This week’s lead review for Wednesday Comics is Spy Superb #1, the new book from Matt and Sharlene Kindt that combines secret agents with oblivious aspiring creatives. In addition, the Wednesday Comics Team has a rundown of the new #1s and finales from non-Big 2 publishers, all of which you can find below … enjoy!
Spy Superb #1
Writer/Artist/Letterer: Matt Kindt
Colorist: Sharlene Kindt
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Spy Superb is a fun approach to the spy genre by Matt Kindt with beautiful colors by Sharlene Kindt. This is not a traditional story of espionage as one of the big conceits of the title “Spy Superb” is the urban legend surrounding it; an infallible secret agent that always gets the job done. This first issue spends the beginning of the story walking the reader through the concept of Spy Superb; which is no one agent at all but ordinary people manipulated into being at the right place at the right time to fulfill tasks under the Half-Huit program (that’s such a fun and on-the-nose name).
After providing an explanation of Spy Supreme the story then proceeds to introduce an insufferable protagonist in Jay Bartholomew III. He’s a character you love to hate as he functions as a satirization of the worst possible people; all while fumbling his way into the machinations of the story and other organizations at play. Jay is self-important, entitled, arrogant, and believes himself to be the smartest man in the room; insufferable. He is functionally the antithesis to what a super spy should be and even when the idea of Spy Superb is to select someone unwitting, it remains obvious why Jay hasn’t been a candidate. Matt Kindt showcases some masterful irony in his choice of image and how his images juxtapose the things being said.
A chief example of the irony on display would be a conversation about generosity where an empty tip jar is prominent in the foreground. These deliberate choices are a strength in Kindt’s work here; his set-up for an action or punchline makes the payoff all the more rewarding. Jay fumbles into the issue’s conclusion which leaves me excited for the continued direction of this story and curious about Jay’s own journey.
I cannot stress enough the amount of storytelling craft within this first issue of Spy Superb as Matt Kindt does both the writing and line art which are no small tasks to take on as a creator. Knowing his work process, how he arrives at final inks and then passes his pages on to be colored; this book is a feat not just in its character work but artistically as well. Sharlene injects color into the world of Spy Superb with watercolor painting that demonstrates a mastery over the craft and an eye for mood and tone within storytelling.
Wednesday Comics Quick Hits
- Children of the Sun #1 (ABLAZE Publishing): Children of the Black Sun #1, written by Dario Sicchio with art by Letizia Cadonici, colors by Francesco Segala, and letters by Ingegni is a fascinating start to a brand new series. The concept, that for two random days, years apart, a black sun rose instead of its normal counterpart, is fantastic. The issue lays out the simplicity of the story well and immediately gets the reader thinking. It’s easy to imagine how wildly an occurrence like this would impact life from that moment on, and the team does a great job at presenting a world that has dealt with that change. Not only did the Black Sun occur, but the one change it brought to the planet, children born with different genetic alterations, has left the world perplexed for years. The issue has an eerie feeling to it that the art captures perfectly. There’s great mystery and solid escalation at play. Themes of isolationism, superiority, worship, and prejudice are among those the issue broaches. Overall, this is a strong beginning to an intriguing new series. (Alex Batts)
- Mosley #1 (BOOM! Studios): Bitter. Bitter tastes complex. Bitter is an important flavor profile. When mixed with sugar, bitter grounds sweetness. It’s why the sweetest Xmas movies start with a bitter, cynical Scrooge, pepper in some saccharin, and by film end, hearts are warmed, spirits are rejuvenated, and Xmas is reasonably saved. What writer Rob Guillory and illustrator Sam Lotfi have delivered this New Year’s to our doorstep is a high concept fight-back tale that feels much like the holiday movies we’ve been inundated with albeit, a little more bitter moments than sweet ones. Cantankerous Mosely is our disgruntled luddite whose shoulders are designed to be so broad as to support all the chips in them. He’s got an estranged relationship with Ruby, his utopian techdaughter, and gets mugged by a cyber baby! But beneath colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s warm and graphite-textured palette and Lotfi’s near-afro-futurist streets runs a discombobulated mixture of intent and outcome. Example: there are six double-page spreads that allure, but truncate empathetic scenes to Mosely’s narrative fringes. Add in letterer Andrew Thomas’ cardinal sin of lettering lore text two sizes smaller in saturated red over a white background (not great for accessibility, but may read differently in print!), and you’ve got a series starter that has the right formula for holiday magic, but as of right now tastes a little one note. It’s bitter. (Beau Q.)
- Scotch McTiernan’s Holiday Party (Image Comics): On the second page of this one-shot, Mrs. Claus leaves Santa — telling him “You can suck my dick!” — and we get a last panel where Santa is in his underwear in the snow, sobbing and farting. If that sounds like your kind of thing, you are absolutely going to love this book. Written by Gerry Duggan and comedian Brian Posehn, with art by Scott Koblish, colors by Hi-Fi, and letters by Joe Sabino, this book is a followup of sorts to a 4/20 one-shot that the team did earlier this year. It features one shared character — the titular Scotch McTiernan — and also a shared sense of humor. Humor is probably the most difficult genre in comics, one that’s heavily reliant on shared sensibility, which is why I described page two to start. This book is a stoner humor extravaganza if ever there was one. Also, from a craft perspective, I really enjoyed Scott Koblish’s cartooning in this book, which feels just a bit evocative of the busy and iconic work of Sergio Aragonés. (Zack Quaintance)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Armageddon Game – The Alliance #3 (IDW Publishing): I have fallen behind on the current Armageddon Game story playing out in the TMNT comics (I plan to catch up soon), but I made special time this week to read this issue, which is written and illustrated by Juni Ba, with colors by Ronda Pattison. I absolutely loved the TMNT Annual 2022 that this creative team did, which read well as a standalone this story. Even within the trappings of the event, this issue manages to satisfy on its own merits as well. Ba’s artwork is so interesting and kinetic, an absolutely perfect fit for these anthropomorphic martial arts characters. If you’re a fan like me, don’t hesitate to check this one out. The book also features a backup story by writer Erik Burnham, artist Roi Mercado, colorist William Soares, and letterer Jake M. Wood. (Zack Quaintance)
- Trojan #1 (AWA Studios): Trojan #1 from AWA Studios premieres with interesting characters and an overall concept inspired by the darkest legends of the deep web mixed with the lengths an average person will go to survive in the modern world as an online content producer. Writer Daniel Kraus, with letters from Sal Cipriano, has created a world where humans live alongside mythological beings not in peace, but in hate and resentment, even using their pain for entertainment. Brought to life with art from Laci and colors from Marco Lesko, this twisted version of our own present seeks to — and in my opinion — succeeds in highlighting our own shortcomings as a society. The story goes on to highlight how the most at-risk individuals are forced to act counter to how they normally would just so they can survive another day. (Bryan Reheil)
Wednesday Comics is edited by Zack Quaintance.
Read more entries in the Wednesday Comics series!