10th May2017

Panel Discussion #32

by Kieran Shiach

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Hello again, and welcome to the recently resurrected Panel Discussion. I’m Kieran, and every week I’m going to go through some of the best comics of the week to give you an idea what you should pick up that you might have missed. This is another stacked week with some fantastic first issues and great jumping on points for books you might be behind on, so let’s take a look at what’s on offer.

The absolute must-buy this week is Rock Candy Mountain #2 by Kyle Starks and Chris Schwiezer. It’s a fantastic Image comic that’s flying under a lot of people’s radars, but this week is a great time to grab both the first and the second issues and explore the world of hobo mythology. The most stunning thing that Rock Candy Mountain accomplishes is that for all of its supernatural aspects and appearances of the actual Devil, it’s incredibly honest to the era it’s set it. It’s not just “Hobos LOL!” because Starks has taken the time to research the etymology of the word and his story is set at a time when a hobo meant a transitory worker who chooses to live that way; it’s not an insult and that part of the book isn’t played for laughs. Instead, it’s a rollicking cross-country adventure with some of the best fight scenes you’ll read in any comic this year. It’s well worth dipping your toe in, because you’re likely to find your new favorite comic.

The biggest new release of this week has to be Lee, Mike and Laura Allred’s Bug! The Adventures of Forager which is the first new Young Animal title in a good number of months. The series takes a side-character from Jack Kirby’s “New Gods” and thrusts him into the spotlight in the way only the Allreds can. It’s a non-stop, pop-art cosmic adventure that’s absolutely everything you want from the Allred’s playing with Kirby’s toys, and while it’s a shame it’s only a limited series it really shows the scope of work that Young Animal can, is and will produce as it grows as an imprint.

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Another new #1 that isn’t quite as big a release is Marvel’s new Rocket Raccoon series, simply titled Rocket. Marvel has been trying with Rocket for quite a while, but the sales have never quite been there to justify it. I’m not sure if this series will turn things around, but Al Ewing is a trusted enough name that people may check it out and it’s definitely worth a look if you’re a fan of his work on Ultimates and USAvengers. It definitely reads like a passion project and a lot of the time those end up becoming at least cult favorites, so it’s at least worth checking out to see if it’s something that blows up like last week’s Black Bolt did.

If you haven’t been reading Scott Snyder’s All-Star Batman, then what have you been doing? Somehow, the seminal Batman writer of our time has managed to boil down the iconic character to his core essentials and has been telling some of the biggest, boldest and best superhero stories with the character. This week saw the start of a new arc that reunited Snyder with his American Vampire collaborator Rafael Albuquerque for a story all about Batman’s relationship with Alfred and the skeletons in the loyal butler’s military closet. This is likely the best superhero comic you’ll read this week, so if you’ve not been reading All-Star Batman, now is the time.

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Lastly, I want to recommend a comic I’m going to recommend pretty much every week a new issue comes out, and it might take you aback: Transformers: Lost Light. I was never a Transformers fan but I was convinced to check out James Roberts’ work on More Than Meets The Eye and it’s genuinely the best plotted, best constructed ongoing comic with some of the most emotionally resonant and deeply moving character moments. Yes, with robots that turn into cars. Lost Light is the continuation of MTMTE and I say this without hyperbole, is the only comic worthy of being called the spiritual successor to Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men. It’s fantastic, and everyone should be reading it.

That’s it for another week, but there’s way more great comics out as always. I’ll be back next week with more highlights of New Comic Book Day, but until then, happy reading.

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