Spiders, Monsters, Mazes, and Magic – Comic Book Corner Welcomes October

Reading Time: 13 minutes
Comics, Comics, Everywhere
Comics, Comics, Everywhere

October Comics

It’s that time of year, October, when the rest of the normies discover what Geeks have always known – There are monsters everywhere and costumes are fun! In today’s Comic Book Corner, Kay and MAJK are re-visiting some series comics from last week and taking a peek at some fun new indie comics.

Naturally we have the new issues of Domino, West Coast Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man, Labyrinth, Iceman, and Asgardians of the Galaxy. We also have some brand new comics to look at: The Lollipop Kids, the new Dragon Age tie-in comics, Dragon Age: Deception. So kick back and enjoy because we’ve got monsters, werewolves, vampires, and even a dragon in this week’s comics.

Domino #7

Written by: Gail Simone
Art by: David Baldeon
Cover by: Gang Hyuk Lim

Release Date: October 10, 2018

Publisher: Marvel

Age recommendation*: 12+

Synopsis: After the events of “Killer Instinct” cemented the trio’s relationship and brought Domino new perspective on her luck powers, our ladies are now in possession of a river boat casino. While working out an ad campaign, a new mission lands right in there lap with an offer of quadruple their going rate. Who can say no to that?

Before Inez can say “Pass the ammunition” our girls are bobsledding through the frozen wilds in Eastern Norway search of a box with strict instructions not to open it. Sounds simple and the girls take the chance to cut loose and have some fun.

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MAJK says: First let me say, I am loving Baldeon’s art in these comics. I really need a shirt from the image on page 3 and maybe the one from page 4 too. Domino kills it in that red dress but the panda slipper are the best. The story is even better than the art and that is really saying something.

I seriously love these ladies and the way this comic focuses on their friendship. Domino’s always been kind of a loner and seeing her grapple with how to express and enjoy having close friends who accept you exactly as you are (even if you empty 12 rounds into an unarmed adversary**) is an aspect of this series that has me ALL IN. Yeah, I know – Deadpool… blah blah but Wade is really more like a loving brother (embarrassing, charming, and there if you need him)  than a per se friend.

I enjoyed watching the girls cutting up in the snow together. I’ve got to ask the obvious question – How is Inez NOT freezing to death in that little clothing? Especially, when she lands head first in a snow bank. I love Outlaw, but the ability of superhuman strength and an uncanny aptitude with firearms doesn’t keep you from getting cold. I know, I know the answer is … comics

They discover a creepy little girl in a ragged dress barefoot in the snow. Alarm bells were going off in my head well before Rachel shared that spooky story that her grandmother told her. One thing we learn in this comic – Listen to grandma!

The ladies try to track the child and are set upon by the wedding party from Hell, and it seems nothing they do is going to work. You know Domino loves her posse because Rachel gets in a bind and Domino’s is calling Fastball Special. She hates that! Some quick thinking, a few stellar explosions, and one horrific bridal tale later and they are standing in from of the box. Curiosity is only one the of many traits that makes Domino so endearing but what they find when they open the box is beyond unexpected.

Favorite Line: “Okay, but if I get eaten, I’ma haunt you good.”

West Coast Avengers #2

Cover of West Coast Avengers, Issue #2

Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Color Artist: Triona Farrell
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Kay says: When we last left our intrepid West Coast Avengers, a gigantic and psychically blocked Tigra was terrorizing Santa Monica just after a weird invasion of land sharks. Our team (Both Hawkeyes, Quentin Quire (Kid Omega), Gwen Poole, America Chavez, and Johnny – and let me take a moment to love how the book introduces each character the first time they appear in each issue? Jim Shooter would be so happy.) found themselves joined by B.R.O.D.O.K. – Bio-Robotic Organism Designed Overwhelmingly for Kissing. Clearly some sort of weird M.O.D.O.K. in disguise.

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This book opens as Kate and the team finish dealing with Tigra, and turn to figuring out who the heck this B.R.O.D.O.K. character is, and what he’s doing here. They decide to invite him back to their headquarters and look for more information about what he’s doing here. The issue includes Kate and Clint working together apart from the group, Kate and America being snarky at each other in the way that only truly best friends can be, and Quentin and Gwen making out. No, really.

The team learns more about why B.R.O.D.O.K. came to L.A., and the Hawkeyes steal into his personal base to find out more. They get their hands on some patient files and take them back to headquarters. B.R.O.D.O.K. finds out what they’ve done, and the book ends with his swearing that his friends have turned traitor, and he will now destroy them.

The art and color in this book is consistent with what we saw in Issue #1; it’s clean, it’s fun, the panel layouts are interesting without distracting from the overall story. The reality show framing device is more clearly integrated; we get occasional panels of confession cam that are indicated by the artwork. This gives the characters a chance to comment on what’s happening around them, and I find it an interesting adaptation to get around what is sometimes the biggest weakness of team books: the lack of character development and distinction for individual characters. This way, we get a little more personality from each character and a sense of how they’re all interacting, even when they’re not necessarily sharing page time.

Best line(s): “So…we’re agreed that that’s definitely M.O.D.O.K. in disguise, right?”
“Oh, 100%.”
“Totally.”
“Definitely.”
“How could he not be?”
“I don’t know who M.O.D.O.K. is but sure.”

Amazing Spider-Man #7

Written by: Nick Spencer
Art by: Humberto Ramos
Cover by: Humberto Ramos

Release Date: October 10, 2018

Publisher: Marvel

Age recommendation*: 12+

Synopsis: As we’ve seen up to this point, Boomerang is, without a doubt, the single worst roommate a guy can have. We all know someone like him, that person who defines the phrase “three’s a crowd” and has no clue their social skills need more than a little honing. Still Boomerang takes the cake, talking Spider-Man into going to the Bar With No Name and then pissing off the Kingpin. Without a doubt Boomerang’s antics are putting Spidey and possibly their other roomie, right in the cross-hairs of the city’s most powerful super villain. Keep in mind though: “Everybody’s gotta serve somebody…” But who is the guy behind Fisk. Who’s really running the show?

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MAJK says: Pete’s a hot mess in these comics. I can’t entirely blame him. I mean he’s been through a lot. He’s unemployed and back in college. And who are we to judge? How many of us found ourselves in the spotlight unexpectedly but still enjoying the attention? So far, Spencer is doing a great job with the writing in these comics. He is keeping your friendly neighborhood web-slinger very relatable and human. This issue is no different. The humor has been great in past issues and it’s still there for this issue but it takes the form of snark. For example, Boomerang’s speech about the crumbling institutions and the cultural fabric of spandex tickled the hell out of me.

We start this issue with Pete in a hell of a spot. He is pretending to be a normal guy while surrounded by people trying to actively kill him. Using his powers would give him a way and then it’s “bye-bye secret identity”. It does get a little weird with Pete pretending to be a normal guy who is pretending to be a super villain. Something about the recursive pretending was far more amusing to me than it should have been. I blame my geek side.

The unexpected bonding between him and Boomerang after their shared combat experience was realistic and almost touching. Pete’s sobering recollection of his own less than stellar moments, sends the message that forgiveness is something we should pass on to other when we receive it. While I don’t need a preachy, lesson on morality every time I read a comic – now and again it isn’t a bad thing. Spencer pulled it off without being too heavy handed.

Prediction – I see a possible Spider-man / Boomerang team up in future comics. There were more than a few hints dropped while these two were fighting for their lives. How many of your are eager to see this pair of snarky super suits working together? I sure as hell am!

Favorite line: “I almost pulled a Mufasa back there!”

Iceman #2

Cover of Iceman Issue #2

Writer: Sina Grace
Artist: Nathan Stockman
Colorist: Federico Blee
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino

Kay says: First, a content note.

CN: This issue contains some pretty strong statements about conversion therapy, homophobia in families, and the mental distress these things bring.

I didn’t say anything about the first issue of the new arc of Iceman because I couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted to say. I’m thrilled to see more LGBT+ characters in mainstream comics, and while I still despise the “full gay” issue, I like what’s being done with present day Bobby as he tries to work out his sexuality after a lifetime in the closet. I also really like that this gay character is being written by an out gay man.

So I liked Grace’s initial run on Iceman, but it wasn’t something I was deeply attached to. I wanted to support the new book, but I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it. The first issue left me feeling very “eh.”

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But this second issue caught my attention hard, and didn’t let me go. First off, the concept: Emma Frost needs help. The White Queen doesn’t ask for help often, and she certainly does not ask for help from the likes of Bobby Drake. The why becomes clear, however; her brother Christian is gay, and has been sent to conversion therapy and eventually institutionalized. Emma needs help getting past her father to help rescue Christian.

Emma and Bobby battle together to help save Christian, and Emma eventually connects with him through a moving speech about how she will help him heal. With everything settle down, Bobby is sent back to Connecticut – and finally gets a match on a dating app. The Mister Sinister stinger is very concerning, and leaves me more excited about Issue #3 than I was #2.

The art in this issue felt cleaner than in the first; it was more dynamic and did more to enhance the story. Anyone who can draw Emma in her white corset costume without making her nothing but T&A makes me very happy.

And a serious shout out to Federico Blee on colors; in a section of the book basically colored in white (Emma’s diamond form) white (Bobby, and everything around him) and some shades of blue (basically there to keep everything from being white, I think), the motion and images are always clear. Impressive work.

Best line: It will break my heart if I can’t fix yours.

Asgardians of the Galaxy #2

Written by: Cullen Bunn
Art by: Matteo Lolli
Cover by: Dale Keown

Release Date: October 3, 2018

Publisher: Marvel

Age recommendation*: 12+

Synopsis: In Issue #1, the space pirate Nebula acquired the ancient horn capable of calling forth the Naglfar, an armada of dead gods despite the desperate attempt of Angela’s ragtag team of Asgardians. We also discovered the secret master mind behind Angela’s team who is also the man behind the Destroyer’s face plate – Kid Loki. Let’s hope Angela’s team never learns that particular truth because keeping secrets from a slightly traitorous Executioner, a half-mortal Valkyrie, and a hammer-wielding teenager isn’t exactly a team building behavior.

Our band of Asgardians are hot on Nebula’s trail Unfortunately, she’s left them a parting gift… a very grisly one. As our band deals with the hordes of undead gods Nebula has left behind. Gladiator and the Imperial Guard face off against Nebula and an evil they didn’t know existed.

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MAJK says: “The beacon calls forth Armageddon. Why would anyone want to find such an awful device?” ~ Kid Loki. The look on Angela’s face in response to this is everything! Loki’s apologetic expression is pretty great as well. Lolli does a good job communicating emotion in these comics. While the are is clean and not heavy on detail there’s no missing what is going on below the surface of our characters.

At one point Thuderstrike butts in to Annabelle’s conversation with her girlfriend and the cringe on Annabelle’s face screams “eww, go away.” Speaking of which, I want ot give props to Cullen Bunn for the way Annabelle and Ren’s relationship feels so normal. There’s no feel of “look at these lesbians” in the treatment of them (at least at this point) and they have what appears to be a happy, healthy relationship. Even, Thunderstrike’s response to their relationship is fairly true to life, I’ve seen / heard similar reactions. The best part of that whole exchange was the Executioner telling Thunderstrike “Don’t be THAT guy!”

The lore behind the doomed Netredi and their bloodrain was interesting enough I wanted to know more. I don’t recall this race from other comics but I guess it’s too late now… poor devils. The undead gods that our band faced down were pretty horrifying. I have a feeling there will be a lot more of this with Nebula running loose. The last image in Nebula’s face off with Gladiator was particularly telling. I see a set up for a face down between Angela and another well-known Asgardian coming next issue.

The backstory of the horn was a bit odd but I’m filing it under Loki being Loki. I’m inclined to agree with Angela’s question – why would anyone create such an awful device? Kid Loki’s final word on that is chilling and we all know what is coming. I get the feeling Angela might not be totally convinced Loki isn’t going to turn or maybe she is totally aware of it and that’s what’s behind the look.

Special note: Check out the touching memorial for Marie Severin, one of the the first women in comics. She joined Marvel in 1964. Thank you, Marie.

Favorite line: “That’s Thunderstrike. He inherited a magical mace from his dad. He’s also sort of a Dude-bro.”

Labyrinth #6 and #7

The Owl King reveals his son’s identity.

Writer: Simon Spurrier (with Ryan Ferrier on #7)
Illustrated: Daniel Bayliss with Irene Flores
Colored: Dan Jackson (#6) and Joana LaFuente (#7)
Lettered: Jim Campbell

Kay says: At the end of Issue #5, I commented that the next few issues would likely determine whether or not I kept going with this story. It’s definitely hit the great boggy middle, and even experienced authors can still get stuck there.

In these two issues, we see more revealed about the Owl King and his relationship to the other goblins; specifically, there’s a big reveal about his relationship with Skubbin, the would-be bandit that Maria met back in the second issue of the book. Much like Hoggle and Sarah, Skubbin is ordered to betray Maria; unlike Hoggle, however, Skubbin refuses. His last minute assistance helps Maria escape a trap that otherwise would have killed her. In the parallel moment, Sarah sinks down into the masquerade dream given to her by the enchanted peach.

I recently rewatched Labyrinth with Mathias (my zillionth viewing, his first) and I was struck by the masquerade scene in relation to this book. If you remember, the first issue began with Maria and her husband, Albert, at a masquerade in Vienna. It was there that Albert realized he would be unmasked, and finally gave in to the goblin king’s offer to take away the son who could ruin him. Seeing Sarah and Jareth dancing in this world of excess and unnatural beauty was fascinating. Especially since Jareth frequently questions in these issues whether or not a child can truly remember what happened to it at such a young age.

The art and colors in the series continue to be consistent and quite nice; the contrast between the softness of humanity and the angular nature of the goblins continues to give Maria a sense of not-belonging that enhances the story so nicely for me.

In these two books, also, Maria became more active again, less trapped by her husband’s memories and less cowed by the journey in front of her. She seems recommitted to the quest of rescuing her young son from the Owl King – who suddenly seems to have much more dangerous ideas of what to do with him than simply making him king.

I am more eager to see what happens in issue #8 than I have been since the first two issues of the book.

Best Line: Every story is a labyrinth, young Toby. The only way to the center is to admit that you’re lost.

The Lollipop Kids #1

Written by: Adam Glass
Art by: Diego Yapur
Cover by: Robert Hack
Lettered by: Sal Cipriano

Release Date: October 3, 2018

Publisher: Aftershock

Age recommendation*: 15+

Synopsis: This is a brand new series so we’ll start with the PR approved blurb:

“When immigrants came to the new world they didn’t only bring their hopes and dreams, they also brought their MONSTERS.

Years ago, early setters locked these monsters away in a secret prison deep in the woods of NEW AMSTERDAM so that they never would return to the Old World again. Those woods have become CENTRAL PARK and now the monsters have escaped! NICK, 14, finds out that he is a “legacy” to a secret society that for the last 400 years has kept these monsters in check–he and a ragtag group of kids just like him have to put the monsters back before they get out of the park and destroy the city.” ~ Source: Comixology

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MAJK says: This was recommended to me by the owner of my favorite comic shop, Krum’s (yes, that is a shameless plug because they are awesome.) and I am absolutely stoked! There is so much to love about this comic.

Adam Glass is already doing a hell of a job with this story. Nick, our 14 year old hero, is already dealing with more than a little stress in his life since his mother’s death. He’s determined to set things right between his sister and himself but she’s been gone all night. Rather than worry his father, who’s on shift at the station. Nick heads out to look for her but what he finds instead is the Big Bad Wolf, and a truth about himself and the city he lives in that is stranger than any story he could imagine.

Yapur’s art is gorgeous in how it depicts the reality of Nick’s life. Their is so much emotion in every panel as Nick recounts all the good that is a part of his life in New York and the tragedy that changed everything. Yapur’s art really brings these scenes home aided by Alonso’s shading. These two create scenes that feel more like pictures you’d see in your memories rather than a comic book. There’s a gritty realism without losing the fantasy aspect of the story.

I’m all in on this series already! The next issue is due out Nov 7th so you got plenty of time to snatch this one up. It’s right in line with the Halloween season – werewolves, monsters, and magic.

Favorite Line: “I’m not sure we were living the American Dream but we sure as hell were living the New York one.”

Dragon Age: Deception

Cover of Dragon Age: Deception (1 of 3)

Script: Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir
Art: Fernando Heinz Furukawa
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Nate Piekos of Blambot

Kay says: I love Dragon Age. I have played all the games and all the DLC. One of my favorite parts of the series is that each game gives me the sense of a broader world beyond the one I am directly experiencing. The tie-in media is a way to start exploring and experiencing that world. After all, the whole point of tie-in media is to bring a franchise from one form to another, hopefully pulling fans along with it.

But as I read the first issue of Dragon Age: Deception, I found myself really hoping that this would not be anyone’s first comic book.

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Don’t get me wrong; I liked the comics well enough, I’ll keep reading it, and I liked the art. But it was confusing as all get-out, and the art, while good, was a little more rounded and soft than I would associate with this particular world.

The storyline in Deception reminds me of an episode of Leverage; two con artists are trying to out con each other, and it’s a disaster. So is trying to figure out what’s happening.

I’m going to read all three parts of this book, I think – but my initial thought is that this is a graphic novel someone split into three comics, instead of writing a monthly installment comic book. People sometimes forget that those are different things. A new city, new characters, and a complex plot are a lot to try and fit into twenty-some pages.

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