Stranger Things Happening in Comic Book Corner

Photo by Mahdiar Mahmoodi on Unsplash
Photo by Mahdiar Mahmoodi on Unsplash

Stranger things have happened but this week in Comic Book Corner we’re all Indie. We take a look into some fun new Indie Comics and trades for your reading pleasure. We start off with Paradox Girl Vol. 1: First Cycle which Jenn Mac tells us is a lot like reading about a grown-up Eleven. A Stranger Things spin-off with Eleven as a young woman would be amazing!

Speaking of Stranger Things, the newest comic Stranger Things: Six is ramping up and we are now seeing connections to the Stranger Things season 3 TV series. We’ve got Red Sonja: Birth of the She-Devil taking us back to the era of chainmail bikinis, swords, and savagery. Nothing is stranger in a world ruled by “Might is Right” than a woman warrior.

In Eve Stranger things begin to make more sense as we get into the meat of the story. Meanwhile, Punk Mambo #3 introduces us to the real bad guy; turns out he’s got quite a grudge against the Loa. Stranger things have happened in Mambo’s life but for the first time ever she’ll need to play well with others.

We hope you find a fun read here in this week’s Comic Book Corner! Join us weekly for new reads, reviews of older favorites, and suggestions to help fill out your comics and graphic novel shelves.

Paradox Girl Vol. 1: First Cycle

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Creative Team:

  • Published by Image
  • Written by Cayti Elle Bourquin
  • Art by Yishan Li
  • Additional Art by Harley Williams; Suzanne Elizabeth Miller; Stuart Wallace Miller
  • Cover by Yishan Li

A Future Eleven

Reviewed by: Jenn Mac

Paradox Girl follows a waffle-loving, stylish hero who is no stranger to time fluctuations. Paradox Girl uses her powers to be in multiple places at ones, warn herself of the boring events coming up, fight monsters, and of course, acquire more waffles for consumption. Think grown-up Eleven.

I enjoyed reading through this volume, as I am a sucker to time storylines. My favorite part was tracing back all the different Paradox Girls to their original time jump.

Rating: 8/10

Conclusion: If you’re looking for a light-hearted “superhero” comic series, check this out!

Stranger Things: Six #2

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Creative Team:

  • Published by Dark Horse
  • Written by Jody Houser
  • Pencils by Edgar Salazar
  • Inks by Keith Champagne
  • Colored by Triona Farrell
  • Cover by Aleksi Briclot

Six and Eleven

Reviewed by: MAJK

Stranger Things: Six #2 starts to show threads of connection to the Stranger Things TV series. Stranger Things: Six #2 picks up with Francine (a.k.a Six) in the upside down but there’s no telling if she’s there or just seeing a vision of the future. She wakes up terrified. The next day she’s in the library at the facility and Ricky comes by to try to apologize. She’s still as angry as she was in the last issue and refuses to refer to him as anything other than Three. We see more of her relationship with Ricky, including prom night which is ironic as she tosses the book Carrie at Ricky on her way out.

Francine is clearly feeling the loss of life outside and, as she visits with the Twins, she chats with them about their life before the facility. Dr. Brenner appears behind Francine and asks her to join him. In a testing room, we see a sweet little blond girl using telekinesis. Francine and Dr. Brenner watch her through a one-way glass. It is at this point Dr. Brenner tells Francine that she and Eleven are important to winning “this war.” Francine slips and nearly reveals the visions she has been having but she evades Brenner’s interrogation neatly. Brenner takes her to a room that is under construction but will look very familiar to fans of the Stranger Things TV series.

Houser does a great job dropping tidbits that will eventually lead us to see how the stories of Six and Eleven relate to the Upside Down. At the same time, she takes aim at our heartstrings by leading us through Francine’s past through her eyes. The way much of what Ricky says is paralleled to what Brenner says demonstrates how much emotional weight both have in her life. We also see that she no longer trusts either of them.

Salazar and Champagne do a great job keeping the feel of the flashbacks distinct. While Francine is walking with Brenner and her mind is replaying the past, there’s no mistaking which scenes are now and which are memories. Farrell’s colors assist in this distinction by keeping a more sterile color palette for the facility and using more vibrant tones for the flashbacks. This tonal difference also sets the feel, letting us in on Francine’s clear-minded logical emotional state now as compared to the chaotic confusion of her past.

Rating: 8.5/10

Conclusion: This is series is a must for Stranger Things fans and a solid choice for fans of sci-fi comics.

 

Red Sonja: Birth of the She-Devil #1

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Creative Team:

  • Published by Dynamite
  • Written by Luke Lieberman
  • Illustrated by Sergio Davila
  • Colored by Ulises Arreola
  • Cover by Lucio Parrillo

Evil in the Hearts of Men

Reviewed by: MAJK

For breakfast, she killed a sultan and for dinner, she burned down a tavern. Meet the She-Devil. This early tale of Red Sonja takes us back in time. Her past as the She-Devil is revealed in this explosive series about the early years of the iconic flame-haired, hot-tempered, sword-wielding heroine. Searching for a young woman once under her tutelage, Red Sonja tears through dozens of powerful men whose profits come from the trafficking of the flesh of others. Her target, the demon conqueror Raka, who has stolen the young Shashana. Raka and his mean tear through village after village in vicious and sadistic defiance of King Andol, his laws, and all that is civilized. Using a vile concoction that brings out the savagery in men, Raka and his men sacrifice all in their path to Bel, God of Chaos. Meanwhile, angry and drunk Sonja faces a trail far colder than her empty bed. If she is going to find this monster, she may have to accept the help of the one man that she blames the most for Shashana’s disappearance—her mentor, Ozzyus, the man who raised her.

Red Sonja: Birth of the She-Devil #1 harkens back to the days of chainmail bikinis, and savage worlds. Liberman crafts a tale of Red Sonja wild and untamed. In true sword and sorcery style, there is a lot of violence, a ton of death, gallons of blood, and a solid dose of toxic masculinity. Liberman uses the savagery of this world to demonstrate the high-stakes of Sonja’s quest. She may be on a quest to save her friend but Lieberman’s first entry in this series makes it plain there is more at stake than one life. Raka’s viciousness and insanity know no bounds.

Davila’s art renders the nightmare of Raka’s path of destruction and terror almost too well. I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone with delicate sensitivities. Davila’s style lends perfectly to this tale and the animalistic nature that Raka’s sorcery brings forth.

Warnings: There is a child murder/possession scene in this issue, as well as the allusion to rape and sexual slavery.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: While this story is true to its genre, it’s not something your average mainstream comic reader would snatch up. For fans of Conan and Red Sonja this is a must read. For everyone else, there’s quite a bit of off-putting material.

 

Eve Stranger #2

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Creative Team:

  • Published by Black Crown
  • Written by David Barnett
  • Illustrated by Philip Bond
  • Colored by Eva de la Cruz
  • Cover by Philip Bond

Stranger, and Stranger

Reviewed by: MAJK

Eve Stranger #2 gives us a lot more information about just what is happening in Eve’s world. From Eve Stranger #1 we know that she wakes up in the morning with a new mission, a gun, unlimited funds, a dozen passports, hand to hand combat skills, and no memory.

Eve Stranger #2 starts off with Eve running the bulls in Spain, with a tiny man strapped to her chest. Madden is a client of Eve’s and he clearly likes her but not enough to answer her questions about E.V.E project. The peek inside how things are run at the E.V.E project is enough to make me want to read more of this series. Eve’s services are sold to the highest bidder but it’d be a mistake to assume that those services include any kind of sexual favors as one poor schlub found out.

We do get to meet Jimmy Mac, Eve’s love interest who is clearly in love with Eve despite her inability to remember it. In fact, the only thing Eve loves more than Jimmy is her jet pack. No, really, Madden gives her a jet pack.

Barnett leaves us a trail of bread crumbs leading us toward the thing we all want to know. Who is Eve and how did she become the E.V.E Project? As Barnett teases us bits and pieces of Eve’s recent and not-so-recent past, we also see there are people who are her friends, even though she forgets them regularly. They never forget her. Madden seems to be one in spite of being a frequent client. Jimmy is clearly more than a friend and yet he admonishes himself about interacting with her, even as he flat out admits to loving her. Bond and de la Cruz combine their art and color talent to give Even Stranger just the right mix of modern science fiction, contemporary world, and the fantastic.

Rating: 7.5/10

Conclusion: While this story is fun, it can get a bit confusing. So far it looks to be a sci-fi/cyberpunk tale on the order of Total Recall and Johnny Mnemonic but with a nice dash of humor. It’s not doing anything super original yet, but there is time and potential for that to happen.

 

Punk Mambo #3

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Creative Team:

  • Published by Valiant
  • Written by Cullen Bunn
  • Illustrated by Adam Gorham
  • Colored by Jose Villarrubia
  • Cover by Adam Gorham

No I in Team

Reviewed by: MAJK

Punk Mambo #3 picks up with our perpetually defiant Mambo and her Houngan partner, Josef, vigorously debating the merits of their recent defeat and Marie Laveau’s abduction. By “vigorously debating” I mean screaming at one another and flinging accusations. Yeah. Teamwork is lacking here. Lacking to the point that they decide to go there separate ways. Punk Mambo heads out to hunt down whoever is holding Uncle Gunneysack’s leash. Josef disappointed me. He stays behind to tattle to the Loa like a third grader. Maybe though, his staying behind will serve them well in the end.

Mambo finds the man behind the sack and it doesn’t go as well as she’d like. Covered in blood and exhausted she makes her way back to Josef, only to find that a trap she hadn’t anticipated has been sprung. Now she and Josef are the only hope the Voodoo Gods have of freedom. The alternative is a madman with a cadre of enslaved gods and that is never a good thing.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: I know this is the part of the story where all seems lost but I was disappointed in Josef’s behavior. Mambo is a spoiled child in many ways so her tantrum felt in character. Josef seems like he should have been able to reign her in, or at least de-escalate the situation. Telling the Loa they made a mistake after preaching to Mambo about obey the Loa felt off. Still, the story is good and I have faith in Bunn’s writing. I’m in for the next issue.

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