Man Without Peer: ODY-C, Issue Five

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ODY-C #5 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: CHRISTIAN WARD WRITER: MATT FRACTION
FLATTER: DEE CUNNIFFE LETTERER: CHRIS ELIOPOULOS
DESIGN: CHRISTIAN WARD AND DREW GILL

Now that I think about it, it would have been very easy for ODY-C to have missed its own point entirely. Stories where the roles of those in society are switched can easily become less progressive and more offensive if it’s obvious the writer doesn’t know what they’re doing- for example, if you made heterosexuals a persecuted sexual minority in a story, it would simply come off as the writer thinking it’s impossible for the reader to sympathize with actual LGBT+ people. ODY-C is obviously meant to be a legend about a group of women for a world that mostly has legends about men, and by making its male characters few and far between, it would have been simple for Matt Fraction and Christian Ward to have placed said men in the roles of the real world’s scrutinized minorities. If there was ever an issue that proved that wrong, though, it was this one, as the book delves into the world of Aeolia.

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The First Casualty is Always the Truth: Saga, Issue Twenty-Eight

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SAGA #28 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: FIONA STAPLES WRITER: BRIAN K. VAUGHAN
LETTERER/DESIGNER: FONOGRAFIKS

For an issue that begins with the truth about something being revealed to a child character, Saga #28 is quite focused on the subjectively of the truth itself. In its quest to create a nuanced conflict and not glance away from the differences between its many characters and societies, Saga has frequently made a point to show the differences of opinions within his cast, including everything from parenting strategies to political opinions. But there’s also ambiguity toward the motives of many of its characters, and towards the machinations of some of its greatest forces, and the story has come to the point where it’s hard to figure out who stands where.

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“There’s hope for you yet, young man.”: East of West, Issue Nineteen

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EAST OF WEST #19 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: NICK DRAGOTTA WRITER: JONATHAN HICKMAN
COLORIST: FRANK MARTIN LETTERER: RUS WOOTON

In an ensemble-based story, there’s always an inherent risk in ignoring most of the cast for one or two characters. It’s not uncommon for it to happen- it’s quite likely that an ensemble story will do it quite a few times, even- but it poses the risk of straying from important plotlines for too long, and causing a reader to forget what certain characters are up to. It’s highly unlikely that the creators of East of West don’t know this, which means the choice to focus an issue completely on Babylon and Balloon was a conscious and important one. We still don’t know what Babylon will grow up to be, but Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta are firmly set on making this his story, even if he missed the majority of East of West’s first year, and #19 serves as their mission statement for his future, reflected in Balloon.

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We Only Have Each Other: The Wicked + The Divine, Issue Ten

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THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #10 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: JAMIE MCKELVIE WRITER: KIERON GILLEN
COLORIST: MATTHEW WILSON LETTERER: CLAYTON COWLES
DESIGNER: HANNAH DONOVAN EDITOR: CHRISSY WILLIAMS

The cover of this month’s The Wicked + The Divine is simultaneously misleading and appropriate. There’s no literal blood spilt in this issue, despite Baphomet’s attempts for that to happen- but there’s a lot bled metaphorically, in terms of both character development and plot advancement. We’re reaching the end of WicDiv‘s second volume, and in finale fashion we’re getting both answers and payoff for many of the things it’s built up over the last ten issues. While WicDiv hasn’t previously strayed from physical confrontations and bombastic shows of power, #10 seems to save that for next month, focusing instead on the emotional growth of the characters.

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“They never wanna come back to us.”: Morning Glories, Issue Forty-Five

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MORNING GLORIES #45 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: JOE EISMA WRITER: NICK SPENCER
COLORIST: PAUL LITTLE LETTERER: JOHNNY LOWE
COVER ART: RODIN ESQUEJO DESIGN: TIM DANIEL

(Spoilers for both this and up to season four of LOST in here, immediately, in the next two sentences) 

While I hate to jump on the LOST comparisons before anything else when it comes to Morning Glories, someone I know who’s watching the show for the first time recently got to the episode “Ji Yeon“. While the infamous “We have to go back, Kate!” scene at the end of the third season may be LOST‘s most infamous example of turning its flashback format on its head, discussion of “Ji Yeon” reminded me that its goals are inherently similar, but it’s a much more personal affair. The episode is set up to make the viewer think scenes with the couple Jin and Sun shown separately are both flash-forwards, and that the only reason they’re apart is because Jin is trying to get a gift for their soon to be born child- but in a cruel twist, it’s revealed the scenes with Jin were all flashbacks, and in the future, Sun is a new single mother who believes her husband dead.

Comparing that episode to this week’s Morning Glories may initially seem a bit of a stretch, but it serves a similar purpose. “Ji Yeon” wasn’t meant to break your brain like Jack screaming in that parking lot did, but it was still a revelation, though a more character-based one, explaining the actions of a character rather than a major facet of the series. The death and subsequent revival of Jade’s mom has been used similarly. It’s been three years since #17 opened with the accident and implied Jade turned to veganism and arson as a method of coping, but it wasn’t until now that we’ve learned the true reason behind Jade’s strange behavior, and the real way her mother passed on.

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