There were a lot of first issues released this week – I looked at Death of Hawkman 1 yesterday – and today I look at three more (with one more still to go!). The ride home last night gave me the chance to take a look at He-Man/Thundercats 1 and Shade the Changing Girl from DC Comics and Moonshine 1 from Image Comics.

He-Man/Thundercats 1
Written by Rob David and Lloyd Goldfine
Art by Freddie Williams II 

Growing up, I watched both of these shows. I had Masters of the Universe figures and Thundercats toys, and the two concepts really did fit pretty well together. It’s not really a stretch to imagine the two properties taking up space in the same universe. So, when this miniseries was announced, it made sense. And as I read the book last night, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of familiarity.

Readers come in to the story with Mumm-Ra, the constant thorn in the side of the Thundercats, being told by the Ancient Spirits of Evil who command him of a new plan to defeat his enemies, and it leads him from Third Earth to Eternia, to steal the Sword of Power from He-Man. The commotion Mumm-Ra causes by bringing the two worlds so close to each other, of course, is just a feint for the real threat for the universe, which is revealed on the last page of the story.

Fair warning, though, if you were a fan of the most recent He-Man series from DC Comics and were hoping for a continuation of the story in that series, you won’t find it here. This miniseries is definitely not in the same continuity.

We’re still in the early stages of the story, so we’ve yet to delve deep into the rest of the Masters of the Universe or the Thundercats, but writers Rob David and Lloyd Goldfine don’t seem to be wasting any time, and I’m sure we’ll see them in short order. Especially intriguing is how the Thundercats will react to Cringer/Battle Cat. Since Mumm-Ra already made a joke about it during the initial confrontation with He-Man, I’m sure more are forthcoming.

Another thing that makes the story pop is the absolutely gorgeous art from Freddie Williams II. The beautifully imagery was perfect for the story and really evoked everything that worked from the 1980s cartoons.

I really do love what DC Comics has done with the He-Man license, and I can’t wait for more. Maybe a Thundercats series can follow the miniseries…

Moonshine 1
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Eduardo Risso 

My love of crime noir comics was really cultivated by Azzarello and Risso’s 100 Bullets from Vertigo comics, so when I saw that the team was reunited to do a new book, I knew I would be on board. The first issue of their new collaboration was a great hook, and reading it was like a fresh visit with an old friend.

Moonshine follows Lou Pirlo, a New York City gangster during Prohibition, who was sent down to the backwoods of West Virginia to get a moonshiner on board with their operation up north. You’d think it would be an easy play. Toss a lot of money at a hillbilly and be done with it, right? Yeah, the worlds Azzarello and Risso craft are never that cut and dry. Hiram Holt, the man making the product Pirlo’s boss wants, doesn’t really take too kind to outsiders trying to interfere with operations. So how will Pirlo’s boss react? Something tells me he won’t take it well, as Pirlo refers to him as crazy throughout the issue.

There really is something great about a collaboration between Azzarello and Risso. The language and the art comes together like chocolate and peanut butter. Setting the story during Prohibition, in the country, does well to distinguish from the very modern, urban setting of 100 Bullets. I was completely drawn in from the first page and I’m looking forward to where the story goes from here.

If Moonshine is even half as good as 100 Bullets was, Image Comics should have another hit on its hands.

Shade the Changing Girl 1
Written by Cecil Castellucci and Gilbert Hernandez 
Art by Gilbert Hernandez and Marley Zarcone 

I’m not sure I know where to even start with this book. It’s part of  DC Comics’ new Young Animal imprint headed up by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, which has already debuted it’s new Doom Patrol and has a couple more books coming up in the next few weeks. While I wasn’t really a fan of the first issue of Doom Patrol, I think Shade the Changing Girl was a much more intriguing concept and the story was a lot more interesting to me.

The star of the book, Loma Shade, stole a jacket used by her favorite poet – a madness cloak that helped Rac Shade travel between home planet Meta and Earth – and runs away from what she considers a boring life into a new one here. She inhabits the body of Megan Boyer, a brain dead teenage girl on life support, a former Mean Girl who overdosed while partying with her friends at a lake. The news of Megan’s return to the world of the conscious quickly spreads, but playing Loma’s personality against the expectations of Megan’s friends should make for an interesting tale.

The Young Animal line is supposed to be headlined by the new Doom Patrol, but I think Shade the Changing Girl could be the standard bearer for the line in the same way that Sandman became the book against which all other Vertigo books were judged. In fact, I got a strong Sandman vibe from the first issue, which bodes well for the long-term storytelling possibilities for Loma and the other residents of the small town where she now lives.

Now, I’m really excited about the rest of the Young Animal line, with a reinvention of Cave Carson coming next and a new character, Mother Panic, giving some new insight into Gotham City’s nightlife.

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