Titan Comics Pubwatch: February 2020

Titan Pubwatch Banner from Shades Of Magic: The Steel Prince #2

Forget flowers, chocolates, and jewelry.  This Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day, you want comics. Let’s see if Titan will be your Valentine.

Titan Comics News and Announcements

April 2020 Solicitations

The paradox of Ten and Thirteen in the same timeline will probably be the least of everyone’s worries when Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Season 2 wraps up its first arc with issue #4 on April Fool’s Day. Also wrapping up its first arc that day will be Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia, but that appears to start new mysteries as the current ones finish.

It’s not all about endings. Life is Strange, which concluded its initial series in January, will return April 15th with a new #1: Life is Strange: Partners in Time. (We’ll have a look at that finale later on in this column.) The week before, the Minions will be back with new stories in Minions Vol. 5 #1. (But still, no Paella.)

Star Wars fans can celebrate 40 years of The Empire Strikes Back with a new commemorative magazine on April 1st, including interviews with original cast and crew members and behind the scenes photos.

There will be two new novelizations out in April based on Firefly and Sherlock, with The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on April 15th, and Firefly: The Ghost Machine on April 29th. And just in time for No Time to Die, a new hardcover goes behind the scenes of the 25th Bond film (and Daniel Craig’s last) on April 15th.

You can see further details on these solicitations and more at comicslist.com. And by the way: did anyone else besides me realize that April Fool’s Day this year is a Wednesday, and thus, New Comic Book Day?

A bony being, hanging upside down from the ceiling, kissing a woman's lips with a pink heart in the background.
Breathtaker Exhibition Poster

Breathtaker Museum Exhibit Relaunches Classic Series

First published at DC/Vertigo in the 1990s, Mark Wheatley and Marc Hempel’s Breathtaker is the story of Chase Darrow, a young woman on the run from the government, who can literally love men to the death. The series will return later this year in a new collected edition along with a new companion comic (Breathtaker: Make Way For the Man) and an exhibition going behind the scenes of the comic’s creative process.

Curated by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the exhibition will run at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland from August 24th through October 30th, and will feature over 90 works of art spanning from the original creation in the 90s up to the upcoming Titan release.

Special Doctor Who comic at Gallifrey One

Going to spend your Valentine’s Day weekend at the Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles? You can pre-order a special variant cover of Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Season 2 #1 to pick up at the convention. Details on how to pre-order are on the convention site.

The Tenth Doctor, with his sonic screwdriver in hand, with Weeping Angels in the background
Comics Etc. Doctor Who The Thirteenth Doctor Season 2 #1 variant cover by Stewart McKinney

Variant Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Cover for Australian Bushfire Relief

Australian retailer Comics Etc. has an exclusive Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Season 2 #1 for sale from artist Stewart McKinney (DC Super FriendsStar Wars Tales) and John Law, with a portion of the proceeds going to the NSW Rural Fire Service from each copy sold. Check out their website for more details. There are copies signed by McKinney available.

What I’m Reading

One thing this month’s reviews have in common: strong, powerful, capable, women.

Life is Strange #12
Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt (letterer), Andrea Izzo (colorist), Claudia Leonardi (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Emma Vieceli (writer)
January 15, 2020

Three women lying on an extra large dream catcher, staring upward at the sky
Life is Strange #11, by Emma Vieceli and Claudia Leonardi

We’re on the eve of the great road trip. But Max is still in need of some answers about traveling between these parallel universes.  For a moment, it looks as though Max is lost to a transit space, but just in the nick of time, Tristan brings her back. That doesn’t mean he makes it back, though. But that does give Max the answer that she can cross between worlds, and the means by which to do so easily: location. Both versions of Max have to be in the same physical location at the same time. And thus, the roadtrip (that will start the new Life is Strange: Partners in Time in April) has another goal.

The sequences of Max in the transitory space feature some of the best artwork of this series, a lovely interplay between ink and color. With ink-splattered panel borders, vibrant reds and magentas, and jagged mirror pieces as portals, the chaos that surrounds Max and Tristan jumps off the page.

One constant of this series is Vieceli’s scripts that provide philosophical truths without sounding pretentious, and that’s here and executed well.  Another constant of this series is in layouts that know how to frame characters and give balance to text and art. That’s extremely important for this series that relies very much on quiet character moments.

Life is Strange, like its parent video game, is one of those slow burn series that requires patience from the reader. And here in this finale, this patience starts to reap its reward.

Adler #1
Simon Bowland (letterer), Paul McCaffrey (artist, colorist), Lavie Tidhar (writer)
February 5, 2020

A redheaded woman holding up a sword, confronted by people holding swords with the city of London in the background
Adler #1, by Lavie Tidhar and Paul McCaffrey

Meet Irene Adler. Adventurer. American. A ginger. And just the person that war nurse Jane needs upon her return to London. Returning to a changed city after the Boer War, Jane finds her eccentric friend Estella who introduces Jane and Adler. Irene offers her new friend a home and a new adventure for them both: the most glorious criminal mind of Moriarty. What does he want with Irene Adler—and can Adler and Jane stop him?

Tidhar does a fine job in building this world, perhaps too much so. Yes, a debut issue needs to do that heavy lifting to establish things. And yet the hook that is supposed to bring me back for the next issue was so muddled I almost missed it. I blame that on excessive exposition. But what is clear is that while the creative team is all male, this is a female-centric story, something comics very desperately needs. I’m eager to see where Tidhar takes this, once he moves past all this worldbuilding.

Script weaknesses aside, Paul McCaffrey’s art is glorious. It’s richly detailed, chock full of steampunk influences. There are hints of manga flair as well, particularly in the large eyes, which lend an air of innocence. The warmer, brown-toned color palette compliments this inking well, making this Victorian London both charming and bright, and sinister and creepy. What stands out is Irene Adler’s signature color of red, from her hair to her wardrobe. McCaffrey wants you to know who this star is.

If you’re a Downton Abbey and Penny Dreadful fan who also loves the feminist fun of Birds of Prey, Adler is the comic book for you.

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Season 2 #2
Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist), Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt (letter) Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer)
February 12, 2020

The Thirteenth Doctor placing her foot on the ground, while underneath her, the Tenth Doctor is reaching up with his foot, almost as though if they wanted to touch.
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Year Two #2 by Jody Houser and Roberta Ingranata

Why is the TARDIS risking the temporal paradox?  This is one question puzzling everyone, particularly the Thirteenth Doctor fam. And Martha Jones finds herself with a day off with the dress shop closed. These parallel timelines start to intertwine as Thirteen meets Martha, and the fam meets the Tenth Doctor. But as each tries to figure out how this timeline works, something bigger and badder is on the horizon.

Jody Houser continues to build and pace these parallel storylines beautifully, slowly adding layers without letting one story be too dominant. Inevitably these will all come together. We’re just not sure how yet, but the final page may give us a hint. Houser also strengthens her skill in writing the voices of these characters, particularly in Thirteen’s whimsy and Ten’s mania. Her experience in this series continues to show.

“Less is more in detail” remains the hallmark of Roberta Ingranata’s art, and that ensures that our characters remain easily recognizable. I do wish there was more color though. The rainbows on Thirteen’s costume look uncharacteristically muted, as does the rest of Swinging Sixties London.  It’s not that colorist Enrica Eren Angiolini can’t do color. The final page introducing our Weeping Angels is cosmic fire in vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows.  Feel their fire and fury.

Taking on a very beloved Doctor alongside a rising star is an ambitious task, and everyone involved here continues to rise to the occasion.

Kate Kosturski

Kate Kosturski

Librarian by day, comics nerd by day and by night. Also published at Geeks OUT and Multiversity Comics (where she is also the social media manager for the site). Originally from New Jersey, now of Connecticut and New York City. Raging feminist your mother probably warned you about. Body positivity and LGBTQ+ advocate. Lover of good whiskey, Jensen Ackles, Doctor Who, Funko Pops, knitting, Hamilton, and the New York Mets. Will defend the Oxford Comma to her deathbed. Find her on twitter at @librarian_kate