Comics Disassembled: Ten Things of Note from the Past Week in Comics, Led by A Surprising Return

In a week filled with an array of contenders for the top spot, we must follow one of the golden rules of SKTCHD: the tie goes to the news that relates to Wildstorm. So, let’s look at ten things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics, led by…wait…IS THAT JENNY SPARKS’ MUSIC?!

1. Jenny Sparks, Keeping the Wildstorm Dream Alive

It turns out that it was in fact Jenny Sparks’ music, because our dear, dear spirit of the (now) 21st century is back in an upcoming six-issue miniseries called…well, it’s just called Jenny Sparks. While a skeptical take on this based on everything DC’s revealed is that this is all setup for a new The Authority series ahead of their arrival in the upcoming Superman film and their own one, I’m going to choose to ignore that. And that’s because this is a Jenny Sparks series with some real potential to it. It’s written by Tom King – someone who feels like he’s Wildstorm without having ever worked on a Wildstorm book – drawn and colored by Jeff Spokes, and lettered by Clayton Cowles.

That creative team alone is superb, but the strongest indicator of its potential is it’s a DC Black Label series, so a) we’ll know it has a chance of being proper Jenny and b) it will be able to avoid being tied into larger DC events, even if the preview art features Batman and we know that Captain Atom is the book’s hostage-taking villain, for unknown reasons. The early look at pages from this series give it an electric feel, with Spokes’ art wowing and Jenny’s endlessly alluring bad attitude radiating off the page. I do find the idea that Jenny’s apparent role in this universe is as “the one woman tasked with keeping all the heroes in line, no matter the cost” a little strange, but if there’s one character that would be even more enthusiastic about decking an unruly Guy Gardner than Batman, it’d probably be Jenny. So that all adds up in my mind. This series launches in August, and I am very in on it.

That said, I did want to make one more note. If the original version of Jenny from Stormwatch and then The Authority was The Spirit of the 20th Century before she died and was reborn as the 21st century’s edition of that same concept, what is that going to mean for the character? Because frankly, the 20th century was comparatively idealistic and considerably less toxic than where we’re at now. What does that mean for the character? Will King explore that idea? I hope so, because there’s a lot of potential in that idea. Speaking of potential: Gimme some Jack Hawksmoor, Tom! The people want Hawskmoor, not Hawksless! (Okay, I’ll see myself out)

2. The X-Pansion, Continuing

Another week, another pair of newly announced X-Men titles, as the onslaught — not Onslaught, though! — continues onwards. The big one was a new Storm ongoing series, one with an inspired creative team of writer Murewa Ayodele and artist Lucas Werneck, with the latter I believe being the first carry-over from the Krakoa Era, creatively speaking. It’s arriving in October, and it sounds impressive in scope and scale, with Ayodele digging into some details on Twitter while sharing some of his grandiose plans (I particularly like his note about how while Storm is an omega-level mutant, there may be things “beyond omega,” which is spicy). This is one of the most exciting announcements yet, if only because it’s one of the first where I could really see the shape of something new here. Of course, it’s a bit counter-balanced by this week’s other Storm reveal, in that she’s apparently an Avenger now, which will just add that much more to her incredibly busy dance card. But I trust in Ayodele and Werneck to make it work.

The other announcement was a four issue mini-series, Dazzler, from writer Jason Loo and artist Rafael Loureiro. On the surface, this title that’s coming in September might sound a bit uninspired, as it seems to be a play towards the towering rumors that Taylor Swift will appear as the character in Deadpool & Wolverine. But the idea actually sounds like a lot of fun, as it’s actually a story that follows Dazzler on tour in the post-Krakoa Era with a gaggle of mutants as her road crew, including “head of security Domino, personal guard Strong Guy, one-man roadie Multiple Man, drummer Shark-Girl, and expert publicist Wind Dancer,” per the announcement. You had me at Multiple Man as a roadie. While I am sure it will be more than just a tour series, with some sort of conflict or tension assuredly being introduced, I like it’s curveball approach. It sounds like it has an identity. That’s what this new era for the X-Men needs. Inventiveness! Gimme something exciting to hold onto! These books both do that in their own ways, and I support them in doing so.

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