Comic Book Review – Something Is Killing the Children Volumes 1-3

Something is Killing the Children Volumes 1-3 (2020-2021)
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Werther Dell’Edera

When it was first published, Something is Killing the Children was a five-issue limited series. However, the reader response was so overwhelmingly positive that instead of doing a series of mini-series, writer James Tynion IV was allowed to make it an ongoing by Image Comics. Like many series at Image Comics, especially since The Walking Dead became a show, this one feels like an extended pitch for the first season of a television program. It’s a rather contained setting with a limited number of recurring characters and lots of seeds for potential mysteries and subplots along the way. But is it any good?

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Comic Book Review – Crossover Volume 1

Crossover Volume 1: Kids Love Chains (2021)
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Geoff Shaw

The comic book crossover became a staple of the superhero genre in the 1980s. There were smaller precursors to this starting as early as the 1940s when the first superhero teams were assembled out of established solo characters. In the 1960s, Marvel Comics would weave long-form narratives through multiple titles. At the same time, DC Comics introduced the Multiverse and had the Justice League meet their counterparts on Earth-2. With each annual meeting, the scope of these adventures would expand to encompass more worlds. The first large crossover event is considered to be Secret Wars, published by Marvel in 1984. This was a 12-issue limited series whose storylines would be continued in ongoing titles. DC responded the following year with Crisis on Infinite Earths, which was the largest scale narrative ever told at that point in the comics medium. These days, you can’t have a year go by without the big two having at least a couple crossover events. It’s into this state of being that writer Donny Cates begins Crossover from Image Comics.

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Comic Book Review – Deadly Class Volumes 7 & 8

Deadly Class Volume 7: Love Like Blood (2018)
Reprints Deadly Class #32-35

Deadly Class Volume 8: Never Go Back (2019)
Reprints Deadly Class #36-39, FCBD 2019 Deadly Class Killer Set

Written by Rick Remender
Art by Wes Craig & Jordan Boyd

In the same way, Book 2 started with all-out action and violence, so too does Volume 7. The new kids are in Mexico, having met up with Marcus and Maria. Saya’s brother has sent in his Yakuza. Viktor and the other kids from school have shown up to claim the trophy of killing Marcus. Things explode, and the book never seems to let up. Readers have been waiting for a rematch between Marcus and Viktor since Book 2’s first act, and Remender goes out of his way to subvert our expectations. I can honestly say I didn’t expect that moment to happen like it did, but it was very satisfying, and I think it will lead to more complex stories down the road.

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Comic Book Review – Deadly Class Book Two

Deadly Class Book Two: The Funeral Party (2018)
Reprints Deadly Class #17-31
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Wes Craig and Jordan Boyd

Deadly Class: The Funeral Party feels like a much-needed upgrade from the previous entry as we finally get beyond just Marcus’s specific perspective. The action kicks off right away with the freshman class forced into a brutal massacre to determine who moves on to a sophomore year. This is a moment where we really get to know some of the previously marginal players in the story. Shabnam rises to the occasion as a major villain in the series though still having to engage in a tug of war with Viktor and other cliques. 

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Comic Book Review – Deadly Class Book One: Noise Noise Noise

Deadly Class Book One: Noise, Noise, Noise (2016)
Reprints Deadly Class #1-16
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Wes Craig

It’s no secret that I am a fan of Rick Remender, I spent half a year reading through and reviewing his entire body of work at Marvel Comics in 2018. As part of my look at Image Comics this year, I decided to check out his Deadly Class series, which had been turned into a now-canceled series on SyFy. I literally went in blind, not knowing the names of any characters or the premise of the series. I was surprised by what I read, enjoyed quite a bit of it but also had some moments that I didn’t care for. 

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Comic Book Review – The Wicked + The Divine Book 4

The Wicked + The Divine Book 4 (2020)
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson

“Sticking the landing” is a phrase that means achieving a conclusion that is satisfying in relation to the journey that led there. When you have one of these finite comic sagas like Y the Last Man or Sandman, where you’ve been with this singular creator’s vision, and the series ends with their final word. We often remember the great ones and the disappointing comics get quickly forgotten, and we move on. The Wicked + The Divine delivers a truly massive closure that wraps up every character and provides total closure. There’s no story to be told after the closing pages of this book.

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Comic Book Review – The Wicked + The Divine Book 3

The Wicked + The Divine Book Three (2018)
Reprints The Wicked + The Divine #23 – 33
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson

This penultimate volume in The Wicked + The Divine series is my favorite of the series. It jumps into a completely new realm with the death that capped off the last book. To shake things, the first issue in this collection is a mock-up of fake magazine articles about each member of the Pantheon, giving some much-needed depth and background to these characters. I always love when a creator plays with the format of their comic, like Grant Morrison’s Batman run and Jonathan Hickman’s current X-work. Things get back to the standard form with the next issue, but the status quo is shaken up.

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Comic Book Review – The Wicked + The Divine Book 2

The Wicked + The Divine Book 2 (2015)
Reprints The Wicked + The Divine #12-22
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie, Mat Lopes, Stephanie Harris, Kate Brown, Brandon Graham, Matt Wilson, Leila Del Duca, and Tula Lotay

My big question reading through The Wicked + The Divine is “why?” Why are these gods returning? I assume that will be answered before the series is over, but not having some progress towards this makes it a little frustrating. One thing that does move the reader toward a better understanding of individual characters by giving spotlights and backstories to them. We get to see Tara; finally, a god spoken about but absent in the first collection, and her origins are quite interesting, primarily how she interfaces with her audience and deals with being a goddess.

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Comic Book Review – The Wicked + The Divine Book One

The Wicked + The Divine Book One (2016)
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie & Matthew Wilson

Approximately every 90 years, there is the Recurrence. This is an event where twelve gods of the ancient world reincarnate in human bodies. These forms are usually teenagers who are gifted supernatural powers, particularly the ability to influence the minds of mortals. Their purpose to combat an ill-defined forced known as The Darkness. Two years from their arrival, they will die, as it has been forever and ever. This is the basic premise of Kieron Gillen’s The Wicked + The Divine.

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Comic Book Review – Jupiter’s Legacy Volume 2

Jupiter’s Legacy Volume 2 (2017)
Reprints Jupiter’s Legacy v2 #1-5
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Frank Quitely

Decompressed storytelling in comic books rose to prominence in the 1990s and basically ended the “done in one” style of narratives that had dominated the medium since its inception. The original idea was that you could pick up issues of Superman or Batman and get a complete story, only needing to know the basic concept of the characters. Decompression took those stories and broke them into multi-issue arcs much the same way serialized television popped up in the 2000s with a move away from procedurals.

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