Zombie stories often explore the theme of economic inequality, and the human cost of might makes right. Kirkman’s story has been dropping hints of the seething unrest beneath the veneer of civility in the Commonwealth. The arc feels both timely and timeless, and many Charlie Adlard’s illustrations look like the front pages of newspapers the world over. Kirkman has inserted Michonne directly into a discussion of exactly how high a human cost society comes with, especially one that clings to the active disenfranchisement of people. Michonne (without her sword) is forced to defend her new way of life by defending a gang of murderous police enforcers. The event is the match that lights the fire Kirkman has been building for the last few issues, just in time for Rick Grimes and Governor Milton to arrive back from their diplomatic mission of goodwill to a world in flames.
After four separate investigations into Wolverine’s whereabouts that surprisingly fell short on excitement and any major revelations, fans were left with a series of Dead Ends. While Marvel may have been trying to elevate a bad pun with the four Hunt For Wolverine stories, what we’re left with is still a pretty bad pun. Thankfully, Charles Soule (Darth Vader) brings the loose threads together to make a really satisfying read, that, honestly, we could have arrived at sooner than sixteen issues. Regardless, Soule brings menace, whimsy and some old-school world-wide conspiracy arch-nemesis reveal with Soteira. Persephone, via holographic projection, threatens the future of the mutant race just so Iron Man, Daredevil, Kitty Pride and all other parties interested in Wolverine back off.
The Star Wars side of Marvel has been steadily dropping breadcrumbs for the last several months for some major revelations. It started small, then worked up to the before and after of the rebellion of Mon Cala, and now seems poised for some of the biggest revelations about the Star Wars saga outside of the films. Vader has previously been implicated as the flashpoint for the events of Rogue One, and thus, the destruction of the Death Star. Between that and developments in Doctor Aphra, his intransigence seems to be a constant. Charles Soule’s brewing something strong, and the 20th issue is a potent taste of Vader truly becoming the menacing ebony death machine fans were treated to in Rogue One.
Pepe Larraz, as Brisson relates in the back cover notes, brings “the heat” with highly detailed, sharp illustration and loads of fireworks. The journey of the original five X-men is coming to a close, with implications that will rocket throughout the timeline and Marvel Universe as a whole. While parts of the X-men ecosystem have been a little limp in the past year or so, Extermination is promising to be a total game-changer. With a highly complex storyline already established and blood on the ground, Extermination is a book with big teeth.
Fans of modern fantasy writing are well acquainted with Neil Gaiman, the NY Times bestselling author behind American Gods, Neverwhere, and many others. Decades prior to the celebrity he now enjoys, he was writing Vertigo’s Sandman. The ground-breaking book is one of several from the 1980s credited with re-invigorating and re-defining the world of comics. Now, 30 years later, Neil Gaiman and a team of writers and artists are not only opening the doors back up to the Sandman Universe but expanding it as well. Sandman Universe #1 serves as a gateway to four new series set within the Sandman Universe. The Dreaming, Books of Magic, House of Whispers and Lucifer will all be forthcoming.
The best rock collection in the universe is inarguably the Infinity Stones. At least as far as Marvel is concerned. Gerry Duggan, responsible for one of this year’s breakout hits in Analog, gives us the opening shots of a massive Marvel Universe crossover event. While the last several Civil Wars and Secret Empires have scarcely left the surface of the Earth, this story promises readers a tale on a grander scale. For those paying attention, that big purple rock hound, Thanos, is already off the board, before the opening shots of the Infinity War have been fired. Duggan has a lot of epic material to work with, and he manages to pack a lot into the first issue.
While not as galactic in size as Star Wars or as epic as George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice, Jim Henson’s contribution to the world of fantasy was and remains a touchstone for countless children of all ages. Though distinctly different, Dark Crystal and Labyrinth are clearly related, at least in thematic threads. While Dark Crystal is the brooding goth sister of the family, Labyrinth was the more outgoing and silly of the two, complete with song and dance. While David Bowie’s Goblin King Jareth had his menacing moments, he’s still the same tyrannical despot wizard that gave us “Dance Magic”.