Sam continues to enjoy Joyride from BOOM! Studios, while Kylee is curious to see how Lucas Stand is going to wrap things up in two more issues. Kingsway West from Dark Horse Comics continues to fascinate Kylee and Jackson isn’t quite sold on Green Lanterns from DC Comics, but it’s a decent issue.
Check out the full reviews below and tell us what you’re reading in the comments!
Author: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Artist: Marcus To
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
Our intrepid crew has one hell of an adventure this issue and I have to chalk that up to the fantastic writing by Lanzing and Kelly. I mean, it’s just so crazy and awesome. I love it. The crew land on a planet that has some, uh, intimate secrets. While everyone is out exploring they come to realize that the planet isn’t necessarily a planet – at least not the part they land on anyway. They happen to land on some flying space turtles that are about to get it on.
Meanwhile, Catrin starts to let herself be and look like herself. Kolstak goes freakin’ crazy thanks to some floating, golden pheromones in the in the air. Bot goes off on it’s own to explore. Oh, and Dewydd continues to feel sorry for himself after Uma breaks it to him that she really, really just wants to stay friends. Five issues in and you’d think the kid would have learned by now that Uma’s not interested in him romantically. Nor does she have to be to want to run away into space with her best friend.
All in all, super entertaining issue. It’s nice to have a chance for everyone to slow down and just develop as characters. Plus it was great seeing Marcus To develop a more natural setting as opposed to ships and space stations and just space in general.
Also: giant space turtles getting it on. Who doesn’t love that?
Sam Wildman is a co-founder and co-editor at Nerdophiles. She thinks that calling a planet “Never Listen to Kolstak” probably foreshadows a situation where you need to listen to Kolstak. Follow her on twitter @samaside.
Kingsway West #2
Author: Greg Pak
Artist: Mirko Colak
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Source: Dark Horse DRC
The second issue of Kingsway West brings readers through another flashback involving Kingsway and Sonia, filling us in on some of the feelings skipped over in the previous issue. When Kingsway admits to some of his past war crimes, rather than simply absolve him, Sonia shares some deeply personal stories of her own. It’s nice to see them both as complex characters with morally ambiguous pasts. It gives the relationship that felt lacking in emotion a depth and a driving force behind Kingway’s actions.
Unfortunately, after delving five years into the past, Greg Pak jumps five minutes into the past and essentially recaps the end of the last issue, which felt like wasted pages because of some jarring shifts in the narrative. The United States of New York has caught up with Kingsway, as he’s once again sucked into the confrontation over Red Gold with Ah Toy. She shows brazen disregard for safety, leaving Kingsway on a somewhat confusing cliffhanger at the end of the issue.
Narrative bumps in the road aside, the book continues to tease out a fascinating alternative history and intriguing uses for Red Gold. This time, it’s used in a way to speak with the dead and also to power the wings of an African American scout. The art from Mirko Colak focuses on expressions and people over broader landscapes, humanizing the story and the struggle that much more.
Lucas Stand #4 (of 6)
Author: Kurt Sutter & Caitlin Kittredge
Artist: Jesús Hervás
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
I’m not sure what we’re building towards with the latest issue of Lucas Stand. As revealed in the cliffhanger from issue #3, Lucas was thrown into the tail end of Vietnam with his long-dead father. Sent after a Tempter, his main mission is derailed partially by learning that the letters his father wrote him were lies. Instead of the war hero Lucas thought he was, his father was perpetually high and prone to violence. Flashbacks to the letters and Lucas’ childhood are meant to conjure sympathy, but it falls flat with readers and the main character himself.
Juggling the revelations of his father, Lucas also runs into a nurse named Alicia, who is only out for herself on this mission and with no interest in helping him take out the Tempter – and neither is the host. The human as a willing participant is an interesting twist that’s hardly explored and treated much like a b-plot for the first time in the series. There is a lot going on in this issue and as a result, nothing really sticks. When the dust settles, Lucas has hardly learned anything and is welcomed with a groan-worthy surprise that hardly makes sense as a smart choice for Gadrel.
Jesús Hervás and Adam Metcalfe work together to elevate the chaotic story with equally chaotic, but mindful, artwork. The trips through Lucas’ childhood are appropriately dream-like and tinged with nostalgia, while the grit and horrors of Vietnam feel oppressive and dangerous.
With only two issues left, I’m not sure what the end-game is meant to be, nor do I know how they’re going to appropriately wrap up a series where the main character ran a family off the road to their deaths in the first issue and continues to minimally atone. We probably won’t find out next issue, as Lucas Stand heads to old school Hollywood.
Green Lanterns #7
Authors: Sam Humphries
Artist: Ronan Cliquet
Publisher: DC Comics
I was harsh on the first issue of Green Lanterns, the new take on the Corps’ youngest members as would-be buddy cops and Green Lanterns #7 addresses my main problem with the series debut, namely a total lack of focus on the characters themselves. The newest issue sees Jessica joining Simon for a party where both have to deal with their anxiety and the expectations placed upon them as they attempt to make cookies.
If that sounds a little sitcommy or fan-fictiony, well, you wouldn’t be wrong. It’s a jokey issue that focuses entirely on how similar these two characters are, despite the wildly different ways they present themselves to the world. It’s a little too cute by half and readers could hardly be blamed for guessing exactly how this story is going to play out by about the midpoint.
Still, it’s more charming than not. Writer Sam Humphries is something of a Brian Michael Bendis acolyte when it comes to dialogue and there’s a certain jokey rat-tat-tat to the characters’ back and forth. The issue’s nicely illustrated by Ronan Cliquet, who brings a nice, cartoonish softness to the cast and a goofy, fish-out-of-water style to Farid’s encounters with a rogue Guardian of the Universe. The character beats also work well, particularly Simon’s story, which focuses on the path that lead to him becoming an accused terrorist and criminal. It’s sugary-sweet but mostly works.
After a first arc that leaned a bit too hard on been-there-done-that Lantern-based superheroics, it’s nice to see Humphries telling a grounded, human story with the series’ central pair, even if it’s one that rings false at least as often as the characters’ motivations feel right.
It’s a memorable issue, one that satisfies those looking for a little less action than the Green Lantern universe has been filled with as-of-late, but in some ways, it’s a swing too far from what many readers are going to want out of these characters.