Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Cullen Bunn is great. I enjoy his writing so much, and giving him a badass, anarchist character like Punk Mambo is a perfect match. Punk Mambo is a Voodoo Priestess from the London Punk scene, one of the best combos of words for a character since “blind swordsman gambling masseuse.” And, as you can imagine, Punk Mambo doesn’t give a flying fig about the rules, regulations, nor respect that many feel should be given to such powerful magic and spirits.

Michael Dante DiMartino is taking Korra where no Nickelodeon cartoon has gone before, dealing with real social paradigms, in some cases breaking them and in other cases playing to new ones. For those that stopped following Korra: She’s gay. It was a wonderful and beautiful decision from DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, and the story is being explored in a positively healthy way. Now, after dealing with an Earth Kingdom Empire run amok, team Korra has to deal with the creation of a democracy, and with that we see a different kind of villain - a political one that isn’t using all-out war to win. The parallels to what ours and many other countries face in the real world with hacked elections and outside interference is difficult to ignore. It goes to show just how flexible the world of Avatar is.

There will always be dramatic gold to be mined from the two situations coupled together in Gregory and the Gargoyles, and, for the most part, this new book from Denis-Pierre Filippi is quite fun.

There was a story beat in the eighth issue of Black Badge, a series about Boy Scouts that work for our government, that I keep hoping will be a misdirect even though I stand by the decision Matt Kindt made as the creator. Some things should just be as they are, especially when they are decisions that invest the reader on an entirely new emotional level. Now, anything could potentially happen to anyone. To break your characters, means that any of them could be broken. To remove the reverence you have towards your own creations means challenging the readers in surprising ways.

Ya know those heroic stories in which the heroes of the story have a one-in-a-million shot at victory, and somehow they manage to succeed . . . every time . . . multiple times in a story? “Never tell me the odds!” Little Bird is not that story. The heroes in Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertram’s comic books eries are full of vigor and determination, but they are also imperfect and quite possibly overpowered by the oppressive Church State of the Catholic Church.

Jeff Lemire continues the sort-of origin story of the Laughing Man in Gideon Falls #13, and two things are happening for me. One: More questions are cascading to the surface with very few answers. Two: It doesn’t matter. It’s the questions, the mystery, the unknown that drives the horror of this series - the sense that there’s something greater than our minds can even begin to fathom happening in the world of Gideon Falls. You can feel that frustration in our main characters who press ahead, fighting even though they have no idea what they’re up against. This series is a constant existential crisis ready to explode. It's quantum mechanics being used as a weapon.

Our hero, Joe Golem, was left in a pretty tight spot when we left him at the end of the previous story arc, possibly dead at the bottom of the Drowning City (a parallel New York City half covered in water). In this new series, we pick up from exactly that moment, as we see more of his past life as a literal animated Golem whose sole goal was to destroy witches.

Class hierarchy, social status, racial discrimination, and sexual discrimination are all themes being handled deftly in Greg Pak and Giannis Milonogiannis’ Ronin Island.

Empty Man #7 goes above and beyond, shifting from survival horror to something more along the lines of existential and philosophical dread. Not only does Cullen Bunn take what is probably a simple concept and make it mind-bogglingly esoteric in the best way, but what has been to this point a hellish landscape of chaotic, uncontrollable horror chasing down our heroes has become something that you maybe can’t just outrun.

Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s meta tale of superheroes without a story has sprawled every which way since its first issue about two years ago. I say “without a story” not because things haven’t happened - so much has happened - but because for much of the series our heroes have been without anything to save. Their story was stripped away from them, and they’ve been forced to live out different stories. What happens when you take away a superhero’s main reason for existing?

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