This week’s main review is Kid Cudi Presents Moon Man #1Plus, the Wednesday Comics Team has its usual rundown of the new #1s, finales and other notable issues from non-Big 2 publishers, all of which you can find below … enjoy!

Moon Man #1Kid Cudi Presents Moon Man #1

Writers: Scott Mescudi and Kyle Higgins
Artist: Marco Locati
Colors: Igor Monti
Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Image Comics

Review by Khalid Johnson

Scott Mescudi aka Kid Cudi continues to expand his artistic horizons; this time exploring the new frontier of comics. Mescudi co-writes Moon Man with decorated writer Kyle Higgins under Higgins’ creative collective Black Market Narrative. From his first album, Scott envisioned himself as the man on the moon, the moon man so this is a wonderful extension of his musical identity and ideas.

In Moon Man, we meet Ramon, an astronaut who has returned home after a voyage to the moon gone awry; for seven minutes, Ramon and the rest of his crew were unaccounted for, having hit cosmic turbulence. Every time we’re presented an image of something cosmic in this first issue, it’s jaw dropping, often utilizing double page spreads to immerse the reader even further in this space.

Artist Marco Locati has a style that meshes so well with everything going on, from distinctive and expressive characters to the sense of scale, motion and movement when the cosmic visuals kick up. The colors of Igor Monti bring added vividness, dialing up and dialing back as needed based on where we are. When we move from the ordinary into the cosmic, everything dials up and becomes more vibrant, and for those sequences alone, you should check this first issue out. Paired with the lettering of Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, this book sings. Otsmane-Elhaou complements the expressiveness of the characters, the vivid art, by bringing the expressive lettering that always makes his work a treat to see and adds more excitement and/or nuance to a character’s speech.

Even further still, I couldn’t look at the art without hearing Kid Cudi’s songs playing in my head, so on the strength of that, Moon Man feels like a homerun. As Ramon returns home to Cleveland, Ohio, he is met with the perception of being a hometown hero, a big brother, and the sobering realities of corporate monopoly and overreach by Janus, a company that feels like [insert myriad companies here]. These ideas are juggled compellingly, as Ramon discovers that he has powers in the wake of his trek to the moon and is confronted with the potential,  the responsibility that accompanies having great power.

I can’t recommend this first issue enough and am excited to see where the Moon Man goes on his adventure.

Verdict: BUY

  • Jill and the Killers #1 (Oni Press): For fans of Garden Club Detective Squad, here comes a fresh femme forward foray into small town murder with a true crime twist that advertises much at a whopping 48 pages, but consistently underwhelms resulting in retread territory. Between writer Olivia Cuartero-Briggs’ mystery exposition and backstory introspection, the air is filled with a Spider-Man’s worth of genuinely funny wisecracks that derail plot and pace into a choppy, though linear mess. While futzing with every inch of dialogue to pack out-of-the-ordinary verbiage into every panel results in great shots in isolation, their sequencing can feel sporadic and aimless. This cake-having-eating is only worsened by every panel feeling equal in size and importance. With little metaphor, Roberta Ingranata’s digital inks read straight-forward, though their shot selection rehashes medium closeups amid a disappointing depth of field that flattens an abundance of detail into claustrophobic and spatially unclear environments for Jill and the Killers to play in. Doesn’t help either that dramatic turns requiring a key reveal are consistently done so in an unintentional Where’s Waldo? of visual information that only further confuses eyelines and pacing. Another oddity is the Jersey Shore airbrushing of bronzer and highlight to every possible character regardless of light source, time of day, or purpose. Colorists Warnia K. Sahadewa and Rebecca Nalty show consistent control over warm and cold moods with noise filters and chipboard textures adding atmosphere where there would be none, but the cheeky distractions on our cast’s faces combined with the constant gags ultimately reduces tension. As well, every balloon has a second outer stroke to help with clarity, but when added to wide set tails with little curl, it ends up interrupting immersion in head-and-shoulders talking moments. Letterer Haley Rose-Lyon had the unenviable task of forcing multiple dialogue lines into single balloons along letterer-unfriendly compositions, which causes some harm to the overall hilarious vocal cadence Jill spews throughout the book. As a major mystery fan and true crime enthusiast, I would love to love this production, but at $6.99 USD the asking price is quite high for what is ultimately delivered. —Beau Q.
  • Power Rangers Unlimited – Morphin’ Masters #1 (BOOM! Studios): The infection spreads through the Morphin Grid as the Darkest Hour event continues within the Power Rangers books with the Ranger Slayer on a quest to stop it by finally reaching the elusive morphin masters. Longtime Power Rangers scribe, Ryan Parrott, returns to the teenagers with attitude, partnered with Rachel Wagner on writing duties. The pair dive deep into the psyche of the Ranger Slayer, addressing her trauma, guilt, and desire for redemption through a singular mission. With that, they explore this personal growth through existential themes related to higher powers and what humans can do when they finally do get answers to the tough question of just who is watching them? With art and colors by Daniel Bayliss and Arthur Hesli respectively, the journey to find the morphin masters is made that more fantastical by set pieces straight out of fantasy epics, including one double-page splash in particular providing a sense of scale in the face of the task at hand. The letters by Ed Dukeshire bring the illustrated action to life with well-designed SFX, as well as impressive lettering choices for non-human characters. —Bryan Reheil

The Prog Report

  • 2000AD Prog 2367  (Rebellion Publishing): It’s a small window, since I started doing these Prog Reports last fall, but I think this week’s issue is the most varied and rich one I’ve reviewed yet. The main Judge Dredd story is incredible (more on that in this space in the weeks to come), Enemy Earth remains a blast, and two more new stories join Thistlebone as great, fresh additions to these pages for 2024. Those stories are the Full Tilt Boogie Book Two by Alex De Campi, Eduardo Ocana, Eve De La Cruz, and Annie Parkhouse; and The English Astronaut by Paul Cornell, Laura Helsby, Matt Soffe, and Jim Campbell. More on both (and Thistlebone) in future installments, but for now I’ll just note I’m enjoying all these new 2024 stories quite a bit. As always, you can nab a digital copy of this week’s Prog here. —Zack Quaintance

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