PUBWATCH: AfterShock December 2019

Aftershock Pubwatch Banner - image from Trust Fall #1 (Aftershock Comics)

Happy Holidays from AfterShock Comics, and from our regular AfterShock pubwatch coverage here at WWAC! Here you can keep up with our monthly publication watch coverage, bringing news every month on the latest from AfterShock Comics. Hopefully everyone is staying warm as they read dangerously.


Just this week, AfterShock has announced their Free Comic Book Day offering for 2020. This coming year, FCBD will be Saturday May 2nd, 2020. From the Dark Arc universe, AfterShock will be presenting Dark Arc: Instinct FCBD, from writer Cullen Bunn, artist Jesus Hervas, colorist Juancho Velez, letterer Dave Sharpe, and cover artist Juan Doe. The solicit is as follows:

We all know the story of Noah’s Ark. This is the story of the other ark, the one full of vampires and ghouls and manticore and the like. And on a ship filled with monsters, every decision—those driven by reason and those driven by instinct—can be the difference between life and death.

An all-new story of the Dark Ark by Cullen Bunn and Jesus Hervas, with cover from Juan Doe!

Juan Doe’s cover to Dark Ark: Instinct FCBD, (AfterShock, May 2020).

This December, AfterShock has announced multiple new titles. As per last month’s announcement, each of these solicited titles already has two issues completed and a third issue scripted. The solicits from AfterShock Comics are as follows:

Artemis and the Assassin

What happens when a time-traveling assassin and a spy from 1944 try to kill each other?

For a price, a top-secret assassination organization will travel through time and interfere with watershed moments. Trained as the agency’s top assassin, Maya is sent to kill Virginia Hall, the deadliest spy of WWII. Charged with carrying important plans about the invasion of Normandy to the allied troops, Virginia’s death would have a cataclysmic effect on WWII as we know it.

Written by Stephanie Phillips (Butcher of Paris, DESCENDENT), with art by Meghan Hetrick and Francesca Fantini, colors by Lauren Affe, and letters by Troy Peteri, Artemis and the Assassin is a pulpy adventure story about the cost of changing history.

Phil Hester and Mark Englert’s cover to Artemis and the Assassin (AfterShock, March 2020.)

Join the Future

The Future. Ultra-modern megacities reward millions of their citizens with a completely funded life, with nearly every need met, from food to housing to healthcare, in order to compete in an economic war amongst cities in which population is key. But when one of these cities pressures the self-reliant residents of one of the last towns in America to join up or else, the deadly conflict forces the Mayor’s daughter, Clementine Libbey, on a principled quest for revenge and resistance.

Written by Zack Kaplan (PORT OF EARTH, ECLIPSE, LOST CITY EXPLORERS) with art from Piotr Kowalski (Sex, Marvel Knights: Hulk, The Dark Tower), Join the Future is a sci-fi western that examines a future where everyone must ask what your values are truly worth.

Piotr Kowalski & Brad Simpson’s cover to Join the Future (AfterShock, March 2020.)

AfterShock released their February 2020 solicits at the end of November. For February, AfterShock has solicited first issues for all of the original series announced last month, including Godkillers, The Man who Effed Up Time, and Undone by Blood or the Shadow of a Wanted Man, as well as the fifth issues of Dark Arc: The Flood and Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated. Also out in February will be a hardcover edition of the complete Pestilence series, and the trade paperback of Animosity vol. 5, collecting issues #19-24.


Midnight Vista #4

Mark Englert (Colorist), Taylor Esposito (Letterer), Clara Meath (Artist), Elliot Rahal (Writer).
4 December, 2019
Juan Doe’s cover to Midnight Vista #4 (AfterShock Comics, December 2019).

In Midnight Vista #4 Oliver reaches Los Angeles, as in New Mexico the alien story takes a turn for the horrifying. The alien “men in black” reveal some extent of their powers, turning on Oliver’s mother with glowing eyes to nauseating effect, as Oliver struggles to make his own way in an overwhelming and unfriendly Los Angeles. This issue paces onward strongly, with major developments in the stories of each of the characters. Oliver reveals more of his hidden time with the aliens in flashbacks and as he speaks to Raj Barker, the self styled “new age spiritual wacko” Oliver’s mother urged him to seek out. The issue ends unpredictably, with a strong twist that caught me off guard, changing the status quo so that the next issue will pick up with Oliver in an entirely different place from where he stood in the beginning of this issue.

Artist Clara Meath and colorist Mark Englert’s orange-hued Los Angeles reminds me of living in LA, from the streets crowded with palm trees and parked cars down to the blue toned “Children of the Stars Wellness Center” that calls to mind the blue buildings of Scientology. Meath uses lighting and shadow to great effect, giving even scenes of sitting and speaking dynamism, as light shifts and changes the dynamics of scenes. Englert’s colors are more natural on Earth and possess an unearthly vividness in flashback scenes from Oliver’s memories of space, neatly delineating the two experiences. Artistically, Meath and co-creator Rahal compliment each other well, as do colorist Englert and letterer Esposito, as their unsettling, unusual story in the aftermath of an alien abduction races forward.

Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated #3

Patrick Kindlon (Writer), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Letterer), Stefano Simeone (Artist).
11 December, 2019
Stefano Simeone’s cover to Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated #3 (AfterShock Comics, December 2019).

This issue shows its hand as its critiques of capitalism become central to the story. Loss Prevention Officer Nussbaum grapples with critiques of Caucasus as he literally wrestles with a citizen of the underground who calls into question the foundational principles of Caucaus’s world view, while on the surface, Caucasus employees make no secret of their disdain for actual shoppers, and the CEO of the corporation plots to monetize death. The ideas tackled this issue evolve naturally from the set-up of the first two issues, preventing the issue from feeling heavy-handed. Instead, as Nussbaum explores the world under the mall, it reads like a curtain being pulled back, finally calling the truths we’ve seen in the story by their names.

The first thing that caught my eye this issue was the lettering. That’s easy; on a first page so characterized by its negative space, the lettering takes on a lot of character. Letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou does an excellent job lettering in a clean and legible hand, while also lettering sound effects that suggest dynamic sound through their visual lettering, and fit cleanly into the issue’s color scheme. Again, the colors are my favorite of the issue’s strengths, boasting a unified color palette of purples, pinks, blues, and stark whites that still clearly delineates the different environments of the issue’s locales through differing hue choices. I love the restricted color palette of this book, artist Stefano Simeone is able to articulate through a limited palette the same range of depth achieved by colorists pulling on the full color wheel, but with an added stylization provided by the unified coloring. Visually, this is easily one of my favorite new books of the year, and I’m excited to follow it into 2020.

Emma Snape

Emma Snape

Emma is an Ohio native who has worked in film production and education, and writes about comics on the side. She loves thinking about the role of visuals in narrative storytelling, both in film and comics, reading comics set in cities she's lived in, and telling people to read X-Force (1991).