Tuesday, March 12, 2019

This Week In Comics: 3/13

Another New Comic Book Day is upon us! It’s time to plan a trip to your local comic shop and take a look at this week’s new comics! Hit the jump to check out reviews of my favorite comics coming out this week.

Disclaimer: I received advance copies of all comics featured this week courtesy of their individual publishers.
Opinions are my own.

Go Go Power Rangers #18 (BOOM! Studios)
Ryan Parrott, Eleonora Carlini, Raul Angulo, Ed Dukeshire

Alpha One’s backstory is revealed! Meanwhile, Rita and her mother reconnect after all these years… will this be the key to powering the Dragon Coin?

There was a lot of great stuff in this issue, but I feel like it was over too quick. That’s often a side effect of having the only action scene take place in the first pages. After that, it’s just people talking until there are no more pages left.

This issue features a handful of flashbacks set ten-thousand years ago as we explore more of Zordon’s relationship with Rita’s mother and the origin of Alpha-1. We also get an appearance by King Lexian from Masked Rider. Cool.

Trini is given some spotlight as the arrival of Alpha-1 has her on edge… for no particular reason. I guess she has a right to be concerned since he’s apparently been on Earth for who knows how long and has been spying on them.

But then she brings him up to a guidance counselor but says he’s a new employee at the Juice Bar. This just seems to trivialize her concerns. The boss brought in a new coworker? Who cares? It almost signals that Alpha-1, who is equipped with a War Machine’s worth of weapons, is absolutely is going to betray them and Trini’s worrying about him is just to set it up.

At least we have the Rita stuff to make up for this issue’s lack of action and confusing Yellow Ranger. I swear Ryan Parrott is secretly setting up a Rita ongoing because she is stealing the show these days. She’s funny and weird and her interactions with her generals - who we know are never going to accomplish anything - are hilarious.

And of course, there’s Rita’s mother, sporting the Green Ranger’s iconic shield, who has been brought back from beyond, who is first glad to see her daughter safe from Master Vile’s hands. But as Mama Repulsa starts to realize what her daughter has become, she realizes she may have to destroy her own creation.

Pick up the latest chapter in this Power Rangers saga at your local comic shop this Wednesday, or start the adventure from the beginning by clicking here to order the first volume right now. 

The Long Con #7 (Oni Press)
Dylan Meconis, Ben Coleman, EA Denich, Fred C. Stresing, Aditya Bidkar

BATTLEFOXES, HO! It's axes versus blasters when Victor and Dez's sci-fi captors run afoul of an ambush set by a deadly squad of high-fantasy warrior women. Who are these mysterious figures in (surprisingly supportive) chainmail bikinis? Does their fledgling resistance movement stand a chance against the might of the Skylarks? And will Victor and Dez survive to tell the tale?

This issue continues one of my favorite aspects of this post-apocalyptic series where comic con never ended: literal fandom wars. So far, The Long Con has mostly dealt with Skylarks, a Star Trek type franchise. This issue introduces Battlefoxes, a Xena type fantasy series. And in the arduous world of the neverending Long Con, the Battlefox fans have found themselves some real swords.

The Long Con has always dealt with normal post-apocalyptic tropes in a comic con setting. Convention badges are still needed to enter certain areas, knowledge of fan trivia being necessary to survive, and fandoms forming small gangs and factions.

But this issue really brought a new definition to fandom wars. I don’t know where any of these people found live steel and real bullets for their real guns, but they’re actually killing each other over which old TV show is better. And that’s hilarious.

After that drama is dealt with, Victor and Dez’s intern who is still her intern for some reason Loren get separated from the rest of the group. What follows is a quick montage across a few pages where our characters explore different convention staples and how they’ve evolved or adapted after the apocalypse.

We see a panel room full of corpses, a tabletop room filled with a giant chess game, some live-action roleplay, a game show, and a few others. Since this is a limited series these quick glimpses are fun glimpses into the greatest world that the story doesn’t have time to focus on.

The Long Con is a great series that shows a great love of its own world. Both the apocalyptic convention setting and the Skylarks in-universe and behind the scenes lore show just how dedicated the creators are to telling a deep story that really breaks down what a fan really is.

Click here to check out The Long Com Vol. 1 and start from the beginning.

Steven Universe Fusion Frenzy #1 (BOOM! Studios)
Anthony Oliveira, JY Yang, Steve Foxe, Amal El-Mohtar, Sarah Gailey, Ver, Xiao Tong Kong, Mollie Rose, Maurizia Rubino, Doki Rosi, Jamie Loughran, Cristina Rose Chua, Mike Fiorentino, DC Hopkins

This is a special, giant-sized one-shot issue that contains five short stories from the world of Steven Universe, each focusing on one of the series’s five iconic gem fusions. Fusion has always been an allegory for relationships, love, and - on a subtler level - sex. This collection slaps that to the forefront.

The Stevonnie story features a gay pride parade. Although it’s not overtly named as such there are same-sex hand-holders about and an alternate Earth version of rainbow-flags that feature pastel hues and star patterns.

The festival is attacked by a corrupted gem monster and Stevonnie comes to save the day decked out in some beautiful rainbow attire - including a fabulous cape. Sprinkled throughout the story is narration from Garnet giving Steven and Connie a lesson on the dangerous side of fusion and the importance of strength in togetherness.

The Garnet story is a follow up to her origin seen in the TV episode “The Answer.” It tells of her first battle, which is interesting considering she is a fusion of Ruby, a soldier, and Sapphire, an aristocrat.

The Smoky Quartz story is all about identity as Smoky meets Vidalia, an old friend of Amethyst. Vidalia is all excited to hang out with them, but she has trouble connecting with the fact that Smoky is more than just Amethyst with a new look. With misgendering and using old names, it definitely echoes the real tribulations that genderqueer people struggle with.

The Opal story isn’t anything to talk about and the Sugilite story is really more about Pearl. Which I guess makes sense since both of Sugilite’s TV appearances were episodes all about her and not Garnet and Amethyst’s relationship.

Fusion Frenzy is amazing! There’s lore and backstory, relationships and heart, feels and tears. Fusions are a really popular concept among Steven Universe fans yet they rarely appear on the show, so it’s great that comics get a chance to show them off like this.

Transformers #1 (IDW)
Brian Ruckley, Angel Hernandez, Cacthet Whitman, Tom B. Long

Well, this was the perfect time for me to start reviewing IDW comics! Last year, a Transformers saga that had been going on for thirteen years came to an end. In 2019, IDW launches “A Bold New Era” in this reboot the entire Transformers comic universe.

I know almost nothing about Transformers. I’ve seen the first live-action movies and watched a handful of whatever shows were Cartoon Network in the early 2000s. If you wanna talk Beast Wars then hell yeah I’m a Transformers fan. Otherwise, this was my first real introduction to the more hardcore lore of Hasbro’s iconic franchise.

This reboot is taking a Year One style approach, featuring a time when Optimus Prime was still known as Orion Pa (but otherwise looks exactly the same) and his rivalry with Megatron is just beginning. This is before any war between Autobots and Decepticons, so we’re seeing the conflict at its early days.

Since the Earth hasn’t discovered robots in disguise yet, this story is all Cybertronions. Instead of middle school kids like on most Transformers animated series, readers are given Rubble, a brand new character to identify with.

Rubble has only recently been ‘forged’ and hasn’t settled on his alternate form yet. This is new to me, but apparently, Transformers can choose what their vehicle mode is. I kinda always thought they were made that way similar to the military focused gem society in Steven Universe.

It’s always seemed like, in general, the only reason Transformers existed was for war. Maybe this is just because of the toyetic nature of the franchise, or maybe the society greatly shifts after the war begins. In any case, this issue actually shows a lot of the normal, day-to-day Cybertronions who don’t just exist to fight.

In fact, no one fires a single shot in the whole issue and there is only one brief transformation actually shown. I’m sure we’re eventually going to see the first battles of the endless war the franchise is known for, but it’s nice to see a story that’s just about the more human side of Transformers. Heart, emotion, and even a little politics.

This is a great new start to a new era of Transformers. It features familiar characters but isn’t bogged down with thirty years of backstory to alienate newcomers like me. If you’ve ever wanted to read a Transformers comic but never knew where to start, this one’s for you.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #3 (BOOM! Studios)
Jordie Bellaire, Dan Mora, Raรบl Angulo, Ed Dukeshire

Spike and Cordelia form an unlikely alliance to take on the giant vampire-hunting beast that Anya was just keeping on a shelf. The new reVamp has been… weird. We’ve got so many classic characters thrown about in the first two issues and now they’re fighting a massive apocalypse monster.

Despite such a huge amount of characters popping up in this issue, not a lot happens. I like it, but there isn’t much to say about. The characters look like the actors, the writing is Whedon-witty, Cordelia’s highlights are terrible.

What comics are you picking up this week? Let me know down in the comments below!