Sunday, January 19, 2020

This Week In Comics: 1/22

The holiday slump is finally over! This week I have more comics to review than I know what to do with. Comics set in space, comics set on a farm, comics about gems. And, because this is a week, there's a new Power Rangers comic out too.

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

Wasted Space #13 (Vault Comics)
Michael Moreci, Hayden Sherman, Jason Wordie, Jim Campbell

Molly and Dust go on a quest of Tolkien proportions while Billy and Fury try to avoid being roasted by emotional vampires!

When we last left the Space WastersTM, Molly, Dust, and Rex ran off with three new characters awesomely ripped from old adventure serials while Billy crashed on a planet where he bumps into Dust's estranged flame Fury.

This issue cuts back and forth between these two stories and thank the Creator. A lot of comics tend to split characters up and then do entire issues focusing on one group. That works in an anime but when you got 5 issues to tell a story, sometimes it's better to keep all your balls rolling.

The Billy and Fury scenes are Moreci at his best. Their captors run a spa that's more like a torture cult where they suck out your emotions and feed their planet and then kill them. I'm not entirely sure why, but we get some great scenes about why Billy is the way he is and learn a bit more about Fury. I'm actually glad she's back. I was kinda bummed that she betrayed them but now she seems to be getting a redemption arc.

The other story is where the comedy and action are. Molly and Dust have agree to help their new allies in a massive battle that could easily have ended 10 years of Marvel Cinematic Nonsense. The battle is mostly a backdrop for Dust and Molly to work through feelings about Billy... and it's kind of hilarious.

Molly and Dust don't even seem to be 100% sure why they're there. They don't even seem to be paying attention to the exposition from last issue. They're just fighting all the bad guys cus that's what heroes do. (If the twist is that the new allies are actually bad guys that'd be hilarious.) It's like they're side characters in someone else's story.

Also I love what Moreci is doing with Rex. They picked him up during the last arc because they needed him for like 1 thing and then he just never left and everyone is always shocked to see him. This issue his robot arms are replaced with some War Machine business and honestly I am just happy for him.

Props to Sherman and Wordie for putting together a beautiful battle scene too. There's almost 20 panels of dreaded crowd shots and a bunch of cool monster designs thrown in. Those kinds of pages take a lot of work and it really pays off here.

Wasted Space #13 hits your local comic shop this Wednesday. Click here to get caught up on the series. Waste on!

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #47 (BOOM! Studios)
Ryan Parrott, Daniele di Nicuolo, Walter Baiamonte, Katia Ranalli, Ed Dukeshire

NECESSARY EVIL CONTINUES! After a shocking betrayal, the Omega Rangers are forced to return to earth—and to reveal their identities to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. But can either team of Power Rangers survive the truth?

Shit really hits the fan this month. Sorry, this week. Cus there's almost never not a Power Rangers comic these days. This issue is all about the seeds of distrust and pissed-offness the team feels about the Omega Rangers.

While Billy is just trying to figure everything out, Tommy and Kim - especially Kim - are not having any of it. That level of anger was to be expected, but the real heartbreak here comes from the Steel Canyon trio.

During some alone time with Trini, Aisha asks if their time on the team is temporary and doesn't seems just as hurt about the fake Peace Conference as much as Trini is. Trini and Aisha were the two least developed Rangers... ever. Here we have both of them devastated for different reasons. You really get the sense that no one is having a good time here and everyone's being hurt by this whole thing.

Now it's time for the monster role call! In the middle of all this drama there's a good ol' fashion Rangers vs. Monster fight. Ever since Lord Zedd got bottled, his staff has fallen into the wrong hands and Goldar has made himself a few monsters.

First off there's the Murdercycles, apparently two motorcycles, who look like pretty cool Transformers. Don't get any ideas, Hasbro. The real star of the show is Beastbus, a school bus that got turned into a monster while students were still inside! And the insides are like an Akira horror stomach. Wonderfuly grotesque.

This was a great issue. I loved seeing how the teams react to the revelation and getting three awesome monsters at once. There was a surprising amount of action for what was definitely an in-between issue. Looking forward to more.

Middlewest #14 (Image Comics)
Skottie Young, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Jorge Corona

Holy shit. This issue was GREAT! The entire thing focuses on the kids/slaves at Raider Farms, harvesting the pink orb things that power all electronics in the Middle West.

After we see what happens when someone mishandles one of those orbs - spoiler alert they explode - the bulk of this issue features Abel, Bobby, and the other kids/slaves reminiscing about their crappy parents that led them to where they are now... slavery.

Since Raider typically 'employs' runaways and drifters, everyone's got more or less the same story of shitty parents. Abel bonds with Bully Wars finalist Theo, some short kid I don't remember from last issue had a drugged up mom get better and then get worse, and then we get an extended flashback on Junie, their crew leader.

All of these stories are heartbreaking, but this story about child slavery was oddly uplifting. All of the kids bond over their mutually fucked situation. The higher ups at the farm even make a half decent case for why farm slavery is better than wherever they came from. Abel; even meets with Raider himself who almost comes across as a nice guy.

But they're not. Raider Farms is bad, Mr. Raider is bad, slavery is bad. All of Abel and Bobby's carnival friends are mounting a rescue, but it looks like Abel is about to lead a rebellion before they even get there.

The MVP this issue is the color. Beaulieu does a fantastic job making the explosive pink flames actually look and feel hot and deadly. There's also great mood-lighting here. The walls in the mess hall are painted green which gives off a sterile feel that's both prison-like while also reminding me of a doctor's office.

There's also a night scene where the pink orbs - I'm sure we learned their name at one point but they're pink orbs - illuminate the dusk and turn the whole sky purple. I wish Beaulieu would color my life.

This issue did a great job at showing the real pangs of having shitty parents and being in a shitty situation... while almost making slavery look okay long enough for you to forget that no slavery is not okay.

Middlewest #14 explodes like a pink orb into your local comic shop this Wednesday. You can click here to pre-order the complete third arc or get caught up with Vol 1. here and Vol. 2 here.

Steven Universe #36 (BOOM! Studios)
Taylor Robin, S.M. Mara, Whitney Cogar, Mike Fiorentino

Steven and Connie discover that books around the library have disappeared! It’s up to the two of them to confront the small worm-like corrupted gem responsible for this dastardly crime—and maybe learn more about Gem history while they’re at it!

This is one of the best standalone Steven Universe comics I have ever read. It's a quaint little character piece that has very little action - and a relatively weak enemy at that - but holds a lot of heart.

The best Steven Universe stories have a message and this one's message is SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY. It reminds me a lot of the the "go to the polls" issue of Ms. Marvel, almost a tutorial on how libraries work.

Connie takes Steven on a tour of the Dewey Decimal System, introduces him to the card catalog, and even Asks a Librarian. Considering this is itself a book, all of these lessons are directed toward the read. Go to your library!

The final page is a beautifully drawn moment that sums up the surprise feels that hit you like a thunderstorm. And there's plenty of cute moments between Steven and Connie where they don't even say anything, just look at each other and giggle like best friends. This is pure Steven Universe.

Steven Universe #36 is available at your local comic shop this Wednesday. Click here to check out Vol. 1 of this series and click here to check out my review of the best Steven Universe comic ever - it's about Peeeeeeridot.

Looking for other comic reviews or recommendations? Click here to check out the perfect comics for all-ages and click here to check out one of my favorite comics of last year.