This week was a great week for comics. From Unstoppable Wasp to Welcome to Wanderland, there were plenty of great comics to read and—because we are who we are—review.
It’s the middle of November, the week before American Thanksgiving (regardless of how you feel about that holiday itself), and Christmas (if it’s a holiday you celebrate) is coming closer. For lots of parents, that means thinking about what comics our kids might like to read. Not all of our comics this week are kid appropriate, but we definitely found ourselves with a focus on books that might be great for little, medium, and large-sized kids.
Oh, and by the way, if there are comics to read that you think we’re missing out on, drop us a note in the comments. We’re always happy to hear about your favorites!
Kay Had Fun With:
Unstoppable Wasp #2
Written by: Jeremy Whitley
Art by: Gurihiru
Letters by: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover by: Stacey Lee / Variant Cover: Luciano Vecchio
Given my complete and total adoration of the first issue of Unstoppable Wasp, I can admit something: I was a little nervous about issue #2. There are times when authors get everything great crammed into the first issue in order to get you to buy the second… but when the second happens, there’s nothing exciting there for you.
This was the direct opposite of that.
While the first issue of Unstoppable Wasp was weighted more heavily towards the action happening in and around the G.I.R.L. Labs, this issue is more character driven. We see how the scientists are interacting, see what Janet and Nadia are up to in their so-called down-time, and we see just how busy Nadia is. There’s a gorgeous segment as well where Bobbi Morse plays rubber duck for Ying as she tries to sort out a chemistry problem… while they spar. Because, of course, that’s how you get through a tough problem when you’re a Red Room trained chemist. I’m not judging.
All in all, this issue gives us a solid feel for how Janet and Nadia interact, and how Janet has really taken Nadia under her wing. We also get to see Bobbi trying on a mentor hat, which had me more than a little weepy. The last panel tells us that the third issue will probably be a little more action-heavy, and I can’t wait to see where this book continues to go.
I already preordered the trade. My 10-year-old grabbed this book out of my hands when I got home from the store. We’re in this thing.
Also: kudos to Whitley for the deep cut on Mockingbird’s history with the Skrulls. That gag is the best thing that came out of Marvel’s Secret Invasion event.
Rainbow Brite #2
Written by: Jeremy Whitley
Art by: Brittney Williams
Colors by: Valentia Pinto
Cover A: Paulina Ganucheau / Cover B: Classic Art
If my 10-year-old snatched Unstoppable Wasp out of my hands without hesitation, my 7-year-old snagged Rainbow Brite without any patience whatsoever. This update of the old cartoon property continues to delight me. Wisp is trying to figure out where she is, what’s going on, and how the heck she’s going to do anything about it.
She and Twink (I’m so sad that the sprite is going to be Twink instead of Twinkle, I will never in my life read that without giggling inappropriately) are working to escape a Shadow Hound, avoid Murky and Lurky, and get us to the point where Wisp can become—or rather, as the narrative suggests may be the case, take on the title of—Rainbow Brite. The issue ends with a gorgeous magical girl style transformation that I absolutely loved, especially after the grayed out colors used throughout the rest of the book. Seeing those last three pages felt incredible after so much monochrome.
If I had a frustration with this issue, it was that there is so very much information that has to get on the page in order for us to move forward and start saving Rainbow Land that the issue got a little bit wordy as we chugged through the backstory. But now that we know about the sprites, the King of Shadows, and how Rainbow Brite is the one who turns white light into all the colors of the rainbow, I feel like we’re ready to dive in head first and see what happens next. Comic books based on properties like this can be so very hit or miss, but Rainbow Brite is hitting painting with all the right colors.
MAJK Checked Out:
Asgardians of the Galaxy #3
Written by: Cullen Bunn
Art by: Various, Mike Del Mundo, Matteo Lolli
Cover by: Dale Keown
The Story So Far: In the last issue Nebula’s face off with Gladiator was particularly telling. So, it was a foregone conclusion that the Shi’ar race would be the latest proving ground for Nebula’s Naglfar. Our heroes were tied up fighting the baby gods of the Netredi.
MAJK Says: This issue is particularly good. I expected it to open with the escalation of the Shi’ar battle but instead, we got the back story of what happened to nebula between The God Quarry (Thanos #9 – #11) and Asgardians of the Galaxy #1. It also explains how Nebula found out about the horn. (Hint: Them witches is snitches.)
This issue is packed with both action and backstory. We not only learned what’s up with Nebula but we get a peek at how Skurge was handling Hel prior to his release. It’s an interesting insight into his character—even more interesting is who actually released him. When you read that scene, pay special attention to the last few panels or you will miss it. Then there’s an adorable scene with Throg in his kingdom (Hint: He’s a New Yorker.) and learn what drove the Mighty Frog of Thunder to join our band of adventurers. This bit of pure fun balances the heaviness of this issue.
Watch for a moment of mercy in Nebula that tells us she might have something resembling a heart. In the midst of the battle of Shi’ar, we catch a glimpse of her appearing to consider her actions. Just as it looks like she might show something related to mercy, the Asgardians show up and it’s all back to walled off emotions and hate for one of the two deadliest women in the galaxy.
In this issue, secrets are discovered that could break apart the team, enemies become allies, even if it is temporary, and our heroes suddenly face yet another problem. Nebula’s bailed and left them effectively holding the bag and looking for all the universe like the bad guys.
Funniest Line: “Did you see what my savage little frog bro did to the undead baby god?”
Next issue: December 12, 2018
Welcome to Wanderland #1
Written by: Jackie Ball
Art by: Maddi Gonzalez
Colored by: Cathy Le
Cover by: Maddi Gonzalez
Synopsis: “Bellamy Morris knows everything there is to know about Wanderland Park. She knows when all the most iconic rides were built, all the shortcuts around the park, and all the secret lore behind Old West Town, Space Age Metropolis and New Princesston. So when she winds up in the REAL version of Wanderland, with real princesses and adorable talking woodland creatures, Bellamy is sure that she has GOT this. That is, until it starts to become clear that this magical land isn’t much like the real world park at all, and the characters she thinks she knows aren’t at all like she’d imagined. ” ~ Source Boom! Studios
MAJK Says: We all know that or have heard of someone like Bellamy. They are the SuperFan: a person whose passion for a fandom, theme park, show, or artist is so intense that it borders on an obsession. For Bellamy, she’s got an in. Michael, her brother, works at her favorite place in the world: the Wanderland theme park. He plays the leading lady of the park, Princess Lark Meadowstone, and he rocks that role. First off, BIG kudos for having Michael be one of those amazing men that has no issue being a princess. It’s one more step towards normalizing gender fluidity and I have to take a second to enjoy that.
This comic is fun—PURE UTTER AND COMPLETELY FUN. Yes, I shouted that because it is that good. It’s the kind of fun that comes from your favorite ride at an amusement park or a Saturday morning with cereal, cartoons, and no adulting.
Bellamy’s gotten a bit soured on the administration because Wanderland is dealing with things the way corporations do at a theme park—from a cost and return perspective. Bellamy, on the other hand, still sees and longs for the magic that originally made her fall in love with Wanderland. When the hunt for a super secret Easter egg in the park leads her through a door where Wanderland is real, she finds nothing is as she expected. Her favorite princess is a rough and tumble rebel with a penchant for ham, and her tiara doubles as brass knuckles. Lark, who goes by Riot, accidentally rescues Bellamy from Syla, Riot’s sister. Syla is an authoritarian maniac convinced that Bellamy is some sort of mage and bent on forcing Bellamy to perform magic for her.
From shield surfing to food fights, the first issue a fun romp as Bellamy learns that all is not as she thought in Wanderland, and yet, her unique knowledge of the secrets passages and Easter eggs from the Wanderland in her world seem to still apply. Riot and Bellamy dodge a battalion of soldiers and head for some ham. Yes, ham is a recurring theme with Riot and I’m inclined to believe this might be an instance of you are what you eat.
This issue wraps with our girls heading to the palace in an effort to figure out how Bellamy can get home and the requisite shadowy figure watching them closely.
Welcome to Wanderland #2
Written by: Jackie Ball
Art by: Maddi Gonzalez
Colored by: Nimali Abeyratne
Cover by: Maddi Gonzalez
By issue 2, the girls are becoming fast friends as they decide to head to the palace in an effort to figure out how Bellamy can get home because Riot wants to check out Michael’s grilled cheese…Yes, he makes it with ham.
Again using Bellamy’s unique knowledge of Wanderland, the girls search for a return door for hours. Exhausted and frustrated, Bellamy channels her idol Borta Norling, creator of Wanderland, and poof! The way home appears. Cue a gorgeous montage of the girls having the time of their lives at the park.
The best part of this issue is Michael and Bellamy. Michael shows up while the girls are having a blast. He’s unshaven and looks like hell and is furious because he’s been out all night looking for his baby sister. Like true siblings, there’s a bit of back and forth, but in the end, it’s so clear that these two have got each other’s back. It’s a refreshing take on siblings.
Riot discovers that Micheal plays the role of her in the park. At first, she’s excited; then she realizes that the Michael version of Lark is all frills and elegance and saccharine sweet. She is less than pleased; in fact, she’s just shy of angry. A few well placed chili-cheese pretzels calm her down. As Riot discovers school, skateboards, and dodgeball, there’s the same feeling as when Bill and Ted took all their historical figures out for a day of fun. Riot, however, is also oddly the voice of reason when it comes to Bellamy’s obsession with arguing on the internet about the park.
We wrap this issue back in Wanderland with Bellamy desperately trying to learn real magic. The girls share a lot with one another and you can see the friendship building. We learn a bit about Riot and Margot, but, moreover, we see two girls who feel out of step with their respective worlds becoming friends. Their fumbling attempts to encourage and support each other are more realistic than those sage monologues that we usually see in stories like this. I am loving the focus this title places on friendship and being yourself, no matter who “yourself” is.
I’d recommend this comic for any age group because you never outgrow fun. With swears and name calling that is limited to “Stink Demon” and “Potatoes,” you can feel safe letting any child over the age of 5 read this. I’m going to be collecting this one for sure.
Auntie Agatha’s Home for Wayward Rabbits #1
Written by: Keith Giffen
Art by: Benjamin Roman
Cover by: Benjamin Roman
Synopsis: “Auntie Agatha’s Home for Wayward Rabbits is in danger. Run by the titular Agatha and her niece, Julie, this peculiar shelter cares for damaged and dysfunctional rabbits—and now it’s being threatened by a wealthy businessman who will stop at nothing to tear it down. This charming series marks the return of critically acclaimed writer KEITH GIFFEN to creator-owned work.” ~Source Image Comics
MAJK says: Meet Julie, Aunt Agatha’s niece. She’s equal parts precocious, sarcastic, and good-hearted (or she’d have let Sawyer eat the pellets before he read the ingredients). She’s caring for a lot of rabbits. Talking rabbits. This issue introduces us to Sawyer, Pope, and overall the rabbit community here at the home. The interaction between Julie, Sawyer, and Pope is pretty solid and comedic, but there is a lot more going on here than comedy.
First, the good. The characters we meet initially are fun and I was all in. I love Sawyer and Pope. Sawyer is a sassy, sarcastic mess who is convinced that there is “more to life” than the veggies that Julie’s serving him. Pope speaks entirely in mangled quotes that somehow manage to be reasonably relevant to the conversation.
We begin with Sawyer complaining about the food. Julie explains to Sawyer that he can eat the veggies or eat rabbit pellets. His interest is piqued once he realizes the rabbit pellets she is referring to aren’t rabbit poop. Julie, however, is a smart girl; she makes Sawyer read the ingredients before letting him try it. When he discovers what they are, he’s less enthused.
Note: I recommend if you are feeding your pet rabbit pellet food, maybe don’t let them read this issue. Definitely don’t read it out loud to them. Pet psychiatrists are pricey.
After some humorous exchanges that involve Sawyer, Julie, and a slightly bizarre mouse named Loomis, we have a good idea of what life is like at Auntie Agatha’s Home for Wayward Rabbits. Julie clearly cares about all the rabbits. This is particularly obvious when Sawyer is insulting one of the community residents. She also is apparently the one more or less running the place, as we learn when she refers to having cancelled the land line. So life is pretty good for the rabbits. It’s not super exciting, but it’s also not bad.
But then, there’s the bad. With the arrival of Naomi and Raquel, all that might be changing. First, they aren’t rabbits (unless maybe they drank that Mr. Hyde potion Bugs Bunny made). Second, they are apparently predisposed to violence as a first resort and have no issues with abusing children. This put me off. They barge in, shoving the child out of the way, but that’s pretty standard bad guy stuff. But when Julie asks them to leave, they backhand her and threaten her.
Most bad guys will attempt to reason with/trick or non-physically intimidate a child in this sort of (comic book) situation. Instead, Julie is knocked down, her cell is crushed, and she is threatened with a foot on her chest.
Now, these women, based on the synopsis and the final panel, are here to get Auntie Agatha to sign something that allows them to tear down the place. Standard Big Business vs. The Little Guy, which is often a fun tale when done right. However, unless the person they work for is a complete idiot, this makes no sense. This is the worse way to go about getting that signature. There’s so much lawsuit material in this first issue that even a half-decent lawyer could have a field day. Also, if you have no issue beating up a child, what is to stop you from forging an old lady’s signature?
I’m not quite sure how I feel about this series. Julie, Sawyer, and the rabbits are enough to make me pick up the next issue, but I’m going to need a little more reasonable behavior on the part of this “wealthy businessman.” If this is how he conducts business regularly, how the hell is he not already in jail? There’s a cognitive dissonance between not respecting laws regarding assault but respecting legal things like getting a paper signed.
I can’t quite recommend this comic series yet, but I’m holding out hope. The art is pretty decent and fits the kind of fund, mildly absurd humor that we’ve seen in this issue. The personalities of the animals are amusing and play well together. I will be picking up issue number two and we’ll see where this goes.
Who knows? This could be a set up for some solid story purpose not yet revealed. I’d say grab it if it looks like you might like it, but don’t add it to your pull list until you’ve read it.