It’s been almost eight years since Marvel first announced a book starring the daughter of Blade, the day-walking vampire hunter — and this week, writer Danny Lore and artist Karen S. Darboe finally put her on the page.
What caused the delay? Well, back in 2015, superhero comics were several years into a lot of conversations about character and creator diversity, conversations that intensified when Marvel announced the debut of a new Black superheroine had been assigned to an all-white, all-male creative team. That book’s writer, Tim Seeley, voluntarily stepped away, with hopes that Marvel would cultivate new talent for the book soon, especially after the success of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze’s Black Panther.
And though I love Seeley’s work, Lore and Darboe were worth the wait, with a first issue that feels very fresh and very classic Marvel at the same time.
What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)
Bloodline: Daughter of Blade #1
It sounds flippant to say that Brielle Brooks’ story so far recalls Buffy the Vampire Slayer — but it’s hard to imagine how a story about a teenage girl discovering her new anti-vampire superpowers could avoid it. Also, Buffy the Vampire Slayer objectively did some things right, and there’s no reason we can’t borrow them. Like when Brielle balances friends and hunting, confronts a fellow teen slayer who just happens to be the new kid at school, or gets advice from a baseline human mentor (in this case, her mom, Safron Caulder, a throwback to Blade’s 1970s adventures in The Tomb of Dracula).
Darboe’s art and Cris Peter’s colors give the whole book more of a YA graphic novel feel than a standard Marvel comic — another great marriage of content to form. If the MCU really is on a casting search for Blade’s daughter for his upcoming movie, they could do worse than what Bloodline’s creative team is laying out here.
DC Power: A Celebration #1
It’s a little thing, but the reconciliation between Cyborg’s rather serious comics incarnation with his more boisterous (but just as beloved) animated one is no small feat. This short story from writer Morgan Hampton and artist Valentine De Landro reframes his cartoon catchphrase as a corny family reference to a (fictional) classic Black sitcom they enjoyed together.
And look, sad origin stories for minor character details are extremely played out, but this isn’t sad! His mom might be gone, but he still keeps the moments they shared close! It’s nice! It’s just nice!
Lazarus Planet: Legends Reborn #1
DC’s Wildstorm characters have been more in the news this week than they’ve been since… maybe ever. Definitely at least since the ’90s. City Boy only counts as a Wildstorm character in a loose sense, I think — he made his debut in DC’s Wildstorm anniversary book, but, I mean, he’s still bopping around the DC Universe with Nightwing and such.
DC hasn’t said where this delinquent teen with a heart of gold and the ability to talk to cities themselves will show up next, but the company has promised more City Boy later this year, and I’m for it. In this short, writer Greg Pak and artist Minkyu Jung do a great job introducing a spicy teen vagrant to some more classic DC superheroes without making anybody look like a chump. Also, the ability to talk directly to the essence of the city you’re in and ask it to do things for you is a great superpower — if I can’t have more stories about Jack Hawksmoor, I’ll sure as heck take City Boy. Also, also, he has a little pet made out of garbage!