It’s Wednesday, and that means new comics. Let Deadshirt steer your wallet in the right direction with reviews (and preview pages) of titles out today from Image, Dark Horse, IDW, BOOM! Studios, Archie, MonkeyBrain, Oni, Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, Action Lab, and more!
Power Up #1 (of 6)
Written by Kate Leth
Art by Matt Cummings
It’s easy to feel disappointed with the current all-ages drought happening in comic giants DC and Marvel when BOOM! Studios is absolutely killing it in that area. Power Up joins the ranks of multiple Adventure Time titles, Lumberjanes, and Bravest Warriors (also written by Kate Leth) as yet another intelligently written, adorably illustrated comic geared toward a broad spectrum of ages. In this new story, a foretold source of power is fated to activate four great warriors on Earth, but it seems to miss (or does it?), striking four seemingly random earthlings. This couldn’t come at a worse time for Amie, a loveable slacker whose boss finally trusted her enough to run the pet store alone. Moments into her shift, a beam of light strikes both her and a goldfish named Silas, bestowing them with strange powers which are immediately put to use when a mysterious, inky bad guy in a suit shows up and trashes the shop.
Matt Cummings’s endearing art style is a perfect match for this wacky plot. His dynamic fight scenes set against a bright pastel pallette and cosmic set pieces make for a magical superhero story. Humans, animals, and computers alike emote with hilarious, anime-inspired facial expressions, especially in the eyes, so while the superhero quartet is populated with very different people (and goldfish), they all have that same “cute” element.
Speaking of character designs, I’m pretty excited for this cast. Amie, the focus of this first issue, is a curvy young woman of color with a lavender pompadour whose brand new superpower involves some kind of energy thing with her fists. The other powered-people include an exasperated mom with super strength and a hunky construction worker who seems to have Sailor Moon’s outfit (and abilities?). Add a goldfish who turns into a whale and shoots beams out of his eyes, and you’ve got a team I’m ready to root for!
– Sarah Register
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Archie Vs. Sharknado #1
Written by Anthony C. Ferrante
Art by Dan Parent (pencils) and Rich Koslowski (inks)
Colored by Andre Szymanowicz with Casey Silver
Lettered by Jack Morelli
After years of of shoveling out terrible monster movie mash-ups to the masses, Syfy and The Asylum hit on something special with Sharknado. Not that the movie itself was any good (Syfy’s Mega-Piranha is a far superior film), but it caught the zeitgeist, and here we are two years later with the second sequel, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, dropping tonight. Archie Comics brings us this movie tie-in crossover special, which opens with Betty and Veronica in Washington, D.C., (where Sharknado 3 is set) with Veronica’s father as he lobbies Congress. They soon find themselves in the middle of a Sharknado apocalypse and have to do everything they can to survive and make it back home before the sharknados reach Riverdale.
This is a damn funny comic book. While the jokes in the Sharknado movies usually boil down to having a C-list celebrity appear, say their catchphrase, and then get eaten, Anthony Ferrante (director of the three Sharknado films) is a lot more witty here. Playing off the longtime character relationships in the most extreme situation possible gives the jokes a lot of punch. Betty and Veronica specifically are given a lot to do, putting aside their usual pursuit of Archie to become a shark-killing superteam.
Longtime Archie artist Dan Parent sure gets a lot more to draw here than with the usual stories he’s handed, but he does great work. Much like with the Archie Vs. Predator series, this comic full of gruesome violence is all rendered in the classic Archie style and it is a hoot.
Archie Vs. Sharknado is easily the best thing to ever come out of the Sharknado franchise. Funny and gross in all the right ways, it’s definitely not a comic for kids, but your inner twelve-year-old will love it.
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April #2
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Irene Koh
Colored by Brittany Peer
Lettered by Shawn Lee
You know how in Buffy the Vampire Slayer every so often you would have two of the rather less superpowered heroes go off and do some research whilst making out / breaking up / falling in love, thus economically advancing both the main plot of the series and two character arcs? Well “Casey & April” is like that, the series.
The IDW TMNT franchise has always been eager to drop characters out of the vast stable of the main series for awhile in order to have them have some adventure off-panel, and sometimes when the stars align, they get their own miniseries chronicling this time. This lets the franchise get a little experimental. And “Casey & April” is more than a little experimental—it’s a non-action comic in an action franchise, a hallucinatory, ominous experience. The blazing colors by Lee, so bright they almost seem washed out at times, contrast with the darkness of the material. Until the end, that is, where the turn to claustrophobic blues and grays makes an impact.
Casey and April are driving out west to try to expand on some old Foot scrolls that indicate the presence of much more powerful enemies than the Turtles have previously faced—gods, if you will. The end of the first issue revealed to the reader that they are being stalked by one of them, the Rat King, who in this iteration of the franchise has been re-imagined as a being of almost limitless mental power. In this issue he continues to toy with them, worrying at the faultlines in their outwardly-unbreakable romantic bond.
Casey Jones and April O’Neil are two of the most venerable supporting characters in TMNT, and in most versions of the franchise they make an adorable “Han & Leia” style feuding couple. So it’s almost a wonder they’ve never had their own series before. Despite this, what Tamaki and Koh have done is totally unlike what I imagine almost anyone else would have done, and unique to the IDW version of the lore. In the way that it’s drawn, the book reminds us of how young Casey and April are in this version of the franchise, and therefore how out of their depth they are in navigating their relationship, the harsh desert that they drive through, and the horrific enemy they unknowingly confront. It is only by remembering that they are teenagers themselves that the reader can understand why their relationship is presented as so infinitely important and yet so terribly fragile. After all, that’s what it’s like when you’re that young.
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