The action pieces in Sword Daughter are so profoundly good that you almost forget it is the subtle details of this story that make it such a masterpiece. Brian Wood continues to surprise me with his ability to craft an ornate tapestry of complicated emotion told in such a concise way. Not a moment is wasted, and every panel counts. This is a grand reminder that a simple story can be just as affecting, if not more, than a complicated one.

She Could Fly is hypnotic, emotionally eloquent, and completely jarring. It lulls you and shakes you. Christopher Cantwell chooses his words specifically, Martin Morazzo catches a rhythm in the paneling and an emotion in the artwork that Miroslav Mrva heightens in the coloring, and Clem Robbins . . . lettering doesn’t get a lot of press, but the placement and texture of the words create that staccato rhythm, that poetic feeling, that anxiety, that calm, that internal battle. In my review of issue one, I stated that She Could Fly taps into a feeling, and in issue two that feeling becomes more profound. You are living in someone else’s psychosis, specifically Luna’s psychosis. And what makes it so profound is that this creative team has tapped into an anxiety that could very well be universal, because it’s grounded in a lack of self-worth.

Changing gears from their recent Eisner Award-nominated collaboration on Grass Kings, Matt Kindt and Tyler and Hilary Jenkins bring us Black Badge. The Black Badge is a group of elite boy scouts that are sent into places the military can’t go, places that not even adults can get without looking suspicious. It’s a pretty straight-forward premise with a lot of room for adventure, plus a hefty amount of morals and ethics. It’s hard to say which direction the book is going to go as this first issue mostly sets up this premise, as our four Black Badges - three veteran kids and one newbie - have to trek into North Korea to accomplish a very specific mission. As kids, they are easily trained and they easily obey, and this first issue rattles their perception a little, pointing us down a possible path for future issues.

Gothic imagery and Lovecraftian nightmares are at the heart of the graphic novel, Hopeless, Maine. It is a story about isolation and loss, magic and demons, and how the two are inexorably intertwined. Originally a webcomic, Hopeless, Maine is now available in print.

Announced a year ago, August 14 will see the release of Idle Days from publisher First Second Books. The brainchild of writer Thomas Desaulniers-Brousseau and artist Simon LeClerc, the story is about a young Canadian man, Jerome, who refused to serve his country in combat during World War II. Staying out of sight, he takes up residence with his none-too-talkative grandfather in a forest house with a dubious past. The cover conveys tension as all eyes – Jerome, cat, dog, house and skull – are staring at the reader. The cover is not short on symbolism, as each item derives its meaning as the story unfolds.  

If you think a cross-country roadtrip with your relatives sounds like a nightmare, just be grateful your relatives are not the anthropomorphised animal mutants Bebop and Rocksteady. After reading up on their mayhemic hijinks, you will likely never complain about roadtripping ever again. TMNT: Bebop & Rocksteady Hit the Road takes two ancillary characters from the Turtleverse (I'm trying to make this a thing.) and milks them for all of their ballistic glory. The book abounds with bullet-filled fun with enough carnage to spare.

If you didn't see the 2010 Disney film, Tangled, then I can confidently say you're missing out. Of the modern Disney films, it stands near the top as one of the instantly iconic stories produced by the studio. And, naturally, when Disney has a success on their hands, they expand. From the 2010 film came a television series titled Tangled: The Series (or Rapunzel's Tangled Adventures . . . they change the name of this franchise a lot.), and from that came today's comic: Tangled: The Series - Let Down Your Hair.

Adulthood is often ripe for disappointment. It’s not just about learning that taxes are a thing for everyone, but about having to accept certain realities of the world. That doesn’t mean the magic of childhood has to be ruined; no, adulthood is about learning how to merge the reality of the world with the magic we all once believed in.

One of the things about serialized stories is that if there is a break in the story, then the viewer or consumer can become disinterested due to the amount of time that has passed. It’s why when TV shows come back on the air after a year-long break, viewership can sink.

Whenever I crack open a volume of Kengo Hanazawa’s brilliant I Am a Hero, I have no idea where we’re going to start and where we’re going to end. There’s no way of knowing. For every previous escalation of intensity, it’s difficult to imagine how the story can continue to escalate while staying as grounded, extreme, and emotionally astute as it is. It’s beguiling to me, but that’s part of the joy. What started out as a zombie epic has spun wildly away from the zombie genre itself, and much like Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, Attack on Titan, or Durarara!! has created a new genre unto itself.

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