My Week in Comics: April 22, 2016

The Big 2 take a backseat for me this week as I shine a spotlight on other publishers! Surprise surprise, they can also publish awesome comics worthy of your time and money! Who knew, right? But I digress...let's check out what I got myself into this week in comics!

For a sequel to Divinity, the titular hero is nowhere to be seen in  Valiant's Divinity II #1. As a newbie, I would have wanted to see "the best new superhero of 2015", but I will have to settle for his cosmonaut teammate Miska, who is the focus of the book. A staunch believer in the Communist ideal, Miska's desperation to return home leads her through the same journey that gave Divinity his powers. Now, the god-like Miska returns home with a mission: to bring back the glory days of the Soviet Union, no matter the cost!

Even if I've never met Miska before, writer Matt Kindt made me want to know her more. It's easy to write off a zealous Soviet Communist character with god-like powers as boring and been-there, done-that, but Kindt writes her as this troubled yet fascinating character who just wants what's to make the Motherland proud, and I'd love to see where the story takes her. Trevor Hairsine's art serves this gritty story well enough, though I would like him to make more daring art choices when the inevitable god vs god showdown arrives. It's a nice issue and all, but at this point we're just waiting for the fights. This gets a 3.5 out of 5.

Having loved the first issue, Boom! Studios' Turncoat #2 was an easy purchase. Writer Alex Paknadel is peeling back the sticky, alien layers that make up the world of Turncoat bit by bit, and I love what I'm seeing. Marta begins to unravel the mystery of the missing boy from the first issue, but all it's done is raise even more questions...and the answers may lie in her turncoat past!

What makes the book so good is that Paknadel knows how to craft not just a compelling narrative but also a rich world full of living spaceships ("Don't feed the engines!") and gooey alien hybrids, and the gritty art of Artyom Trakhanov and Jason Wordie takes it to a whole 'nother level. It's what draws me into Marta's journey, making me feel like I'm right there with her sloughing through alien entrails and dirty cops in search of the truth. Not only that, but Marta growing to be an incredibly interesting character, hard-boiled but vulnerable, and I hope to see more of that in the coming months.

Turncoat #2 gave us answers, only to reveal new ones. And you know what? I'm not in a hurry for answers...I just want more of this sweet, sweet comic. This gets a 4 out of 5.

Finally, we come to Joyride #1, another Boom! Studios comic that'll take you on a rip-roaring ride through space stations and the dark side of the moon!

I love this book. There's a sense of no-holds-barred fun that I haven't felt in comics for quite a while. Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly writes a fast-paced comic that's suitable for all ages, filled with spunky teenagers in a future where the world has been shut off from the stars for so long that people have forgotten what it's like out there in the vast beyond. And you know what bored teenagers do, right? That's right: steal a spaceship and go on a joyride through space!

I've said it before and it bears repeating, a good first issue hooks you in and doesn't let go. Lanzing and Kelly built an amazing world that you won't get lost in, as they take time to walk you through this utopian vision of the future in-between hijacking spaceships and escaping future cops. Uma Akkolyte and her friend Dewydd are fun characters, and Uma's optimism is so infectious that you can't help but be as happy as her to see the stars and the universe (especially in that big space splash page rendered with love by Marcus To and Irma Kniivila)!

Make no mistake, Joyride more than lives up to its name. If you ever want to feel the fun of comics again, pick this up on sight. This gets a 5 out of 5!

This week proves that you don't have to go to the Big 2 for fun and amazing comic books, and the road less traveled can yield amazing stories as well! What did you pull this week? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks and happy reading!

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