Even though the Quantum Age happens in the future of the Black Hammer universe, it wavers back and forth between being written like a Golden Age science fiction tale and something that might be written now. It begins with a character named Archive talking to a disembodied voice only called Mother. Archive is part of a collective race, like the Borg minus the conquering other species aspect. Archive wants to go into the world to see what it’s like to be human and to come back and report the data he finds. He’s thrilled about this, and shortly after entering school, he becomes a member of the Quantum League, with races and species all around the galaxy, fighting for justice and protecting the innocent, but as with every story in the Black Hammer universe, nothing is ever that simple.
On the very last page of issue #4 of She Could Fly, I read the word “End” and almost lost my mind. I frantically scrolled back through the issue, looking for clues that would make sense as to how this could possibly be the end of the story. There were too many unanswered questions that would weigh on me. I found my answer in creator Christopher Cantwell’s afterword…more issues in the Spring, he wrote. I calmed myself.
For all of its captivating elements, it is the setting of Jook Joint that is its most scrumptious. Taking place in the backwoods swampland of what is likely the Louisiana Bayou, we get to spend time with characters criminally underrepresented in fiction. Jook Joint is referring to a whore-house that doubles as a feeding ground for man-eating monsters. I say “man-eating” both literally and metaphorically. Jook Joint is also a brand new book by Image Comics that is about women taking gory revenge on their systematic abuse and oppression by terrible men. It is horror at its most poignant.
Dead Rabbit is a love letter to the rough justice pioneered by the likes of Frank Miller in the late '80s and early '90s. It’s dark and wickedly violent. Like most of those heroes of yesteryear, we get to see bad guys putting down bad guys. It feels wrong. It feels cathartic. In a time when the world is just as scary as it’s ever been, one man taking the visceral weight of crime on his own shoulders certainly revs MY engine. Anyone likely unsatisfied with our current socio-economic climate will likely find a bloody home in Dead Rabbit.
Picking up soon after the second Umbrella Academy series, the special siblings of the deceased Hargreeves are still trying to pick up the pieces of their fractured lives, mostly due to their own poor choices, but in Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s darkly comedic world, there are no loose ends, and some of those ends look to be finding their way back into the main thread. Hargreeves seemed to have had an off-planet prison for villains that his children would face - a hotel called Hotel Oblivion - and with Hargreeves having been dead for so long, the villains have basically been unattended, and one of them has found a way to escape…
After I arranged to review this book, the publisher sent me a physical copy of the second installment of Gengoroh Tagame’s My Brother’s Husband. This is the first time I’ve received a physical review copy of a text, making My Brother’s Husband: Volume 2 a bit of an outlier in my review experience. The decision to send a physical book is eminent, as it drew my attention to several features and oddities inherent to the text. My Brother’s Husband is a manga, which means that it is meant to be read from right to left (the reverse of traditional left-to-right page and book orientation in most of Western publishing). For a Canadian reader who is broadly unfamiliar with Japanese publishing, and with manga in particular, the experience of reading this text was different; my awareness of page layouts and pacing was heightened, and I was vividly reminded of the text’s form every time I turned a page. The decision, then, to send a physical copy of the text was pragmatic, as it enabled me to make a closer, more detailed account of the ways that My Brother’s Husband is, at its core, a queer text.