Long time no write, comic book fans! The revival of Ominous Glitch is at hand, and with it all returns my weekly(ish) feature reviewing new comic series coming out. This week's a light one, in terms of fresh material, so like the turtle says in that fable, let's get started (Or, wait....that's not quite right...)
Barrier #1(), Image Comics
From the Eisner Award-winning team behind THE PRIVATE EYE, BARRIER is an unconventional drama about violence, language, and illegal immigration...with a shocking sci-fi twist.
Barrier isn't strictly new this week. If you were one of the thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of folks who participated in Free Comic Book Day this year (and thank you if you were), you probably saw Barrier #1 as one of the offerings from Image Comics. And, going back even further than that, Barrier was originally published on the independant digital platform Panel Syndicate in 2015. Its first time in print, this week both issues 1 and 2 of Barrier come at a time when immigration, a perrenial "hot button topic", is as prominent as ever. The premise of Barrier is simple: A Texas rancher living on the border, Liddy, and Oscar, a man escaping Honduras to the United States, are abducted by literal aliens - the unearthly, UFO types.
The entire first issue, a hefty 30 pages, switches back and forth between English and Spanish, pushing the issue of communication - and, appropriately the language barrier between our two main characters - to the forefront. As Liddy says in issue #2, "I took three years of French in high school, and I can't remember a goddamn word," so like the illiterate I am, I took to Google Translate right away to forge a path through the dialogue. However, upon a second pass through the comic, after having translated it, I realized: I simply don't need it. Sure there are things there worth reading, character development and detail that add so much to Ocar and his world - but most of it is exactly what you would think he is saying. The book isn't trying to trick you by using another language, Oscar is only human, and he is reacting to his circumstances, whether en route north or aboard a terrifying spacecraft, the way you or I would. Furthermore, the visuals by Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente portray these emotions and expressions perfectly. Were I, as a reader, not so daunted, obsessed, by the prospect of the foreign words in front of me, I might have taken the time to read this book with my guts, instead of my head. I think that, simply, sums up the message behind Barrier: words are just words, but people are people across language and culture.
Then there are aliens, and that's where things get tricky. I was a big fan of Vaughan, Martin and Vicente's previous collaboration on Private Eye, a Sci-Fi Noir book also originally published on Panel Syndicate, so I'm eager to read the other three issues in this series, to be released in a weekly format throughout the month of May. But unlike Private Eye, Vaughan states explicitly in the afterword of issue #1 that there are no plans to collect this in any sort of trade, so I highly recommend that you grab these issues while you can, before they're gone. It promises to be a colorful, emotionally gripping story not soon forgotten.
Justice League: No Justice #1, DC Comics
DARK NIGHTS: METAL left the DCU transformed in ways both terrifying and wondrous-and only the Justice League is strong enough to face the threats to come...or are they? Four giant beings comprised of the universe's major energies-Mystery, Wonder, Wisdom and Entropy-who sustain their life force by devouring planets are on their way to destroy the planet of Colu. The only way to take down this unimaginable threat is for the superhero teams of Earth to forget everything they thought they knew and form new alliances.
What secrets of the cosmos will Superman, Martian Manhunter and Team Mystery discover? Will Zatanna, Wonder Woman and Team Wonder awaken alien magic they cannot put back to sleep? What can Harley Quinn possibly have to teach the rest of Team Wisdom? And most importantly...why the heck is Beast Boy on Team Entropy with Lobo and Batman? Find out all this and much more in the most exciting, bombastic event of summer 2018!
In this kickoff issue to the four-issue miniseries, after Brainiac systematically takes down all of Earth's super-teams, the last thing the League expects is for him to ask for their help! Without their aid, his home planet and the universe are both doomed!
If you've read any of my past reviews here on Ominous Glitch, you know that I tend to stray away from reviewing new series' from The Big Two unless it's something incredibly special because, let's face it: these comics don't need me, or anyone else, really, to speak for them. People will buy them no matter what, so my humble opinions frankly don't matter. However, since this week's entry is sort of shaking the rust off the old typing fingers (note to self: I really gotta work on not mixing my metaphors...) and there aren't a lot of really compelling new independant or small press series launching this week, I'm touching two books I wouldn't normally. This is one of them. I read the preview of Justice League: No Justice in DC Nation #0, another book my store gave away at Free Comic Book Day. The preview didn't give us much to go on, mostly it set up pretty unorthodox teams of DC characters and established that they'd be going up against some big bad of cosmic proportions - pretty standard fare for superhero comics. However, Francis Manapul's art is outstanding with the colors by Hi-Fi, and while I run hot and cold on DC stable writer Scott Snyder, I love James Tynion IV, and with his run on Detective Comics, at this point I'd follow him to the ends of the Earth, or I guess in this case, the Multiverse.
The description provided by the publisher above more or less hits all the main points of the story, so I don't feel like there's any point in getting into it. I just want to state that, for the record...this is actually pretty good. I have such crossover event fatigue in general, and this series comes on the heels of DC Metal, which while a popular top seller, was definitely eclipsed for me by the Elseworlds series Batman: White Knight by Sean Gordon Murphy. Metal relied HEAVILY on deep knowledge of the DC Universe's history, and a whole mess of one-shot issues which is horribly off-putting to me; and given that No Justice is meant to follow Metal, I was extremely unsure about it. But so far, one issue in, No Justice is only tangentially tied to the events of Metal, and has a premise that is easy enough to follow, but not so uncomplicated that it feels like it's trying to hold your hand and oversimply something that is suppsoed to be high stakes and important. If you are interested in trying out an event book with a big cast of DC characters that is only 4 issues and (thus far) doesn't require you to read an additional 12 titles to understand the story, you might enjoy giving this a go.
Venom #1, Marvel Comics
In the wake of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s collapse, an ancient and primordial evil has been awakened beneath the streets of New York, and with it, something equally evil has awakened in that most Wicked of Webslingers - VENOM! Still a Lethal Protector of the innocents in New York, this never-before-seen threat could force Venom to relinquish everything it holds dear - including Eddie Brock! Join two of the hottest creators in comics today, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, for a VENOM adventure a thousand years in the making!
DISCLAIMER: I have never known much about Venom. My first exposure to the character was probably seeing it in passing in an animated Spider-Man show, and I know he was featured in Spider-Man 3 (which seems to be universally hated, and I'm not sure I've even seen since it was in theaters). But every time I've tried to sit down and read a Venom comic, it just has never held my interest - I think the last time was Venom Space Knight back in 2015ish? and after a few issues, I clocked out. I think I just don't care about Venom? I think of that character and think of like....what I consider the cringiest parts of 90s comics, IE impossible anatomy and impossible masculinity. However this Venom is far more updated and actually readable. It couldn't have come at a better time, with people still talking about the Venom trailer that dropped a few weeks ago. In this issue, Eddie Brock is having nightmares (or flashbacks), something seems deeply wrong with his symbiote, and said nightmares seem directly tied to it. Later in the issue, while out doing standard, run-of-the-mill anti-heroing, Eddie seems to lose control of the symbiote, and morphs into some sort of monstrous version with a spral face instead of eyes that seems to speak some sort of alien eldritch. Eddie wakes up from the encounter in the clutches of a man who claims he used to be like Eddie, a sym-soldier working for S.H.I.E.L.D., looking for help avenging the fates of his fellow sym-soldiers in return for information to help "fix" Eddie's symbiote. In an exchange with Eddie, Rex poses questions that are intriguing enough actually add some depth to Venom - he asks what his symbiote's name is, it's age, ideal temperature, and more - simple questions Eddie has never thought to ask and presumably neither has the reader. The answers to these could potentially open lots of interesting avenues to future storylines, and that's probably my favorite thing about this issue. Of course, maybe all this fleshing out is convenient timing to aforementioned movie hype, but even I'm not sure I'm that cynical (believe it or not). While I'm not sure I'm going to continue to keep picking up Venom - all said, I'm still iffy on whether or not I feel like investing in this book when there are just SO MANY COMICS out there - I feel like this could be a good new jumping off point for Venom, and I'd be interested to hear what other big Venom fans might have to say about this issue and its implications.
That's all I've got for this week, and I hope you enjoyed taking a dip into my thoughts on three of this week's new fare. There are lots of other issues I'll be reading for myself this week, notably Domino #2, Eternity Girl #6, Oblivion Song #3 and last but certainly not least, Batman White Knight's conclusion with issue #8 which, full disclosure, made me cry a little (I hope to cover this series when it's collected in trade later this year). Check back next week for more new reads, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel, and don't hesitate to leave your comments down below!