Mid-30s geek type with a houseful of pets, books, DVDs, CDs, and manga
I was raised Unitarian by a father who strongly believed that the best way for children to be exposed to religion was through learning about a variety of faiths to examine what resonates most. I have a wide knowledge of world religions; however, when the opportunity to review Plough Publishing’s latest graphic novel, By Water, passed through my inbox, the name Felix Manz piqued my interest as a total unknown in my past education. I knew about Martin Luther and how he spurred the first major division in Christianity, but I had no real knowledge of how the numerous other Christian sects developed or even what the major differences might be! By Water presents one of the earliest breaks in the Protestant sects in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1525 when a devoted young man who felt that non-violence, shared community, and adult baptism were keys to true Christian faith stood against the religious majority.
Ever since childhood, Wen Jian has been told that he is the hero of the Tiandi who will save Zhuun from the Katuia hordes. Locked away in a magnificent palace, the teen trained in several martial arts and enjoyed a pampered life, waiting for the moment he would face the Eternal Khan; however, not all the war arts masters think the young man’s skills match up, since his sheltered life has left Jian spoiled and arrogant. When a bizarre twist changes the prophecy, everyone’s lives shift: followers of Tiandi, Jian, the Katuia, the people of Zhuun, and anyone else caught in the wake. How will the world adjust when the belief so many have held onto seems broken?
How can you describe a comic book experience that you didn’t know you’d been searching for your entire adult life? Tina Horn’s sex-positive, dystopian sci-fi adventure about marginalized groups (sex workers, LGTBQIA+ individuals, kinksters, etc.) fighting against Puritanical government oppression spoke to something in me that I didn’t realize needed to be heard. The world I know has become a less hospitable place for women in the past few years, and SfSx demonstrated ways we all can keep fighting to exist authentically when society tries to force us into set roles.
Visitations #7 is split into two stories: Prisoners and Slaughter at the Stockyards. The first looks at the consequences of the mayor’s death on Blackwood and his supernatural team, while the second provides insight into the headless vaudevillian, The Entertainer. While they are loosely linked by The Entertainer’s presence in both, Slaughter at the Stockyards stands alone in examining a sad part of Chicago’s past without tying it directly to the Blackwood storyline.
Randyl Bishop, creator of the gritty revenge story The Hawk of New York, steps away from serious, more mature tales to indulge in a fun, all-ages romp centered on one of the bands he enjoys with The Silvers: Up, Out, and Back. It’s a silly, energetic take on how The Silvers react when a crustacean alien race decides to take over their island; it reminded me of some of the less reality-based episodes of The Monkees or other TV shows of that era. The comic also integrates three music videos from The Silvers, and I listened to the songs while reading which I enjoyed.
Eric was left with a few loose ends and issues when we left him at the end of The Hawk of New York #6, and he needs to get life back under control, whether he’s finishing things up with the Bogre and the Devil Marauders or trying to build the foundation of a typical life by taking plucky reporter Yvonne on a well-deserved night at the circus as a first date. Nothing is simple for Eric’s quest as a vigilante, though, and the last remnants of the Devil Marauders want to take him down for destroying the rest of their gang. Can they succeed in turning public opinion against The Hawk of New York, or will their choices sink the Devil Marauders for good?
Ruby is back 150% as the Geek-Girl I fell in love with in the first mini-series as she faces off with another nemesis on the cover of Geek-Girl #9. I had no clue who the sunglass-wearing blond lady might be, but watching Ruby go hand to hand with another super is part of what drew me into this world. It also gave me hope that we’d see some intense match ups after a few issues focusing on introspection and character development (all great things, but I was ready for some exciting action).
If Summer as a sexy lady™ threw me off a little on the cover of issue 7, I had no doubt that issue 8 would go back to examining some of Ruby’s trials as part of Johnny Carlyle’s new superhero team for hire. His former right-hand man, Digger, doesn’t love the change of allegiance, and he’s got to prove his cojones to his less-than-upright pals. Meanwhile, Ruby and Tyler bond with hangover breakfast and learn a little more about their new headquarters…
Visitations #6: Death on the Elevated, Scott Larson’s latest installment in his comic book series about the paranormal influence on the history of Chicago, jumps forward to 1987 to frame several mayoral deaths as the work of Wadjet’s The Cult of the Snake. Blending historical events with the happenings from previous issues creates a unique look at old Chicago while helping review key points from the first five volumes.
Steven Prince teased that the titular Monster Matador would be facing a fierce, new threat in Africa in the final pages of Tango of the Matadors, and Ramon is finally back to prove he is not just a protector of the New World. He joins an elite team of monster hunters to take down the xidachane, a variation of zombie native to several South African cultures. This danger isn’t always visible to the naked eye, and it might even be an airborne virus. How can the team face off against a menace they can’t easily see, especially while they’re still struggling to work together?