June is bustin’ out all over, and so are comics, now that Diamond’s distribution channels are back up and running. And while it’s far from normal, it’s nice to see new books on the shelves. What’s been going on across the pond? Let’s find out!
(And if you are venturing out to your comic shop to pick up your books, please wear a mask or facial covering on your nose and mouth, social distance, and follow all COVID-related laws and ordinances for your jurisdiction!)
Titan Comics News and Announcements
June 2020 Release Dates
The pause in Diamond operations has left schedules in flux. In fact, after we went to press with our May Pubwatch, I discovered that Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Year 2 #4 did in fact drop on May 20th, not June 3rd as my research indicated. So, to help with your pull list planning, here’s what’s available for this month as per Titan’s website and comiclist.com. As always, dates are subject to change.
- June 3rd: Minions! Sports #2
- June 10th: Snowpiercer Vol. 1: The Escape
- June 17th: None
- June 24th: Tank Girl Full Color Classics Vol. 3
- June 3oth: Star Trek: Discovery Complete Seasons 1 and 2 Guide
Gaming Comics Sale!
Got some money to spare? Like gaming comics? Titan has several of their gaming titles, such as The Evil Within and Wolfenstein, on sale for up to 66% off! Check out the list here, but act fast: his sale is only valid until June 23rd!
Rivers of London Timeline
In the comics pause, I decided to give the Rivers of London series another try with The Fey and the Furious. The comic series is part of a larger shared universe with Ben Aaronovitch’s prose novels. If you’re a little confused (as I was) on how everything fits together, Titan has put together a handy timeline for you, as seen above. (We’ll have a look at the second issue of The Fey and the Furious later on in this column!)
August 2020 Solicitations
With the return of comics also comes the return of our solicitations overview. And it’s a little bit of a mix of old and new, as some titles solicited for June (that we covered in our April Pubwatch) get some new release dates.
- Blade Runner #9, originally solicited for June 3rd, now will drop on August 26th.
- Star Wars: The Mandalorian – The Art and the Imagery, originally solicited for June 23rd, will now drop on August 5th.
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary special, originally solicited for June 3rd, will now drop on July 22nd. (Note: Titan’s website also lists a publication date of June 23rd, so this may change as we go to press.)
There’s some other new release dates for titles. Adler #3, originally scheduled for April, now will arrive on August 12th. The kickoff to the new Horizon Zero Dawn series, originally scheduled for July 22nd, will now be available on August 5th. (You can also check out several of the covers for the debut issue courtesy of comicbook.com) No news though on the prequel issue, which was one of Titan’s Free Comic Book Day 2020 titles, as there is no rescheduled date for this year’s Free Comic Book Day.
Titan is also keeping the trade paperback coffers quite full as well. Spend your last lazy hazy crazy days of summer with Doctor Who, as the crossover with Ten and Thirteen gets its trade collection on August 5th. (We’ll also have a review of the final issue of that arc in this column!) If you’ve been enjoying TNT/Netflix’s Snowpiercer, read the graphic novels that started it all in a new box set on October 14th. Assassin’s Creed fans have a new box set of Assassin’s Creed: Awakening two weeks later on October 28th, and a deluxe edition of Assassin’s Creed: Origins on November 1tth.
As discussed on Bleeding Cool, as schedules continue to readjust after the six week pause in comics, dates remain subject to change.
Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince – The Rebel Army Trailer Released
We love V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic comics; just take a look at our banner for this Pubwatch. So we’re eager for the release of the trade of the final volume of the series, The Rebel Army, to drop on July 7th. (Which, per V.E. Schwab, is her birthday!) If you want to get a taste of what’s to come in the volume, you’ll definitely want to check out the trailer. (Still not sold? In April and May this Pubwatch featured reviews of the first and second issues!)
What I’m Reading
Titan Throwback Thursday has been good, but new comics are even better! We have a look at the finale of the the first arc of Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Year Two. There’s still some room for throwback fun, so we have another installment of fairies and fast cars with The Fey and the Furious, and a look at spooky ghost girl Lenore.
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Year 2 #4
Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist), Comicraft’s Sarah Hedrick (letterer), Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer)
May 20, 2020
When we last left the fam, there was that little problem of the Weeping Angels. And some Autons. It takes some clever on the feet thinking from Thirteen to temporarily get out of that jam. Battle won, but not the war. There’s still the Autons to handle, but the Doctor (just like Elizabeth Warren) has a plan for that. It’s time for a trip to under the Thames to find their hive mind consciousness, the Nestene. Putting one enemy against another—in this case, Weeping Angels versus Autons—kills two birds with one stone. The Angels zap the Nestene back in time and out of the timeline, giving the fam enough time to set a Weeping Angels trap. All’s well that ends well! And now it’s back to London…but it’s not a London anyone remembers.
The highlight of this series is how well Jody Houser captures the voices of her characters. Whether it’s David Tennant’s energy or Graham’s Granddad jokes, everyone sounds just like they do on TV. That’s key for bringing over TV fans to the comics and keeping them there. She also recognizes the significance of Doctor Who canon, bringing back Ten and Martha to 1960s London to play out the events of Blink, rather than bringing them back to modern day.
If anything, I was disappointed that this idea of a time paradox didn’t get an exploration. But when I look at that final panel, I’m left thinking that the second arc (which doesn’t have a release date yet) is going to show the damage such a paradox can do.
When it comes to lines and colors, color still rules the day. Whether moments large or small, Enrica Eren Angiolini plays with color to show life and vibrance, particularly whenever the TARDIS appears. The wonders of space jump off the page, and the horror of a destroyed London shakes you to your core. Roberta Ingranata continues to show she studies her characters well, but I hope in the next arc she can do something about her depictions of eyes. They’re too small for the proportions of faces, particularly for Jodie Whittaker, who has such large and expressive eyes. But after reading several Doctor Who series from years past, this may be the best yet that the art team translates three dimensional people into the two dimensions of paper.
The timeline appears to be reset, but it doesn’t seem to be without consequence. Let’s hope we get to see the fam again real soon.
Roman Dirge (writer, artist, colorist)
August 7, 2019
Roman Dirge’s cute little goth girl returns after a five year hiatus. And she’s got to deal with Pickle Rick. (No, not the actual Pickle Rick. But that would be a great idea for a crossover, wouldn’t it?) This ghastly gherkin has Lenore under house confinement (hey, sound familiar?) and she’s running out of time to stay alive and stay fed. There’s also some time traveling goats and a tribute to a dead squirrel who’s not actually dead.
I had no idea what to make of this issue. There’s some semblance of plot with this idea of a Lenore under siege, but we have no idea what led to Lenore’s imprisonment by Not-Pickle-Rick. (The first pages tease a catch up moment courtesy of Flashback Squirrel, which does not come to pass.) Plot gets cast aside for gross-out cannibalism jokes of Lenore eating everything in sight, including the time traveling goats that come to presumably rescue her. Perhaps it’s a commentary on how much our id, the primitive and instinctive components of our brains, controls our lives. If that’s the case, it deserved to be executed better.
The artwork reminded me a fair bit of very early Adult Swim cartoons. Lenore is very flat, monochrome, and pale, with touches of girl like charms done goth, like her skull barettes. Drawn with loose and shaky lines, she stands in contrast to the colorful and highly detailed backgrounds that have a processed, computer generated look. It gives the art a charming, subversive DIY tone that purports to give a metaphorical middle finger to more sleeker produced comics. And it’s an excellent storytelling vehicle, just weighed down by a script that relies too much on lowbrow, immature humor.
Thus far, there’s have not been subsequent issues of Lenore. That may be a good thing.
Rivers of London: The Fey and the Furious #2
Ben Aaronovitch (writer), Andrew Cartmel (writer), Color-Ice (colorist), Mariano LaClaustra (artist), Rob Steen (letterer)
December 11, 2019
Readers, start your engines. It’s time for some drifting and tire tracks, supernatural style. The first issue of this series started out slow, but we now put pedal to the metal and get into some actual road racing. That racing is told from the point of view of another competitor, a man we only know as Craig, a family man, lured (perhaps not totally of his own free will) to the drag race. It comes at a cost as his son suffers serious injury after one of the races (at the hands of Peter Grant’s colleague Sahra), leading to Craig’s wife kicking him out of the house. Peter’s won the race, but someone (or something) wants Craig back in the competition for another round, giving him a shiny new car to use. But just as this rematch is due to start, Peter disappears. There’s a foul plot afoot.
There isn’t too much here to say about script, though it does a fine job in the opening pages establishing Craig as a character. By taking the time to have Craig tell his story, you build sympathy for him, want to cheer him on in the race, and feel your heart break when his son is injured and his wife separates. We may not see Craig after this, but we sure are invested in him and want him to succeed. We don’t see much of Peter and the other detectives throughout. They take the back seat (pun intentional) to Craig, to show the high stakes of these races. And once you know that, it makes Peter’s mysterious disappearance at the end all the more intriguing.
If we’re going to have a book focusing on racing, the art is going to have to excel in dynamics and kinetic energy. And it does! Speed lines on the roads and blurring the basic outline of cars adds that sense of motion. Color itself is also just a bit rough and refined to lend further to the reader’s point of view of an observer on the sidelines, watching as the race spins madly by. The real genius, though, is panel layout and shape. During race scenes, panels expand and contract in concave shape as cars enter and leave view, another superb way movement translate to two dimensions.
We’re still not fully clear on the core mystery at play, especially now with Peter out of the picture and in parts unknown. That’s okay. It’s been a visually beautiful journey so far, with no intention on slowing down. And the continued slow burn of the central story keeps you coming back for more. Or maybe those fairies have something to do with it . . .