It's Wednesday My Dudes: New Comic Series 7/12/17

Hey guys, it's Miramay here, taking a quick look at some of the new #1s coming out tomorrow! I hope to make this a pretty regular feature, so click "continue reading" to see this week's haul, and check back next week and see what's coming up!

The American Way #1, Vertigo

It's been a decade since the Civil Defense Corps was exposed as a fraud created by the U.S. Government for propaganda purposes. While most of the heroes who survived the catastrophe have retired or disappeared, the New American still carries on, trying to keep communities safe amid the social turmoil of the 1970s. But with the nation split in two over civil rights and the changing political landscape, this isn't easy. Some of the American's former colleagues are on opposite sides of the law: Amber Waves joined a group of domestic terrorists, while Missy, a.k.a. Ole Miss, has thrown her hat into the political ring. As the ground shifts beneath his feet and new threats arise, which side will the American choose? This sequel to the hit miniseries by the original team of writer John Ridley (Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave and creator of TV's American Crime) and artist Georges Jeanty (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight, Serenity: No Power in the 'Verse) moves the story forward in history, factoring in how real-life events might be affected by the presence of superheroes, and how those events change the heroes in turn.

While I admit to being unfamiliar with the original miniseries this is a sequel to, I did enjoy this first issue. I got Watchmen vibes occasionally, but with a 60/70s rather than the 80s vibe, and of course, it's interesting to see how some of the political sentiments of the time are strongly mirrored in the present. As the description above states, it's about former members of the superhero team the Civil Defense Corps, and what they are doing with their lives after said team is exposed as fake, with their powers given to them by the govenrnment and information of their exploits disseminated all over to be used as propaganda. There was one quote in particular, from some politican type, that struck me as particularly relevant: "We live in a country that doesn't just hate itself. It has come to value radicalism over democracy and treats thugs and criminals like heroes." This is being spoken by a very conservative dude, talking about activists, protesters and "liberals" but honestly I feel that in the current climate, that's an idea that both parties feel about the each other, and it speaks to the escalation of these types of feelings since the 1970s, and also is a good example of how little things change over time. This wasn't a bad issue, I liked it, but it just....didn't leave much of an impression on me? A lot of it feels like a different take on something I've read before, or a mishmash of things I've seen done. I'm in it for the next few issues, I do want to see how things develop, and I'd encourage you to check it out if you like Watchmen (as most people do), or your superhero stories tempered with politics.

Calexit #1, Black Mask

What if a fascist, autocratic President took over the United States? And what if that President lost California, the sixth largest economy on Earth, by nearly 2-to-1...a margin of almost 3 1/2 million votes? What if the day after that President took power, the largest mass demonstration in history occurred, and the state with the largest turnout was California. And then, the following week, two of the largest international airports in the world, California's LAX and SFO, were blockaded by protesters? What if California refused to be ruled? From the creators of YOUNG TERRORISTS, Matteo Pizzolo (GODKILLER) and Amancay Nahuelpan (CLANDESTINO), comes this tale of resisting oppression, punching Nazis, protecting each other, kicking ass, and demanding liberty for all.

I first remember reading a solicitation of some kind for Calexit literally right after this past election, and at the time, I felt like the comic had potentially missed its mark; after all, wouldn't the time to write a comic about the election of a fiercely unpopular political candidate be most appropriate when the future is still uncertain and that fear and anxiety is still floating around? But the fact is, that fear is still driving us half a year into the first term of the Donald Trump's election as US president, and that feeling permeates the book, posing interesting ideas about what the climate might be like if California did manage to attempt to secede the United States, or at least form a massive protest. There are, of course, cameos from real life political personages, including Trump, and a character named Eddie who bears more than a passing resemblance to Steve Bannon. It's all very on the nose and in your face, particularly the opening pages, which read like a real Trump speech. The two main characters thus far are a charming smuggler named Jamil and a woman named Zora, who, in the wake of the political turmoil, has been declared an "illegal", her citizenship as someone adopted into an American family revoked. I'm definitely interested enough to see what happens in the next few issues. Bonus: the back of the book has several interviews and other bonus content, similar to Bitch Planet!

Centipede #1, Dynamite

Based on the classic Atari game!
When a terrifying creature from beyond the stars attacks his planet, Dale's journey begins. But he is not out to save his world. It is already too late for that. As the lone survivor, the only thing he wants is revenge!
Writer Max Bemis (Worst X-Man Ever, Foolkiller) and artist Eoin Marron (Sons of Anarchy Redwood Original) bring you a tale of survival and vengeance like you've never seen before.

I was pleasantly surprised by this one. This is the second comic put out by Dynamite based on an Atari franchise, the first one being Swordquest, which I loved, but still I wasn't sure how they were going to take Centipede and make it into something with a plot. I mean, at least Swordquest has "quest" in the name. BUT even Swordquest's story wasn't what I expected (you should definitely check it out if you haven't yet!) and Centipede also threw me for a loop. I didn't realize til later that this was the same writer from Worst X-Man Ever, a super charming little miniseries from about 2 years ago that I loved, and Centipede has the same charm. Dale's constant breaking the fourth wall to talk to you, the reader, his imaginary friend isn't Deadpool desperate, but rather the desperation of a man who's truly All. Alone. He's completely normal, probably not the best person, but still, you like him. I read his voice as Dr. Venture from The Venture Bros' the whole time, for whatever that's worth to you. Well done Dynamite, you officially have my attention with two gems thus far in your line of Atari series.

Dark Days: The Casting #1 (Prelude to Metal),

The Joker's surprise attack threatens to lay waste to all of Batman's carefully laid plans. Will the Dark Knight be able to regain the trust of his closest allies, Green Lantern and Duke, and prevent the forces of darkness from consuming the DC Universe?! Will Hawkman's warning stop our heroes from peering into the abyss? The great comics event of summer 2017 is on its way, courtesy of superstar writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV with art by a master class of comics artists: Andy Kubert, Jim Lee and John Romita Jr.!

This is the second one-shot, coming off of Dark Days: The Forge, leading up to DC's Summer event, Metal. And after reading this issue, I feel a lot like I did after reading The Forge: What The Fuck Did I Just Read, but in a good way. While I'm primarily more of a DC fan than a Marvel fan, I'd in no way call myself an expert at like, every caveat in the DC Universe. But I do know enough to know that this series has, thus far, brought in really intriguing elements tying together current events in Rebirth, old abandoned (or if not abandoned, at least til now untouched) plot threads from the New 52, and goes back further than that. This issue tells us more about the mysterious metal, (is it Dionesium? Is it the Nth metal of Thanagar? Both?) the common thread that runs through seemingly many, if not all, of the DC Universe's most important ancient artifacts, Lazarus Pits, and possibly is even found in the blood of Metahumans, indicating their potential for developing superpowers. This is a conflict going waaayyy back to something ancient, that's trying to get out into our world....and something about a Dark Multiverse? There's a lot to enjoy here, and a lot to take in. While this addresses some of my least favorite plot lines of the New 52 (mainly stuff to do with the Joker-in-the-Lazarus-Pit storyline, and the 3 Jokers thing that hasn't been touched since the very end of New 52) it's using them to set up a story I'm definitely interested to continue reading. I'll be picking up Metal #1 for sure.

Skin and Earth #1, Dynamite

Skin & Earth is a story of a girl looking for hope in a hopeless world. Caught between romance and cults, gods and mortals, and just trying to find a good borscht, Enaia Jin is lead down a dark path by new lovers that reveal a twisted fantasy world and her own true nature. Set in a post-apocalyptic future where corporations rule, this adventurous tale of loneliness, deceit and self-discovery begins here!
Written and drawn by alt-pop phenomenon Lights, Skin & Earth ties directly into her next full length album, released in Fall 2017 on Warner Bros Records.

I'm not a fan of Lights. Not in a "I don't like her music" kind of way, but in a "I've literally never heard of her until recently" kind of way. Like, a few weeks ago Spectre mentioned her to me, how Lights is one of her longtime favorite musicians. So when I saw this on the shelf today when we were setting up for tomorrow's new releases, it immediately set off "Oh yeah" bells. This is supposed to be a tie-in to an upcoming album release, so I wasn't expecting much, but on its own, devoid of me knowing anything about her music, this is...pretty decent. Again, not that it's bad, but it's standard post-apocalyptic fare. The Earth's resources have almost entirely been drained by corporations leaving few green spaces left, and a society of haves and have nots, based on class, and wealth, determines who gets to live in clean, pink sectors vs toxic red ones. This issue mostly sets up that background, and introduces us to our lead character Enaia and her mysterious love interest, a kind of vagabond type with commitment issues who goes by Priest. If post apocalyptic stuff is your thing, or you like Lights, it's worth checking out! I have to say, it appears she did EVERYTHING on this issue herself -- the story, art and lettering credits are all to her. And I think that's pretty impressive, and gives the story more clout in my eyes. I like seeing artists step outside their comfort zone and get into new fields. I'll probably give the next few issues a chance and check out a Lights song or two, but it's mostly for Spectre's sake, as I'm a little worn out on post apocalyptic stories. This story is neither good nor bad, it just is what it is, and I feel like thus far it will mostly be something appealing to those who are already fans of Lights and her music, and those looking to pick up more postapocalyptic stories!

Spider-Men II , Marvel

The moment five years in the making is finally here! The first time Peter Parker and Miles Morales met ended with a question - WHO IS THE MILES MORALES OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE?! Now that the Miles you know and love is with Peter in the Marvel Universe, you're finally going to get that answer to who the OTHER Miles Morales is! And that's just the tip of the iceberg as Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli bring you the next heart-stopping adventure for both Peter Parker and Miles Morales!

Ok--here's the part in the article where I reiterate that, again, I'm more of a DC fan than a Marvel fan. And....I didn't read the original Spider-Men story. BUT I did read the blurb in the front of this book catching me up to speed, and I think that did the job. Maybe I'm just too much of a casual Spider-Fan that the mystery of "who is this world's Miles Morales" didn't catch me like it should, because by the end of this issue, which teases you with that actual question, I was too caught up in the actual contents of the issue - Spider-Man running into Spider-Man, at a big pink Sky Vortex throwing out machine parts, that I'd forgotten that the Mystery of Miles was what I was supposed to care about the whole time. Or maybe that means the story is just that good? The writing for Peter here is snappy, as Parker should be, and many of the scenes with Miles at school actually reminded me of what I've seen in the trailers of Spider Man Homecoming, which I'll openly admit I haven't seen (yet!!!) -- Barbara, a schoolmate that Miles shows interest in seems to be a callback to Zendaya, for example, although it's probably just a huge coincidence as there's no way those two characters could ever coexist. Just thought it was interesting given the recent release of the movie. Standard Marvel fare, reminded me of Spider-Women from last year (or was it two years ago?) so I honestly expect the story to run somewhat similar except this is just two Spider-people thus far (instead of three). We'll see where it goes!

Tinkers of the Wasteland, Scout Comics

Meteorites fell, razing entire cities, reducing civilization to rubble and leaving behind little more than a desolate wasteland. In these badlands, danger is everywhere, and survival is always uncertain, but somewhat less uncertain if you can get your hands on some chickens. Chickens, though, are scarce: they have been voraciously snatched up by a gang lead by a fierce drag queen, who has the impossible task of hoarding all chickens. Also struggling to survive in this post-apocalyptic world is a group of mildly deranged orphans, the Tinkers, who happen upon a mysterious and seemingly indecipherable map. The map gives the location of a secret bunker, one of almost mythical status among the tribes of the Wasteland

After reading this comic...I have no idea who this comic is for. Like, who the intended audience is. It is pretty light-hearted, and based on the cover, I thought this might have been a children's comic but it's definitely not. I feel like the author thought they were making Dragon Ball. Much of the dialogue consists mainly of humourous squabbling between Milla and .... the boy in the Star helmet as they try to get chickens so they don't starve in the desolate post-meteor landscape they live in. Actually, several of the plot points they recount in the issue summary above are glazed over, left unclear in the actual issue, or aren't even actually mentioned. I'm not even sure if they even said the two boy main character's names; I flipped back through briefly but I didn't even see it. The boy with the star helmet's back and forth with Milla reminded me of Krillin or Goku arguing with Bulma, and there is even a remark about how one of the boys has never met another woman before, not even his mother. Milla definitely is the focus of some male gaze, you get a few fanservicey poses and shots of her, although it's not exactly a panty shot; and one of the boys calls her "Milky" which I assume is meant to be both a take on her name, and a comment on her breasts. The art style is similar to manga, and even reminded me of Gorillaz in a few places, I didn't dislike it at all although I do wish it had been in color (the interior of the comic is all black and white). I got the impression that the author thinks he is using similar clever, punny names as Akira Toriyama did in the Dragon Ball by making their "Drag Queen" villain named King Queer but frankly it struck me as a little (or a lot) homophobic. Honestly I found it hard to enjoy this story even though I wanted to because I couldn't get King Queer, their bondage gear looking like a poor homage to Tim Curry, out of my head. Like if they had left that element out of it entirely, made their villain character themed around something other than outdated gay male stereotypes, I could have really liked it. I even could have dealt with the slightly iffy male gaze on Milla because honestly it was pretty light; and like I said, I feel like they were going for a Dragon Ball thing with this, and I genuinely enjoyed Dragon Ball. But the King Queer character, and his briefly shown makeup attendant, really put a bad taste in my mouth. Sorry Tinkers, I won't be back for another issue.

Alright, that about wraps it up! Thanks for checking in with me! If you feel so inclined, I'd love to hear what you're reading, or what you thought of these or any issues, in the comments! Til next week, y'all!

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Miranda AKA Miramay Cosplay ✨ Member of @ominous_glitch, cohost of the XIII Club Podcast. Comic book store magical-girl clown. Self-deprecating comedic relief friend. Meganekko princess.