Quarter 2020 Review

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We’re a quarter of the way into the year and I didn’t expect us to be here. A terrible virus threatens to dismantle the society we’ve built and it will probably change it forever. Our beloved comic book industry is also in trouble, with shipments halted and a dark cloud of uncertainty looming. I hesitated in posting this, because at the end of the day there are more important things we should be worrying about than comics. But in a way, we have to keep living regardless of the turmoil we’re in. So here’s my corona-free Quarter 2020 Review.

And before we get into it, I hope you and your loved ones are safe, healthy, and you also have the means to sustain yourselves through this crazy time.

What I’m diggin’ 

X-Force – Marvel Comics

There are too many X-books on the market. I was never an X-Men guy, outside of a couple of issues here and there, so when my local comic book store continued my X-Force pull after I forgot to cancel the last run, I could almost kiss the guy.

Because it’s crazy good. And if you don’t have the money to spend to invest yourself in the really huge storyline that’s happening with the X-Men right now, invest it in Benjamin Percy. Because this series is the best sideshow I’ve ever read. Actually it’s more than a sideshow. It’s really relevant, good, and crazy. Like really crazy.

Crazy crazy, good stuff. Ok, moving on.

Green Lantern Season 2 – DC Comics

Quarter 2020 Review, cover of Green Lantern #1 of Season 2
Can you buy cliffnotes to a comic book?

Call me crazy, but I might be in the majority when I ask,

“What the fuck happened in Season 1 of Green Lantern?”

I still don’t know and I do need to reread it. But alas I can’t wait because Season 2 is here. I think I got the concept of Blackstars and I guess I’m getting this one ok, but boy, Grant Morrison obviously lives on an entire different plane than the rest of us mortals. It’s just weird and zany. But Liam Sharp’s art is a justifiable excuse to keep trippin’ on whatever Morrison is trippin’ on.

John Constantine Hellblazer – DC Comics, Black Label, Vertigo, ehhh who knows

Cover of John Constantine Hellblazer 1

Whatever you had to say about Hellblazer Rebirth, you can’t say that with John Constantine Hellblazer from Simon Spurrier. It’s a very adult book and sums up what the Black Label line is supposed to be. Constantine as a character is perfect for this and I’m extremely happy I got into this.

Aaron Campbell did the art for the first three parter and Matias Bergara took over with issue four, shifting the tone from dark to light. Which is a pretty great move. This thing is in your face, it’s raw and it’s dirty. It’s Constantine.

Valiant

Can I possibly say that I’m diggin’ everything a single publisher is doing? Yes I can because Valiant is absolutely killing it right now. They have some varied characters running at the moment, with my personal favorite being Doctor Tomorrow. Their titles are just great fun and they’re attracting a lot of great talent. Cullen Bunn and Jon Davis-Hunt are on Shadowman for Lucifer’s sake.

And I can’t wait to have Ninja-K back later in the year (which he better be Valiant. HE BETTER BE!)

Mark Russell

I don’t get fandom but when I say I just may bow down and kiss whatever shoes Mark Russell is wearing at the time when I see him, I wouldn’t be lying. I love this guy. And I’ve never met him. He wrapped up Second Coming and he’s now on Billionaire Island, which is great. The first issue hit stores before the shutdown and I can’t wait to get the rest. And he’s still great on Red Sonja. He’s just a damn great writer who writes the best lines.

If he ever wrote a biblical text I would worship it.

Dan Abnett 

And speaking of Gods, if you subscripe to 2000AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine, you would think that Dan Abnett is the only writer, despite the fact that there are multiple stories that run concurrently in those publications.

And he’s writing Dejah Thoris for Dyanmite.

And Justice League Odyssey for DC Comics.

And probably something else I don’t know about.

I don’t know how he does it but everything he writes is good and the genres don’t necessarily connect. Some writers are good at writing science fiction. Others fantasy. And Dan Abnett is good at writing just about everything. He’s the God of writing. Really.

What I’m looking forward to

Here I usually list stuff that I know is being released later in the year. But at this point, during this crazy time, I’m just looking forward to the comic book industry rebounding from this thing. And when it does bounce back, I hope it changes things for the better. There are better written essays and insights on the fragile state of things before the Corona virus than what I can write, so I do implore you to go and find them.

All I want to say here is, go out to your local comic book stores and buy up what you can from them. Chances are they currently don’t have any new product coming in but I bet they can advise you on some great older ones. Comics have been around for ages, and I don’t think they’re going to go anywhere, virus or no.

Trade Recommendations

I have a big pull list so it takes me some time to get through it every month. However when I do, I try to get through my huge unread stack of books that menacingly keep staring at me. Here’s some cool stuff that I’ve just read.

The Thirteenth Floor – Rebellion

I finally got through this one, and it doesn’t disappoint. I wrote my thoughts on the Thirteenth Floor so be sure to read those. The publisher that is announced the second volume coming at us around October.

The Immortal Hulk – Marvel Comics

I was late to the party on this one, but better late than never. By the time you read this there will be six volumes out.

Descender – Image Comics

Another party I missed and I just finished the first volume. Jeff Lemire just always wins.

Batman Ego and Other Tales – DC Comics

I’ll say it again. The late and great Darwyn Cooke is one of the great Batman writers/artists of all time.

Disappointments so far

Nothing. Comics are great. Go buy some. 

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