Comic book racks are filled to the brim these days with wonderful content, so much so that any one person would have a hard time keeping track of them all.
With so many publishers putting out amazing comics, it can sometimes take a bit to get through them all. That is certainly the case for these books, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set aside some time for them.
In fact, it is the opposite, and some of the books on this list are more than deserving of your time.
WWE SummerSlam 2017 Special
It’s that time of year when WWE’s biggest summer event takes over, and BOOM! Studios
Well yes and no. Actually, if you think about it, the SummerSlam special is modeled a bit after an actual WWE event of late. It starts off strong, loses momentum in the middle, and then ends on a high note to peak your interest for RAW the next Monday.
In this case, things are led off wonderfully by Box Brown and Daniel Bayliss with a story revolving around the Dream Dusty Rhodes and the King Macho Man Randy Savage. The story plays up the differences between the two legendary characters, illustrating not just how they represented themselves in the ring but also how they came off to fans. It’s a simple premise, but effective, and Bayliss perfectly captures the icons and vibe of the era.
The second story focuses on the vicious feud between Mankind and The Undertaker and goes all in with a dissection of Mankind’s character. This also applies to Undertaker, but to a lesser degree than Mankind, as the story chooses to analyze Paul Bearer’s importance to the Dead Man. There’s no kayfabe at work here, and with these characters that approach seems to work, aided by the gritty pencils and coloring of Clay McCormack.
The next two stories though falter, not in execution mind you but in relevance. The New Day’s Optimistic Odyssey part 5 doesn’t really fit with the SummerSlam theme, and while the Natural Disasters vs Bushwackers story does, it still somehow feels disconnected from the other stories. That’s not to say both don’t have their strong suits, especially in the art departments, but something meatier would have been more welcome.
The special ends strong though with Give The Demon His Due, a story focusing on the feud between Finn Balor and Seth Rollins. It’s a smaller story than the first two but still manages to make an impact, in part thanks to the stylish handling of Demonm Finn Balor by artist Selina Espiritu.
There’s plenty to like in the WWE SummerSlam special, just keep in mind that you might not like everything.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars.
WWE SummerSlam 2017 Special is written by Ryan Ferrier, Derek Fridolfs, Ross Thibodeaux, Box Brown, and Aaron Gillespie with art by Kendall Goode, Fridolfs, Rob Guillory, and Jorge Corona. The official description is included below:
Get ready for another round of slobberknocker short stories set throughout WWE history, tying into the fan-favorite annual pay-per-view event, SummerSlam! Includes shorts about the Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Dusty Rhodes classic from 1990; 1991′s matchup between The Natural Disasters and The Bushwhackers; the Undertaker vs. Mankind Boiler Room Brawl from 1996; and the Finn Bálor vs. Seth Rollins match from 2016.
Hit the next slide to check in on Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13.
Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey #13
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey looks to wrap up the Source Code arc in style, but does it succeed or stick the landing?
Spoilers incoming for Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13 mind you, so if you haven’t read it yet feel free to skip to the next slide for Sheena: Queen of the Jungle.
If you’re a fan of the Gotham sector of characters, then you’ve probably immensely enjoyed the current arc of Birds of Prey, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, the Calculator, and of course Batgirl, Huntress, and Black Canary are all accounted for, with a bunch of stylish action thrown in.
Julie and Shawna Benson seem to have an expert handle on the three main characters, and they’ve similarly handled Poison Ivy and Catwoman. In fact, Ivy’s truly got a valid reason for her anger, making it much easier to get behind the impromptu team-up. The art of Roge Antonio and Breno Tamura serves the caper quite well, that is until the final pages.
It’s here that things briefly take a tumble. The Calculator seems to go from 0 to 100 extremely quickly, thanking the heroes one minute and then making threats the next. Sure he’s a villain through and through, but you think there would be some sort of cautious period for him. The art for the remainder of the issue is also not nearly as strong as earlier pages, though what it sets up will likely please fans of the series.
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey is about as consistent as you can get, delivering entertaining stories with wonderful comradery amongst its cast. It won’t top your pull list every week, but you’ll rarely regret spending time in their world.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars.
Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey #13 is written by Shawna Benson and Julie Benson, with art by Roge Antonio. The official description is included below:
“SOURCE CODE” finale! Oracle’s past entanglements with Gotham City’s underworld have gotten the Birds in deep trouble as Calculator, Catwoman and Poison Ivy all pull the team into their own dark agendas! Even if they can get themselves out of this mess, the question remains: Does Oracle really belong with the Birds of Prey, or is he a criminal at heart?
Sheena Queen Of The Jungle
Sheena Queen of the Jungle’s got a brand new series and a talented creative team, but is this the relaunch fans have been waiting for?
Spoilers incoming for Sheena Queen of the Jungle #0, so if you haven’t read it yet you can hit the next slide to read up on Dragon Age: Knight Errant #4.
Writers Marguerite Bennett and Christina Trujillo are at the helm of Sheena’s comics return, and what follows is an old school pulp adventure with some modern sensibilities. As a heroine, Sheena is quite extraordinary. Quick witted, intelligent, and compassionate, with an iron will aptly displayed in her self-assessment, “I am the most dangerous thing in this jungle.”
One of the best aspects of the issue is that it effectively focuses all of the attention on Sheena, allowing the reader to get a feel for this classic character while still weaving in the threads of future plots. The presence of prying eyes and ancient Gods are woven in organically, but the spotlight never leaves Sheena for too long.
This world comes to life thanks to the visuals of Moritat and Andre Szymanowicz, who do an admirable job of balancing the sultrier aspects of the character without letting them overtake her and turn her into a caricature. Sheena’s world is fully realized, and it feels like she truly belongs here, as opposed to just being a Barbie doll running around half naked because she can.
If there’s a negative, it came down to simply being confused. There’s a point in the book where two characters are treated as a big deal, but unfortunately, it went over my head a bit. Now, being new to this franchise, there will undoubtedly be a few who feel the same way after reading it. Some sort of clarification would’ve been appreciated, but then that might be the point of it, setting up a reveal in later issues. Not a big thing mind you, but something that was noticed.
Bennett and Trujillo also deliver a fantastic hook for next issue, and it will be interesting to see how that premise is implemented into future issues. Sheena: Queen of the Jungle isn’t afraid to embrace its pulpy roots, and while it might not be for everyone, you shouldn’t be afraid to give this hero a chance.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars.
Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #0 is written by Marguerite Bennett and Christina Trujillo with art by Moritat. The official description is included below:
In this riveting relaunch, the guardian of the jungle, SHEENA, pursues a mysterious invader that has come to spy on the Amazon’s most ancient secrets… Following the path of the trespasser, she encounters a forbidden ruin in which even more deadly dangers lie in wait — and begins an adventure that will take her beyond her wildest imaginings!
Dragon Age: Knight Errant #4
Dragon Age: Knight Errant thus far has weaved a tale delightfully worthy of any BioWare entry, and issue #4 raises the stakes with the most brutal issue yet.
Spoilers incoming for Dragon Age: Knight Errant #4, so if you haven’t read it yet you can skip to the next slide for Justice League/Power Rangers #5.
Thus far Knight Errant has focused more on building the complicated relationship between Ser Aaron and Vaea. Writers Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir continue that in issue #4, sure, but effectively isolate the two so each can assume their own spotlight. As is typical with Varric’s recounting of tales, you aren’t exactly sure what to believe about Ser Aaron, including if he’s as dull a blade as he seems these days. The issue lays an effective hook for next issue, implying that could very well not be the case.
As for Vaea, fans have had glimpses of her thieving prowess before, but amidst the brutal battles in issue #4 her resourcefulness and deft agility are fittingly displayed, and her mid mission musings are the perfect counteragent to the tense affair.
The art of Fernando Heinz Furukawa compliments the story and characters of this world perfectly, delivering stylish but bloody battles intertwined with smaller character moments nestled in between, all without losing momentum for the story at hand.
Soley as characters, the biggest compliment one can offer is how natural Ser Aaron and Vaea fit into Bioware’s rich and beloved universe. Getting to know them has been a delightful experience thus far, and issue #4 teases even more that should get fans excited.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars.
Dragon Age: Knight Errant #4 is written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir with art by Fernando Heinz Furukawa and Michael Atiyeh. The official description is included below:
As Vaea sets out on the second leg of her mission, Granger and Marquette accuse her of being the culprit behind the rash of thefts in Thedas. Ser Aaron, ignorant of Vaea’s supplemental income, angrily comes to her defense–and she will have to move quickly if she wants to prevent him from discovering the truth.
Justice League/Power Rangers #5
Despite some scheduling issues, Justice League/Power Rangers has been a relatively fun series, and issue #5 continues that trajectory in spades.
Spoilers incoming for Justice League/Power Rangers #5, so if you haven’t read it yet feel free to hit the next slide.
The Justice League and the Power Rangers plan a two pronged attack on Brainiac’s forces, splitting into two squads. The intermixing of personalities and abilities has proved to be one of the most entertaining aspects of the book, and writer Tom Taylor continues that here as well. Interactions between the Flash and Kimberly, Cyborg and Billy, and Batman and everyone are a few of the highlights, but that pales in comparison to Brainiac getting schooled by Alpha 5.
Yep, that actually happened, and it was glorious.
The art of Stephen Byrne is a delightful fit here, giving the action scenes plenty of style with a bright and bold color palette. Seeing Wonder Woman stand with a Hawkgirl themed Pink Ranger and a Lex Luthor Green Ranger is surreal enough, but it helps that it all looks so pretty.
Justice League/Power Rangers knows what it wants to be, and that’s an entertaining Superfriends style thrill ride. The great news is that it succeeds, and if you’re a fan of either series, you’re going to love it even more.
Rating 4 out of 5 Stars.
Justice League/Power Rangers #5 is written by Tom Taylor with art by Stephen Byrne, and the official description is included below:
The Justice League and the Power Rangers have arrived in the Rangers’ home dimension, but the heroes of these two worlds are too late to prevent Angel Grove’s shocking fate. With the Earth now on the chopping block, can these teams come together to undo the damage wrought by Zedd and Brainiac? Co-published with BOOM! Studios.
Mister Miracle #1
If you were to predict breakout characters in 2017, odds are you didn’t include Mister Miracle. Tom King and Mitch Gerards are here to change that.
Spoilers incoming for Mister Miracle #1, so if you haven’t checked it out yet feel free to hit the next slide.
Mister Miracle has often been best used in an ensemble piece, with other characters taking the lead. Writer Tom King has delivered a first issue that throws that idea on its head, revealing a cage that the character cannot so easily escape from…his mind.
The book starts off heavy and honestly stays that way with just enough lighthearted moments to keep things from bogging down. The talented escape artist seeks to escape the one thing no one else ever has, death, but in doing so reveals a more pressing problem. The story balances the epic struggle of New Genesis and Apokolips with a more intimate and personal struggle of the mind, and it’s the most interesting the character has been in some time.
King keeps you guessing throughout, maneuvering from unquestioned sanity to “oh God, he’s losing it” in a panel’s time. It keeps the reader on edge, not knowing what to expect from a character that hasn’t been tied to unpredictability like that, well, ever. When the struggle is internal, Mister Miracle becomes innately more interesting.
This is only helped by the lovely artwork of Mitch Gerads, who delivers panels that only aid the feeling of uneasiness and confusion that permeates the story. The second page alone would be enough to warrant a mention, but Gerads hits home runs all throughout the issue.
In short, regardless of if you’re a fan of the character or have never heard of him, Mister Miracle #1 is an exceptional character study and is more than deserving of your time.
Rating 5 out of 5 Stars.
Mister Miracle #1 is written by Tom King with art by Mitch Gerads, and the official description is included below:
Scott Free is the greatest escape artist that ever lived. So great that he escaped Granny Goodness’ gruesome orphanage and the dangers of Apokolips to travel across galaxies and set up a new life on Earth with his wife, the former female fury known as Big Barda. Using the stage alter ego of Mister Miracle, he has made a career for himself showing off his acrobatic escape techniques. He even caught the attention of the Justice League, which counted him among its ranks.
You might say Scott Free has everything…so why isn’t it enough? Mister Miracle has mastered every illusion, achieved every stunt, pulled off every trick—except one. He has never escaped death. Is it even possible? Our hero is going to have to kill himself if he wants to find out.