Misbehaving 'Sailor Moon'-esque super teens train their powers in one of the four awesome comics of the week.
This wasn't a huge week for huge titles, which means there’s plenty of room to check out the side stories of major publishers. Sure, DC’s releasing another Frank Miller comic about angry Batman and cranky Superman, but there’s so much more to slough through. For instance, why get caught up in Civil War II when Marvel’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl has firmly moved from clever fan favorite to near-perfect imprint? This week’s best feature the aforementioned Squirrel Girl, a group of detention-doomed teenage girls with Sailor Moon-like powers, villains trying to save the world from heroes, and an ex-Robin super spy.
Jade Street Protection Services, written by Katy Rex, is a comic about five teenage girls in a private school for the magically-inclined. Each of the girls’ magical abilities are tied to a weapon of choice, from a huge mallet to a small pistol, and when they concentrate they can transform into a magical version of themselves à la Sailor Moon. But these girls are mischevious, class-cutting, rambunctious teens, making this comic feel equal parts Sailor Moon and The Breakfast Club. It’s a brilliant idea, and Jade brings both of those adolescent staples into the present in a way that’s modern, relatable, touching, and gleefully rebellious. Fabian Lelay’s artwork seamlessly slides between American action comic and teenage manga while Mara Jayne Carpenter’s colors keep the non-magical moments grounded in reality while the magical moments explode with neons.
When Mole Man interrupts a terrible date with Squirrel Girl, she’s both relieved and ready kick some butt. But Mole Man’s motivations may be, initially, more justified than they seem. And so starts another wonderful, cheery, smart issue of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. The most amazing part about this comic is that it paints Mole Man as a guy who thinks he’s in love with Squirrel Girl, and then thinks he’s owed something romantic from her after he does what he considers a big, romantic gesture. One could almost imagine Mole Man complaining about being “friend-zoned” in this issue, such is his petulant expectations of love and romance. And even though he’s let down softly, he still doesn’t learn, and needs to be taught that one can’t convince someone to like them. It’s a good lesson for young people who may not have learned it yet, and this comic says a lot without being too preachy. This series is absolutely for both newcomers to comics and old die-hards, a must-read.
Jupiter’s Legacy takes place in a world where a new breed of superheroes take over, and they’re cruel, mean-spirited, and vain. Now, a few heroes who reject that lifestyle team up with all the old supervillains they can find in an attempt to crack back at the “good guys.” This comic’s written by Mark Millar, famous for creating Kick-Ass, among other comics, and this issue is a true refinement of his work. This is mature, wonderfully tense, quick-moving writing that’s perfectly suited to Frank Quitely’s understated, make-you-stare artwork. Though readers don’t need to go back and read volume one, they might as well... it’s such good work.
Grayson is a great comic for an often underrated character. Dick Grayson, formerly Batman’s trusty kid sidekick Robin, is now a secret agent travelling around the world working for a shadow agency. It’s classic “spy stuff,” and this issue is a great introduction to the series. John Constantine, Harley Quinn, Azrael, and the Green Lantern all meet to share stories of the mysterious “Agent 37,” and the reader is treated to four short stories each illustrated by a different artist. This is really solid anthology work on display here, and this comic’s recommended for people who are more into Mission: Impossible than The Dark Knight.
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