Get Into Comics is a series of blogs that highlights new comics or story arcs, which are great jumping on points for new readers.
This week I’ve chosen a barbarian, a super hero and a super hero team.
Conan The Barbarian #1: Queen of the Black Coast Part 1
Dark Horse Comics introduces its new Conan comic this week with one of the most popular tales, Queen of the Black Coast. In this book, there’s little background about Conan other than he’s a barbarian and he’s a Cimmerian. The simple introduction means readers discover Conan’s goals and values along with other characters. He’ll continue to grow throughout the series, rather than be a one-note persona. What’s good about this #1 is it introduces the characters as more than human, ultimately setting the theme of an epic tale. Conan is a mystery from another land and a sailor depicts the Queen as a seaman’s worst fear. Conan is cunning as he is strong, and Belit, the Queen of the Black Coast, is as haunting as she is alluring. These characters control the book’s tempo as readers wait for them to finally meet. For a Barbarian comic there’s very little violence, but somehow it still feels epic. Maybe it’s because the story starts in the middle of a high speed chase, or because there’s a constant feeling that with every person Conan meets there’ll be blood. Artist Becky Cloonan continues the character-driven story in her art. The backgrounds are simple colors and characters cover most of the panels. There are several close-ups featuring the characters’ eyes, which do a great job of playing-up the heroes and villains. The page that introduces Belit ends with a close up on her face and it’s what an epic female villain should be: evil, haunting and sexual. It’s a great start for people who want an epic tale in comic book format.
Entry Level: 5/5
Secret Avengers #22:
Hawkeye, Captain Britain, Black Widow, Beast, Valkyrie and Ant-Man make the Secret Avengers. While The Avenger’s are America’s super-hero team with all the fame and glory, the Secret Avengers dispose of threats before they threaten the world. Issue #22 features a new makeup to the team with the addition of Captain Britain. It’s through Britain’s introduction to the group that readers understand the team, and Britain who’s the team’s least popular character next to Valkyrie. What I like about this team is that Hawkeye is in charge, which means it’ll have something to prove. The Avengers have a super soldier, the god of thunder, the most high-tech armor and then a guy that shoots arrows really well. Like Hawkeye proving why he’s an Avenger, this team starts off with no chemistry and little style, which means it’ll take time to show its potential. That growth in chemistry is what makes team books fun. This issue features a lot of team troupes, like power struggles and a lack of coordination, but we read these books for the team drama. Artist Gabriel Hardman‘s style is gritty, which complements the team’s purpose. Rather than be the poster team, this group does the dirty work. What helps make this a series to follow is that the enemy is a complete enigma, even the end’s reveal doesn’t have a definite explanation. If that’s not enough to pick up #23 the tease of Venom joining the group should be.
Entry Level: 3/5
Issue #6 starts the next story arc in DC’s Batwoman. This story arc picks up where the last one left off, like Batwoman pulled the string and now she’s unraveling the ball of yarn. This book features several character-driven vignettes to catch readers up on the characters’ stories but it doesn’t help. This book does a terrible job of serving as a jumping on point for new readers, which is a shame because what writers J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman are doing with the story is amazing. Batwoman discusses the issues and consequences of being a hero rather than always saving the day. Readers, give this one a shot and if you have questions I will personally answer them. That’s how much I love this series.
Entry Level: 1/5