Each week, CBR has your guide to navigating Wednesday’s new and recent comic releases, specials, collected editions and reissues, and we’re committed to helping you choose those that are worth your hard-earned cash. It’s a little slice of CBR we like to call Major Issues.
If you feel so inclined, you can buy our recommendations directly on comiXology with the links provided. We’ll even supply links to the books we’re not so hot on, just in case you don’t want to take our word for it. Don’t forget to let us know what you think of the books this week in the comments! And as always, SPOILERS AHEAD!
THE SCORCHED #1 (IMAGE)
While the hellish adventures of Spawn have usually had a singular focus, several major Spawn players officially team up for the first time in The Scorched #1, by Sean Lewis, Todd McFarlane, Stephen Segovia, Paulo Siqueira, Ulises Arreola, Nikos Koutsis and Andworld Design. This debut issue sees Jessica Priest’s She-Spawn, Medieval Spawn, the Redeemer and Gunslinger Spawn come together to take on the hellish new threats of the Spawn universe.
While The Scorched still has a healthy dose of supernatural horror, this issue captures the Spawn franchise at its most aggressively superheroic. This debut issue essentially plays out like a modern update on the action-oriented Image superhero team comics of the mid-90s. While it’s deeply tied to modern Spawn continuity, The Scorched is a fairly approachable take on dark heroes with solid art the depicts violence with gruesome glee and ’90s charm.
WASTELANDERS: BLACK WIDOW #1 (MARVEL)
Most of Marvel’s recent Wastelanders one-shots have expanded on established players from the world of “Old Man Logan.” However, Steven S. DeKnight, Well-Bee, Mattia Iacono and Cory Petit’s Wastelanders: Black Widow shines a spotlight on a post-apocalyptic Black Widow. Although this is ostensibly a tie-in to Marvel’s ongoing Wastelanders narrative podcast series, this one-shot tells a simple, satisfying story about the Avenger facing the next horrific evolution of a major Spider-Man villain.
Throughout the issue, Well-Bee and Iacono strike a pitch-perfect tone, with their moody art and impressive action scenes perfectly capturing the grime and violence of this dystopian Marvel Universe. Although Black Widow reveals its biggest surprise early on, this comic has a solid take on its titular lead that serves as a compelling tease for its accompanying podcast.
DAREDEVIL: THE WOMAN WITHOUT FEAR #1 (MARVEL)
While Elektra has effectively been the star of the main Daredevil title for several months, she hasn’t had the biggest role in Marvel’s ongoing Devil’s Reign crossover event. However, the recovering ninja assassin takes center stage once more in Daredevil: Woman Without Fear #1, by Chip Zdarsky, Rafael DeLatorre, Federico Blee and Clayton Cowles.
Spinning directly out of Devil’s Reign, this issue recounts some of Elektra’s recent activities in greater detail and flashes back to the brutal training that forged her in its best sequences. Although this doesn’t really move the larger plot of Devil’s Reign along much, it’s a well-crafted issue with particularly well-drawn fight scenes. With a clever misdirect setting up an intriguing second issue, this debut issue compliments Devil’s Reign well and does everything a crossover tie-in should do.
JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1 (DC)
After a year-long hiatus, the Legion of Super-Heroes returns to the DC Universe in Justice League vs. the Legion of Super-Heroes #1, by Brian Michael Bendis, Scott Godlewski, Ryan Cody and Dave Sharpe. When an existential threat to DC’s present and future heroes emerges, this issue sees the many members of the Legion and the League team up to save both of their times.
Despite its broader premise, this issue picks up exactly where Bendis’ Legion of Super-Heroes run left off, especially with the attention it pays to the Legion’s Gold Lantern. With a solid foot in ongoing DC continuity, this is an approachable, breezy superhero story in the classic DC mold, even with a cast of almost 30 heroes. While the comic’s plot only has room to spotlight a few characters, Godlewski and Cody deliver stellar work, with multiple spreads that fit in a dozen heroes without feeling overly crowded.
JOE HILL’S RAIN #1 (IMAGE)
As the first release from Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood’s Syzygy Publishing imprint, Rain #1 adapts Joe Hill’s novella of the same name to comics in agonizing detail. In the first issue of David M. Booher, Zoe Thorogood, Chris O’Halloran and Shawn Lee’s adaptation, a young couple’s future is shattered when razor-sharp crystal nails start falling from the sky with lethal precision.
Even though it’s only a first issue of a larger story, Rain #1 works perfectly well as a heartbreaking short on its own. The first half of the issue smartly spends builds its central sweet, charming relationship, which makes the apocalyptic carnage that follows all the more gut-wrenching. While Thorogood and O’Halloran give their characters an eye-catching modern sensibility before brilliantly realizing the book’s gruesome spectacle in all of its bloody glory. While there are plenty of horror comics out there, they rarely have as much style as Rain.
MARAUDERS #27 (MARVEL)
After the revelations of the Inferno crossover began charting the X-Men’s future, Marauders #27 — by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Phil Noto, Rain Beredo and Cory Petit – acts as a fitting postscript to this era of X-Men comics. As Emma Frost and Kate Pryde prepare for the next evolution of the Hellfire Trading Company, Marauders #27 sends most of its cast off on a new direction while stoking the embers of a few lingering plot points.
With a new Marauders creative team inbound, this comic ably ties up some loose ends and teases new stories with the same well-considered characters that made this one of Marvel’s best X-books since its launch. Despite the book’s distinctive art styles, the expressive characters of Lolli and Beredo’s art sync up nicely with the classic style of Noto’s work. While it doesn’t have the flash of Inferno, this character-driven issue still serves as a fitting end to this X-Men era.
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