14th Jun2017

Panel Discussion #36

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 massive release this week, the one everyone is going to be talking about, is Dark Days: The Forge #1 from DC Comics by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Jim Lee, Andy Kubert and John Romita Jr. This is an absolute must-read for DC Comics die-hards, and while I won’t spoil anything here, so much happens in this one comic that sets up the future of both Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Metal event and the future of the DC Universe in general. There are reveals, there are call-backs, there are big-name returns of characters long-missing from the DC Universe and it’s all wrapped in an intricate mystery that’s just now starting to unravel. This comic is everything that is great about shared universe superhero stories and is essential reading for fans of the genre.

The other big superhero release this week is Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez’s Defenders #1 which brings together the Netflix team of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist to take on a returning Diamondback (the Luke Cage villain, not the Captain America ally). Bendis’ modern output is super hit-or-miss for me but he’s a creator that made a name for himself writing three of the four team members of this group and its obvious this book is a massive labor of love for him and something he’s been trying to get off the ground for a while. Marquez is an artist who refuses to be pinned down into a safe and comfortable style and is constantly stretching himself to see what he’s capable of and the result is always beautiful. This could be something really special and it’s worth trying the first issue to see it’s up your alley.

I also wanted to talk a little bit about Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1 which expands the world of Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro’s uber-patriarchal society in interesting and horrifying new ways. The anthology brings in a number of new talent to tell one-off stories within the world of Bitch Planet exploring different ways its women are oppressed and reflecting our own society in its image. There’s a super Twilight Zone-ish feeling to this issue, as is to be expected, and while it makes up for the delays of the main series, it also has a tone and tenor all of its own. You don’t need to be reading Bitch Planet to try out this issue but you’re going to want to start once you have.

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Lastly, I wanted to highlight Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #21 because it’s the spotlight issue on everyone’s favorite nihilistic former-Nazi super-computer super-hero Brain Drain who has become one of the best part of Squirrel Girl’s fantastic supporting cast. Brain Drain always allows Ryan North to stretch his computer programming comedy muscles in ways that aren’t alienating to the lay-person and while Erica Henderson is a multi-talented creator capable of all-kinds of genres, she might just be the best comedy artist working today. A great one-shot issue and a great entry point into the world of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

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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