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Comics

BoomCrashers! Tales (Boom! Studios Releases for 07/28/2021)

Good Luck

Martin opened his eyes on a park bench. Standing up, he looked around. It wasn’t the diner where he had fallen asleep; that was near a forest. He was in the middle of what appeared to be a small town. Something was wrong, though, and it took him a few seconds to put his finger on it.

Martin: No people…

Pulling out his notebook, he flipped to a new page and began to write.

Martin’s notebook: I’m in what looks like a midwestern American town. Maybe Kansas. But it’s empty, and I have the dreadful feeling that something’s gone wrong here. Or is about to go wrong. Or maybe even both. At least I’m away from that diner, but I can’t help but feel that I’ve just landed myself in a situation that could be just as bad.

Hearing a noise, Martin spun around to see four children slowly making their way down the street, wearing strange suits that covered their bodies. Martin hid behind a pillar as he continued to take notes.

Martin’s notebook: There are some kids here, in what look like spacesuits. Should I have one? It seems like I’ve been sent here without one, so it’ll have to do. And I seem to be breathing fine, in any case. One of the kids is throwing a rock at stuff for… some reason. I should get closer to try and hear what they’re saying. Maybe it’ll help me figure out exactly why I’m here.

Good Luck #2 (Written by Matthew Erman, illustrated by Stefano Simeone, and lettered by Mike Fiorentino) / Source: Boom! Studios

He tried to edge himself closer to the children, staying close to the side of a nearby building to avoid getting spotted. As he did, though, he paused; one of them was walking in his direction. Backtracking, Martin wrote furiously.

Martin’s notebook: I think one of them might have noticed me. I’m going to pull back and see what happens.

As he slipped away, he noticed a figure in the lot across from where he had woken up. He hadn’t noticed the figure when he had first arrived, but now he could see there was a child there who looked nearly identical to the one who had gone away from the rest of the group.

Martin’s notebook: He’s found what looks to be his doppelganger, but it’s surrounded by this red glow. I don’t think it’s-

Looking up from his writing to check the scene, Martin noticed a giant form looming above the doppelganger. It was taller than the buildings surrounding them, taking the form of a bald person in a black outfit.

Martin’s notebook: There’s some figure controlling the doppelganger, and they’ve captured the kid, just picking him straight up off the ground! There’s this red energy coming off of the two of them, I don’t know how to describe it, but it feels… like some sort of jinx. I’m just glad I’m not caught up in the centre of it. The giant’s staring at the kid intensely… but she’s thrown him down now, right through the pavement! That must hurt.

Good Luck #2 (Written by Matthew Erman, illustrated by Stefano Simeone, and lettered by Mike Fiorentino) / Source: Boom! Studios

A burst of light, seemingly from near the epicentre of the red energy, lanced out and started heading directly towards Martin. Glancing back, he knew that he couldn’t let it reach him. There was a reason the kids were wearing protective suits, after all. Getting up, he started to run, jostling to write as he did.

Martin’s notebook: The kids’ friends have come to help him, I think, but I can’t see what’s happening next. I just need to go away.

Diving into an alley, he watched the light zip past him. Breathing a sigh of relief, he noticed a newspaper stand, abandoned for what looked like years, with only one newspaper left. Picking it up, Martin shook the dust on it and read the headline:

“Stay on the move. Don’t let them catch you.”

Shivering, he turned back to look towards the giant. Just as he did, he saw it make contact with a new golden apparition that had appeared, blowing him backward. He fell back against the ground, knocking him out.

Something Is Killing The Children

There are truths, and there are lies. And then, there are monsters waiting in the shadows. They wait to twist and bend reality, leaving nothing but decimation trailing behind it. She did not know who controlled the marginal space between perception and authenticity, fact and fiction. All she understood was a lack of control. She had allowed wayward circumstances to mold her destiny long before she spun out of existence. Shadow realms whispered secrets without candor. The beasts came out to play. Monsters not unlike the ravagers of unknowability rampaged in her mind as she hurtled down through the chasm past the liminal space again.

Contorting shapes disintegrated until she saw a vast white mansion. The houses’ enormity looked daunting in the forefront of a forest stretching far beyond her eye line. She watched as a red car pulled up, staking a claim on the dirt territory. Her location felt removed from urbanity. The woman sensed an unsettled atmosphere in the landscape, purporting a rural utopian exterior. A hippie-looking man sporting a black bun piled atop his head emerged from the house. Accompanied by a pack of black dogs, he approached the vehicle.

Something is Killing the Children #18 (Written by James Tynion IV, illustrated by Werther Dell’Edera, colored by Miquel Muerto, and lettered by Andworld Design) / Source: Boom! Studios

Emilia: I am so far away, but…are those dogs in the distance? Why do people own animals with all their slobber and fur matted with diseases? Why couldn’t I have landed in, I don’t know, a hospital or something? I’m tired of this outside world and unclean environment. Wait, a young girl just exited the car with a woman. Is this man friendly? He’s giving me a horrible feeling…Where’s that journal?

The beer-bellied man introduces himself to the girl, Erica, as Gary Slaughter. The trio entered his house. The woman cursed as she fumbled to write in her ever-present journal.


Emilia’s Journal: I looked away to find this damn thing, and now they’ve disappeared. I’ve crept up to the side of the house, now. Gary Slaughter’s voice pulses with authority, carrying through this cracked open window I’m peeking through. I hear him talking to Erica, the shy girl masking her emotions behind that swatch of hair covering her eye. Although, I recognize grief when I see it. She is grieving, possibly from a loss. I know loss. I relate to that feeling — wanting to retreat into yourself but knowing you must adapt to circumstances to survive. Erica’s visible eye doesn’t quite focus on Gary. I admit, he is a formidable presence. Gary sounds jovial, but now he’s talking about monsters. I’m unsure whether he means metaphorical monsters or…real ones. I’ve seen enough in my travels beyond my world now to anticipate the supernatural. For Erica’s sake, god, I hope the monsters aren’t real. The only monster I’ve seen so far is Gary. I’m making deductions through intuition, but I haven’t interacted with people in so long, I hardly know anything beyond the pages of my books. Still, I sense something sinister here.

They ate and spoke of monsters present on the premises. Words about training to fight and warfare against primordial beasts startled the woman listening outside. Daylight waned as stars began pockmarking the dust-colored sky. Erica, the adult woman, the horde of dogs, and Gary exited the house. They trudged from the looming mansion across a field of grass. Unbeknownst to them, the woman followed behind discreetly. Thoughts of shuffling dimensions and cosmic fields she has traversed suppressed her emotions. She felt connected to young Erica in ways she wished she could jettison into the darkness, swallowing their grief whole.

Emilia’s Journal: The blonde woman places a mask over Erica’s face after Gary enters a hulking red barn. I think of blood when I see it, and I feel an impetus to stop this strange ritual from occurring. But of course, I cannot intervene. I wait in monolithic silence as the woman tells Erica she has to enter the barn with Gary alone. My god…are they sacrificing this poor child? Hasn’t she been through enough? This reminds me why people frighten me. Evil courses through my own world. Evil people. Evil diseases. Cancer…and the good people, as hard as they try, can’t save everyone. No one could save my dad. And now I am alone, like poor Erica. They are sending her off to slaughter in some sadistic ceremony after terrifying her with tales of monsters. The woman tells Erica how Gary will ask Erica questions like her name and something about a totem named Octo? Is this a cult? Is Gary a monster — something about to kill this child?

Something is Killing the Children #18 (Written by James Tynion IV, illustrated by Werther Dell’Edera, colored by Miquel Muerto, and lettered by Andworld Design) / Source: Boom! Studios

Horror flirted with her premonitions of violence as Erica entered the barn. The woman gasped when visions pummeled her. Extraordinary sight allowed her to watch a man in a blue mask interrogate Erica. From afar, she recoiled. She saw everything Erica saw, experiencing the depth of Erica’s memories as if they belonged to the woman too. Erica’s family is murdered while Erica is spared. The purple octopus toy Erica clutched close to her chest in the barn protected her from death. A plush toy absorbed a black, spider-limbed monster. The womans’ body convulsed along with Erica when the monster was summoned from Octo in the lightless dark of the barn.

Emilia: Why are they doing this to a child? That’s a demon! How can she possibly survive?

A waterfall of red light gushed from Erica’s small frame. Blood rivulets flooded her nostrils, and then Erica crumpled to the ground. Gary and the masked man observed in abject consternation but stood fettered in place. Erica passed out, Octo sprawled on her chest like a shrine. The barbary ended before the womans’ trepidation nearly forced her to scream. 

Again, a distorted light flared. It sizzled into view, defecting to whatever held it back previously.

Emilia: That light! The sun! It’s come back for me. It’s not stopping!

The light oscillated and advanced upon her. Her heart galloped along with her pounding feet as she ran from her faceless pursuer. She ran across the field until her feet no longer tread on tepid grass. Losing the light, a shadowy figure suddenly uncoiled in a mass of blood and teeth. The crimson-stained canines spelled out a message: “Stay on the move. Don’t let them catch you.” Then, she felt the celestial sphere pluck her out of reality.

Blood Of The Sardaukar

Aimée was now in a room. It was the same cold room they lived in for two years before they disappeared. It gave a feeling of desensitization, with white walls turning grey, a table that shared one single chair with an unstable desk, an old kitchen. It was the same as always, except now some small things were missing, and some added. It didn’t feel great to be in that room, but it felt normal, at least.

With their eyes open, they started witnessing a series of flashing events. They saw a kid from a noble family, which was slaughtered because of a diplomatic fraud. He was captured by the killers and trained through life and death situations he had to endure for years, to become one of the Sardaukar, the empire’s army. He had to live inside a prison for two months, where his little brother died beaten up by the inmates. Then was released in a desert for years where his other brother was poisoned by a lizard. He was the last member of his exterminated family, and Aimée was his witness. They appear on these memories flashes conveniently positioned on safe places among all the destruction and tragedy, as if it was premeditated.

Dune: Blood of the Sardaukar #1 (Written by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, illustrated by Adam Gorham, colored by Patricio Delpeche, and lettered by Ed Dukeshire) / Source: Boom! Studios

Aimée’s Journal: What kind of hell is this? They just tortured that kid. This is all so fucked up. This is not like the other places I’ve been in. I have to be extra careful here; it feels like everyone would kill me on sight.

Before Aimée could adjust to the place, they appeared on a giant corridor, supported by imposing columns where they could hide behind. A conversation could be overhead flowing through the air. The tone that bordered on whispers functioned as a seal that let them know it was a pressing matter. It was a duke and his bodyguard talking about the ramifications that the duke’s actions could have. He freed a territory that the empire took over, administered before by the Kolona family. Aimée’s mind took a moment to process that information, as they were simultaneously trying to hide as well as possible, but soon it clicked; Kolona was the kid’s surname.

Aimée’s journal: Is it possible that the kid might get his family’s position again? I mean, the duke said he was giving it to the extended family, but he can step up. Would he want to? After seeing what that system’s capable of, maybe he wouldn’t even dream about it.

In less than a heartbeats time, the sound of explosions entered Aimée’s eardrums as a nail enters a piece of wood. Then screamings followed. Everyone started to panic, and the corridor was rapidly full of people running, that didn’t bother to think twice about Aimée’s presence. After running to a balcony, they saw what was happening: they were being attacked. If they were to trust the people running through the corridors, some faction called the Harkonnen was behind the attack. They had no reason to think otherwise, especially because they were foreign to this world and its divisions.

Aimée’s journal: They’re killing everyone! This seemed like a peaceful place. It’s part of the empire! How is it suddenly being attacked? Who are these Harkonnen they keep mentioning?

Things became clearer when they distinguished someone running on the roof that was just in the front. It was the kid, or who was a kid, and now a man. He was one of the attackers. This made Aimée understand the Sardaukar were sent by the empire to stop the duke, disguised as Harkonnen, to avoid connections.

Dune: Blood of the Sardaukar #1 (Written by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, illustrated by Adam Gorham, colored by Patricio Delpeche, and lettered by Ed Dukeshire) / Source: Boom! Studios

Aimée’s journal: He’s about to fire a missile to a spaceship! That must be where the duke is. Why would they bother then? Oh my god, he just missed! The duke may survive. Maybe he missed on purpose?

Still, with the diary and pen in hand, they saw a light beam floating in space, just like the one they saw before. This time it was close and visible enough to make sure they weren’t just seeing things. They couldn’t even focus on it when it started floating threateningly against them. Almost dropping the diary, they started running down the nearest stairs. There was no time to look back, and it was already hard to avoid all the murderers present in the place. The screams, blood jumping out of stabbed bodies, and the deafening explosions almost made them just throw themselves against the floor and cry for help. They jumped a wall, went into two alleys, and hid behind a spaceship before they finally looked back to realize the light was gone. At Aimée’s side was a corpse; it had been stabbed with such strength that its guts were visible. But that’s not what caught their attention. There was the blood coming out of it slowly formed words before them: Stay on the move. Don’t let them catch you.

Aimée’s journal: I’ll have to think about what I just saw another day. I’m tired to even do that, and the sooner I get out of this fucking place, the better I’ll be.

Categories
Comics

BoomCrashers! Tales (Boom! Studios Releases for 07/21/2021)

The families of the disappeared kept looking, although finding them seemed more like an empty consolation as time passed, and grief started to settle inside their souls, and as the days changed for them, the places the travelers woke up in kept on changing as well.

Dark Blood

Shadows and sunlight cleaved, splicing the colorless void into two separate parts. One one side, images flew around the womans’ eyes in dizzying circles. She knew she was observing a snippet from the past. In a history not belonging to her, she witnessed ten year old memories of a young Black man, spinning like a propeller. Then, the rotating stopped.

Instead of shapes blurring at the edges, the woman saw the frightened face of a pilot as he plummeted toward the ground. His aircraft looked old, a relic nestled in history. She understood then. The memory ricocheted noisily in her thoughts as she floated between existence and non-permanence. It was a World War II fighter plane. And the man — Aldridge, someone’s scream had eked the brave fighters’ name through his comms — was about to die.

Emilia: No! Please don’t crash! You are so brave!

Dark Blood #1 (Written by Layota Morgan, illustrated by Walt Barna, colored by A.H.G and lettered by Andworld Design) / Source: Boom! Studios

She yelled fearlessly, a faint facsimile of a sentence ringing out nearly one hundred years too late. Like a blemished film strip, the images flickered. On the opposite side of the divide, another movie projected a narrative in muted noir tones. Avery Aldridge took center stage in this film again, but lines etched signs of age onto his face. His appearance was strong, ordinary even, as he walked out of a diner long after waning twilight hours. In this second glimpse of Aldridge’s life, she recognized the open landscape framed against Alabama’s star clustered skies.

A personal thought hung in her mind. The woman clasped the abrupt intrusion in her hands, a burning ember of recollection. Her mother — where was she born? Was she dead? Why did she leave her father? Grief pressed on her heart, multiplying further when she saw a man prowling behind Mr. Aldridge. Danger followed the Black man wandering alone through soundless streets in 1950s Alabama.

Across the cleave, Aldridge’s body hurtled from the air. Smoke and fire singed the sky behind him as planes dipped and weaved manically. She wondered how he could close his eyes while nosediving down past the clouds. When had he even jumped from danger, releasing his parachute? Simultaneously, a fiery bullet had ripped through Aldridge’s only means of safety as his eyes glowed white, while the ill-intentioned man confronted future Aldridge in an alleyway. The woman exhausted her lungs and screamed into the splitting void. Then, forces beyond her control sucked her into a red Volkswagen car parked on the opposite side of the alley.

Emilia: I’m here in a new world. Whatever is moving me through these alternate universes wanted me to see Aldridge in his future. That means he must have survived the crash! I need to write. Thank goodness for security in this journal. Books have never let me down.

Emilia’s Journal: The white man dressed in a black fedora and matching trenchcoat is gleaning information from the innocent man. I hear the white man ask Aldridge’s full name. Avery Aldridge answers every horrendous question this racist harasser thrusts upon him. Now he’s asking Avery about his time in the army. The army! I see the connection now between the dual memories I saw in the desolate void. What is so important about Avery’s escape from the plane? Avery’s a veteran now it seems, and this racist is not happy about it. I choose to stay inside, away from a world of people who can hurt me. Yet, if I did, I know I…would be left alone. No one would engage in an altercation with me because of my skin color. Avery…he doesn’t have that privilege.

The white man extracted a gun from his coat. Pointed firmly at Avery, the man demanded spoken recognition of Avery’s cowardice. But Avery was never a coward. As the woman knew, this incident was hardly the first time Avery had to peer upon the towering face of death. She watched Avery tremble, ragged panic shuttering his confidence. Seconds passed, and the white man escalated the degradation. As opposed to backing down, Avery refused to admit any fear. Ink scribbles formed crude words as the woman wrote furiously about Avery’s sudden domination of confidence.

Emilia’s Journal: Avery does not turn the other cheek; instead, he turns the racists’ words back upon him. The racist wants Avery to say he is scared, but Avery challenges and says that the white man should be scared! If only I possessed even a fraction of Avery’s self-assuredness, I could change the course of my life. I am shivering right now. An anxiety attack edges toward the precipice of my mind. I am so entrenched in sorrow that the terror Avery must be enduring is crushing me. It’s not fair for Avery! He is a soldier and a person undeserving of this treatment. Emotional wounding scars for life that will not be undamaged even if he makes it out of here alive. He remains unflinching as this racist piece of garbage spews hatred toward Avery.

Dark Blood #1 (Written by Layota Morgan, illustrated by Walt Barna, colored by A.H.G and lettered by Andworld Design) / Source: Boom! Studios

Without warning, the man pulled the gun’s trigger. Anguish poured out of the woman in anticipation, but the bullet never struck Avery. Avery deflected the predecessor to his death somehow. Her sorrow metamorphosed into fury when a slur slipped from the white predators’ lips. However, Avery commandeered the situation. White beams like sun rays inexplicably encircled around Avery’s body. The woman pounded her fists against the locked car door, exhilarated by the turn of events.

Emilia’s Journal: He has powers! Bricks and trash can lids and objects float in the air around Avery as the racist misses every single shot. And I felt my will to intervene nearly overpower my fear of people. This is an…odd sensation, but maybe I am changing? Death does not await this hero today, nor in his past. An invisible hand guides Avery’s destiny apparently. Could it belong to the same apparition affecting me?

In a twist of fate, the racist man screamed of monsters and ran into the street. How peculiar that the man so impelled to take the life of another crumples into a petrified child when his own mortality is endangered. Fate, destiny, whatever assigned term best describes Avery’s newfound awakening, altered him irrevocably. When a car struck the fleeing killer, the woman couldn’t ignore the thought of the irony.

Irony bends fate both forward and backward, though. She was well versed in the irony of her own life as a shut-in after her father’s passing from cancer wrought by the sun. She wrote of the instant Avery ran over to check on his bloodied enemy. Could she feel compassion for her enemies like that virtuous soul? The sun had tricked her father. It would not trick her too. Perhaps she’d jump worlds forever, suspended in an eternal life without consequences.

Hazy reflections of sunlight and damage scorched her head. She looked up and saw a gleam, distant and indistinguishable. She pondered if the sun was returning for her. An act of revenge felt too obtuse, and then the illusion of light warped. 

Emilia: How ironic. I crave…darkness again. 

Sleep stole her away.

Proctor Valley Road

They found themselves walking down an infinite spiral. There was nothing else around, nowhere else to go. They just had to keep walking down. But as the sun bathed them in light, they opened their eyes. The smell of grass, cooked meat, dusted pavement, and a little bit of far-away weed invaded their nostrils. It breathed the same as back home, except maybe less pollution. They woke up in a front yard of an abandoned house, where the wood croaked even with such a light breeze, the windows were all broken because of teenagers with something to prove, and its grass was starting to take on a brown shade. It felt forgotten.

Aimée woke up. This time, they didn’t complain or asked for things to go back to normal, nothing at all. They just stared at this new place, a bit tired, and got up. For a moment, as they impulsed their body up from the ground, they thought there was something behind the corner of the house, a distorted light, but they thought it was a sign they were still sleepy. The rest of the neighborhood was normal and boring, except for the house next to where they woke up. Aimée heard screamings coming from inside and walked discreetly to the window.

Aimée’s journal: There’s a birthday inside, but two girls are fighting. Huh, they appear to be cousins who have recently fought. Wait, their clothing seems old. I think I’m in the 70s. What if I accidentally step on something, and I end up being my grandparent? Time travel is weird, man. Maybe it’s not even my past.

The day continued, but Aimée stayed with one of the girls, August. Maybe to make things more simple or because she believed that it wasn’t all just a coincidence. She learned what happened to her; three kids disappeared, one of them is dead, the other two are still missing, and they’re blaming her and her friends, saying they helped them cross the border to avoid getting drafted. But the town didn’t know that the one to blame is a spirit haunting the place where the boys got lost, and August and her friends are trying to stop it. 

Aimée’s journal: August feels guilty because of everything that’s happened, so she’s about to face the ghost by herself. Shit, she has a bicycle. I’m gonna have to run.

While on the run, the night came. When August (And secretly Aimée) reached the place of destination, they discovered the other girls from their group went by themselves too. They agreed they should be together to hunt the ghost and apologized for fighting. One of them had a hint that convinced them it was hiding underwater, in the only place with a body of water in Proctor Valley Road.

Proctor Valley Road #5 (Written by Alex Child and Grant Morrison, illustrated by Naomi Franquiz, colored by Tamra Bonvillain and lettered by Jim Campbell) / Source: Boom! Studios

Aimée: Let’s hope I swim better than I think I do. Will the journal get wet if I take it with me? It isn’t a problem in video games, so I guess I’m gonna stick with that.

The group of friends got in the water, and Aimée followed them after a while. Even harder than they thought it was going to be, they had to open a submarine and get into it. But once they did, they found themselves in a courtroom. It would’ve been empty if not for the skeleton of a supposed judge. They kept going further into that place that felt outside of time and space, lost and undetectable to even higher powers. Then, when they left the room, Aimée got there.

Aimée’s journal: This place is creepy. Why am I even here? The fucking journal said write everything, not write everything about the worst possible people. If I’m not already dead, I’m gonna get myself killed!

As the just reunited friends kept walking, they suddenly encountered the witch. She tried to convince them to join her, although it was a fruitless attempt to deceive them, and they knew it. But she was still powerful, causing them to age decades in just minutes, and they didn’t have a plan to defeat her. They were filled with hopelessness, ready to face the fact that they had lost, and there was nothing to do. But in a turn of events, they held each other’s hands, and for a mysterious reason, they were able to revert the magic. Back to their young bodies, they got up, full of trust in themselves and one another, and sure they could do anything together. With their newfound power, they pushed the ghost into the cavern’s stalactites, killing her twice and for all.

Proctor Valley Road #5 (Written by Alex Child and Grant Morrison, illustrated by Naomi Franquiz, colored by Tamra Bonvillain and lettered by Jim Campbell) / Source: Boom! Studios

Aimée’s journal: Holy shit! That was so cool! And they also found the two missing kids! I wish I had friends like that to be in this crazy whatever-the-fuck-i-am. Minus the evil witch that killed a bunch of people, maybe.

As they reached the town and authorities, everyone met with their families, and the missing kids testified that the girls were not only not responsible for their disappearance but also that they saved their lives. Now, the world didn’t seem so unattainable for them. It was hard, but they could handle it.

Aimée’s journal: Well, it was a crazy ride. Possibly the craziest shit I’ve gotten myself into, but I guess it could be worse. Maybe this was all meant to happen. Maybe it was for the better that all of this happened to me. I wasn’t any good back then anyway. I’m so tired though; running and swimming are definitely not for me.

Categories
Books

BoomCrashers! Tales (Boom! Studios Releases for 07/14/2021)

When someone goes to sleep, they visit more places than they ever will while they’re awake. They may dream of beautiful pink meadows with a comfy cabin. Or maybe they found themselves being chased through a neighborhood by a monstrosity of dozens of legs and hands, thousands of eyes, and a single horrifying mouth. But it never matters. They wake up, eventually, in their beds, where they always sleep. But not the dreamers.

In a dispaired world where death and life are blurred concepts, the guts of an undead coincidentally form the word ”Eve”.

Again, the world broke. She slipped. A fissure fractured the liminal space between reality and dreamscape. Phosphorus light flashed, coalesced with pinpricks of darkness. Kaleidoscope images enveloped her in their embrace until time itself spun her around on clockwork hands.

Then, a voice warbled across in fragmented waves. The sound was rough. A man’s mid-range tenor spoke of an eleven-year-old girl — Eve. His daughter, Eve. She was the savior of mankind. The savior of the world. An apocalyptic world ravaged by a monstrous virus released from melted ice caps. And they waited, he said to a dissonant voice from a machine. The man told a listener, E-92, of his belief in his daughter’s triumph, in renewing the broken earth, and in reforging a planet broken by mankind’s own destruction while the fortunate few waited in space stations hovering above a tattered Earth.

A memory took shape, soft and malleable. But the woman craved answers. And she began to remember — she had a father of her own. She wished he was here, but he died long ago. Skin cancer stole him from her right as she was transitioning into adulthood. The memory was almost a question and not a fact she could recall completely. Instead of living, she retreated from the world outside that seeped into his bones and murdered him. But her self-captivity from the sun was fruitless, she thought, drifting through realities.

The man’s sonorous voice faded away into comets streaking across oblivion and black holes swallowing the night. Stars winked out before she could touch them, perforating the opaque nothingness as she fell and hit the hollow ground.

Eve #3 (Written by Victor LaValle, illustrated by Jo Mi-Gyeong, colored by Brittany Peer and lettered by Andworld Design) / Source: Boom! Studios

There, she saw her. She knew her immediately. Eve. A beautiful young woman who oozed confidence. Eve’s freckles smattered her face like the stars where her father watched helplessly from above. She saw the girl who would excise the sinister malaise corrupting this apocalyptic version of Earth. No sooner did she blink to eliminate the foggy barrier drifting over her consciousness did she remember the journal. Her hands already grasping the pen, she began to write before she could think about the horrors of a world devoid of any cleanliness at all.

Emilia’s Journal: It happened again. I have crossed over into another plane of existence. This is a new world, where magic has been replaced with a savage apocalypse. How do I return to my former life? Is there no end to the quantum leaping into disturbing unknowns full of substances, surely eating me alive from the inside out? Is this some punishment? I remembered my father now, and I wish I…didn’t. My dad’s death and my isolation are punishment enough! Alas, I will write, as this journal instructed. I dare not talk. I dare not breathe this air, tainted by poison and rotting flesh of creatures that are…not quite human? Oh, god. I need a mask. There’s a girl a little older than Eve here wearing a mask, like a badge of honor. Perhaps she has a supply around here? It looks like I’m in a warehouse or a shelter. And — fuck! A monster wearing the visage of a human — or is it a human wearing the visage of a monster? — attacked Eve and the other children in this compound just now!

She gasped in terror; her body trembled with shock. She watched the masked assassin and her tiny cronies impale the bone-white creature with spears, their aim precise as arrows shot from crossbows.

Emilia’s Journal: I feel bile rising in my throat. It’s a miracle I haven’t thrown up, but what contents do I have to purge from my body? Am I even thirsty? Hungry? After these children saved Eve from the mutant creature, I hastily followed them through the grime inside this public shelter. Heat sticks to my skin, and I would kill one of those monstrosities myself for a fiber-boosted smoothie. I can’t help thinking of fruit and food after seeing the masked leader girl offer Eve strawberries from their packed storeroom. These people are prepared for the end of the world, but I am not. The girl tells Eve of a god named Osiris. Could Osiris be a codename for Eve’s dad? I need to stop thinking about fathers and daughters…the memories are painful. I need to focus more on stopping this stomach-roiling air from overwhelming my lungs.

Stealing a strip of cloth from the storeroom, she wrapped it around her mouth. Although she was much older than these teenagers, she started to wonder about human contact again. Her rough mask matched the masked children somewhat. An aching stifled her breathing, convulsing in her chest when she heard the leader tell Eve about an automated transcontinental that can take her to god. To Osiris. The woman doubled over as an oppressive rush of homesickness for her life — her old life growing up with a father who held her in his arms as he pointed out the constellations piercing the comforting cover of night — choked her.

Emilia’s Journal: Eve and the girl left. I can hardly breathe because I want to leave too. They walk into the distance. The two of them look like dark spots against the mucky orange pallor of the sky. I want to follow them, but they will see me. That girl has heightened senses. She moves unnaturally. I can only hope for Eve’s safety because I don’t trust her. Who can you trust when you’ve been alone for so long? And I couldn’t fend off any attacks even if —

She dropped her pen. The noise vibrated like sonic waves against the ground in her hiding spot. A scraping sound shrieked outside. The children armed themselves with their weapons, still dripping with blood from their earlier kill. Protection against enemies for survival is all they had known. They lined up against the window, an armed force against the villain outside. He took the form of a stuffed bear. But the woman knew he was anything but a harmless toy.

Claws shaped like iron razors protrude from his paws, and his left eye glowed red. He was a nightmare, tattered and patched up, ready to send these children into an infinite slumber. The woman closed her eyes as he attacked. The bear’s speed was abnormal, and she couldn’t handle any further assaults to her splintering mind. Suddenly, tears leaked from her eyes as she shut them closed. Letters scratched against her thoughts. Words scrolled in her head as if being typed: “Eve has a sister. She will protect her from Wexler.” Breaking steel and childrens’ panicked screams echoed until she heard all sound evaporating for a second time.

Eve #3 (Written by Victor LaValle, illustrated by Jo Mi-Gyeong, colored by Brittany Peer and lettered by Andworld Design) / Source: Boom! Studios

In a less broken world, a little bird makes a nest with little branches that fly off with the strong wind, falling to the ground and forming the words ”Mouse Guard”.

An excruciatingly lifeless white invaded her line of sight. They thought that maybe it was light, The Light. But it was too opaque, and their time hadn’t come yet. But everything started to focus, like reality itself decided to come together, and they realized it was a room. Like a cloud or a hummingbird, Aimée was floating above the ground in a corner when someone entered the room. It took them a moment to recognize the person, but it was them, and that was their house. They observed themselves as their (past?) version went through a normal day. They stayed in bed for hours, maybe watched something if they were lucky enough to be able to distract themselves, and that was it. Work, rest so you don’t go any crazier, repeat. That was their perfect formula. The days passed, and they thought it was a loop, but the truth is, it was impossible to realize. Then, almost like they just came back to life with a deep breath, Aimée woke up from their dream.

Aimée: Wh-what? That was my life? Shit. Literally. At least my memory’s coming back, I guess.

As they rubbed their eyes to adjust to the sunlight, they started to notice their surroundings. It seemed like an old village from the medieval era. It was a place that exuded history and a little bit of desolation.

Aimée: What the fuck?! Where am I supposed to be now? The thing in the castle was a dream then? How do I know that this isn’t a dream too? As if I could do anything if it was or not. The only thing I have to do is ‘’Write everything’’ apparently. Who even wrote that?

After a long gasp, they decided it was better to wander around and explore. At least that would be interesting and supposedly mean something. They found a cozy home but discovered that the people inside were humanoid mouses. Surprisingly, they loved mouses, and the problem was trying not to hug them more than in fear. Although that sentiment didn’t stay long with Aimée, seeing as the inhabitants were facing difficult times. Following the only rule they now had, they took the journal out from their pocket and started writing everything from outside the window.

Aimée’s journal: It appears the son and the mother are tending to the father’s needs now that he’s ill. He doesn’t look good, and they don’t look hopeful. The mother insists that they stay with him, but the son is hesitant; he wants their attention to be with their restaurant. She is very disapproving of his mentality, so she’s going to tell him a tale!

As Aimée’s pen flowed in the paper like a person dancing on ice, the mother started lecturing her son. She spoke about a mouse who protected an owl. In their culture, it was common for the owls to have multiple mice as guards to defend them from other beasts and as caregivers to help their needs. But that owl chose only him.

During one unforgivable winter, the mouse returned to the owl fatally ill. There wasn’t much the owl could do to help him except being there for him, so he did exactly that. He did every single task the mouse needed help with, and when time ran out for the little mouse, his owl friend stayed with him.

Mouse Guard: Owlhen Caregiver #1 (Made by David Petersen) / Source: Boom! Studios

Aimée’s journal: I wonder if I’ll have someone to look over me like that. The odds don’t seem to be with me, though. At least I know it’s possible. The child is now sure he wants to stay for his dad because helping when needed is the correct thing. I feel like I shouldn’t be here. This moment belongs only to them.

The day was young, so Aimée kept exploring this world that seemed very much like their own. Although if you asked them, they’d probably say it was cuter. They now encountered a little mouse on top of a tower. She was writing about a book she discovered. As she was narrating out loud what she wrote, Aimée found out the book told the story of a mouse. She decided to explore the world and learn as many cultures and languages from other animals as possible. Considering her family was grieving for her sister in ways incomprehensible to one another, Aimée imagined the possibility of learning to understand other people as well as we understand ourselves must’ve been comforting. 

Aimée’s journal: I think I never got the hang of people either. Everyone’s so complex in their particular way. I guess even we are. But you’ll get there, little mouse, I’m sure.

Aimée walked down the tower into a forest. All this nature was a bit threatening for them, but this world never felt malicious; it felt normal. She encountered two mouses trying to go past some fence made of rocks when an older mouse stopped them and warned them to never go past it. He told a great story of how one mouse parted from his village with his insect friend to hunt beasts, but a wolf attacked them and kill them all except him. He would’ve been dead if it weren’t for the spirit of a mouse hunter that saved him from the wolf. He finished his anecdote by telling the two children that they should only fight beasts if they come for them or the village. Looking for a fight where there is none would’ve stripped them from any morals they might have.

Mouse Guard: Owlhen Caregiver #1 (Made by David Petersen) / Source: Boom! Studios

Aimée’s journal: He says going past the safe territory is not a good idea, so what’s left for me? It seems that’s all I do, and I don’t even want to. Shit, it’s getting dark, and I walked a lot. A part of me doesn’t want to sleep; I know what will happen. But what else can I do?

Categories
Comics

BoomCrashers! Tales (Boom! Studios Releases for 07/07/2021)

On July 7th, a mother woke up as the sunlight entered boldly through the window, kissed her wife on the forehead, and went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. She had finished all her paperwork from the insurance company she worked at to spend the day properly with her family. She called their teenage son to come downstairs, telling him that she made his favorite; PB&J sandwiches with hot chocolate milk. She had to call again and again, each time with a little more annoyance in her tone, until she screamed, and thought how such a nice morning had already been ruined.

On July 7th, a young man was dreaming. He was inside a house of mirrors on a circus, but none of the reflections were his. He woke up with cold sweat and a little saliva falling from the side of his lip. He tried to reach his partner, but the only thing there were the sheets where they fell asleep the night before. 

That day, there was a sudden rise in missing persons all around the world. There were no letters left, no goodbyes said, and no clues as to what might have happened to them. They vanished overnight without a single warning and no trace to follow, almost as if they never even existed. 

A quiet sound, that’s not quite a sound, resonates, saying ”Mamo”.

White turned to black. The sterile environment the young woman meticulously maintained vanished as ripples appeared in front of her face. Swaths of green painted themselves on the walls as the room fades. Terrified, the woman clasped her hands over her eyes and held her breath when scents of pine overtook her nostrils. The humidified air that had filled her lungs inside the house she had not left in years transformed. Suddenly, she was outside, planted on a hill in the verdant countryside. Her eyelids fought to open, but she could see enough to know that she was no longer safe inside. The infinite openness stretched on for miles.

Emilia: No! I can’t be outside! Oh god, the bugs. They’ll crawl into my mouth when I sleep. And the birds. Diseases everywhere! Where am I? I haven’t left my house in three years, two hours, and . . . clocks. Where are the clocks? I need to know the time! My sanctuary is gone! Where am I going to find filtered water with the correct pH balance out here in the . . . woods? It’s bright! The sun is so bright! Somebody help me!

A feeling like dew sprinkling the morning grass clouded itself in her mind. She could hardly see or stand, frozen in place when voices rised out across the rolling hills.

Emilia: There are other people here too? Should I ask them for . . . no, I can’t go near them. Look at them, the germs on that girls’ bike. And oh — the other one has a cat! Who lets a cat roam around outside like this? Who knows how many germs are sticking to its paws right now?

A noise tinkling softly behind the woman momentarily distracted her from her panic. Her head darted toward the sound, but her weak limbs felt as if she was trodding through brambles. In front of her lay a journal, petite and bound with brown leather. A pen rolled toward her. Trembling, she tenderly reached toward the book, hoping for a lifeline out of her nightmare. Only two words were inscribed on the first page: “Write everything.” There was no obvious escape. One option remained: Comply and pray for rescue.

Emilia’s Journal: I am lost, outside during daylight hours, but I am not alone. I can hear them. Voices of people. I have had so little contact with people, but they may hold clues that will give me a gateway out of . . . wherever here is. The young woman on the bike is begging for help while the hat-wearing lady appears disinterested. She’s reading a book instead. I wonder if she reads poetry. What I’d give to be back in bed, an Emily Dickinson collection of poems in my hands. Wait! She’s a witch! The blond cat lady is a witch! Where the hell am I? They’re arguing about the girl — I think her name is Jo — Jo’s town. Jo needs the witch’s help because . . . magic is running amok in a town called Haresden? Magic! If magic exists here, I can surely use it to my advantage. All the fantasy novels I’ve read show magic has a price, but I’ll pay any price to return to the confines of my sweet, clean home. Oh no, Jo said her mother is cursed with an ailment, an infestation, in her body. I think I’m going to be sick.

While she wrote, Jo started heading south with the witch and her black cat along the vast plains of the hills. Rays from the sun felt unfamiliar, searing her flesh like pinpricks from glass shards. She decided to covertly follow the two women. Unable to write and run at the same time, she commited the unimaginable events occurring to memory. Later, she received a moment to rest in a shaded area by Jo’s house front.

Emilia’s Journal: Write everything. Okay. I’m about to write everything. Apparently, the witch, Orla, had a grandmother — Mamo — who died recently. Magic is out of control, moving borders and causing sea turbulence because Mamo governed the nebulous relationship between the townsfolk and beings called the “fae.” I almost cried as I stalked Jo and Orla through the forest. Branches and god-knows-what poisonous leaves skimmed my skin on the way. I’m quite certain I won’t make it out of here alive. I almost gave away my position when Jo nearly fell victim to a faery trap. She thought a silver spoon lodged in the forest floor was the same spoon that belonged to her mother. Thank goodness Orla intervened and recognized the magic. Why anyone would pick up a disgusting item off the ground is beyond me. Orla has already proven herself as more knowledgeable than Jo. She’s the one I could ask for help if I had to. But I do empathize with Jo. Her mother is sick and possibly dying inside. If Orla can save Jo’s mother, I know she can save me.

Flashes of darkness billowed around the attic window from Jo’s house. The woman realized she was developing heightened senses and witnessed writhing shadows of a Mamo apparition contracting around Orla’s body.

Emilia’s Journal: I thought Orla said Mamo was dead. What is that Mamo ghost, and why is it trying to strangle her granddaughter? Orla’s magic powers have manifested now; yellow sparks flash from her fingers in concentric patterns. No! Orla can’t break that shadow demons’ grip! If only I could touch the doorknob and walk into the house. Wait! Jo managed to release the grip the creature had on Orla’s body. Magic shimmers in the air, casting the inky blackness in all directions. Why can I see this so far away? I’m so tired. Are these powers of my own? I want to sleep, but there’s so much dirt everywhere. Perhaps I’ll just lay down for a second. I haven’t died yet.

The sound that could be heard only by a few changed, and now it said ”Basilisk”.

A young man with tousled, dark blond hair sat slumped in a diner booth with his eyes closed. He sniffed the air; the smell of freshly grilled burgers stirred his sinuses. He opened his eyes, blinking.

Martin: Wh-what’s going on?

He looked down at the table in front of him. No food, no drink, just a small notepad, with a pen tucked into the rings. Picking it up, he flipped through it. Empty, except for a note on the first page.

Martin: Write everything, huh…

He was startled out of his reverie by the ding of the door opening up. A tall man with a thick beard came in. The man walked up to the table behind Martin. He stopped and started to talk. Martin flipped over the page of the notebook, took the cap off the pen. Somehow, he knew this conversation was worth recording.

Martin’s journal: These people seem to be part of some society. Three people total, now that the new man’s joined them. And they’re talking about… someone’s been captured. One of their friends, their partners. Someone named Regan. Even though they’ve tried to rescue her, it hasn’t been working. But, wait… Regan’s eyes killed her rescuers? How can you kill someone with your eyes? Either way, it seems like this Regan isn’t really cooperating with her friends. And they agree. One of them’s getting up, leaving. Saying something about being recognized. And wait…

Martin heard a sound from further behind him. Casting his eyes around the diner, he started to see everyone overcome with a form of madness. Some were choking up blood, while others had what appeared to be vines growing out of their nose. Everyone seemed to be overcome by violence, hurting themselves and those around them. Martin slides under the seat, breathing heavily, praying that he will be spared. He continues to write.

Martin’s journal: Everyone’s gone crazy, everyone except me. I don’t know why I’ve been spared. I don’t even know why I’m here in the first place. But everyone’s talking about… smells. And tastes. Maybe this has something to do with the senses? Is that it? Do they control the senses? That must be it. And they’re hurting everyone so that they can’t, well… do this. Tell anyone else what’s been going on.

Martin shrunk further into the seats, staying as quiet as possible.

Martin’s journal: I hope they don’t hear me, don’t notice me. I’m scared to even write, in case they hear the pen. That’s silly, though. It’s too loud here for them to hear it.

Martin winced at the chaos, the violence; though it was petering out, getting quieter.

Martin’s journal: It’s almost over, now, though. I’m not sure whether to be relieved… or horrified. Because that means almost everyone’s dead. I don’t want to breathe. They’re still there, right behind me. And I don’t know why they’re here, or I’m here, but I was put here with this notebook, and if they find it, destroy it, then I know I’ve screwed up. I think that’s it. They’re leaving now.

The bell dinged again, as the three people who had been talking in the seat behind Martin walked out of the diner. Martin extricated himself from under the booth, his legs shaky. He walked around the diner, taking notes as he went.

Martin’s journal: This has been hard to see, to look at. But I have to record the crimes. Everyone’s dead; Someone has a fork stuck up their nose. The fry cook dunked his face into the oil. It was still sizzling; I had to turn it off myself. I can’t believe these people, their cruelty, their callousness. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t look at this. I should go, in case the police or someone else comes.

Ducking out the back door of the kitchen, Martin stumbled into the woods, where he found a soft tree trunk. He sat down to keep writing.

Martin’s journal: I can’t get it out of my head. The deaths… I don’t think I’ve seen anyone die before. I don’t know, though. I don’t remember. I should get some rest. Maybe that’ll help.

Sighing, Martin laid himself down on the mossy forest floor and closed his eyes. He dreamt of burgers, of fries… and of eyes that killed.

The sound was no longer just not a sound, now it was also not colors. Non-colors that talked, and said ”New Day.

A feeling of dark emptiness mixed with an unnerving sense of displacement and confusion crept into every fiber of her being. Suddenly, a warm light fell upon her. She thought to herself, “Am I dead?” When she seemed to have some semblance of consciousness, her first thought was simple: write everything down. When she comes to her senses in the void, she seemed to have found a single writing utensil, and a notepad seemed to be lovingly placed near her. What was it even placed on? There were no objects aside from these. They seemed to be onto something, but there was no discernable surface to be found in this void. Suddenly, something akin to a large viewscreen, almost like an IMAX theater screen, appeared before her.

Three men appeared before her in bright, almost fluorescent clothing. The shortest one was holding a trombone. She focused on the instrument and looked at it, puzzled. She then had a moment of clarity. “Is that…me…?”

Francesca did not seem to have a body, but she did feel as though she was a presence. A concept? Something unknown, but definitely…alive? Conscious? Not sure. She started writing, not sure how she was doing that as she didn’t see or feel any limbs per se. The view screen continued to roll footage of the three men.

Francesca watched the screen to see what felt like a familiar sight. Gazing upon these technicolor men in spandex brought a warm, calming sensation to Francesca. The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods + Francesca) were fighting in a Tag Team match against The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins). They turned to what looked to be the beginning of an origin story. Francesca looked with confusion. “Where is this going, and where do I fit in?”

We saw a young Kofi Kingston watching wrestling with his friends. Francesca didn’t specifically recognize the teenager in front of her, but seeing him brought a sense of comfort that she couldn’t quite place. He delivered a heartfelt speech about how seeing a Black wrestler inspires him. It seemed as though at this moment, Kingston had decided his path in life led to professional wrestling. He waited outside of the venue to meet his idol, Faarooq, after a show. He offered to introduce the teen to a friend if he was serious about training and becoming a professional wrestler. 

The screen quickly switched to a different view. Francesca was confused but delighted to see another face that felt oddly reassuring. Young Xavier Woods sat in front of a tv screen with a friend, choosing a video game character to play. Woods and the friend had a heated discussion on individual character stats. She was shown Woods excelling in all of his teenage pursuits: school, band, and high school wrestling. Francesca excitedly leaned closer to get a better look at the quick view of Woods’ trombone. “Is that me?” Francesca then deflated: it was not her, she surmised.

Just as quickly as it came, it was gone in a flash, and Francesca felt as though she recognized yet another young face: that of Big E. She didn’t understand why this young man’s visage made her happy and excited, so she stayed glued to the view of him. Another boy was being bullied only to have Big E come into the picture and help the bullied boy repel his harassers. It turned out that despite Big E’s large size, he opted to use his words to jab at the bullies, lest he was the one to receive punishment at the hands of the school administration. Big E ran into the bullies again outside of a barbershop and had a physical altercation with them. He won, but barely. The boys brought weapons like game consoles and books with them. The barber inside came out after he talked to a man on the phone during the duration of the fight. He mentioned to Big E that he has a friend, Joe, that could help train him to become a capable fighter.

The screen went blank for a moment, and Francesca got anxious. Just as she started to get seriously concerned, the screen showed a new scene. It moved forward quite a bit in time. Francesca was still mildly anxious but started to feel calm again once she saw Kofi Kingston’s face. She was then shown what seemed like a highlight reel of Kingston’s early career and struggles to find an identity, his gimmick. Kingston was a beloved figure in his wrestling scene, but he wanted more. Once WWE approached and signed Kingston, there was another leap forward in time. 


Kofi Kingston was talking to Hunter Helmsley, otherwise known as the wrestler Triple H. Kingston feared he would be pushed into a stereotypical, humiliating gimmick. Francesca felt Kingston’s anxiety with him. “Where is this going?” she wondered. That meeting was the catalyst for The New Day. Kingston got paired with Big E, and they became a tag team. The pair tried to find their footing but seemed to be missing something. An X factor, perhaps?

Xavier Woods approached Big E and Kofi Kingston in an over-the-top clandestine meeting. He posited that the missing piece of their puzzle was simple: they needed him on their team. Kingston and Big E seemed apprehensive but agreed with Woods’ proposal. In their first fight as a trio, they felt more like themselves than ever before. Somehow, someway, that oddball formula clicked on that night. Francesca waited with anticipation to see where the story went from there but decided to rest before everything continued.

And the sound and the colors that were neither of those things now turned into something not quite like a shape, and it expressed the words ”Wynd”.

The howling of the wind intertwined with that of the owls during late-night, as a young person laid in the middle of a spacious room, with a tender but intimidating atmosphere, and started regaining consciousness while their eyes remained closed.

Aimée: What happened to me? My head is killing me, and my body feels like I’ve been underwater for a week. Did I get drunk?

They opened their eyes with fatigue like their eyelids were almost too heavy to control and continued to sit on the immaculate floor. The room gave a sense of clarity and calmness that contrasted with the feeling of their knees, which felt like rusty screws trying to function after years of abandonment.

Aimée: Wait, what kind of room is this? What am I doing here? It looks like a fucking castle, a very weird castle, and I don’t think I belong in a weird-looking castle. I must be dreaming or hallucinating or something.

While they talked, the invasive noise of a conversation slowly penetrated the room; strangers were about to enter, they needed a place to hide. For some reason, even though the circumstances were abysmally different, running away from people didn’t feel uncommon. Hiding was an instinct, a necessity. When they started running off, the sound of something hitting the ground broke the silence even more than the still distant conversation did. Aimée turned around, and there was a journal with a pen that had fallen from their jacket. They grabbed it and hid behind a kind of bed that looked like no other bed they could recognize. They proceeded to open the journal and realized it just had a note on the first page that said ‘’Write everything’’. They thought, if it was a dangerous situation, maybe writing everything was a good idea.

Aimée’s journal: I don’t know where I am, I only know it’s some kind of castle, but it doesn’t look normal. Someone’s coming, so I’m hiding under the bed. It feels like my insides are trying to escape my body through my throat, and even the floor feels like it’s a hundred feet away from me.

As they tried to keep their breathing as quiet as possible, four beings entered the room; two humanoid figures with bug-like features, carrying an unconscious winged kid, as a girl similar to the other two accompanied them. The kid was left to rest on another bed across the room and then got out of the room. With all of this on sight, Aimée’s breathing, just for a moment, became almost too heavy. Not much time passed until the winged kid woke up, disoriented but comfortable enough to talk with the girl.

Aimée’s journal: This cannot be real. She’s not human! She’s green, with pink eyes and wings. They both have wings, but different, and the boy looks more like a human. Is this even my world? I can’t even be sure of that right now, nothing’s making any sense. The boy’s name is Wynd, and his friends are being brought here by other guards, like the ones that brought him. It seems they don’t know each other, but they’re friendly, the girl is going to tell him a story! Maybe they’re not so bad, but I can’t take any chances. What should I even do if I asked for their help? Tell them I’m dreaming and need their help to wake up? Maybe I fell into another world? They’d think I’m crazy! Maybe I am.

As the girl told the story, Aimée wrote every single detail down. It was an old tale that belonged to their culture; the fairies. It explained how old gods called the Winds created everything present in the universe. Every flower, animal, river. They also created people, winged people, that walked the earth with them as their children. But two sisters escaped the paradise their people chose to live in, to explore the lands. They went in different directions, and thirty years later, when a reunion came to be, one was turned into the first Fairie, and the other one, the eldest, into the first Vampyre. The Vampyre wanted power and ignited a war that broke every good concept the Winds built for them. Disappointed, the Winds disappeared along with the winged people and were never seen again.

Aimée’s journal: There are vampyres, fucking vampyres. And apparently, they’re following Wynd and his friends? This couldn’t go any worse. I just want to be back to whatever house I live in, wake up in a comfortable bed. My world may be fucked up, but at least I’m used to that kind of fucked up.

After the story ended, a bell rang, catching Wynd off guard, and Aimée even more; for a moment, they thought that they were found, and the alert was because of them. The fear felt like they suddenly submerged in the coldest water imaginable. But it turned out it was just a sign that the boy’s friends had arrived.

Aimée’s journal: That was too close, I almost moved. I have to be more careful. They’re both leaving now, finally. But the girl looks worried, she says she’s going to have a meeting with something called the Council of the Elders to explain and get help. Sounds serious. But it doesn’t matter anymore, they’re gone. I’m safe.

As Aimée wrote that last word, they stood still for a moment, with the pen in their hand. The silence and sudden desertedness were calming, but it also made the fear more real. The inertia was gone. Now all that was left to focus on, was the fear of not understanding anything, not knowing what to do. It almost made them cry, but they decided to hold it back. Maybe it was all just a dream, and all they had to do was go to sleep. Even with all the fear, the limited space, and the cold, they managed to do it, and dreamed of infinite nothingness, with millions of colors they couldn’t even recognize. 

Categories
Comics

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tea Time is a Fun What-If Story

Mirka Andolfo and Siya Oum’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tea Time is a what-if one-shot that poses the question, “what if Giles was a vampire?” Tea Time is part of Boom! Studios line of Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics, which act as a modernized reboot of the tv series created by alleged abuser Joss Whedon; set in the modern-day, the comics have little to do with Whedon beyond his name being on the covers.

As I mentioned earlier, Tea Time is a what-if story wherein Rupert Giles; Buffy’s watcher (a mentor for slayers), is a vampire. Right of the bat, Tea Time was not at all what I expected it to be. For starters, rather than being a single story, Tea Time is framed as several stories that the Scooby Gang (in this story consisting of Buffy, Willow, and Xander) tell as they research the monster of the week; a vampiric altar.

Source: Boom! Studios

Xander’s first story opens the issue and positions him as the hero saving the day, referring to himself as the heart of the team in the process. It’s also very much not rooted in reality, with Buffy even pointing out how “Xandercentric” it is. As well, Xander’s first story emphasizes both Giles being British and his role as the team (specifically Buffy)’s mentor and his role as a librarian with Giles’ tombstone even reading “Beloved Librarian.”

On the other hand, the first version of Willow’s story shifts the focus to Giles’ expertise in the occult, placing him as a vampiric cleric performing a ritual to blot out the sun. Also contrasting Xander’s first version is that Willow’s takes on a darker tone (with a darker ending to boot). Her second version is a tad more light-hearted, with the Scoobies coming up on top – at the cost of Giles’ life; something that Oum’s art clearly shows having an effect on Buffy, especially considering that she’s the one who kills Giles. 

Source: Boom! Studios

After Willow’s second version, we get to see Xander’s second story. This time his takes place at The Bronze, Sunnydale’s only club, where Giles and the rest of the older population of Sunnydale attack; revealing themselves to be vampires. As you can tell, this story is just as fantastical as Xander’s first. This time rather than focusing on Giles being British, Xander chooses to focus on the fact that he’s old; something that Giles calls out, along with Xander’s focus on Giles’ Britishness in the first story when he eventually decides to tell his version of events – more on that later.

Buffy’s story isn’t one that she tells so much as imagines when Giles eventually asks her to recount her version; in it, she imagines herself joining Giles, even referring to him as her father at one point. Andolfo hones in on the fact that Giles acts as a father figure to Buffy and uses that in Buffy’s story to show how Buffy perceives him.

Source: Boom! Studios

Across the book, Siya Oum’s art is great; it’s consistent, feels dynamic when it comes to fight scenes, and the layout works really well; at times feeling like shots you would see in a tv show. Take, for example, the close-ups on eyes and faces in smaller boxes layered over larger panels. Most importantly, it’s easy to follow as the reader’s eyes are easily guided from panel to panel. Something like that can be easy to mess up and Oum handles it perfectly.

Complimenting the art nicely are Eleonora Bruni’s colours which are vibrant and elevate the art. Bruni is colouring several different types of scenes in this issue, with scenes taking place in everything from a graveyard to a nightclub and each of page looks just right, with the colouring fitting the mood of each scene to a “T”.

Tea Time does what a good what-if style story should; it offers a premise and delivers are the premise while being fun along the way. As well, it ends with a twist just for the fun of it. All in all, Tea Time is a good time and, in my opinion, worth picking up.

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Comics

Fun-Size Roundtable: Good Luck #1

Rumours have been coming in about the world possibly going to hell and well, we’re gonna need something like luck. Now that was not an intended pun, but we sure could use some luck. And not the bad kind of luck either!

Well, it does seem like people are trying to save us. Or at least I like to believe that. And what’s my source you say? Well, all I got is this little comic, but I like to think that perhaps someone must have been there to capture the exploits of the brave souls who are trying to save our world, because here’s the one thing: they’re not lucky, or at least they aren’t according to this comic.


What’s this comic you say? Well, it’s Good Luck #1 by Matthew Erman, Stefano Simeone, Mike Fiorentino, and Michelle Ankley. In addition to telling the news to us, it tells it in style, so of course I had to get some of my fellow peers to analyse and evaluate this comic, not as a means of news mind you, but whether it is newsworthy storytelling. And now I leave you with their thoughts.

Ashley Durante (@ashleyacts)


Good Luck #1. Credit: Matthew Erman, Stefano Simeone, Mike Fiorentino, and Michelle Ankley

We’ve all had our fair share of unlucky days. But what if you were perpetually unlucky? What if everyone else around you were magically imbued with the power of luck; and that cruel mistress took one look at you and said, “No. Not that one.”? Such is the fate of Artemis Barlow and his fellow ragtag “Unfortunates.” In Good Luck #1, we meet the sweetly optimistic Artemis and only fall more in love with this unlucky sad-sack every time he falls down and shouts, “Ouch! My bones!” 


Like most people, whether novel or comic, I’m looking for a good story. But if you hook me with characters I care about too, I’m putty in your hands. Suffice it to say, I’m already on team Artie & Co. Good Luck #1’s color story soars, with an 80’s pop color scheme that’s just vintage enough to feel futuristic. If I had a lone complaint after reading this first issue, it would be that I want even more lore. This story has a lot of potential and I’m hoping the next issues will give us more than just a leaky faucet’s worth of information on Doctor Diaphanous and the training simulations the Unfortunates have been running. Perhaps we’ll get lucky?

Allison Senecal (@maliciousglee)


Good Luck #1. Credit: Matthew Erman, Stefano Simeone, Mike Fiorentino, and Michelle Ankley

Luck-based powers are always a tough sell for me as a reader, and Good Luck throws us into a whole luck-based world. Where it really succeeds is making its focus the only kids on Earth entirely without luck. These kids, the Unfortunates, are easily the biggest strength of this issue. Stefano Simeone created some fun character designs for them and Hilde has an eye-patch so I know I’ll remember her forever. Props to Mike Fiorentino for forcing me to like lowercase lettering in a comic. 

Sci-fi and fantasy comics tend toward inevitable info-dumps, and I do wish the front-loaded one here had been integrated into the action instead. The initial narration comes off more clunky than epic and I would have been pulled in faster had Erman and Co. dropped us in with Artie off the bat. I’m not sure there’s enough of a hook to keep me on this monthly, but I’d snag the trade.

Gabrielle Cazeaux (@gabrielle_doo)


Good Luck #1. Credit: Matthew Erman, Stefano Simeone, Mike Fiorentino, and Michelle Ankley

I’m always attracted to weird and new concepts, and that’s what interested me about Good Luck. A group of the most unfortunate people in the world; the underdogs, if you will. I was weary, of course, of that being just a façade to make the characters more relatable, something which I think is a problem that’s becoming very common nowadays. But instead, this first issue was a great surprise, and if I’m being honest, everything I could want for a first issue.

From the very first panel to the last, thanks to the angles of the panels and the way they’re organized, it feels like you’re always stumbling through the pages, constantly glitching. In a good way, almost like our unlucky protagonists. And without over-explaining itself, it presents us with interesting themes that I’d love to further explore; what does it really mean to be unlucky? How do you live if it’s assured that everything will always go badly? Are they being told the truth about their supposed purpose and functionality in this world?

I’m completely sold on the story. I definitely want to see what else this world has to offer, and how it develops its futuristic and cosmic mythology, and these distinct characters that apparently have no chances of ever winning from the very start.

Ed Escobar (@AsleepTurnpike)


Good Luck #1. Credit: Matthew Erman, Stefano Simeone, Mike Fiorentino, and Michelle Ankley

Good Luck #1 portrays an interesting blend of abstract ideas and phenomena, such as gods and luck, with science fiction. The idea of “quantifiable luck” is an interesting one, and certainly focusing on the few people whose fortune has led them to be born without any luck at all is a catchy premise. The character we follow through the issue, Artemis, is charming and funny in his literally nonsensical optimism. There are several unexplained mysteries here that will probably have me coming back for the next few issues, though the exposition that is there remains somewhat clunky. 

The character writing by Erman is solid enough, and the bright and colorful art by Simeone is delightful. The lettering by Fiorentino is great, especially for an issue with as much dialogue as this. I’m looking forward to seeing the way this story develops, now that the main concepts are set.

Simon Zuccherato (@PredapSZ)


Good Luck #1. Credit: Matthew Erman, Stefano Simeone, Mike Fiorentino, and Michelle Ankley

First issues are often hard, having to introduce the characters, plot, and provide a hook to keep reading. Luckily enough, Good Luck #1 manages to accomplish all this. It provides a lot of exposition about the world, packing the pages with word balloons, and while it can feel a bit stilted at some points it’s never a chore to read through.

Stefano Simeone does a great job with the colours, creating a world filled with reds, blues, and yellows that are both aesthetically pleasing and indicate the relative levels of luck in the current location. While it’s by no means an all-time great #1, I was still impressed, and am looking forward to seeing where this series goes.