There's a lot on the line.

Rick and Morty: Book Two carries on major themes from the animated series: nihilism, human connection (or lack thereof) and family, power, and ethics, and how the heck one is supposed to care about school when offered a rotating sequence of incredibly high-stakes adventures.  That said, Rick and Morty fans will not be disappointed by Rick and Morty: Book Two, the second installment of Rick and Morty comics. This text is longer than some might expect - 290 pages in total - but interested readers shouldn’t be put off by the length; Rick and Morty: Book Two is a surprisingly fast read, both because of its form - a collection of short stories - and because the content is expertly rendered. Not only are the narratives of each story engaging, but the art and character development are - with one minor exception - in line with what readers familiar with the animated series have come to expect.

Gabriel Rodríguez’s Sword of Ages is a new series from IDW, a neo-peplum comic that combines the sword and planet genre with Arthurian legend. Sword of Ages tells a variation of the origin of the fabled Excalibur by placing the story on a different planet (portrayed as being littered with both ancient and futuristic ruins) and concerns the heroine Avalon, who has been raised by tigers and trained by monks. The first issue sees Avalon part from her tiger family to travel with Merlin (blue-skinned in this incarnation) and his black bird Nikola to rendezvous with a team of other adventurers (Trystan, Lancer Benveek, and Gawyn) and gain an audience with the serpentine Guardian of the Sacred Lake. En route, Avalon and company thwart a band of Planet of the Apes-esque slavers and free their prisoners, which introduces Captain Janek, the supposed law and order of the region.

Fellow Star Warsians! (Is that a thing? an I make this a thing?)  We are officially less than 3 weeks away from Star Wars: The Last Jedi hitting theaters, and this scruffy looking nerf herder can’t bear his excitement.  Whatever will I do to pass the lightyears?

Let me be one of the few to admit that I didn’t really like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story the first time I saw it in theaters.  It appears everyone enjoyed it more than Star Wars: The Force Awakens, except me.  

Archaia and Jim Henson Studios have created the sequel to the cult classic film, The Dark Crystal, in comic book form in Jim Henson’s The Power of the Dark Crystal. The language of this world lives in dream-like chants, giving it a sacred, poetic quality. Despite the fantasy of this realm, you trust the reality of this world and its people; they are every bit real and rich.

There’s a lot of fun to be had in this comic. Set in the early '20s in France, the art style is reflective of that era and setting, which helps to add to the immersive quality of the world in which the story takes place. The story itself is a tribute to murder mystery/adventure stories of that era and features a number of colorful characters to that effect.

If you grew up loving horror movies, then Winnebago Graveyard is your gateway into the comic book world. Most of this trade paperback, collecting issues one through four of the series, takes place at night. The darker illustrations, present with the classic motel “VACANCY” sign, instantly pull you into the moment – as if you’re waiting for the pulsating chase to begin.

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil is a four-issue miniseries and spinoff from Dark Horse’s Black Hammer series. With the original run of Black Hammer ending at issue thirteen, planning to be resumed with a new series titled Black Hammer: Age of Doom in the spring of 2018, Sherlock Frankenstein acts as stop gap for fans of the series, approaching the Black Hammer world with emphasis on its villains. The original Black Hammer saw Spiral City’s superheroes vanish to a rural farm in an alternate dimension after defeating the Anti-God. Sherlock Frankenstein sees Lucy Weber, the daughter of Black Hammer and also reporter for The Global Planet, investigating the disappearances by questioning the various supervillains of the city, who were left with no adversaries.

The final issue of Oni Press' Rick & Morty tie-in, based on the mobile game, is finally here. While the game itself is basically a Rick & Morty-themed Pokemon rip-off, this series has been anything but, injecting the ridiculousness and humor that the series is known for and wrapping it around a world where Mortys are captured and pitted against one another in battle. So far in the series, the Morty we all know and love has been dubbed the “Evil Morty” and has set himself to the task of freeing all of the other versions of himself from the brutal battles and the control of the Council of Ricks, who keep them contained in cages and bring them out only to fight. It's been a fun way to see how creative the people working on the series can be, with alternate versions of Morty such as Cat Morty, Jerry Morty, and Sticky Popsicle Hands Morty all having made appearances and been good for a laugh.

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