By Chance Or Providence gives due to one of today’s best comics writers

There are some comics creators immediately recognizable beyond a visual style, revisiting the same themes and tropes and in some cases even telling the same story. Becky Cloonan is not one of them. Though it’s easy to pick her art out of a lineup if you know what to look for, her writing over the last few years has…

Generation Gone gives millennial problems the weight they deserve

Youth has always been a cultural target, but countless think pieces and breathless cries of what millennials have “killed” cast a new shadow on what expectations are heaped on the generation that’s inheriting a slew of problems. Trust Ales Kot to thrust this perspective to the forefront of a comic, with a double-sized…

The Unbelievable Gwenpool’s trippy meta storytelling elevates the superhero genre

Superhero series should have easy jumping-on points. If these books are grabby enough, readers might be compelled to seek out earlier chapters. I had read the first few issues of The Unbelievable Gwenpool and thought they were fun, but I fell behind and the issues started piling up. I jumped back on with May’s #16 and…

The A.V. Club’s favorite comics of 2017 so far

From war-torn South Vietnam to the apartment of supernatural stoners to a psychedelic plane of reality inside a laundry machine, the best comic books of 2017 (thus far) have taken readers to some fascinating places. The A.V. Club has assembled a list of the can’t-miss titles from the first half of the year, and it’s…

DC tempts Wonder Woman fans to comics with 4 worthy Diana-centric offerings

Contrary to what people might think, the recent boom of comic book movies and television shows hasn’t come with a corollary increase in people buying comics. The industry is enjoying a relative resurgence overall, but sales don’t map the characters and franchises that are showing up on screens. The problem certainly…

For a striking sci-fi mystery, take a trip to the Spill Zone

As the graphic novel market continues to grow, the medium is increasingly popular for established novelists who want to add a visual component to their stories. Writer Scott Westerfeld has already dabbled in comics with graphic novel spin-offs to his best-selling Uglies YA book series, but Spill Zone (First Second) is…

Two new superb indie offerings highlight the power of—and need for—marginalized voices in comics

Starting a new superhero universe is a risky endeavor in a comic book marketplace crowded with superhero titles, but Lion Forge Comics has put a lot of thought into the development of its Catalyst Prime line. Edited by Joseph P. Illidge III, a former editor for DC Comics’ Batman line and Milestone Comics imprint,…

Letters For Lucardo is both vampire love story and explicit erotica

Monsters in pop culture are cyclical, with media fixating on a particular type long enough for audiences to get sick of it before moving on to the next one. For a while it was vampires, and for the most part creators are hitting the tail end of zombies as a reasonable plot device. Soon it will be aliens again, or…

If Labyrinth and Inception had a love child, it might look something like the comic Black Cloud

The flexibility to form and reform comics creative teams is both one of the genre’s biggest strengths and longest-running frustrations. A shift in writer or artist can change the tone and direction of a book enough to make inconsistency a problem, but different combinations of new team members can also lead to…

Marvel just doesn’t know what to do with its group of young, horny X-Men

The first X-Men Prime was released in May of 1995, on the heels of possibly the best-received crossover in franchise history, the Age Of Apocalypse. That story was so well received that it became a problem for the books themselves, caught slightly off-guard by the runaway success of the alternate universe crossover.…

Savage Things crafts a Bourne-like story of intrigue that’s subtle instead of silly

Unwilling soldiers aren’t exactly a new idea in comic books. Marvel especially enjoys mining that story over and over again, from Wolverine(s) to Black Widow to the Winter Soldier. But there are all sorts of stories that revolve around people forced into horrific training to do the unthinkable. With Savage Things #1

Meet the man who brought us zombies in The Abominable Mr. Seabrook

Best known as the man that popularized the word “zombie” in the English language, William Seabrook is a tragic figure that lived a fascinating life. He befriended Muslim Bedouins in Lebanon, engaged in voodoo rituals in Haiti, and spent time with cannibals in Ivory Coast. He was a popular, well-regarded author that…

For female heroes written by actual women, look beyond Marvel and DC

Nadia Pym is Marvel’s latest attempt to make its comic-book universe resemble its cinematic universe, and while she’s not exactly the same character as Ant-Man’s Hope Pym, she fills the same role as Henry Pym’s daughter that takes on the Wasp mantle. (In Slavic, Nadia means hope.) Nadia takes the spotlight in the new

A tone-deaf Marvel doubles down on Civil War II’s Nazi agenda

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: In the aftermath of a civil war between two gangs of superheroes, the victor is elevated to a place of authority at the cost of the respect of the gangs’ peers, while the vanquished enjoys a moral victory in death. That was the ending of the original Civil War in 2007 and also…

The many victims of gun violence come alive in a dread-drenched comic

In a study published last year, The American Journal Of Medicine revealed that Americans are 10 times more likely to be killed by guns than people in other high-income countries. Gun violence is an epidemic in the United States, and it’s at the foundation of House Of Penance (Dark Horse), a heart-wrenching anti-gun…

To catch up with modern times, The Flash needed to borrow from its past

The Flash is a friendly guy. It’s part of the character that comes with wearing the red suit. Barry Allen is bland and pasty but he smiles a lot and is handsome in the generic way that every comic book character from that era is. He’s now saddled with an awful angsty retcon origin bestowed by Geoff Johns, because…

Civil War II will make you yearn for the time when bad comics were good fun

Bad comics used to be fun. The first Civil War, 10 years in hindsight, had charm—a well-made piece of hokum that falls apart the moment one looks away. It was a fun book to flip through and pick out weird or awful or (occasionally) interesting sequences. It doesn’t hold up, not proportionate to the weight Marvel…