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Advance Reviews by JoeLovesComics | 25th August

Curious to know what some of the new Image/Boom! issues releasing this week are like? Look no further than the latest edition of this segment!


The issues covered this week are:

  • The Department of Truth #12

  • Echolands #1

  • Good Luck #3

  • Ice Cream Man #25

  • King Spawn #1

  • M.O.M: Mother of Madness #2

  • Once & Future #19

All reviews will be spoiler free.


The Department of Truth #12

I absolutely adore that cover, I remember when it was first revealed, and I was just utterly blown away. The murky reds and blues, there's just something so mesmerising about it, more so than some other covers in the series. Because don't get me wrong there are some awesome covers in this series, but man something about this one, probably easily my favourite cover of the series. (The 6th printing of #1 comes very close)

But enough about the cover, this was another stellar issue. This is a series that somehow outdoes itself every time, consistently making every issue not just another read, but an experience. Seeing more of how long the Department has unknowingly been in Cole's life before he officially started working there. After a two part Bigfoot arc, the wider story comes back into play as this second arc heads towards it's conclusion. A comic with a lot of talking can be dangerous in terms of keeping a reader's interest, but Simmonds' art perfectly compliments the dialogue to continue that sinister and eerie undertone that has been thread throughout this series.

In short, as always not going to be for everyone, but personally I am continuing to absolutely love this series and excited to see how the arc ends next issue.

Echolands #1

"A Major Image Comics 2021 Event" According to the solicitation. After reading I think it definitely lives up to that, and that might even be an understatement. It's just the sort of comic that everyone needs to see for themselves.

I hadn't read anything with JH Williams III art before this, so as my first exposure to his art this was truly a treat and really lived up to the hype. There's so much packed into every page, but not in a way that feels busy or rushed, every detail is meticulously drawn and especially with the gorgeous colours by Dave Stewart which just elevate the whole thing.

The obvious thing to mention is the landscape nature of the comic. It might not seem like a big deal, simply going against the grain orientation wise, but it really does make for a unique and refreshing reading experience. Not even in a 90s "every page is a splash page" way, but just the way the composition is thought through gives a fantastic wide screen feel that can make you believe it's more like a movie than a comic. Helped of course by how dynamic the art is. Even one of the quieter pages in the book, the composition is just so satisfying it's hard not to like it. Also there are a couple of points where the art style is different from anything else in the book which creates such a distinct moment you just want to stare at and absorb.

That said there's definitely time for more story in issues to come hopefully, there was some nice set up here and I'm excited to see how this world gets explored. But honestly this was worth checking out for the art alone, like I said it's something everyone needs to see for themselves and experience. I almost feel like just reading it digitally didn't do it justice, with it's unique format I'm particularly looking forward to seeing this in the flesh at my LCS tommorow. Don't miss out!

Good Luck #3

There's just something so nice and appealing about this series. Like the equivalent of a cheery bubbly individual, this is just plain fun.

Nowadays, indie comics can cover such a wide variety of publishers and comics. With the launch of Spawn's Universe and the continuation of Keanu Reeves' comic BRZRKR, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype of all these big name launches that some big two comics would dream to have. That's not necessarily a bad thing, for one Echolands certainly deserves to be called "A Major Image Comics 2021 Event", but this is just two creators telling a great story and having lots of fun with it.

That fun is clearly present, I love how bright and bold the art is, especially the colours like shown really nicely on that cover. After a major event from the previous issue this one explores the consequences of that, so it's a bit slower than previous issues, but I like the time spent with the characters and that ending is super interesting as the series continues.

Ice Cream Man #25

What to say about this issue. It feels about as Ice Cream Man as you can get, and I mean that in the best way possible. A comic issue that follows a fictionalised plane crash as the plane heads towards the ground would be too random or out of place for most series, but for Ice Cream Man it is completely understandable.

Existentialist conversations, general eerieness, and just sheer panic (but not in the way you expect) all come together in the brilliant ICM manner. Because everyone loves a good horror story with a monster as much as the next person, but why shock the audience with gruesome imagery when you can freak them out like this instead. Then without spoiling anything, just when you think it's at least going to have a happy ending? Well... you'll see if you read the issue.

Ice Cream Man, freaks you out and makes you contemplate life or no money back, happy 25th issue!

(Also, how about that bonus story huh...)

King Spawn #1

All hail the King! So, here we have it, the first of the new Spawn's Universe titles. The Detective Comics to Spawn's Batman as I think I've heard McFarlane describe it as before. Or at least something similar as that is the general idea of this comic. A second Spawn title.

And it's pretty dope not going to lie! The recent issues of the main Spawn title have been absolutely off the wall crazy with all the different Spawns, his whole fight with Omega Spawn, and the previous issue was just plainly a whole issue action scene against Soul Crusher. But the main story in this was much more atmospheric and calculated. I would say it's more grounded than some of the recent main Spawn issues, but as grounded as you can be in the universe of this book haha.

I know Detective Comics doesn't necessarily have detective stories, but with that comparison from the start of the review, this does have a mystery element to it. Spawn doing some investigating, Heaven and Hell shenanigans (understatement) yeah it's a great Spawn story. I mentioned it felt very atmospheric, the art definitely contributes mainly to that. It really nicely nails the moodiness of the dark scenes, and the bold explosiveness of others when needed, it fits the story really well. Finally, I know the current DC books have turned people off to the idea of backup stories, but the ones here were well worth a read and I'm really excited at what was teased for the continued expansion of Spawn's Universe!

M.O.M: Mother of Madness #2

I loved this issue. Whilst I did enjoy the first issue, I thought the reduced page count did make this one better. The first issue was very chaotic, as Maya told us all about herself, it was mostly quite fast paced and though I liked it I could see what people meant when they thought it was messy.

Whilst I did really enjoy this issue, I do worry about getting everything wrapped up in just one more issue, even if it is as oversized as this one. This issue spent a lot of time again with Maya giving us aspects of her past. If the first issue was her childhood leading up to the discovery of her powers, this was more about her mastering her powers and exercising them in the present day, as well as another aspect of her past I won't spoil. That leads to the major plot thread of the issue, which I did like. But again I was a bit skeptical as the end of the previous issue teased a main plot thread, and that's only briefly returned to here.

It's the sort of comic where I enjoyed it while I was reading it, finding out more about Maya and her backstory and seeing her at home with her son and using her powers, it didn't have quite enough actual plot to make it memorable to me after I finished it. Reading the solicit for #3 and baring in mind the ending to this issue, it did give me hope that the two main plot threads will come together. But we will see, it's a fun read with really nice art (the style and the colours really pop) but I'm nervous if it's going to stick the landing and have a fufilling final issue with #3.

Once & Future #19

Once & Future makes it's grand return after a fourth month hiatus, and what a return it is!

I've got to be honest, it's been a bit longer than that since I've read an issue of this series. Late last year I finally got round to catching up on this series and loved it. But when I tried to jump on in single issues I was so used to reading it in trade format I decided to trade wait the third arc as well. Haven't got round to reading that yet, but even though I wasn't fully caught up I could still follow this issue really well.

In probably the most dramatic arc opener yet, after the ending of the last arc the whole of England has gone to s***. No matter how cliche it is to say it seems everything from the past 18 issues has been leading to this, and it really has that fantasy epic feel to it with King Arthur and Merlin at more of a win than they've ever been this series. But it's still grounded in the emotional bond between Duncan and Bridgette.

What's to be said about the art in this series that hasn't already been said. Just simply insane. Mora's art style is perfect at showing the fantastical elements of the series, but not so that it's unrealistic. It's always so smooth and animated, like an awesome animated show on paper. Then Bonvillain's colouring. Her colouring is absolutely next level. Mora has done some awesome work elsewhere, but here? It's top tier, and that's because of the way Bonvillain exceptionally elevates his pencils with her legendary colouring.


This article was written by JoeLovesComics, who you can follow over on Twitter for (albeit shorter) thoughts on comics he loves.

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