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Hopefully, you have enjoyed your holiday weekend as much as we have! We have fresh reviews of Halo Outpost Destination and Long Beach Comic-Con! In the meantime… MORE COMICS!

harley quinn poison ivy
DC Comics

DC Comics

Writers: Jody Houser
Artist: Adriana Melo
Cover Price:  $3.99

This issue is dangerously close to being my Pick of the Week.

Jody Houser’s characterizations are top notch. She carefully balances Harley’s poor impulse control with her desperation to help Poison Ivy regain her humanity after Heroes In Crisis. Moreover, this is the closest to rational I have ever seen Quinn outside of her pre-Joker days, while that is still very wacky. I did get swept up in the crossroads Quinn and Ivy find themselves at. Their dialogue is good, although Ivy’s is purposefully stiff and distant. My lone complaint story-wise is that it seems to cut off rather abruptly at the end.

harley poison ivy dc
Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy #1 – DC Comics

Meanwhile, the art by Adriana Melo is a good compliment to Houser’s writing. She has a good flow between panels. However, the little bits of action in this series can use a bit more of a sense of motion. Meanwhile, the title characters have good proportions. Their emotions are easily conveyed in their faces. There is a problem though. From what I can see, both characters look the same. Their bodies and faces are so similar, if this was black and white, you may have a problem telling them apart. It is a first issue, though. Perhaps Melo can add more distinct touches to Quinn and Ivy over the course of this mini-series.

This isn’t a home run, however it is good. Most aspects of the story are laid out well and the art is lively. I’m willing to see if the entire mini is this good.

battlepug comic
Image Comics

Image Comics

Writers: Mike Norton
Artist: Allen Passalaqua
Cover Price:  $3.99

This is the most adorable battle mount I have ever seen!

Mike Norton created this story as a web comic years ago and he isn’t waiting for people to catch up! He drops some small pieces of exposition in the very beginning. Although, from there, this story goes full speed ahead. The characters are hilarious versions of different parts of pop-culture who are, on a scale of 1 to 10, are at about a 12 on the absurdity scale. The dialogue goes some way in establishing the characters for new readers. Moreover, the dialogue is very close to laugh-out-loud funny!

Battlepug image comic
Battlepug #1 – Image Comics

Allen Passalaqua is the perfect foil to Norton’s over-the-top writing. His art is cartoonish with little detail. However, it mirrors the story with characters that are almost unbelievable. The central characters themselves are different characterizations of you standard sword and sorcery archetypes. Meanwhile, there is a wild energy in the art. The flow and action are the best I have seen this week.

After reading this comic, I want to read the Compugdium and see how all of this started, as well as every issue that comes out. Between this and Rat Queens, I love Image’s ridiculous fantasy comics.

black widow marvel
Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics

Writers: Jody Houser
Artist: Stephen Mooney
Cover Price:  $3.99

What are the odds that Jody House writes two good issues for two different companies in one week? Better than you’d think…

This makes twice Houser has surprised me with superb characterization. Her version of Black Widow has determination, calmness, vulnerability, and foresight with a sheen of confidence. She makes Natasha into a character with depth few other writers seem to attempt. Moreover, the scenario is thought provoking. It is a combination of existentialism and wondering if the Widow is even in her right mind. In addition, she may end up at odds with some of Marvel’s Avengers before this mini-series ends. The story is downright enticing.

natasha romanoff marvel
The Web of Black Widow #1 – Marvel Comics

The artwork is by Stephen Moody and it is the subtleties that make it great. The characters are more than expressive enough. The detail is sparing although effective. The line work is very clean. Where the art shines, however, is in the action and the tone. The action is laid out very clearly and has a weighty flow. The punches have no onomatopoeia, except because of the art, I can hear the hits land. Meanwhile, the tone has a noir-ish quality that fits the espionage nature of the story and characters. Additionally, it adds to the internal darkness of Romanoff and where her mind is.

I thought I wouldn’t like this comic, but I do! I’m adding this series to my pull list and I’m anxious to see how it develops.

supergirl comic
DC Comics

DC Comics

Writers: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Kevin Maguire
Cover Price:  $3.99

This is the best issue of Supergirl I have read since the Being Super mini-series.

Marc Andreyko’s writing shows a Supergirl that may have exorcised her personal demons to become a different person. In other words, Supergirl has had a longer personal arc that has taken her to a new place and has given her the possibility for a new set of stories. The different characters in this series are projecting big personalities without screaming. There is almost no exposition. Moreover, this comic summarizes Supergirl’s current status in easy-reading fashion. This is a terrific jump-in point for readers.

Supergirl dc comic
Supergirl #33 – DC Comics

Meanwhile, Kevin Maguire keeps things light visually. His art has a lot of pop and an extremely fluid style. I do note that he is very sparing on detail, using it only when absolutely necessary to create depth and shape. However, that isn’t to say his art is non-distinct. The proportions are sharp and the backgrounds do add a lot of visual and scene depth. I have a couple of minor complaints. First, some deep angles can make Maguire’s character faces look flat. And second, he has a bit of a problem with Supergirl’s eyes. They’re always wide open and don’t have any details past her irises.

supergirl superman
Supergirl #33 – DC Comics

While I prefer Joelle Jones’ version, Andreyko’s Kara has a lot going for her. She is making a lot of independent decisions that make her more than “Superman’s cousin.” This issue and arc has Supergirl being her own character and ready for a new path. It is rare that an ongoing series has a jump-in point with so much potential, especially with the current story keeping Superman off Earth for a bit. Perhaps Supergirl is about to get her Captain Marvel-like moment and a chance to be a more engaged hero?

After reading this comic, I have renewed interest in Kara’s future in DC Comics! I seriously hope DC Editorial capitalizes on this opportunity!

Which comic is your version of a perfect jump-in point? Let us know in the comments below! In the meantime, we have added a link to our comic book podcast, the Part-Time Henchmen!



Part Time-Henchmen – Ep. 58