Self-discovery and introspection are integral parts to any comic book that tells the origins of a character, but the very best stories always manage to find a way to make a character’s reflections about themselves feel relatable.
The heroes of this week’s best new comics are all at points in their lives when they’ve got to do some deep soul searching about how others see them and what kinds of people they want to be. They’re not exactly saving the world or anything, but sometimes it’s those deeply personal journeys that really feel as if they’ve got impossibly huge stakes to them.
In an age where people dream of becoming famous influencers whose social media presences have the power to actually create sustainable incomes, Black Mask Studios’ Snap Flash Hustle, from co-creators Pat Shand and Emily Pearson, feels both incredibly timely and not all that realistic, all things considered.
Like most 20-somethings living in major metropolitan areas, Snap Flash Hustle’s heroine Haley Mori is at a point in her life where she doesn’t exactly know what she’s doing. She’s happy enough in her loving throuple relationship with her boyfriend and girlfriend, but outside of the safe confines of their apartment, the world’s a rough and tumble place that seemingly doesn’t have space for someone like Haley, who works mostly as an alternative model.
Rather than fighting any sort of fantastical monsters or super villains, Haley’s greatest challenge is managing the all-too-real responsibilities of adulthood, like paying her portion of the rent and staying on top of the mountains of debt she’s accrued for herself. Haley’s perfectly capable of getting by (just barely) when we first meet her in Snap Flash Hustle, but her life takes a turn for the...strange when she accidentally becomes involved with a group of elite New York City models who are secretly part of a massive drug running operation. (Pat Shand, Emily Pearson, Black Mask Studios)
Dark Horse Comics’ Black Hammer: Cthu-Louise tells the all-too-relatable story of Louise, a young girl struggling to deal with the fact that her father is a vessel for an elder god who has passed his monstrous visage down to her.
Though she has the potential to become an integral part of all sorts of ancient rituals that would herald the end times and see the world taken over by demons like herself and her father, all Louise really wants is to feel like a normal little girl and be accepted by her peers.
While Louise’s father is essentially the only other person in the world who understands what it’s like to be a tentacle monster, he’s anything but a supportive, loving parent, making Louise’s home life that much more stressful. That turmoil drives her to consider whether it might just be worth giving into the darkness she knows lies within her, if it means that she might have a shot at finally being happy. (Jeff Lemire, Emi Lennox, Dark Horse Comics)
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