Wednesday again already? I swear I just did this 7 days ago. Today was really a fascinating day for me, comics-wise. I went into my LCS (Local Comic Shop, for the uninitiated) with the intent of trimming my relatively long pull list. ALL-NEW INVADERS was the first to go, but with a heavy heart. I love the Winter Soldier, I love Captain America, and I love Namor. But what I didn't love was the writing. When it came right down to it, I thought why should I spend $3.99 on a book with bad writing when I can spend $3.50, $2.99, or even $1 on a book and have a much more satisfactory experience? MIGHTY AVENGERS also got the axe. I've found its story to be winding and seemingly directionless and I thought last weeks big Ronin reveal was a huge let down. I do hope the book has fans though, it's not often you get to see an Avengers title that is composed almost entirely of people of color or women. I also felt I had to cut NEW AVENGERS. It seems to me that it's a good book (in fact I love the art), but every month I come to it thinking I will understand the story but I never do. That's on me. I jumped on too late and didn't bother to read the first 6 or so issues. I'll give it another shot in the trades.
The real high point of this week though had to be working with the staff at Vault of Midnight. Vault of Midnight is a huge store with a family feel, located on Main Street in Downtown Ann Arbor. (No, they did not pay me to write this). Nick, who is a personal friend, was more than happy to set me up with some more books he thought I would like. He did not disappoint. I ended up going back to Vault again to pick up a few more issues of one of the titles he recommended, and added two more to my pull list. Still managed to shrink the list by one I suppose.
Over all, my Vault Haul (boy that sounds vaguely poetic) consisted of the following: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #14, SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #12, SHE-HULK #1, and ORIGINAL SIN #0 from Marvel; LETTER 44 from Oni Press; and STARLIGHT #2, BLACK SCIENCE #2, ALEX + ADA #1-5, and the RAT QUEENS VOL. 1 TPB from Image.
RAT QUEENS was the real stand-out title for me. As an avid Dungeons and Dragons player and dungeon master, this fantasy masterpiece (yeah, I said it) takes a new twist on common pen-and-paper RPG tropes that is both delightfully vulgar and smart. Remember all of those bar brawls that started off your adventure when you sat around the dimly lit basement table with your D&D buddies? Well how might the story have gone differently if you decided to make a home in that town where you caused so much trouble? The adventuring party known as the Rat Queens consists of four, ethnically diverse women who include a lesbian among their number. It's possibly the most representative fantasy story I've ever seen, unless you happen to be a white male. Sorry white males, you'll have to go pick up basically any other book on the shelves if you want to see yourself as a hero. Furthermore, the diversity and depth of character represented in the first five chapters is more than I've seen in entire runs of other books. RAT QUEENS is smart, funny, mysterious, and more than a bit naughty. I highly recommend you pick it up, but be warned, it definitely earned its Mature rating.
From the back cover: "Who are the Rat Queens? They're a pack of beer-guzzling, death dealing battle maidens-for-hire and they're in the business of killing all the gods' creatures for profit. Meet Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent, monster killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!"
I also thoroughly enjoyed the first five issues of ALEX + ADA. So much so that after reading the first issue, on Nick's recommendation, I ended up trekking back to Vault to pick up #2-5. ALEX + ADA is a new take on the classic "What would happen if we had Artificial Intelligence that became sentient?" It's full of the human fear and bigotry that one would expect, but this time we get to take the side of the robots in quiet rebellion. Alex, a rather lonely guy still coping with a hard break up (7 months ago? Come on man, move on) is gifted the most advanced, and expensive, android on the market by a well-meaning grandma. When he finds that she's just not quite human (duh) he wonders if she isn't capable of more. Enter sentience. I won't say more to prevent spoiling anything, but this is an excellent near-future sci-fi book worth checking out.
E. Ross Ura is a writer, letterer, artist, composer, and blogger active in the Metro Detroit Area.