Jeremy Sorese (W)
Coleman Engle (A)
Cartoon Network was so confident that Rebecca Sugar’s creation, Steven Universe, would be popular that they greenlit the comic before the first episode even aired. Artist Coleman Engle definitely has the feel of the source material—it looks a lot like watching one of the cartoons. My only problem is that the pages are so cram-jammed, packed chock-full of fun, beautiful, gorgeously coloured, lively art that it’s tough to keep up with what’s happening in the primary story. The Gems are trying to take a dangerous item back to the temple because they can’t bubble-teleport it like they usually do in the cartoon. Amethyst decides to have fun at Pearl’s expense by shapeshifting into things that make fun of Pearl’s nose. The two backup stories, “Lars and Sadie” and “Birthday Bake-Off” are equally cute (and a little easier to follow), but unfortunately are in black and white. The premiere issue also contains a preview of upcoming KaBOOM! title Uncle Grandpa. I could’ve done with six more pages of Steven and the Gems, myself.
Tim Seeley (W)
Mikel Janin (A)
I made no secret of how unhappy I was with the portrayal of Dick Grayson in the first issue: Dick choosing a disguise as someone who’d sexually harass someone? Eck. The second issue is a little better. But the writer needs to do his research: “Heads up, rears out”? It’s bad for the posture and the back to thrust your behind out—you are supposed to keep it tucked in. Yes, seriously. But credit where credit is due. The emotional core of this issue focused on Dick’s communication with “Mr. Malone”—you know who, back in Gotham City, and the sweet memories they focused on. I’m feeling a bit better about this issue. And the art by Mikel Janin is still the best and brightest part of the book.
Warren Ellis (W)
Tula Lotay (A)
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never read the original Supreme series. You need to read Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay’s new spin on the character. The focus of the story is a young journalist named Diana Dane. We are introduced to her during what feels like a dream sequence, but is clearly much more significant. There is little to no exposition, but you can’t help but feel you’re being given an important set of clues about the events that are about to unfold. The storytelling is bizarre and complex and it is paired perfectly with Tula Lotay’s art. Her work is abstract and original, as is the pastel colour palette. Supreme Blue Rose is the kind of eccentric dream-like comic you didn’t know you wanted until it’s in your hands and I can’t wait for the next piece of the puzzle.
Greg Rucka (W)
Michael Lark (A)
Things are not going well for Jonah Carlyle. After his sister (and lover) tried to kill him he has fled into enemy territory—the domain of the Hock family. And it only goes downhill from there. I didn’t think I would ever feel bad for Jonah, he’s not exactly a nice guy, but this issue brought me pretty close. One thing I’ve really admired about Lazarus from the very first issue is the world building, it’s so detailed, so well thought out. Much of the first and second plot arcs have focused on the internal structures of the Carlyle family, with a few scattered pieces of information about the other families. This issue really expands on the world outside of the Carlyle holdings. In particular it gives greater context to the politics and relationships between families and the different ruling philosophies on other parts of the globe. In the hands of a lesser writer this story could easily fall apart. There are a lot of strings and it would be so easy to drop/lose one along the way. Rucka, however, is doing an amazing job, adding new pieces slowly so as not to overwhelm the reader, as well as keeping the pacing of the story steady and tense, but never rushed. This issue brings the second plot arc to a close, but opens to door to a world of possibilities for the next arc—Conclave. If you want Game of Thrones-level drama in a dystopian world, now would be a good time to jump aboard.
Ian Edginton (W)
Marco Cosentino (A)
All Jacks must die. There are just too bloody many of them, in fiction. So Steed & Mrs Peel 01 has me tentatively on board, when it opens with the killing of an agent (double?) named Jack. Jack Ledger. As in, his was full of red (communism).
I must say that it’s an odd choice to open your spy story with the spook in charge looking intensely sinister and smiling a lot as he explains why the heroic Jack who tried to kill him was OBVIOUSLY part of some heinous underhanded dealing.
I’m not an Avengers fan of old, but like any good gal I know Diana Rigg when I see her. I see her a reasonable amount of the time, and certainly on the cover. I’m less familiar with Steed, but from what little I know (he had a great shoot with Twiggy, once) the likenesses seem pretty strong. The artistic team, alas, has got got the hang of the sixties-looking catsuit (let’s not mess around, that is the primary element of the Peel style legacy), despite referencing one that Rigg actually wore, and the colourist does not make me think “swingin.” It’s just slightly chill and misty. When you’re showing me men in full suits and waistcoats you have to watch out—don’t confuse me into thinking we’ve gone Edwardian! Make it GLOW. Take a cue from Stacy Lee’s cover colours. A strong positive to balance things out: starting a fisticuffs scene with released helium balloons is a marvellous choice. Ending on a cosh from a Punch and Judy show, similarly fine.
Do I enjoy or am I exasperated at how the Boss Spy who loves to hone his mind by making miniatures to go in his handmade doll’s house is named… Dolmann? Doll man? Really?? Ginchy, groovy, far out, I guess. Was this to show Batman ’66 as all that? I do like the majority of the dialogue. It’s got that wry, smooth, posh old twat facetiousness about it that keeps us appreciating Roger Moore well into the twenty-first century. Hey, is the Saint due a comic return?
Rick Remender (W)
Greg Tocchini (A)
One day, our solar system will be obliterated up when our sun burns out. Every last bit of human creation will be destroyed. Every book, every monument, every photo will be gone (unless it’s all launched into space, of course). When you think about it, it makes everything seem a bit pointless. Like that Virginia Woolf quote from To the Lighthouse: “The very stone one kicks with one’s boot will outlast Shakespeare.”
But turn that frown upside down. There’s another way to look at it. Life itself isn’t permanent and it isn’t about leaving great works behind—it isn’t about finding a way to live beyond your own death. It’s about experiencing and enjoying life. Here is another quote for you, this one paraphrased and from the short film The Missing Scarf: “The universe comes and goes in cycles, and rather than fearing it’s collapse, look forward to it rebeginning and be happy that you’re a part of it.”
Low is set in the exact time frame where the sun is about to expand into a Red Giant. Humanity is bracing itself for inevitable extinction. The fact that their civilization will soon be destroyed is widely accepted. Except for Stel. Stel is our main character, and she is optimistic to the last. She notices that one of the probe satellites sent to locate other habitable planets isn’t responding, and believes it is because it honed in on a possible location but the communicator is jammed. Her husband is attacked and her children kidnapped, but she wholeheartedly promises that she will rescue them. We could all learn a thing or two from Stel always looking at the bright side of life.
The artwork is very angular, and despite having a different artist, it has a similar overall look to Black Science (i.e., the protective gear, the look of general chaos when outside their respective safe zones, the use of dark colors around technology). The color scheme within their home and the city is shades of brown, blue, teal, and maroon, while the underwater scenes utilize red, orange, and black. It’s a seriously beautiful book.