There are leaves and flowers on the trees…which unfortunately can mean some sneezes! But I’ll deal with a little bit of congestion and watery eyes in the short term. It means warmer days are on their way. This month, we wrap up our look at Minions Sports!, and dive into two long-awaited debuts: Doctor Who: Missy and Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla!
Titan Comics News and Announcements
April 2021 Release Schedule
Please note release dates are always subject to change.
- Wika: April 6th
- Blade Runner 2029 #4: April 7th
- Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home Vol. 11: April 13th
- Life is Strange Vol. 4: April 13th
- Minions Sports #2: April 14th
- Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla #1: April 14th
- Doctor Who: Missy #1: April 14th
- Blade Runner Origins #3: April 21st
- Adler Vol. 1: March 30th
Art Preview and Trailer: ExtraOrdinary #1
Last month we broke the news of a new V.E. Schwab series coming in June, ExtraOrdinary. The series will actually launch on May 5th with a special #0 issue only costing $1. Set between the Vicious (2013) and Vengeful (2018) book series, ExtraOrdinary will introduce Charlotte Tills, a headstrong teenager who survives a bus crash with the power to foresee someone’s death. But when one of the deaths she foresees is her own, can she change her future before it happens?
We have a special art preview above for you, and you can also check out the trailer for the series here.
An ExtraOrdinary Interview with V.E. Schwab and Enid Balám
If that art preview and trailer has you wanting to learn more about ExtraOrdinary, Forbidden Planet has an interview with writer V.E. Schwab and artist Enid Balám to introduce the series and take you through the #0 issue that will drop in stores and digitally next month.
Life is Strange Free Comic Book Day Title Details
Another story we broke last month was Titan’s Free Comic Book Day offerings, which included Life is Strange. We now have a look at the cover for the issue (above), and details on two new characters in Max and Chloe’s world. Both these new faces also make an appearance in the upcoming Life is Strange: True Colors video game.
This Free Comic Book Day title will give readers the first look at Alex Chen, the protagonist of Life Is Strange: True Colors. Alex will star in a standalone story focusing on her reunion with her brother. And in the main story (which kicks off a new story arc), we meet “queen of the nerds” Steph Gingrich. Steph made her video game debut in Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and also appears in Life is Strange: True Colors.
The Life is Strange Free Comic Book Day edition will be available at your local comic shop on August 14, 2021. And the video game Life is Strange: True Colors will drop on September 10th.
Behind the Scenes of Adler
We enjoyed the premise and the gorgeous artwork of Adler, and SciFiNow goes behind the scenes with artist Paul McCaffrey in this interview to talk about creating the world of the series, his inspirations, and perhaps the possibility of more Adler stories! (Note: At the time of publication of this month’s PUBWATCH, the contest mentioned in the interview has closed.)
What I’m Reading
We have some more fun with Minions and visit with some strong women in space and time.
Minions Sports! #2
Renaud Collin (artist), Stephane Lapuss (writer)
April 7th, 2021
It’s time for more athletic mischief with the Minions, who just can’t seem to avoid trouble. (Though if they talked, I imagine they would protest and say “trouble finds us!”) Just like in the previous installment, there are all kinds of sport in these pages – – sports for personal pleasure and sports for competition. There are hijinks with a trampoline to make it more exciting, an aerobics class with a special delivery, and one minion very eager to start using his new fishing equipment the minute he spots fish, even when they’re not in their natural habitat. And in one story, the Minions are actually bystanders to trouble for once, as someone’s surfboard ends up in a case of mistaken identity.
Just like in the first installment, these stories are full of charm and fun, packing a lot in the limited space each has. Most are one page, though one (the story of the trampoline) actually takes two pages. Oddly enough, the two-page story ends up being the weakest of the lot, as the humor seems forced and you can figure out what the gag will be (and how it ends) from panel one. Part of the charm of the Minions is that little element of surprise, and when you take that away, something ends up missing.
And while the vignette form of storytelling is fun, and one this creative team has perfected across their various series, it’s also a form that is starting to wear thin. The Minions prove they can carry a full feature-length film, so I’d like to see Collin and Lapuss take one overarching story in their next Minions comic, instead of these quick adventures. It may be a learning curve for them. As I noted earlier, the longer story did have its weaknesses. But with the right script, I think this team can make it work.
It’s always a joy to drop in with these canary-colored creatures and use their adventures to leave the worries of the world for a while. This creative team shows they know their characters, and now it’s time for them to stretch their creative wings and get in some good mischief of their own.
Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla #1
Jim Campbell (letterer), Cynthia von Buhler (writer, artist)
April 14, 2021
Remember The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini? Well, she is back and in the thick of the War of Currents, the Tesla-Edison rivalry. Befriending Mr. Tesla at the request of J.P. Morgan Jr. in 1943, Minky and Tesla strike up a sweet friendship. But Tesla’s creations are in danger, wanted by many who seek to use them for money and power. Now Mr. Tesla thinks he has the plan to protect his patents from falling into German hands. But someone else has a plan to make sure those plans don’t see the light of day. Naturally, it’s going to be up to Minky to save the day.
Past Minky Woodcock stories have been a blend of Golden Age romance and intrigue with a touch of modern-day sensuality. And this one is no exception. Like her previous installment, von Buhler blends real-life people and events into this fictional story seamlessly, never using someone’s appearance just for the sake of it. It’s worldbuilding that keeps the reader engaged and entertained. Family drama is what propelled the first Minky Woodcock story, and that’s true here too. But it’s in a new form, with Minky’s father ill in the hospital, and opens up a pathway for some potentially relatable subplots.
Those Golden Age influences are all over the artwork, a flat style with minimal texture for shaping. It has the look of stained glass and enhances the sensuality of the script. However, there’s a lot of detail in each panel, and the eye isn’t always sure where to go, especially in smaller panels. Better pacing and layout would take this story to new heights, especially since it has more pages (35) than a standard comic.
And don’t forget to take a look at the back matter, where von Buhler dives into fact versus fiction in Tesla’s later years and reveals how she researched this story.
Fans of trailblazing women and historical fiction will find much to love in Minky Woodcock. And I’m glad she’s back on my pull list.
Doctor Who: Missy #1
Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist), Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), Comicraft’s Richard Starkings (letterer)
April 14, 2021
From Zemo to Loki to Agatha, everyone loves to love a villain. And Doctor Who’s first female Master, Missy, follows right in that tradition. The demented Mary Poppins that Michelle Gomez brought to life now makes her comic debut. Of course, Missy wants to put her old foe in his place. But in a twist, she’s looking for help from one of her past faces. Now let’s see if that face – that of the very first Master, Roger Delgado – is apt to agree. I doubt it’s going to be a blissful partnership.
The series marks the 50th anniversary of the Master’s first appearance on Doctor Who, and it does well to pay tribute to the character’s history without immersing itself too much in it. Using Delgado alongside Missy bridges past and present Doctor Who. And subtle touches in artwork from Roberta Ingranata also give homage to the series history. All this allows plenty of room for Missy to be Missy, showing off the sharp banter that made you love to hate her.
There is still the open question of the temporal paradox from the previous series. If the Tenth and Thirteenth Doctors in the same room put time at risk of paradox, shouldn’t the two faces of the Master – who is also Time Lord – lead to a paradox? It’s a question I hope gets answered in this series. (And perhaps one the Doctors can use to their advantage!)
While everyone on this creative team continues to bring their best to their work, Enrica Eren Angiolini’s star continues to rise, thanks to her skill in tone. Missy’s wardrobe has enough saturation in it to draw your eye to her on every page. But it’s not garish or out of place in the prison setting. It all blends beautifully. And in the issue’s climactic (and lone action) scene, color does wonders to show kinetic energy.
It’s been nearly five years since Missy was on our TV screens, trying to stay one step ahead of Peter Capaldi. That’s been an absence too long. Welcome back, Missy.