This week, Sam took a look at the second issue of Brave Chef Brianna and Goldie Vance #11, both from BOOM! Studios, while Jackson greatly enjoyed the reveal of Nightwing #18 from DC Comics.
Want to hear more about what we thought about these issues? Read on – and let us know what you thought in the comments below.
Brave Chef Brianna #2 (of 4)
Author: Sam Sykes
Artist: Selina Espiritu
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
All right, so, it’s no secret: I love this book. The characters are great. The premise is entertaining. The world-building is fun. And the look and feel of the book are awesome. It’s such a well put together book that I could read years and years worth of Brianna’s stories – and sadly I’m going to have to settle for just four issues.
After reading this issue, I have a feeling that this is going to be one of those books where each one progressively becomes my favorite issue of the series. Whereas the first issue laid a pretty solid foundation for everything, the second issue is where things really start to come together.
We see a lot of character development for Brianna, Suzan, and even Kevin Park, who is becoming more and more of an asset to the team. We also get to meet our mysterious antagonist from the end of the first issue who turns out to be a.) awesome and b.) way more complicated than just a rival restaurant owner. Even Brianna’s anxiety begins to take on a real form of it’s own which is insanely cool.
I actually think that Madame Cron is probably my favorite part of this issue, though. When we first saw her we didn’t really get a good look at her. But in this issue we find out that she’s a massive python-like figure who takes up an incredible amount of space. While she doesn’t particularly like Brianna or humans, she’s not just hateful without reason. And we get to see a little bit of why she hates humans and the things they’ve done to her kind in the past. When we spoke to Sam Sykes at WonderCon, he told us we’d learn a lot more about her past, too, as the series progress.
One last thing: I want to give a shout out to Selina Espiritu for her character designs, but especially her backgrounds. The amount of detail she puts into the various monsters filling the panels and backgrounds is awesome and it’s part of what makes this book so amazing to me. She’s becoming one of my favorite comic artists solely because of how great she’s made this book look.
Sam Sykes and Selina Espiritu are doing some pretty amazing stuff with Brave Chef Brianna. Story-wise the character development and dialogue are spot-on and I love how honestly Brianna’s overwhelming anxiety is being portrayed on the page. And the artwork really brings this amazing world and these characters to life. If you’re not reading it yet, you should be!
Goldie Vance #11
Author: Jackie Ball & Hope Larson
Artist: Noah Hayes
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
All right, so, before you ask: no, we don’t learn all the secrets of who is sabotaging Sugar Maple’s race car in this issue. And as much as I like the book this story arc seems to be dragging on just a bit too much for me. Now, luckily, this issue certain starts moving us toward an actually resolution.
It turns out that Sugar’s car wasn’t sabotaged so Goldie’s concerns at the end of the last issue that she was going to wreck out are unfounded. The car was, however, tampered with and after a little bit of detective work and cooperation between Goldie and Sugar we find out that it was really Sugar’s dad who did it. He put some performance enhancing booster on the car so Sugar would win – apparently because all her dad’s riches are wrapped up in Sugar winning some car races.
And it’s all somehow tied to her sister who ran some of her dad’s businesses into the ground?
I don’t know.
It was nice to get some real background to Sugar, though. And it was nice for Goldie and Sugar to really get a chance to see each other. Goldie learns that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Despite her money and riches, Sugar has some serious issues with her family. And she learns that one of the reasons Sugar is so mean to her is in part because Goldie has such a great family life and really good friends. I just think that a lot of this could probably have been revealed alongside whatever climax we get next issue.
Probably the best part of this story arc has been Sugar’s independence. In this issue and the issue prior she’s been forced to face male figures in her life who care about her but who don’t really believe in her. And she hates it. She’s strong and independent – and win or lose she wants to do it on her terms. That’s an admirable reaction and it’s great for young readers (and really readers of all ages) to see that in a character.
Sam Wildman is a co-founder and co-editor at Nerdophiles.
Author: Tim Seeley
Artist: Javier Fernandez and Minkyu Jung
Publisher: DC Comics
Nightwing #18 is a comic that’s all about the reveal. That’s not to say that the events leading up to a jaw-dropping cliffhanger finale don’t matter or don’t work, but its an issue that snaps together once that last moment comes in place. It recolors the entirety of this “Nightwing Must Die!” storyline and forces a re-examination of just what kind of story that writer Tim Seeley has been telling since his time on Grayson.
Without spoiling the reveal, it’s clear that Seeley had been playing with elements from Grant Morrison’s run on Batman and Batman and Robin since he started working on Dick Grayson back in 2014. He’s demonstrated more than just a passing familiarity with the characters, concepts and minutiae of Morrison’s twisting time with the Bat-family and readers may catch some of the clues of where this story is heading by the title alone.
This issue sees Dick and Damian on the trail of Professor Pyg, who has taken Nightwing’s lover, repentant former criminal and artist Shawn, hostage as he uses her both as a creative and destructive piece in his newest debauched piece of art. I’m a sucker for Morrison’s Batman and Robin run, which expertly blended gonzo super heroics with grizzly horror, fourth-wall breaking villains and byzantine plotting and Seeley shows a mastery for it here.
Javier Fernandez and Minkyu Jung are on art duties here and it’s clear who does what here, with Jung taking the bulk of the issue’s action and Fernandez picking up the horrific opening and shocking finale, and they do an excellent job. Jung’s stylish figures emphasize Dick’s balletic grace and Damian’s surprising capacity for violence in a knockdown brawl with Pyg’s army of Dollotrons.
The greatest pleasures of Nightwing #18 are going to be found by those who’ve been reading Batman for the last decade, the ones who obsessively broke down the clues of Morrison’s run on the character and have spent years defending “Batman RIP.” For those who haven’t followed the meta-story that’s been going on since “Son of Batman,” the final reveal may not hit as hard and the overwhelming sense of dread building through this storyline may not have the kick it needs to propel it forward, but it’s a triumphant salute to one of the best Batman storylines of the modern era and a tribute to Morrison’s desires to see his best ideas continue to appear in canon.
Jackson Adams is a staff writer at Nerdophiles. He is an operator at the highest level. Follow him on Twitter @JacksonInACup.