Best Comics of the Week – 29th December 2021

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Blood on Sunset #1(W) Mark D’Anna (A) Arjuna Susini

BLOOD ON SUNSET #1, from Source Point Press, imagines an alternate, mid-Century Los Angeles where gangsters rubbed elbows with celebrities and supernatural monsters.  It’s set post World War 2 and given it’s detective hard boiled noir mixed with Supernatural elements, it’s right up my street.All the tropes you know and love are here.  The hard boiled detective with a case from his past that will always haunt him.  The femme fatale.  The dark alleyways and long shadows.  Except here you throw in the supernatural twist and that adds an extra dimension.Said Detective, in this tale known as Braddock, is in a bar drinking his troubles away when he receives a call from an ex-girlfriend who is now Bugsy Siegel’s side squeeze.  The only problem?  Bugsy has been killed, in a bloody and gruesome manner and she’s at the scene, with no clue what to do next.There are lots of moving parts here, from the supernatural elements, to turf wars from crime families getting ready to make their move, to the noir elements, and it all gels brilliantly.Great art as well, with atmosphere dripping off of every page.  Highly recommended.Task Force Z #3(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A) Eddy Barrows

With issue 3 we jump straight into the aftermath of the big reveal from issue 2, Deadshot is back and he is joining the team.  Only problem is, his first impression is shooting Jason Todd in the chest!So we kick things off with Jason being saved and then having to integrate Deadshot into the team, while attempting to hold no grudges.This was another fantastic issue for the series.  The general concept is excellent, and the execution is even better.  There are horror moments, comedic moments, and tons of great character interactions.  We have a decent amount of people in store with this on their pull lists but I can’t help but feel it deserves an even bigger audience.And Rosenberg is becoming skilled at revelations, as we learn who is really behind putting this team together, and to be honest, you’ll never guess who it is if I gave you 100 chances…Stray Dogs: Dog Days #1(W) Tony M. Fleecs (A) Trish Forstner

A follow up to the surprise horror hit of last year arrives, and it’s not actually a sequel, but a prequel, filling in the blanks of how all the characters introduced in the series ended up at their new home.  So strap in, and get ready for some heartbreak, as we all know the endings for each of these individual tales are going to be bittersweet.I use the term bittersweet because of course there is the tension of knowing where all the pups are going to end up, but you also have the joy of seeing them happy with their original owners.Overall there are six short stories in here, all perfectly drawn by Trish Forstner in that they are cute and colourful one minute, but the move into horror and peril is seamlessly executed.  Sometimes all it takes is one panel to completely turn the story on its head.Issue 2 will cover the rest of the characters, and you just know that’s gonna be another emotional rollercoaster of an issue!Devil’s Reign #2(W) Chip Zdarsky (A) Marco Checchetto

Devil’s Reign #2 continues to build off of the great foundation laid by #1.

It can be hard to shake the feeling that this is uncomfortably close to Civil War, but having read that recently, I have to say this is actually gripping me more.

#2 is a series of small moments as there is a huge cast to check in with here. We see Iron Fist being arrested, even though he is not indulging in any vigilante activities. Reed and Sue are in prison and not immune to attacks from other prisoners. Ben Reilly Spider-Man is arrested. And Elektra pays a visit to Fisk where he reveals he knows a secret of hers.

Fisk is in full confident mood and preparing for his end game. Controlling the Purple Man’s powers, he plans to coerce people to vote for him. Doctor Octopus, under Fisk’s employ, is still in the Baxter building and has access to all of Reed’s experiments and is bringing back the Superior Four.

This series is building nicely and I’m all in for it.  It’s a rare Marvel event where I’ve been reading and enjoying the tie-in issues as well, as I’m sure we’ll discuss over the next few weeks.

PICK OF THE WEEK

Swamp Thing: Green Hell #1(W) Jeff Lemire (A) Doug Mahnke

What a first issue.Humanity has reached it’s extinction point.  What’s left of humanity is not confined to small encampments.  It’s even reached the point where the Rot has nothing left to feed upon.  In their wisdom, the elemental Parliaments have decided that this slow death of humanity should be sped up and they are going to create a new Swamp Thing to finish wiping out humanity completely.The humans that remain are determined to continue their existence.  They have built settlements where they can, and are fortified as much as possible to protect themselves.  But of course, all humanity cannot get along, even when faced with the extinction of the species, with barder systems set up between settlements, and bullies running around threatening people if they don’t pay up.It asks the question is humanity worth saving, when even being faced with their own mortality, they still can’t get along.But can they even save the world when it’s reached this point?  What lengths should they go to, and is it worth letting in the devil to save the world as we know it?  There is a reveal late in this issue that just shows the confidence the creators have in this story, and it is a genuine ‘hell yeah’ moment.The art is phenomenal in this issue.  Doug Mahnke is able to balance the quaint and detailed settlements, with heavy horror imagery and full on bloody action sequences.  These are seriously some of the most brutal sequences we’ve seen in recent DC issues, and the title is more than worthy of it’s Black Label status.  The characters here, especially main character Donald, who is always there to reassure his daughter that everything is going to be okay, feel fully formed already, and this powerhouse creative team is clearly at the top of their game.Jeff Lemire spun one of my favourite ever Animal Man runs during the New 52 era, and there are plenty of links to that run here so long time readers are rewarded here as well.Overall, just an absolutely essential title, and a perfect bedfellow for Ram V and Mike Perkin’s excellent run, given the tonal differences and different set of characters at play.  The two titles will never step on each other’s toes, but are of the same quality.

Blue & Gold #1 Review

(W) Dan Jurgens (A) Ryan Sook

  • An excellent first issue for two of DC’s more under-utilised characters – Booster Gold and Blue Beetle.
  • Coming from the team of writer Dan Jurgens and artist Ryan Sook, it’s no surprise this is a witty first issue and that it looks absolutely gorgeous.
  • Ted Kord (Blue Beetle) is semi retired after the chastening experience of the recent Suicide Squad run when he was mistaken for the big bad guy, and some health issues.
  • Michael Carter (Booster Gold) is the ultimate opportunist superhero and has fully embraced social media and  broadcasts live streams of all his battles, though they don’t always go the way he would hope! But as the issue opens, he may be the Justice Leagues last hope…
  • But he’s gonna need to get the band back together and seeks out Ted to join him on his quest as the Blue Beetle…
  • There’s just something pleasingly old school about this title. Good old fashioned four colour adventures with a buddy cop dynamic, daring adventures and last minute escapes. All framed by the constant social media reactions to the action on the page.
  • Great start to a very promising miniseries.

Recommendations from June’s Previews Books – Releases Due in August 2021

Each month, we like to go through the Previews books, and pick out all of the titles that we believe are not to be missed!  We will always do a podcast on our choices as well that can be found elsewhere on the website!  And now?

We will have a monthly article right here on the website for you to have a peek at.  For those who don’t know, the comic industry is built on a pre-order system.  We will have the Previews books sent to us, and then we place an order for upcoming titles two months in advance.

This advance monthly order is the only way to 100% guarantee that we can source specific books for our customers, so the earlier we receive preorders the better!

So if any of the following recommended titles appeal to you, do get in touch and let us know if you’d like them added to your pull list.  Don’t have a pull list?  Get in touch and we can guide you through it.  At Coffee & Heroes, we have no minimum or maximum books required in order to set up a pull list with us.

If it’s on your pull list then you’re guaranteed that title on release day and at cover price. So allow us to guide you through the best of the best from the June 2021 Previews Books, due for release in August 2021!

Alan’s Picks

Batman: Fear State Alpha #1

(W) James Tynion IV (A) Riccardo Federici

This August, the Scarecrow is sending Gotham City straight to Hell, and it’s up to Batman and his allies to stop it!

Fear State is a horror-themed Gotham City event that unifies plot threads started in DC’s 2021 publishing events, DC Future State and Infinite Frontier. Fear State not only continues the Scarecrow’s vision of a fear-controlled Gotham, but also Mayor Christopher Nakano’s mission to protect the city with his ground-breaking deal with the Magistrate.

The event over a year in the making begins…Fear State settles upon Gotham City, and no one is safe! Overwhelmed by the dual threat of the Scarecrow and Peacekeeper-01, Batman and his allies have been one step behind since the events of Infinite Frontier #0…and with the arrival of a mysterious anti-Oracle and the return of Poison Ivy, Batman might have more than he can handle!

The Joker Presents: Puzzlebox #1

(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A) Jesus Merino

You can call the Joker a lot of things—psychopathic, murderous, disturbed, obsessed, anarchic, maybe even genuinely funny. But one thing no one would call him, regardless of what side of the law you may fall on, is dependable. The Joker will double-cross his own partners on a whim, let alone anyone trying to stop him. He’s stabbed Harley Quinn in the back, played the Legion of Doom for fools and shown that he can’t even be trusted not to turn on himself (in last year’s Batman: Three Jokers). You can’t take the Joker at his word, not even when it comes to his own history. As he’s famously said, if he’s going to have a past, he prefers “it to be multiple choice.”

Yet, when it comes to solving one of the strangest, most perplexing mysteries to ever hit Gotham, the Joker’s word is about all that you have.

The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox is one of the more unique comic books to see print in years…if not ever. A mystery with the most unreliable narrator in the DC Universe, this seven-issue miniseries finds Commissioner Gordon and the rest of the GCPD with a headline-grabbing crime on their hands, a suspect list that includes just about every villain in Gotham and the only the Clown Prince of Crime’s testimony as a lead. But how much of what the Joker says can you believe? Was he behind the crime, or just a witness? Is that red stain on his shirt just a little strawberry jelly like he claims, or is it something more sinister? And why isn’t anyone else willing to talk?

Batman: The World HC

DC takes Batmans war on crime worldwide in a new hardcover anthology, Batman: The World. This 160-page book will feature Batman stories by creative teams from across the globe, taking place in their home countries.

This original Batman project launches worldwide on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 and the complete anthology will be localized to the following international territories: North America, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, China, Korea, and Japan.

This global collaboration is the first of its kind for DC, so join us for this phenomenon, proving that Batman is a true pop culture iconand that the call for justice knows no borders.

The Defenders #1 (of 5)

(W) Al Ewing (A/CA) Javier Rodriguez

SUPERSTARS AL EWING & JAVIER RODR GUEZ REUNITE FOR A COSMOS-COLLIDING JOURNEY!
When existence itself faces extraordinary threats, it needs an extraordinary defense! That’s when you call…THE DEFENDERS!
DOCTOR STRANGE and the MASKED RAIDER take a non-team of Marvel’s weirdest, wildest heroes on a mission that will uncover the hidden architecture of reality itself! This cosmos was not the first to exist…but if the DEFENDERS can’t track Marvel’s oldest villain through the deepest trenches of time – it might be the last!

Eat The Rich #1 (of 5)

(W) Sarah Gailey (A) Pius Bak (CA) Kevin Tong

What unspeakable horror eats away at the heart of Crestfall Bluffs?

With law school and her whole life ahead of her, Joey plans to summer with her boyfriend Astor in his seemingly perfect hometown of Crestfall Bluffs.

It’s a chance to finally meet Astor’s family and childhood friends, all while enjoying a vacation with every need attended to by servants.

But beneath the affluent perfection lies a dark, deadly rot… will Joey discover the truth before it’s too late, and if she does, can she survive to tell the tale?

The bold, horrifying psychological thriller from Hugo Award-winning author Sarah Gailey (The Echo Wife, Magic For Liars) with artist Pius Bak (Firefly, The Magicians), perfect for fans of Stillwater and Nailbiter!

Vicki’s Picks

The Me You Love in the Dark #1 (of 5)

(W) Skottie Young (A/CA) Jorge Corona

Writer SKOTTIE YOUNG (I HATE FAIRYLAND, Deadpool, Strange Academy) and artist JORGE CORONA (NO. 1 WITH A BULLET, Super Sons, Feathers) follow up their critically acclaimed series MIDDLEWEST with a brand-new haunting tale. An artist named Ro retreats from the grind of the city to an old house in a small town to find solace and inspiration without realizing the muse within is not what she expected. Fans of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman will enjoy this beautiful, dark, and disturbing story of discovery, love, and terror.

Killer Queens #1

(W) David M. Booher (A/CA) Claudia Balboni

Meet Max and Alex. Reformed intergalactic assassins for hire. On the run. Also super gay. Their former boss-a fluffy monkey with a jetpack-is hot on their tail to take back his stolen ship. They gotta eat, so they take a mission from Alex’s old flame. Your standard no-kill, casualty-free kidnapping recovery from a nearby moon. Only complication? Half the moon is ruled by a fascist dictator hostile to foreigners. They’re the Killer Queens, so what could possibly go wrong?

Join rising star David M. Booher (Canto, Alien Bounty Hunter) and an all-LGBTQ creative team as they tackle issues of love, xenophobia, and the terror of fascist dictatorships in this hilarious sci-fi epic.

Not All Robots #1

(W) Mark Russell (A) Mike Deodato (CA) Rahzzah

In the year 2056, robots have replaced human beings in the workforce. An uneasy co-existence develops between the newly intelligent robots and the ten billion humans living on Earth. Every human family is assigned a robot upon whom they are completely reliant. What could possibly go wrong? Meet the Walters, a human family whose robot, Razorball, ominously spends his free time in the garage working on machines which they’re pretty sure are designed to kill them in this sci-fi satire from Mark Russell (The Flintstones, Second Coming) and Mike Deodato Jr. (The Amazing Spider-Man,The Resistance).

Once & Future #19

(W) Kieron Gillen (A/CA) Dan Mora
Brand New Story Arc!  Jumping On Point!

Is it possible that King Arthur and Merlin can save England from…King Arthur(s) and Merlin(s)?!?! A very strange war is a brewin’ indeed.  The Otherworld and our world have collided and England is ground zero for the chaos!

Bridgette has spent her whole life fighting to prevent this future from happening, but now that it’s arrived she’s at a loss. Fortunately, she has Duncan by her side, and he’s not about to let Gran give up.

The House TP

(W) Phillip Sevy (A/CA) Drew Zucker

During the Battle of the Bulge, a squadron of US soldiers is caught in a blizzard while patrolling through the woods. Seeking refuge from the impending white out, they stumble across an abandoned manor, seeking shelter and safety. Once inside, however, the doors disappear, rooms begin to morph, exits become entrances, and they quickly realize there is no safety to be found! As their eyes deceive them, their minds descend into madness, panic, and paranoia. Is this real? Or is there more to this labyrinth than what resides within the walls? Secrets are revealed, history is retold, and death is the only mercy.

Keith’s Picks

Fantastic Four #35

(W) Dan Slott, Mark Waid (A) John Romita, More (CA) Mark Brooks

A TITANIC 60TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE!
The entire Kang bloodline is out to destroy every era of the Fantastic Four! How can Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny hope to survive simultaneous attacks across their lifetimes by Rama Tut, the Scarlet Centurion, Kang the Conqueror and Kang’s final descendant, the sinister Scion?! Join the FF and some special surprise guest stars as John Romita Jr. returns to Marvel and joins forces with writer Dan Slott for this celebratory adventure! Marvel’s First Family will literally never be the same again!
Plus: Mark Waid and Paul Renaud deliver dramatic new insights into the origin of the fabulous foursome in an all-new anniversary tale!

Darkhawk #1

(W) Kyle Higgins (A) Juanan Ramirez (CA) Iban Coello

Who is the ALL-NEW DARKHAWK?
Connor Young is a seventeen-year-old star basketball player with the world ahead of him, until a surprising medical diagnosis changes everything. But what happens when a mysterious amulet finds him and gives him powers beyond belief? What will he do with these new abilities? Get in on the ground floor as KYLE HIGGINS (RISE OF ULTRAMAN, Radiant Black) and JUANAN RAM REZ (WEB OF VENOM) start a new era.

Spider-Man: Life Story Annual #1

(W) Chip Zdarsky (A) Mark Bagley (CA) Chip Zdarsky

A Special Encore Return to the World of SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY by the Original Creative Team!
SPIDER-MAN. He’s a threat. He’s a menace. And J. JONAH JAMESON will do whatever it takes to make the world see it! But in this companion piece to last year’s hit miniseries SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY, will the decades of his obsession bear fruit for Jonah…or be his destruction?
CHIP ZDARSKY and MARK BAGLEY reunite for this story told in a world where Marvel’s beloved characters aged in real time!

Echolands #1

(W) J. H. Williams, Haden Blackman (A) Dave Stewart (A/CA) J. H. Williams

A MAJOR IMAGE COMICS 2021 EVENT.

The story of Earth’s last war starts with Hope’s sticky fingers…

The multiple award winning BATWOMAN team JH Williams III (Promethea, The Sandman: Overture, Batman) and W. Haden Blackman (Star Wars, Elektra) reunite for an all-new ongoing series! They’re joined once again by colorist supreme Dave Stewart and master letterer Todd Klein.

In a bizarre future world that has forgotten its history, a reckless thief Hope Redhood holds the key to excavating its dark strange past – if only she and her crew can escape a tyrannical wizard and his unstoppable daughter. But fate will send them all on a path leading to a war between worlds.

ECHOLANDS is a landscape format mythic fiction epic where anything is possible; a fast-paced genre mashup adventure that combines everything from horror movie vampires to classic mobsters and cyborg elves, to Roman demigods and retro rocket ships. It’s going to be a helluva ride!

Each issue of the series will offer a Raw Cut edition, featuring the art from J H Williams III as it looked leaving his work studio.

Star Trek: The Mirror War #0

(W) David Tipton, Scott Tipton (A/CA) Carlos Nieto

Get caught up with the Mirror Enterprise-D before its crew-helmed by Jean-Luc Picard-faces new threats and challenges in the upcoming Mirror War event!

Following the failure of the attempt to steal ships from the Prime Universe, Picard and the Mirror Crew are called back to Earth to report to the Emperor personally… so long as they can survive the trip!

Roddy’s Picks

Second Chances #1

(W) Ricky Mammone (A/CA) Max Bertolini

Second Chances Hotline – call now and get a new identity! All you need is some cash, a proper referral, and a very good reason to start over. When Leblanc, the man behind the hotline, is approached by a shady figure from his past, he’s forced to accept a new client who doesn’t meet any of the requirements – a client with chemically induced amnesia in desperate need of protection. Up-and-coming writer RICKY MAMMONE and artist MAX BERTOLINI  (The Witcher, Nathan Never) explode onto the scene with this psychedelic, action-packed, bizarre noir that feels like John Wick punching through an existential French New Wave fever dream.

Transformers: King Grimlock #1

(W) Steve Orlando (A) Agustin Padilla (CA) Cary Nord

KING GRIMLOCK BEGINS! Grimlock, the beloved powerhouse T-rex with an attitude and one of the strongest Cybertronians in existence, finds himself magically transported to a world of fantastical beasts and strange powers! In this savage world, where the strong rule with sword and iron, Grimlock finds a new opportunity to prove he’s the strongest there is… but as Grimlock and the human barbarian, Arko, will learn, sometimes brute strength isn’t enough.

Written by Steve Orlando (Wonder Woman, Justice League of America) with art by Agustin Padilla (Dungeons & Dragons, Suicide Squad), King Grimlock features the iconic Transformers character in a solo adventure through a world of swords-and-sorcery unlike anything you’ve ever seen!

God of Tremors #1

(W) Peter Milligan (A/CA) Piotr Kowalski

A 19th Century gothic horror of exorcism, demonic worship and epilepsy.

When Aubrey has his first seizure, he’s pulled out of school and hidden away in the family’s remote country estate. His father – a high-ranking English priest – tries to chase the “devil” out of Aubrey – but maybe the devil lurks in the grotesque pagan effigy that dwells on the grounds. And maybe the devil will turn out to be Aubrey’s only ally…

A singular tale of nightmarish terror and creeping enlightenment told against a backdrop of ignorance and brutality, GOD OF TREMORS springs from the fertile imagination of award-winning writer Peter Milligam (OUT OF BODY, Shade the Changing Man, X-Force) with illustrations from Piotr Kowalski (JOIN THE FUTURE, Sex).

Deadbox #1

(W) Mark Russell (A/CA) Ben Tiesma

Welcome to the town of Lost Turkey, where the main source of entertainment is a cursed DVD machine that seems to know more about the fate of its citizens than they do.

Maria Llovet’s Porcelain #1

(W) Maria Llovet (A/CA) Maria Llovet

First ABLAZE brought you the surreal, bewitching tale of Maria Llovet’s Eros/Psyche…now comes Porcelain.
Beryl’s life in the desert, living with her aunt and her cat, is relatively simple…until the day she finds and enters the Dollhouse.
Stuck inside an ever-changing mystery house that hunts children and turns them into dolls, Beryl goes on a psychedelic journey where she must face the notion of her own limitations and move past them…before she becomes the building’s newest prey.
PORCELAIN is a labyrinth of a psychologically thrilling experience told in a way that only acclaimed creator Maria Llovet (Faithless, Heartbeat, Loud, Eros/Psyche) can tell it.

And there you have it, our picks from the June Previews Book!  Any titles appeal to you, just get in touch and we’ll make sure you never miss an issue!