Tag: aftershock comics

Everything We Read This Week: Week of November 17, 2021

Everything We Read This Week: Week of November 17, 2021

On our weekly trip through this week’s pull-list, we found a bunch of great books that we have been wanting to talk about for some time.  This column features mostly spoiler-free brief analysis and commentary of each book.

There were not a whole lot of new series that came out this week but the issues #2’s and #3’s for some newer series were excellent.  We encourage you to go out and find the comics you like, and remember, Read More Comics!!

We reviewed books from DC Comics, AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, Mad Cave Studios, Titan Comics, Vault Comics, Marvel Comics, and Image Comics this week. There were plenty more good books out there this week but this list is all we have gotten through so far.

As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics. Don’t forget we welcome comments on these and any other comics that you read. Feel free to leave a comment and get the conversation moving.

Some of the books on this list are also on our New Number Ones for the month of November. You can see them noted with the New Number One tag and can check out the solicitation for the series on our previous article.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:


Aquaman: The Becoming #3
DC Comics
Written by Brandon Thomas
Pencils by Scott Koblish
Inks by Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors by Adriano Lucas & Alex Guimarães
Letters by AndWorld Design
Cover Art by David Talaski

This book is now officially promoted as the Prequel to Aquamen, and while that is interesting, it is a disservice to think of this book only as service to something else. Brandon Thomas is building characters and telling an intriguing story. The execution of the fast-paced chase elements to this book are a credit to the storytelling skills of Scott Koblish. The rest of the art team and letter compliment the theme and tone of the issue. As a midpoint book in this limited series this issue definitely raises the stakes.


Bountiful Garden #3
Mad Cave Studio
Written by Ivy Noelle Weir
Art by Kelly Williams
Colors by Giorgio Spalleta
Letters by Justin Birch
Cover Art by Williams

You should be reading this book. It has been excellent through this third issue. The story exploration and development are well paced. The art by Kelly Williams is as terrifyingly foreboding as it is gorgeous, and it is really gorgeous. The color work by Giorgio Spalleta accentuates the shadowy nature of the story. Justin Birch does excellent work lettering this book and meshes the tone well. The complete book has a feel that there is a monster in the shadows, and there are shadows everywhere.


Chicken Devil #2
AfterShock Comics
Written by Brian Buccellato
Art by Hayden Sherman
Colors by Sherman
Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover Art by Sherman

What a treat this book is!! I am tempted to go full chicken metaphor in this review, but I will corral that urge.  This book is visually exciting. The bright color work combined with interesting panel layout and camera angles command the full attention of the reader. Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou proves again why he is one of the best letterers in the business. The story that Brian Buccellato is telling is captivating, and I cannot wait for the next installment of this book about a Chicken entrepreneur who’s life has become more chaotic than he ever dreamed possible.


Eat the Rich #4
Boom! Studios
Written by Sarah Gailey
Art by Pius Bak
Colors by Roman Titov
Letters by Cardinal Rae
Cover Art by Kevin Tong

For the very little amount of in-panel violence depicted in this series so far, it is consistently terrifying. This issue’s plot and accelerating action make for a captivating read. The mental gymnastics that writer Sarah Gailey has Joey, the protagonist, employ to maintain some semblance of sanity begin to take their toll in this issue. The delicate balance of willful ignorance and outrage that she has been maintaining falls to pieces and Pius Bak’s panels bring it all down in a pulse pounding last few pages of this book. A special shout out to the use of word art in this book. It is excellent in its design and placement. Do yourself a favor and read this series. Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week: Week of November 17, 2021”

Everything We Read for the Week of November 10, 2021

Everything We Read for the Week of November 10, 2021

Welcome back to Everything We Read This Week. This is the place that we make our weekly trip through this week’s pull-list. It features mostly spoiler-free brief analysis and commentary of each book.

This week we read a bunch great comics.  We encourage you to go out and find the comics you like, and remember, Read More Comics!!

We reviewed books from DC Comics, AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, Mad Cave Studios, Dark Horse Comics and Image Comics this week. There were plenty more good books out there this week but this list is all we have gotten through so far.

As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics. Don’t forget we welcome comments on these and any other comics that you read. Feel free to leave a comment and get the conversation moving.

Some of the books on this list are also on our New Number Ones for the month of November. You can see them noted with the New Number One tag and can check out the solicitation for the series on our previous article.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Action Comics #1036
DC Comics
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by Daniel Sampere
Colors by Adriano Lucas
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Cover Art by Sampere & Alex Sinclair

Phillip Kennedy Johnson has been waiting for this point in his run with Superman for a while. This is where he shifts the vehicle into high gear and puts the pedal to the floor. Superman taking the fight for justice to the evil Mongul is the story that he wants to be telling. You can feel it in each panel. With Daniel Sampere’s line art and the colors from Ardriano Lucas, the beginning an epic story filled with gravitas unfolds in this issue. I want to call special attention to the three page prologue to this issue. It is beautifully drawn and colored, and the storytelling engulfs the reader with astonishment and curiosity. It is impossible not to turn the next page and find out what this is story is all about. We are all in on this Warworld saga.


 

Mazebook #3
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Lemire
Colors by Lemire
Letters by Steve Wands
Cover Art by Lemire

This book from master storyteller Jeff Lemire is filled with heart wrenching sadness. It is lovingly depicted in a minimal toned color palette that aids significantly in setting the mood of the piece. Lemire loosens his already normally loose pencils in a way that illustrates the protagonist Will’s tenuous hold on both reality and hope. While there is a deep melancholy that permeates this story, it is nonetheless compelling, and Lemire inspires investment by the reader in the outcome of Will’s quest. This was a great issue.


My Date With Monsters #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Paul Tobin
Art by Andy MacDonald
Colors by DJ Chavis
Letters by Taylor Esposito
Cover Art by MacDonald & Chavis

New Number One

We have seen stories where monsters dwell among humans. It is a setting that we have expectations for, but what makes a story set in that kind of universe successful is quality character development and interesting wrinkles in the plot that engender uniqueness to the story. This book has both of those elements. Paul Tobin and Andy MacDonald present a visually interesting narrative with satisfying plot construction. Letterer Taylor Esposito does a fantastic job developing an understandable method of presenting a complex plot structure. Without his execution, the overall product might be hurt. Everyone on this book worked to deliver a really fun and interesting first issue for this series. We will definitely be looking for more. Continue reading “Everything We Read for the Week of November 10, 2021”

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in November 2021

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in November 2021

Happy Halloween!

This month we give our readers a list of the exciting new comic book series debuting in November. We have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from the publishers. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

This month we spotlight books from the usual suspects: AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Vault Comics, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, AWA/Upshot Studios, Ahoy Comics, Archie Comics, and Source Point Press.

This is a month full of holidays, and the new series releases are front loaded in the first couple of weeks. Publishers expect that travel schedules around Thanksgiving cause normal purchase disruption. I can only assume that has something to do with the dearth of new books in the last two weeks.

There are a few new number ones from Marvel that represent shuffling of creative teams and we think that there might be some good things to come out of these changes.

We will bring you reviews of these debut issues as they come out, and don’t forget to use the comments section to let us know what you think of this list.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released.

Week of 11/3/21
Week of 11/10/21
Week of 11/17/21
Week of 11/24/21


Week of November 3


After Dark #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Various
Art by Various
Cover Art by Tony Harris

Tales from the Crypt meets The Twilight Zone-four tales of horror, lost souls and things that go bump in the night.

A prestige format “One-Shock” featuring top creative talent just in time for the most horrific month of the calendar year, AFTER DARK is a collection of tales you’ll want to read with the lights on! A disparate tale from a possible future; a chance encounter with a mythical Black-Eyed Kid, a children’s fable gone awry; and a gut-wrenching last meal at the local diner.

These horrific, bone-chilling tales are conceived and written by Cullen Bunn, Jim Starlin, Joe Pruett, Frank Tieri, and drawn by Cliff Richards, Nikkol Kelenic, Szymon Kudranski, and Joe Eisma.

Release Date: November 3, 2021

PCS NOTES: This book is a one-shot but is full of some truly spooky stories.


Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #1
Archie Comics
Written by Various
Art by Various
Cover Art by Julius Ohta

THE FUTURE OF ARCHIE COMICS STARTS HERE IN AN ALL-NEW ANTHOLOGY-STYLE ONE-SHOT! Madam Satan is our tour guide into this horrific world exploring the underbelly of Riverdale and its surrounding areas! Madam Satan is trying to escape Hell. She goes through the circles of Hell in reverse. Along the way she meets lost/tortured souls who tell their stories-like that of Archie Andrews, who accepted a seemingly normal job as the nighttime security shift at Riverdale’s local pizzeria and children’s mascot entertainment venue. Only to learn that the venue harbors a deep, dark, robotic, monstrous secret! And then there’s Jughead Jones, a teen who never met a food he didn’t like. Until now. What is that eerie noise coming from the kitchen…? All that plus more bonus frightful content sure to delight all Archie horror fans!

Release Date: November 3, 2021

PCS NOTES: We have this other one-shot anthology on this list because we can’t wait to see what is inside.


Dark Knights of Steel #1
DC Comics
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Yasmine Putri
Cover Art by Putri

An entire medieval world will be forever changed when a spaceship crash-lands from a doomed planet. Monarchs will die, kingdoms will rise, and what seemed the end of the world for many…was only the beginning! An epic high-fantasy story set in a DC Universe where nothing is what it seems…

From worldwide bestselling writer Tom Taylor and acclaimed artist Yasmine Putri comes a generational tale of good and evil within a brand-new DCU!

Release Date: November 2, 2021

PCS NOTES: This creative team inspires confidence in this story’s execution. Looking forward to it.


Fox and Hare #1
Vault Comics
Written by Jonathan Tsuei
Art by Stacey Lee
Cover Art by Lee

When black market coder Aurora Yi uncovers top secret data that has tapped into the past lives of the citizens of Mazu Bay, her world is turned upside down. The mega corporation Synastry Designs wants its data back and is hot on her trail. Aurora has no choice but to turn to the Fox and the Hare, the most feared mercenaries in the city, for protection.

Release Date: November 3, 2021

PCS NOTES: This book has the makings of a great chase story. It looks fun.


The Heathens #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Heath Amodio
Cover Art by Sami Kivela

When evil men and women escape from the depths of the eternal abyss, the Pirate Queen Lady Shih is sent to retrieve them. But when one of history’s most notorious killers breaks free, even she needs help. Enter the Heathens: Shih, Lucky Luciano, Bumpy Johnson, Sofia the Golden Hand, and Billy the Kid. From Hell they came to mete out a justice as dark as their own tormented souls.

Release Date: November 3, 2021

PCS NOTES: Hell Yeah! This is an intriguing concept from the superactive mind of Cullen Bunn.


Human Target #1
DC Comics
Written by Tom King
Art by Greg Smallwood
Cover Art by Smallwood

Christopher Chance has made a living out of being a human target—a man hired to disguise himself as his client to invite would-be assassins to attempt his murder. He’s had a remarkable career until his latest case protecting Lex Luthor when things go sideways. An assassination attempt Chance didn’t see coming leaves him vulnerable and left trying to solve his own murder…as he has 12 days to discover just who in the DCU hated Luthor enough to want him dead. Human Target is a hard-boiled, gritty story in the vein of classic detective noirs told by bestselling and critically acclaimed creators Tom King and Greg Smallwood!

Release Date: November 2, 2021

PCS NOTES: I am very excited for this book as Tom King and Greg Smallwood explore this character and often ignored areas of the DC Universe. Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in November 2021”

With Further Ado #167: The Return of Conventions…?  NYCC in 2021

With Further Ado #167: The Return of Conventions…? NYCC in 2021

Conventions and trade shows are great places to find your tribe and celebrate your passions or professions. But for the first hours of New York Comic Con, just held last weekend at NYC’s Javits Center, I felt a bit out of place. At first, it felt, to me, like going to your college campus about 5 years after you graduated. The vibe was a bit weird, and I was constantly comparing and contrasting the show floor to what was there in prior years.

The good news is that I quickly ‘got over myself’ and really enjoyed the convention. There were so many good things bubbling up, and it felt terrific to see so many old friends in person again. Given the realities of the world, there were more fist-bumps than bro-hugs, but it was still invigorating.

Here’s a few highlights and observations from New York Comic Con 2021:

Serious About Vaccinations

I wasn’t surprised, but still happy that ReedPop, the company that runs the convention, took vaccinations serioucospsly.  The area that they had staged outside the Javits had rows of tents and workers, so it was quick and easy to prove you had the vaccination and that you were who you said you were. I had downloaded the Clear app, as was suggested, and it all was seamless.

Inside the convention center, just about everyone had their masks on and the crowd size was such that we weren’t all on top of one another. Part of that was smaller number of attendees, and part of it was the new Javits North Building

The new Javits building makes it seem like a real convention center.

So many convention centers worldwide, and stateside are grand and gorgeous. I am sad to say that the Javits Convention Center hasn’t been that way for a very long time. The joke has always been that the Crystal Palace, the main entranceway, is inappropriately named.

The new Javits North Building is spacious and grand. It overlooks the Hudson River and even the top of the ‘regular’ Javits building.  The openness and long areas to walk between conference rooms will surely help spread out the future attendees – and offer lots of opportunities for Cosplayers to pose for photos.

AfterShock was #1

Without the bigger, more established publishers (Marvel, DC, Image) officially participating in the show, the biggest comics publisher on the floor was AfterShock Comics. They’re a great company (full disclosure- I have many friends there) just celebrating five years in business and 100 published comics series.  Word was that they had their best convention sales day ever – on the Thursday of NYCC.  Sounds like a rousing success.

Captain America Cosplay

It was invigorating to see the many Sam Wilson Captain America cosplays on the show floor. As you may recall – I’ve been a big fan of the many iterations of Captain America (here’s an old column). And it was even nicer to just yell out “Hey, Cap” and have that instant connection.

Excited for Crime

My Hidden Entrepreneurs / Crime Fiction panels had fans lining up an hour ahead of time. That really surprised me, if I am to be 100% candid and frank. This panel was all about how authors, and crime/thriller authors in particular, have to not only be good writers but be also strategic marketers. Their publishers don’t really do the marketing anymore.   I was encouraged by the fans that were hungry to talk crime fiction and by my Hidden Entrepreneurs – J.C. Vaughn  and Charles Ardai.

Artist’s Alley Was Where It Was At

Another result of absence of big publishers was that Artist’s Alley seemed so vibrant.  Anchored by ComiXology Original’s debut of Scott Snyder/Best Jacket comic line, there was plenty of the usual suspects (amazing artists like Billy Tucci, David Mack, Art Baltazar & Franco – just to name a few) and new up-and coming creatives.

The coolest part of Artist’s Alley – for me- was buying old comics from longtime pro and visionary Denis Kitchen. How many hundreds (thousands?) of times has he done that? And he always seems to be “on” and happy to be there. There’s a lesson there for all of us.

 

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2021

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2021

This month we give our readers a list of the exciting new comic book series debuting in September. We have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from the publishers. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

This month we spotlight books from the usual suspects: AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Vault Comics, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, AWA/Upshot Studios, Titan Books, and Bad Idea Comics, but we threw in a couple from smaller publishers that we don’t normally have on the list like Ablaze Comics and Comics Experience Publishing.

There are several crossover type things in the works from DC and Marvel and we spotlighted two “Alpha” books that will lead you all over their comic line to follow the story from beginning to end. This is not something that we are super fond of, but if you are reading books that are in the crossover’s path, getting the Alpha issue might help when you get to the event issue in your favorite series.

Also, Pay Attention!! Five Wednesdays of comics this month!!!!

We will bring you reviews of these debut issues as they come out, and don’t forget to use the comments section to let us know what you think of this list.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released.

Week of 9/1/21
Week of 9/8/21
Week of 9/15/21
Week of 9/22/21
Week of 9/29/21


Week of September 1


Almost American #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Marco Castiello

Spies…like us? In 2008, husband-and-wife Russian intelligence operatives walked into the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic in order to defect, making a deal to trade secrets for new lives. But instead of the American Dream, Janosh and Victorya Neumann found themselves caught up in red tape, bureaucracy and turf wars between the FBI and CIA – all while their past tries to kill them.

Based on the real-life story of real-life spies, ALMOST AMERICAN is written by comics master Ron Marz in close consultation with the Neumanns, with art by rising star Marco Castiello.

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: I feel like Ron Marz is the perfect person to be telling this story.


Batman: Fear State Alpha #1
DC Comics
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Riccardo Federici
Cover Art by Ben Oliver

The event over a year in the making begins. . . Fear State settles upon Gotham City, and no one is safe! Overwhelmed by the dual threat of the Scarecrow and Peacekeeper-01, Batman and his allies have been one step behind since the events of Infinite Frontier #0. . . and with the arrival of a mysterious anti-Oracle and the return of Poison Ivy. . . Batman might have more than he can handle!?

Release Date: August 31, 2021

PCS NOTES: This is the first of those line-wide (or at least Gotham-wide) crossovers. You can follow the checklist here.


Dark Ages #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Iban Coello & Brian Reber
Cover Art by Coello

This is what the Watcher has been watching for! A danger older than the Earth threatens everything. For once, the heroes who have saved the planet so many times are almost powerless in the face of it. X-Men and Avengers assemble. Spider-People and Fantastic Four come together. Heroes for Hire fight alongside Champions. None of it will be enough. The lights are about to go out. The world outside our window…is about to end. An all-new saga of the Marvel Universe as you’ve never seen it before from Tom Taylor and Iban Coello!

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: I am really excited about this story.


Monster Kill Squad #1
Bad Idea Comics
Written by Christos Gage
Art by Tomas Giorello & Diego Rodriguez
Cover Art by Giorello

Once upon a time, monster attacks were rare. A forest witch might murder a few hikers, a killer clown might eat a few children, or a malevolent ghost might drive a young couple insane just for the hell of it. But these events were scarce, easily covered up, and soon faded into campfire stories good for a laugh. But no one’s laughing now. Over the past 90 days, cryptozoological attacks have increased a hundredfold, and the arcane has become everyday. Monsters of every shape and size strike at will, and the good, taxpaying folks of the US of A have had enough of this nonsense. Enter: THE MONSTER KILL SQUAD. A Government Unit of the most dangerous motherfuckers on the planet, the deadliest folks alive are here to put a bullet in the brain of everything that walks, crawls, flies, or hides in shadows. And if it doesn’t have a brain, all the better — we’ve got a gun for that, too. Witches and wraiths. Demons and deadites. Goblins and ghosts. There have always been monsters. Now there are monster killers, and the MKS will kill it, and kill it good.

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: Bad Idea Comics has no shortage of interesting comic story ideas. If you want this book, you have to get it from a limited list of retailers. Find one here.


Pyrate Queen #1
Bad Idea Comics
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Adam Pollina & Tamra Bonvillain
Cover Art by Pollina & Bonvillain

This September, embark on a tale of love, loss, life, death and bloody revenge! Meet Monday Ryan, a pyrate with a bad reputation and a price on her head. To be a pyrate is to live a short and merry life and to live it free. It ends for most with a length of rope and a four foot drop. After a series of successful attacks, Monday Ryan, her husband, and her crew of bandits are targeted and pursued relentlessly by the British Royal Navy. When a violent trap leads to their capture, Monday and crew are fitted for the gallows — until the Royal Navy learns that Monday’s pregnant. Civility prevents the hanging of a pregnant woman, and Monday is spared the noose, but her crew and husband are not. Set adrift on a small raft and left to her fate on the open sea, Monday vows that the life growing inside her will be born into a world where its father’s death has been avenged. She will find and kill every last soul responsible for her husband’s death, and her baby will enter into this world free of vengeance, free of bloodshed, and free of a future drenched in violence.

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: See above!!


Red Sonja #1
Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Mirka Andolfo
Art by Giuseppe Cafaro
Cover Art by Andolfo

MOTHER, PART ONE.

Industry icon MIRKA ANDOLFO presents an all-new vision for the She-Devil With A Sword, in a thrilling new ongoing series! Our story begins in a village on fire, set by members of the dreaded Three-Eyed Shezem. When Red Sonja arrives, the only survivor of the flame is a lively child with curious white tattoos. The child will become Sonja’s travel companion, on a journey from hardened ice to imposing forests, where dangerous secrets wait to be revealed…

Begin a trailblazing adventure with MIRKA ANDOLFO and incredible artist GIUSEPPE CAFARO!

Release Date: September 1, 2021

PCS NOTES: Pretty excited to see what Mirka Andolfo has in store for Sonja. Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in September 2021”

Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Comics Writer David Pepose

Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Comics Writer David Pepose

In our latest Squadcast interview we caught up with comics creator and writer David Pepose.

David is known for his creator-owned titles Spencer & Locke, Going to the Chapel, Scout’s Honor, and The O.Z.

His work has been nominated for multiple industry awards and his catalogue of work is continuing to grow into new publishing venues.

His latest work, The O.Z., is a book that he is publishing through Kickstarter. The first double-sized issue was funded last year and currently the campaign for the second installment is underway. Backers have until September 15th to get behind this excellent comic.

Since David and I spoke for this Squadcast, the first issue of The O.Z. has been nominated for best single issue for the 2021 Ringo Awards.

David has grown as a writer and creator over the years that Pop Culture Squad has been around and he continues to be one of our favorite interviewees.

Check out the interview and the Kickstarter campaign below.


THE O.Z. #1-2 – A Fantasy Classic Reimagined for Comics

What is the O.Z?

What if The Hurt Locker took place in The Wizard of Oz? Find out in The O.Z., an action-packed fantasy comic series from Ringo Award-nominated writer David Pepose (Spencer & Locke, Going to the Chapel, Scout’s Honor) and superstar artist Ruben Rojas (Proton) that transforms a childhood classic into a war story for the ages. Returning to Kickstarter with our double-sized, 44-page second chapter, this campaign is dedicated to bringing this adrenaline-fueled twist on L. Frank Baum’s iconic Oz novels to life. Fans of Mad Max: Fury RoadThe Old Guard, and Fables will not want to miss out on The O.Z.

THE HUNT FOR THE SILVER SLIPPERS

Continue reading “Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Comics Writer David Pepose”

With Further Ado #154:  En Garde!

With Further Ado #154: En Garde!

 When I was in a college freshman, it was mandated we take two gym classes.  I wanted to try something I had never tried before, so I signed up for fencing.  There was an Olympic fencer from my hometown who was a bit of a local celebrity, but the real reason I was interested in fencing was because I loved movie swordfights.

As a freshman in that class, we learned the basics for the first four weeks.  We studied and practiced lunges and parries and all that stuff.  Soon it was time to actually fence against another person.   Within seconds, I forgot everything I had been learning and it all reverted to any other backyard swordfight.  I relied 100%  on those summer days when my brother and I would swish sticks in the backyard and say things like “ah-hah!”   Needless to say, I was not invited onto the fencing team.

But… in the spirit of those summer swordfights, let’s review some comics!

The Fox So Cunning and Free

American Mythology is a new publisher, just celebrating its 5th anniversary. One of the licenses they have acquired is Zorro, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The Mark of Zorro : 100 Years of the Masked Avenger is an impressive coffee table book celebrating this long-lived hero’s many incarnations.  James Kuhoric and Jason Ullmeyer have assembled a collection of amazing images from every Zorro adventure – all the books, pulps, movies, cartoons and comics. It’s heavy on imagery and light on text, so it is a quintessential ‘flip through” book.

Comics creators Matt Wagner and the legendary Don McGregor (who created my favorite version of Zorro) supply the introduction and forward respectively to make the proceedings all the more special.

D’Artagnan Returns

Seven Swords is a new comic series from another “new” publisher, AfterShock Comics. They’ve been putting out so many titles they don’t seem new anymore to me, though. Seven Swords is written by Revan Daughtery and the art is provided by Riccardo Latina.  This new series focuses on a middle aged D’Artagnan, who you will remember from Dumas’ classic The Three Musketeers. In this story, however, the Three Musketeers are offstage, and D’Artagnan seeks to avenge them by recruiting a new team . He goes all-in Magnificent Seven style.

Latina, an Italian artist who is new to me, employs a classic style that suits the material, but he leverages a sense of dynamic movement, so it never looks dated.

A Look Back at an Invincible Sword

Recently, Back Issue Magazine shined the spotlight on Conan, the Barbarian. One of the articles reviewed all the ‘other’ barbarian characters from the Bronze Age, and I was fascinated by Dagar, the Invincible.  A Gold Key/Western “Sword and Sandals” character, Dagar was created by Don Glut and Jesse Santos. Wonderful painted covers graced each issue, many may have been painted by George Wilson. I would have ignored this series as a kid, but lately I have I been scouring back issue bargain boxes for it.  Glut is an imaginative and clever writer, and able to pack so much into one-and-done single story issues.

Santos, part of the wave of brilliant Filipino artists who illustrated 70s comics, is simply fantastic.

The layouts, anatomy and inking are all inspiring.  All of Santo’s barbarian women look like they walked off the set of a 1969 Hollywood movie, but that’s not so bad.

Of note if you want to join me in the noble quest of collecting Dagar:  he didn’t really have his own title. It was officially Tales of Swords and Sorcery featuring Dagar the Invincible.


“Don’t leave home without your sword- your intellect.”

-Alan Moore

New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming In July 2021

New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming In July 2021

This month we give our readers a list of the exciting new comic book series debuting in July. We have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from the publishers. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

There are quite a few of great new and interesting series starting this month from AfterShock Comics, Ahoy Comics, IDW Publishing, Boom! Studios, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Vault Comics, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, Scout Comics, Valiant Entertainment, Dynamite Entertainment, AWA/Upshot Studios, Titan Books, and Bad Idea Comics.

A very interesting nugget from this month’s list is that there are no new Batman books and two Superman books. DC is mixing it up to keep us on our toes.

We will bring you reviews of most of these debut issues as they come out, and don’t forget to use the comments section to let us know what you think of this list.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released.

Week of 7/7/21
Week of 7/14/21
Week of 7/21/21
Week of 7/28/21


Week of July 7


Black’s Myth #1
Ahoy Comics
Written by Eric Palicki
Art by Wendell Cavalcanti
Cover Art by Liana Kangas

Meet Janie “Strummer” Jones, just an ordinary werewolf PI, trying to make it on the mean streets of LA. When the case of a lifetime falls into her lap, it’s up to her and her charming djinn assistant Ben Si’lat to figure out just how many silver bullets have been used, and just where do silver bullets come from anyway? A new horror series from writer Eric Palicki and artist Wendell Cavalcanti, with lush covers by Liana Kangas. Every AHOY book comes with extra prose stories and illustrations. Issue 1 features a stunning variant cover by Jamal Igle.

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: You had me at “ordinary werewolf PI”. I am up for this one!


Clans Of Belari #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Rob Blackie & Peter Blackie
Art by Daniel Maine & Carlos Lopez
Cover Art by Andy Clarke & Jose Villarrubia

PRIMARY LAWS OF THE BELARI SYSTEM:

1.) No person or Clan may exit the system.
2.) No person or Clan may do the Designated Work of another Clan.
3.) Clans may not merge.
4.) Any person that breaks a Primary Law shall be made Outcast.

On the far side of the galaxy, an isolated branch of humanity is trapped in a feudal dystopia. Oder is maintained by a system of oppression, until an orphaned girl and her incorrigible adoptive father sow the seeds of a revolution and unite the clans against a fearsome alien threat.

From Rob Blackie and Peter Blackie (creators and writers of Netflix’s historical action-adventure series, Frontier) and artist Daniel Maine comes this vast and enthralling sci-fi adventure.

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: Who doesn’t love a sci-fi epic that delves into the nature of how humanity treats itself? Looks good.


Fight Girls #1
AWA / Upshot Studios
Written by Frank Cho
Art by Cho & Sabine Rich
Cover Art by Cho

Ten hard-as-nails women face off in an ancient contest of champions where the winner truly takes all: the title of “Queen of the Galaxy.” To win the challenge each contestant must survive the hazards of the planet’s harsh landscape, the ferocious predators on and below its surface, and their fellow contestants. This edition of the contest has a twist: one of the contestants is an infiltrator who has her eye on something bigger than the prize. Who is she and what does she really want?

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: I will say that Frank Cho is a very good storyteller, and that makes me want to see what this book has in store for the reader.


Justice League Infinity #1
DC Comics
Written by J.M. DeMatteis & James Tucker
Art by Ethen Beavers
Cover Art by Francis Manapul

From Justice League Unlimited producer James Tucker and series writer J.M. DeMatteis comes an all-new season starring the World’s Greatest Heroes! There is a being wandering the universe searching for its true purpose, but what it finds out on the farthest edges of the cosmos will change not just our universe, but many! Meanwhile, the war for the throne of Apokolips arrives on Earth, and the true ruler will only be decided one way: Who can destroy the Justice League?

Release Date: July 6, 2021

PCS NOTES: This takes place in the “universe” that is very special to a lot of people, and the creative team inspires a lot of confidence that this will be a good story. Looking forward to it.


The Lot #1
Bad Idea Comics
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Art by Renato Guedes
Cover Art by Guedes

In 1970, legendary filmmaker Oliver Larsen began production on his latest horror masterpiece on the lot of Los Angeles’ famed Cloverleaf Studios. Obsessed with bringing authenticity to the genre, the director insisted on casting real-life occultists to perform a genuine Satanic ritual live on camera – until something went horribly wrong. In the bloody aftermath, the production was shut down, the footage was confiscated, and the soundstage was forever shuttered.

Until today.

On the heels of a promotion that’s just made her the youngest studio chief in decades, Aviva Copeland is planning to overhaul Cloverleaf’s fading image for the 21st century – starting with the prime piece of California real estate that’s gone unused for 50 years: the very same lost soundstage where Larsen filmed his doomed masterpiece. But, as Aviva will soon discover, this corner of the lot may have been closed for a half-century, but it’s far from empty… and the evil that lives within its haunted walls will soon seize its chance to kill again.

New York Times best-selling writer Marguerite Bennett and artist Renato Guedes present a terrifying vision of horror and Hollywood in the boldly bloody Bad Idea manner!

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: A new horror story from Marguerite Bennett is not something that you let slip by. Find somewhere that Bad Idea is sold and get this book. 


Mamo #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Sas Milledge
Art by Milledge
Cover Art by Milledge

BOOM! Studios is proud to showcase the incredible artistic vision of Sas Milledge!

Can Orla O’Reilly embrace her destiny in order to bridge the divide between humanity and the faerie world?

Orla, the youngest in a long line of hedge witches, finds herself pulled back to her hometown after the death of her grandmother – Mamo.

Without Mamo managing magical relationships between the townsfolk and the fae, the seas are impossible to fish, the crops have soured… and Jo Manalo’s attic has been taken over by a poltergeist!

Now, Orla and Jo will both be pulled into worlds they never wanted to be part of. Can the two girls work together to save the town?

Sas Milledge debuts her first original series perfect for fans of The Last Witch and Sabrina The Teenage Witch that answers the question of how we all reconcile our responsibilities with our dreams for our own future.

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: This solicitation and cover art got us. We are interested in meeting Orla.


Masters of the Universe: Revelation #1
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Rob David, Tim Sheridan & Kevin Smith
Art by Mindy Lee
Cover Art by Stjepan Sejic

Following a vicious Orlax attack on his father King Randor, He-Man learns the creature is linked to the origin of the sword of power. To save Randor and put an end to the chaos He-Man embarks on an epic journey that pits him against his longtime foes Skeletor and Evil-Lyn, and sees Teela take the reins of a powerful legacy.

The official prequel to the upcoming Netflix show!

Variant cover by Mike Mignola.

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: Are you excited for the new Netlfix He-Man series. We are, and this book looks to be a good introduction to the series if you need a refresh on the world of Eternia.


Ordinary Gods #1
Image Comics
Written by Kyle Higgins
Art by Felipe Watanabe
Cover Art by Watanabe

For fans of THE OLD GUARD and GOD COUNTRY comes the extra-length first issue of a centuries-spanning action epic from writer KYLE HIGGINS and artist FELIPE WATANABE!

The Luminary. The Prodigy. The Brute. The Trickster. The Innovator. Five gods from a realm beyond our own, leaders in the “War of Immortals.” Aleast, they were – before they were trapped, sent to a planet made into a prison, forced into an endless cycle of human death and reincarnation. Christopher is 22. He’s got two loving parents and a 12-year-old sister. He works at a paint store. He’s in therapy. He’s one of the Five. Which means, in order to save everyone he cares about, Christopher will have to reconnect with his past lives and do the unthinkable: become a god again.

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: I like the concept behind this story and am intrigued to see how they pull it off.


Red Sonja: Black, White, Red #1
Dynamite Comics
Written by Kurt Busiek, Amanda Diebert, & Mark Russell
Art by Benjamin Dewey, Cat Staggs, & Bob Q
Cover Art by Lucio Parrillo

Dynamite proudly presents a prestige project by the world’s greatest storytellers! Red Sonja, like you’ve NEVER seen before…all presented in beautiful black, white, and red!

KURT BUSIEK and BENJAMIN DEWEY  take you to The Mountains Of Night, a foreboding haunt where the She-Devil With A Sword seeks a precious, priceless item…

AMANDA DEIBERT and CAT STAGGS wind you through a mysterious adventure of crimson and ebony…

MARK RUSSELL and BOB Q return to put their final stamp on their classic Red Sonja series, with a coda that will leave you breathless…

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: Yes another limited pallet anthology series, BUT try to convince me that Dynamite could come up with a better lineup of talent for the first issue of this offering. You can’t. Just get the book and enjoy.


Skybound X #1
Image Comics
Written by Various
Art by Various
Cover Art by Ryan Ottley

Celebrate a sensational 10 years of Skybound with a cavalcade of your favorite creators for all-new stories of your favorite series past, present and future! Each issue of this oversized, weekly series will kick off with a new chapter of a serialized THE WALKING DEAD story—RICK GRIMES 2000—by Robert Kirkman & Ryan Ottley!

In addition, we’ll be debuting all-new series and characters every issue, starting with the First Appearance of the most requested WALKING DEAD character of all-time: Clementine, star of the bestselling Telltale’s The Walking Dead video game series!

Did we mention new ULTRAMEGA and MANIFEST DESTINY stories?! If you want to know what to expect in Skybound’s next 10 years, it all starts here!

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: Not much to add to the solicitation for this book.


X-Men #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Pepe Larraz & Marte Gracia
Cover Art by Larraz & Gracia

THESE X-MEN ARE…FEARLESS! The heroes of Krakoa are here to save the planet! Things might be complicated between the nation of Krakoa and the rest of the world, but to the X-MEN, things are simple—you do what’s right, you protect those who need protecting and you save the world we all share. Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Sunfire, Rogue, Wolverine, Synch and Polaris are the chosen champions of mutantkind, and they will not shrink from any battle for their home planet. Writer Gerry Duggan reteams with superstar artist Pepe Larraz to chart the course of the X-Men in a world of the Reign of X!

Release Date: July 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: It’s time for a new X-Men #1. Let’s be honest some of the best storytelling at Marvel is coming from the X-office. We will be on-board with this new number one for sure. Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming In July 2021”

With Further Ado #152: Out of Body from AfterShock Comics is a Different Kind of Murder Mystery.

With Further Ado #152: Out of Body from AfterShock Comics is a Different Kind of Murder Mystery.

D.O.A. is one of those film noir movies that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t ever let you forget it. Like many noirs, it uses flashback to kick things off. At the outset, we’re introduced to Edmund O’Brien who staggers into a police station to announce his own murder.  The basic premise is this: he’s been poisoned, and he has only hours to catch his murderer before he dies. Talk about motivation!

One of AfterShock Comics‘ latest series, Out of Body reminded me of the thrills of that classic. But it offers a whole lot more.   In this one, Dan Collins wakes to find he’s on life support in a hospital, and he has to solve the mystery of how he got there and who did it to him.

Peter Milligan, the creator and writer, is an established pro with a long list of favorites I’ve enjoyed over the years.  Not content to rest on his laurels, I’m amazed how fresh and clever this series is. He’s the type of writer that convinces you he has an infinite number of stories to tell, and that each one will be a step up from the last one that was your favorite.  It’s surprising but it shouldn’t be; he’s created another favorite.

I first became a fan of artist Inaki Miranda with Vertigo’s Coffin Hill a little less than a decade ago. He’s an engaging artist with a solid sense of storytelling. Miranda’s creating so much outstanding artwork lately, but it never seems rushed or hurried. Continue reading “With Further Ado #152: Out of Body from AfterShock Comics is a Different Kind of Murder Mystery.”

Reviews: New Number Ones for the Week of 6/2/2021 – Basilisk #1, The Nice House on the Lake #1, Out of Body #1, and The Worst Dudes #1

Reviews: New Number Ones for the Week of 6/2/2021 – Basilisk #1, The Nice House on the Lake #1, Out of Body #1, and The Worst Dudes #1

It has been a while since we did one of these, but if you are new here, this column is designed to bring you reviews of new comic book series that came out this week. We will try to focus on independent and original series for the most part. This week we have four books for you. They are from DC Comics, AfterShock Comics, Dark Horse Comics and Boom! Studios.

You will usually find the books that we review in this space on our month list of New Number Ones.

Three of the books that we reviewed have heavy conflicts with somber moods and one is a hilariously entertaining romp.

This week we will bring you our thoughts on: Basilisk #1, The Nice House on the Lake #1, Out of Body #1, and The Worst Dudes #1

Check out the reviews below in alphabetical order:

Basilisk #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Jonas Scharf
Colors by Alex Guimarães
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Cover Art by Scharf

9.03

This book is excellent. The entire creative team lends wonderful craftsmanship to the completed work. The pacing of the beginning pages sets a foreboding mood and the colors marry perfectly with the tone of the line art. There is not a lot of dialogue but Ed Dukeshire does a great job laying it out. Cullen Bunn crafts an interesting premise in this first issue that portends an epic supernatural conflict in the coming issues. We are looking forward to more.


The Nice House on the Lake #1
DC Comics / Black Label
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Álvaro Martínez Bueno
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Andworld Design
Cover Art by Martínez Bueno

9.35

James Tynion has done it again. This book is gripping. There is an opening sequence that sets the stage for this book, but we were sucked into the backstory that occupies the majority of the book, and it is captivating. This is a super dense first issue, but it flows nicely. The art is simply gorgeous, and Jordie Bellaire’s colors are sublime. The story is paced so well, and the end of the book raises the stakes to a level that belies the innocuous narrative that makes up the middle section of the book. We are on the edge of our seat waiting for the next issue.


Out of Body #1
AfterShock Comics
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Inaki Miranda
Colors by Eva De La Cruz
Letters by Sal Cipriano
Cover Art by Miranda

9.00

This is book is haunting in multiple ways. Peter Milligan is again developing an intriguing supernatural mystery. The point of view shifts between two primary characters as they interact on the fringe of each other’s existence, and that technique is executed marvelously. Inaki Miranda’s linework is wonderful, particularly the facial acting. The colors by Eva De La Cruz are nothing short of spectacular, and Sal Cipriano’s lettering is critical to maintaining the reader’s focus through the multiple scene and point of view changes. Well done all around.


The Worst Dudes #1
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Aubrey Sitterson
Art by Tony Gregori
Colors by Lovern Kindzierski
Letters by Taylor Esposito
Cover Art by Gregori & Kindzierski

8.35

This book is a raucous romp. It is a completely different mood from the other books on this list. While Aubrey Sitterson is developing an interesting narrative, the story is full of outrageous and edgy imagery. The book is a fun space adventure. The innovative character designs by Tony Gregori are well crafted. The bright and iridescent colors that Lovern Kindzierski uses let you know not to take this too seriously and fit the tone of the book. Taylor Esposito’s letters are a wonderful addition to the book. A very enjoyable read.


DISCLAIMER: 

We use a 4 star rating system. It is simple and not to be taken too seriously. Everyone has their own impressions of art. These ratings are just to give our readers an idea of what we thought of the book, and they will be on the generous side, normally. So don’t expect to see a lot of 1 Stars. After all, it’s not often that you have a bad book on your pull-list.

The rating system is as follows:

  • Great
  • Good
  • OK
  •  No