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!
I Hate Fairyland #1
Story and art by Skottie Young
Color by Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters by Nate Piekos
Skottie Young, who you may know from his work on just about every Marvel variant cover, is finally out with his own creator-owned title and it’s candy-coated mayhem. I Hate Fairyland chronicles the air-quotes-adventure of an imaginative, green-haired girl, Gertrude, who was dragged into a magical realm against her will on the assumption that it would be her wish come true. She’s given a companion and a map that will lead her home, but 27 years later Gertrude is still trying to find her way out of this bubblegum hellscape while trapped in the body of her child self. At her wit’s end, she makes a reputation for herself by violently murdering any adorable anthropomorphic character that crosses her path until it seems that retaliation is Fairyland’s only choice, even if it means breaking its own rules.
I discovered Skottie Young when Marvel released its adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the fact that his first title with Image is almost a parody of that work is an irony not lost on me. Gertrude is Dorothy on a rampage. This is an ultraviolent tale that has a child-shaped character giving the middle finger, but Young’s delightfully adorable art style gives the comic a kind of fun disparity between story and image. Even a bullet tearing through a character’s eye socket and brain is mostly endearing. The fact that much of the blood has a pinkish hue adds to the inoffensive cartoonishness of the comic, and Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s palette is bright and Fairyland-appropriate; he keeps up with Young’s insanity while adding his own touches along the way, like the milky glare of a full moon or the psychedelic rainbow effects of mushroom-person ingestion.
This first issue is chock-full of slapstick and righteous comedic timing. Young has always drawn humor, but it turns out he can also write it. Fans of his work on Rocket Racoon will feel right at home with Gertrude’s incredibly expressive face and ridiculously scaled weapons. The story itself is nothing remarkable, but this is junk food reading anyway. When the queen of Fairyland held the outstretched point of a star gunned down by green-haired goblin girl while the little guy sputtered “blood of my people,” I knew this comic was for me.
I Hate Fairyland is Eddie Valiant shooting up Toon Town. It’s Alan Grant writing a musical issue of Etrigan’s romp through hell in The Demon. It’s…my jam.
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Jem and the Holograms #8
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Emma Vieceli
Color by M. Victoria Robado
Lettered by Shawn Lee
Jem and the Holograms #8 begins with a homage to one of my favorite aspects of the original cartoon show: the music videos! After viewing their latest sci-fi-inspired video (with Jem as a kind of Bubblegum Crisis mecha warrior), Jerrica and the Holograms confer over keeping Synergy’s involvement with the band a secret. And of course, what’s a Jem and the Holograms story without the Misfits causing mischief?
This is a slow-paced issue for anyone expecting the candy-colored craziness of the animated series, like when Jem encountered a yeti or used an honest-to-god time machine. Kelly Thompson’s writing is more grounded and thoughtful, exploring complicated issues like whether the A.I Synergy has free will, and the ethics of the Holograms using her to promote their band. The issue is rich in character development, including a pair of scenes contrasting Jerrica and Pizzazz’s tribulations as band leaders. Though Jerrica’s compassionate nature is far smoother than Pizzazz’s “my way or the highway” sneering, the women are perhaps more alike than they’d realize.
Guest artist Emma Vieceli has a great handle on the book’s large cast and their group dynamics, conveying a lot of emotion in Stormer’s bashful glance or Jerrica’s lonely frown. IDW’s Jem comics are always a treat to look at, and remains one of the best comic books on the stand for diverse female character designs. Though this issue is not quite as action packed as its inspiration, Thompson and Vieceli’s Jem and the Holograms #8 is an interesting glimpse into the ups and downs of megastardom.
— Kayleigh Hearn
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