‘Kill Shakespeare’, ‘Sex Criminals’ And Other Comics Of Note, June 18th

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IDW Publishing

Two of the best books on the stands finally return! Plus we’ve got reviews of books from DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, IDW Publishing, Boom! Studios and Valiant on the docket for you.

The Wicked And The Divine #1

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Image Comics

Honestly, the basic premise of this book, that the gods have returned yet again as rock stars, sounds tired on the page. But Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie make it something fascinating, partially because it riffs on disbelief and partially because they’re just that slick. Highly recommended.

Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: The Mysteries Of Unland #1

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Dark Horse

The Lovecraft-esque ghost hunter returns in a new miniseries. Honestly, Tyler Crook’s art alone makes this book a must-buy, but Kim Newman and Maura McHugh offer a cracklingly good yarn with some clever twists on Victorian horror stories. Highly recommended.

Eye of Newt #1

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Dark Horse

Michael Hague is solely responsible for the art and story of this fantasy book. The art is beautiful and rich. The story… is a bit rushed and in need of more detail. Still, it’s a pretty book, and if you like high fantasy, it’ll be right up your alley.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time #1

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IDW Publishing

Paul Allor and Ross Campbell do not, in fact, adapt the beloved video game. But this is still an amusing little romp among the dinosaurs for the Turtles, and Pepperoni, Raph’s new sidekick, is adorable. A good action-packed book for all-ages.

Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s The City On The Edge Of Forever #1

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IDW Publishing

Oh boy, here we go. This adaptation of Ellison’s script is simultaneously a good story and a demonstration of why Ellison’s story was totally rewritten; he didn’t bother watching the show or even bother to make sense of his idea as Star Trek. It’s a fun read, albeit J.K. Woodward’s art feels a little hazy and unfocused in places, but expect a lot of Internet Arguments about this book in the coming weeks.

Winterworld #1

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IDW Publishing

Chuck Dixon’s frozen-over wasteland returns! And it’s a pretty solid adventure comic. Dixon’s real gift here is characterization; our heroes play off each other well and define each other in smart ways. It’s not exactly groundbreaking, but it’s a great read with some great art, and worth picking up.

Thomas Alsop #1

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Boom! Studios

Apparently it’s believed that Hellblazer needed to be set in New York and given the usual NYC provincial attitude towards the rest of the world. This isn’t a badly done book, but the concept is a bit threadbare and it needs a bit more work to be truly interesting. Still worth a read for urban fantasy fans.

Kill Shakespeare: The Mask Of Night #1

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IDW Publishing

Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col, and Andy Berlanger bring back one of the single best comics in recent years. Once again, Berlanger’s woodcut-style of artwork and McCreery and Del Col’s love of Shakespeare and his way with words elevate this book from just another collection of public domain characters to something genuinely unique. Highly recommended.

Page 2

Axe Cop: American Choppers #2

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Dark Horse

The goofy series gets goofier! A review is kind of pointless for this; either it’s your bag or it’s not. If you’re not sure, pick up an issue and try it out.

Brain Boy: The Men From G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #2

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Dark Horse

Think Fred Van Lente can’t take this amusingly smart-assed series further over the top? Care to put any money on that?

The series is a hoot and one of the more amusing Dark Horse superhero books. Although how Van Lente’s going to top his ending here, I have no idea. Highly recommended.

Silver Surfer #3

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Marvel

Dan Slott and Mike Allred hilariously riff on Marvel’s more pompous depictions of space with a lighthearted farce that’s actually an oddly touching story underneath. And it also happens to feature the Surfer showing his time on Earth taught him the most important skill you can learn from an Earthling. Namely, fighting dirty. Highly recommended.

Translucid #3

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Boom! Studios

Daniel Bayless continues to deliver some of the best art on the stands in this book, a vivid and disturbing look inside the mind of a vigilante, more or less literally. Still, the pacing can be a problem; this book is blatantly written for the trade. I still recommend checking it out; it’s a clever take on superheroes that’s worth a read.

Original Sin #4

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Marvel

Ready for this book to get even more complicated? Joking aside, Jason Aaron’s crossover has been a hoot, and this issue keeps up the twists and turns. Even if everyone’s guess about last issue’s cliffhanger was absolutely correct.

Daredevil #4

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Marvel

In four issues, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have managed to credibly reinvent the Owl and the Shroud as characters worth paying attention to, and the close of this arc is a welcome piece of straight-up superheroics with a strong bent of characterization. In short, it’s great, and highly recommended.

The Witcher #4

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Dark Horse

To be blunt, the story isn’t the selling point of the games, so I didn’t believe the comic would be worth reading. But Paul Tobin and Joe Querio have proven me wrong; they’ve taken the somewhat silly game and turned it into an atmospheric, dryly funny comic that’s a strong horror story in its own right. This is an adaptation closer to the short stories than the game, and much better for it. Highly recommended.

Sex Criminals #6

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Image Comics

Time to party; one of the funniest books on the stands is back. Once again, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky use their SF premise to explore more grounded problems surrounding sex, fear, mental illness, and taking a dump in your boss’ potted plant. And man is it funny. Highly recommended.

Unity #8

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Valiant

Armor Hunters continues, pretty much directly from last week’s X-O Manowar. I might recommend picking that up, first, but this is a fun continuation and Gilead and Ninjak going it alone is a fun read. Similarly, the team’s new member is going to be a lot of fun; we can’t wait to see how involving him pays off.

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