IDW Pubwatch July 2019

IDW Pubwatch January 2020

Welcome to the July IDW Pubwatch! I’ve recently taken over the IDW Pubwatch and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s been a busy month at IDW and I’ve got all the interesting news coming out of the publishing house as well as tons of IDW comic book reviews. Plus, I have a selection of my favourite covers from June!

News and Announcements

Marvel Action: Captain Marvel to Debut in August

Captain Marvel #1 Cover. Published by IDW Publishing. - Captain Marvel with Goose on her shoulder
IDW’s Marvel Action comics line, aimed at middle grade readers, will be debuting a solo Captain Marvel series in August. The series will follow Carol Danvers as she investigates a spate of attacks by Flerkens on Earth. Sam Maggs takes on writing duties alongside Sweeney Boo who will be drawing the series.

Tabletop Game Starcadia to Receive Limited Comic Series

Starcadia Quest Cover - Two kids on a bike fleeing a mech firing missiles at them

CMON’s tabletop game Starcadia will get its own three-issue comic series in August. Written by James Roberts, drawn by Aurelio Mazzara, and coloured by David Garcia Cruz, the story will follow Starkid and his Freelance Adventuring Crew as they go on new escapades. The series promises to be full of action and surprises, as well as exclusive playable content with each issue.

New Monthly Transformers Series to be Published in September

Cover for Transformers: Galaxies. Published by IDW Publishing - Illustration of several Transformers against a galaxy background in dark cool colors

This September, IDW Publishing will be launching a new monthly series, Transformers: Galaxies. The new series is based in the Transformers universe and will serve as an origin story for the fan-favourite group of characters, the Constructicons, delving into the erasure of this core group of Transformers. The story will be written by Tyler Bleszinski and drawn by Livio Ramondelli.

Featured Comics

Impossible, Incorporated (TPB)

Mike Cavallaro (artist, colours, and letters), JM Dematteis (writer), Gabrielle Gomez (colours), Frank Reynoso (colours)
June 5, 2019

Impossible Inc Cover by Mike Cavallaro. Published by IDW Publishing. June 5, 2019 - Character portraits looking worried against a background of planets and space, with what looks like a subway car rocketing in a blue path of light

At Impossible, Inc, Number Horowitz, her adoptive brother Buddy Genius, her aunt Cybill, and her godfather Elias travel through time and space to save the universe. But one mystery haunts Number: the disappearance of her father when she was six. When she and Buddy decide to go look for Goliath Horowitz, they end up stumbling upon a phenomenon that may destroy the fabric of time.

Though I really wanted to like this story, the writing left much to be desired. I like the worldbuilding, and the characters all have interesting personalities. But the monologue narration read like prose, explaining events that we had already seen in the panels. It was strange to read a comic where the art and script weren’t in sync, sometimes overlapping and contradicting each other. It made the book a dense read, which is a shame, because some good writing and editing would have produced a strong YA story.

Star Trek vs. Transformers (TPB)

John Barber (writer), Josh Burcham (colours), Leonardo Ito (colours), Mike Johnson (writer), Jack Lawrence (artist), Christa Miesner (letters), Philip Murphy (artist), Priscilla Tramontano (colours)
June 12, 2019

Star Trek vs Transformers Cover A by Jack Lawrence. Published by IDW Publishing. June 5, 2019 - Optimus Prime faces off against the USS Enterprise, holding a white orb between his hands

The Enterprise answer a distress call from the planet Cygnus Seven, only to find that Decepticons have invaded the planet and are attacking the poor miners there. Fortunately for the Enterprise away team, Optimus Prime arrives to help. But Optimus is injured and the Decepticons outnumber the heroes. Worse, they are allying themselves with the Klingons. It is going to take something extraordinary from the Enterprise and Autobots, if they are to protect Cygnus Seven and the galaxy.

I’ve realised I love crossovers, and stories like this one are why. I adore Star Trek and though I may not be a fan of the Transformers, it is incredibly enjoyable to see the characters from these two properties interact. I love that Spock and Optimus Prime spent so much page time together, especially as they were both played by Leonard Nimoy.

I enjoyed the way the voices of the characters were reminiscent of the show and films—that’s always hard to do in adaptations, but it is well done here. The art was fantastic, and I didn’t even mind that the characters looked different from their live-action versions, because every page was amazing and incredibly detailed. I hope we can read more!

Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down (TPB)

Scott Beatty (writer), Derek Charm (artist and colours), Tom B. Long (letters), Jon Sommariva (artist)
June 5, 2019

Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down Cover by Derek Charm. Published by IDW Publishing. June 5, 2019 - Rey looks away, holding her staff, with portraits of three enemies in light blue behind her

Some time before Rey rescued BB-8, she was just another scavenger on Jakku. After a freak storm uncovers the famed Ghost Ship—the Imperial Star Destroyer Spectral—Rey races against time to find a valuable fuel cell for Unkar Plutt before his goons can get to it first. But the Ghost Ship may be more alive than anyone realises.

I love Rey and this story about her is so wistful and hopeful. We know Rey had a difficult life on Jakku, but she still tries to treasure her moments. The panels of Rey imagining herself to be a star pilot—in Rebellion uniform and all—warmed my heart. She always lived with so much hope, despite her circumstances, and one can easily see why she is on the path to becoming the greatest of the Jedi.

Though the second story about the Spectral isn’t as exciting, I liked being able to see so many female fighters. I do wish the female captain hadn’t been killed, and the story hadn’t turned its focus to her male second-in-command. We get to see how cowardly the Imperials are, however, and that always makes me laugh.

The art is gorgeous, and though the characters look quite cartoony, I didn’t mind because the rest of it is so stunning. The interiors of the ships are so detailed. A thoroughly enjoyable Star Wars comic book.

V Wars: God of Death (stand-alone single issue)

Jonathan Maberry (writer), Christa Meisner (letters), Alex Milne (artist), Brittany Peer (colours)
June 12, 2019

V Wars: God of Death Cover RIA by Alex Milne. Published by IDW Publishing. June 12, 2019 - A wiry, clawed hand reaches out of a morgue chamber, with a red-eyed, fanged face peering out of the shadows

In a world where vampires have become a significant part of the population, humans are propagating violence at unprecedented levels. One man, Luther, takes it upon himself to kill all vampires before they can raise their vampire god from the dead. Will he be too late?

I didn’t really find myself very drawn to what I was reading: a stand-alone story setting up the world of V Wars. The world-building felt very Underworld for me, minus the werewolves, and the protagonist was the kind of rough-and-tumble antihero that we see too often in genre fiction.

What I did find interesting was the fact that the vampires weren’t a catchall for evil: the text makes it explicit that humans commit far more crimes than the vampires. I would have liked for the text to engage with that aspect a bit more, instead of focusing on the vampire god angle. An interesting enough story, otherwise, but not as nuanced as it should have been.

Marvel Action: Spider-Man: New Beginnings (TPB)

Delilah S. Dawson (writer), Shawn Lee (letters), Fico Ossio (artist), Ronda Pattison (colours)
June 19, 2019

Marvel Action: Spiderman: New Beginnings Cover by Fico Ossio. Published by IDW Publishing. June 19, 2019 - Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, and Miles Morales in his spider-suit, all web-slinging toward the viewer

Mutated animals are wandering the streets and Spider-Man is trying to get to the bottom of it. But first, more pressing concerns. Peter Parker is trying to win an internship at The Daily Bugle which could earn him an interview with Tony Stark himself. But Peter’s not the only one with that goal. His team includes Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy, both equally strong candidates. And fellow Spider-Folks. Will they find out each other’s secret?

This book was so much fun! I love team-ups and all three Spideys coming together to fight bad guys was thoroughly enjoyable to read. The banter between the three of them was great, and there was also plenty of action and tons of humour to keep the story flowing. I only wish it hadn’t finished so quickly, because I wanted to spend more time with the Spideys. I can’t wait to read more.

Usagi Yojimbo: Bunraku #1

Tom Luth (colours), Stan Sakai (writer and artist)
June 19, 2019

Usagi Yojimbo: Bunraku #1 Cover by Stan Sakai. Published by IDW Publishing. June 19, 2019. - A rabbit in samurai gear glares at the viewer, standing in a puddle of blood against a background of falling pink cherry blossoms
Samurai Sasuke successfully defeats a horde of demons, but his work isn’t done yet. New horror is on its way, and if good is to prevail, he has to recruit his fellow samurai, Usagi, who may already have come across something untoward at a puppet show.

Stan Sakai’s Usagi series has been around for years but I hadn’t come across it until this new series from IDW. I’m already fascinated by this world of demons and monsters and puppets with evil intent. Even though I haven’t encountered this setting before, I never felt lost about anything I was reading. Sakai brilliantly creates a fascinating and believable world that you can’t help but be mesmerised by. I hope to read more soon.

Canto #1

Vittorio Astone (aolours), Deron Bennett (letters), David M. Booher (writer), Drew Zucker (artist and colours)
June 26, 2019

Canto #1 Cover by Drew Zucker. Published by IDW Publishing. June 26, 2019. - A robot with an oversized head and little body, wearing a red cape and holding an axe, looks off-screen

In a dystopian world, a group of slavers rules over their charges: small beings once born with hearts, which have now been replaced by clocks. They aren’t allowed names, friends, or the ability to love. But one slave, Canto, breaks the rules to save his beloved. Will he succeed?

I loved the worldbuilding in this story and really wanted to dwell on that. Unfortunately, the central romance took hold and I didn’t care for it. Boy meets girl, girl sacrifices herself for boy, boy has to go on an adventure to save the girl—we’ve seen this a million times. When your world is so interesting, why dull it down with such a relationship? Hopefully upcoming issues will try harder to be subversive because this is an interesting world to explore.

Crow: Hack/Slash #1

Tim Seeley (writer, artist, colours), Jim Terry (artist), Neil Uyetake (letters)
June 26, 2019

Crow: Hack/Slash #1 Cover by Tim Seeley. Published by IDW Publishing. June 26, 2019. - The Crow and Cassie Hack face off in a graveyard
Cassie Hack and Vlad are hunting a slasher that is targeting young women, leaving them dead after scooping out their eyes. But they may have bitten off more than they can chew when they come face to face with their adversary. She isn’t one to be trifled with, and leaves them in a precarious position. Fortunately, they earn a new ally: the Crow.

This was a fun, yet gory, start to a crossover that already has fans excited. Even though I’m not familiar with these properties, I found the characters quite endearing. I’m not a fan of the gore but it worked to convey the stakes of the story.

The art is superb: lush and beautiful, splendidly detailed. Every page was gorgeous to look at, and each character is stunning. Definitely a series worth reading.

Descendants: Twisted Field Trip (TPB)

Egle Bartolini (colours), Anna Cattish (artist and colours), Carin Davis (driter), Delilah S. Dawson (writer), Christa Meisner (letters), Jen Vaughn (writer)
June 26, 2019

Descendants: Twisted Field Trip Cover by Anna Cattish. Published by IDW Publishing. June 26, 2019. Published by IDW Publishing. June 26, 2019. - A group of young people stand, sit, or hang around a tree

The students of Auradon Prep are summoned to a camping trip, and even though they didn’t want to go at first, they end up enjoying themselves and even discovering a hidden treasure.

I was excited to read this book—who doesn’t want to read about the children of classic Disney characters? But I found it quite dull, and the characters weren’t as intriguing as I had hoped. The weird gender divide between the characters’ activities seemed very out of touch with our time, as well.

I liked the art, which was very colourful and quite cute. If only the story was better.

Marilyn Manor #1

Irma Bonvillain (colours), Jane Heir (letters), Magdalene Visaggio (writer), Marley Zarcone (artist and colours)
June 26, 2019

Marilyn Manor #1 Cover by Marley Zarcone. Published by IDW Publishing. June 26, 2019. - A young woman sits behind a desk covered in weird paraphernalia, blowing a pink bubble-gum bubble

Marilyn is the daughter of the U. S. President and she’s as much a brat as one would expect her to be. When her parents take a trip to Asia without her, Marilyn decides to take revenge by throwing a massive party in the White House. But then she discovers a secret passage.

I like the background given to the characters of this story, but the protagonist Marilyn is not in the least bit endearing. She’s loud, annoying, and a spoilt brat. Instead of acknowledging her privilege, she throws it in people’s faces.

Marilyn isn’t the only reason this book left me uninterested—there is very little that happens in it, and I can’t see what direction it is going in. But the art is gorgeous and the writing team must have a plan. Presumably, the next issue will be more coherent.

Transformers/Ghostbusters #1: Ghosts of Cybertron

Erik Burnham (writer), Luis Antonio Delgado (colours), Tom B. Long (letters), Dan Schoening (artist and colours)
June 26, 2019

Cover for Transformers/Ghostbusters #1: Ghosts of Cybertron - A Transformer and Ghostbuster fire weapons against the background of a city in battle

Cybertron is destroyed, but the Decepticons find new ways to prevail—or make a mess. Meanwhile, the Autobots intercept a signal that sends one of their own to Earth, where he unwittingly crosses paths with the original Ghostbusters.

This was a fun first issue but it was more setup than anything else. The interactions we hope to get from the series will definitely come into the forefront in upcoming issues. For now, we need to be satisfied with the gorgeous art, witty Autobot banter, and the sarcasm of the Ghostbusters. A great way to start a series, I think.

Best Covers

GLOW #2 Cover A by Hannah Templer. Published by IDW Publishing.
Glow #2 Cover A
Marvel Action: Avengers #5 Cover A by Jon Sommariva. Published by IDW Publishing. - Doctor Strange smiles triumphantly, holding a flashing red gem
Marvel Action: Avengers #5 Cover A
Transformers/Ghostbusters #1 Cover RIA by Alex Milne and Josh Perez. Published by IDW Publishing. - The Ghostbusters team rolls out, a Transformer following behind them
Transformers/Ghostbusters #1 Cover RIA
V War Cover A by Alex Milne. Published by IDW Publishing. - A ghostly face with a glowing cross held up in front of it
V Wars: God of Death Cover A

Honourable Mentions

Bravo for Adventure


Diabolical Summer

Penny Nichols

Road of the Dead: Highway to Hell

Swamp Monsters

Thanks for joining me on this Pubwatch!

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books, or video games. E always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms. Pronouns: E/ Er/ Eir