Comic Book Reviews (Week November 3, 2021): Dark Knights of Steel Issue 1, Hulkling and Wiccan Issue 1 & More!

Dark Knights of Steel issue 1 review
Dark Knights of Steel Issue 1 (Image: DC Comics)

Welcome to my comic book review round-up for the week of November 3, 2021. I will be talking about Dark Knights of Steel issue 1, The Lost Falls issue 4, Hulkling and Wiccan issue 1, and more!

For those wanting an interesting alternate reality story featuring iconic DC characters, we have Dark Knights of Steel issue 1 from writer Tom Taylor with art by Yasmine Putri. The debut of this 12-issue limited series showed Kal-El’s parents (his mother still pregnant with him) escaping their home planet and landing in a world set in high fantasy. After a time skip, the surviving Kryptonians end up ruling a kingdom with Bruce and Kal-El growing up together.

I liked how Taylor introduced us to a bunch of DC characters fitting the usual D&D descriptors. Constantine delivered prophecies. Bruce is a knight while Harley’s a jester. And of course, the Black Canary would come across as a banshee to people. Having read the first issue, I’m looking forward to spending more time in this fictional world and enjoying how certain conflicts will be resolved.

Will Raven appear in this series? I ask because, in my opinion, I think there’s something up with Taylor not using Raven in his alternate reality/Elseworlds stories for some reason even though her peers do appear.

Does it feature obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

hulkling and wiccan issue 1 review
Hulkling and Wiccan Issue 1 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Hulkling and Wiccan Issue 1

A Marvel Unlimited exclusive, Hulkling and Wiccan issue 1 by writer Josh Trujillo and artist Jodi Nishijima offered a polarizing beginning to a 4-part miniseries. The premise dealt with Billy receiving a magical gift that allowed him to explore possible realities where he didn’t fall in love with Teddy.

Apparently, the two aren’t on the same page about what they need to be doing in the future as husbands. For some reason, Billy wants to spend more time on Earth while Teddy wants to stay in space because being a king is a full-time commitment, duh! And I’m like, Billy can freaking teleport. He can go visit his family and friends on Earth whenever he wants to.

While I understand this is the first issue and there’s likely more to the story, the overall reaction from fans hasn’t been great (from what I can tell). Fans have been waiting for a Hulkling and Wiccan solo series. But having one focus on their relationship drama instead of their duties as the Queer Kings of Space and making major cosmic decisions doesn’t sit well with me. We all know Teddy and Billy aren’t going to break up (or, at this point, get a divorce). So, why even bother?

We have already gone through similar relationship drama in previous stories featuring this iconic couple. In Young Avengers, Billy had an entire thing where thought he had unknowingly created Teddy because he wanted a perfect soulmate. I will actually be surprised if the events of this miniseries end up having any impact on the couple’s future appearances.

Also, what’s wrong with finding the person you love quite early in life and wanting to remain committed to them? Even when a relationship isn’t toxic, why is “you should try dating numerous people before settling down!” such a thing in storytelling (especially in media involving queer men)?

There’s also been a bit of backlash regarding how Hulkling and Wiccan issue 1 seems to be showcasing queer stereotypes for comedic effect. I mean, even I thought Billy summoning Northstar, his husband Kyle, and Iceman over for dinner by chanting “Let’s have a Kiki” was a bit too much. Frankly, Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel from Glee should have appeared instead of Billy’s intended guests.

Anyway, a note to creatives out there, when writing a story that doesn’t fall solely in the romance/angst genre, if your entire idea boils down to “more relationship drama between established couples!”, I urge you to reconsider and try aiming a bit higher.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Meh!

The Silver Coin issue 6 review
The Silver Coin Issue 6 (Image: Image Comics)

The Silver Coin Issue 6

The horror anthology series The Silver Coin is back! Issue 6 featured a predictable yet highly enjoyable story, called ‘High Score’, by writer Joshua Williamson and artist Michael Walsh. Set in an arcade present inside a mall, we get to see a lonely kid being called by the Silver Coin to play his favorite side-scrolling fighting game. Things don’t work out well for a couple of people that were mean to the kid and the kid himself. There’s always a price to pay when using the Silver Coin and this story was no different.

The backup story, titled ‘Shiny Things’, by writer Chris Hampton with art by Gavin Fullerton, showed a crow keeping an eye on the Silver Coin. Considering the curse has to feed, perhaps we will see said crow gift the coin to some in due time.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

The Me You Love in the Dark issue 4 review
The Me You Love in the Dark Issue 4 (Image: Image Comics)

The Me You Love In The Dark Issue 4

I think every reader knew something bad was going to happen due to Ro continuing her relationship with whatever’s haunting the house she’s renting. The Me You Love in the Dark issue 4, by writer Skottie Young, showed the dark entity revealing its incredibly possessive nature.

In my opinion, the narrative is about domestic abuse. I think the abusive side of the dark entity was handled quite well and stayed true to what usually happens in certain domestic violence cases. With the series concluding with the next issue, I hope Ro finds a way to her freedom.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

hellboy the bones of giants issue 1 review
Hellboy: The Bones of Giants Issue 1 (Image: Dark Horse Comics)

Hellboy: The Bones of Giants Issue 1

Adapted from a novel of the same name (which I haven’t read) by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, Hellboy: The Bones of Giants issue 1 had Hellboy get involved in a mystery related to Norse Gods. After having Mjolnir become fused to his hand, Hellboy and Abe are on the search for answers regarding something sinister.

I liked how Thor took over Hellboy’s consciousness from time to time and gave the titular character snapshots of his memories. I’m definitely interested in seeing what will happen next.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

My Bad issue 1 review
My Bad Issue 1 (Image: AHOY Comics)

My Bad Issue 1

I was provided with a free digital copy of My Bad issue 1 for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.

If there’s one thing writer Mark Russell’s going to do, it’s feature a satirical take on aspects of society that will make you laugh and think. From co-writers Russel and Bryce Ingman, with art by Peter Krause, My Bad issue 1 falls in a similar category. The narrative is a satire of the superhero genre. And while making fun of superhero clichés isn’t anything new, My Bad still manages to offer something different. Yes, the Chandelier is basically Batman, but a bunch of other characters are quite distinct from the iconic superheroes fans are used to. Due to how the story ended, I’m actually worried about Rush Hour.

Along with spoofing superheroes and villains, the storytelling also takes jabs at certain societal behaviors, especially the ones involving consumerism and media attention. I look forward to meeting more characters in this fictional world and the real-life themes the narrative will explore.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

self issue 1 review
.Self Issue 1 (comiXology Originals)

.Self Issue 1

I was provided with a free digital copy of Self issue 1 for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.

From writer Christopher Sebela and artist Cara McGee, Self issue 1 (stylized as .Self), brings readers to a fictional world where it’s possible to create a backup of your memories and then have the data be uploaded into a new blank body, after death, to gain closure with friends and family. It’s a fun concept to highlight the concerns about privacy, death, consumerism (there are upgrades available for better memory storage), piracy, and how any piece of technology can be hacked.

We follow the story through our main character, Nat. She’s had a tough life and wants stability. Nat decides to start recording her memories, but things go wrong. Strangers seem to know about her personal details and she’s also confused about whether or not she did certain things. It’s a mess. However, we did get a couple of answers about what’s happening in the first issue.

With .Self being a five-issue series, here’s hoping a majority of my questions get answered before the next arc is introduced. I have no idea why Nat was chosen to go through such an event. Is she special or was it bad luck?

I liked the artistic choices Cara McGee made when having certain panels appear as if readers were streaming a recording of Nat’s memories.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

Lost Falls issue 4 review
Lost Falls Issue 4 (Image: comiXology Originals)

Lost Falls Issue 4

I was provided with a free digital copy of Lost Falls issue 4 for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.

Lost Falls issue 4, by writer Curt Pires and artist Antonio Fuso, didn’t offer the conclusion I was hoping for. Was it enjoyable? Yes. Was it confusing? Yes!

The current story isn’t done yet and I have my fingers crossed for the series to return for a second outing because I have a lot of questions.

I liked seeing Daniel allowing the darkness to enter his body to save Daisy. The narrative seems to be about the battle between light and darkness, that dates all the way back to the beginning of mankind. There are also individuals keeping an eye on the mysterious town Daniel’s found himself in. Said individuals want Daniel to be a part of their mission.

There’s a lot of weirdness going on. Things I don’t understand. But I’m so here to see what Daniel will do next.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

Which comic books 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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