You'll know whether this is for you from the splash page. The Gist: A brief story introducing a spin-off series set in the Firefly universe, and two super-brief Buffy stories that seem to be prequels to the television series. Additional Info: There's not a lot here to recommend the issue to people who aren't fans of either series — but of course they aren't the target audience.
The Gist: Canada's resident superhero super-soldier and his friends suit up to battle Couldn't tell you precisely. Looks nice, though.
Additional Info: This issue begins with a top secret dossier that valiantly attempts to get readers unfamiliar with Canuck's backstory up to speed, but that backstory is thicker than poutine gravy. The second story introduces us to a bunch of people linked in some way by Man, I could have used a scorecard to tell the players. If you're prepared to supplement your reading with some serious Googling. Preferably at google. The Gist: A mysterious haze descends on the world, instantly destroying all metal and electronics.
Thirteen years later, humans have reverted to a feudal lifestyle, avoiding the cities crowded with cannibals. Also includes a brief intro to Afterburn , a series about thieves hired to smuggle precious valuables out of the remains of the Eastern Hemisphere, which was destroyed by a solar flare. Additional Info: Intriguing premises — The Dark Age features nice characterizations, and the Afterburn excerpt is animated by gallows humor.
A warning to nervous parents — The Dark Age excerpt features lots of violent deaths — stabbings, impaling, the odd decapitation.
Nothing little Eustace and Davindra wouldn't see on Game of Thrones , but just The Gist: An ingenious concept — on one Earth, Dragonfly is a grim and gritty superhero meting out violent justice. On another, Dragonflyman is a bright and campy do-gooder who cheerfully totes cartoonish villains off to jail. Also includes an excerpt from Captain Ginger , about a rag-tag band of cats in space.
Cannot wait. You know what to do. The Gist: Eric Powell's The Goon is a cranky, hard-drinking, massively muscled galoot who keeps terrible company. In this issue, he meets up with a couple of swindlers — one of whom may or may not be a pug. A fun, full story, crammed with action. Additional Info: Fast-paced, funny, and full of vibrant characterizing dialogue, this is a sure bet. Also features a brief, done-in-one story about a creepy old-west figure who makes life difficult for frontier monsters.
The Gist: This issue represents a fine introduction to a new imprint of comics and graphic novels that seek to tell stories of people who suddenly acquire fantastic abilities — but then seek to do something besides don tights and punch crime in the face. We get a mix of story and mission statements from the various creators; yes, it feels like an extended ad, but it's an interesting one.
Additional Info: There are some veteran comics creators involved, here, and while "What if super powers in the real world? I'll be interested to see where this goes. Have to say: There's something bracing about having the creators of various books directly address the reader to make their case. The Gist: For years, Julie has worked as the superhero Hope, unbeknownst to her husband and daughter. But when a violent incident outs her, she's forced to adjust to a world hostile to superheroes.
Additional Info: The art is bright and clean, if at times a bit static, and the dialogue features characters telling each other things they already know, but I like the growing sense of dread that manifests by the end of the issue.
The Gist: The publisher's basically doing the same thing they did last year, so here's what I said then: "In two related stories — one the opening chapter of her first graphic novel, the other a new tale — a statuesque steampunk super-powered cyborg hunts for clues to her origins in Victorian London.
If you're in the market for tightly corseted, prodigiously breasted, overcomplicatedly weaponed, goggle-sporting women springing into action steaming into action? The first tale's momentum gets sapped by its characters' excessive talkiness, but hey, there's a lot to explain. For those who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing that they like. The Gist: Chapter excerpts from a two-volume graphic novel series. Kino and her talking motorcycle are on a journey.
Along the way they meet folk, and get surprisingly philosophical. Additional Info: Gorgeous art and a wistful, serious, desperately lonely tone — along with the assured way it busts out what could easily come off as heavy-handed symbolism — make this an FCBD you'll keep thinking about after you put it down. And, if you're me, it will inspire you to seek out the graphic novels. Remember to read the issue back to front, right to left: It's manga. The Gist: Malika, the badass Warrior Queen of an ancient African empire, is divinely empowered to protect her people.
In this excerpt from a new graphic novel, she's determined to keep an ancient evil from collecting various powerful stones — no, not those stones.
These are different. Totally their own IP. Additional Info: Last year's Malika FCBD issue worked better, and felt more cohesive — this one's so thick with exposition you may find it difficult to get your bearings.
Genre: The sky turns dark forever, and the world falls to chaos. A woman tries to protect her family from the monsters that plague it — including those from within. Also includes a brief snippet from a series about a man who stands up to his wrestling-producer boss, and a very very very strange tale of a ghost, and some intestines, I think? The Gist: The prose in the issue's lead story gets awfully purple and precious right from the jump, but the world of the story's certainly worth a visit though it might be a bit violent for some parents.
Additional Info: The wrestling story feels rushed, but I really dug the Gutt Ghost story, though I couldn't tell you what the hell was going on in it.
Also includes several overviews of the publisher's other books, which is smart. And I'm not just talking about the sound effects, though they are impressive "Swish! The Promised Neverland is about an orphanage where students take mysterious tests and are warned never to venture beyond the Additional Info: The Academia excerpt cuts off just when it takes an unexpectedly sweet turn, and the Neverland excerpt does a great job delineating its many characters, and graaaaadually lacing its sunny tone with something more sinister.
Remember to read the issue back to front, right to left: it's manga. The Gist: A gruff, shadow-magic-based hero in a world full of costumed heroes decides to bequeath her powers to a young woman on the spur of the moment. Additional Info: Mordant , noir-inflected narration of the mentor character contrasts nicely with the ebullient demeanor of the hero-in-training. Clever humor, with some interesting layouts.
The Gist: Excerpt from the Riverdale Season 3 comic that neatly introduces the characters through the lens of their yearbook superlatives, and sets up the mystery that will drive the series' story arc. If you're into the show, sure. If you're not, this won't get you there.
Additional Info: See the thing this, they do try to tell you the gist. There's an introductory section that features what must be the greatest hits of the Robotech saga to date, and from what I can make out, it's soaring space opera — you know, "chrono-spatial forces" this, and "for centuries the Zentraedi and Invid have locked horns over proto-culture" that, and whatnot.
But as a jumping-on point, this is pretty impenetrable. If you are Robotechnically inclined, yes. Otherwise, eminently skippable. The Gist: A complete, if slight, story that takes place between Seasons One and Two of the Netflix show captures that show's vibe well — at least, its character-based stuff. Additional Info: The real reason to pick this is up is the excerpt from Black Hammer , a series about superheroes who've been put out to pasture. The Gist: Two classic characters from the venerable fighting game franchise face off in an arcade game — and in real life.
Additional Info: Cute, straight-down-the-middle tale of enemies learning to overcome their differences through mutual respect, but there's some nice touches, and at one point someone shouts "Your glacial reflexes are useless against my barrage of unyielding attacks!
The Gist: A re-introduction to Todd McFarlane's once-ubiquitous, I-Love-The-'90s anti-hero — a government assassin who makes a deal with a devil to return to life imbued with infernal power and a cape that is, as we used to say back then, phat. Additional Info: Nobody laid out a comics page like McFarlane — and if you're feeling nostalgic there's even a two-page spread of Spawn being Spawn that's so hilariously it practically reeks of CK One and wears a flannel shirt around its waist— but to truly enjoy it you kind of have to be feeling nostalgic.
If you haven't picked up a comic in twenty-five years and want to tell yourself that precisely nothing has changed in the intervening time, yes. The Gist: Two stories — In one, Eddie "Venom" Brock warns of a coming symbiote apocalypse — and picks up a familiar hitchhiker.