Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews. This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.
A reminder for you. Here at PopCultureSquad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler. We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues. Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for these books.
This week we have TWO preview comics. The first is the debut of Second Coming by Mark Russell and Richard Pace, published by Ahoy Comics. The second book is the premiere issue of Reaver by Justin Jordan and Rebekah Isaacs from Image Comics. Both of these books have been eagerly anticipated and are featured in our New Number Ones column for July.
Second Coming #1
Written by Mark Russell
Art by Richard Pace
Finishes [Earth Pages] by Leonard Kirk
Colors [Earth Pages] by Andy Troy
Letters by Rob Steen
Cover art by Amanda Connor & Paul Mounts
AHOY is proud to present-for the first time anywhere-the series everyone’s talking about, by award-winning writer Mark Russell and artist Richard Pace! God commands Earth’s mightiest super-hero, Sunstar, to accept Jesus as his roommate and teach him how to use power in a… more powerful way. Jesus, shocked at the way humans have twisted his message over two millennia, vows to straighten them out. This deluxe first issue features 30 pages of story!
To say that the above is the “Original Solicitation” for this book is a misnomer. This book was originally announced last summer and solicited to be published in March 2019 by DC Comics under its Vertigo imprint. Lots of things have happened since then, you can check out our previous coverage of Second Coming here and here.
We have been excited about this book for awhile and have spoken directly with some of the creative forces behind it over the past year in anticipation of its arrival. Let’s get the formality out of the way. It is glorious!!!
Mark Russell is a writer of remarkable talent and I, for one, am thankful that he is using that talent to write in my favorite medium of comic books. His ability to pierce the veil of hypocrisy that masquerades as polite western norms is phenomenal. This book is proof that Russell is the reigning master of socio-political satire. You will be shaken from your comfort zone as you read this. That is the intent. Whether you are an avowed atheist or a practitioner of a religion, Russell will shift the floor you are standing on.
There are topics in this book that deal with the nature of the God/human relationship as well as human vs. human interaction. The father/son dynamic that is explored is also a major theme. The most important thing about the writing in Second Coming is that it is funny and entertaining while it challenges status quo thinking.
Richard Pace has been excited about this book for a long time, and finally being able to see the art that he produced for it was extremely satisfying. It is gorgeous. The figure work is lovely, and the panel designs and layouts are inspired.
Richard had told us after the Vertigo cancellation that they were bringing in an additional artist to do the finishes for the Sunstar scenes. Leonard Kirk is a perfect choice. His hand gives just the right superhero, comic-booky feel to those panels.
This is the comic that I have anticipated most in the last few years and it exceeded every expectation!!
Written by Justin Jordan
Art by Rebekah Isaacs
Colors by Alex Guimaraes
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover art by Becky Cloonan
SERIES PREMIERE! The continent of Madaras once promised a new start for settlers, but 200 years after its discovery, the war rages on. Deep within this savage and untamed land, a darkness builds at that must be stopped at all costs. To do so, the Imperials assemble six of its most despicable prisoners-a turncoat, a skin eater, a sorcerer and his bodyguard, a serial killer, and the Devil’s Son-the only ones who can stop the end of the new world. They are Hell’s Half-Dozen. Join JUSTIN JORDAN and REBEKAH ISAACS for REAVER-a dark, grim fantasy for a post-Game of Thrones world.
There is a ton of interesting world building that goes on in this first issue. Justin Jordan is able to flesh out character personalities extremely well in this “get the band together” issue. While there is a great deal of information delivered, it does not feel heavy or overwhelming. At the end of the issue, the reader has a very good grasp on the mission being undertaken and those performing it.
Besides the technical aspects of getting this story off the ground, there is a lot to like and fear about the characters introduced. There is no true hero, and I would not want to be alone with pretty much anyone in the cast, but together they work really well. That is the mark of a craftsman. I am invested in finding out what happens to them, good or bad.
Rebekah Isaacs makes this book sing. The character designs are fabulous. The layouts that allow the vast amount of information to be dispersed is remarkable. This is a beautifully illustrated book, and Alex Guimaraes adds the terror with the hues and tones on each page.
In the post issue essay, Jordan lays out his inspiration, but I will say that this book feels like twisted Dungeons and Dragons quest in all the most delectable ways. Go get it. It is really good.