07th Jun2017

Panel Discussion #35

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.

Marvel’s most-recent X-Men relaunch has been a big hit, at least for me, and its the ancillary titles that are really standing out ahead of the main two flagship books. This week’s Iceman #1 by Sina Grace and Alessandro Vitti is a great introduction to a character that people have known all their lives coming to terms with his new status quo. It gets a bit bogged down in X-Men continuity stuff and new readers might be a bit confused as to why there’s a younger version of the same character hanging around, but it’s a great first issue that sets Bobby Drake up as a believable leading man in his own right and the most prominent LGBTQ+ hero that Marvel has in its stable.

On the other side of the aisle, the biggest DC book this week is Tom King, David Finch and Clay Mann’s Batman #24 which you may have read about already because the big news was spoiled yesterday. We’re not going to spoil it here, but this looks set to be a milestone issue that people will be talking about for a while. I’m not sure how much of a good idea it was to set this up now before taking nine months to do a flashback story with the upcoming “War of Jokes and Riddles” but my time in the comics journo biz has me cynically thinking “Hey, DC can get a second PR bump off this one thing towards the end of the year”.

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The other Marvel comics that I really wanted to highlight this week was Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire’s Hawkeye #7, which continues the trend of awesome detective stories with splashes of Marvel Universe hijinx starring one of the most likable leads Marvel has right now. This creative team is firing on all cylinders as a cohesive unit in the same manner that Fraction, Aja and Hollingsworth did during their seminal run but they’re telling a completely different story in a completely different style.

The big winner of the week in terms of publishers is Boom Studios, partly due to the fact that it’s a week that has an issue of Giant Days in it and Giant Days is the best ongoing comic. If you haven’t had chance to sample John Allison’s unique brand of down-to-Earth sitcom-comics, Giant Days is a hard one to describe without it sounding like literally everything else it sounds like. It’s set at a university and is about the coming-of-age journeys of its three protagonists, but it’s funny, charming and wholly original. The series has been graced with top-notch artists including Lissa Treiman, Max Sarin and Liz Fleming and every month it’s the highlight of whatever week it comes out on.

Lastly, also from Boom Studios, is The Unsound #1 from Cullen Bunn and Jack T. Cole. Bunn is a writer that is very hit or miss with me, with most of his superhero work missing but his horror work being big, big hits. (The exception to that would be Magneto, which at its best skewed more towards the former rather than the latter.) The Unsound is another quality horror series from Bunn that’s more in the vein of Harrow County than The Sixth Gun and Jack T. Cole’s art captures the unsettling qualities of the hospital and its lower levels in captivating detail.

That’s it for me this week but there’s still a great number of awesome comics on the stands for you to check out. Happy reading everyone, and I’ll see you all next week!

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