So, suppose you went to your friendly neighbourhood comic shop on Saturday for Free Comic Book Day, to see what was what, and maybe get your kids or younger relatives into comics for the first time. Well, this week diverse indie publisher BOOM! Studios have something for your every reading requirement to keep you in the (good) habit. The final issue of Muppet King Arthur is out, as is the latest issue (#5) in their wonderfully entertaining and thankfully ongoing The Muppet Show Comic Book and Walt Disney Comics and Stories #706. See previews from these two issues below. For something that will bring the chuckles to both kids and adults, you can’t go wrong with the awesome Toy Story: The Return of Buzz Lightyear TPB, which collects the very amusing 4 issue series from Jesse Blaze Snider and Nathan Watson. Also in collected form are the first 4 issues of Roger Langridge’s The Muppet Show series.
If you’re chasing something a bit more mature, either the Nola TPB (heroine wakes up battered in a New Orleans hospital facing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and revenge on her mind), the Incorruptible TPB by Mark Waid and Jean Diaz, which is a reverse Irredeemable of sorts, following villain turned hero Max Damage, or the latest issues of 28 Days Later (#10), Irredeemable (#13) or Codebreakers (#10). There ya go! Plenty to choose from.
Black Widow: Deadly Origin #2. Essentially this 4 ish mini is a simplified attempt at Black Widow: Year one, but it works. When Iron Man 2 debuts in May, with Scarlett Johansson as the Russian red headed spy, this will be a good place to start for those curious about the character. Paul Cornell manages to write an intriguing tale involving Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow and never allows the flashbacks to her youth to get distracting. Of course, with Tom Raney on the art in the current setting and John Paul Leon on art chores for the flashbacks, it makes for a book as pretty as its titular heroine. Guest stars such as Hawkeye and Winter Soldier never seem jarring and Cornell has a blast making Widow a 007-like action girl with a unique Russian background. I’ve already learned a great deal about this character whom I’ve only ever been marginally interested in, such as the fact that she’s one of many Widows trained by the Soviets and has a long lifespan. #2 throws in some Cold War antics, the activation of the Icepick Protocol and a cool White Widow variant suit.
Toy Story #0. Bringing writer Jesse Blaze Snider to play in BOOM!’s kids line of comics seems like an odd choice, but now I can see why they chose him. Snider’s last work was the surprisingly good Dead Romeo mini-series from DC and here he kicks a new four issue arc off with great skill. Nathan Watson’s art is cartoony, but solid. Of course, it can’t be easy to replicate the 3D magic of Pixar, but each character is instantly recognisable. Woody and Buzz steal the show of course, but the whole gang (from the first film where this issue looks to be set) is here. The amusing chaos begins when Andy receives a new present from his grandpa, but unfortunately it’s another Buzz Lightyear figure. The two Buzzes have a rather funny duel and the voices of every character rings true. It was much funnier than I expected, and is another fast paced and entertaining entry in the BOOM! Kids line. Snider proves his diverse skills as a writer here.
Daytripper #1. Those talented Brazilian siblings Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon launch a delightful new 10 ish series from Vertigo. It follows the life of an obituary writer in Sau Paulo who aims to be a disciplined novelist. Themes of family, life and death run through this issue, but never in a heavy handed manner. It’s quite enticing and very readable, with a magical quality to the art and a lyrical tone to the words. Where Ba and Moon go from the surprising ending will be even more intriguing I’m sure.