Titan Comics PUBWATCH: June 2021

Titan Pubwatch Banner from Shades Of Magic: The Steel Prince #2

Looking for some good beach or campground reading, or something to pass the time by the fan or air conditioner?  Then look no further than PUBWATCH! This month, we’ll continue checking in with the adventures of Minky Woodcock and Missy, and take a look at the full debut of V.E. Schwab’s ExtraOrdinary with issue #1!

Titan Comics News and Announcements

June 2021 Release Schedule

Please note release dates are always subject to change.

    • Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla #3: June 16th
    • Doctor Who: Missy #3: June 16th
    • V.E. Schwab’s ExtraOrdinary #1: June 23rd
    • Blade Runner 2029 #5: June 3oth

Titan Comics September 2021 Solicitations

The traditional start to the new school year also sees a few new series.  Life is Strange: Settling Dust #1, the final chapter of Max and Chloe’s story in the Life is Strange universe, drops on September 15th.  Also arriving that day is Gun Honey #1, a tale of a weapons smuggler working for the U.S. government by the co-founder of Titan’s Hard Case Crime imprint, Charles Ardai.  The world of Blade Runner continues as well in September, with Blade Runner: Origins #6 arriving on September 15th, and Blade Runner 2029 #8, kicking off a new story arc, on September 29th.  Another new series coming in September is the latest from the Horizon Zero Dawn franchise, Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation.  Aloy and Erend are back together and on the hunt for a killer of a member of the Oseram tribe.

In the world of Titan books and magazines, go behind the scenes of Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on September 28th.  Star Wars Insider #205 will feature an interview with Paul Sun-Hyung Lee of The Mandalorian and some new Star Wars: The High Republic fiction. Learn to cook like a Xenomorph with Alien: The Official Cookbook on September 8th.  And go hunting for the world’s iconic assassins on September 22nd with Where’s the Assassin?

Visit First Comics News for more details on these and all of Titan’s September 2021 offerings.

The Final Chapter for Max and Chloe

Max, a White woman with dark hair, floats in a body of water. Under the water, Max and Chloe, another White Woman with purple hair, embrace.
Claudia Leonardi’s cover to the upcoming Life is Strange: Settling Dust #1

In our September solicitations report above, one of the debuts is the latest Life is Strange title, Life is Strange: Settling Dust. The title, while not the last in the Life is Strange franchise, will be the final chapter of Max and Chloe’s story.   Max thinks she’s found a way back to her timeline and her Chloe.  But will her efforts succeed?  The title will also feature some of the favorites from the first game, such as Steph Gingrich and former Blackwell mean girl Victoria Chase.  The story itself will kick off in the Life is Strange Free Comic Book Day title on August 14th.

We have a preview of one of the variant covers for the debut issue above, by longtime series artist Claudia Leonardi – – and it certainly promises a happy reunion for Max and Chloe, at least in Max’s mind.

Life is Strange: Settling Dust #1 debuts on September 15th, and is available for pre-order now from your comic shop.

Peek into the Next Chapter of Horizon: Zero Dawn

A page from the upcoming Horizon Zero Dawn Liberation #1, where a White man and a White woman share a conversation while traveling through the wilderness.
A page from the upcoming Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 by Ben McCaw, Anne Toole, and Elmer Damaso

Coming next month is another chapter in Horizon: Zero Dawn franchise,  Horizon: Zero Dawn: Liberation #1.  The title, set during the events of the original game, sees Aloy and Erend hunting for a killer that has a link to Erend’s past. The series will also welcome a new artist to the franchise, Elmer Damaso. We have an extended art preview above that gives you a sense of the relationship between our two main characters on this adventure.

Horizon: Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 will debut on July 28th.

Art Preview for Elric: The Dreaming City #1

A page from the upcoming Elric the Dreaming City #1, featuring a man confronting a very large army on the water.
A page from the upcoming Elric the Dreaming City #1 by Julien Blondel, Jean-Luc Cano, Julien Telo, and Robin Recht.

Michael Moorcock’s fantasy saga continues its comic run in August with Elric: The Dreaming City #1, which will conclude the first chapter of the Elric comics.  Elric finds himself in exile, on a journey through the unknown and not of his own free will – in fact, he’s under the influence of chaos god Arioch. The debut issue will also have a cover by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, and we have an art preview for you above of the first issue.

Elric: The Dreaming City #1, by Julien Blondel, Jean-Luc Cano, Julien Telo, and Robin Recht, will debut on August 8th.

What I’m Reading

It’s another month of women in the spotlight, and since this is WWAC, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

ExtraOrdinary #1
Enid Balám (artist), Jordi Escuin Llorach (colorist), V.E. Schwab (writer), Rob Steen (letterer)
June 23, 2021

A White blond-haired woman stares in a mirror, covering her ears with her hands and with a distressed, frightened look on her face. Staring back at her in the mirror are several skills and a dark haired White male.
ExtraOrdinary #1 by V.E. Schwab and Enid Balám

In last month’s ExtraOrdinary #0, we met Charlotte Tills, a woman with the ability to foresee death.  ExtraOrdinary #1 introduces us to Eli, an incarcerated young man.  Fourteen years prior, Eli was a pre-med student at university and wondering about the ExtraOrdinaries, the people with super-human powers.  It consumes him, and he pushes forward with testing some of his assumptions on himself, even at the risk of career suicide.  The experiment seems to be something of a success, but his mentor Victor’s attempts at talking his protege out of it end with Victor dead, and Eli behind bars at an ExtraOrdinary monitoring facility. And that’s where he discovers Charlotte Tills.

There’s certainly enough in this debut issue that you can appreciate it without having read ExtraOrdinary #0. It is a good idea, though to read it. Having that prior knowledge adds a deeper context to the story, particularly in the final scene. The character building of Eli progresses quite well, but it isn’t clear just what interests him about the ExtraOrdinaries. Scientific curiosity? Youthful rebellion? A bit of both?  Hopefully, this motivation reveals itself in future issues. It will do wonders to build the character profile and give him empathy to the reader.

Of most interest is the muted color palette of Jordi Escuin Llorach, adding a tint of nostalgia for this trip into the past that helps us to understand how Eli got to his current situation.  The present day colors get brightened up just a notch, but noticeable enough so the reader knows the difference between past and present.  Enid Balám also brings an amazing eye to detail, building settings up to add character but not without distracting from the story itself.  And when it comes to action scenes, the depth he adds with light beams shows the strength of Eli’s abilities and transforms still photos into dynamic shots.

We now know the stakes Charlotte faces when we return for issue #2 in July.  And it’s going to be quite the challenge.

Doctor Who: Missy #3
Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist), Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), Comicraft’s Richard Starkings (letterer)
June 16, 2021

Missy, a dark haired White woman in Victorian dress, slyly smiles as she stirs a cup of tea with a sonic screwdriver. On the shelf behind her are several Doctors - - the Twelfth, Tenth, and Third -- in miniature in glass jars
Doctor Who: Missy #3 by Jody Houser and Roberta Ingranata

When we last left Missy and The Master, they found themselves on a mystery planet.  But as this issue opens up, it’s not a mystery to one member of this duo.  Missy knows but is holding that knowledge close to her until they land: first in 18th century London, then in 12th century Essex, then Earth in 2009.  What do all these destinations have in common?  They’re part of the Doctor’s timeline, the one that includes the Master.  It’s a twisted version of A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life, with the added bonus of potential paradox. It’s part of the key to her secret weapon, so where’s the other half hiding? U.N.I.T.

Last month, I shared my concerns about characters being used effectively in this series, and those concerns are still there. While it’s wonderful to see the great care Houser puts into bringing this fan-favorite to life, the cameos by the Doctors are fleeting at best, when the solicits for the series promised so much more. Indeed, the Doctors shouldn’t overshadow the titular character, but I am wondering if they are really being used as effectively as they should.

While the concept of paradox and Time Lords being in the same timeline does get addressed, it’s also an element not used effectively. In the previous series, that paradox made for great drama.  Here it’s an afterthought.  Nevertheless, it’s fun to see the banter between Master and Missy, making me long for a spinoff series with just those two.

This is an issue where the artwork is pure joy. Playing with different places and times allows the art team to stretch their creative muscles in line and color. But at the same time, the artwork ties the story together.  Each of these different spaces isn’t just elements on a plate; they have something that connects them.  One thing that’s always important: Missy stands out wherever she goes.  The backgrounds work to keep her front and center, even in the lushest of spaces. This is Missy’s world and we’re just observing it.

With one issue left, it’s anyone’s guess as to how it will end.  But isn’t that half the fun of any adventure with Missy?

Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla #3
Jim Campbell (letterer), Cynthia von Buhler (writer, artist)
June 16, 2021

A White red haired woman wearing a red low cut spaghetti strap dress stares at the reader while holding a gun pointed in the air. In the background are silhouettes of a White man and a Black woman.
Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla #3 by Cynthia von Buhler

Has Minky found a situation she can’t work her way out of?  With her behind bars accused of murder, that certainly seems to be the case.  Fortunately, this is a temporary situation (thanks to her brother), and Minky’s back at her investigation.  From Josephine Baker to a hotel maid, she’s leaving no stone unturned to find out who killed Mr. Tesla.  Ms. Baker’s knowledge from the French Resistance proves the most fruitful, so the two women head to Wardenclyffe to make some sense of it.  But someone else followed them there and has both of them in his clutches.

In the Doctor Who: Missy review above, I lamented on how the series isn’t using its cameos effectively.  Here we have the exact opposite: one of the most famous chanteuses and members of the French Resistance not just showing up, dropping information, and leaving, but being an active part of the story.  It’s right in line with the real-life Josephine Baker’s character, another example of the care in research von Buhler brought to this story.

The overlay on the artwork adds a texture that looks like newsprint, making this comic set in the 1940s feel as if it is was straight out of the Golden Age.  Coupled with the flat style, the only clue that this is a comic made in 2021 is paneling.  The panels are all shapes and sizes, and some pages disregard the panel b borders to add action and tension. (You see this very effectively about 1/3 of the way through the book during Minky’s meeting with a hotel numerologist.) And when it comes to sensuality, von Buhler does it best in moments where you don’t expect it, like Minky and Josephine’s capture at Wardenclyffe.  At first blush, it’s drawn in a cheesecake pinup style, but the women’s eyes convey power over helplessness. You know they’re scanning the room, looking at their exit from this latest jam.

By the end of the issue. Josephine and Minky end up tied up and connected to a power source. No doubt we’re promised an electrifying conclusion, but this is not what we had in mind.

Kate Kosturski

Kate Kosturski

Librarian by day, comics nerd by day and by night. Also published at Geeks OUT and Multiversity Comics (where she is also the social media manager for the site). Originally from New Jersey, now of Connecticut and New York City. Raging feminist your mother probably warned you about. Body positivity and LGBTQ+ advocate. Lover of good whiskey, Jensen Ackles, Doctor Who, Funko Pops, knitting, Hamilton, and the New York Mets. Will defend the Oxford Comma to her deathbed. Find her on twitter at @librarian_kate

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