I learned about the bravery of the University of Munich students who resisted the Nazis through publications that I read during my German class in high school. We watched the excellent film rendition, Die Weisse Rose, and I suspect that I aspired to be Sophie Scholl. Sure, she had a short life with a tragic ending, but she believed strongly in something and stood up for those beliefs. Visiting the University of Munich and seeing the pavement memorial left a deep impression on my seventeen-year-old psyche, so when Plough offered a review copy of Andrea Grosso Ciponte’s graphic novel about the group, Freiheit!, I jumped at the chance.
Have you ever been in a toxic relationship… with a house? That may not be the main takeaway from the series, Home Sick Pilots, but it’s what our hero Ami is having to contend with. This terribly haunted house is gaslighting her to get what it needs (for what seems like nefarious reasons), and in issue three, her band members become even more embroiled in the proceedings than they thought they could have been.
Radiant Black almost feels like two different stories stuck together. Most superhero stories have a juxtaposition between ordinary life and the fantastical world of powers and suits, but I’ve never come across one where that juxtaposition was so jarring. That’s not a bad thing or a good thing. It’s an interesting stylistic choice. It’s still just the first issue, so we’ll see how the choice plays out as the story progresses.
Vox Machina returns in this third limited series, focusing on the story before the story: the adventures of Critical Role's first adventuring party, Vox Machina, prior to the events that fans were able to see when the show began streaming. There were several years of gameplay from this group of nerdy voice actors prior to becoming the international sensation that they are now, and, thanks to this series along with the prior two, we get to see these adventures unfold.
Yes, Patton Oswalt - the comedian - has written for Black Hammer: Visions, and it’s wonderful. This is a gem of a series following my favorite character from the Black Hammer Universe (and probably the most heartbreaking character for me, as well: Golden Gail - the fifty-year-old who when she says, “Zafram!” turns into a ten-year-old with superpowers, the inverse of Shazam! Only now, Gail is stuck as the ten-year-old with all the needs of a fifty-year-old woman. There’s humor mined in this issue, but also a great deal of pathos. The original Black Hammer series was so heartbreaking every time it focused on Gail; she was angry and sad, frustrated and lost. Oswalt taps into that from a very different perspective.
To anybody who loves comics – especially Marvel Comics, the origin of Spider-Man is a familiar one. Through multiple movies, cartoons, and comic adaptations, the story has been told often. In this reviewer's opinion, the best version is the original by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko from 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15. It not only introduced a new superhero, but changed how an audience relates to comic book characters. Spider-Man has been, for over 50 years, the character that readers relate to the most.
Previously, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Anya and ex-Slayer Morgan put their plans into motion, and the arrival of a third(!) Slayer, Faith, could make things interesting for everyone. Willow’s connection to Xander seems even stronger now, for better or worse.
Matt Kindt and Tyler and Hillary Jenkins have worked on three series together: Grass Kings, Black Badge, and now Fear Case. Once I saw that the series was coming down the pipes, I got very excited. Each collaboration between the three has gotten better and better, and it wouldn’t be an understatement to say that we’re off to a smashing good start with Fear Case.
Making an animated Kung Fu movie is a difficult proposition. Martial arts sequences aren’t necessarily as impressive when the participants are drawn instead of real. Therefore, the filmmakers really have to work hard to make sure that those scenes are still compelling, and the film as a whole still keeps the audience engaged. I’m happy to report that Batman: Soul of the Dragon succeeds on that front in spades.