Yes hello and welcome, friends, well-wishers and enemies whose grudging respect I have earned with my baccarat savvy. IT IS ANOTHER WEEK, despite our best efforts, and it brought with it the usual sundry trials that the human soul must endure like a rare and precious lime against the citrus zester of life, but fortunately one of the items listed under ‘the usual’ is NEW COMIC BOOK DAY. For this, we show gratitude, for this, we vow to make another week.
A multidimensional nightmare unfolds and wreaks havoc on Spiral City as the powerful superhero known as the Black Hammer joins forces with the brutal vigilante known as the Skulldigger to put an end to this madness.
Black Hammer: Reborn is the next era of the Black Hammer Universe; a twelve-issue series by Jeff Lemire, Caitlin Yarsky, Malachi Ward and Matthew Sheean that juxtaposes an achingly human story of domestic life, marriage, parenthood, and destiny with a pulse-pounding superhero thriller that peels back new layers of mystery, and pulls the Black Hammer history into the present.
Collects Black Hammer: Reborn #5–#8.
LA-LA-LA I STILL HAVEN’T READ REBORN PART I YET I CAN’T HEAR YOU I CAN’T HEAAAAAR YOUUUUUUUUU
Regardless of whatever the hell might happen in this one, Jeff Lemire has said that this represents the middle of Phase II of Black Hammer, which began with Visions and will conclude later this year with The Last Days Of Black Hammer. The third and final phase will begin by year’s end and run through ’23 (jfc twenty twenty-three, good lord), and that’ll be the end of Black Hammer for the foreseeable future which, no lie, is a fucking bummer, because as I’ve mentioned before, Black Hammer is single-handedly reinvigorating and reinventing shared-setting superhero comics, doing everything DC and Marvel have stumbled and retconned their way toward for the past seventy years, except Jeff Lemire is doing it on purpose, doing it right, and doing it from the beginning.
“A quiet convenience store at the crossroads between life and death. Its faint glow in the darkness draws in transient souls, pulling them closer to the final purchase they’ll ever make. Prepare for shadowy creatures, strange employees, and an air of dread in this delightfully creepy supernatural tale.“
This looks like exactly my shit: spooky, thoughtful, melancholy slice-of-life, OR SLICE-OF-DEATH, AS THE CASE MAY BE. ‘Cause it–the–’cause they–you get it, youuuuuuuuu get it.
Russian recent college graduate Marko is looking forward to traveling the world with his lover. However, he is abducted by a mysterious being to the end of the universe, ruining his plans. That mysterious being assigns Marko a ten-year mission. All Marko can do is give his all to the mission and befriend his alien coworkers. This is the peculiar story depicting life in a place far removed from Earth.
Honestly this sounds like one of my favorite series, Heterogenia Linguistico, but IN SPAAACE and without the linguistic aspects. Go places! Meet new kinds of people! Figure out what their deal is and probably get over some of your prejudices!
I do assume that there’ll be some kind of overarching plot eventually, probably surrounding Marko trying to return home–or maybe he’ll get lucky and his paramour will get zooped somewhere nearby so they can explore the cosmos together–but I imagine that won’t kick in for a couple of volumes yet. Slice-of-life travelogue is a subgenre of a subgenre, but they’re almost always worth checking out when you find them, like a cozy little inn in a cliffside village famous for its greens, where the nearby lighthouse brings in plenty of airship traffic bearing mysterious, noisy crates about which you are assured you do not have any questions.
“When evil people escape from the depths of the eternal abyss, the Pirate Queen Lady Shih is sent to retrieve them. But when one of history’s most notorious killers breaks free, even she needs help. Enter the Heathens: Shih, Lucky Luciano, Bumpy Johnson, Sofia the Golden Hand and Billy the Kid. From Hell they came to mete out a justice as dark as their own tormented souls.
From the wonderfully wretched imaginations of AfterShock horror-alum Cullen Bunn (EDEN, PIECEMEAL, DARK ARK) and Heath Amodio (SuperCLEAN), and illustrated by superstar Sami Kivelä (UNDONE BY BLOOD), in THE HEATHENS, evil meets its match – five of them, to be exact.
This volume collects issues #1-5“
The Cullen Bunn train is going strong; dude’s got a million titles going, from the ongoing Bunny Mask and Harrow County to, I shit the gentle reader not, Godzilla vs. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but his first and primary love is pulp-ass two-fisted horror stories and Store-Brand God bless him, he’s one of those people that’s good at what he loves. I am also good at what I love, and what I love is 👏reading 👏stories 👏about 👏hunting 👏down 👏escapees 👏from 👏hell.
“Kafka manages to fight off a humanoid kaiju, rescuing Iharu and Reno. But before he can change back to his human form, Kafka is spotted by Defense Force officers, and the neutralization unit—led by none other than Vice-Captain Hoshina himself—is dispatched to dispose of him. Can Kafka withstand his superior officer’s attacks without revealing his true identity?!“
KN8 is always fantastic; part Big Wolf On Campus, part less-psychologically-damaging Neon Genesis Evangelion, all tale of a lovable loser who just wants to make a life at the apparently unemployable age of fucking thirty.
I must admit, the last volume having introduced an actual villain (or minion or whatever; indication of villainy, like) instead of just Big Monster Of The Week
has given the story some traction and stakes and recontextualized the threat of Kafka being discovered by Scary Badass Girl Whose Name Escapes Me, because now that wouldn’t only be the end of him, it would remove the most effective weapon against the new and larger danger humanity faces: Kaiju with an agenda.
The smash-hit, critically acclaimed series returns, with the world’s greatest fighter struggling to find his place after all his battles have been won and while there’s still time left.
Taking inspiration from Dragon Ball, Naruto, One Punch Man, and other fight manga, creators Aubrey Sitterson (Savage Hearts, The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling) & Fico Ossio (Mister Miracle, Spider-Man) welcome you back to the Next Great Dark Horse Universe.
Collecting the world-shattering series No One Left To Fight II #1–5!
WELL EVIDAMNDENTLY this is the week for new volumes of things I know to be excellent but haven’t caught up on; there are a lot of comics, okay, and that is one of the few things for which I cannot be blamed in a court of Law, be it Surface Law, Mole-Manic Law or Ape Law.
Look I don’t know what you could want from Jeff VanDermeer Lisa Frank Dragon Ball Z up there that it could possibly fail to deliver, unless you’re that customer I once had at Blockbuster who said she didn’t like Mama Mia! and didn’t understand the question when I asked what it lacked that she had been hoping for from the ABBA musical.
[Edit: Okay I gobbled down the first volume last night so I’d have something to say about this one, and have learned a couple of things:
1. Despite the “II” this is not a sequel but Vol. 2, which is good because Vol. 1 ends on a HELL of a cliffhanger
2. GO READ THE SHIT OUT OF NO ONE LEFT TO FIGHT, IT IS AN ACTUAL CRIME™️ THAT THIS AESTHETIC HAS NOT INSPIRED A MOUTHWATERING OCEAN OF DELICIOUS VISUAL INSANITY]
Not much to say about this one! Kirkman titles like this and Outcast (and I have to imagine The Walking Dead if I’d been up on that while it was running) tend to be start-and-waits for me; I’ll get the first volume or two, enjoy it, and then decide to wait for a couple of years and harvest the intervening releases rather than devouring the newest volume then hunting and waiting for the next like a fancy fancy pig snarfling through the loam looking for truffles to gild.
“Ever since Mika was transported from Japan to a fantasy world, she’s been running Magic Market in the hopes of finding a spell to take her home.But when all the world’s magic disappears, it’s up to Mika to deal with this crisis—and that means visiting the home of the fey. As the origin of human magic, the realm is full of surprises (including a fairy ruler who wants a Magiket booth!), but could it also be the key to granting Mika’s greatest desire? The book closes on A Witch’s Printing Office in this final volume!“
No lie, I didn’t realize this was the final installment in this series until literally right this second, when I pasted the description in up there, and I am mildly but sincerely bummed out about it; AWPO has been a staple of mine for the past three years, maybe not mark-your-calendar appointment-reading like your Chainsaw Man or The Department Of Truth releases, but an absolute preorder-on-sight favorite, and knowing that I’ll never see another one nestled like a goofy-ass Easter egg in Comixology’s release schedule, which I browse months in advance in an effort to invest myself in an increasingly nebulous “future”, makes the world a little less magical.
That said, I’m also glad it’s not going to run for a decade just to run for a decade, and I’ve become a big fan of shorter manga series lately like Astra Lost In Space and Daily Report About My Witch Senpai; it can be a little jarring when they just stop because that’s not a sound we’re used to hearing in the language of manga as we’ve learned it in the West, although admittedly publishers who wanted to keep you hooked and reading the same series for fifteen years were the ones who taught us to speak it in the first place.
Personally I hope Mika realizes she is home and stays at Protagonist Press with the family she’s made there, running her magic Comic-Con til she runs out of days, but either way she’s earned it; good luck, kid.
That’s what this week brought me, in addition to several personal catastrophes which are why this is late; my apologies. Give a shout in the comments, lemme know what you got, what you’d order from Protagonist Press, and what ridiculous color your hair would be if Lisa Frank was God!
Until next time, be good to yourselves, be good to each other, wear your goddamn masks and if you see four lights, say four lights.