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Comics Haul Week Of 6.1.22

My thai kitten, Celebrated Local Cat Holland J. Cat, reclines in a box; you are legally required to agree that it is adorable

My cup runneth over in Stardew Valley, but I have managed to set down hoe and hog long enough to take a peek at the funnybooks with which the Powers That Be have seen fit to grace us this week. Also, if the reader will permit me an unusual aside regarding a bit of real-world news, amid rising–and reasonable–fears that the generation following mine will be unable to own homes, I am immensely proud to report that my daughter has moved into her very own place:

It’s just a fantastic location: in scampering-distance of both kitchen and litterbox, view of the trees where the birds live, maman-and-papa adjacent

RIGHT THEN. That bit of business done, on to the rats of the 10-cent plague!

Batman: Reptilian, By Garth Ennis And Liam Sharp

What strikes fear into the hearts of those who terrorize Gotham? It used to be Batman, but something far more frightening stalks the shadows-and it’s after Gotham’s villains, leaving a trail of carnage through the underworld. Now, with Riddler, Penguin, Two-Face, and many more left bloodied and broken in its wake, Batman opens the case on this mysterious reptilian menace and finds himself vexed by one very important question: What on Earth is it? Collects Batman: Reptilian #1-6.

Bagelbites Beforehand:
Sooooooooo Garth Ennis is, charitably, kind of a grade-6 bastard about a lot of things (women, religion, etc.), and is also very goddamned good at writing comic books, so any given title from him is a reeeeeal gamble. Sometimes you get a Hellblazer (👍👍👍), sometimes you get a The Boys (👎👎👎), mostly you get a Preacher (👎👍👎👍👎👍), and that’s how it goes; you take the good, you take the bad, and there you have the facts of Garth.
I’m intrigued by the monster-that-scares-the-monsters premise, and appreciate the acknowledgement that while criminals are and will always be a cowardly and superstitious lot, modern Batman relies on the ol’ Terror Hero angle less than it used to, although there are very, very good exceptions. The Batman evolves; we no longer desire the psychotic punchmeister of years past, at least not in every friggin’ issue, and I’m very interested to see what he does when he’s no longer the scariest dude in town.

Nightfall Travelers: Leave Only Footprints, Vol. 1, Story & Art By Tomohi

High schooler Ninamori Akane is assigned by the newspaper club to report on local places that are rumored to be haunted. She asks the new transfer student, Amemura Fujino, to join her, and together they discover the simple truths behind the spooky stories. Their friendship grows as they explore their town of labyrinthine paths and endless stairways.

Bagelbites Beforehand:
None! I have no thoughts, I just liked the cover and was intrigued by the wholesome, kinda melancholy sweetness of the low-stakes premise. I’m not a huge fan of the run-on title, it’s some real Star Trek Into Darkness bullshit and I hate it, but I’m also aware that translation is sonofabitch and frankly first-language English-speakers rarely know where the hell a colon goes. Also: APPARENTLY I GET CUSSY ABOUT NOMENCLATURE AND LOCALIZATION. #SelfDiscovery

Reign Of The Seven Spellblades, Vol. 3, By Sakae Esuno, Original Story By Bokuto Uno, Character Design By Ruria Miyuki

Kimberly Magic Academy has lived up to its shadowy reputation in Oliver’s first weeks as a student, with him and his friends encountering one mystery after another. Why did a garuda appear in the underground Colosseum? Why did the troll attack Katie during the entrance ceremony? As the final pieces of the puzzle fall into place, the stage is set for a deadly duel!

Bagelbites Beforehand:
Look I’ma be honest with you cats, the first volume of Reign Of The Seven Spellblades ruled, and the second was borderline incomprehensible. Maybe it’s just not one of those titles that you can pick up the next trade six months later and jump right back in, and that would be fair, or maybe I just wasn’t reading it very carefully; it released around my birthday, which is when Elden Ring dropped and oh yeah PUTIN INVADED UKRAINE, and so I SUSPECT that my ATTENTIONS MAY HAVE LAIN ELSEWHERE. In fact y’know what, I enjoyed Vol. 1 so much that I think I’m actually gonna re-read it and Vol. 2 before jumping into this one just to give it the fair shot it deserves; I genuinely cannot remember the last time I re-read a manga, but for you, my readers, I am willing to change, to grow, to once again be distracted by how goddamn cool the uniforms are at this school, seriously it’s like what Sora’s outfit would look like if Kingdom Hearts had a Hogwarts level.

Superman, Son Of Kal-El Vol. 1: The Truth, By Tom Taylor And John Timms

Jonathan Kent has experienced a lot in his young life. He’s traveled the galaxies with his Kryptonian grandfather and lived in the future with the Legion of Super-Heroes, who were intent on training him for the day his father, Clark Kent, could no longer be Superman. There is a hole in the Legion’s history that prevents Jon from knowing exactly when that will happen, but all signs point to it being very soon. It’s time for the son to wear the cape of his father and bear the symbol of hope that has told the world who Superman really is. Join writer Tom Taylor (Nightwing, DCeased) and artist John Timms (Infinite Frontier) as they usher in a whole new era for the House of El! Who’s the mastermind behind the mysterious organization known as the Truth? What sinister secrets await Jon in the labs of President Bendix? And…could Jonathan Kent have at last found love? All this and more awaits you in this historic first volume in a new chapter of the Superman family legacy. Collects Superman: Son of Kal-El #1-6.

Bagelbites Beforehand:
I’ve said it before, albeit about different people, and I’ll say it again: I’m a simple man; I see the Tom Taylor, I preorder the Tom Taylor. All-New Wolverine remains one of my top-tier favorite titles in Marvel’s catalogue, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man was incredible and DCeased was not only great in its own right but, as I mentioned in my review of it, did a fantastic job of introducing newcomers to the rising generation of DC characters in a setting where we could learn about them without worrying about the long-term ramifications, given the limited nature of the series. My point, such as she is, is this: I give a shit about Jon Kent, son of the Superman, and Tom Taylor is one of the few writers capable of making me do that.

So that’s me grab-bag for this week; sound off in the comments, let me know what you got, how you’d articulate the ridiculous title of that purple manga up there, and what it would take to convince you to read a comic about yet another goddamn Superboy!
–The Bageler

At fifteen paces in the sand I left that all behind

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