Jodi Scaife

Jodi Scaife (162)

The first issue of immense religious horror comic Escape from Jesus Island takes pages from The Island of Dr. Moreau, Scooby Doo, and classic horror movies mixed with a dose of hidden Christian references. (Always check the backgrounds of the panels; I’m just saying.) It wasn’t quite what I expected from the teaser description, but it sets the stage for a dark, disturbing ride examining the ethics of cloning, the role of organized religion in modern society, and how the Vatican works as a government entity as much as a religious one, blended with a hearty plot of pure terror.

If your only reason for picking up The Detainee by Peter Liney is the publishing buzz about it being a Hunger Games for adults, don’t; however, if you want to read a novel with a dystopian look at ageism, an examination of an extreme example of a police state, and a dose of The Lord of the Flies blended into a unique vision of the future, this may be exactly what you’ve been looking for. Liney’s characters and world manage to get under the reader’s skin even when the exact details are a little off-putting.

One hundred and sixty-three years ago, a starship called Defiant tried to leave Earth’s orbit as a police vehicle desperately pursued it.  The police vessel was taken on board the larger ship as Defiant fell through a wormhole or other space anomaly and launched across space to a strange planet where life had developed despite the lack of a large light giving star.  Three members of Defiant’s marginally volunteer crew opted to leave this new place and return to Earth for rescue aid; however, Angela and Tommy chose to stay behind on this new planet and try to make a life while they wait for help.  The new home is dubbed Eden, and from this one couple, an inbred and primitive society is born. The Family is content to stay near the Circle of Stones created by their Mother, Angela, and wait for Earth until a young man named John Redlantern dares to believe that there could be life beyond the frozen wastes north of their settlement and becomes a catalyst for change in a stagnant world order.

How much would you be willing to risk for freedom? Seventeen-year-old Yulia has been on the run with her mother and younger brother ever since her father disappeared five years ago, destroying their comfortable life as high-ranking Party scientists; however, the KGB doesn’t want Yulia because of her parents’ previous positions. They want her ability to read memories from inanimate objects. When she is captured and taken to the hidden KGB school for young psychics, Yulia is faced with a harsh choice: should she fight to live her life as freely even at the expense of her mother and brother or accept the life the Party dictates for people with her special abilities? Set in Soviet Moscow in 1963 and 1964, author Lindsay Smith explores the nature of true choice on a backdrop of the Cold War and Space Race.

What happens to sentai teams when the members start to grow up? Do they continue to fight evil and protect humanity, or do they age out their roles and return to ordinary life? Creator Eric Kim explores these questions in his short digital comic, Nitro Battlers, and breathes a relatable humanity into each of his characters.

In a world where Demons previously roamed, a new species arose from the sexual assault of human women by the demon hoards. These demon-human hybrids combine the strength, ruthlessness, and rage of their Demon fathers with the soul and heart of their human mothers, but they can easily sink into the cruel nature of their Demon sides. They are known as Reapers, and those with only one-quarter demon blood have chosen to use their superior strength to defend humanity against all forces. Aella is the youngest Reaper and the result of the latest Teller Witch’s rape by the Demon Ganesh. With her Demon and magic user blood, she is predicted to be the last of the Reapers, the final hope for human kind, the powerful Red Reaper; however, Aella bears deep emotional scars from childhood abuse at the hands of her Demon father and his minions, and the Reapers do not fully trust her. When she flees their stronghold of Raggenborg in search of a mysterious boy from her past, Aella never suspects she may find what she craves most of all: a human who loves and accepts her even after seeing her dark side.

Cupcake POW! is an ongoing webcomic ( by creator Jody Houser who has written stories for several comic anthologies, including Womanthology and Skin Crawling Comics. Several of the best strips were compiled into two fifty-ish page collections, so readers who prefer to view their digital media offline or in bigger chunks can check out the cream of the crop in one place. It’s self-proclaimed a “comic created for girls about the things that girls like,” but the wry, slightly twisted humor could easily tickle the fancy of non-girl types, as well. Despite being marketed as being for girls, some of the humor is at least 13+.

Broken Icon ComicsChosen and Forsaken explores the currently popular zombie apocalypse and adds their own twist to produce a story that feels fresh and exciting, even as it retreads staples of the genre.  I had the opportunity to read the digital trade paperback which combined the first four issues of the main storyline with issue zero, providing insight into the major characters’ lives before survival became the only important thing left. 

Labyrinth of Stars is the fifth installment in Marjorie M. Liu’s urban fantasy series, Hunter Kiss. Maxine and Grant are expecting their daughter, the child who should inherit Maxine’s mantle as hunter, but Grant is also losing his strength after becoming a demon lord to four clans. The pair must balance their relationship, caring for flesh-eating non-humans on modern Earth, and Maxine’s natural drive to eradicate demons to keep their fragile world intact; however, powerful forces fear the birth of Maxine and Grant’s gifted daughter and seek to fulfill the prophecy of Maxine being the last Hunter Kiss by killing the child in the womb. How far will this mother go to protect her child, and will a mysterious plague that threatens all life on Earth tip the scales?

The final installment of Alterna’s three-issue story, Myth, starts with Sam in the clutches of a mysterious group known only as The Guard. The plucky orphan refuses to accept his imprisonment, however, and his efforts to escape lead him to another prisoner . . . and the reason why he’s been kidnapped. Meanwhile, Annie and the Giant race against time to find Sam before The Guard's evil plan reaches completion. They must track down another forest denizen, The Warrior, and prepare for a battle to protect the human world from unfathomable evil.

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