There was plenty to read this week, with Misfit CityGrass Kings, and Godshaper from BOOM! Studios, Winnebago Graveyard and Regression from Image Comics, and Briggs Land: Lone WolvesHarrow County, and American Gods from Dark Horse Comics. 

Check out what we loved and let us know which series we’re missing out on in the comments!


Sam’s Reads 

Misfit City #2

Authors: Kiwi Smith and Kurt Lustgarten
Artist: Naomi Franquiz
Publisher: KaBOOM!
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC

After a stellar debut, Misfit City starts to settle in and find its pace in the series’ second issue. Things start off slow as the girls try to make sense of the late night robbery at the end of the last issue and the mysterious map they discovered. There’s a trip to the library and attempts to decipher the map’s strange text… followed by all the traditional rule breaking and breaking-and-entering you’d expect for a teen action story. And it all ends with the girls sliding down a cliff, running for their lives, and ruining their social lives in the process.

Sounds great, right?

And it is for the most part. The book has a really good handle on its pacing for a series that’s only in it’s second issue. There’s just the right amount of downtime and fast paced action – a balance that some books struggle for half a dozen issues or more to grasp. Character development is important for this book and they manage to weave some backstory into the plot without it feeling too forced. Plus we learn a bit more about the “bad guys” that makes you question whether or not they’re going to end up being as bad as their stereotypical depiction would make you think… except then they try to run down some teenagers with their car so they probably aren’t going to end up heroes.

One of the things I like the most about this story is that they manage to make the kids feel real. They’re jaded teenagers in the social media age. When one girl suggests a cartoonish, Rube Goldberg-esque means of escaping the deranged siblings chasing them through a construction site with their car one of the others suggests a more realistic solution: “RUN!” And when they break into a deceased old woman’s home they’re honest and upfront about the fact that they’re basically committing a felony in most states. (But when has that ever stopped kids in stories like this?)

Issue #2 gets us closer and closer to the true, Goonies-esque adventure the book’s general premise has promised from the beginning. It’s full of spooky houses, daring escapes from dastardly-seeming villains, unlocking clues to their mysterious pirate map and more. Basically, the story is still great and the characters are still endearing – especially Pippin the dog. And we’re still feeling that anxious need to know what’s going to happen in the next issue!

Grass Kings #4

Authors: Matt Kindt
Artist: Tyler Jenkins
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC

Last month I praised this book’s pacing and, honestly, it only got better with this issue. The first couple of books were heavy on exposition that probably could have been boiled down to far fewer panels. In the last issue – and continuing in this one – Kindt manages to really strike an even balance between the past and the present.

In particular, we learn more about the suspected serial killer that may have been stalking the Grass Kingdom without getting too bogged down in what was happening then versus now. It helps frame the relationship between Robert and Sheriff Humbert – and likely foreshadows some future revelation. Unlike the introductory flashbacks, it serves a real purpose – though this issue’s explanation of the history of the kingdom’s airfield will likely have some sort of importance to the story soon. 

Relationships are a hugely important part of this story, whether they’re friendly or antagonistic, and this issue does a good job of framing those relationships. Robert, Bruce, and Humbert clearly have some serious history and I love that we got some solid background there. But my favorite part, probably, was seeing the relationship that everyone in the Grass Kingdom has with everyone else. There’s a sequence of pages where each panel or so sees Robert going around town telling everyone that a fight is coming. Some he tells to shelter in place, others he asks to fight. Some react with readiness, others are uneasy. And Robert’s rhetoric and mannerisms change to accommodate each person.

It really highlights how important individuals are to this story – even if it is primarily Robert’s story in the end.

Easily the best issue of the series so far, Grass Kings #4 makes all the slower moments worth it. Nothing too major may have happened yet but the gauntlet has been thrown and shit is about to go down. And while we’re looking at a possibly climactic showdown in the next issue between the Grass Kingdom and Sheriff Humbert’s people, the mysteries laid out in this issue lay out an even larger conflict that undoubtedly will keep the story moving forward no matter what happens.

Winnebago Graveyard #1 (of 4)

Authors: Steve Niles
Artist: Alison Sampson
Publisher: Image Comics
Source: Image Comics DRC

Winnebago Graveyard, a new limited series from Image Comics, is a love letter to the horror genre and that’s clear from the start. From the very first page, the series begins to feel familiar. Anyone who grew up with a love of old school horror films is going to readily recognize the terrifying potential of a rural, backwater town. And the subsequent panels and page start to reveal just what kind of terror we’re going to be discovering as we continue on through the series. It’s a creepy book in all the best ways. Read our full review here.


samstaffpic2Sam Wildman is a co-founder and co-editor at Nerdophiles. She wouldn’t step foot in a roadside carnival if her life depended on it. Which is why she’d survive a horror movie. Follow her on Twitter @samaside.


Kylee’s Reads

Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #1

Authors: Brian Wood
Artist: Mack Chater
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Source: Dark Horse DRC

The original Briggs Land focused primarily on Grace, the matriarch of the family, wresting control of Briggs Land from her jailed husband and struggling to hold command as a woman. It included a heavy side-plot involving her eldest son Caleb, the bookkeeper of the family, neo-nazis, and his attempts to expand the family’s financial gains. Briggs Land: Lone Wolves brings Isaac, Grace’s youngest son recently returned from the military, into the forefront and doesn’t require any knowledge of the previous series to get up to speed on this one. Read our full review here

Harrow County #24

Authors: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Tyler Crook
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Source: Dark Horse DRC

Every time Cullen Bunn takes readers down a familiar path with Harrow County, I think I’ve got the story beats figured out. Every time, I’m delightfully wrong. Bunn’s ability to take tropes, like the widening of divides between Emmy and Bernice, and turn them on their side is why I love Harrow County as much as I do. What starts as an emotionally charged fight between once-best friends, which should and could turn into the next arc on its own, is cleverly twisted on its head by the end of issue #24.

Tyler Crook’s art adds to the tension with grimacing facial expressions and painful regret etched across the characters’ features. What Bunn’s words don’t convey, how reluctant Bernice may be to sacrifice her friendship with Emmy for the greater good of Harrow County, Crook manages with the same fairytale ease as always. When Emmy rounds on Priscilla and her family, giving them a pointed talking to, only Crook’s artwork could manage to have a monstrous creature looking so chastised and hurt.

Issue #24 takes what could have been an overused trope about friends turning on each other and breezily tosses that tired script in the trash. It’s less of a twist and more of an understanding between two female characters who have a history and a deep friendship that has endured greater challenges. The twist comes at the end when a familiar face makes a reappearance, which means Harrow County may need Emmy and Bernice more than ever.

American Gods #4

Author: Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell
Artist: Scott Hampton
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Source: Dark Horse DRC

This issue could have been separated into two with how wordy each section was. The main story, following Mr. Wednesday and Shadow, covers a dangerous game Shadow played with their host, Czernobog. After which, they feasted on an underwhelming dinner and Shadow was given more protection from the sleeping sister. It was also twelve pages to the ‘Coming to America’ story, which spanned ten.

Mr. Ibis’ tale followed Essie Tregowan and the piskies coming to America through immense hardship. Following her entire life, from childhood to her death, the cunning and opportunistic Essie kept her faith and her head about her to survive a long life. Both stories are interesting looks at survival that may have been better served with room to breathe. Smashed together into one book, each story gets a small novella in nearly every panel and it’s a lot to take in.

From speech bubbles to narration, Ray Parker is the real hero of American Gods, if we’re being honest. Parker’s ability to draw the eye across the page is stunning from the first page – one large panel situated next to three vertical panels could have been challenging to follow, but Parker manages it with ease. I will say things get a little bit jumbled in the ‘Coming to America’ story as more and more of the narration is smashed in between panels to make up for the tell and not show feeling of American Gods as a whole.

Unfortunately, if you know the story already, this adaptation of American Gods falls short of both the book and, now, the television show, which has already told both of these stories during its first season with a more deft hand and room to experience what’s happening.

Godshaper #3

Author: Si Spurrier
Artist: Jonas Goonface
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC

Visually, there’s always so much going on in Godshaper that it takes twice as long for me to read because I’m too busy admiring the details of the backgrounds, the neon colors used to make the world pop, and the interesting ways panels are laid out. So much of this book’s enjoyment is owed to Jonas Goonface’s detailing – from sneaking in punk band easter eggs to each unique god created, even if most of them aren’t meant for more than filling the background.

The introduction of Sal last issue, the young ‘Shaper that Ennay has taken on out of necessity, was the perfect catalyst for the audience to learn more about Godshapers and the state of the world that the characters find themselves in. When they’re recruited to help a new god accept beads, Ennay has to explain to Sal what happens when a person loses their god. Hint: it’s not good. It’s worse when Clench and some of his friends find Ennay and Sal. A familiar face gives them a helping hand and Sal’s untrained powers gives her a closer look at some of the mysteries Bud and Ennay have been ignoring.

Spurrier continues to tease out the secrets of Godshaper in clever ways, despite the main characters wanting no part of being special or important or any of those big responsibilities. I couldn’t imagine anyone but Goonface working on the art for this series, the panel layouts are dynamic, and I’m surprised every issue when I find a new favorite page and sequence – this time it’s Ennay staring down his old friends and how the panels across the bottom of the page draw the eye. You’ll know it when you see it.

Regression #2

Author: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Danny Luckert
Publisher: Image Comics
Source: Image DRC

The cover of this issue is very similar to another of Bunn’s recent titles, The Unsound from BOOM! Studios, but that’s where the similarities between the two series’ end. After the bombshell cliffhanger that ended the first issue, the second picks up just after the revelation of what happened to Sid. Adrian wasn’t helped by his past life regression attempt, only seeming to get worse. This time, when he dozes off he finds himself in a strange place with people who recognize him and way too many bugs. From there, something about Adrian just seems off

Regression continues to trace Adrian’s life as he spirals further down the rabbit hole. He can’t seem to trust himself, his own eyes, or his actions in this issue and it’s likely to become a problem for him in the near future. Colorist Marie Enger ramps up the reds in this issue, not just in the blood but in most aspects of Adrian’s life and also letters Adrian’s change in personality beautifully. When Adrian nods off and enters his own dream, the colors fade out and become muted in grays, leaving audiences and Adrian feeling cold. It’s an interesting place that I hope we see more of in the future.

For horror fans, Regression is shaping up to be the stuff of nightmares. Bunn is setting up a world full of questions that hasn’t teased out any answers yet. There’s a distinct Fight Club vibe between what seems to be two sides of Adrian’s personality and with the police involved, there’s sure to be a need for his bug-worshipping Tyler Durden side soon.


Kylee Sills is an associate editor at Nerdophiles. She read even more comics than are listed here, if you can believe it. It was a good week. Follow her on Twitter @kyleewho


Renee’s Reads

Ms. Marvel #19

Author: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Marco Falla
Publisher: Marvel Comics

In this issue of Ms. Marvel, Kamala and her family are celebrating Eid Al-Adha, where they cook a feast and give it to those who may otherwise go hungry and marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage.

Upon arriving home, they notice signs around the city announcing the “real” Jersey city. Their neighbors walk by and look at Kamala and her family in disdain and Kamala is stopped by two people who are appointed to a new agency looking for Inhumans.

Kamala realizes that she has heard this before and went to find Becky St. Jude. Kamala and Becky fight and Kamala faces a new opponent who knows exactly how her powers work. Kamala is knocked out, and her brother is arrested by the new agency.

As always with Ms. Marvel, the writers and artist give the readers a glimpse of Kamala’s traditions and culture. I love it when they do this because it helps to teach others and breaks the stigma surrounding her culture.

The writers tackle a significant societal problem in this issue; forcing people to fit into their definition of societal norms, which typically includes many misconceptions and bigotry. Kamala is forced to cope with the feelings of betrayal from her community.


Renee Marriott is a staff writer at Nerdophiles.


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