WWACommendations: Covenant, Wonder Woman, The Backstagers, and More

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What comics are you reading lately? If you need something new to read, check out the WWACommendations tag! This month, WWAC contributors share recent favorites including a YA iteration of Wonder Woman, a Superman story written by Gene Luen Yang, and sexy priests exorcising sexy demons. Let us know on Twitter what you’re reading, and consider pitching us!

Louis Skye: I’ve been reading the DC YA books recently and they’ve been enjoyable. But Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed has to be my favourite so far. The story sees 16-year-old Diana Prince becoming displaced from Themyscira while trying to save refugees. As a refugee herself, Diana does what she can to help those around her, eventually finding her path towards becoming the hero Wonder Woman.

This story is so relevant to our times and tackles difficult issues such as the refugee crisis, poverty, systemic violence, gentrification, and sex trafficking. Tough subjects but very well handled. I love that this book isn’t dumbed down for the audience — young people are much more knowledgeable than they’re given credit for and I feel like the writers give them their due. The art is stunning and perfectly captures the beauty of Themyscira, as well as the claustrophobia of her new environments. A terrific read!

Alenka Figa: I’ve been reading the Elements: Earth anthology edited by Taneka Stotts. It’s the second in a series of anthologies featuring creators of color, the first being Elements: Fire, which I actually interviewed Stotts about back in 2016! What the heck is time?

Elements: Earth is really beautiful, and so well put together! It’s making me feel a lot of feelings. Chan Chau’s “Parts of Us” included some close-to-home grief that almost made me cry, Kelly Bull’s “Home Soil” warmed my heart with its concept of creating home and carrying it with you, and I am dying to read more adventures about the soldier, prince, and the huge, adorable, herbivorous “monster” in Ayme Sotuyo’s “A Good Heart.” “Parts of Us” especially shows how brilliantly these anthologies use spot color. Elements: Fire had red spot color while Elements: Earth uses a gorgeous teal/green, and in “Parts of Us” the teal hints at which illustrations are memories or even ghosts. It’s so brilliantly crafted, I can’t recommend it enough.

Emily Lauer: I just read Superman Smashes the Klan! I have been excited about this book, written by Gene Luen Yang and with art by Gurihiru, since it was announced, and I eagerly read Adrienne Resha’s reviews of each of the parts (1, 2, 3) when they were published. I am, however, a confirmed trade-waiter, and saved up my excitement to read it all in one go. And reader, it was extremely satisfying.

In this story, a plotline of Superman slowly figuring out his origins and powers intersects with a Chinese American family who have just moved out of Chinatown and into the “real” Metropolis, where they endure overt racism from a very lightly fictionalized Klan of white supremacists, alongside casual racism from unthinking white neighbors. The pacing is great, and the symbolism and parallels ride that line that Yang is so good at: they are straightforward enough that kid readers can grasp them, without feeling too heavy-handed to the adult reader. Yang’s superhero work in this feels similar to that in New Super-Man and The Shadow Hero, but that’s fine with me, because I enjoy the superhero story he tells, and am happy to read it again. It’s kind of like variations on a theme, and it’s a theme I like.

Latonya Pennington: I recently reread the comic book series The Backstagers by James Tynion IV, Rian Singh, Walter Balmonte, and Jim Campbell. In this series, the backstage of an all-male high school theatre club is literally magic. Jory, a Black gay kid who is new at school, ends up joining a quirky backstage theatre crew and has a series of misadventures. The characters are fun and hella queer and the silly take on the magic of theatre is enjoyable. For example, the high school theatre production of RENT is called Lease. Also, you could go looking for a bucket of rainbow paint and end up running from spiders who happen to live in the paint room! Reading the entire series at once was delightful.

Draven Katayama: Do you like hot whip-wielding priests fighting sexy demons? Covenant by explodikid is free to read on Webtoon, having previously earned so much popularity that it recently moved from Webtoon Canvas (self-published) to Webtoon Originals.

Covenant stars Ezra, an exorcist of the Church of Providence who battles demons using a spiked whip. We meet other exorcists who are similarly hot, foul-mouthed, and armed to the teeth, including Samson, who wields two machine guns. Covenant is a fun read not only for its action-packed combat and pretty visuals, such as every character’s ornate tattoos. This comic also has interesting, original lore about how the exorcists receive their powers from specific angels, plus a rival church faction that thinks the Church of Providence is getting their powers from demons. If that’s not enough, there’s even a lighthearted scene where the exorcists play beer pong. If you need a comic that blends action fantasy with mythology, comedy, and punk gothic fashion, Covenant is wildly enjoyable.

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Draven Katayama

Draven Katayama

Writer at Sidequest and WWAC; past executive editor of Kollaboration and writer at Newsarama and Comicosity. I'm a huge fan of Life is Strange, The Last of Us, TWICE, Blackpink, and ITZY. My MyDramaList: https://mydramalist.com/profile/loudlysilent Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/loudlysilent Tell me about the fandoms you love! @loudlysilent