Welcome to the IDW Pubwatch. The world is still mostly on lockdown but here’s something to distract you—a few exciting comics that will occupy your mind, at least for a little while. I’ve also got the latest news coming out of IDW, along with comic book reviews—including Star Trek: Picard—and a selection of my favourite covers from the month. Wear a mask and be safe, readers.
News and Announcements
IDW Earns Nine Ringo Award Nominations
IDW Publishing and its imprints have been nominated for nine awards at the 2020 Ringo Awards, including Best Comic Artist, Best Letterer, and Best Original Graphic Novel, among others. View the full list on their website.
The Nib and IDW Publishing Partnering for LGBTQIA Comic
Political and non-fiction comic publication, The Nib, is partnering with IDW Publishing for a LGBTQIA anthology, set for release in September. Be Gay, Do Comics will be 250 pages of stories from a host of writers from the queer community. More details are available on the IDW website.
New Star Trek: Voyager Mini-Series Coming Soon
Fans can’t get enough of Star Trek and, if Star Trek: Picard is anything to go by, they can’t wait for more Seven of Nine! Fortunately for fans, IDW is delivering what they want—a Seven-centred mini-series called Seven’s Reckoning. The four-issue series is set to be written by Dave Baker, with art by Angel Hernandez and colours by Ronda Pattison, and will be published in November.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Jennika Returning in New Solo Series
Following a massively successful solo series, the newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Jennika, will be getting another outing in a six-issue mini-series out this November. The story, written and drawn by Brahm Revel, will see Jennika rooting out a conspiracy in Mutant Town, that is becoming increasingly more fractured.
IDW Publishing Locke & Key Franchise Guide
Locke & Key is expanding—both its universe and its comic storylines—as you will see in our review of Locke & Key: In Pale Battalions Go #1 below. For fans trying to get their heads around the newly expanding world of Keyhouse and its myriad magical keys, IDW Publishing has created a guide of books being published over the next few months. More details are available on their website.
Satirical Comic for Our Times Coming Soon
Pulitzer-nominated cartoonist Tom Tomorrow is publishing a book of political and social satire in time for the United States Presidential election. Life in the Stupidverse collects his weekly political cartoons featured in a variety of publications and will be available from September 1, 2020.
My Little Pony/ Transformers #1
Luis Antonio Delgado (Colours), Ian Flynn (Writer), Jack Lawrence (Artist), Neil Uyetake (Letters)
August 5, 2020
Aww. This was such a cute book. And what an unusual team-up! I can imagine many a happy child enjoying when two of their favourite groups of heroes collide.
I love the simple explanation for the team-up: when Queen Chrysalis of the Changelings opens a portal to another dimension, she calls in a whole new group of changelings to Equestria. None other than the Transformers.
The Autobots, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, are saved by Twilight Sparkle, while Chrysalis joins forces with the Decepticons, Megatron and Shockwave. Meanwhile, Autobot Arcee rescues fashionista pony Rarity from Starscream’s clutches and earns a new best friend.
Turns out friendship is magic even between Ponies and Transformers—but with the baddies close on their heels, the heroes are going to have their work cut out for them in upcoming issues. And I’ll be happily reading every one!
Corto Maltese: Lost Continent TPB
Simone Castaldi (Translation), Frank Engli (Letters), Dean Mullaney (Translation), Hugo Pratt (Writer and Artist)
August 12, 2020
The problem with revitalizing a classic comic is that all the regressive aspects of the book are thrown into stark contrast against the events of our times. This book really suffers from those outdated sensibilities—Black characters and Native American characters are drawn with exaggerated, even grotesque faces. They’re also repeatedly sidelined—unless they’re villainous—to make room for the white protagonist’s story. White women don’t fare much better, either—a hotshot female pilot exists almost solely to be the protagonist’s love interest. Sigh.
I wanted to enjoy this adventure tale, but I got irritated barely a few pages in.
GI Joe Snake Eyes: The Origin Parts 1 and 2
Larry Hama (Writer), Steve Leialoha (Artist), Andy Mushynsky (Artist), Rick Parker (Letters), George Roussos (Colours), Frank Springer (Artist)
August 12, 2020
Snake Eyes has always been the most mysterious member of the GI Joes. This book shares his fascinating and sorrowful origin story—it’s not for nothing that this silent and deadly ninja is so well-loved by fans.
As much as I liked the story, I’m always taken aback by how wordy older comics used to be. This reprint was a bit of a slog to read.
But more disturbingly, I was quite perturbed by the weird take on gun control early in the book—a character decrees that legislation against objects like guns is useless because people find other ways to be destructive. Really not the message one should be amplifying when mass shootings are as common and deadly as they are now—it may not have been the case when the book was first published but this statement doesn’t age well at all, and is positively jarring to read in 2020.
I understand the appeal of a reprint, but coming across old-fashioned sentiments hampered my reading experience. Shouldn’t reprints include a warning about such things?
Star Trek: Picard TPB
Kristen Beyer (Writer), Angel Hernandez (Artist), Mike Johnson (Writer), Joana Lafuente (Colours), Neil Uyetake (Letters)
August 19, 2020
This was a great read! Although I have mixed feelings about Picard the TV show, this pre-cursor comic volume was excellent from start to finish.
Set a year before a supernova decimates the Romulan Empire, Star Trek: Picard follows Admiral Picard and Commander Raffi Muskier as they head to a Romulan colony set for evacuation. Only to find deceit, betrayal, and the very dodgy Romulan way of life.
I found the strong story captivating, but I also liked the development of the Romulans and how ready they are to believe anything about the Federation. There was an interesting take on racism that I didn’t expect to encounter, but which was fairly well-handled.
We also got to learn about Picard’s companions, Laris and Zhaban, who we see on the show. Their backstory wasn’t developed in the first season, but this book steps in to rectify that.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this and I loved the art, which did justice to the characters and the expansive locations. Also, love the little picture of Geordi and Data that we encounter in the book—not going to lie, it made me a bit teary.
Jared Cullum (Writer and Artist)
August 26, 2020
What a sweet book. The story follows Katya, a little girl who loves comic books, but doesn’t like people very much. Friendless and lonely, she finally makes a new and unexpected friend—a bear, whom she calls Kodi. But when Katya has to return to Seattle, Kodi takes it upon himself to find her and ends up going on an adventure with a new friend.
This was a quick and deceptively simple book to get into. The watercolour-style art was gorgeous and drew me into the world. A lovely, uplifting read to get one out of the blue funk that is 2020.
Locke & Key: In Pale Battalions Go #1
Jay Fotos (Colours), Joe Hill (Writer), Shawn Lee (Letters), Gabriel Rodriguez (Writer and Artist)
August 26, 2020
I’m not sure how I feel about this new entrant in the Locke & Key franchise. I do like the concept—a young Locke family descendant is desperate to join the war effort and uses the keys to do so. But the story itself is often regressive.
The boy’s mother—while under a spell, perhaps—keeps talking about doing womanly work, and making sure that her daughters do the same. I don’t know what the point of that is—it might be explored in later issues—but for now, it was discomfiting to read and I wish it had been left out or, at the very least, explained.
Rodriquez’s art is stunning—I struggled with some of the artwork in the original books, but his style has grown immensely since. I really like what I’m seeing here.
I think this series will be better as a trade collection—at the moment, I’m not really sure of some story elements and that’s making me uncomfortable.
Marvel Action: Captain Marvel: A.I.M. Small TPB
Sweeney Boo (Artist), Sam Maggs (Writer), Christa Miesner (Letters), Brittany Peer (Colours)
August 26, 2020
I have been enjoying these Marvel Action: Captain Marvel comics from IDW, and this volume was just as much fun as I expected it to be. I haven’t encountered younger Avengers like Nadia Van Dyne/ Wasp much before so this team-up was a great way to get to know her and her epically diverse team.
Plus, Captain Marvel learning a new way to fight from a younger teammate was so much fun to explore. Carol Danvers has a ton of personality in these comics and it makes me love her and the books immensely.
I can’t wait for the next volume and more Avengers for Captain Marvel to team up with.
Star Trek: Hell’s Mirror
JM Dematteis (Writer), Candice Han (Colours), Matthew Dow Smith (Artist), Neil Uyetake (Letters)
August 26, 2020
Set in the Mirrorverse, this story sees Khan Noonien Singh rise as a saviour of the galaxy, eventually bringing Mirror-Spock and Mirror-Kirk to his side. Or does he?
I liked this story, even though I was ambivalent about a book focusing on Khan the Megalomaniac. He definitely has the same tendencies, though he seems to be a force for good in this universe.
It’s weird that I’m still uncomfortable with his name being Khan Noonien Singh—he was raised as a Sikh in canon, and this is mentioned again in the book. The story does mention Guru Nanak, which is good, but it doesn’t address his Muslim name, which really wouldn’t be a first name. At least he’s not white (looking at you, Star Trek: Into Darkness).
Thanks for joining me on this Pubwatch.