Tuesday, February 25, 2020

This Week In Comics: 2/26

Another week, another round of new comics. You guys know the drill by now. Although this week is pretty cool because Finger Guns is finally out! Well it will be Wednesday. As per usual: reviews after the jump.

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

Finger Guns #1 (Vault Comics)
Justin Richards, Val Halvorson, Rebecca Nalty, Taylor Esposito, Tim Daniel

Two troubled teenagers discover they can manipulate emotions by firing finger guns. There will be laughs. There will be tears. There will be uncomfortable teen feelings and angst. Oh yeah.. And chaos. So much chaos. 

Oh, Finger Guns. What is there to say that I didn't already say in this thousand-word article? An article, I'll remind you, that I wrote three months before the release of the first issue and based entirely on the premise and initial preview pages?

The first issue introduces us to our two main characters and the core concept. Wes lives with his dad who never seems to be home. Wes, among other things, just seems to need a friend. He seems partly sad, but also a bit bored. So when he discovers his powers, his first thought is to have fun.

Then he meets Sadie, another kid who has the same power as he does. The two experiment with their powers together and then form a quick friendship. I like their relationship - every story is only as good as its characters - but I have a feeling something else is going on here.

While I am sure a bit part of this story will be about how these two connect and relate over time, I am also conciously aware of what makes them different. Throughout this first issue and variant covers, Wes is dressed up in warm reds and oranges and  primarily uses the two-finger "anger" ability which also manifests as a red light, however he comes from a calm and quiet life.

Sadie, on the other hand, is dressed in a cool purple and primarily uses the one-finger "relax" ability, which is a blue light. In further contrast to Wes, her home-life is chaotic as her parents seem to be constantly fighting. I don't want to predict anything specific here, but the use of this visual structure is certainly telegraphing something down the line.

The most striking thing about the "finger gun" ability, as Sadie points out, is that the effect is temporary. You can calm someone down or rile them up, but they go back to normal moments later. It doesn't change anything. Every kid's superpower fantasy is about changing their normal world - a world they have no control over. Here, Wes and Sadie have a superpower. But it doesn't change anything.

The artwork is something else, too. The coloring is done in a way that creates this unique graininess effect that I'm having trouble describing. It also looks like it was drawn on sandpaper or construction. Due to the grainy nature of this effect, Finger Guns feels a bit timeless. What it's saying about youth isn't specific to any generation, it's about the universal experience of being young and wanting to control the world you helplessly inhabit.

Finger Guns is a pure and creative concept. I'm not sure if this is the best example of new blood bringing fresh ideas to the industry, or if Richards and Halvorson are just Brian K. Vaughn in a wig. This new series isn't just different, it's something I've never read before. 

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #48 (BOOM! Studios)
Ryan Parrott, Daniele di Nicuolo, Walter Baiamonte, Katia Ranalli, Ed Dukeshire

After the shocking reveal of the last issue, the Rangers are beset by enemies on all sides—even their own. Tensions mount between Tommy and Jason in the fallout over the Omega Rangers secret identities.Will the two teams be able to work together in time to defend against the next attack? Don’t miss the return of a fan favorite character!

In usual Power Rangers fashion there is a lot to unpack here and it can be overwhelming exhausting. Let's take this scene by scene.

Kiya has officially turned evil and set a bunch of morphin people free from dumpsters. It seems like no one has opposed her or tried to takeover her operation. Then again, it's not entirely clear what she is doing here. We're mostly setting up the coming stories here.

There's a great scene where Jason fights Tommy in the pocket dimension. The Rangers often train against simulations of past monsters, but it's not the same. This was scene was a great reminder that even though Tommy has been questionable since becoming leader, he's still the superior fighter. This also represents the first time the two have talked about the fake Peace Conference drama. I don't see these two getting over their drama any time soon.

The big set piece here is the space team - Zack, Trini, Rocky, Adam, and Aisha, floating adrift in space while fighting Cavotus. I honestly don't remember why they were in space or who Cavotus is, but fighting in space is actually really cool. 

The big hype for this issue is the return of the Ranger Slayer. Somehow I missed the news that she was coming back - and I somehow forgot it was on the cover - so it was a nice surprise to see her jam back into the comics. But like...

What the hell happened to the Beyond the Grid team? Old Kim is apparently working with Grace so... are we going to get some explanation about that arc at any point? I am confused. There was some allusion to the Solarix so we might be going beyond in the next issues as Necessary Evil wraps up.

But hands down the best scene here is a one-pager where Zack explains to Adam how he fits in with the rest of the team. These two never interacted on the show so it's wonderful to see such a sweet moment between them.

MMPR #48 hits your local comic shop this Wednesday.

The Brave-Tuber Vol. 2 (Seven Seas Entertainment)
Takahito Oosaki, Ikuro

Zane, Kuku, and their new demon sidekick Hellheit have been struggling to become WizTube stars–no matter how many videos they upload of their adventures, they just can’t seem to get clicks. But all that is put on hold when a huge battle erupts between the Knights’ Order and the Demon Army! Can Zane use this conflict to finally become an internet celebrity?

This was low-key one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I picked up the first volume in a Manga Spice Cafe box - click here for unboxing - and found it to be one of the funniest manga I'd ever read - click here for my review.

For a quick recap, The Brave-Tuber takes place in a fantasy JRPG world that also has the Internet and all of the good and bad things that come with it. The Demon Lord is raising an evil army and Zane is the hero chosen by the Holy Sword to defeat him - but all anyone cares about is getting views and subscribers.

The first chapter of this volume introduces the demon spirit Hellheit who joins the duo as their sorta sidekick. This chapter is funny as Zane and Kuku set out to do a "haunted forest" video and end up doing an "intro" video to boost Hellheit's confidence.

Hellheit doesn't do much in the overall story, but she does have a great story where the others secretly film her to make a "cute pet" video only to discover her responding to creepy comments hot girls get all the time. This series definitely knows how to poke fun at the funny side of social media while still making you look at the unfunny side.

Other chapters include an interview with an internet celebrity, another montage chapter of the Demon Lord being cute and adorable, and a story where Zane and Kuku try to make a "fishing" video which... is that a trend? I didn't get that one - but it was funny. There's a reverse-mermaid which is always fun to see. We need more reverse-mermaids.

With the cancellation of the series, this second volume is also its last. The final chapter is a decent conclusion but still remenicsent of many last chapters to canceled series. The Brave-Tuber is a hilarious concept that couldn't have gone on forever, so I'm glad we got a good run instead of dragging it out any further. Click here to pre-order your copy of The Brave-Tuber Vol. 2, and click here to pick up the first one if you haven't yet.