Comic Book Reviews (Week November 9, 2022): Superman Son of Kal-El Issue 17, Dark Ride Issue 2 & More!

Son of Kal-El issue 17 review
Superman Son of Kal-El Issue 17 (Image: DC Comics)

Welcome to my comic book reviews for this week (November 8, 2022). I will be covering Superman Son of Kal-El issue 17, Dark Ride issue 2, Specs issue 1, and more.

The fact that I wasn’t interested in reading a single comic from Marvel this week is just… disappointing. Do better, Marvel. Anyway, let’s begin by talking about Superman Son of Kal-El issue 17 by writer Tom Taylor. While there was a threat present, the main story, told from Clark’s perspective, was about Clark waiting for Jon to come out to him as a bisexual teen. There are videos of Jon and Jay kissing. The whole world knows they are a couple. But as far as Clark’s concerned, that’s a conversation he wanted Jon to initiate himself.

I liked the scene between Clark and his father about why Jon might be hesitating to open up to Clark. Both characters have gone through a lot, with Jon being kidnapped and Superman off to save another world. As Clark’s father put it, some trust might have to be rebuilt between the superpowered father/son duo due to lost time.

When Clark and Jon did have the conversation, I think Taylor did a good job of giving value to the opinions of both characters. I mean, every reader knew Clark was always a queer ally, but still, Taylor was able to hit the right emotional beats as Clark shared how he related to Jon and how he wanted his son to be happy because Jon made Clark happy.

We don’t really get to see men be emotional in such a manner in media. So, kudos to Taylor for having an iconic character like Superman be so vulnerable in front of his son.

While some readers might feel that the entire thing was much ado about nothing (again, Clark not being accepting of the queer community would make no sense), I think seeing Clark and Jon having an actual conversation was important to progress their relationship.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Dark Ride issue 2 review
Dark Ride Issue 2 (Image: Image Comics)

Dark Ride Issue 2

From writer Joshua Williamson, Dark Ride issue 2 came with a lot of twists and turns as the story progressed Sam’s interest in creating something scary to boost the park’s profits. I’m quite impressed by how much thought the creative team put into the characters. We’re only two issues in, and the main cast has distinct personalities and layers already.

The current issue wasn’t gore-filled as the first, but that’s okay. It was still able to offer a sense of horror because you can see things move toward something big.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Kaya issue 2 review
Kaya Issue 2 (Image: Image Comics)

Kaya Issue 2 

The second issue of Kaya, from writer and artist Wes Craig, offered more information about the political status of the world our leads are in. We also got moments that developed certain relationships. Kaya and Seth clearly have feelings for each other. However, understandably, Kaya’s currently focused on protecting her younger brother Jin and helping him fulfill his destiny. Apparently, Jin will be granted powers that will allow him to shapeshift or something. I’m really interested in learning more.

Coming back to the romance, Seth, who is from a royal family, not telling the truth to Kaya about his engagement is definitely going to cause problems between the two down the line. She even gave him a chance to come clean. While I’m not the biggest fan of romantic drama, Craig was able to make it work for me because the story still managed to focus on the bigger picture.

In my opinion, the story’s progressing similarly to a role-playing fantasy video game. The next issue will seemingly take the characters on a side mission to help a farmer deal with a deadly creature. And you know what? I’m here for it. 

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

shock shop issue 3 review
Shock Shop Issue 3 (Image: Dark Horse Comics)

Shock Shop Issue 3

From writer Cullen Bunn, Shock Shop issue 3 continued with the two stories. A psychological element concerning a particular divorce got introduced in the first story, ‘Something in the Woods in the Dark’, and that’s got me intrigued by what will happen next.

As for the (much more enjoyable to me) second story, ‘Familiars’, we got to see Trevor ask his new demonic friends about where they come from. They don’t like anyone being rude toward Trevor. And due to his ex-wife’s father calling him out during Kyle’s funeral, I got to enjoy some fun panels of the supernatural creatures killing Trevor’s ex-parents-in-law.

With his ex-wife Nancy putting him in trouble with the police and telling him to stay away from their kids, I’m interested in seeing if Trevor has it in him to prevent his pals from going after Nancy. Heck! I’m not even sure if they will listen to Trevor even if he tells them to stop.

Apparently, both stories will conclude with the next issue. Fingers crossed, the anthology horror comic itself continues with new stories.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up

specs issue 1 review
Specs Issue 1 (Image: BOOM! Studios)

Specs Issue 1

By co-creators David M. Booher (writer) and Chirs Shehan (illustrator), the premise of Specs issue 1 isn’t anything new. However, the way it was told kept my attention. The premise dealt with two seventeen-year-old boys, Kenny and Ted, happening upon a pair of magical glasses (advertised in an old comic book) and realizing that it can grant wishes (to an extent). The story is going to be another one of those ‘be-careful-what-you-wish-for’ tales, but still, I’m excited to read the second issue.

Being narrated by an older Kenny, we got to learn how he recieved the wish-granting glasses and how a single desire, concerning a high school bully, changed the course of his and Ted’s lives. The more grounded themes in the narrative involved Kenny being a queer teen in 1987 and Ted, a Black teen, dealing with racism. Not only that, but the fact that Kenny was in love with Ted, but didn’t have the courage to tell him is going to be relatable to many. Crushing on a straight best friend has happened to many queer teens growing up. Even certain adults still face said issue.

According to Kenny, this story is going to be about the wishes that we make. And the ones we don’t. So, yeah, I’m interested in reading more about what Kenny has to share.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

two graves issue 1 review
Two Graves Issue 1 (Image: Image Comics)

Two Graves Issue 1

From writer Genevieve Valentine with art by Ming Doyle and Annie Wu, frankly, I have no idea how to properly explain want happened in Two Graves issue 1. All I know is that I couldn’t stop reading it.

I’m not sure if things weren’t explained intentionally or if I couldn’t decipher the premise. Apparently, and I could be wrong here, our two leads, a young woman named Emilia and some kind of supernatural male figure, had come to an agreement about something. The issue opened with Emilia eating dirt and getting to learn who killed the woman buried underneath. Emilia and the supernatural being teamed up to kill the murderer.

After that, the supernatural being took Emilia to visit an old woman whose time was up. I don’t know if the supernatural being is supposed to be some kind of a grim reaper or not, but he does share some kind of connection with Emilia. Also, it looks like Emilia’s unable to die. At least not yet.

The whole issue was weird but in a good way. There’s also some Greek mythology, concerning Persephone, thrown in. If it was likely some kind of hint, I didn’t get it.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

billionaire island cult of dogs issue 1 review
Billionaire Island – Cult of Dogs Issue 1 (Image: AHOY Comics)

Billionaire Island: Cult of Dogs Issue 1

I was provided with a free digital copy of Billionaire Island: Cult of Dogs issue 1 for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.

Writer Mark Russell and artist Steve Pugh are back to serve the continuation of the highly enjoyable Billionaire Island comic book series. Featuring capitalism-focused satire, Billionaire Island: Cult of Dogs issue 1 took place two years after the events of the predecessor. With the world’s economy in a mess, the creative team showed how the rest of humanity tried to deal with it.

The debut issue followed Shelly as she prepared for a meeting with Mr. Canto, who inherited his deceased son’s wealth. With the world in disarray, Bel Canto, the largest social media company (also owned by Mr. Canto) was still able to function, featuring an algorithm that was making matters worse. The fact that billionaire Elon Musk recently took over Twitter, and the first issue came out this week is just wow. Does Russell have Apollo’s favor?

Russell brought up some good points about the dangers of unchecked social media and how stories spread like wildfire. They didn’t even have to be true as long as they were exciting to the general public. The narrative also brought up how people behind social media algorithms brushed off responsibility, stating that the algorithm showed what people wanted to see. Again, kudos to Russell for how he molded the narrative. Also, points to Pugh for the visual gags.

After a very unsatisfying interview with the elderly Mr. Canto, Shelly’s investigative journalism mission’s supposed to take her back to Billionaire Island. If she can even make it there.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Which comic books did you read this week? What did you think of Superman Son of Kal-El issue 17?

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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