Vault Comics Pubwatch: February

Vault Pubwatch banner - image of Aydis from Heathen, art by Jen Bartel

Welcome to the new year with Vault. January started off too slow to warrant a Vault Comics Pubwatch, but that doesn’t mean the publisher hasn’t been busy. Here’s a handful of what they’ve been up to this winter.

Back to the presses: The Plot #1 is going back to print as part of the Vault Lines series which will feature a deluxe black and white editions that highlight the original inks. Money Shot #1, #2, and #3 are also heading back to for print runs due to high demand.

Vault goes solarpunk with a new book coming soon, No One’s Rose.

Fearscape makes CBR’s list of groundbreaking storytelling in comics.

And, perhaps the biggest news for Vault to start the year is the Vagrant Queen trailer, which comes with a release date of March 27. The series, which stars Alex McGregor as Elida, features episodes written by Mariko Tamaki and Mika Collins and showrunner, Jem Gerard.

Vagrant Queen looks like it will fill the Killjoys and Farscape-shaped holes in my watch list.

Firsts and Faves

As Vault promised in December, February 2020 has lots to offer. Here’s what’s on my shelf for this month.

Money Shot #4
Sarah Beattie (co-scripter), Crank! (letterer), Rebekah Isaacs (artist), Kurt Michael Russell (colourist), Tim Seeley (writer)

“My penis may flap in the wind like a small and tattered sail, but the testicles of the Bokai Elder swing as fiercely as ever!”

Two people dressed in bonemail bikinis sit pouting and chained in front of an armoured alien warlord

While viewers seem to be enjoying the antics of the XXX-plorers, the intrepid scientists have gotten themselves into a whole lot of trouble by helping the reigning warlord unleash the power she needed to wipe out her enemies. And now she’s set her sights on earth. Christine Ocampo’s unfailing confidence finally fails her in this issue, and it’s wonderful to see her companions picking up the slack. More importantly, some of them are giving her the support she needs, despite the friction that started out in the group.

Money Shot remains a hilarious look at what a good space adventure could be if we let the science and the sex be way more fun.

Finger Guns #1
Taylor Esposito (letterer), Val Halverson (artist), Rebecca Nalty (colourist), Justin Richards (writer)

“So what happens if we shoot each other?”

A man and a woman pose against a psychedelic black and white patterned background. They have their hands shaped into finger guns.Bored in class, Wes suddenly discovers that his fingers hold the power to control people’s emotions, sending them on angry spirals for brief moments. Then he meets Sadie, who’s already mastered her power and uses it for good. Stuck in situations that no kid enjoys, Finger Guns explores just what it might feel like for teenagers to have this kind of power and how the fleeting nature of their abilities means nothing is ever actually fixed. This becomes particularly poignant and heart-wrenching when we catch glimpses of the home lives the two lead.

Vagrant Queen: A Planet Called Doom #1
Zakk Saam (letterer), Harry Saxon (colourist), Jason Smith (artist), Magdalane Visaggio (writer)

“Excuse me. I’m looking for someone. Someone very important.”

Three faces hover in space, splattered in blue paint

This is my first outing with the Vagrant Queen. With the show coming out next month, it’s a good time to take advantage of Vault’s marketing savvy. Here, Elida seems to have found herself settled on a distant planet where people like her go to not be found. But found she will be as a relentless hunter tracks her, annihilating anything in his path.

This first issue, which came out in January,  is a pithy introduction to the situation, storywise, so it’s really the artwork that carries the issue, introducing us to strange new worlds and alien beings. Jason Smith’s art gives the book an old school sci-fi feel, and Harry Saxon’s colours shift brightly through moods and the cold of space or the warmth of an arid planet. Butit’s Zakk Saam’s letters got me—in particular, sound effects that mooooove and floooow with the scenes.

Heist, or How to Steal a Planet #3
Vittorio Astone (colourist), Tim Daniel (designer), Paul Tobin (writer), Arjuna Susini (artist), Saida Temofonte (letterer)

“Hey Glane! If we become lovers, do you think it would be fun for me to dress up as you when we had sex?”
“Oh, did I just make it weird?”

A man holds a big sniper rifle as the city buzzes with activity behind him

Glane’s got his crew together, so now it’s time to get all the supplies he needs to set his heist of Heist into motion. But the Conqueror Crows are after him and his crew, disguising themselves as Glane in order to infiltrate their ranks and kill them. This is a very big problem. Or is it? Heist unapologetically follows all the necessary steps of a good old fashioned heist movie, twisting things up with the weird and wackiness of science fiction, tentacles, and debauchery. And an absolutely fantastic sense of humour. Arjuna Susini expertly depicts Paul Tobin’s comedic beats to the point where laughing out loud is the only appropriate reaction.

Black Stars Above #3
Jenna Cha (artist), Tim Daniel (designer), Lonnie Nadler (writer), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (letterer), Brad Simpson (colourist)

“I hope he’s dead.”

A woman is reaching out above her in a shattered image

Black Stars Above continues to creep under your skin as Eulalie’s journey takes her further into the storm with her strange, monstrous package. Here, she meets a woodsman and his family along the way, and wouldn’t you know it: they are more frightening than the being she carries.

Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou proves himself a fine letterer once again, playing with words upside down and jaunty leading to reveal the minds of the speakers to add to the foreboding nature of the story.

Collected Editions

If you missed out on these titles on their first run through, then fear not! Trades are always a great way to catch up, and I love how they look on my bookshelves. She Said Destroy is now available in trade. Check out Nola Pfau’s review of the first issue to whet your appetite.

She Said Destroy Volume 1
Joe Corallo (writer), Liana Kangas (artitst), Rebecca Nalty (colorist), Melanie Ujimori (letterer)

A person sits on a cliffside holding a sword

“Over millenniums, Brigid, Goddess of the Sun, has conquered and converted the entire solar system into worshipping her and her alone, save one space colony. The witches of Fey are the last believers of The Morrigan, Goddess of Death, Brigid’s sister and the only other God left. As Brigid’s forces prepare for one final battle, The Morrigan prepares to do what she does best: Destroy!”

You can also order the first volume of Money Shot, featuring a delightful homage cover.

Coming Soon

Vault has announced the April release of Hundred Wolves, a historical fantasy by Myke Cole (The Sacred Throne Trilogy, The Shadow Ops Trilogy) and master artist Tony Akins (Fables, Hellblazer, Wonder Woman). Continuing this year’s Pulp & Paint theme, the variant cover is designed by Nathan Gooden & Tim Daniel.

Hundred Wolves
Tony Akins (artist), Tim Daniel (designer), Jim Campbell (letterer), Myke Cole (writer), Vladimir Popov (colourist)

“The Hundred Wolves are bloody-handed terrors of the steppe. Andrei and Oksana have left the Cossack band to raise their daughter on a farm they hold from the noble Count Ostoja, but the raiding life isn’t done with them. Both the Hundred Wolves and the couple’s new liege lord wish to employ their deadly skills—and neither will take no for an answer. From celebrated author Myke Cole (The Sacred Throne Trilogy, The Shadow Ops Trilogy) and venerable artist Tony Akins (Fables, Hellblazer, Wonder Woman) comes a story of war and family, blending historical fiction with a touch of fantasy.”

Also coming soon is Heavy, an exploration of toxic masculinity through the  deconstruction of a character like The Punisher.

Max Bemis (writer), Tim Daniel (designer), Erik Donovan (artist), Taylor Esposito (letterer), Cris Peter (colourist)

“Bill may be dead, but he’s got a job to do. Welcome to the Big Wait, where folks who don’t quite make the cut go to work off their debt. Everyone in the Wait’s got a job. Bill is a Heavy, whose job is policing the multiverse, making sure bad eggs get what’s coming to them. He’s on track to earn his Climb and reunite with the woman he loves…until he meets his new partner: the worst dude of all time. Heavy is The Punisher for neurotics; Inception for the impatient; Preacher for…well, it’s a lot like Preacher.”

That’s it for February. See you next month!

Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.