Tuesday, March 26, 2019

This Week In Comics: 3/27

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.

Wasted Space #8 (Vault Comics)
Michael Moreci, Hayden Sherman, Jason Wordie, Jim Campbell

The quest to replace Dust’s arm - taken from him in a battle with his traitorous lover Fury - leads the Space Wasters to the lawless planet of Gorgeron. Yeah, I just made up the name Space Wasters but I’m sticking to it.

We don’t see much of this space Tortuga before Billy and Dusk agree to do a job for an old contact in exchange for a new arm for Dusk. If you think this issue sounds like a classic Firefly type “do the job” story then you’re wrong.

This is a small, character-based introspective on the series two most flawed characters. It honestly has nothing to do with the quest for Dusk’s arm. I’m not even sure what the job they were doing is.

No one pulls a gun or throws a punch. There’s no chase or battle. But this is easily the best issue of the series, and probably the best single issue I’ve read so far this year.

For those of you who weren’t raised in the Catholic church, let me take a brief interlude to introduce you to the Sacraments. These are seven rites of passage in the church. Most Catholics will go through a handful of them, such as getting water dribble on their head as a baby, eating a cracker every Sunday, or getting married. Others, such as becoming a priest or getting oil rubbed on your lips when you’re dying in a coma, are less common. If you get all seven in one lifetime you get special access to the VIP section of Heaven, or so my eighth grade religion teacher told me.

The second Sacrament is one most people are probably familiar with after seeing it in TV and movies - going into a dark little booth and listing all the bad stuff you’ve done to a priest on the other side. This is commonly called “confession” but the Sacrament is officially referred to as Reconciliation.

In this issue, Billy is forced by Dusk to get his baggage off his chest while Molly stays behind and does the same to her brother Rex. Both want the other to talk about their role in the death of Yam.

But this isn’t a “confession” per se. Dusk and Molly both know Billy and Rex caused Yam’s death. They don’t need to hear a confession. Confession is just getting stuff off your chest, you’re not actually working through any of it.

This isn’t a confession story, it’s a reconciliation story. Billy and Rex both know that they’re killers, but deep down they don’t really know who they are. It’s not about being sorry for your actions, it’s about understanding why you took those actions.

I’ve read thousands of pages of comics, not to mention watched thousands of hours of TV and movies, where heroes with gray morals blast through way to victory. But very rarely does someone sit them down and make them think about why their morals are so gray to begin with.

Religion is part of the premise of Wasted Space, that’s no secret. But in a space opera featuring galactic battles with robots and aliens across a vibrant sea of stars, a full issue of characters talking stands out more than a breath of fresh air.

The characters are drawn with expressions that could tell the same story without the word bubbles, set against a dark and rainy storm perfectly projecting the conflict in Billy’s heart. Moreci’s writing is at the forefront here and it’s honestly the best work I’ve ever seen from him. This guy should be the next Batman writer.

Catch up on Wasted Space by clicking here to order Vol. 1 and click here to pre-order Vol.2 because you won’t want to miss one of the best comics out there.

Skyward #11 (Image Comics)
Joe Henderson, Lee Garbett, Antonio Fabela, Simon Bowland

Willa’s battle with giant bugs is over - for now - but her quest to fix the world has only just begun. Armed with nothing but a mind full of puzzles from her father’s now stolen journal, Willa heads to the ruins of Kansas City to find a way to bring back gravity.

But just as Willa figures out her father’s notes, Barrow arrives to stop her from destroying his anti-gravity business. The two have some quick scuffles, but then everything goes crazy. In the first issue of an arc about bringing back gravity, we learn for sure that gravity is never coming back

As per usual, Skyward delivers some amazing worldbuilding. First, Willa braves the abyss that is the outskirts with nothing above her head to stop her from heading to a death by sky. I’m honestly surprised gravity is high enough that she doesn’t just float away from the start, but it really does show how skilled she is at traversing the only world she’s ever known.

Speaking of which, we’re reminded again that Willa was a newborn last time there was gravity. She sees a large ravine on the edge of the city and realizes it must’ve been a river. And then she comments how creepy it must’ve been for water to be “just sitting on the ground.” Literally everything would be different in a world without gravity and the creative team here never seem to forget that.

Henderson’s ability to craft twists in the story and bends in the world is phenomenal and Garbett and Fabella continue to paint a low-g planet with thought and care. Every time we see Willa’s big black curls floating over her head. Chef kiss.

Skyward continues to be the ultimate adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat - just don’t let go!

Click here to order Skyward Vol. 1 and click here pre-order Vol. 2 before it floats away.

Snotgirl #13 (Image Comics)
Bryan Lee O’Malley, Leslie Hung, Rachel Cohen, Mare Odomo

Fashion blogger Lottie Person takes a much-needed break from all of the problems in her life for a pop-up meet-and-greet and merch sale where hundreds of strangers come by and tell her she’s the best. Naturally, she ends up miserable by the end of it all.

This issue does a great job at conveying one of my favorite aspects of the Millennial quarter-life crisis. Even though Lottie is surrounded by hundreds of her fans who waited in line just to tell her she’s the best - she still has reasons to be miserable.

O’Malley has always understood this aspect of our generation and here he shows it in full force, with Hung’s brilliant expressions and little gestures and body language that really capture what’s going on in the character’s mental states.

While Lottie just tries to get through the day, her ex Sonny Day grapples with his recent discovery that Lottie’s new sorta girlfriend Caroline appeared in a fashion magazine from 1999 - and hasn’t aged a day in 20 years.

Are Caroline and her brother secret in their 40s and just look really good for their age? Or is something a bit more science fiction starting to emerge a whole twelve issues into the series?

Snotgirl shows off the glitz and glamour of being a famous lifestyle Instagram influencer blog person, but it also pulls back the curtain on the dark side of the web. Lottie and her friends paint a portrait of a perfect life for their fans. But even when they’re happy, they aren’t happy.

Click here to start from the beginning with Snotgirl Vol.1 and find out just how hard being a blogger is. Really, it’s tough.

Glow #1 (IDW Publishing)
Tini Howard, Hannah Templer, Rebecca Nalty, Christa A Miesner

GLOW - the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling - have jumped out of their home in the Netflix Original Series and into the pages of their very own comic written by Tini Howard (Hack/Slash) and drawn by Hannah Templer (Jem and the Holograms).

This isn’t exactly what I expected when I heard there was going to be a Glow comic. It’s not exactly as gritty and mature as the R-Rated series. No one is fucking someone else’s husband or getting an abortion here. The tone and art style make it feel like this is a book for little girls, even though it’s still suggested for mature audiences.

I’m also confused about the timeline and placement within the show’s canon. Not that a two season dramedy like Glow has a massive lore that justifies some fan theories about how this is an alternate universe timeline.

But it appears to take place at the end of season 2 given what characters are present and where some of them are in their relationships, but they haven’t been canceled and they all seem to live at home and not the Glow motel. The Glotel if you will.

Anyway, on to the story itself. The Glow girls are heading up to a big wrestling convention, but they each have to raise $75 to cover travel and hotel expenses. This is the kind of plot you’d expect from the show, but their methods of raising the money are a bit… cartoony.

Ruth and Debby wrestle in the street for tips, Sheila and her wolf pack use their wolf senses to find a lost dog and collect the reward, Rhonda plays pub trivia, Melrose hijacks Jenny and Arthie’s bake sale with some super potent pot brownies.

Once again, these sort of antics might actually work in the context of the show, but they’re drawn a bit on the goofier side. Melrose shows up to bake pot brownies in a comical white lab coat, the dog Sheila finds is a white ball of fluff with ears and a face. The colors are bright and the characters are drawn in a borderline anime art style.

Don’t get me wrong - I love it. This is exactly my kind of book. It feels like the Sweet Valley High or Babysitters Club books that the primary target audience probably grew up reading. And being drawn in a sorta all-ages look makes it even funnier when Melrose shows up with a bag of weed.

Did they capture the essence of the dark character drama that breaks down every racial and gender stereotype there is? Nope! And that’s okay. It uses the familiar characters in a way that is fun and different, sorta like that weird Naruto spin-off starring Rock Lee.

Howard’s captures the characters wonderfully, which is hard given the total of sixteen main characters on the show. She also done a great job balancing out the large cast, although Dawn and Stacey seem to have been sent on vacation before the start of the series.

This is a more whimsical and less serious take on the Netflix series, highlighting the comedy elements to produce the perfect book fans of the show need after binge-watching the often sad and grim series.

Coda Vol. 1 (BOOM! Studios)
Coda takes place in the aftermath of an apocalypse which wiped out nearly all magic from a once-wondrous fantasy world. The first volume introduces Hum, a one-legged former bard on a quest to save the soul of his wife accompanied by a mutant unicorn in a world where magical resources are scarce and everyone has to stick together just to survive. The artwork is beautiful - it reminds me of that 80’s movie Wizards, which has a similar premise. Click here to order your copy of the first volume of Coda.

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