AfterShock Pubwatch April 2020

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

Welcome to the AfterShock Comics Pubwatch! In this time of social distancing, now is a great time to pick up a new AfterShock series, or catch up on an old favorite through a collected trade paperback or hardcover. There is a lot of uncertainty in these times, and thus the AfterShock Pubwatches for March and April have merged in response to that, but come May we should be back to business as usual.


Shift happens! In response to the ongoing Covid-19 global health crisis, AfterShock has announced that all upcoming titles will be delayed 4 weeks. This delay will shift the AfterShock publishing schedule back by four weeks for every title. New comics from AfterShock may be back on shelves starting as early as April 29, but for the next few weeks, AfterShock will hold their publishing slate in an attempt to help ease the burden on local stores during this crisis.

In the month of March, AfterShock announced new offerings: an announcement of an upcoming ongoing called Red Atlantis, and new preview art from the previously announced OGN Kill a Man. Additional information, creative teams, and solicits for both can be found below, along with the newly released art for both books.

Red Atlantis

Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Artist & Colorist: Robert Carey
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Cover: Robert Hack
Incentive Cover: Tim Bradstreet

A series of unexplained, violent crimes on Election Day around the U.S. leads the FBI to zero in on a covert group of Russian terrorists.

When a Texas journalism student named Miriam accidentally finds herself mixed up in the investigation, her life will never be the same. With political espionage, treason, and even mind control, can she clear her name and stop the U.S. from entering into a new Cold War?

A vintage take on a comic cover, this orange toned comic cover to Red Atlantis features the cast arranged on the front, with an aesthetic reminiscent of old spy pulp posters.
Robert Hack’s main cover to Red Atlantis #1, announced this month from AfterShock Comics (AfterShock, June/July 2020).

Kill a Man

Writers: Steve Orlando & Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist and colorist: Al Morgan
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover: Al Morgan

As a child, James Bellyi watched his father die in the ring as payback for slurs thrown at the other fighter. Today, he’s a Mixed Martial Arts star at the top of his game, and one of the most popular fighters in the world…until he’s outed as gay in his title shot press conference.

Abandoned overnight by his training camp, his endorsements, his fans and his sport, to b regain his title shot Bellyi is forced to turn to the last person he ever wants to see again: Xavier Mayne, a gay, once-great fighter in his own right…and the man James once watched kill his father.

A heated MMA fight in between two men in the ring, in a new preview page from the upcoming OGN Kill a Man.
Newly released interior art by artist and colorist Al Morgan, from the upcoming AfterShock Comics OGN Kill a Man (AfterShock Comics, June/July 2020).

AfterShock’s June solicits came out this month, announcing the continuation of many series. In light of the Covid-19 crisis and AfterShock’s delayed release schedule, it’s likely we can expect to see these books come July 2020. Keep an eye out for news as the publishing situation evolves. In the new round of solicits, AfterShock has announced, in addition to the newly announced Red Atlantis and Kill a Man OGN, second issues for Lonely Receiver and Sympathy for No Devils, third issues for Disaster Inc., Dead Day, fourth issues of  Artemis and the Assassin and Join the Future, fifth issues of The Man Who Effed Up Time, Godkillers, and Undone by Blood or the Shadow of a Wanted Man, and trade paperbacks for Dark Red volume 2 and the fully collected Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated.


Artemis and the Assassin #1
Lauren Affe (Colorist), Meghan Hetrick & Francesca Fantini (Artists), Troy Peteri (Letterer), Stephanie Phillips (Writer)
March 18, 2020

An assassin with a severed head in each hand takes up page space on this cover to Artemis and the Assassin #1, from AfterShock Comics.
The cover to Artemis and the Assassin #1 from cover artist Phil Hester with Eric Gapstur and Mark Englert (AfterShock Comics, March 2020).

In this new series from AfterShock, a mysterious woman travels through time to carry out assassinations, while in 1944, a spy with the codename Artemis works to liberate France.  The first issue splits focus between Maya, an assassin, and Virginia, codename Artemis, until bringing their two stories together with a collision. The dialogue is a little on the nose at times, but the issue is effective in introducing the two characters through their actions; readers get a sense for each woman by seeing how she behaves, more than just what she says. A secondary plotline starts to reveal Maya’s backstory, giving the character greater depth.

Meghan Hetrick and Francesca Fantini’s art utilizes heavy, dark lines to give the art an emphatic weight, drawing the eye through engagingly and creatively laid out pages. The paneling was one of my favorite things about this issue, the layout to each new page is unique, with a fluidity of panel placement in Maya’s part of the issue in particular, that underlined the unpredictable nature of Maya’s time traveling. Lauren Affe’s colors highlight the disparity between Virginia and Maya’s lives through the contrast between more muted, earthier tones in the part of the story set in 1944 and the vivid blues of Maya’s time travel, that look unnaturally vivid in comparison to the more grounded historical fiction elements of the issue. As a first issue, Artemis and the Assassin is starting strong as a genre story with a twist, anchored by engaging female protagonists, from a team of women creatives.

Shoplifters Will be Liquidated #5
Patrick Kindlon (Writer), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Letterer), Stefano Simeone (Artist).
March 25, 2020

Loss Prevention Specialist Nussbaum looks over his shoulder at the viewer in this cool, blue toned cover to Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated #5.
The cover to Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated #5, from cover artist Stefano Simeone (AfterShock Comics, March 2020).

In this concluding issue to Shoplifters Will be Liquidated, the story’s numerous plot threads tie together. In Caucasus, the higher-ups finally start to ask where Loss Prevention Specialist Nussbaum has disappeared to, and in the world beneath the mall Nussbaum discovered, the disenfranchised prepare to rise up. The story ends in an unexpected place, with a conclusion that fits the tone of the story well and drives home the central critique of capitalism as an unwinnable game.

Stefano Simeone’s art is as fluid and expressive as it has been all series, and the coloring remains phenomenal. This issue’s blues and pinks blend well, effectively distinguishing the worlds above and below the mall, while still presenting a stylized color palette. Simeone’s art in this series fit the tone of the writing well and gave the book a distinct visual character. The funky stylization of the art helped capture the futuristic elements of the Caucasus mall setting and the peculiar details of the world beneath the mall. Simeone’s art and colors are unique and exciting, and the individual aesthetic tone sets the book apart.

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).