The books you need to read in the first week of 2020

It’s been a busy morning since the post-Christmas holidays and the DC releases have started to come in. Almost all had at least one “metaphysical”/bondage/spaghetti western vibe, and most, though most predictable for the holidays, also left readers feeling unhappy.

The other new comic, “Single All the Way,” an LGBTQ sci-fi saga by Matt Fraction (“Sex Criminals,” “Cable and Deadpool”) and artist Michael Walsh (“Nate Grey”), is a great return for a couple of creators who seemed to have disappeared from the comic scene this winter.

The plot begins in the near future in Philadelphia, where a daily station-top survey of the city reveals that “women are now the designated needlers” and women’s roles (and bodies) are changing. There’s a giant and self-explanatory animal called Girlfriend — she is the planet-eating “voice of the husbandless fatherless wifeless childless manless womanless sonless childrenless city-loverless godless narcissist” — a giant mega-hippie “hex-faggot” and many more women who have little but, in Fraction’s descriptions, “the approval of a cat thing.”

For all these people, anger, need and hate are the real resources for salvation, because “non-homo-haters simply want a little space, a little peace.” It’s this that we see when Apothecary Tabitha Shain — always in a pink kerchief — meets the mysterious femme’s boyfriend, Bacon Parrot — one part Xena and one part Steven Tyler — who, in his “dark black owl” suit, makes spaghetti fairytales out of his lives, and for whom a much-needed trauma gives him inner happiness.

And then there’s Detective Veronica Grey, the city’s alcoholic female savior who is also a collector of Samurai swords, whom Bacon is determined to keep silent about her connection to the raid that happened at Apothecary, which is the only place all these people gather.

If this story gets stale, or becomes unbearably cheesy, then I’ll wish for a Harley Quinn called Nut-Lisa instead, or a Girl Scout named Pie; even in the third arc, a fairy princess named Tiggy or maybe just Mip.

The best part is that each story has this particular protagonist as the through-line to the next one, and, in the even bigger part, the series’ dynamics. I already have all three issues, which took me some time to read through. All I have to say is that the “Single All the Way” series is essential if you are a comic fan or if you are trying to figure out what role women play in the sci-fi drama. It’s also highly recommended if you like books with a heavy thematic bent, like we’ve had the past few months. (“White Noise,” “Requiem for a Dream,” “Shock Doctrine,” “Backlash,” “Forces of Nature,” “A Futile and Stupid Gesture” and the new “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”.)

And if you’re, like me, struggling to get excited about the new Marvel “Spider-Man” comic that gives Peter Parker a love interest and possibly removes this problem from the movie version? This comic is set only after the extended annuls of “The Civil War,” when superpowers are more popular (and that entails same-sex romance). It’s not released digitally or as a video game.

I’ve been struggling to say this, but DC is my favorite comic publisher so you could call this a recommendation! Comics are getting fresher and I still need more comics, so.

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