.
And it just so happens that the regime they fled committed mass murder immediately after Dewydd’s heroic actions.
Uma gets really pissed off and basically tells him she wishes he were dead. She almost gets her wish because shortly after Dewydd’s brother Jorn arrives and captures him and Catrin. And because Uma’s angry at both of them she and Kolstak leave them behind. Dewydd is about ready to give up but Catrin’s not about to go back without a fight now that she’s finally embraced her freedom. So she breaks them out and with a little help from Uma (who realizes her mistake) and even Jorn (who can’t let his brother die even if he is a traitor) the team ends up back together again blasting off into the cosmos for more adventures.
Of course, Catrin is still the princess. And Jorn is still sorta duty bound to find them. So I doubt they’re out of danger just yet…
Authors: Shannon Watters & Kat Leyh
Artist: Ayme Sotuyo
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
It turns out that the rivalry between our Roanokes and the Zodiac cabin goes a lot deeper than expected. When the girls still can’t work together to enact Barney’s plan to save the day Jen finally makes them talk about their feelings. Remember Diane? Well, she was a Zodiac. And while maybe she was kinda evil and stuff, she was Hes’ friend and they miss her. Once the girls come to understand that, everything works out fine.
Using the power of the kittens, Barney gets everyone together to help the giant, murderous bird woo the little bird (who apparently has a thing for rainbows). Though there’s a few hitches everything ends up working out and they get the Grand Lodge back to camp without having to kill the big bird. Once back at camp, Barney asks the Grand Lodge for permission to join the Lumberjanes. After a little deliberation about whether or not it’s okay to bring on a new camper halfway through the summer (it really doesn’t matter that he’s a boy – anyone can be a hardcore lady-type!) they let him!
Barney’s a Lumberjane, everyone!
Instead of bunking with the Roanokes, though, he goes to hang out with Hester and the Zodiac cabin since, you know, with Diane gone they have an open bunk. Or do they? Diane is suddenly back and more than likely ready to raise all kinds of trouble for the Lumberjanes. (And poor Barney.) Hopefully it’s not too much for the girls to handle!
Lucas Stand #2 (of 6)
Authors: Kurt Sutter & Caitlin Kittredge
Artist: Jesús Hervás
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
With only six issues to this series, the second wastes no time in developing the story at breakneck speed. Once Lucas understands just who he’s signed up to work for, he gets a crash course in sending demons back to Hell by any means necessary. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am, he vanquishes the demon and rescues the girl – only to be thrown back into his own time at a precarious moment.
Sutter and Kittredge do some interesting work in showcasing how Lucas is slowly being absolved of his sins, working off his debt by buying into this crazy mission against Tempters. The story continues to be highly character driven, with Lucas’ lows getting lower – at a crucial moment, the DTs strike and when he returns to the present, he’s hardly able to discuss his issues with his shrink. And without much more than a moment’s pause, he’s whisked off to another time to vanquish another Tempter.
The layout of the panels mimics this frenetic pacing, only becoming someone orderly when Lucas is trying to get himself in order. Hervás creates some truly spectacular visuals when it comes to demons and Tempters, with scratchy lines and horrific features. Coupled with Adam Metcalfe’s colors, they have created some truly menacing imagery.
Dizzying and death-defying, Lucas Stand #2 doesn’t pull any punches and buckles readers in for one wild ride.
Star Wars #21
Author: Jason Aaron
Artist: Jorge Molina
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The biggest problem with the Star Wars Expanded Universe has always been the Star Wars Extended Universe. For every tantalizing peek into a background character’s backstory or clearing up a plot point or further expanding on the mythology, there’s a story detailing the origin of Han Solo’s pants, Luke Skywalker’s great-great-great grandson’s addiction to death sticks or the tale of a Planet of the Apes style primate learning magic.
Marvel has tried to address this since taking over the comics license from Dark Horse in 2013 by focusing on the main characters and time periods closely associated with the films. The comics have an extremely narrow focus on the universe that has done a great job further expanding the characters and their motivations but have often left the world feeling a little empty outside of the series’ main players.
Star Wars #21 feels like it’s addressing this some by focusing on a Special Commando Advanced Recon team lead by Sergeant Kreel, a former Imperial spy who’s been chasing Luke since the two faced off on Nar Shadaa. More than anything, it’s an issue exploring life on the other side of the war, focusing on elite stormtroopers facing off with entrenched Rebel forces. There’s not a whole lot of particularly compelling subtext here.
Many Star Wars comics have dealt with the ethical lines separating the Rebellion and the Imperials and the thin line between resistance and terrorism and Kreel’s origin story and battles here don’t add much to the discussion. It’s still rendered in gorgeous detail by artist Jorge Molina and Jason Aaron has a great sense of both the cold, professional voices of crack, military specialists and the indoctrinated killers of a dictatorship.
This isn’t an issue that’s a revelation nor is it the strongest entry in Aaron’s consistently excellent run on Star Wars but it certainly does a solid job telling a story outside of the main cast and the actions of the rebellion. It’s just good to see a Star Wars comic start shading in its far off galaxy.
Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Artist: Leslie Hung
Publisher: Image Comics
Despite writing and drawing comics filled with time-travel paradoxes, sociopathic spirits from beyond time and space, homicidal ex-boyfriends and fascination with garlic bread, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work has always approached the complicated relationship between how we present ourselves and how we view others as constructing or denying presentations of their own. Scott doesn’t recognize Ramona’s history in his hunt for the perfect girlfriend that can fix his fucked up life. Katie expects others to set her up for the future while she refuses to take actions of her own.
Snotgirl #1, O’Malley’s first monthly comic ever, illustrated by Leslie Hung, is explicitly about visual presentation in the way his previous works only occasionally touched on. It focuses on Lattie, a semi-famous fashion blogger, hiding her oppressive loneliness and self-loathing behind an obsessively curated Instagram page and a fistful of anti-inflammatory allergy medications.
Her life begins to change however when a new chance at connection comes along in the form of Caroline, a self-assured, flirty, fully realized young woman, who questions Lottie’s self-image, interests, and sexuality in a way the protagonist finds both terrifying and intrinsically exciting.
Hung renders all of this lovingly, showcasing Lottie as a being of construction, a work in progress whose image is carefully maintained at the cost of her own happiness and self-worth, entranced by Caroline’s ability to seemingly effortlessly fit in and find a place. What’s most impressive, however, is that O’Malley and Hung are able to make Caroline and Lattie’s encounter both loaded with foreboding energy as well as truly approachable emotion.
Multiple sequences establish Lattie’s obsession with finding affirmation from strangers. It’s a feeling familiar to anyone whose involved in the act of creation, not only having the approval of friends but having someone, anyone appreciate your creation, want to be you, envy you. It’s a familiar narcissism, one focused on image over substance, of feeling loved rather than being loved.
Snotgirl #1 is a book that’s premise is going to feel unfamiliar for a lot of reasons, with an all female cast as well as a focus on fashion, but the emotions and themes are innately familiar for anyone whose created something or sought approval in the eyes of strangers. It’s an interesting entry in O’Malley’s sterling bibliography with instantly iconic art from Hung and paints a horrifying, disgusting, relatable portrait of a woman in crisis.