Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

I haven’t fist pumped since the '90s. I fist pumped yesterday when I read Black Badge #11 which is the penultimate issue of this story arc (and maybe the series as a whole).

With issue 14, the overarching story of Gideon Falls finally starts to take shape. We now have a better understanding of who the forces of good and evil are in this world, with the terrifying laughing man (Norton Sinclair) on one side, and now Bishop Jeremiah Burke on the other. The importance of characters come more into focus, taking on deeper, richer archetypes as the past catches up to the present. None of this disappoints. Lemire is using the very foundations of reality as his sandbox: the past and present, multiverses, good and evil, and our perceptions of hell with (thus far) no heaven in sight.

Here’s me continuing not to complain that we get more Hellboy stories from Mike Mignola. I sincerely love this world so very much. The esoteric magic is beautiful, and all of the elements I love about the big red guy are on display in this one-shot. There’s a brutal fight that Hellboy “harrumphs” his way through. There’s also a strange magical force that finds its way into the story and shows itself through a very unexpected and playful visual device. The great thing is that the visual device fits in perfectly with the purveyor of that magic.

What a strangely beautiful and poetic world Poelgeest, Bertram, and Hollingsworth have created. All of the characters have one foot in the afterlife and one fighting for freedom and justice in this alternate universe to our own. Though, like with all incredible sci-fi, one can see the exaggerated and hyper-realistic elements of our own world in theirs.

I’m a child of the '80s (born in ’78), so my informative years were spent with The Goonies, Monster Squad, The Lost Boys, It, and other stories of kids coming together and against all odds defeating something way above their paygrades and combined heights. Urban Legendz embraces that really great credo of all for one and one for all, as Dwayne, just entering his teenage years, finds himself a transplant to Brooklyn along with his older high school-aged brother, Curtis, and his dad who happens to be a police officer. They’re moving there from Illinois, leaving the death of their mother behind to start a new life…by entering into their parents’ old life, as Brooklyn was the city Dwayne’s mom and dad grew up in.

Mind MGMT is a seminal work of fiction. Regardless of medium, this is one of the finest works of the past decade, and it was all brought to you by Matt Kindt. To take on the jobs of writer, artist, and colorist in something this complex, with this many moving parts, and t keep up with the consistency of excellence that Kindt does, is nothing short of amazing.

Something inside me needed Si Spurrier and Matías Bergara’s Coda. The tale of a world with the last bit of its magic dying. The tale of our anti-hero Bard named Hum and his insanely cool unicorn steed, Nag. What started as a journey to save his love Serka ended as a journey in which he was trying to save his soul from the worst version of himself for Serka.

Cullen Bunn is great. I enjoy his writing so much, and giving him a badass, anarchist character like Punk Mambo is a perfect match. Punk Mambo is a Voodoo Priestess from the London Punk scene, one of the best combos of words for a character since “blind swordsman gambling masseuse.” And, as you can imagine, Punk Mambo doesn’t give a flying fig about the rules, regulations, nor respect that many feel should be given to such powerful magic and spirits.

Michael Dante DiMartino is taking Korra where no Nickelodeon cartoon has gone before, dealing with real social paradigms, in some cases breaking them and in other cases playing to new ones. For those that stopped following Korra: She’s gay. It was a wonderful and beautiful decision from DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, and the story is being explored in a positively healthy way. Now, after dealing with an Earth Kingdom Empire run amok, team Korra has to deal with the creation of a democracy, and with that we see a different kind of villain - a political one that isn’t using all-out war to win. The parallels to what ours and many other countries face in the real world with hacked elections and outside interference is difficult to ignore. It goes to show just how flexible the world of Avatar is.

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