Comics: Off to Never Never Land
For your reading pleasure, I have chosen three different courses: from the distant shores of DC, the mountainous region of Marvel and the hidden treasure of the exotic Oni Press, a preview. Without further ado, your comic selection for the evening.
Teen Titans: Rebirth (DC Comics) -- The biggest thing to know is that there have been many Robins, in the same way there have been many Batmen. Alternate universes, plot wackiness, whatever. You get Beast Boy talking about missing Tim Drake early in the issue and Starfire reflects on Dick Grayson, which were two different people who stepped into the Robin role. If you are not familiar with the other characters from Teen Titans, there are names of the characters within the first couple of panels. By the end of the issue, any confusion about the Robin on the cover is cleared up.
The character designs are slightly angular and anime- inspired, and the color palette is vibrant and bold. The pacing goes pretty quickly, even with Kid Flash involved.
I really enjoy the vignettes that introduce the characters, which I feel are true to the characters I've known for years through TV and comic. This version of Robin has a completely different worldview, as well as personality quirks and attitude. It will be interesting to put him into a group dynamic because of his loud and outspoken nature. How will the team survive? This will be an excellently executed train-wreck.
Champions (2016) (Marvel Comics) -- This comic is an introduction to this Teen Titans team, but there's some background information to know before jumping in. The new team is composed of Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Nova, teenage Cyclops, Viv and Totally Awesome Hulk. The heroes you might not recognize are 1) Viv, the daughter of the Vision (with similar powers: super strength, being a synthoid-robot-thing, and being able to phase through things) and 2) Totally Awesome Hulk: Amadeus Cho, not Bruce Banner. There's a different attitude, light-hearted atmosphere in TA Hulk's comics, and the long-running joke is how he hits on any lady, super-powered or not.
Champions makes only passing reference to the most recent Civil War series within many of the Marvel titles, but there's also references to the current group of Avengers. This issue revolves mostly around Ms Marvel's decision to leave the Avengers, and starting to fill out the roster of the Champions. Next issue promises to have an encounter with teen Cyclops, which should be pretty funny. If you need to know anything about Cyclops, it's that he is a world-class goober. That's not fair, he's a Champion goober. (See what I did there? ...Yeah.)
I really want to thumb through issue 2.
Motro (Oni Press) --
From Ulises Fariñas (of IDW's Judge Dredd fame) comes a story of a boy-turned-reluctant-hero with superstrength. This has a brutal Mad Max-esque post-apocalyptic background, with whimsical touches like magical mechanical beasts.
There are similar characteristics to Adventure Time in regards to the art style, but also feels like it would be a natural extension of the Rogue Trooper environment (which incidentally came out of a story from the magazine 2000 AD). This being said, this is original world-building, and has fascinating graphic storytelling and layout. The other unique characteristic of this comic are the basic survival elements of the main character, from his long hair and his bird skull necklace to his long untamed hair.
I definitely give this as a recommendation for fans of Judge Dredd, because there are echoes of the stark sci-fi, brutal dystopia and despair inherent to Judge Dredd.
Release date: November 2, 2016