Monday, February 10, 2020

This Week In Comics: 2/12

New comics come out every single week! That's so wild. I've been doing this for two years and it's starting to drive me a bit crazy. In any case, here's some more comic reviews. I'll be back next week with even more.

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

Go Go Power Ranger's #29 (BOOM! Studioos)
Ryan Parrot, Sina Grace, Francesco Mortarino, Raรบl Angulo, Ed Dukeshire

I guess it's alright that I've been busy and missed reviewing the last issue in this series since it was just a (very good) filler and I haven't missed reviewing much story wise.

This issue picks up some time after #27 and focuses on the newly White Ranger Tommy's first missions as leader and the eventual set-up of the Peace Conference and the Omega Rangers.

Tommy's not doing great as team leader, which tracks with the earlier Necessary Evil issues of MMPR. Here, we see that everyone knows it. Jason still makes the best calls in battle, the others are split between pointing figures at and making excuses for Tommy, even Zordon admits he has untapped potential that just needs some extra untapping.

In all this, we've got the Omega Rangers origin story. Jason, Zack, and Trini meet up with the Blue Emissary and Xi and head off on their first mission. It's nice to see how they originally start lying to their friends and looking for their own replacements.

I've been hard on Necessary Evil and have suggested that it may be better experienced by reading the Go Go arc in its entirety first and then all of the MMPR arc, but here - at the end - we're starting to see how the two really do interconnect. Kiya, who has already been outed as the vilain in MMPR, is introduced here in a way that overtly foreshadows her turn that might be a spoiler to those just reading all of Go Go first. 

I'm really not sure how I feel about Necessary Evil and probably won't until it's over in the next few months. It took one of my favorite ideas and dragged it out over two separate books and in the end I can't help but wonder how necessary that was?

Long arcs have always been the biggest problem with these comics and I fear what that means going forward.

Alienated #1 (BOOM! Studios)
Simon Spurrier, Chris Wildgoose, Andre May, Jim Campbell

Three teenagers, each an outcast in their own way, stumble upon an unearthly entity as it’s born. As they bond over this shared secret and the creature’s incredible abilities, it becomes clear to the teenagers that their cute little pet is a predator in the making—and it’s in need of prey.

Alienated is the story of three Sams. All very different, all very much the same. Samuel is a new kid at school who wants to stay anonymous and out of the way. Samantha is just trying to get through her senior year and move on to a new chapter in life. Samir is trying his hardest to make everyone like him.

Happenstance puts all three on a trek through the woods one morning before school and stumble upon a mysterious alien egg pod thingy. The pod links the three of them together, enabling/forcing them to hear each other's thoughts.

While there is clearly a cosmic alien plot on its way, this first issue shows what Alienated is going to do best. The melding of the three minds creates a unique setting where the three main characters grow closer together by not only a shared experience but also their shared mindscape. 

A five page sequence shows a day in the life at school. One page per class period, more or less one panel per Sam. At first, they want nothing more than to get out of each other's heads. By the end, they've already bonded together. They're sorta friends now.

This could've easily been a sci-fi Breakfast Club. A loner, a jock, a princess. The decision to make it a loner, a loner, and a loner is so fascinating as it breaks down a popular "high school teenager" trope into its more complex part.

We've all felt alienated at one point or another - especially in high school - but no two alienations are the same and this series is out to explore that. I honestly don't need to see them struggle to deal with their new alien pet. Just gimme more high school stories about three Sams who can read each other's minds.

My favorite pages of this issue is how the three characters are introduced. At the start, we have no idea how they're about to be related. They're completely unconnected. Before any of them even share a page together, Wildgoose conveys their similarities by drawing their introductory pages with the same layout. Even without reading the words these pages do a great job at telling us that these characters are walking the same path.

Alienated is great. Using these science fiction elements, Spurrier and Wildgoose create a story that is real by way of the unreal. A week ago it wasn't even on my radar and now it's at the top of my must-read list!

What are you reading this week? Let me know in the comments down below.