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?

In this last issue of Metal Society, we finally get to the main event: the fight.

Matt Kindt loves the spy genre. It captures shifting allegiances, nefarious doings, and the muddy waters of right and wrong. If used properly, it is the stomping ground for observing heightened human reactions and relationships on both the personal and the infrastructural levels.

One of the fun things about comics is the variety of tales told. These range from superheroes and science fiction to crime dramas. Stories run the gambit of being a single issue to being a long story arc, stretching out over several months. With this practice as the norm, one tends to forget that there are smaller, more personal tales that are just as impactful and thought-provoking.

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.

In 1995, hot off the heels of the mega-successful mini-series Marvels, Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross began a new approach to telling superhero stories. With Busiek’s writing, Ross designs and covers, and artist Brent Anderson, Astro City was a comic series designed to tell the superhero story from a more human perspective. The series ran periodically until 2018 and was published by several different companies and had different editions.

Well, apparently even a lunch amongst friends can get pretty messy if you live in Sunnydale. A lesson that Buffy, Willow, and Faith quickly learned when they encountered some kinda pasta demon… yes, pasta demon. Let that sink in. It’s got a bit of that silly vibe that the occasional monster-of-the-week episodes had.

What is it? Two stories set in vastly different time periods in which the crew encounter an existential crisis grounded in spirituality. In Part 1, Shepherd Book encounters an entity from his past and must confront it in order to save the day. In Part 2, set in the “Brand New ‘Verse” timeline, echoes of Book’s past come back to haunt the crew in unexpected ways. Fans of Joss Whedon’s other work may recognize a familiar prayer for peace that serves as a throughline through both stories.

Geof Darrow continues to shine in both writing and artwork in issue #4 of Shaolin Cowboy #4: Cruel to be Kin.  The word shine really does not do justice to the incredible art that Darrow creates in relentless delivery of panel after panel of astoundingly detailed and incredibly vibrant illustration.

In the aftermath of the recent Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series on Disney+, there has been renewed interest in the Star Wars prequel movies. Though not entirely beloved when they hit the big screen, new appreciation for those films has moved through the fandom at a rapid pace. Dark Horse Comics' Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories #1 continues this trend.

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