J&STAC: Labor Day-bor Quick Hits

-J. Michael Bestul is a writer for the Addison Recorder. Stephanie Ruehl is an artist who works in a comic book shop. They’re married and have a lot of discussions about comic books and graphic novels. Combine all that into a biweekly feature and you get “J. & Steph Talk About Comics.”

We’ve had limited free time the last couple weeks, but we still wanted to highlight some of the new series that caught our eye while we were traveling to one state or another. To that end, we’ve each picked a pair of new titles to check out — starting with a warrior and his traveling companion (a severed head).

Head Lopper #1 (of 4)

Lopper01words, art, colors by Andrew Maclean, colors by Mike Spicer, published by Image

Synopsis: A mighty warrior known as the Head Lopper is hired to slay a giant seamonster. Unbeknownst to him, plots are being hatched against him. 

Steph: I surprisingly enjoyed this. The story is full of action, and even though the titular character doesn’t say much and is a hardened warrior, I found him likable and endearing. The relationship he has with the severed head of Agatha the Blue Witch (whom he carries around in a sack) is what will keep me reading.

Atomic Robo: the Ring of Fire #1 (of 5)

AtomicRoboandTheRingofFire001cvrAwords by Brian Clevinger, art by Scott Wegener, published by IDW

Synopsis: Tesladyne has been compromised and re-purposed by Majestic-12, and the action scientists are dead, presumed dead, or soon to be dead. Those who remain have one last desperate plan.

-J.: I feel like we haven’t mentioned Atomic Robo in a long time, and that’s a damn shame. Thankfully, the first issue of the new chapter in action science comes out today (in print). It’s been a rough couple of years for the Tesladyne crew, and “Ring of Fire” has them using weird math and grade-school-calculator communication to make a comeback. If you’re not caught up yet, get to it — all Atomic Robo stories are free online!

ToilTrouble-01-CoverToil and Trouble #1

words by Mairghread Scott, art by Kelly and Nicole Matthews, published by Archaia

Synopsis: The story of Macbeth retold from the point of view of the witches who put him in power. 

Steph: I was wondering how much this book could tell us when the story Macbeth is so well known, but the writing is solid and the art is beautiful. I look forward to seeing how the rest of the story will unfold.

Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1

stwjourney2015001-dc11-01-149843words by Greg Rucka, art by Marco Checchetto, published by Marvel

Synopsis: The second Death Star may be destroyed and the Emperor dead, but systems-spanning empires don’t fade quiet into the background noise of the galaxy. There’s still work for the rebels to do.

-J.: No doubt new Recorder scribe PK Sullivan will cover the new canon that Marvel is unleashing. But I have to say, that as 2015 has gone on, I feel like the publisher has steadily improved its Star Wars offerings. Shattered Empire is a teaser, but we get the beginning of what looks to be a solid Rucka narrative — the scale may be mythic (or galactic), but he gives us the human emotions that make it relatable.


The entity known as -J. would be at home in a place like Carcosa or Night Vale, but instead lives near a far more dreary place -- Wrigley Field. He is the patron Addisonian of whisk(e)y and tabletop games, and is often adorned with a waistcoat & his ridiculous mustache.

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