Staff Picks – Week of 29/08/2018

Sullivan’s Sluggers HC
Mark Andrew Smith (w), James Stokoe (a)
Dark Horse

Will says: A baseball team have their toughest game yet, when grotesque monsters overrun the stadium. Bats in hand, the team must battle for their survival against the demonic beasts.

Sullivan’s Sluggers everything you love about a monster movie. It’s ridiculously over the top, hilariously gory and non-stop fun. But the real charm of this comic is in the art. And there’s no surprise why. Stokoe’s style is so distinctive. Always absolutely breath taking. Your eyes get lost in the wonderland he has drawn, gawping over his bizarre alien creations and making you question if a human can even create something this impressive. Stokoe is the best. And there’s no one better to draw hyper-detailed, beautifully revolting, gigantic monstrosities.

Batgirl #26
Maighread Scott (w), Paul Pelletier (a)
DC Comics

Chief says: I’ve been avoiding Batgirl’s rebirth run for no particular reason other than bat-saturation. I started buying Batman again, I’ve got my own bat-backlist on the go and I’ve been reading these characters since I was Eleven. Thirty-some years of bat-tle wears on you. Lately though, those Middleton covers have been grabbing my attention. Just when I thought I was out, etc.

With that in mind, I heard there was new creative team hitting the book and picked this up. Not that there was anything wrong with the previous team. I love their work. Please see previous paragraph for my excuses. But this was a pleasant surprise. For a start, this roots Batgirl’s adventures firmly in the crime book realm. She’s after an art-thief / murderer. For the record, I love the bat-books when they’re functioning as crime stories instead of the ongoing slog of ‘which nutso villain am I fighting this week’. This is good plotty stuff that benefits from having a decent actual criminal as the antagonist.

It also drops us right into the action without having to linger too long on backstory for the Villain, largely thanks to the economy of Scott and Pelletier’s writing and art. The book is punchy and fast whilst still giving us a decent set-up, not only for the story but who Batgirl is and what’s driving her. It’s great exercise in good, technical comic-making and there ain’t nothing wrong with that. Putting Babs in trouble with her back again, keeping the ghost that always lingers over her exploits lingering still is a great conceit and there’s a hint of romance for her too, which seems to be a fundamental part any BG story and is all the better for having it here. Not to mention the fact that this is all packed expertly into the FIRST issue… Ultimately, this will be a great jumping on point for you if you’ve ever thought about buying a Batgirl book but having quite gotten there yet or if, like me, you just left it alone for while. And those Middleton covers? Worth the price of admission alone!

New Gods
Jack Kirby (w/a)
DC Comics

Joe says: The latest of DC’c centennial editions of Kirby’s work comes out just in time for his 101st birthday and it is a gift for everyone. The heart of his epic “Fourth World” saga, the collection is bursting with dynamic inks, un-apologetically bright colours and high-octane fun. An absolutely essential read that is still light-years ahead of its time, the highlight for me has to be Kirby’s bonkers collages that have had me transfixed since purchasing the book.