DC’s smartest move when conceiving of the One Bad Day series was to hand the reins over to different creators for each installment (though maybe this is standard operating procedure for comics; sue me, I’m new to this). The strategy makes perfect sense for a series like this; whereas a straightforward series that focuses on one character’s origin story would benefit from a singular voice, this kind of anthology series allows more creatives to give their own unique takes on the subject. For One Bad Day: Two-Face, Mariko Tamaki is the credited writer, and Javier Fernandez provides the artwork.
Spider-Man the character has undergone so many permutations over the years – especially in the 21st century – that they begin to blend together. From Miles Morales to Gwen Stacy to Jessica Drew, each character certainly contains their own quirks and personality traits, but it gets harder and harder to distinguish one from another. Which is why the running gag of each of the character introductions in Into the Spider-Verse worked so well.
Of all the DC and Marvel heroes, I’ve likely read Batman-related comics the most. It’s not that Batman or Bruce Wayne has been radically reinvented over the years, outside of the major milestones from Frank Miller or Alan Moore, but there’s a kind of reassurance you get with most Batman titles. The Dark Knight rarely has personal conflicts that get in the way of his duty to Gotham, or from beating up the bad guys. If anything has undergone a change throughout the character’s run, it’s been the villains. Enter Tom King and Mitch Gerards’ newest series, Batman: One Bad Day, a series of one-shot comics which provide a new origin story for Batman’s greatest foes.
Do you often experience feelings of anxiety or depression? Do you worry about the future? Do you feel like you’re not doing enough on a day-to-day basis? Does it feel like your life isn’t heading in the right direction? Do you spend too much time staring at a screen? Emily McGovern is acutely aware throughout Twelve Percent Dread that we’re asked some version of these questions in our social media feeds, podcast ads, TV and radio commercials, billboards, and everywhere in-between throughout our daily lives, and it forms the backbone of her new graphic novel.
Super villain origin stories are nothing new in popular culture, especially in the 21st century. Radiant Red had been set up early in Radiant Black’s run as the hero’s main antagonist, but Radiant Black #6 showed there was more behind the mask. Series writer Cherish Chen introduced Red’s backstory in #6 and was given the green light to expand the character for an initial 5 issue run, and the result is another solid entry in what has quickly become one of my personal favorite new superhero stories.
It’s hard not to say that, as a whole, Saga Volume 10 was a bit of a let down. I recognize that six chapters amongst a planned 108-chapter story is but a drop in the bucket, but, on the whole, I’m struggling to come up with any major plot or character developments that unfolded by the end of the last page. It’s refreshing to see that Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have kept up the series’ consistency after such a long hiatus, continuing to expand on the seemingly endless number of worlds and characters at play.
Chapters Fifty-Six and Fifty-Seven are plagued by the same issues as the middle installments of any ongoing TV series or comic. That is, they’re slowly paced and narratively stalled. Now that Fifty-Five has set up the second half of the series and introduced some new characters, Fifty-Six’s primary goal is to set up incoming plot threads. Alana’s ship is boarded early on by a mysterious band – in more ways than one – of smugglers. And, of course, they’re all different species, all of which have never been seen before in the series.
One of the most interesting elements of Made In Korea actually comes after the story proper comes to an end. Not that creator Jeremy Holt’s latest is anything less than an engrossing, humbling narrative, but the graphic novel provides a fascinating outside perspective in its already expansive world. Throughout the course of the novel – a collection of the first 6 comics released in 2021, labeled as Volume One – Holt puts a fresh take on a familiar sci-fi conceit.
Through sheer serendipity alone, I picked up the collected works of Saga at the start of this year and had finished reading the most recent issue earlier this week. Knowing absolutely nothing about the plot, much less its footprint amongst science fiction, I had mostly started reading because of the name recognition of its author, Brian K. Vaughan. I had devoured his Y: The Last Man series years ago and have remained a stalwart of his nuanced, thoughtful writing style.