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Comics: Run to the Hills
by Dee. 11/3/2023October reviews are right behind you, look out!
For the spookiest of months, I had a frightfully good time picking out some comics for you, yes, you! From Marvel Comics, I picked Sensational She-Hulk; from DC, I selected DC's Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun, and the final submission is from Image Comics: Kill Your Darlings.
Sensational She-Hulk (Marvel Comics): If you are already familiar with She-Hulk, you'll know how kick@$$ she is as a lawyer and a superheroine. For those of you new to She-Hulk, we're getting off to an interesting start: instead of jumping into plot immediately, we get a lot of character development and some very well-written dialogue by Rainbow Rowell. There are a few references to the preceding series, but it's not getting in the way of meeting Jen Walters, and introducing her current paramour, Jack of Hearts. The Punch Club is introduced (heavy-hitting superhero friends, just doing that fighting ring thing, no big) and the gang get into it. The Hulk shows up and we'll find out next issue what he's doing in the neighborhood.
The artwork is beautiful, colorful and compatible with the light-hearted nature of this book. Not a huge drama yet, but a lot of setting the scene for Jen's interactions with the Hulk, who literally appears from the shadows.
The secondary story by Jessica Gao (showrunner of the Disney+ series) is highly entertaining, and involves more of the everyday superhero legal issues at play. For a bite-sized story, it was very entertaining and had a great punchline. The artwork of this story holds just as much impact as the main tale, so there's definitely a consistent cheeky tone within both. I recommend picking up this issue if you're looking for a She-Hulk fix now that the second season probably won't be out until late 2025 - 2026.
DC's Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun (DC Comics): Yes, it's spooky (on a scale from "spooky" to "scary", but that doesn't mean we can't have some fun to celebrate the Halloween season. The Question, Green Lantern, Nightwing and Crush and Lobo make appearances in this extra-thick anthology. The art ranges from moody watercolors to heavy outlines, and bright lighting to deep shadows. Overall, if you're in the mood for some Halloween stories that won't give you nightmares, this is the DC comic intro for you.
The other spooky title of note for the month of October was the four issue run of Star Trek: Holo-Ween from IDW. Silly puns aside, Picard's crew goes to Earth for a Halloween celebration, but suddenly people start disappearing. *cues the creepy music*
The art comes from Morning Glories' Joe Eisma, so there's a high quality and very synergistic use of shadows and dramatic lighting. The script is engrossing, so I want to read all four issues in one go. The issues came out every week of October, right on time.
Kill Your Darlings (Image Comics): This definitely hits the other end of the scale, as this is an unsettling tale of an eight-year old playing pretend in her own magical world. It starts out as a charming, imaginative story. Then reality starts melding with a bigger, eldritch nightmare.
The art on this title is very well done: beautiful vivid colors in the magical world, more benign greys and muted browns in the real world. The different magical beasts have various fonts associated with them and a wide variety of accents, starkly in contrast with Mom dealing with more mundane problems.
The mother character breaks my heart, as she's really trying to be there for her kid, but you can feel her lack of energy through her words and the smaller font used. This first issue ends in a particularly dreadful place, and because there's already a second issue out, you can believe that I'm all over it.
The script feels very realistic in the conversations, and the kid's speech isn't dumbed down. I think that's probably why it's breaking my heart in the first issue. The action is tight, tense and just bloody enough to hit the horror comic meter where I like it. Pick this one up, it's proving to be very special so far.