12th Jul2017

Panel Discussion #40

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 big, big release this week is DC’s Dark Days: The Casting #1 which is the second part of the prelude to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s upcoming Dark Knights: Metal summer event which promises to blow the doors off the DC Universe in the best way possible. The previous issue of Dark Days had Plastic Man, Mister Terrific and even the Multiversal Tuning Fork from Crisis on Infinite Earths, but that’s nothing compared to what we see in this issue. While “event fatigue” is a real issue with superhero comics, Metal seems to understand what makes them great and is leaning into it with a joyous abandon. If you love the DC Universe and wild, over-the-top superhero action, this is the issue for you.

Aside from that, the two comics I was most excited for this week were both from Black Mask Studios, which is gaining my attention more and more as a publisher of quality comics unlike any of its contemporaries. Last Song #1 is a personal and touching tale told through music, while Calexit #1 is about a speculative future where California secedes from the United States of America. The two titles could not be more different, but along with other highlights from the publisher such as Kim & Kim, The Skeptics and Four Kids Walk Into A Bank, they show the diversity of storytelling going on at Black Mask right now.

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I also want to recommend Centipede #1 by Max Bemis, Eoin Marron and Chris O’Halloran from Dynamite Entertainment. Dynamite’s another publisher I’m keeping an eye on right now because while most of their line seems to be licensed properties, there’s some really interesting stuff going on, especially with the Atari books. Swordquest has been one of my favorite new comics of the year, and while Centipede goes in a completely different direction, it’s just as exciting and just as inventive with its approach to the thirty year old property. I have no nostalgia or affection for the video games these comics are based on, they’re just good books with great creators doing awesome work.

While I wasn’t a massive fan of it personally, I think it’s worth pointing out that Spider-Man II #1 came out today and will definitely hit the spot for a lot of readers. Although he created Miles Morales, I feel like Brian Michael Bendis has overstayed his welcome on the character and shown that he doesn’t really have anything to say with him and this issue doesn’t answer as many of the questions about Miles’ place in the Marvel Universe post-Secret Wars as I’d personally like. That said, Sara Pichelli is a phenomenal talent who always works well with Bendis and there’s enough snappy dialogue and fun character interactions to make this worth your time if you think you might like it.

Lastly, I want to give a shout-out to Wonder Woman #26 which is the first issue by the new creative team of Shea Fontana and Mirka Andolfo, and while the team had some mighty big shoes to fill they manage to stand out with a Wonder Woman that’s all their own. Fontana and Andolfo have both been working with alternate reality Dianas in DC Super Hero Girls and DC Bombshells respectively, but they both have an understanding of the character and of what makes the DC Universe work that they bring to this book. It’s a shame that they’re only on for four more issues because I could absolutely get used to this being the Wonder Woman we have in 2017. It’s a shame, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts and you should too.

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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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