New Comics Wednesday: May 27th Edition
It’s Wednesday, which means there’s a whole new haul of comics hitting the stands at your local shops and online. With so many comics out there, it can be hard to know what’s worth your hard-earned cash. Luckily, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you and found the good stuff.
Lots to read this week, lots to talk about, but there’s only one book that you need to buy:
Prince Valiant #2 (Dynamite/King Features)
Written by: Nate Cosby
Art by: Ron Salas
Where the last issue left us wondering just how they were going to tie a medieval-era Prince Valiant into a 21st century space war—all six of the Dynamite/King properties are supposed to exist in a shared universe, you see—this one delivers the answer with a literal baseball bat to the head. How do you convince an impulsively brave, teenaged, magic sword wielding knight that he needs to travel to and save the future? Send an impulsively brave, teenaged, magic sword wielding Flash Gordon to deliver the message. It’s great character work on writer Nate Cosby’s part, because teenaged Flash is so clearly influenced by the legend of Prince Valiant; we don’t get a sense of awe from him as we do appreciation and instant camaraderie. It’s flawlessly done, and I’d read a whole book of a time traveling teen Flash Gordon and Prince Valiant just based off the five or six pages in the two share in this book.
If Cosby has a strength above all others, it’s his dialogue; he really ‘gets’ the characters and gives them all a unique voice. There’s some really great bits in here, like when Val supposes that Flash is a magician and Flash replies, “Heck no. I’m a lacrosse player,” or the interchange between a cantankerous Merlin the Wizard and Mandrake the Magician, who also makes an appearance. Ron Salas’ art isn’t quite as polished as the first issue, but the storytelling is clear and he’s still doing some interesting layout work—the book mostly consists of panels set in 2-page spreads and landscape oriented layouts—that pays homage to the style of the Sunday comic strips that Val originally appeared in.
Cosby and Salas are doing great work with this book. I’m a pretty easy sell on a comic full of dinosaurs (I may have forgotten to mention the dinosaurs), knights, wizards, and teenaged heroes. But this? This comic shows just how simultaneously entertaining and smart a monthly can be, and Prince Valiant is arguably the most fun book that the Dynamite/King Features 100th anniversary experiment offers.
And now, for some general housekeeping on series I’ve been keeping tabs on:
If not for a jarring change in artist about halfway through that made from some awkward visual storytelling at a pivotal moment in the series, Flash Gordon #4 (Dynamite) would’ve probably made the cut this week. Aside from that, though, this was a pretty fun comic that raised the stakes in the war on Ming the Merciless and reminding us that Flash Gordon is, usually by sheer luck and bravery, one of the greatest science fiction space adventure heroes of all time—and why he’s the cast that heroes like Indiana Jones, Han Solo, and probably Star-Lord a cut from. I kind of wish this issue is how the series had started.
Featuring Thunderclash’s funeral/wake/dance party, some witty interchange between the odd-couple pairing of Rodimus and Megatron, and…some sort of nanobots, Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #41 (IDW) is less Red Dwarf meets Star Trek than it is Scooby Doo meets the really weird, less notable parts of Claremont and Byrne’s epic X-Men run. After 40 near-flawless issues with a far-reaching storyline, the series seems to be spending a couple of issues reconfiguring itself and tying up loose ends whatever next big adventure. These things happen in long runs of comics, but it’s no less disappointing since you know how great a book can be. Still fun, and far from a strikeout, but also not a home run.
Where last month’s issue was spectacular, moving, “must-read” material, Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard #3 is simply “way better than average” material from a Dave Petersen-picked talent pool of Mark A. Nelson, Jake Parker, and Ramon K. Perez. That’s not a knock—the previous two issues just set a bar that this collection of short stories didn’t quite meet when it comes to substance and heart. Parker’s 10-page story about an inventor who has to deal with the idea of his creations being used for warfare is the high point of the issue, and coincidentally gets the most real estate.
Batting clean-up after a really impressive showing last month, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #46 (IDW) is all just a set-up for whatever comes next, introducing some important elements of the TMNT mythos like Baxter Stockman’s shell corporation, T.C.R.I., and catching us up on Casey Jones’ new lifestyle living with the O’Neils. There was just so much…talking that it violated the “show me, don’t tell me” rule that most great modern comics tend to follow and mostly felt like a filler issue.
Fantastic art by Elsa Charretier, a story based around science, adventure, and time travel, and a confident, capable female lead; conventional wisdom says that I should be loving Infinite Loop (IDW), but as of issue #2 the storytelling still feels canned and heavy handed at times, missing the opportunities for depth that the premise offers. The themes of self exploration, forbidden love, and free will that writer Pierrick Colinet is working with offer up a lot of ground-breaking potential if this book can find its footing. For now, I’ll keep it on my radar, but I expected a lot more out of a story about time traveling love fugitives than what we’re being given.
Also available this week:
Boom! – Adventure Time #40, Big Trouble in Little China #4, Bravest Warriors: Tales from the Holo John #1, Capture Creatures #4, Curb Stomp #4, Munchkin #5
IDW – Edward Scissorhands #8, The Fly: Outbreak #3, Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #24, Indestructible: Stingray #1, Knight Rider TPB, October Faction #7, Power Puff Girls: Super Smash-Up #5, Ragnarok #5, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters: Director’s Cut TPB
Dynamite – John Carter: Warlord of Mars #7, Path of Exile: Origins TPB, Red Sonja #16, Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade and Kato #1
Project-Nerd is a press partner of BOOM! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, and IDW Publishing. If you would like to see your studios’ content included in our weekly release article, please contact our editors.