What a year it’s been — and we’re only two weeks into it. But as my mother reminds me, “where there is life, there is hope.” And where there are comics, with heroes that stand up for good over evil, there will always be hope.
This month, we take a look at the second issues of Blade Runner 2029 and Doctor Who to see if they continue the momentum from their very strong debuts!
Titan Comics News and Announcements
January 2021 Release Schedule
Please note release dates are always subject to change.
- Doctor Who #3, Blade Runner 2029 #2: January 13th
- Life is Strange #4, Cutting Edge: The Devil’s Mirror #1: January 20th
- Blade Runner 2019 Vol. 1 – Los Angeles Artist’s Edition Vol. 1, Assassin’s Creed: Bloodstone Vol. 2: January 27th
Titan Comics March 2021 Solicitations
It’s a double dose of Blade Runner in March. Blade Runner 2029 #4 drops on March 10th, followed by the second issue of Blade Runner Origins two weeks later. But if you need some lighter fare in your comics, those lovable Minions are back with Minions! Sports on March 3rd.
The March solicitations also provided a glimpse into the future, with collections of the first arc of Doctor Who coming on May 26th and the Deluxe Writer’s Edition of Rivers of London: Body Works on June 1st. The latter will include the full script of the graphic novel alongside the unlettered artwork, so that readers can see script and art side-by-side.
Turning to magazines, relive the first season of The Mandalorian with Star Wars: The Mandalorian – Guide to Season 1 on March 16th. A new Star Wars Insider magazine out that day also features a new Star Wars: The High Republic story from Cavan Scott. And Star Trek Magazine #80 (also out on March 16th) celebrates the show’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, focusing on the series’ inspirations to the LGBTQIA+ community.
Visit GoCollect for more information on these and all other offerings from Titan in March 2021.
Rivers of London Creative Team at LibCon West
Looking for something fun to do this weekend? The Glendale (AZ) Public Library will be hosting their own virtual con, LibCon West, on January 16th – – featuring the Rivers of London creative team of writers Ben Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel, illustrator Lee Sullivan, and colorist Paulina “Pau” Vassileva. They will take you behind the scenes of creating the Rivers of London comic books. The program is free, but you do have to register to receive the Zoom link. You can find out more on the LibCon West 2020 Programming page, including registration links.
What I’m Reading
We check in with the latest from the parallel worlds of Life Is Strange: Partners in Time, as well as the follow-up issues from the series debuts we profiled last month: Blade Runner 2029 and Doctor Who.
Life Is Strange: Partners In Time #3
Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt (letterer), Andrea Izzo (colorist), Claudia Leonardi (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Emma Vieceli (writer)
December 16, 2020
Anytime there’s a road trip, there’s a breakdown. But it’s not just a van that needs fixing. The High Seas are starting to ask questions about Tristan. And over in Max’s timeline, Max is longing for her friend. The feeling is mutual, as Chloe and Tristan in their own timeline are feeling the same way. Will someone manage to break on through to the other side? There’s an attempt, but it looks like it will be at the risk of tragedy.
This series revels in the slow burn. Standard comics storytelling at this point (part 3 in a 4 part arc) would have our protagonists facing down their enemy, gearing up for a climax to come to a head in the final issue. But here, we’re still running on parallel tracks that touch in subtle, clever ways. One of those touches is the newspaper article about The High Seas that connects the timelines. As they become more intertwined, details like that are going to be key to keep readers engaged and informed.
In our last PUBWATCH review, I remarked on a subtle artistic choice in skin tone choices – – one showing more pink undertones than the other, a symbolic indication of where Chloe finds her greatest joys in life. This time, I saw another in Tristan. Whereas previous appearances of Tristan (including in previous arcs) show his skin with a slight translucence, here his skin tone is more solid (though still very pale). He is finding himself and his own peace as he attempts to connect with Max.
It’s a long drive across the United States, and it’s going to be a longer trip still to reunite Max and Chloe.
Doctor Who #2
Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist), Comicraft’s Sarah Hedrick (letterer), Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer)
December 16, 2020
If you thought the appearance of Rose would be an easy tool for a budding resistance: think again. Rose doesn’t even recognize Ten or any of the details he provides about her life. History’s very different in this universe, but a trip back in time can put things on the right track. Both Ten and Thirteen find that answer in different ways (the latter with the help of the Skithra) and are off in their respective TARDISes to make things right. But remember: there are two Doctors in the timeline. That’s a problem.
The storyline with Thirteen and the Skithra put us on a path to another retelling of one of the TV serial’s episodes, this time 2020’s “Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror.” The beauty of “Blink” was its storytelling loop, which allowed it to form the basis for a retelling from a completely different point of view. “Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror” is much more linear, so it will be fun to see how Houser goes for a very recent retelling of canon.
I feel like Houser’s also really nailed her characterization of Thirteen beautifully: the fast-paced dialogue, the biting humor. That isn’t to say there aren’t flashes of David Tennant in Ten, particularly in his kindness towards a Rose that has no memory of him. But I haven’t seen too much of them just yet. But most of all, the paradox of two Doctors in the same place starts to become a problem – – something that was left out of the first arc that I found rather troubling.
The art continues to excel though there are some moments with awkward faces. They’re not completely out of step with their three-dimensional subjects, but just enough to catch your eye. Fortunately, they are also few and far between and due to perspective or shading choices. The appearance of the Skithra queen oozes with power: full page, head held high, arms outstretched as she floats into view after a very strong explosion. And there are beautiful colors in some of the more celestial backgrounds, breaking up the more drab palettes.
This creative team hit the ground running with a strong debut, and they don’t show signs of taking their foot off of the gas pedal anytime soon.
Blade Runner 2029 #2
Jim Campbell (letterer), Andres Guinaldo (artist), Mike Johnson (writer), Marco Lesko (colorist)
January 13, 2021
The mysteries of the Replicants deepen. The mysterious man Ash witnessed fall to his death uttered a name that brought chills down her spine: Yotun, a Replicant she chased years ago. The investigation takes her underground in the Replicant world, where uttering that name triggers something in a mystery redhead, another Replicant, running through Los Angeles freely. Too freely. It seems there are unregistered replicants. But where are they coming from?
Last month, I predicted this would be a quieter Blade Runner adventure, and this second issue confirms it. Ash spends this issue knee-deep in her investigation, but there is one quick action moment near the end. This series is setting itself up well for a cerebral adventure with just the right touches of physical action. Setting this identity early on is a smart move. The reader knows what to expect.
With a slower narrative, there’s space for Andres Guinaldo to play with rich background detail throughout the issue. In particular, the detail makes that one action scene, where the woman Ash pursues throws a taxicab door at her, full of kinetic energy. You can feel the pain on Ash as the glass and metal hits her body, spraying into tiny pieces. That attention to detail builds this world and narrative at the same slow burn rate as the script.
The mysteries of the Replicants grow deeper, confirmed by the final scene of a clandestine Replicant lair. Ash may very well be in over her head.