IDW Pubwatch December 2020

IDW Pubwatch January 2020

Welcome to the IDW Pubwatch. The world is still reeling from the pandemic 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 Sea of Sorrow #1—and a selection of my favourite covers from the month. Wear a mask, stay indoors, and be safe, readers.

News and Announcements

IDW Previews Chained to the Grave

Chained to the Grave Cover. IDW Publishing

Horror-drama fans can see a preview of Chained to the Grave, a five-issue comic series set for release in February 2021, right now. IDW is sharing the opening five pages of the first instalment on their site. The story is written by Brian Level and Andy Eschenbach, with art by Kate Sherron. It follows an undead man who is quite literally chained to his gravestone, as he discovers that the world around him is more mysterious than he realised.

Star Wars: The High Republic Series Coming 2021

Star Wars: The High Republic Series Cover. IDW Publishing

IDW will be publishing an ongoing Star Wars series set 200 years before the prequels from February 3, 2021. The High Republic series will be written by Daniel José Older, alongside artist Harvey Tolibao, and colourist Rebecca Nalty. The series will follow a group of Padawans under Master Yoda, as they protect the Republic against an adversary known as the Nihil.

Featured Comics

Dungeons and Dragons at the Spine of the World #1
Martin Coccolo (Artist), Aimee Garcia (Writer), Katrina Mae Hao (Colours), AJ Mendez (Writer), Neil Uyetake (Letters)
November 4, 2020

Dungeons and Dragons at the Spine of the World #1 Cover A. IDW Publishing

I may not know much about D&D, but this was still an interesting start to a fantasy story. The usual elements abound: warriors, warlocks, magicians, and evildoers. Most of the characters come across as stoic and straight-laced, but the warlock Sraavin was sarcastic and funny, which made this book stand out from the usual fantasy crowd.

The art was gorgeous. The characters were so distinct and textured—they popped off the page and added to the world-building. I’d read more just to see this art.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika II: Monsters #1
Brahm Revel (Writer, Artist, Letters)
November 4, 2020

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika II: Monsters #1. IDW Publishing

Since the Mutant Bomb hit NYC, Jennika, the newest ninja turtle, has had her hands full trying to keep the peace. Doesn’t help that everyone outside wants to cut the mutants off, and on the inside, people are struggling to live without food or necessary supplies. Add to that a new problem: some of the mutants are becoming vicious, and it isn’t natural. What is going on?

I’ve been enjoying Jennika but there’s a moment of misgendering early in this comic that didn’t sit well with me. The rest of the story feels very much like Zootopia, so I’m hoping it manages to do something different in upcoming issues.

Scarenthood #1
Shawn Lee (Letters), Chris O’Halloran (Colours), Nick Roche (Writer and Artist)
November 4, 2020

Scarenthood #1. IDW Publishing

A single dad trying to raise his daughter while also dealing with a low-paying job and fellow parents who remind him a bit too much of being in school finds himself in the middle of a supernatural mystery.

I think the plot of this book has promise and should be exciting in future instalments, but I have to question the optics of having a white man as the protagonist of this story. Look at the world around us and how badly single mothers of colour have it—that’s real horror. So yes, this is an interesting story but it’s not relatable. We have too many straight white men standing in for everyone else and it’s high time creatives moved past that.

Voyage to the Stars #1
James Asmus (Writer), Justin Birch (Letters), Ryan Copple (Writer), Connie Daidone (Artist), Reggie Graham (Colours)
November 4, 2020

Voyage to the Stars #1. IDW Publishing

I understand some people’s love for irreverence and crudeness but it’s a combo I cannot stand in my entertainment. Within the first few pages, my senses were assaulted with robot testicles. At which point, I closed my copy of the book and moved on to another. Thanks, but no thanks.

Shadow of Vader’s Castle TPB
Nicoletta Baldari (Artist), Nick Brokenshire (Artist), Derek Charm (Artist), Francesco Francavilla (Artist), Valeria Lopez (Letters), Cavan Scott (Writer)
November 4, 2020

Shadow of Vader’s Castle TPB. IDW Publishing

I’ve enjoyed most of the Vader’s Castle stories from last year but this one wasn’t as interesting. I feel like it diverged too much from the mythos and characters and failed to transform the elements of the universe that could be horrifying. Or maybe I’m in Clone Wars-mode where Anakin still feels like a sympathetic character in bad circumstances, and not just a monster.

Bionic TPB
Koren Shadmi (Writer and Artist)
November 11, 2020

Bionic. IDW Publishing

I gave this book as much of my attention as I possibly could, but I finally gave up. The protagonist is a white schoolboy nerd—how original. He falls for the hottest girl in class but she’s with the jock—how original. Then the girl gets in an accident and becomes a bionic girl. Nobody is nice to her anymore except the nerd, so they get to be together—how original. Oh, and she randomly takes off her clothes in a party full of people—because we definitely need to see an underage girl in her underwear in a comic book in 2020.

Tropey, gross, and so regressive, this book wasn’t worth my time.

Marvel Action: Chillers #1
Derek Charm (Artist and Colours), Valeria Lopez (Letters), Gretel Lusky (Artist), Nahuel Ruiz (Colours), Seth Smith (Artist), Jeremy Whitley (Writer)
November 11, 2020

Marvel Action: Chillers #1. IDW Publishing

When Iron Man is overtaken by a magic book, Ironheart and Doctor Strange must team up to fight a supernatural and technological terror that could destroy the Avengers and the city.

This is a fun start to a horror story, and I’m intrigued to see how these two characters work together, seeing as they’re so different. Love the little moments of humour spread throughout. The art is cute but also super-colourful, which I love. I’m intrigued to read more!

Sea of Sorrow #1
Justin Birch (Letters), Alex Cormack (Artist and Colours), Rich Douek (Writer), Mark Mullaney (Colours)
November 18, 2020

Sea of Sorrow #1. IDW Publishing

A crew looking for lost treasure come face to face with an underwater terror—but one of the crewmen has seen it before and he’s got every reason to be afraid of it.

I’m in two minds about this book. I like the story and how it ties into the horrors of war and trauma. The characters seem interesting, but I do wish I could actually see them. I understand there’s not much light out on the ocean but there’s more shadow in this book than people.

Also… naked mermaids. I am so past this fetish and the singular body type of naked female characters that is depicted in the majority of entertainment media. We’ve seen it a million times before and I can’t muster up the strength to deal with it again.

The Book Tour
Andi Watson (Writer and Artist)
November 18, 2020

The Book Tour. IDW Publishing

On a book tour that keeps getting extended, author Fretwell finds himself in a town with a serial killer, no takers for his books, and bizarre happenings.

This was a very stressful book to read and the ending left me unsatisfied. I guess we’re expected to fill in some blanks, but I would have liked a definitive conclusion for the strange events in the story.

Star Wars Adventures: Annual
Nick Brokenshire (Writer), Francesco Gaston (Artist), Charlie Kirchoff (Colours), Cavan Scott (Writer), Neil Uyetake (Letters)
November 18, 2020

Star Wars Adventures: Annual. IDW Publishing

Not sure how I feel about this book. I didn’t really take to the new characters who lead the two stories. Jaxxon, a Lepi, who basically looks like a green rabbit, is a wiseass, but doesn’t bring anything new in terms of personality to the universe. Also, not really digging the anthropomorphic bunny in Star Wars—some originality in the character design would have been appreciated.

The second story featured a master engineer called Lony Coleema who was interesting, but the story itself needed more oomph. None of the events felt new so I was left underwhelmed.

Star Trek: Voyager: Seven’s Reckoning #1
Dave Baker (Writer), Angel Hernandez (Artist), Ronda Pattison (Colours), Neil Uyetake (Letters)
November 18, 2020

Star Trek: Voyager: Seven’s Reckoning #1. IDW Publishing

Shortly after Seven of Nine joins the crew of the Voyager, she is sent on a mission to a generational ship only to find discrimination and corruption.

Story-wise, this is a very Voyager narrative—I would say it’s almost too derivative of episodes we’ve already seen.

But my biggest problem with this book was that it didn’t capture the Voyager crew well. Voyager is my favourite Star Trek series—I’ve seen it multiple times and I know what the characters sound like. This book doesn’t do their voices or personalities justice.

Tuvok and Seven come across as comical at times and that’s not the point of those characters. There are colloquialisms thrown in that don’t fit the Starfleet ethos. Also, Captain Janeway and Tuvok are introduced…talking about her haircut? Please let women write these books—men suck.

I was excited to read a Voyager mini-series, but this was a let-down.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika TPB
Megan Huang (Artist), Shawn Lee (Letters), Jodi Nishijima (Artist), Ronda Pattison (Writer and Colours), Brahm Revel (Writer and Artist)
November 25, 2020

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika TPB. IDW Publishing

The newest ninja turtle, Jennika, grapples with her troubled past, her distrust of old acquaintances, being a ninja, a mutant, and dealing with loneliness in a town where nobody is what they used to be. It’s a lot!

This collection of stories is a great way to get to know Jennika but the opening story is a slog, and way too dark. I almost gave up. Fortunately, the second story onwards, the tone lightens, even though the subject matter is still heavy.

Jennika is wonderful—she’s relatable, sarcastic, and a total badass, who still makes mistakes. I love the one-shots where she spends time with her friends and the ninja turtles.

Aside from the opening story, the rest of the book was a great read about a great character. I can’t wait for more Jennika books.

Best Covers

Honourable Mentions

Under-Earth

Goosebumps: Creepy Crawly Comics

The Kill Lock TPB

Thanks for joining me on this Pubwatch.

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books or video games. She always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books or video games. She always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms.

One thought on “IDW Pubwatch December 2020

  1. Jaxxon is an existing character who was introduced in a much earlier Star Wars comic series, with much the same design. Bringing him back now is basically a rude gesture to humorless grimdark nerds who were outraged previously about having a “funny animal” character in their very serious and adult SF universe.

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