The city of Skod, a city of horror in the heavens of Zhal for Adam and the Mud King, becomes that much more like Hell with the arrival of the Pied Piper. Now, horrid son against horrid son are trying to save and kill a horrid father, and a man with the world’s salvation resting on his shoulders are left, leaving the cursed citizens of Skod to deal with the repercussions of their untimely and unwelcome arrival.
Rat Queens #14 picks up right where the previous issue left off. Dee is now seemingly a cleric imbued with the power of the halfling deity, Betty is both confused and excited that her friend is there to save them, and everyone else is kind of trapped in a cage. This issue sets us up for the next one, with one important thing to note: Braga has a more intimate reason for seeing this adventure through.
Project: Saviour doesn’t want to be your run-of-the-mill superhero origin story. It starts off heavy, with an established hero telling his story of how he came to be. Abandoned by his father at a young age, he comes to realize his abilities one day when fighting a bully and decides to help people and be a hero. But things don’t look so good for him, as a local crime lord, Scyther, wreaks havoc on the city, painting our unnamed hero as a villain. Ostracized from the people he wants to help, he has to bring down Scyther who has his own strings beings pulled.
Viva La Villain King starts off with a cartographer saving a doctor from a gang of roaming thieves and enters into a city where, for the first time in a while it seems, she is treated to some hospitality and kindness. Of course, as with all stories of this kind, not everything will be as peachy as a cobbler.
After a recon mission gone wrong, Hannah—a religious woman and pilot—is reluctantly the leading officer in charge of a group of soldiers who are stuck behind enemy lines. With little provisions, save for Go-Pills, they have to trek on, hiding in the freezing climate with something seemingly otherworldly hunting them, either in their minds or in the world.
Rat Queens #13 picks up where readers last left off, with the Queens in the Under Pit, battling (and losing) against an orc camp of Fleshers who make Sauron’s own personal army look pretty wimpish. This is while Dee is currently discussing philosophy with Bilford Bogin, the deity of the smidgens. So, a pretty normal day for the Queens, all in all.
Following the events of Harbinger Wars #2, Amanda Mckee (a.k.a. Livewire) is now an enemy of the state. After choosing to protect other vulnerable psiots like herself, she plunged the entirety of the United States into a nationwide blackout using her technopathic abilities. Now, she is on the run from both the government and those she had chosen to protect.
What was fascinating about Bitter Root #1 was its ability to begin a story and weave together the stylistic feel of a Steampunk Harlem Renaissance with the issues of the present day. Bitter Root #2 continues that trend, picking up where we left off with Cullen and Berg battling a powerful, new Jinoo and protecting some civilians while a mysterious stranger mows down a KKK regiment who all turned to Jinoo themselves.
“We typically don’t know what we have until it’s lost” is a lesson that many of us heard growing up, and it’s one that Jack Boniface has to contend with in this issue of Shadowman. For years, he’s wanted to be rid of the Ioa, and in Issue #10, he is finally free from his curse, but everything always has a consequence of some sort.
One of the biggest plot points of Bitter Root is that people have to deal with monsters, and not just the ones with sharp teeth that eat little girls (although that definitely is part of the story). It’s about how people fight back against the monsters we see every day, hiding in the dark, lurking behind the scenes, and how we protect our own humanity.