Comic Book Reviews (Week November 23, 2022): The Department of Truth Issue 22, Super Trash Clash & More!

The Department of Truth issue 22 review
The Department of Truth Issue 22 (Image: Image Comics)

Welcome to my comic book reviews for this week (November 23, 2022). I will be covering The Department of Truth Issue 22, Eve: Children of the Moon Issue 2, Super Trash Clash, and more.

Let’s begin by talking about The Department of Truth Issue 22 by writer James Tynion IV. With the previous couple of issues showing Cole’s husband Matty getting contacted by the Black Hat organization, you could sense that Cole would need to have a talk with Matty very soon. There’s always a chance of Cole needing to kill Matty to ensure the survival of the rest of the world.

However, as expected, Cole refused to harm Matty. I also liked how Matty knew that Cole was on to him. The creative team did a great job of building anticipation when Cole returned home after “work” and Matty waited for the other shoe to drop. One of the things I have enjoyed about The Department of Truth is how Tynion’s been handling Cole and Matty’s marriage. In certain stories like these, the spouse of the lead character doesn’t have much to do. Also, a lot of times the lead characters end things with their love interests to keep them safe. So, seeing Matty actually be involved in what’s happening has been refreshing.

The scene where Cole told Matty that Lee tried to convince him to kill Matty was handled well. Cole and Matty’s reactions felt organic, especially Matty’s reactions as he’s still trying to make sense of everything. Understandably, Matty’s got a whole lot of questions related to Cole’s line of work and I look forward to seeing him get the answers he wants and help Cole defeat Black Hat.

This is the type of relationship-centric storytelling I want to see more of. I always roll my eyes at certain writers who talk about how things tend to get boring after characters get together or decide to stay together. As far as my opinion goes, that’s not a valid excuse. It could be that such writers just aren’t skilled enough to think of interesting storylines that don’t involve relationship clichés. 

Does it have obvious queer representation? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Fear of the Red Planet issue 1 review
Fear of the Red Planet Issue 1 (Image: AfterShock Comics)

Fear of the Red Planet Issue 1

From writer Mark Sable and artist Andrea Olimpieri, the debut of Fear of the Red Planet introduced readers to another sci-fi story set on a colonized Mars. Of course, things weren’t going great due to there being problems between the humans working in the mines and the fear of them getting replaced by machines. Resources were limited, too, and there were a whole lot of rules to follow.

The first chapter involved a bunch of characters. It’s going to take me a while to learn their names, though- if I decide to keep reading this series. Our lead’s Carolina Law. She’s tasked with keeping peace in the colony while not being fond of how TPTB ran things. There’s also a drug-related problem going on. So, yeah, there’s a lot happening. The main hook in the narrative was the murder mystery that occurred on Mars near the end. And I do love me a murder mystery (being an author of such stories myself). While I’m not the biggest sci-fi fan out there, I do plan to stick with Fear of the Red Planet, for now, to see where the creative team leads me.

Does it have obvious queer representation? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

Creepshow issue 3 review
Creepshow Issue 3 (Image: Image Comics)

Creepshow Issue 3

The two short stories in Creepshow Issue 3 were ‘Hair’ by writers L Marlow Francavilla & Francesco Francavilla and ‘The Bridge’ by writer Ariela Kristantina. If I were to choose, I enjoyed ‘Hair’ a lot more as it told a suspenseful tale involving a local barber and a series of dead bodies (with heads missing) being found in the nearby woods.

‘The Bridge’, while enjoyable, wasn’t anything new as it shared a tale involving a young social media influencer not respecting local traditions.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up

Stuff of Nightmares Issue 3 review
Stuff of Nightmares Issue 3 (Image: BOOM! Studios)

Stuff of Nightmares Issue 3

The third chapter of Stuff of Nightmares by writer R.L. Stine played out as expected. Isaac was able to revive his brother Jordan via Frankenstine-ing Jordan’s brain into another dead human body. It’s clear that humans like Isaac are supposed to be the real monsters in this story. Stella also got to experience a major consequence. With Isaac having big plans to show his genius to the world, I’m looking forward to seeing how the story will end as the walls close around him. 

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

Eve Children of the Moon issue 2 review
Eve: Children of the Moon Issue 2 (Image: BOOM! Studios)

Eve: Children of the Moon Issue 2

From writer Victor LaValle, the second installment of Eve: Children of the Moon (a sequel to the highly-enjoyable Eve series) continued to build on the latest problem faced by Eve and her clone. I really liked the premise for the sequel. Even though Eve was able to save the world, there was still a group, led by Selene, who didn’t trust her. People like Selene had worked hard to survive for years. Eve, on the other hand, basically woke up from a nap and spent a handful of weeks ensuring the world’s safety. She hadn’t gone through what the rest of humanity had to face.

Not only that, but Selene wasn’t a fan of Eve forgiving Wexler, the AI responsible for the death of Eve’s father and the other scientists. Selene wanted Wexler killed, even if it meant she had to go through Eve and her clone. LaValle did an awesome job of fleshing out Selene as a character. I understood where Selene was coming from and how she refused to simply side with Eve over what should be done with Wexler and the fate of the world. Selene felt human. And that’s always a bonus in my book when it comes to constructing fictional stories.    

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers issue 102 review
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Issue 102 (Image: BOOM! Studios)

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Issue 102

With the recent tragic passing of Jason David Frank, reading Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Issue 102 made for a very emotional experience because JDF’s character Tommy will continue to exist in the MMPR franchise. Written by Melissa Flores, the latest chapter continued to increase the stakes as the Rangers tried and failed to stand against Rita Repulsa, now going by the name Mistress Vile.

The Rangers being forced to leave Matt behind really hit hard especially due to the flashback featuring Matt introducing Kimberly to Trini and Zack. He’s felt like the “spare” for a very long time and the realization that the MMPR team could afford to lose him didn’t make things better. Of course, the Rangers will come back to rescue Matt, but still, feeling you aren’t really part of the main team does hurt.

I liked the scene where Rita called Kimberly out on focusing way too much on saving Tommy and not being attentive during her battle against Rita. I get that Kimberly doesn’t want Tommy or her teammates to get hurt, but she won’t be able to ensure that until she’s able to not be distracted, especially when facing a threat like Rita. I’m looking forward to seeing if that particular moment will be built upon and the story gives us a Rita vs Kimberly scene where the Pink Ranger keeps her head in the game.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Super Trash Clash review
Super Trash Clash (Image: Top Shelf Productions)

Super Trash Clash

I was provided a free digital copy of Super Trash Clash for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.

From writer and artist Edgar Camacho, Super Trash Clash offered me a story I wasn’t expecting. Due to it being video game-centric, I presumed this graphic novel would be some tale where the protagonist gets transported into a video game and their adventures in the virtual world would lead to certain life lessons to help a situation happening in the non-video game world. But nopes. Instead, Super Trash Clash ended up being a nostalgia-filled love letter to gamers around the world. I immediately read the issue again as soon as I was done. From the characters to the pacing and the core conflict, everything was handled impressively.

The story opened with our lead, named Dul, noticing and buying a retro video game called ‘Super Trash Clash’. She’s excited to return home and play it ASAP. From there we are taken into Dul’s past that explained her feelings attached to said video game. Nostalgia’s a big part of the video game industry. We all have certain video games that instantly bring back memories from our childhood. And Camacho visualized all of that well. The scene where Dul blew on the game cartridge to make it work. The showdown against an opponent on the arcade machine. My gamer heart!

Dul’s adventure stayed grounded as a birthday present from her mother led to a major life lesson after Dul decided to trade that particular video game for one she really wanted to play. Accompanied by her friend Misa, I found myself rooting for Dul as she traveled around town to get back the video game she casually traded away. The resolution between Dul and her mother was incredibly heartfelt.

The art, while cartoon-y, didn’t take away from the expressions being demonstrated by the characters. The moment of silence between a young Dul and her mother after they decided on how to celebrate Dul’s upcoming birthday (while being short on cash) was strong. 

Super Clash Trash is definitely one of the best stories I have read this year.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: PRE-ORDER! (The release date is supposed to be November 29, 2022)

Which comics did you read this week?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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