I’m writing this on Boxing Day/Mall Return Day, with only five days left in all of 2021. In this tumultuous year, we have somehow made it to the end. And let me take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday (whatever holiday you celebrate) and a Happy New Year. Here’s hoping 2022 ends up a little easier for all of us. This month, we plug along with Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf #2 and check in with Life is Strange: Settling Dust #3.
Titan Comics News and Announcements
December 2021 and January 2022 Release Schedule
Since we’re publishing these columns closer to the end of the month now, we will start including release schedules for the upcoming month along with the titles released in the current month. Please note release dates are always subject to change and are accurate at the time of writing, especially as supply chain issues continue to wreak havoc on the comics industry.
- Blade Runner 2029 #10: December 1st
- Snowpiercer Vol. 1 -3 (Boxed Set): December 6th
- Blade Runner 2019 Vol. 1-3 (Boxed Set): December 6th
- Simpsons Comics #45: December 9th
- Robotech Archives: The Sentinels Vol. 2: December 13th
- Rivers of London Vols. 4-6 (Boxed Set): December 13th
- Assassin’s Creed: Bloodstone Collection: December 13th
- Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf #1: December 15th
- Gun Honey #4: December 15th
- Life is Strange: Settling Dust #3: December 29th
- Blade Runner 2029 #11: January 5th
- Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #4: January 5th
- The Phantom of the Opera: January 11th
- Bloodborne Vol. 1 -3 (Boxed Set): January 11th
- Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf #3: January 12th
- Simpsons Comics #45: January 13th
- Cowboy Bebop #1: January 19th
- Blade Runner 2029 Vol. 2: Echoes: January 25th
- Flash Gordon Dailies: Austin Briggs: Radium Mines of Electra Vol. 8: January 25th
- Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince Vol. 1-3 (Boxed Set): January 25th
- Life is Strange: Settling Dust #4: January 26th
Titan Comics March 2022 Solicitations
March sees Titan start to prepare for Free Comic Book Day 2022, with a new Doctor Who story and a Bloodborne comic. The Doctor Who story will kick off a new story arc for the series, while the Bloodborne story kicks off an entire new series. But before the Free Comic Book Day title, Dan Slott with author another one-shot coming on April 13th. (We’ll have more details on that later in this PUBWATCH.) If you need to catch up on Blade Runner 2029, Volume 3 of the trade paperback is out on April 27th. Also out that day is the final issue of Cowboy Bebop. But before that, on March 16th, Blade Runner Origins #10 will drop.
Looking ahead to the late spring and early summer, a new graphic novel (Frank Lee: After Alcatraz) arrives on June 8th, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the famous prison escape. Also arriving on that day is a new Michael Moorcock comic adaptation, this time of the novel Elric: Bane of the Black Sword. A few weeks before both of those, the full Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf series will drop in trade on May 8th.
For magazine fans, June sees two volumes of Star Wars Insider Presents: The Mandalorian, one on June 15th and one on June 29th. But before that, March 2nd sees a special edition of Star Wars Insider magazine, focusing on crime in the Star Wars universe — the lawbreakers and the lawmakers.
Please note release dates are subject to change, particularly if supply chain issues continue to affect the comics industry.
Interior Art Preview of Cowboy Bebop #1
While Cowboy Bebop has been pushed back to 2022, we do have a look at inside art from the first issue. The artwork pays homage to the iconic opening sequence of the anime (that the Netflix series also recreated beautifully).
The new release date for Cowboy Bebop #1 is January 19th, 2022.
Dan Slott Comes to Doctor Who
As mentioned in the March 2022 solicitations, Spider-Man writer Dan Slott will write three Doctor Who one-shots, one a year for three years. The first one, out in April, will be a Tenth Doctor story that also features Martha Jones. Martha gets captured by the Pyromeths, and her only way out is with some sensational stories of the Tenth Doctor. Fan-favorite artist Christopher Jones, known for work on Doctor Who: The Third Doctor – Heralds Of Destruction, will provide artwork. Each of the one-shots will feature a different Doctor.
One thing Slott has in common with the current Doctor Who team? “One of the worst secrets in comics is that I am one of the world’s biggest Whovians!” Slott said. “I’ve been regularly watching Doctor Who since the Tom Baker years, and am deeply devoted to every incarnation of the show! I’ve been waiting to write stories for the Doctor my whole life!” And if you are concerned this means the end of the current creative team, Slott says that they will continue on the series.
Watch for this new era of Doctor Who later this spring, and enjoy this preview of the cover to the special above.
What I’m Reading
We’re keeping up with the series from the last PUBWATCH: Life is Strange Settling Dust and Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf.
(Note that our reviews may contain spoilers, so proceed carefully!)
Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf #2
Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), Warnia K. Sahadewa (colorist), Comicraft’s Richard Starkings (letterer)
December 15, 2021
We open this issue with a very confused Eleventh Doctor. He’s perturbed to find Rose Tyler in this universe. But that’s soon overtaken by a TARDIS that wants to send him to Creerm, a planet with nothing on it. Or that had nothing on it. For when Eleven arrives, he finds the formerly barren planet bathed in grandeur. And who’s watching over it? None other than Rose Tyler. Or rather, a Rose Tyler. Meanwhile, Eight is with another Rose Tyler, but before they can get deep into the getting to know you stage, Eight’s TARDIS wants to send them to Creerm — where the other Rose Tyler is hanging out. The Creerm Rose is having paradox headaches, so will the appearance of Eight with the other Rose be the start of setting things right — or just a door to more troubles?
After the complicated, convoluted story that was Doctor Who: Flux, which took its entire length for all the pieces of the story to come together in a coherent way, it’s welcome to have this story cut to the chase, so to speak. By the halfway point to this issue, we have the path for resolution of the Roses. But this also seems too easy, and I wonder what other roadblocks will come our way first.
I was hoping to see a bit more characterization in the Eighth Doctor, one who didn’t have much of a life on TV but blossomed in other media. Is there something that draws him to this Rose? Reflecting on the character we saw on TV, I think his attraction to this Rose is for her humanity, for he had a Fourth Doctor-esque joy towards humans. Contrasted with the old soul in a young body that is Eleven, the two provide nice contrast for each other.
When everyone lands on Creerm, there’s such well-executed interplay between inks and colors. The backgrounds remain monochromatic in blues and grays, which may seem like an odd choice for this supposed opulent planet. Roberta Ingranata more than makes up for that in detail that you tend to see in European comics. It doesn’t compete with the characters, as Ingranata pulls back on detail (but not to a point where they are unrecognizable) allowing Warnia K. Sahadewa’s colors to provide depth and make the characters stand out against the background. Neither competes with the other — each provides what they need to do to serve the story.
Everyone has questions, and it looks like we’re heading for paradoxes galore! What a way to start 2022 in Doctor Who comics.
Life is Strange: Settling Dust #3
Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt (letterer) Andrea Izzo (colorist), Claudia Leonardi (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Emma Vieceli (writer)
December 29, 2021
Happily reunited, Max and Chloe leave behind Seattle to return to Arcadia Bay – – their Arcadia Bay, as Chloe describes it. And she has a surprise for Max: a restored Joyce’s Diner, 100 percent funded by people power. And next door, Chloe opened her own garage, complete with an apartment for her and Max. The joy does turn to tears as Max views a memorial wall of of those Arcadia Bay has lost, many of them her own photographs. But it’s cathartic for her, a chance to finally and properly grieve. There’s also some happy reunions, but still some questions Max has to answer — to others about her time missing, and about some familiar faces in unfamiliar places.
As I was going through the publication schedule, I didn’t see any issue on the list for January. And this had me thinking that this was the finale for the series. Which makes sense at first: when you read the issue it certainly feels like a finale. Max is home in a new and improved Arcadia Bay. She has friends, her Chloe, and a chance to come to terms with what happened to her in Arcadia Bay before. But there will be an issue #4 at the end of January, and there’s just enough in this issue to get us there. I’m also wondering if this series will borrow from what shows like Game of Thrones have done in scriptwriting: resolve the main conflict in the penultimate episode, while using the finale to set up what could come next.
Max has some questions about what she missed in her time away and some of her own doubts about her actions to get her to this point. While she’s happy to be home, she also knows the road to get here may not have had the best decisions. I love this multi-faceted writing from Vieceli, the humanity in her characters.
Perhaps it was from reading on my iPad, but the colors in this issue appeared brighter than in issues past. The photographs and memories on the Arcadia Bay Remembers wall explode in a variety of colors, and Chloe’s business has some impressive exterior graffiti. Could that be a symbol of Max’s happiness, her reunification of her selves? If so, it’s a lovely way to underscore the joy in this reunion. But, it also provides a nice contrast with Max’s conversation with Tristan at the end, where she’s wondering if she took the right road to get to this place.
This issue provides a lovely way to close out 2021. We’ll see what loose ends Vieceli and company have left for the series finale.