Comics: Double the fun!
June is an exciting month for comics, because not only do we have the Eisners (the awards show of choice for graphic novels and all things comic), we usually have quite a few new titles springing up around this time. So this week, I'm reviewing two recent titles from the major and independent comics companies, as a special treat.
We Are... Robin (DC Comics): This is definitely a teen-or-above comic, as within the first few panels, we meet Duke Thomas as he's getting stomped on for hitting on a pretty girl. Miles Morales, if you were in the DC universe, you might consider him a sympathetic ear and possibly a friend. Duke's background (abandoned by his folks, possibly an orphan, shipped from bad situation to worse) is quite dark. He ends up in Gotham's underbelly (just the sewers), being saved from an unfriendly mob by the aforementioned vigilantes. The writing, especially in the epilogue is quite clever, and I think that this is a solid start to deconstructing Robin as Batman's sidekick.
Dr Fate (DC Comics): I watched a fair amount of animated Justice League shows in my life, to the point that when you see Dr. Fate's helmet in the first episode of Constantine, I was very excited. So the good thing is that I'm not walking into this issue completely blind. The tone of the comic feels a bit like Ms. Marvel, as Khalid Ben-Hassin is Earth 2's 18 year old hero, texting and rescuing rugrats in the same scene. For those people who enjoy darker and more supernatural / magical comics, this is almost like something from Mike Mignola (BPRD, Hellboy).
Ghostbusters: Get Real (IDW Publishing): I'm a big fan of Ghostbusters, so I was interested to find out that this mini-series is actually a cross of Real Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters. Confused yet? Ghostbusters is the currently running comic series, versus Real Ghostbusters, the canon cartoon show beloved in the '80's. DC and Marvel are currently doing something similar, so why not IDW with some classic characters? I have a feeling this mini-series could attract new readers, as there's interesting villains with hidden motivations in both dimensions, so it really is (forgive the pun) a multi-dimensional comic.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April (IDW Publishing): Now with 100% more awkward tension, on a road trip! If you thought Casey was just emotionally awkward towards his dad, you were wrong: he and April are 20-somethings, going cross country on a quest like something out of X-Files, to find "evidence of warring immortal creatures who disappeared ages ago". I look forward to reading more of this side story, and hope that Casey comes a little more out of his stoic shell.
Runaways (Marvel Comics): I have enjoyed Runaways since my first introduction back in college, so I was happy to see that Marvel's Secret World storyline was bringing them back. They are trying to pass their final exams to get into the Doom Elite, so there's definitely a place for fans of the Hunger Games series, Morning Glories, Deadly Class and other multi-media teen heroics here. The inclusion of Bucky Barnes as an authority figure is a little jarring, as I don't remember too many other blatant Marvel properties being involved directly with the Runaways. This is a lighthearted romp of a first issue, but with such a large ensemble cast, it runs into the same problem that I feel the Avengers movies did: lots of pre-established characters, not a lot of time to re-introduce them, nor give them significant screen time/ character development scenes.
Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies (Marvel Comics): Zombies vs. robots, how could you resist? This is one of the Secret Wars cross-overs that I have enjoyed the most. Since I wasn't particularly interested in straight zombie-horror comics when I first began reading, Marvel Zombies wasn't something on my radar. However, I feel like this was a good introduction for people walking out of seeing the Age of Ultron movie, who wanted to know what other fall-out happened, and how that story developed further. Yes, everything went to hell in a hand-basket, but this issue felt a lot less forced / awkward in how it has shaped and formed its story.
Starve (Image Comics): Brian Wood, I like the stuff you do (DMZ, Northlanders, Massive, some of Moon Knight). The main character is a famous reality TV chef, along the lines of Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsay's guy son. Starve is the name of his show, and he's dealing with his life, work and the repercussions of the time he's spent away from what's made him a household name. Social commentary, savage storytelling and a compelling hook make this an excellent first issue. I expect great things, and I know I won't be disappointed.
B!tch Planet (Image Comics): Yes, technically this came out in December, but can I tell you how infrequently we've had a copy of #1 stay on the shelf since then? This is another amazing series by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Pretty Deadly, Avengers Assemble, Captain Marvel and an extensive list of her work here) that you will want to subscribe to, as it is nigh impossible to get early issues. So here's the premise: In a future dystopia, women who do not follow social convention and norms are deemed "non-compliant" and shipped to a prison in space. This is grittier and darker than Orange is the New Black, and heavily based in the style of '60's and '70's exploitation prison movies.
I hope that you will take a peek at some of these titles, as I certainly had fun reviewing them.