Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly review roundup.
Strange Adventures #1
(w) Tom King (a) Mitch Gerads, Evan Shaner
When it comes to explorations of trauma in a 12-issue, 9-panel grid format, there’s no one better than Tom King. Strange Adventures #1 explores the soldier’s experience of life after war. Adam Strange’s life is one in which he experiences concurrently constant gratitude and blame for all acts of violence. King also uses Strange as a vehicle to express his own frustrations with comics fandom, which can be maddeningly toxic. With these competing elements, King is able to weave them together into a tightly scripted and engaging narrative. The artwork from Mitch Gerads and Evan Shaner is fantastic. While their use is slightly different from what may have been expected, it is hard to argue with the finished product. Should the rest of the series be as strong as this first issue, expect this to be a major player at next year’s Eisner Awards.
Red Sonja #14
(w) Mark Russell (a) Bob Q (c) Dearbhla Kelly
There might not be a more overlooked title right now than Red Sonja, as Issue #14 continues the series’ nuanced examination of imperialism and the machinations of government. Mark Russell’s writing is far more nuanced here than what is found in his more publicised works from DC and Ahoy. However, his satirical wit can still be found peppered throughout this issue, which examines the social impact of famine. Artist Bob Q and colorist Dearbhla Kelly craft a world without vibrancy, demonstrative of the dire straits Sonja’s people find themselves in.
King of Nowhere #1
(w) W. Maxwell Prince (a) Tyler Jenkins (c) Hilary Jenkins
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that yet another original series from BOOM! Studios is good. Ice Cream Man writer W. Maxwell Prince has crafted yet another surreal series, which owes a lot to the striking visuals by Tyler and Hilary Jenkins. This debut issue plays with the readers’ perception of reality, leading to an intriguing reveal in the final pages which serves as a great hook going forward. That’s good, because the characters – or at least the protagonist – could use a little more time to be fully fleshed out.
(w) Alex Ross, Kurt Busiek, Sajan Saini (a) Alex Ross, Frank Espinosa, Steve Rude
Marvel’s Marvel #1 from Marvels creators Ross and Busiek isn’t quite the marvel it was hyped up to be. Busiek and Ross framing this issue with an overarching conflict involving Doctor Strange is perhaps the most engrossing subject matter. Busiek is joined by artist Steve Rude for a tale of vintage Avengers derring do. Rude’s art evokes Jack Kirby’s iconic takes on Marvel’s heroes in all their square-jawed glory, while Busiek takes cues from Stan Lee while punching up the dialogue for modern sensibilities. Unfortunately, the Spider-Man feature from Saini and Espinosa is a slog. The duo dedicates their story towards explaining the fundamental significance of Spidey’s webbing to who he is as a person, which reads like scraping the bottom of the barrell.