This week was all about Cullen Bunn for Kylee, with the debut of Unholy Grail from Aftershock Comics and the continuation of his newest BOOM! Studios series, The Unsound – both issues are fantastic. Jackson enjoyed revisiting the Valiant world with Bloodshot’s Day Off and Renee stuck with Jessica Jones and Spider-Man, both from Marvel 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.
Unholy Grail #1
Author: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Mirko Colak
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
When you thought there wasn’t any more nuance to be had in the mythos of King Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights of the Roundtable, Bunn takes those notions and throws them into a blender to make an all-new supernatural horror smoothie. Accompanied by Colak’s excellent art, Unholy Grail puts a new shine on an old tale that makes me extremely curious to see where this series is headed. After all, I’ve got to see Excalibur… Read our full review here.
The Unsound #2
Author: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jack T. Cole
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: Boom Studios DRC
The creeping malaise that settled over the pages of The Unsound in the first issue is promptly ratcheted up tenfold as Ashli talks about her incident with some of the patients with her boss, Dr. Kearney. Cornered by three strange patients – whom Dr. Kearney says don’t exist – an unlikely savior emerges in the creepy paper plate-faced Xerxes. While Dr. Kearney tries to calm and medicate Ashli, the patients start to riot and the staff have to think quickly and trust an unlikely ally of St. Cascia to bring them to safety.
Bunn continues to write surprising and chilling twists to this story and I genuinely felt uneasy going through these pages, the suspense was built up masterfully. Jack T. Cole’s art also elevates the issue to another level, with muted color tones and the psychedelic scenes where patients are rioting. Even when they’re supposed to be normal, his characters have that unknown sense of something being off proportionally or through facial expressions.
The Unsound #2 has built upon the tension of the first issue by exploding all over the pages. Bunn brings a questionable savior to the forefront and Cole is able to flex some impressive art skills to fully immerse readers into the world of the unknown prince.
Bloodshot’s Day Off #1
Author: Eliot Rahal
Artist: Khari Evans
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Source: Valiant Comics DRC
While the revamped Valiant Universe has been publishing constantly for the last six years, it’s never really been one to slow down and take a break. Through that time, teams have formed, been broken, and been reforged while characters have jumped through crossovers back into their own solo titles and back into another universe spanning crossover inside of only a few issues. It’s a treat if, like many, you were desperate to see these characters come back after so many years away but it can be difficult to actually feel as if you’re getting to know who they are outside of being MI-6 ninjas, immortal soldiers, or unstoppable teenage psychics.
Bloodshot’s Day Off tries to find a way to put the focus on these characters by highlighting two Project Rising Son killers, men who were twisted to fight in World War II and the Vietnam War and who have not known a day of peace since. The issues sees them on a vacation day in New York City, although both spend the day trying to deal with the ghosts of family and loved ones who they no longer are fighting for.
It’s an emotionally heartfelt issue but it’s following pretty familiar beats for military stories. Writer Eliot Rahal doesn’t stray too far from the expected stories of veterans returning to a home that’s not quite the same and people who’ve changed, sometimes for good and sometimes for ill. Likewise, Khari Evans’ art style is very familiar to longtime Valiant readers and while it’s solid, it might not have been the best choice for an issue that’s going for a more contemplative feel. Ultimately, it leaves Bloodshot’s Day Off feeling like something of a missed opportunity, a strong premise and pair of characters lost to predictably maudlin storytelling tropes.
Jessica Jones #10
Author: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Michael Gaydos
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Jessica finds herself embroiled in Maria Hill’s super spy nonsense, and she is having none of it. Determined to tell Maria off, given the fact that she apparently authorized the hit on her life, Jessica begins to decline to provide services to Maria. Jessica is interrupted by the Hobgoblin, who throws a pumpkin bomb at Jessica, only to have Maria jump out the window and get blown up.
Jessica realizes that was another real-life decoy model and the real Maria Hill comes into her office begging Jessica to continue to help her because she is just doing what she can to stay alive. Jessica relents and agrees to continue to help. However, another private investigator is delving into Jessica’s life and begins her search for Jessica’s mother.
Despite many of Jessica’s flaws (and there are many), she is unable to ignore her conscience and continues to help Maria. However, she stays true to her character and uses her unique and cynical voice to describe how much she despises anything spy related. Tying Maria Hill’s story in with Jessica is compelling, as they are both opposite ends of the coin; Maria has given up her entire life for S.H.I.E.L.D., while Jessica has diligently attempted to stay out of the spy business.
Not only is the story compelling and fast paced, but the art is amazing. The watercolor cover art is beautiful, and the contrasting colors help draw the readers in immediately. Not only is the cover art beautifully illustrated, but the issue itself is almost simple and done in dark and neutral colors that help build and add to the grittiness of Jessica’s life.
Author: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Oscar Bazaldua
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Goldballs finds Spider-Man at the club and, along with Ganke, rescues him. Miles’ mom is sitting on his bed, and they have a touching moment before she makes him go to the hospital for his broken ribs.
They have another moment in the hospital room, as Miles explains his fears to her. She provides him with advice and a reality check that he needed. Miles then visits bombshell in the hospital, and she is convinced that Miles is in love with her due to him going to the club and beating up Hammerhead. Meanwhile, Black Cat reprimands Hammerhead, who decides that the best way to fix his spider problem is to order a hit.
I can not get enough of Miles Morales as Spider-Man. I love that even though Miles’ mother doesn’t agree with his super-hero lifestyle (or him lying to her), she doesn’t reject him. Instead, like any parent, she loves and helps him. She provides him with his “Uncle Ben moment” and reminds him that being worried about doing something bad and doing it are vastly different. She tells him to “be better” than how he is feeling now. Miles has both the support of his family and his friends, who will continue to help him, and I can’t wait to see what happens next for Miles (which I still think is going to end with him killing Cap on the Capitol).
Renee Marriott is a staff writer at Nerdophiles.