WWACommendations: Blackbird, Soara Academy, X-Men Red, and More

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Happy June! What comics are you reading lately? Every month, WWAC contributors share about some of the comics we couldn’t stop reading. Let us know on Twitter about your current favorite comics!

Wendy Browne: I was veeeery skeptical when I heard that Jean Grey was back, but resident Phoenix fan Kayleigh Hearn’s praise for the new series finally prompted me to get on it with volumes one and two of X-Men Red. I was immediately drawn in by a most unapologetic Jean who did not mince her words or her thoughts. She has lived and died enough times and hosted a cosmic entity. She has no time for bullshit and small talk, and Tom Taylor’s dialogue just nails it with a gorgeous balance of the empathy we expect from Jean, and this new tired-of-your-shit Jean that belongs to no one but herself.

This is also the first time I’m really getting to meet Gabby, and OMG I love her so much! But my joy in the arc was severely hampered when Storm was introduced and, for the rest of the series, used as a prop, with barely a moment spent with the two best friends actually talking to each other. Instead, Storm was just another minion to control who occasionally tossed out a line or two to back up Jean’s statements.

Louis Skye: I got around to reading Blackbird by Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel. I really only wanted to read it because I adore Bartel’s art, and I was not disappointed! Her art is so incredibly detailed and beautiful, not to mention ethereal, which works well for this magic/fantasy tale. The story is fun and has a lot of twists, which I enjoyed. The protagonist is a fish-out-of-water screw-up, and I love characters like those. The world building is great—so much detail—but it’s eked out slowly. I enjoyed the book so much, I even got my comic book club to read it for our upcoming meeting!

Kate Kosturski: Giant Days has never failed to disappoint me, but this most recent issue (#51) dealt with loss and grief in a gentle way without losing sight of its trademark humor. (SPOILERS AHEAD.) At the end of #50, we find out that McGraw’s father has passed away unexpectedly. We then pick up after the funeral services have ended and life returning to normal. But things aren’t normal for McGraw and Susan, as McGraw makes sense of a world without his dad, and Susan makes sense how to be there for her partner who’s hurting when she has no comprehension of this hurt. Sure, It’s a very special episode of the title, but it doesn’t get bogged down in the grief. There’s humor, honesty, and heart in equal measure, hallmarks of what we will miss most about this series when it concludes later this year.  

Emily Lauer: I loved Molly Brooks’ first book in the Sanity & Tallulah series, so I was thrilled to pick up an advance reader copy of the sequel, Field Trip (Sanity & Tallulah, Book 2), at Book Expo America this spring. The graphic novel is just as rollicking as its precursor and would probably work as a stand-alone story for those who haven’t read the first. In Field Trip, the title characters are excited to leave their space station home to visit a planet for the first time. Their whole class is going, and so is Sanity’s older sister, Prudence, as a security detail. Even before they reach the planet itself, however, details about the trip and the mining excavation they are theoretically visiting begin to seem off, and it becomes clear that things have gone weirdly pear shaped in a number of ways. Sanity’s brilliance and Tallulah’s madcap adventuring are both needed to get them all out alive, but personally I found Prudence, capable and exasperated in equal measure, to be the standout character of this installment. Field Trip by Molly Brooks will be published in October 2019 by Disney Hyperion.

Draven Katayama: Imagine a world where humans have bird characteristics: your arms grow feathers and become wings, you can fly, and everyone’s hair is bright colors. Now imagine you’re a new high school student in that world, and that’s the premise of Soara Academy. This endearing, addictive comic is free to read on LINE Webtoon, where it has 153K subscribers and an astounding 3.8 million views. The protagonist is Tony, a teen who was bullied as a kid for his uncommon white and bright blue hair. Tony shares a dorm with Chewy, a girl who is constantly hungry and is mysteriously wearing the uniform for male students, and Nari, who spends an hour primping in the bathroom every morning. If you like stories about awkward new friends trying to fit into unfamiliar social hierarchies, stand up to bullies, and navigate crushes, give this comic a try.

The comic’s creator, Muffin Girl, excels at worldbuilding. Students have different uniforms based on what year they are in school and what they’re studying. Bird terminology is weaved into the characters’ lives, such as a small friendship group being called a flock, and two flocks can combine into a larger group called an aviary. Along the way, you’ll also find out fascinating things about real birds because Muffin Girl owns several birds and shares her insights.

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Draven Katayama

Draven Katayama

Writer at Sidequest and WWAC; past executive editor of Kollaboration and writer at Newsarama and Comicosity. I'm a huge fan of Life is Strange, The Last of Us, TWICE, Blackpink, and ITZY. My MyDramaList: https://mydramalist.com/profile/loudlysilent Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/loudlysilent Tell me about the fandoms you love! @loudlysilent