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Last Call Comics: Wednesday 05/22/24

Comic Books

Last Call Comics: Wednesday 05/22/24

Even more reviews of comics from Image Comics!

Welcome to another edition of Last Call Comics. Here, as we continually bolster AIPT’s weekly comics coverage, we catch any titles that might’ve fallen through the cracks. Or those books that we might not cover but still deserve a little spotlight. Either way, it’s a chance to explore more comics, generate some novel insights, and maybe add to everyone’s to-be-read pile.

Once more, happy New Comic Book Day to everyone.

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The Holy Roller #6


Courtesy of Image Comics.

The start of issue #6 of The Holy Roller actually had me super worried. After issue #5’s massive developments — Holographic Hitler! — it seemed like we were destined for the book’s bad old days of hackneyed jokes and overly feckless heroes.

Luckily, Levi Cohen quickly rallies, and thanks to a surprising rescue, his adventures as The Holy Roller continued on (and with 110% less needless dick jokes). Not only that, but this latest issue gives us even more of what this book needs — Rick Remender controlling the extra kooky urges of Joe Trohman and Andy Samberg with sheer storytelling prowess — as we also got an even more solid direction for young Mr. Cohen’s still-burgeoning superhero career. Plus, even the “sidekicks” of this book (Mr. Cohen and Jamal) continued their Odd Couple routine, and that’s a place where all the “bad” humor seems to actually fit brilliantly.

Add in some other dazzling upsides — Levi continues to be charming and engaging on a physical level as he assumes his mantle, and the art team of Roland Boschi and Moreno Dinisio further build their version of Tromaville — and issue #6 felt like a punchline that landed with heaps of heart and meaning. From there, the issue’s finale builds toward an increasingly relevant plot point (yes, you can pivot from Holo-Hitler into something of similarly weird but larger value) as the book seeks to dissect our extra awful modern times and teach us the real power of heroes. Plus, not to further drive home this book’s “problem” with jokes/humor, but the “big bad” of this book is as much a joke as it is a threat, and that dynamic is a massive win for this book.

Knock knock? Who’s there? S’on a roll. S’on a roll who? Why, The Holy Roller s’on a roll, you dummy.

Final Thought: Our hero continues bowling a game a touch closer to 280 than 300.

Score: 8.5/10

Feral #3 


Courtesy of Image Comics.

In my reviews of Uncanny Valley, I’ve mentioned Tony Fleecs’ tried-and-true “formulas” for deeply effective storytelling. As it turns out, the same can be said of the generally endearing Feral — and not always with maximum results, either.

On the more positive end, issue #3 worked as a kind of running commentary about the rules of horror movies, and how our feline clique will only survive this nasty rabies breakout if they stick to the trees and keep to themselves. That’s not only thematically interesting, but it leads to some impressive moments, including generally great action from the art team (Trish Forstner, Tone Rodriguez, and Brad Simpson) that exemplifies the book’s charming take on Homeward Bound-ian hijinks and expert use of gore and guts. And we also get to see Lord step-up in a way that drives the tension of the group’s survival (even if we’re no closer to understanding the mystery hinted around the youngster from issue #1).

The concern, then, is that formula’s become almost too dominant in this issue, and we’re too focused on that messaging and structure and “meta-ness” to really let the big developments fully resonate. It sort of moves things along to the next plot point and idea/trope as opposed to letting these cats explore how harrowing it all is and how close they are to a bad time. It’s that reflection and emotionality that marks real promise of horror for me, and without more of that, issue #3 just felt half empty despite its genuinely solid ideas and novel decisions.

It’s certainly enough of an issue at this point, but at least there’s a rather intriguing ending to this issue that could pull the focus away from life in the scary woods to an intimacy that’ll let all those bubbling emotions finally boil over. If not, no formula can save this book from losing the plot and its heaps of potential.

Final Thought: The rules can only take you so far without a little heart and humanity.

Score: 6.5/10

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