Staff Picks: Hey, there's a 'Ragman' haunting Gotham City, let's go check it out

Staff Picks: Hey, there’s a ‘Ragman’ haunting Gotham City, let’s go check it out

By Molly Jane KremerStefania Rudd, Arpad Okay, and Jarrod Jones. Comics that challenge us, slay us, beguile us — the comics we simply can’t wait to devour. That’s DoomRocket’s Staff Picks. Here’s what has set our hearts ablaze this week.

Atomahawk #0Atomahawk #0

Image Comics/$5.99

Written by Donny Cates.

Art by Ian Bederman.

Letters by Taylor Esposito.

MJ: Atomahawk was first serialized in the comic magazine Heavy Metal, and this edition is perfectly composed for that medium, both visually and tonally.

Atomahawk #0 contains the first three serials of the series, in all its magazine-sized glory. Artist Ian Bederman is also a tattoo artist at Royal Legion Tattoo in Austin, TX, and you can see the influence of traditional tattoo design in his sequential art. Bederman’s heavy bold inks are reminiscent of Andrew MacLean’s, provided you soaked everything with Kirby Krackle.

With Atomahawk, Donny Cates—a comics industry It-boy since God Country’s resounding success this year—further proves his ability to tell a rollicking, thrilling, weird-as-fuck adventure. He has a few of these past-work reprints on the docket at Image. It’s comforting to know this team’s bloody, batshit, psychedelic insanity will be continuing at Image Comics very soon.

Redlands #3Redlands #3

Image Comics/$3.99

Written by Jordie Bellaire.

Art by Vanesa Del Rey.

Colors by Jordie Bellaire.

Letters by Clayton Cowles.

AOK: Jordie Bellaire intimately understands the fundamentals of visual storytelling. Her colors, found in practically every corner of the industry, take the raw contours of a tale and clothe them in tone, defining the story’s clarity and striking a balance between realism and expression. Bellaire’s signature is turning industry into art.

It is with this artisan’s touch that she shapes Redlands. A police procedural of operatic proportions, where a True Detective serial killer is bent on turning a small town topsy-turvy. But Redlands, Florida, is already nuts. The police who run things can transform into decapitating demons in the blink of an eye. Especially when those eyes are closed. The heroes of Redlands live on blood as much as the villains.

It’s monsters versus patriarchy. Ritual sacrifice, eldritch horror, ancient magic. I don’t know what to expect from Redlands, except satisfaction mingled with the profane. I read this comic to be haunted.

Ragman #1Ragman #1

DC Comics/$2.99

Written by Ray Fawkes.

Art by Inaki Miranda.

Colors by Eva de la Cruz.

Letters by Josh Reed. 

JJ: Ray Fawkes is the comic industry’s resident warlock. A wizard of high-concepts, a sorcerer of storytelling. He wields the unknown like so much storytelling fodder. He can make the innocuous creepy and the vengeful frightening. His tales can often make it so very easy to root for the heroes, but he’s ridden the entire spectrum of the color gray. Ray Fawkes may know how dark things can get before evil takes hold, but he isn’t afraid of the light.

That’s why Ragman is the perfect vehicle for Fawkes. It’s a Gotham City yarn told in a modern setting, but it’s not beholden to its Rebirth trappings. It doesn’t bend the knee to Metal. It maneuvers around Mother Panic. Populated by mercenaries and monsters, Ragman is very much its own beast. Untethered, loose — that’s when Fawkes is at his best.

And then there’s Inaki Miranda and Eva de la Cruz. 2000 AD and Vertigo vets. They had a six-issue run on Catwoman last summer that was to die for. Miranda’s expert lines and shadows are going to make Fawkes’ work sing, of that I have no doubt. But de la Cruz is going to set the whole damn thing on fire.

For the next six months, Gotham City is haunted by a Rag-manBet you’ll be asking for more before the end.

Penny Dreadful #6Penny Dreadful #6

Titan Comics/$3.99

Written by Chris King.

Illustrated by Jesús Hervás.

Colors by Jason Wordie.

Letters by Rob Steen.

SR: Like most fans of the short-lived Showtime series, Penny Dreadful, I was heartbroken with the abruptness of its ending. So when the announcement was made that there would be comic that would allow the story to continue on, starting with the aftermath of the last episode, naturally I rejoiced.

In the Titan Comics series, six months have passed. There is no rest for Ethan, Malcolm, Lily, and the rest. New monsters with ties to Lucifer are infiltrating their world. Issue #5 began a new story arc that focused on Ethan and Lily, and it left us with a cliffhanger that should make this new issue absolutely rife with danger. There truly is no rest for the wicked. Not for Penny Dreadful. Not for anybody.

What books are YOU looking forward to reading this week? Sound off in the comments below.

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