If you’re after a bit of mainstream comic book reading post-Thought Bubble, then our friends at the Paradox Comics Group have given us a round-up of some of the best digital comics from the Big Two and beyond including: Black Bolt, Mister Miracle, Hawkeye and Magnus.
BLACK BOLT #5
Publisher: Marvel Writer: Saladin Ahmed Art: Frazer Irving & Christian Ward Price: $3.99 from comiXology
Jo S: The end of the last episode of this Inhumans oddity saw the mighty Lockjaw crash into the prison where Boltagon was just about to die yet again at the hands of the mysterious Jailer. This one opens with Irving’s delicate, soft-focus flashback showing us Lockjaw’s origin and the formation of the perfect bond between the mighty space-mutt and his necessarily silent master. Lockjaw has rescued Black Bolt from perpetual agonising death and resurrection but in doing so has accidentally plunged him into a dilemma of conscience. This series is not to everyone’s taste, but this issue showcases all that’s good about it. Ward’s dreamy-nightmare graphics build a world where nothing feels familiar or reliable; there is strength and tangible emotion bonding characters together and a fantastically psychedelic rescue battle echoes the recent Nick Fury series in its narcotic inventiveness. It’s a treat for the eyes and the heart: if you’ve avoided Inhumans books previously I would urge you to let this be the one which makes you reconsider.
MISTER MIRACLE #2
Publisher: DC Writer: Tom King Art: Mitch Gerads Price: $3.99 from comiXology
James R: By now the hype train for Mister Miracle is up and rolling; the fact that GQ provide the pull quote for the cover is both a salute to how good this title is, and an indication of just how mainstream comics have become – I can’t imagine they would have given much credence to the medium a decade ago. The book itself is one of those fine examples of a writer and an artist who know each other really well, and have become a well-oiled machine. Gerads’ nine-panel grids here manage to cover everything from the epic, through the hallucinatory to the shockingly violent, all the while keeping the focus tight on Scott Free. King’s script serves up a terrific double-cross (which may be a triple-cross!) and left me wanting the next issue immediately. That’s always one of my gold standards for a book, and Mister Miracle achieves it with style. There’s an awful lot of (granny) goodness in these pages.
Publisher: Marvel Writer: Kelly Thompson Art: Leonardo Romero & Jordie Bellaire Price: $3.99 from ComiXology
Matt C: You know a writer’s captured the ‘voice’ of a character when you can almost immediately sense something’s off, like you’ve missed a beat or two and are not completely comfortable with where you find yourself. Thompson gets Kate Bishop on a granular level; the rhythm and cadence of her speech, the way she talks herself into doing the right thing, every time. She’s such an engaging, contagious character to be around, it’s hard not to fall for her, and impossible not to register when something doesn’t feel quite right. Romero’s art remains buoyant and breezy, Bellaire’s colours here really making the nightclub sequence pop. Bishop was clearly a great supporting player when Clint Barton was headlining, but now she’s showing us that she belonged directly in the spotlight all along.
Publisher: Dynamite Writer: Kyle Higgins Art: Jorge Fornēs & Chris O’Halloran Price: $3.99 from ComiXology
Matt C: A title that requires repeated highlighting because it’s one of the true surprises of 2017. This is what reinventions should be all about, taking a concept and applying the approach of a remixer: extracting the best elements, adding in new ones, and creating what seems simultaneously both fresh and familiar. Because, let’s be honest, there’s got to be a very small audience waiting on a reverent reboot of Magnus, Robot Fighter with few tweaks, right? This feels far more relevant and provocative, and this issue offers a deeper understanding of how Kerri Magnus was shaped into the woman she’s become, and it’s fascinating and enlightening. Fornēs provides polished visuals for the Cloud World but adds a rougher edge to the real world scenes, and many of his compositions are genuinely striking in the way they portray the near future with such crisp clarity.