Jeff Lemire has been spinning the meta storylines of Black Hammer for a couple of years now.  They spin this way and that, presenting alternate histories (Black Hammer ’45), science fiction tales (Doctor Star and The Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows and The Quantum Age), horror (Cthu-Louise), and tales of villains (Sherlock Frankenstein). All of these stories revolve around the central story of a group of Golden Age superheroes who mysteriously transported to a barn where they are forced to hide their super-powered selves to fit in. Along came a new Black Hammer, Black Hammer’s daughter, and those heroes were taken on a spin around a sort of storytelling multi-verse. (That paragraph was for all of the DC readers that may have popped over for the Justice League element. For everyone else, if you don’t know who the Justice League is, then what are you doing?)

Critical Role is a phenomenon. The live-streaming Dungeons & Dragons show has a massive following, wide-spread acclaim, and some incredibly talented voice actors as part of their cast. Through one hundred and fifteen episodes and more than five hundred hours of streaming content, the cast plays characters from the adventuring band known as Vox Machina, a ragtag group of very different people who come together, save the world, and do a lot of ridiculous things along the way.  I've been a huge fan of the show for several years, both as a live show and a podcast. When Dark Horse Comics announced that the series was being turned into a comic book, I was extremely happy.  As the second chapter of the book prepares to hit the comic book shelves, it looks like Vox Machina is back and better than ever.

Young adult novels are a hit-or-miss sort of thing. Some are breakout successes that speak to any aged reader, and some barely appeal to the very audience they’re targeting. The best young adult stories seem to be the ones that find a balance between tackling big, heavy ideas while also capturing the fantastical elements of life.

Penny White always loved crossing into Lloegyr, but being trapped into the alternate world adds a new set of challenges to the already exhausted Anglican priest.  With Peter out of her life, Raven (the charming search dragon) presses his suit more seriously. The groups of humans trapped in the alternate world need shelter and a means of support (Penny included), and Clyde finally pushes forward with his desire for ordination.  Ministering to not-weres, facing the harsh prejudice against snail sharks, and an unexpected marriage proposal don’t help our protagonist find time to reconnect with God, and she may hit rock bottom before seeing what matters most.

Spencer & Locke 2 #4 reaches a point in the plot that never even remotely seemed possible. Writer David Pepose carefully crafts the conclusion to the second story arc of this amazing series with dominoes falling until the last one blows your mind.

Quick recap of the new arc so far: Xander has been sired… or not quite sired? In the equivalent of a magical Hail Mary, the Scoobies are trying to find a Soul Tie that may just fix the problem. For those who’ve read the Free Comic Book Day short, you already know how Buffy gets the map to the McGuffin. All caught up? Shiny!

I first came across Jason Aaron’s name from his run on Thor, and, oh my, what a run it has been. He really knows how to spin a yarn, so when I saw his name on a science fiction series, a small portion of me shrieked for joy. Here, he’s writing with Dennis Hallum who has been working with Marvel for just shy of ten years. I don’t know his work as well, but so far so good.

Malaka Gharib is an artist, a journalist, and a writer based in Washington, D.C., with her husband and 9-year-old rice cooker. Her autobiographical graphic novel, I Was Their American Dream, details her life growing up in a mixed-race family and the culture shock that arose from it. Through the use of her simplistically unique and varied illustrations and the relatable dialogue and prose detailed throughout, Gharib showcases a story that’s all too common for many of us.

“Love Town is a city built upon a foundation of corruption, violence, and greed, where millionaire celebrities rub shoulders with ruthless gangsters and scheming politicians, where the figurative magic of the silver screen competes with the literal magic of the streets.

Inspired by The Wizard of Oz, in Canto, we enter Arcadia, a land of tin slaves whose hearts are stolen from them and replaced with clocks. The goal? To chop wood and keep the fire burning until their clocks stop ticking. They are forbidden to do anything else, including having names and loving. But, one tin man has a name and loves others. His name is Canto, and this is the story of how he goes out to brave the unknown to save the person he loves and discover the truth of their lives.

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