IDW Pubwatch January 2020

IDW Pubwatch January 2020

Welcome to the January IDW Pubwatch! It’s the first IDW Pubwatch of the year and I couldn’t be more excited to share my finds with you. 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 this month!

News and Announcements

IDW to Publish Transformers and Terminator Crossover

Transformers vs The Terminator IDW Publishing IDW Pubwatch January 2020

In March 2020, IDW will be publishing a crossover between two massive properties in Transformers VS The Terminator. The four-issue limited series will be written by John Barber, David Mariotte, and Tom Waltz, and drawn by Alex Milne.

IDW Announces 2020 Free Comic Book Day List

Usagi Yojimbo IDW PublishingGear up for Free Comic Book Day in 2020 with IDW’s diverse list of titles. IDW has announced that it will be publishing new issues of My Little Pony and Usagi Yojimbo for FCBD. The Usagi Yojimbo story will see Miyamoto Usagi team up with Chibi Usagi. In My Little Pony, Twilight Sparkle will attempt to raise the sun as the new Princess of Equestria. More titles will be announced soon.

Featured Comics

Dungeons and Dragons: Infernal Tides 

Sebastian Cheng (Colours), Max Dunbar (Artist), Neil Uyetake (Letters), Jim Zub (Writer)
December 11, 2019

Dungeons and Dragons: Infernal Tides #1

At Baldur’s Gate, a man and his daughter try to escape with an infernal puzzle box. Hot on their heels is a devil hellbent on death and destruction. The daughter gets away—the father isn’t as lucky. Fortunately for the girl, she comes upon the heroes of Baldur’s Gate and together they begin their search for the girl’s father.

I haven’t played DnD, but I know about it. However, I didn’t feel like I needed DnD knowledge to get through this book—it comes across as pretty standard fantasy fare. The lore is easy enough to follow, and the characters have particular traits and abilities that distinguish them from each other.

I did like how many female characters there were in this book, and that they aren’t sexualised or wearing impractical clothing. That alone makes me want to read further, even if the story itself is a little too simple.

Dying is Easy #1

Dee Cunniffe (Colours), Joe Hill (Writer), Shawn Lee (Letters), Martin Simmonds (Artist)
December 11, 2019

Dying is Easy #1 IDW PublishingSyd Homes used to work homicide; now he’s a comedian. Or trying to be. His jokes aren’t funny. They’re misogynistic, gory, lowest-common denominator stuff. Then he gets framed for murder, and I…couldn’t care less. I didn’t have high expectations about a book featuring a male comedian and even so, it was somehow even more gross than I thought it would be. As much as I liked Joe Hill’s Locke & Key and his enthusiasm for storytelling, he relies on lowbrow, boy’s club humour far too often. I definitely won’t be reading the second issue.

Ghost Tree TPB

Bobby Curnow (Writer), Simon Gane (Artist), Ian Herring (Colours), Becka Kinzie (Colours), Chris Mowry (Letters)
December 11, 2019

Ghost Tree TPB IDW PublishingAs a child, Brandt used to divide his life between America and Japan. Now as an adult, he is beginning to think that Japan should be his future—especially since he has inherited the gift of speaking to the ghosts of his town. Brandt has never felt connected to anything the way he connects with these ghosts—but should this be his life now?

In the stream of American settings I had been reading, Ghost Tree was a refreshing change of location and pace. There’s so much history and sentiment in this one book that I couldn’t help but feel drawn to it.

Having said that, the ending was wrapped up far too neatly and quickly—we spend so much time getting to know the ghosts and moving towards Brandt’s purpose, only for it to be dispensed with in a few panels.

But this was still an engaging story about home and identity and what makes us feel whole.

Star Trek: Voyager: Mirrors & Smoke

Paul Allor (Writer), Neil Uyetake (Letters), JK Woodward (Artist)
December 11, 2019

Star Trek: Voyager: Mirrors & Smoke IDW PublishingIn the Mirror Universe, the crew of the USS Voyager come across a sole human survivor in the Delta Quadrant. And shortly after, the ship’s systems keep going down. Is the new arrival a saboteur? Or is this the work of someone closer?

I love the Mirror Universe and it’s fun to see evil versions of Trek characters, but I found it weirdly uncomfortable to see my beloved Voyager crew being evil (as you can probably tell, Voyager is my favourite show).

But the art is fantastic! The watercolour effect is stunning and the characters look so real. I would read more of this story just for the art.

Star Wars Adventures: Greatest Hits #1

Derek Charm (Artist), Tom B Long (Letters), Cavan Scott (Writer)
December 18, 2019

Star Wars Adventures: Greatest Hits #1 IDW PublishingNima Post’s junkboss, Unkar Plutt, has been captured by mercenaries looking for a scavenged droid Plutt sold. The scavenger who gave it to Plutt? None other than our favourite new hero, Rey. The moment Rey finds out about Plutt’s plight, she embarks on a daring rescue mission. But has she bitten off more than she can chew?

This was a fun story and I love the aspects of Rey’s personality that come through. She’s clearly always been a hero, but never had the opportunity to stretch those hero muscles of hers.

I don’t really want to see a favourable version of Plutt, knowing what a jerk he is in the film, but Star Wars is all about people having many facets to their personality, so I won’t complain too much.

The art is lovely though a bit pared back—not surprising considering how sparse Jakku is. I like that the characters don’t look too childlike—that’s bothered me before about Star Wars books.

A pretty fun story for all to enjoy!

Read Only Memories #1

Christina Antoinette (Artist), Sina Grace (Writer), Mary Kenney (Writer), Christa Miesner (Letters), Neofotistou (Artist), Stefano Simeone (Artist)
December 18, 2019

Read Only Memories #1 IDW Publishing

2067. AI has become smarter and sentient—they’re even falling in love. When robot Hedy’s partner, John, disappears, she enlists detective Lexi Rivers to find him. But this isn’t a simple romance gone wrong—Lexi might be falling into something much deeper than she expected.

This is a great start to a fascinating future world. I love the world-building from Sina Grace, and I adore the art by Stefano Simeone, which is futuristic and stunningly coloured.

Plus, there’s plenty of diversity in terms of race and sexuality that you only get to see when there is diversity behind the scenes. I can’t wait to read more.

Black Panther: Stormy Weather TPB

Kyle Baker (Writer), David Garcia Cruz (Colours), Shawn Lee (Letters), Tom B Long (Letters), Juan Samu (Artist)
December 18, 2019

Black Panther: Stormy Weather TPB IDW PublishingWakanda has a new head of vibranium mining operations which has tripled production of the metal and lined the pockets of numerous Wakandans. But the country is also facing a deluge of natural troubles: malaria outbreaks, tornadoes, dust storms, you name it. T’Challa and Shuri are doing their best to tackle the problems, but Queen Ramonda may have found a conspiracy in her kingdom. Can the royal family of heroes save their nation?

What an exciting story! And absolutely hilarious, as well. Plenty of action, adventure, great character arcs for everyone involved, as well as a statement about wealth and greed, that will sadly resonate with our current political climate. An incredibly enjoyable read in every sense.

Wellington #1

Delilah Dawson (Writer), Piotr Kowalski (Artist), Aaron Mahnke (Writer), Christa Miesner (Letters), Brad Simpson (Colours)
December 18, 2019

Wellington #1 IDW Publishing

Arthur Wellesley has a wild story to tell—of talking crows, demon dogs, and perhaps the devil himself. Are these stories true or the imaginings of a man desperate to clear his name?

I can’t say I was very enthused about this story. It’s a bit too slow for my tastes and the old-fashioned setting doesn’t lend itself to great pacing. I think the story will liven up a bit in following issues, but this opening tale isn’t well-planned enough to get me excited for more.

Best Covers

Dungeons and Dragons - A Darkened Wish #5
Dungeons and Dragons – A Darkened Wish #5
Transformers - The IDW Collection Phase Two, Vol. 10
Transformers – The IDW Collection Phase Two, Vol. 10
Marilyn Manor #4
Last Unicorn TPB

Honourable Mentions

Samurai Jack: Lost Worlds

Narcos #1

Kill Lock #1

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