Vault Comics Pubwatch: August 2020

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

This month at Vault Comics sees the introduction of Shadow Service #1, featuring a series of gorgeous covers that highlight the gothic horror/spy thriller vibe of the series. We chatted about the main cover a few months back in our Cover Girl series and came to the conclusion that we were intrigued by what this cover told us and wanted to know more. Read on to find out how well the promise of that cover delivers!

The premier issues for Autumnal and Heavy are available for pre-order. You can take a peek at Heavy #1 over at The Beat.

Meanwhile, if you missed it the first time around, you can catch Engineward #1 in its second printing, featuring a new cover by Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma.

And coming soon from Vault is The Devil’s Red Bride #1.

“Set in 16th century Japan, The Devil’s Red Bride is a blood-drenched love letter to Samurai fiction in a chilling tale of guilt, trauma, and vengeance. The fates of warlords ebb and flow like tides of blood, none more than the Aragami Clan who follow their lord clad in the ‘Red Devil’ mask into every battle. But when Lord Aragami succumbs to illness, his daughter, the fierce Ketsuko, hatches a plot to save her people, no matter the cost…Years later, as Ketsuko wanders the heaving battlefields of her ruined homeland, she discovers a chance to avenge the terrible wrong done to her clan, even if it means stepping back onto a road steeped in slaughter.”

First and Faves

Vault always seems to have a new story to tell each month, and it’s been no different since my last pubwatch. There are also several titles still chugging along, while others have reached their conclusion and earned collected editions. Here are the ones on my radar.

Shadow Service #1
Andworld Design (letterer), Triona Farell (colourist), Corin Howell (atrist), Cavan Scott (writer)
August 19, 2020

“…I know a thing or two about secrets.”

Gina Meyers deals with your typical cases as a private detective. As a witch, she uses her powers to help her catch cheating spouses and criminals, but she worries that those powers may make her more of a monster than they are. But she doesn’t shy away from using her powers in unique ways when she’s on the chase. Unfortunately, that seems to have brought her to the attention of some sort of agency. What do they have in store for her? Remember how I said the cover had us intrigued? Well, reading the whole issue has still got me wanting more.

Black Stars Above Volume 1
Jenna Cha (artist), Tim Daniel (designer), Lonnie Nadler (writer), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (letterer), Brad Simpson (colourist)
July 29, 2020

“But let us venture back to a time in between. Before the storm.”

Eulalie is a young Métis girl living in the harsh times of the fur trade. To avoid an arranged marriage, she takes on a questionable task given to her by a mysterious man asking her to deliver a package deep in the woods. That package turns out to be an unusual alien being.

This is a gorgeously rendered book where every part of the creative teams’ work helps to shape the chilling emptiness, darkness, and horror that Eulalie trudges into. Be sure to read my full review of the first issue to find out why you should be checking out this series.

Vampire the Masquerade #1
Addison Duke (colourist), Andworld Design (letterer), Nathan Gooden (artist), Blake Howard (writer), Tini Howard (writer), Dev Pramanik (artist), Tim Seeley (writer)
August 5, 2020

“You forgot our first rule. The Masquerade keeps us safe. The Masquerade is everything.”

Who better to review the first issue than our own resident vampire, Jamey Hampton?

Heathen #12
Natasha Alterici (writer and colourist), Morgan Martinez (letterer), Ashley A. Woods (artist)
August 5, 2020

“I’m not asking for your blessings, great Fates.”

There was no great battle in the last issue, but what is Odin without war? When the final showdown happens and Aydis finds her answers in the great world tree, Odin must come to terms with the reality that us mortals do not need him to guide our path or to make us heroes.

This is a touching conclusion to Aydis’ journey to face Odin and demand the release of Brynhild. It might seem anticlimactic, but <em>Heathen</em> has always been good at subverting our expectations, as well as teaching us a little bit about Norse mythology along the way.

Bleed Them Dry #2
Andworld (letterer), Hiroshi Koizumi (creator), Miquel Muerto (colourist), Eliot Rahal (writer), Dike Ruan (artist)
August 5, 2020

“The victors write history, and now, all of these years later, the future of humanity has been edited.”

In the first issue, Detective Harper Halloway discovered betrayal at the hands of her partner Atticus Black and was whisked away by a vampire hunter with a katana. But immortals are kind of hard to kill and Black is, well, back. Sort of. Meanwhile, Halloway has to deal with her new found bloodlust to stave off her first death and avoid becoming a vampire convert.

The first issue dumped us into the futuristic city of Asylum, giving us just enough details and imagery to help us understand the world we’d fallen into. Issue two spends a lot more time on the exposition, including a full backstory from our mysterious ninja.

Finger Guns #3
Taylor Esposito (letterer), Val Halverson (artist), Rebecca Nalty (colourist), Justin Richards (writer)
August 5, 2020

“But teenagers with control over emotions? No such thing.”

Two kids who can use their finger guns to affect people’s emotions. Psychedelic covers. Cute art. None of this gives you any indication of how dark and real things will get in this series as Sadie finally decides to confront her abusive father in hopes of protecting her mother from him, and from being deported.

Money Shot #7
Sarah Beattie (co-scripter), Crank! (letterer), Rebekah Isaacs (artist), Kurt Michael Russell (colourist), Tim Seeley (writer)
August 5, 2020

“Do you guys think it’s too late to change my XXX-Plorers name to Leviticus 18:23?”

Given how deplorable William Shatner has become, and the entire existence of Trump, a panel of an uncouth, bigoted President Kirk getting zapped by visiting aliens was a welcome chuckle. Even if the reality of both men still exists outside of these pages. Outside of the XXX-Plorers’ doorstep, we find protestors who are unhappy with the debauchery and the proof that science is evil. But our team doesn’t care. Especially when their next mission leads them to a planet of hot and fashionable aliens who are cool with using sex as currency. Except getting rid of the president is not so easy…

There are definitely things I loved about this issue, particularly the brief insights into other world politics, and the Everybody Loves Ocampo show going on with Christine’s ex and her new lover. But the obnoxious bigot president gag better not dominate this story arc for too long…

That’s it for this month! See you again soon!

Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

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

One thought on “Vault Comics Pubwatch: August 2020

Comments are closed.