Knight in the Snake Pit #1 is a chilling comic that tells the beginning of the story of Allister Ward, a man who wakes up in an asylum with no memories and no concept of why he’s there. Madness is the only constant in Allister’s life, and the text follows him as he moves between a confusing, maddening reality and paranoid episodes with narrative coherence and structure far beyond what he experiences otherwise.
Imagine in the near future, a world in which technology has been developed that will end death and suffering through loss. Getting there, though, will cost the lives of 30 million people, raising philosophical questions regarding mortality and heated religious debates accusing corporations of playing god. This is the setting of The Resurrected, the first comic book series from a new independent publishing company, Carnouche Productions.
Sword of Ages, Gabriel Rodriguez’s (Locke and Key, Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland) five-issue miniseries that is a mixture of sword and planet with Arthurian legend, begins its second issue with Avalon, along with her traveling companions Lancer, Trystan, and Gawyn, traveling atop the Guardian of the Lake (a large dragon) to a small island with a sacred cave, wherein they encounter a chamber of monsters and a legendary sword stuck in a large green gem (Sword of Ages’ parallel to Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone). Meanwhile, the Black Star Templars are shown to be conquerors from the stars, staging a military campaign called “Operation Stormbringer” to bring their particular brand of law to the planet. The White Monks, briefly alluded to in issue one, are formally introduced. Their leader’s son, Lord Calen (who has feelings for Avalon), leads a scouting missing to spy on a meeting of the Black Sun Templars and the Red Clan. The two groups plot a siege against the White Monks, and while attempting to report this information back, Calen is captured.
It feels so good to get back into this series. After missing a few issues in the current arc, seeing it come to a close is bittersweet. On one hand, seeing it end is sad, because the book is amazing, but on the other hand, the book is amazing. Really amazing. The Wicked + the Divine is one of the most out-there books on the market, but it's also super popular and for good reason.
The second volume of one of the weirdest and most fun Image Comics series is here, and with it comes more magical mayhem, thanks to our spell-casting friend, Wizord. With his companion Magaret in tow (who has now become a bird, instead of her awesome koala self), Wizord is set to save the world from the evil Sizajee, a deity from Wizord's home world that is bent on destroying Earth and taking it for himself. That plan has, thus far, been foiled by his former protege, and Wizord has dispatched all of the evil mages that have been sent his way - with the exception of his ex-lover Ruby Stitch, who is there but not quite herself. Stitch is a major focus of this volume, as she attempts to regain her powers (which were taken by Wizord during their battle) and potentially gain revenge on her former beau.
One problem with reviewing monthlies is that, as a reviewer, you can only review month to month. There are writers that will leave each issue at a point, wanting you to read the next one. They’ll build in hooks and twists and turns and frame each issue just so, so that by the end, you want to come back. Matt Kindt can certainly do that. He has the skills to make that happen. Sometimes, however, a writer wants to break that mold; they want to take their time, be a little freer and looser and not adhere to the tropes of writing a serial. This makes it difficult for a reviewer that reviews based on what’s in front of them at the end of every month’s issue. With these sorts of books, it’s sometimes makes it hard to fully grade until an entire story arc is in. Grass Kings falls into the latter camp more than the former, and this issue (the end of the second story arc) left me very pleased that I’ve stayed on board.
This may be Superman’s strangest set of adventures yet. Keep in mind, I’ve read and reviewed three of these collections of Superman’s Sunday comic strips from the '40s and '50s already, so I know what I’m talking about. In the past, I’ve seen Superman transformed into an intelligent toddler. I’ve seen him put on his own one-man circus to save a down-on-his-luck ringmaster from ruin. I’ve seen him submit to a series of tests by the Metropolis Skeptics Society in order to prove his own existence. Still, none of that compares with some of the adventures in this volume.
Things get pretty intense in this issue. A lot has already happened in the two short installments we’ve already had. Our time-traveling outlaw hero, Teddy, found herself stranded in a town ironically named Prosperity. The citizens are poor, depressed, and addicted to virtual reality. Since their lives in the real world are difficult to bear, they retreat into fantasy instead of facing things head on. This, in turn, eats up all of their money and keeps them from facing or fixing their problems, so they remain poor and depressed forever. It’s an infinite loop, not unlike the one the series is named for.