I hesitated whether Reborn even needed mentioning, since I’m sure most of you have picked it up anyway, but hot dang is it a great comic book. Of course, with the names Millar and Capullo on the cover, I was expecting a certain level of quality but it still managed to surprise me. The bulk of the book follows the elderly Bonnie Black in spending the last days of her life in an assisted care facility while pondering the nature of death and reminiscing about her past, which would sound awful if it weren’t for the fact that Millar is doing some of his best work in years, injecting an almost Pixar-level of feels into it. The moment that Bonnie dies is beautifully rendered by Capullo and his Batman team of inker Jonathan Glapion and colorist FCO Plascencia who ramp themselves up with this gorgeous splash before tossing Bonnie (and us) into the afterlife. Luckily for us, the afterlife is a sci-fi/fantasy orgy of awesomeness that just explodes off the page as Bonnie is tossed into a battleground where human warriors are duking it out with monsters of all stripes. This is what a blockbuster comic should be- big name creators at the top of their games making an exciting and emotionally honest story that is a true feast for the eyes.
I absolutely love dystopian near-future tales of America (DMZ and the gone-too-soon show Jericho spring to mind as good examples), so when I read the blurb for Warlords of Appalachia, I was instantly hooked. After a second civil war, Kentucky remains the only state that refuses to rejoin the union. Now, I do have to say that while I enjoyed the book, I would find it a lot more plausible if Texas were the holdout, but what can you do? ANYWAY, the book does a wonderful job of balancing the larger issues that will drive the plot (a really interesting religious movement, a Limbaugh-ish American radio host spouting propaganda) with the kind of solid character work that keeps things from becoming too clinical.
Lost Boys, along with Monster Squad and House, is one of the first horror movies I ever loved and it’s finally getting the sequel it deserves thanks to Vertigo, Tim Seeley, and Scott Godlewski. The movie itself was never all that scary, but it did a brilliant job of creating a familiar but surreal and mildly unsettling setting in the town of Santa Carla, which the creative team picks up on. Despite the vampire threat having been dealt with, the town still feels dangerous and the cast of characters is restless. Of course, more vampires show up and they’re far more aggressive than Keifer Sutherland’s crew. It’s fun, funny, and tense- which are the three things essential to this franchise, so if you’re a fan of the movie you’re gonna have a great time with this.
Full disclosure- I’m not all that familiar with the Great Lakes Avengers, but Marvel’s got a pretty good track record with relatively quirky titles so I decided to jump in. Writer Zac Gorman manages that difficult tightrope walk of addressing the past without alienating readers who know nothing about it. The story sees Flatman trying to bring the team back together upon learning that thanks to the larger events in the universe, the rights to the name ‘Avengers’ have reverted back to him. The book then sees the dysfunctional team coming back together in a meandering (in a good way!) issue that reminded me almost of a Christopher Guest movie. The art from Will Robson is clean and dynamic, almost like Tradd Moore doing finishes on Nick Bradshaw with Tamra Bonvillain (who has just been KILLING it lately) batting cleanup with her gorgeous color work. Of course this is 2016 and this is Marvel, so we’re probably looking at 12 issues tops, but I’m certainly along for the ride.
DC’s Rebirth initiative has been so consistently good across the board that it’s hard not to take it for granted at this point. Suicide Squad #4 sees the team wrap up their mission in an appropriately awesome way before turning to a gorgeous Harley Quinn backup with art by Gary Frank. Action Comics #965 is Lois-centric and I couldn’t be happier, but PLEASE GIVE ME A COMIC BOOK ABOUT LOIS LANE DOING INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING IN THE DCU, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Red Hood and the Outlaws #3 sees the book’s broken-mirror Trinity completed with the introduction of Bizarro. This is one of my favorite under-the-radar books right now, so hop on! Supergirl #2 hooked me in with their re-imagining of Cyborg-Superman (provided he is who he says he is). Either way, it’s a solid story that could only be told in Kara’s book. Wonder Woman #8 takes a break to dive into (and reinvent) the backstory of Barbara-Ann Minerva (Cheetah). Bilquis Evely (who will be taking over for Niccola Scott after issue 14) does some seriously eye popping work here as we follow young Barbara-Ann, who’s re-imagined here as basically Lara Croft but obsessed with the Amazons.