This time on Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week, and a brief interlude from the traditional superhero genre for me, including selections from both Boom! Studios and Image Comics. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2017 Annual #1, WWE #5, Ladycastle #4, Black Science #30, and Sex Criminals #19… be warned, there may be spoilers…
Folks who regularly read me here at Biff Bam Pop! know I’m a big kaiju eiga fan, but somehow the Power Rangers phenomenon slipped past me. I remember watching the Dynaman parodies on USA’s Night Flight, but other than the Ultraman series, but the other tokusatsu just kinda turned me off. It may have been my age, it may have been how cheap it looked, but I was never into Power Rangers. With a recent movie in the mix however, Boom! has released Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2017 Annual #1, and I’m unsure why it’s numbered, as you really can’t have more than one ‘annual’ in the same year, but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.
The annual consists of five different stories of the Rangers and their mythos, some loosely connected, and each nicely featuring actions that could only work in the comic book form as opposed to the normal TV or movie format one usually sees the Power Rangers in. It’s a warm up for the ongoing series soon to come, and it was nicely accessible, good reading for fans and newbies alike.
Folks who know me know that I actually host two podcasts that are semi-dedicated to wrestling, The GAR! Podcast and Nerdfect Strangers, yet I try to remain oblivious to the genre. Wrestling may well be the redneck cousin to comics, soap opera, and mythology, but I’m just not down with it – it’s just not my thing. So of course, what do I have in my review pile this week? WWE #5.
I have to confess, and most of the credit goes to writer Dennis Hopeless, I was drawn into the story fairly quickly. As I mentioned above, accessibility is important, but storytelling is prime. I don’t just know wrestling, I dislike wrestling, and for me to be pulled into a comic about wrestlers in a wrestling world, Hopeless deserves a round of applause. Some of the actual wrestling antics were a bit silly and over the top, but this was a good read. Recommended for fans and non-fans alike.
This is the final issue of this fantasy series by Delilah S. Dawson, and while it takes a bit to catch up with what is going on, when caught up, it’s a good story. A curse, a black knight, and three challenges face a community of women who run a castle alone. There’s magic, and action, and humor. I’m not sure if this was meant for kids but it reads just as well on an adult level. I liked Ladycastle quite a bit, very refreshing, and recommended. I plan on seeking out the first three issues or waiting for a trade, this is that good.
The Story So Far text piece that starts Black Science #30 almost sounds like a nightmare version of the Fantastic Four’s origin. A scientist loses his children into the multiverse when he activates a malfunctioning device called the Pillar that opens up portals to other realities and dimensions. As with all such things, a door in is also a door out, and opens our world to any nasties in those nether realms. Currently Earth is under siege by body hopping ghosts and space millipedes. In this doomed world, the scientist tries to save his family. Yeah, Rick Remender at his best.
I am simplifying this quite a bit, there’s a complex web of plot going on here, but it’s a fun and gritty adventure the likes of which comics have not seen in recent years. It actually reminds me a bit of The Walking Dead when it first appeared on the shelves. The same grim end of the world quality with a twist of 1950s scifi and 21st century cynicism just for good measure. And just when you think it couldn’t get weirder, it outweirds itself. Black Science is really cool.
I have never actually read any of the award-winning Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky until today. I had however read their Just the Tips sex guide (don’t ask, it was a gag gift) and was amused. The comic however is critically acclaimed, and revolves around people who find that they can freeze time when they orgasm. Also, don’t ask. The truth is the comic is a lot of fun and keeps you on the edge of your seat, something a lot of books these days can’t do.
Like the above entry, this is not for kids, and while I might need a tutorial of what has gone before in this series, it was fairly easy to pick it up as you go along. Even the overabundance of sex references and jokes fades into the background as one gets to know characters and situations. I liked this, not really my thing, but I liked it, and it was a fiction that definitely demonstrated the wicked sense of humor from Just the Tips. The letters pages are a hoot, don’t dismiss them. Some folks might dig this. Read at your peril, and enjoy.