New Comics Week 9/7/16: In Which Frank Cho Feeds Us Comic Book Cotton Candy

Skybourne #1, written and drawn by Frank Cho, is a fast-paced and action packed comic book that doesn’t let one page go by without something cool happening. Do I know anything about the characters or their motivations? Not really, but at this point I think the questions can wait. The issue is pretty much one big action sequence involving a super-powered woman trying to get a sword from some people who decidedly do not want her to have it. Oh, and the sword is Excalibur. And then a wizard shows up. By the time the book ended (on a genuinely shocking moment), I had stopped caring about the lack of first issue exposition and only really wanted more. Cho’s art is, as always, big and fun. He choreographs and paces the action perfectly, making the whole issue most reminiscent of the in media res opening scenes of the Bond movies. So there may not be a ton going on under the surface, but it’s such a fun, pretty surface that I don’t really care.

On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got Eclipse #1 this week which is yet another example of my most favorite subgenre of all the sub-genres- sci-fi noir. Eclipse takes place in a future where it’s impossible for humans to live under the sun, as a solar event has made the sun’s rays deadly. Humanity adapted by becoming nocturnal and by harnessing the newly-lethal sun as a power source. The hook to the story is that someone is using the sun to kill people. As the daughter of a prominent businessman is threatened, a solar engineer finds himself caught up in the investigation. This book does exactly what good sci-fi should- create a well-formed and mostly unfamiliar world in which the characters have familiar motivations.

As I was in the middle of reading Cyborg Rebirth, I was thinking about how hard they’re pushing Cyborg now thanks to his inclusion in the DCEU and how it hasn’t worked out that well so far. His solo series have been a mixed bag at best and while his presence in the Justice League title has been okay, it seems like the writers are struggling to find out where he fits. I’d assume it’s a lot of pressure for writer John Semper (who worked on the ambitiously plotted 90’s Spider-Man animated series), but judging by this one-shot, he’s got it covered. It starts with Vic fighting a blandly tech-y looking monster at STAR labs and after crashing into a semi-hidden room, Cyborg finds out that he may not be as human as he thought. It sets up what should be a very solid character arc for Vic, but the most promising tease is the reveal of the big bad (a new character, who also shows up on the last page of this week’s Justice League #4) whose evil plan is one that could only focus on Cyborg. Paul Pelletier’s art is fluid and dynamic and very well suited to this particular corner of DCU, making this a solid start to what hopefully ends up being the series that can solidify Cyborg’s new place in the universe.

It’s kind of hard to write about book that you don’t like all that much, but only because it was never meant for you. Supergirl #1 from Steve Orlando and Brian Ching isn’t by any means a bad comic, it’s just decidedly not for me. The art is pretty stylized, but I like it. It’s very well structured with Kara’s flashbacks to her life on Krypton being deployed neatly while also doing the whole first-issue introduction thing without it being unbearable to people who have been reading Supergirl for years. There’s some changes made to align with the show- Kara is working with the DEO, who decide when she gets to go out in costume, apparently. This is a particularly odd choice as existing separately from government oversight has been a pretty big sticking point for Superman over the years. Cat Grant is…a hacker, or something? Is she a tech expert on the show? I’m not sure. As much as it pains me to say it, these little continuity quibbles don’t matter here. In the end, this is very solid comic book that you could hand to someone who only watches the show as an entry point and it would have a good chance of hooking them.


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