Hi-Fi Fight Club (BOOM! Box) develops its sweet and fresh central girl/girl romance, and starts to open up some of the secrets under the record shop. I don’t know how this story is gonna wrap up in only four issues, but it’s a very pretty book with an affirmational, welcoming perspective. We’ve got a longer feature coming, so watch this space!
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #19 at BOOM! Studios isn’t an issue that works especially well as a stand-alone read, but it’s a comic that takes its premise, its characters and its action seriously. None of the goofiness of the old TV show here, just a solid superhero monthly. It confuses me a little as a licensed book, because while I don’t have trouble comprehending that this is a fairly detailed adaptation of the on-paper premise of the original (ha ha) show I don’t perceive any trace of the original performances in these versions of Billy, Zach, Trini, Kimberly, Jason or Tommy. In that way, I guess I don’t “get it”… but of course, I don’t have to. Nobody involved in the production of this title appears to be shaming themselves in any way. Although in one panel Kimberly’s hair changes its styling entirely.
Sisters of Sorrow is a woman-focused vengeance mini-series; women living in a shelter band together to take revenge on the violent men who abused them. By dressing up as nuns and murdering them! So that’s a fun/cathartic exploitation-cinema flavoured premise. The art (Hyeonjin Kim) is particularly gorgeous–a very western-friendly line style but with the wide-mouthed intensity and focus of Moyocco Anno’s stressed out bitches. This issue features the murder of a rapist priest but the tension largely lies in a mismatch of principles between the four women who know about the plot. What’s the truest definition of “self-defence”? This week’s issue (at BOOM! proper) is three of four, but worth picking up blind IMO. This comic is titled on its covers as “Kurt Sutter‘s Sisters of Sorrow,” but Sutter is credited inside as co-writer with Courtney Alameda.
Interlude: Licenses I Don’t Know! This week, it’s with Emily Lauer and Annie Blitzen:
Steven Universe #8: In this issue, Steven and Garnet head into a seasonally-appropriate corn maze for a wholesome, adorable good time with some humans. Steven finds a shortcut to the exit, but as it turns out, he also finds a friendly gem monster cuddling with raccoons. The issue is well-paced with clear layouts and dialogue– and the human dialogue offers a nice counterpart to Steven’s for older readers. The plot of the issue concludes satisfyingly as Steven and Garnet succeed in balancing human safety with the gem monster’s own needs. As a bonus, Steven is wearing a SWEET jellyfish sweater that I would wear myself in a heartbeat.
Over the Garden Wall #18: “Turkeys and Turnkeys” has two cover versions that are both beautiful and both totally unconnected from the actual plot of this issue…in which Fred the Horse narrates a time some literal turkeys betrayed him. The interior art is drastically different in both content and style from either the regular cover image or the subscription cover variant. In the story, Fred and the Highwayman are making their getaway from the vegetable-headed people with a bunch of stolen goods, when some confused turkeys follow them and eventually allow the vegetable people to regain their property.
The art is adorable, but the plot can be hard to follow because the words do not seem to be as carefully chosen as they could be. There are grammatical mistakes and puzzling inaccuracies. For instance, Fred narrates “[T]he vegetable heads would not be the ones to find us,” but then later…they do.
It’s always interesting to me when creators on a licensed comic, especially one ostensibly aimed at young audiences, have created works of a very different sort. Kelly and Nichole Matthews, aka Kickingshoes, drew the Macbeth reinterpretation Toil and Trouble, as well as the monster-themed erotica collection Creature Feature. Simon “Si” Spurrier has written quite a lot of things, but the ones that come to mind here are his mythology-driven werewolf black ops book Cry Havoc and his work on Garth Ennis’s deeply not-for-children Crossed franchise. It takes an interesting editorial mindset to find the elements of those works that would be valuable to something like The Dark Crystal, but it has paid off. The lyrical writing and dreamy art capture the sense of desperate mysticism that made the original film a classic.
A little news to spice up your late September
Noted WWE homophobe AJ Styles is collaborating with Michael Kingston on a short script for next year’s Royal Rumble Special. Does he know the comics community has a lot of overlap with the gay community? Maybe even as much as wrestling does? Who can say. Maybe he’s come along way since, what, 2010?
Fans of The Expanse can look forward to February, if “origins” are what interest you! A graphic novel about, I would guess, “stuff that happened earlier” will be in your hot little hands in 2018.
And back to the good stuff
Back to the comics: WWE #9 (BOOM! Studios) features an extremely sultry and bulging Roman Reigns on the cover, which is as good a reason as I could give you for picking it up. If you need more, look out for our longer feature later–although I can add that there is some very “now kiss!!” Shield stuff in here. If that is your bag… If it isn’t there are some Rikishi-with-kids pages that I personally found very precious.
Three softcover collections are coming from BOOM! this week. Studios has Hellraiser volume one ($39.99, “Clive Barker returns to tell a new chapter in the official continuity—a trajectory that will forever change the Cenobites… and Pinhead!”), which we’ll be looking closely at nearer to Halloween; Box has Munchkin volume six ($14.99, collecting four issues), which is also scheduled for feature in October; and KaBOOM! is putting out the third volume of Adventure Time Sugary Shorts, also being looked at by a contributor. The latter is a short story collection from the Adventure Time worlds by a great number of cartoonists priced at $19.99.
Victor LaValle‘s Destroyer is a modern-set Frankenstein sequel at BOOM! Studios on its second-last issue (five of six) this week. A very solid science-action book with a purposeful eye on violent institutional racism and parental love and betrayal, I’m gonna give this pick of the week: 💣THE BOMB.💣 None of the preview pages available to show you express the real strengths of the issue, so just look out for this cover on the shelf when you’re buying.
Finally, Spurrier, Goonface and Bell’s Godshaper wraps this week at Studios with six of six. Some terrific expression in the facial illustration here– regret is hard to draw, but Goonface puts it to paper. This issue opens with two instances of dialogue that I feel ambivalent about but irrelevant to the judging of as a white person (tho which, research tells me, Spurrier is also). Think Moon Girl/hairstyle/”respectable.” The protagonist seems given to calling people “squeer-os,” which presumably relates to the mythos of the story and doesn’t correlate to any spite or cruelty in his cartooned body language but recalls the negative response I saw to Spurrier’s use of the term “genequeer” in his X-Men work. This is a book to try before you buy, I think, as some are gonna love it and some just won’t find its scripting details tenable. The art is singular and tender, and some lovely sub-vocal lettering choices from Bell makes the mood of the piece really hang together.