Dehliah Dirk And The King's ShillingVolume two in this series, in which Dirk deals with fame, family, infamy, and choosing between reputation and friendship. They step back a bit from the fantastic elements of the first volume, here, but that doesn't stop the adventure.
All-New Captain America: Hydra Ascendant by Remender, ImmonenSam Wilson is currently Captain America, and Marvel has not been shy in dealing with people's reactions to a black Cap. Racists (conscious and un) abound. This volume, however, particularly deals with one likely racist, Steve Englehart. When Sam Wilson was first introduced, he was as much of a paragon as any superhero; a brave, kind, social worker. In the mid-70s, Steve Englehart wrote a Cap story in which it was revealed that Sam was actually a former crook, "Snap" Wilson, reformed into a good man by the Red Skull's cosmic cube. Over the course of the next four decades, the Snap persona got retconned away in bits and pieces by an assortment of less-racist writers, and in this volume, it is made clear once and for all that "Snap" was the actual creation of the Skull. Sam is and always has been a good man, not a crook. He reflects, "'Snap' Wilson does haunt me. Not because it was ever true -- but because they expected me to believe it. That it was so damned obvious to them that's what I should have been. That they chose that story -- and for all the reasons they chose it."
In story, he's talking about the Red Skull and his minions, but this is actually a message about the misguided men (Englehart among them) who decided that the "real" story of Sam Wilson was that, as a black man, he wasn't allowed to be a saint, he had to be a thug.
Swords Of Sorrow by Gail Simone and many more"Swords" is a massive crossover event featuring Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris, Vampirella, Jungle Girl, the modern Kato, Lady Zorro, Miss Fury, and a bunch of other characters Dynamite Entertainment currently has the rights to. A mysterious hero called the Traveller must gather heroes from across the universes to fight the Prince Of All Universes, and his allies, including Mistress Hel, Purgatori, and Chastity. This volume has the strengths and weaknesses typical of such crossovers (vagueness of motive, obligatory hero fights, irrelevant side stories), but the character interactions are fun, and often insightful. Of the dozen or so artists, all are talented, and some are even not overly cheesecakey.
Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology, edited by Sfé R. MonsterWhile not every story in this anthology is a winner, on balance it's a keeper. Recommended.
The Sleeper And The Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris RiddellInteresting deconstructrionist take on Snow White & Sleeping Beauty, with lovely illustrations. Plus, twist ending!
Secret Wars by Jonathan Hickman, Esad RibicI confess the greatest weakness of this volume is that it's too short. The multiverse has ended, and Doctor Doom has built a new Earth from the shards left behind. He rules over it with a fist as benevolent as he can manage, but everything is warped by his obsessions. A motley collection of heroes from the previous universes come to his world, and scrape together a revolution. There are lots of very clever bits, such as "I am Groot!" and "The title's not honorary." Though, I gotta say, I wonder if the cover was intended to be so blatant an homage to Crisis On Infinite Earths.
How To Draw Fantasy Art & RPG Maps by Jared BlandoThis is primarily a guide to artistic techniques, not advice on worldbuilding. Within those bounds, it's excellent at what it does, with lots of advice on the best ways to represent mountains, rivers, seas, cities, and ruins; and how to draw decorative borders, heraldic details, and the like. If you're looking to create a prop for your roleplaying campaign, or a map to go in the opening pages of your fantasy novel, this is the book to get.
Savage Worlds by Shane Lacy HensleyI confess I was expecting Savage Worlds to be something other than, basically, a lighter form of GURPS, but it fills that niche well. Given my background, I'll use GURPS instead, but that's not a vote against it.
Spacewreck: Ghostships And Derelicts Of Space by Stewart CowleyIn the 1970s, Spacecraft: 2000-2100 AD fired my young mind, and is one of the forces that set the course of my life. It was the first volume of the Terran Trade Authority series, and with my acquisition of Spacewreck, 40 years later, I now have the complete set. Few of the books have been as good as Spacecraft, but I imagine a portion of that is rose-colored nostalgia. This volume does have a weakness, in that many of the wrecks are "unknown kind of ship, wrecked in unknown manner". Seriously, a wreck can be dramatic without being mysterious. Still, there are story nuggets here to spark the brains of kids both 7 and 47.