By Brandy Dykhuizen. Our Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while taking time for a new review or two before it’s all over. This week: ‘Assassinistas’ #5 and ‘Blackwood’ #1.
Black Crown/IDW Publishing/$3.99
Written by Tini Howard.
Art by Gilbert Hernandez.
Colors by Rob Davis.
Letters by Aditya Bidikar.
Let’s all just take a minute and stop worrying about what the mama bears are doing to appreciate the hotness of Dom and his BF on the cover of Assassinistas #5. Four issues of insecure posturing and endearing displays of affection have culminated in a wholly confident, ready-to-go duo. These two kids have been put through the ringer, but they are hitherto undaunted and ready to throat-punch anyone who doubts them. True love has no room for pacifism in the 21st Century.
The moms’ crazy pasts are all coming together as Kyler’s captor lets them in on a little secret. The usually quick-thinking Octavia needs a few moments to wrap her mind around all the implications, but she has all the time in the world to think things over down in the dungeon with her son and an iguana. Luckily, Taylor has more than a few tricks up his skinny sleeves, not least of which includes a hilariously dangerous moment of mansplaining maternal motivation to a second-generation female badass. That kid is comic gold, I tell ya.
Tini Howard’s story rockets forward clever as ever, just as thoroughly enjoyable as its debut. Gilbert Hernandez continues to be the perfect fit for this book, harmonizing all the frustrations and face-palms of a family outing with fight scenes and flashbacks aplenty. Howard & Hernandez are a quintessential match; their respective crafts keep the characters in near-constant motion with seemingly limitless expressions.
With all this excitement, who wouldn’t want a fucking family reunion? Someone is going to have some explaining to do, that’s for sure. I just hope nobody takes down all these Dominoes standing in a row. They seem like good kids, after all.
9 out of 10
Dark Horse Comics/$3.99
Written by Evan Dorkin.
Art by Veronica Fish.
Letters by Andy Fish.
You’d likely try and compare a sorcery school for teens to Hogwarts, but Blackwood is far different from the usual wand-waving fodder. The bugs are far worse, for one thing, and this institution lies in plain sight, open to anyone who dares venture down that road. And the kids seem to be a daring lot, taking the five cemeteries along the path fully in stride. That’s either a whole lot of trust in the powers that be, or the kind of apathy born of a seriously checkered past.
The usual YA tropes abound – the well-meaning over-achiever, the secretive mope, the… erm… hot guy with an eye patch? Evan Dorkin lays out the beginnings of a familiar tale, but takes care that you don’t get too comfortable roaming Blackwood’s expansive halls. There are secrets here, folks, and Blackwood #1 sets up a powder keg of surprises to come.
A closely shorn, nose-bleeding protagonist grabs you right off the bat, but don’t worry – she’s a bit too vociferous to evoke images of Stranger Things’ Eleven. She’s the type of presence that elicits an immediate reaction from those around her, whether it be badgering intrigue from a peer who tries just a little too hard, or hissing expectorate from a creepy old biddy at the train station. Veronica Fish captures her burdened sulks and sneers while not pushing her too far away from the reader. She taps into the façade of teen expression perfectly – the tough or bubbly fronts that can never quite mask the nerves underneath.
Blackwood has everything a burgeoning sorcerer could ever want – gargoyles, stained glass, warm beer and monsters. I look forward to seeing what curses and creatures these kids vanquish.
‘Blackwood’ #1 hits stores May 30.
8 out of 10
From earlier this week —
What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Make it short and sweet — the best response wins a free set of DoomRocket stickers!