Sunday, May 26, 2019

Sera & The Royal Stars #1 Advanced Review

You guys probably already know but I'm just gonna reiterate how much I love Vault comics! They're honestly one of the best publishers out there right now with some of the best talent in the industry. Despite Vault still being in its infancy, they've already managed to publisher hit titles like, Heathen, Wasted Space, These Savage Shores, and Submerged, all of which you should be reading. Not only that but they publish some of the most diverse stories in comics right now, with a wide range of themes and voices across all their titles.

Sera & The Royal Stars is a new Asian influenced epic fantasy limited mini-series from Jon Tsuei & Audrey Mok. In the midst of a great civil war, Princess Sera will have no choice but to follow a predetermined destiny when the great goddess Mitra replaces her heart with a fragmented crystal shard. With the fate or her house, subjects, and land on the line, Sera will have no choice but to leave all she knows behind in the hope of bringing balance back to Parsa. 

Princess Sera reminds me a lot of Red Sonja, she's fierce willful and badass, making her my favorite kind of protagonist. Despite the odds against her and the lingering weight of past failures, she embarks on a journey carrying a burden that only she is able.

I absolutely loved this first issue. First issues often suffer the casualty of world building and character introductions, while sacrificing excitement and intensity or vice versa, but with Sera & The Royal Stars, this is not the case. Our story starts on the foothills of a great battle. It makes the beginning quick and sharp, but as the story transitions, Jon Tseui is able to find this perfect balance that offers action and engagement while still setting up this fantastical world he's created with Audrey Mok, that leaves you wanting to see more. 

Speaking of Audrey Mok, her work in Sera & The Royal Stars is drop dead gorgeous. I'm familiar with her cover work with Archie titles like Josie & The Pussycats and Blossoms 666, but creating a cultural fantasy combined with some really fantastic character designs is where she shines. Colorist, Raúl Angulo who works alongside Mok, utilizes bold and contrasting colors, along with unique textures to really help push her linework to another level, giving life to this new world.

Sera & The Royal Stars is a wonderful and diverse addition to the fantasy genre. With such a star-studded first issue, the series is definitely on my pull list.  So far it's a great all-ages title, without succumbing to an overly childish feel, making it great for literally everyone. If you're a fan of series like Avatar The Last Airbender/Legend of Korra or Red Sonja make sure to check this one out!

Sera & The Royal Stars is currently available to preorder at your local comic shop, with the first issue releasing on July 17th.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Importance of Comics & Your Local Library

 I'm just gonna say it, comics can be expensive. If we're just looking at collected trades and graphic novels the prices for each one can range anywhere from $9.99 to $29.99. For anyone looking to get into comics or even to the casual reader this can feel intimidating and even offputting. Well did you know that your local library more than likely has comics for you to borrow?

As comics become more popular and even mainstream, more and more local libraries are realizing the importance of expanding their graphic novel sections.  You'd be surprised, just how many recent and relevant titles are available for you to read. Now I'll be honest when I say that a lot of these selections are a majority of series from both Marvel and DC, libraries are slowly expanding their shelves for series from other indie publishers like Image. Not every librarian is up to date in the world of comics, and a lot of them tend to look at best sellers list, while also continuing series they may already have on the shelves.

So what happens if you don't see a title you're looking for on the shelf? Well believe it or not but most libraries either in a county or state are connected. A lot of libraries have a free library transfer system, along with their online catalog, which means that you have access to all the libraries in your area, giving you a wider selection of stories to choose from, and you can have those books sent to your local library for pickup. The best part it's FREE. Now I live in Delaware, so I have access to literally every library in my state, (I guess there are perks to living in the smallest state) depending on where you live your accessibility could be a bit different so make sure to ask a member of staff.  I've even heard from friends that some libraries, especially in larger cities have digital libraries available to patrons, so that's something to also check into. If you don't see a particular story or series at all you can always talk to a librarian about potentially adding said book to their collection, again a lot aren't in the comics community and from personal experience they're always willing to listen to a suggestion.

 Now there are some people who's first initial thought feels like getting your comics from a local library hurts the comic industry as a whole but I can assure you this is not the case. I always preach that you should support your local comic shop, first and foremost when you can, especially when looking at direct markets like Amazon or even Barnes & Noble. But comparing your local library to Amazon is like comparing apples to oranges. In fact, there are a lot of comic shops out there who partner with libraries to help get the titles they need on the shelves.

So how does supporting your local library also support the comic industry? Well, the libraries have to get their comics from somewhere? I already spoke about how some local comic shops partner with libraries, but again those graphic novels are bought one way or another. Which means money and support is going directly back to the publishers. Not only that but the more graphic novels and trades that are checked out of the libraries, the demand for these books are seen, and the budget for that department gets increased. Which means more comics for you to check out!

 Libraries and their accessibility to comics is such an important thing for a multitude of reasons. Personally, I'm one of those people who has an insane comic subscription list, as well as the compulsive nature to be buying trades (especially those $9.99 Image trades) every time I turn around. That being said I still like the soft cushion of knowing that I can also get all the comics I want without feeling restricted. Sometimes you want to try out a new series or character without the risk of spending the money on something you might not even like, which is something I seem to do a lot. I've had the opportunity to read books I never thought I would pick up in the first place and some of those series are even on my favorites list now. If I'm being entirely honest I don't think I would be reading as many Marvel comics as I am without my local library. I was a DC loyalist for the longest time, but the library has helped me fall in love with characters like Hawkeye, Moon Knight, and X-23. Now I'm still a lowkey DC loyalist but I also now love Marvel, which is something I never thought would happen.

The moral of the story is support your local comic shop when you can. But for days where it might not just be in your budget or you're just looking to branch out into something new without taking the risk, support your local library!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

New Series Roundup 2


 Alright gang, it's time for another installment of the 2019 new series roundup. I tend not to do these so close together, but 2019 is simply putting out so many new titles back to back and I honestly can't complain because there are so many new wonderful stories to fall in love with. So let's not dilly dally and jump right into it!

Assassin NationKyle Starks & Erica Henderson - Not to be confused with the movie Assassination Nation, Assassin Nation is a new five-issue mini-series from Image comics. Though it may seem premature, I'm already calling Assassin Nation my favorite new title of 2019. This is the one title I look forward to every gosh dang month I just love it that much! When an assassin turned crime boss has a price on his head, he'll call in old friends and colleges to protect him. With twenty of the greatest killers in one room, chaos ensues in this fast-paced, violent comedy.  What I love about Assassin Nation is that it starts you off with this engaging splash page score board, ranking all of our key players, allowing you to connect and potentially even choose a favorite even before the story really begins. And boy are there so many diverse characters to love. From the sexually ambiguous Fuck Terrington to the mysterious Mamba Twins, to David Bowie Knife, each character is unique and colorfully designed. Despite its serious nature this book is just so much fun, and both Stark and Henderson take that joyous fun and they run with it. Given its premise, it would be easy to go for a gritty and grim tone, but that's not the case with Assassin Nation. Stark's humor is delightful with laugh out loud lines such as "We climbed a mountain and fucked the sun, my friend. We got the sun burnt dicks to prove it." Most of you might find that gross, but I for one think it's hilarious, and the book is just filled with quirky and hilarious one-liners all throughout. And I gotta say it's refreshing to see Erica Henderson on such a violent book. Her cartoonish and often exaggerated style works with these characters and their actions which are equally outrageous. I cant stress enough how amazing Assassin Nation is and I for sure plan on doing a full scale review at the end of the series. If you love witty humor, whirlwind action, diverse characters or a combination of the three you're definitely gonna wanna check out Assassin Nation. [Comixology]

Faithless - Brian Azzarello & Maria Lllovet - Man I am so on the fence with how I feel about Faithless. Faithless from Boom comics is a new erotic horror book from comic vetern Briana Azzerello and comic newcomer Maria Llovet. This genre isn't something we see very often so of course, I got very excited for a book like this. From personal experience, it seems Boom doesn't often take on a lot of mature series, and I feel like over the years they've ended up with the title of the kid-friendly publisher, so it's a surprise that they would be willing to take on a book of this nature. Faithless claims to be it's own take on Dante's famous Divine Comedy but done in the style of lesbian erotic horror. There's sex, there's demons, there's a cult maybe??? You get the gist. I'm just gonna start off saying that Maria Llovet's art is absolutey stunning throughout the entirety of the book and as the tone of the series gets stranger and stranger I'm excited to watch her style evolve with it. No doubt about it she nailed everything about this series, and that goes for Daniel Semanas on colors too! Now let's talk about Brian Azzarello. As a queer woman, there's just something about a straight man writing other queer women that just always feels offputting. This goes for Stjepan Sejic on Sunstone as well, and I freaking love that book!  There are moments throughtout Faithless that feel very stereotyped, and that's even going beyond the queer content, as this same feeling arises with a woc in the story's opening. For a mature book, there was a lot of dialogue that just felt childish and overly simple. I'm not saying we need the overextending vocabulary of the original Divine Comedy, but if you're trying to compare youreself to such an iconic scripture, you could spice it up a little. Despite all my criticims, this book is on my comic subscription list at least to see where the story goes, because that last page left me oh so curious. I also feel the STRONG need to support Faithless if not just for the story itself but for the niche genre in the hopes that we'll get more stories like this. [Comixology]

Invisible Kingdom - G Willow Wilson & Christian Ward - There was a lot of hype behind Invisible Kingdom. After all it was a fresh new creator series from G Willow Wilson and Christian Ward who were both heavy hitters over at Marvel. While I was excited, I wasn't excited (if that makes any sense at all) and I honestly considered glancing over the first issue, and picking it up in it's completion. Boy am I glad I changed my mind. That first issue alone is too good to pass up and issue two only extends to that goodness. Invisible Kingdom fills the void in my heart Saga left behind while it goes on it's hiatus. Set in an exotically beautiful futuristic universe the story follows the path of two women each with their own diverging paths. Grix, the first character we're introduced to is a hardened and badass freighter pilot for a universe domineering corporation (sup Amazon). Vess, who we meet later in the first issue, is a mere girl from a dying planet, who has abandoned her home in search of her place in the world, in the form of a religious disciple. The two will come together, as things slowly crumble and things not seen before are suddenly revealed. There's gorgeous commentary on both sides of the story, and Ward creates these gorgeous splash pages that contrast our main character's wildly different origins while seemingly blending them together. The colors are bright and eyecatching giving the world of Invisible Kingdom even more life to it's pages. While I admit that G Willow Wilson isn't exactly one of my favorite writers, I acknowledge all the work she's done for comics. But her work on Invisible Kingdom has this beautiful sophisticated style, without being overly complex and I'm just loving it. Willow Wilson and Ward are a match made in heaven, the two of them are crafting a beautiful story that will be awe-inspiring to follow along from start to finish. [Comixology]

Orphan Age Ted Anderson & Nuno Plati - Post Apocalyptic books are my god damn jam. It's my absolute favorite genre, and when done right it can become an endless land of absolute opportunity. This is also my shameless plug yet again for a list of some of my favorite end of the world comics, and I'll continue to plug it because there are just some fantastic books on there you should be reading! Alright now back to Orphan Age! In a world where all adults have been wiped from the Earth, the children left in the wake of what's left are forced to structure a new world from the remains of one they barely knew or understood. Set twenty-some years later we'll be introduced to what they've made of said world. Except the problem with Orphan Age's world-building in the first issue, is that it doesn't exactly feel all that different. Things feel the same as any other apocalypse, and considering its a world built by children, I expected some creativity to an oversaturated genre. The most exciting part about the Orphan Age so far is the introduction of the series' antagonist, the New Church, a religious cult following, slightly reminiscent of white supremacists. While they don't do a whole lot in those final pages, I'm sure they'll be the driving force of Orphan Age's conflict. And therein lies the problem. There's a foundation there, but it's an extremely slow start. The creative team has created a very simple base for what could could turn into a complex narrative, and Nuno Plati's art ist just absolutely stunning, however I'm worried that with such a slow start most readers will simply wait for a trade collection. Maybe I'm just being a little harsh, but this series was one of my most anticipated new titles of 2019 and I just feel overly disappointed. Compared to Animosity, another post-apocalyptic series in the genre and also from Aftershock comics, Orphan Age just falls flat. [Comixology]

Ronin Island - Greg Pak & Giannis Milonogiannis - This book almost flew under my radar and I am so upset about it because it's just so good! We need more culturally diverse fantasy stories, and Ronin Island delivers that and more. Set in historic Japan this new series follows two young up and coming warriors. There's Kenichi, the son of a fabled samurai warrior, and Hana, a Korean orphan who while despite having nothing, not even a title to her name, has all the skills to make her a great warrior. Given their wildly contrasting personalities and backgrounds, Kenichi and Hana work as a foil to one another as both vie for the same goal in being their island's champion. Despite its historical background, there's a beautiful blend of fabled monsters and creatures that help drive the story forward. This book wears the influence of both Princess Mononoke and Avatar The Last Airbender on its sleeve, both with the help of Pak's storytelling and Milonongiannis' expressive art and characters. Hell, the first issue almost beautifully parallels the second episode of ATLA. Unlike a lot of series firsts, which are often bogged down with world building and exposition, Ronin Island's premier issue jumps right into the action, giving readers a fast-paced issue, with a world and backstories to be desired. Pak expertly crafts these answers into future issues, while still continuing to carry out the story in an engaging and action filled way. I'm personally a huge fan of Greg Pak, loving books like Planet Hulk, Batman/Superman and Mech Cadet Yu, and he's known for creating these diverse fantasies filled with representation, that everyone can see themselves in. Ronin's Island is just a fantastic treat of a new series wether you just want a great historical fantasy or if you're a fan of such series as ATLA or Studio Ghibli. Ronin Island is a wonderful all-ages story for the modern age. [Comixology]

FairladyBrian Schirmer & Claudia Balboni - FairLady is another series who's first issue I almost passed up on and now am glad I didn't. After a long tiring war is over what left is there for a soldier? Enter Jenner Faulds, a mercenary turned private detective as the world's first and only FairLady. Stuck with the case's no one else wants she'll be sent on a path of action and mystery. What I really like about Fairlady is that while there's an ongoing enigma and character buildup for our main heroine, each issue at its core is individualized and self-contained into its own story. This makes it great for both new and casual readers considering you could pick up an issue at any time and still follow along and enjoy it to the fullest. It honestly feels like watching an old-world fantasy version of Law and Order. The first page and how it blends beautifully into the title spread on the following pages was enough to grab me in. There's a lot of wonderful and unique pages, creatively crafted by Claudia, Balboni, including a full-fledged aerial crime scene investigation. Each page was just a joy to look at and while there were several methods of storytelling featured throughout the book, they blended together seamlessly without feeling counterproductive. The beautiful fantasy world of Feld, and the creatures and characters that inhabit it remind me a lot of Rat Queens. While I love Jenner, and how witty and badass she is all my love right now goes towards her partner who is literally this giant cat. He acts as her muscle and brute force in certain situations with a temper of his own and I just love him so gosh dang much. Either way thanks to both Schirmer and Balboni we've got some pretty fantastic leading characters. I can't wait to see more of their adventures in future issues of FairLady! [Comixology]

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Cover to Cover: Red Sonja

A majority of the comics in my collection, I've bought are because of my love for the cover. I'm a huge variant chaser, and gorgeous, eye-catching covers are one of the many things I love about the world of comics. So welcome to Cover to Cover, a new series of super casual posts where I'll be featuring my favorite covers. Each post will be dedicated to a specific character, theme, title or even genre. The possibilities are literally limitless. Of course, this is always about us, so let me know what kind of characters/themes you'd like to see in the comments below!

I figured I'd start things off with Red Sonja, the She-Devil of Hyrkania and light of my entire life. If ya'll aren't already reading Red Sonja you totally should be and ya'll know I have a recommended reading post for her in the works! Considering I have an entire short box dedicated to the character it shouldn't be very hard.

Now a character like Red Sonja literally has thousands of covers. Unfortunately, that's not an exaggeration in the slightest. Dynamite Comics typically puts out three to four different variant covers for the She-Devil (This totally doesn't include the black and white, or virgin variants btw.) I absolutely hate this sort of practice. That being said I'm totally a culprit of buying multiple covers for a single issue. I'm terrible I know.

It feels like everyone has had their hands on Red Sonja at some point. From Cliff Chiang to Amanda Connor, to Adam Hughes. There's a Red Sonja cover for everyone and I really mean that. This is a character that has the ability to be portrayed in such a wide range. There's been the classic comic takes, from her original creator Frank Thorne, to the more modern, pulpy style of Ben Caldwell.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

She Said Destroy #1 Early Review

While Vault comics is still developing as a publisher, the company has already published indomitable stories like Heathen, Submerged, Wasted Space & These Savage Shores. I'm excited to say that when She Said Destroy drops into comic shops next month, it will undoubtedly be following its powerhouse predecessors. Of course when this book was announced I immediately knew I had to get issue one. After all, this book screamed my entire space goddess neon aesthetic. So huge shoutouts to Liana Kangas for getting this gem into my hands a little early, because I honestly just could not wait until it's release date in late May.

"And when a God is forgotten, they can never return." One of the opening lines of She Said Destroy, this simple phrase compiled of only a few words was enough to make my jaw drop and go "damn, this is gonna be good." As stated in the first page of this debut issue, when the Pantheons have fallen only two Gods remain.  Brigid, the Goddess of Sun, and Morrigan, Goddess of Death. A regalias interstellar war wages between them and the line between good and evil although seemingly apparent are not as expected, as it's the Sun Goddess who appears to wage war against that of Death. The story's focus lays with those who have pledged themselves to the divine deities, as warriors from both sides will inevitably come together for better or for worse in the future issues to come.

Joe Corallo has taken mythology from all walks of life that we've known forever, elegantly transforming it into lore that is all his own, yet still, something we as readers can connect with. Morrigan and Brigid, names that are all too recognizable have been transformed into deities for a modern age, while still staying true to their characteristics.

She Said Destroy is a beautiful blend of magic and science fiction. You can really feel the Star Wars influence on every page making many moments, like the training sequence between our main characters Winona and Raul on the first few pages feel familiar. That being said, She Said Destroy feels entirely it's own despite its mainstream inspiration. The characters and settings are fantastically designed by Liana Kangas, taking traditional fantasy influences and making them feel modern and gorgeous. Despite the war raging in the story's backdrop, each panel is bright, breathtaking and colorful creating a wonderful contrast.

The first issue is quick, a little too quick for my liking, and not a whole lot happens, but then again as with all first issues, there's the task of world building for what's to come and engaging the reader all within the span of twenty-two or so pages. That being said issue one ends on a fantastic note. As the Goddess Morrigan, bringer of death and destruction sits calmly on her throne she utters one single word to those who would pledge themselves to her. "Destroy."  Personally, I think it's going to take more than the first issue for me to become truly invested, which isn't necessarily a bad thing considering it makes me more than willing to pick up future issues to see what's to come.

Overall She Said Destroy is a great addition to Vault's wide range of stories. It's a science fiction/fantasy elements along with strong female heroines is the perfect media to help hold us over while we wait for the release of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker.  Even better She Said Destroy has a strong young adult vibe, making it a fantastic story for everyone to enjoy compared to some of the more mature titles from the publisher. Be sure to pick up She Said Destroy from Joe Corallo and Liana Kangas when it drops into your local comic shop on May 29th.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Star Crossed Lovers - Darth Vader: Dark Visions #3 Review

Alright gang so I normally don't do individual reviews on single issues, unless it's the first issue of a new series, however after reading Darth Vader: Dark Visions #3 today and literally not being able to shut up about it I felt like it was a great opportunity to share my excitement with you guys. I literally sat at my kitchen table and for lack of a better word "squealed" through all 28 pages of this issue.

For those of you who don't know already Darth Vader: Dark Visions is a five issue mini-series from Marvel comics, with each individual issue being a self-contained story from the point of view of someone who has had an encounter with the Sith Lord. It's an outsider's perspective on a character we've known for years. I love the idea that we get a chance to see Darth Vader in more, dare I say personal situations. We've seen a lot of series featuring the dark commander in the past, but none like this. Vader is one of the most complicated characters in fictional history, let alone in Star Wars, so getting the chance to see even more of his multi-faceted persona is just such a treat and I wonder why it hasn't been done like this before.

I'll be honest, Dark Visions wasn't on my initial pull (but it is now, with issues one and two on special order) I only had a desire to read issue three because it was supposed to showcase a romantic relationship between DARTH VADER (not Anakin Skywalker) and another woman. As fans, we've only known Darth Vader to love one woman, Padme Amidala. So the idea of him having relations with someone other than the woman he literally turned to the dark side for had me more than intrigued. I mean look at that cover. Not only that but who could possibly be in love with Darth Vader, a man turned machine. I mean personally, that's a hard same. While the teenage girl in me loved Anakin Skywalker the woman in me loves our Lord and Savior, Darth Vader. 

The story wasn't what I expected, and honestly, that's more than okay. I thought there might be mutual feelings between Vader and our unnamed heroine but I can assure you without majorly spoiling anything that is not the case. Instead, we get a lonely Imperial medic, stationed on the Death Star, with an awful unappreciative boss who just wants Vader to notice, love and accept the love she would give him in return. She's fascinated by the power, strength, and mystery behind the man. Again girl same. There are moments where her obsessive love kind of give you that Harley Quinn/Mad Love vibe (you know without being Harley Quinn levels of annoying) Multiple times throughout the issue there are beautifully drawn out fantasy moments as she envisions what a life would be like should Darth Vader choose to have her by his side. These moments were both stunning and heartbreaking. The entire issue almost felt personal. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who had these same exact fantasy ideals as a kid.

I can't say for sure the feel of the rest of the series, but issue three, in particular, had an oddly quirky vibe that we don't even see in the Star Wars Universe. David Lopez and Javi Pina's art style at times often reminded me of a softer version of Erica Henderson's work during her time with Squirrel Girl, and that style just worked with the tone of this particular issue. That being said it still was serious in nature throughout most of the story and at some points, it even showed moments of honest and pure sincerity.

Dark Visions is totally going to be collected into a trade, with all five issues being available in comic shops in August, but honestly, if you can I would look for the individual issues because this book is just that good.

Between Visions and the IDW series Vader's Castle (which gives a more horror take on the character), I love seeing the odd and peculiar glimpses into the Star Wars universe, and while I'm sad that Dark Visions is a mere five issues it makes me excited for what the future can bring. After all, I'll never say no to more Star Wars.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

What I've Been Reading

After what feels like a million years, we're finally back with another segement of What I've Been Reading. This seems to be a pretty popular serial among my readers so I want to make sure that I keep up with it. For those that are new to ThatComicGirl, What I've Been Reading basically just details exactly what the title states, what I've been reading. I tend to primarily focus on graphic novels and collected trades. If you're looking for my thoughts on some new series, check out my New Series Roundup. (Ps there's totally another one of those on the way because there's just so many good series in 2019 and we are blessed!) I don't know about you but I just think these pieces are just a nice little way to get people interested in books they maybe normally wouldn't have looked at before. On a side note, I've thought of giving the thought of transfering a lot of my content to Youtube as I feel like a lot of content creating is now housed on things like Youtube and Twitch. I mean do people still even blog? ....but I also hate Youtube, and my face, and my voice so there's that. Either way and as always let me know what you think on any or all of that.

Mera Tidebreaker - Danielle Paige & Stephen Bryne -If you follow me on any sort of social media you know I love Queen Mera. So when Mera Tidebreaker was announced, I immediately put it on my list of most anticipated books of 2019. First it's Mera, and honestly, I will never argue with having more Mera in my life. Even with the four issue mini-series published in 2018, it wasn't nearly enough. Secondly, it's one of the launching titles for DC's new imprint, DC Ink, which is reason enough on its own to get excited. If you don't already know DC Ink is a new line of graphic novels targeted towards young adult readership and will also include other titles such as Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass and Teen Titans: Raven. Mera Tidebreaker helps to serve as a more in-depth look at the character's origin and her first encounter with Arthur Curry as well as the surface world. In the past we've seen subtle looks into Mera's life as an assassin for the kingdom of Xebel before ultimately betraying her orders and eventually assuming the throne as Atlantis' queen, but never anything nearly as detailed as Tidebreaker This time around really felt like a fresh new take on the character, and it's truly an all ages and inclusive story about growing up and pathing your own path. I'll admit there are moments in the story that feel a little dumbed down and cheesy, but I also acknowledge the fact that this story really is geared toward a younger audience. Despite it's younger approach I was still able to enjoy it as a long time fan of the character and loved every little bit of this book. From Stephen Brynn's inventive and playful character designs to the strong and powerful initiative Danielle Paige has crafted with Mera's character, this book is just a joy from start to finish. Not to mention fresh off the hype of the Aquaman film, this book will serve as a great jumping on point for new readers of any age. [Comixology]

Rogue & Gambit: Ring of Fire - Kelly Thompson & Pere Perez - I've been slowly reading more and more from Marvel. So my equal love for Rogue and Gambit, albeit that love coming directly from the 90's cartoon series, and my love for Kelly Thompson (seriously check out her work on Hawkeye and Jem & the Holograms) were bound to lead me to the 2018 mini-series eventually.  And those covers from Kris Anka? SWOON. Unfortunately, despite some of the witty dialogue between the main characters alongside the fantastic art from Pere Perez, I just was not a fan and actually struggled to finish it. The plot felt really convoluted at times and I wasn't able to follow along almost at all. Maybe I'm just out of the loop in regards to these characters. There were a lot of jumps back and forth between the past and present which added to the confusion. Along with a mess of a plot, there wasn't really any motivation for the story's villain, who was so forgettable their name escapes me. Despite some really heartfelt moment between the pair, it just wasn't enough for me to enjoy the story as a whole. It's very possible that X-men comics just aren't my thing. After all, I had a very similar experience with Matt Rosenberg's Phoenix Resurrection. On a positive note I will say that I really enjoyed seeing all the various versions and incarnations of the famous mutant couple, and of course, being able to see the small cutesy moments between Rogue and Gambit made me a very happy gal. Overall I wouldn't mind giving the followup series Mr. and Mrs. X a chance considering how much I adore Rogue and Gambit as a couple. [Comixology]

PerdyKickily -Perdy is an original graphic novel from Image comics and has been on my list of books to read for awhile. Lucky for me I finally sat down and took the time to read this fantastic book. I'm not the biggest fan of westerns, (aside from Red Dead Redemption and True Grit) however the idea of an older leading lady who was crass and literally took what she wanted, immediately had me onboard. After all how often do we see something like that any genre, comics or otherwise? After spending fifteen years in a Yuma prison, Perdy is back and she's after a bounty that will set her up for life. Along the way she'll have confrontations with her own past, but she'll be damned if she lets that stop her. The flow of Perdy feels simplistic, yet engaging making it a really quick and enjoyable read. It almost felt like a more violent and raunchy comic strip you'd find in the Sunday paper but on a larger scale. That might sound like an insult to some, but I assure you it's far from it. I also really love the larger magazine style size of this book along with its usage of pink for both the cover and much of it's interior. There isn't nearly enough pink in comics! I will forwarn that there is a lot of nudity and sexual comedy all throughout Perdy, so if it's not something you're okay with then it will be hard for you to love this book. However, if you're looking for some good laughs alongside a badass female lead check it out. I can definitely say that Perdy's cliffhanger ending has me excited for book two! [Comixology]

Spiderwoman: Spiderverse - Dennis Hopeless & Greg Land - I feel like of all the Spiders out there, Spiderwoman is one of the hella underrated ones. Maybe I'm just not seeing it because I'm more involved with the DC community, but compared to the other female characters like Silk and Spider Gwen, I just don't really see a lot of people talking about my girl Jessica Drew. Now, this is the second time I've read Spiderwoman: Spiververse. Believe it or not, this was actually one of the first Marvel books I really ever touched back when it was released in 2015. I can honestly say I enjoyed it just as much now as I did four years ago. Now I have mixed feelings on how I look at this book from a newcomer standpoint. On one hand, I can totally understand and see it being overwhelming as this book does fall in the thick of the huge Spiderverse event. This arc also utilizes characters like Spiderman Noir, Spider Gwen, Spider-Girl and of course Silk, who also plays a large role through the entirety of the book. Sidenote, I love Greg Land especially some of his work throughout this book in particular, but I'm not crazy on his portrayal of Silk, as she's merely a teenager and Land's representation of her comes across as anything but. All of that aside Spiderverse is a really nice introduction to Jessica Drew/Spiderwoman as a character, particularly with how witty and sassy she can be. If I'm being quite honest it's exactly how I came to love her. Not to mention this arc is filled with doppelgangers and a pirate Namor from another universe. Of course, you'll want to read it for that last reason alone. For those still reeling from Into the Spiderverse, this is honestly a perfect book to help fill the void. [Comixology]

 Sleepless Sarah Vaughn & Leila Del Duca - I'm just gonna get it out of the way and say that Sleepless is such a refreshing take on the predominantly white fantasy genre. Sleepless blends cultures together, creating an imaginative yet familiar world. Not only that but both of it's main characters are both POC's which is something we don't see nearly enough in comics. I've said it before, but diversity should come naturally and it feels just that in Sleepless.  The title revolves around Princess "Poppy" Pyppenia and her Sleepless knight Cyrenic. Following the death of her father, and the assumption of the throne by her Uncle, Poppy and Cyrenic attempt to navigate and adjust to life at court under a new ruler, while also avoiding the several assassination attempts on Poppy's life. It's the time old story of the Princess and her dutiful Knight, the antiquated relationship they've built over the years and the budding romance to come after.  It's fantasy trope that myself and I'm sure many others enjoy. This fantasy romance story has the intrigue and deception of Game of Thrones without all the gore and unnecessary nudity, which makes it perfect for teen readers as well. From Star Readers to literal Sleepless knights, I can say I've never read fantasy content like this, and with book two on the horizon it makes me so excited to see more of what the creative team and bring to the table. I said before how much I adore the blend of cultures crafting the world of Sleepless but I really can't stress it enough just how wonderful a world Sarah Vaughn and Leila Del Duca have created. Colorist Alissa Sallah's usage of patterns in both the character's fabrics as well as the settings around them just feels ingenious and makes me wonder why this style hasn't been utilized more especially in the fantasy genre. I picked up the first issue of Sleepless upon it's release and didn't thoroughly enjoy it, but I can assure you reading it in the collected trade format you'll fall in love with Sleepless and probably finish it in one sitting. [Comixology]