This week, Sam’s reading Misfit City and Grass Kings, both from BOOM! Studios. Kylee is also reading Godshaper from BOOM! Studios, as well as Briggs Land and American Gods from Dark Horse Comics. And Renee is loving Violent Love from Image 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.


Sam’s Reads

Misfit City #3

Author: Kiwi Smith and Kurt Lustgarten
Artist: Naomi Franquiz
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC

Holy cow! This is one heck of an issue. For the most part it’s pretty calm. There’s a fair amount of discussion and Scooby Gang-esque investigation but at the end – BAM! Black Mary comes back with a vengeance. If you thought this book was just going to be a Goonies-style adventure grounded in good-natured action and fun, you might be wrong as a distinct supernatural element seems to pop up. I’m totally here for it.

One of the things I think that Misfit City does well is blend its crazy, 80s and 90s inspired kid adventure story with a more realistic mindset. At the end of the last issue the girls almost got themselves killed trying to track down Black Mary’s treasure. This issue picks up almost immediately after and, understandably, it’s a jarring experience for some of them. I mean, they almost got killed by crazy people, right? That forces them to reevaluate their plans and what they expect to get out of all this. I think that’s a great addition to the issue. Wilder is all in – but are the rest of them?

Also, I liked that Wilder’s mom got involved in this issue. A lot of stories with kids going off on zany adventures write the parents out to some degree. I’m not saying that Wilder’s police officer mom isn’t the same sort of absent parent figure we usually see, but she did get some significant screen time and she ALMOST put an end to all this adventuring before it even really got started.

The writers do a really great job of including new characters. They also do a great job of making things feel real and fresh. The Gloomies movie references all feel very natural as do the character relationships. Basically, it gives the book a pretty solid feel – even when it gets a bit wordy for my usual tastes. Also, Brittany Peer is killing it at the coloring in this book. It’s so amazing. I mean, just look at Macy’s clothing. 

Basically, Misfit City is awesome. This issue is awesome. And I’m looking forward to seeing where this new supernatural aspect of things goes. I hope it doesn’t overshadow what is really the main focus of the book – the girls and their relationships. And I doubt it will!

Grass Kings #5

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

The conflict between the Grass Kingdom and Cargill comes to a head in this issue. Last time around we saw Robert making the rounds, preparing everyone for the impending battle against Humbert and his cronies. But this issue throws readers straight into the conflict. It opens with a sequence of panels set in the past as usual. This scene, however, is more recent. It shows another battle between the kingdom and the town where the Cargill townies brutally beat a group of Grass Kingdom hippies in the late 1950s. From there, it transitions into the modern conflict.

You’ll see a fair number of familiar faces popping up to defend the kingdom, including Pinball who was damn near killed not too long ago. Humbert’s forces are largely nameless and faceless – a handful of folks in official police uniforms and other townies it seems. Robert and Bruce show a fair amount of control but in the end with bullets flying there are some inevitable casualties.

Robert has issues and they generally stem from the loss of his daughter in the lake many years ago. While riding a horse around the kingdom helping to defend it, he remembers a story he once told his daughter. It’s a story about knights – and that’s how he sees himself in the various panels. It’s an odd shift in the story but I suppose it plays well into Robert’s unreliable, fractured mindset. At least Maria is turning out to be her own, independent woman now having shirked the silent, fragile characterization from the first few issues.

Something cool that’s worth noting are some the design choices in this issue. The fictional fairytale that Robert is remembering telling his daughter is told to the reader in captions styled like pages from an old, worn book. The story is told not just in panels featuring Robert but in the final five or six pages they’re shown over the events going on all over the kingdom.

The lettering is awesome – it has an old-time-y feel to it that really invokes the Medieval origins of the story being told. (Good choice, Jim Campbell!) I still think that it’s a little weird to have that story paralleling the Grass Kingdom’s fight but at least they make it look cool.

If you’re hoping to see Robert and Humbert have their final showdown don’t expect anything like that until the next issue. But the events in this one certain lead straight up to it and if they drag it out another issue I’d be surprised.


samstaffpic2Sam Wildman is a co-founder and co-editor at Nerdophiles. She’d probably get too scared to track down any kind of secret treasure if we’re being honest. Follow her on Twitter @samaside.


Kylee’s Reads

American Gods #5

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

There are only so many times I can say read the book, but every issue makes it more and more clear to me that you should definitely be reading the book to pick up even more nuances in the characters of American Gods. And just like every time I say this, the art is still worth looking at if you’ve got an appreciation for the source material and an interest in seeing the world from a new perspective.

In this issue, Mr. Wednesday gets Shadow’s assistance in pulling off a rather simple and quick scheme to top off their cash supply. Then they’re headed straight for the House on the Rock. Scott Hampton continues to utilize repetitive panels in order to signify movement and progression – notably with Shadow’s failed coin trick and his walk through the House on the Rock to meet up with the rest of the gods. There’s also a pretty ingenious few panels where snow flies towards the windshield as they road trip to their destination.

With this new location comes Hampton’s ability to draw some truly kooky things, play with perspectives, and help to build the suspense as Shadow and Mr. Wednesday venture further and further into the house. It’s unnerving, unsettling, and a little bit off-putting, just as this portion of American Gods should be. Shadow’s not sure what he’s getting into and neither are the readers by the end of it.

Godshaper #4

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

After the perilous situation that Ennay found himself in with last issue’s cliffhanger, the start of this issue is, understandably, him getting out of another close call. What actually makes it so jarring and tense is the way the escape is interspersed with an obviously later time. Ennay’s voice over is a call to action, a painful diatribe from someone who has obviously been hurt before. It’s layered, emotional, and complex like Godshaper itself.

Jonas Goonface does some of his best work here, splitting the page with mirror images of Ennay’s literal escape against his metaphorical escape into the world of cantik. Goonface’s ability to craft crowds and sprinkle in small, winking details always entertains me. Every time I think there can’t be a new god to look at, he’s already concocted the perfect design. In cantik scenes especially, he thrives. Naturally, things never stay calm for long around Ennay and the ragtag group that has assembled around him.

The less that is said about this issue before reading it, the better the roller-coaster ride of emotions will be. Ennay and Bud may not be interested in the mysteries of this world, but the more that leak out onto the pages, the more intrigued I am.

Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #2

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

In these tumultuous times, Briggs Land continues to be that work of fiction that is too close for comfort. It’s not escapist fantasy, but made for those who want to stare into the void. I’m still not sure that I’m completely comfortable essentially humanizing many of the mentalities that the Briggs family embodies, but like people slow down on highways for car crashes, it’s difficult to look away.

In this issue, the Briggs family begins to strategize and discuss ways to minimize the impact of Isaac’s rash decision to take two lost hikers hostage after they accidentally wandered onto Briggs land. Brian Woods brings readers up to speed on the media circus that opened the first issue and how we’ve gotten here. And while there are a few strange expressions here, Mack Chater deserves some credit for conveying a whole lot of exasperation in this issue.

We can hope that the eventual moral of the story is that the bad guys don’t win, but that’s all dependent on who you see as the ‘bad guys.’ Between Caleb’s actions in the first arc of the series and Isaac’s actions that have led up to now, the moral of the story may actually be don’t challenge the Briggs family…


Kylee Sills is an associate editor at Nerdophiles. Godshaper is one of those books she reads, looks at, reads again, looks at again, and so on until the next issue. Then the cycle repeats. Follow her on Twitter @kyleewho


Renee’s Reads

Violent Love #6

Author: Frank J. Barbiere
Artist: Victor Santos
Publisher: Image Comics

This issue of Violent Love begins in 1951, and the first several pages have art that depicts a very young Mr. Newman killing his father with a hammer after years of abuse. Flashing to 1987, Mr. Newman still has the hammer that he keeps in his office drawer.

The issue jumps back to 1972 to Rock and Daisy discussing the bank robbery they are planning in her hometown. Rock is genuinely concerned about their lack of a plan, given that they are wanted felons, and La Jueria continues to pursue them. Daisy shoots one of the Nail gang members as a message to Johnny. The issue then jumps forward in time to 1987, with Daisy spitting on Rock’s grave promising to finish everything.

I love this gritty and, true to its name, violent comic. Not only is the storytelling unique, as it is told nonlinearly, the artwork changes with different storytelling elements. As the characters are feeling rage, the colors tend to be more like a water color and seemingly more chaotic lines and drawings. As the story changes back to Rock and Daisy, the colors are brighter, and the backgrounds tend to be more defined, which adds another dimension to the comic. This comic is upfront with the fact that the epilogue of this story is not going to be happy, but the story continues to be compelling enough to keep coming back.


Renee Marriott is a staff writer at Nerdophiles.


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