Eight offerings from BOOM! this week—three licensed, five creator-owned. Of the licenses, only one (Adventure Time/Regular Show #5 of a six-issue mini from KaBOOM!) is a single issue; Planet of the Apes Archive and Sons of Anarchy (both BOOM! Studios) both see their volumes two, with the former being in hardcover and the latter soft. Apes Archive is a reprinted bumper edition—fifty-nine ninety-nine dollars’ worth of bumper edition—of Marvel’s 1970s licensed magazine. Sons of Anarchy‘s release collects issues five to eight of Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original; issue five was first published in December of 2016, a much more recent series. Redwood Original wrapped in July this year at issue twelve, making it a neat three-volume deal. Here’s Nola Pfau on that Apes Archive:
When I started this reading this archive, I was not expecting the entire thing to be in black-and-white! Which isn’t to say that’s a problem, if anything it enhances the experience for me in this case. The comics in this volume are based around the imagery introduced in the older Planet of the Apes movies, and so the art here carries that sort of sixties sci-fi feel. The point of view and the style of narration help that, and I find that the black-and-white pages do too; the entire thing feels like a time capsule in the best way.
Of Adventure Time/Regular Show, our Cartoon Network expert Corissa Haury says:
Adventure Time/Regular Show #5 is just one issue away from ending the six-issue series that combined two of Cartoon Network’s biggest hit cartoons that often play back-to-back when aired. The story has been fun from the first issue, throwing together portals, one big bad guy with “good” intentions, and alternate universes that fans of both shows will love. This fifth part in the series examines different friendships at length, including newly forged friendships made during the course of this story arc. It takes a mature look at relationships that is not often seen in Regular Show and Adventure Time comics when they are separate. It’s a solid preface to the last issue in this story arc.
Looking at the five creator-owned books, two are softcover collections: Brave Chef Brianna and Misfit City. Misfit City (BOOM! Box) is the first of two volumes collecting an eight-issue limited series, the last issue of which will be out on December 27. I’ve covered my ambivalence towards this series in previous BOOM! Bars; look out for our more positive review of the whole series, bar that last issue, on the day #8 drops. Franquiz’s art, at least, is attractive and robust. Good on Lion Forge for picking her to front their Puerto Rico benefit book.
Brenda Noiseux brings us the word on Brave Chef Brianna, a KaBOOM! softcover collection ($14.99). This book contains an entire limited series, and so is, functionally, a stand-alone graphic novel which you can gift to your comics-shy family with impunity.
Family expectations. Affordable rent. Crushing self doubt. Adulting is hard, but it’s never been as adorable and touching as in Brave Chef Brianna.
Our lead, Brianna, is the daughter of a famous chef and the only girl in a family with fifteen boys. When her father issues a challenge to his children to create the best restaurant, Brianna heads out, but the only place she can afford to set up shop is Monster City. Yes, she going to face actual monsters to make her dreams come true. Adorable!
The limited-issue tale has a solid story arc written by Sam Sykes. The art by Selina Espiritu adds a television cartoon-style that works for the story. Shout-out to colorist Sarah Stern for a palette that stays whimsical without looking like a middle school party glitter explosion.
Lately, there’s been criticism about comic art aimed at girls and women having of a certain “style” and color palette and possibly *gasp* not being as truly valid as some *cough* mainstream supers. Bah! Brave Chef Brianna doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is and that’s one of the reasons I love it. You know from the get-go it’s going to be a cutesy tale of our hero Brianna. Along the way, we find out it’s so much more but with the sticky sweetness you expected and a maybe even a dash more than you hoped for.
BOOM! Box’s SLAM!: The Next Jam ends (I think—this fourth issue ends with “the end” but none of the blurb info states this definitively) with some nice moments between various characters, whose names I still don’t know. I think there was someone’s story that got left hanging but I’m not sure whose. Weren’t they all mad at someone? Anyway, it doesn’t matter: it’s good-hearted and sweet and the fixes to problems are simple but not facile or untruthful. And it’s still sherbet for the eyeballs. If you have any love for Roller Derby, SLAM!: The Next Jam has been pleasant as it is formless: very. Veronica Fish’s cover (above) is pretty enough to put on a wall.
Judas, by Jeff Loveness, Jakub Rebelka, and Colin Bell for BOOM! Studios, is the first issue of—how many? Not sure. Can’t find them facts. It’s a beautifully moody issue, though, with a straightforward laying out of Judas’ moral dilemma. Or . . . the moral paradox of Judas. He betrayed Jesus, but Jesus’ betrayal was necessary for the beatifying sacrifice of God’s son, right? Loveness’ script is clear and terribly sad; Rebelka’s art is Bisley-rich, with thematically murky colours over impeccable structure and layout. Everyone is extremely handsome. Bell’s letters add to the clarity that makes this philosophical quagmire accessible: this character’s voice burns, that character’s voice contains void. The regular captioning is just parchment-y enough to look “biblical” (cultural shorthand, don’t we love it?) without seeing over-serious or, you know, preachy. It’s clever and doesn’t appear to be disrespectful, although I am not a practicing Christian.
Grass Kings #10 at BOOM! Studios spends the whole issue working up to a cliffhanger. This is a title you need to read one of two ways: in trade, or in a very relaxed moment, maybe in a field, maybe lying down. I can’t remember much of who anyone is, month to month. What impressed itself upon me this issue is the addition of a credit (which actually first appeared on issue nine): “with colours by Hilary Jenkins.” Grass Kings‘ art is so water-hazy it’s hard to imagine a colour artist applying their work to already-static black brushwork without turning out leaden and awful—Hilary and line artist Tyler both share the surname Jenkins, so they may work in tandem or in close proximity, but the seamlessness of their collaboration is most notable. The colour choices aren’t appreciably different from before H. Jenkins’ credit appeared, so they really must be an observant, careful colour artist.