Staff Picks: Holiday cheer is here in BOOM! Studios' 'Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville'

Staff Picks: Holiday cheer is here in BOOM! Studios’ ‘Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville’

By Stefania RuddCourtney Ryan, Mickey Rivera, 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.

Staff Picks: Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville #1Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville #1

BOOM! Studios/$7.99

Written by Grant Morrison.

Illustrated by Dan Mora.

Lettered by Ed Dukeshire.

MR: Some may have thought, way back in the simpler days of 2015, that rebooting Santa Claus as a hunky fairy tale superhero was a gimmick. Jokes on them, because Klaus, Grant Morrison and Dan Mora’s initial limited series, was amazing, and it came back for a one-shot in 2016. Now Klaus is sledding back into our comic shops like a sexy red viking this year. That’s right, BOOM! Studios is looking to turn this into a holiday tradition.

For those new to the series, Klaus is Morrison and Mora’s attempt to rescue the Santa Claus mythology from the clutches of commercial culture. Imbued with immortality and an alien space-sled by otherworldly beings, this Santa not only delivers presents to well-behaved children but also does battle with joyless demons and frigid winter spirits. Morrison has made this a series suitable for family consumption while retaining his trademark weirdness in the periphery, and Mora’s art is just freaking gorgeous every time. This is definitely a tradition worth keeping.

Staff Picks: Rocko’s Modern Life #1Rocko’s Modern Life #1

BOOM! Studios/KaBOOM!/$3.99

Written by Ryan Ferrier.

Art by Ian McGinty.

Colors by Fred C. Stressing.

Letters by Jim Campbell.

SR: The second series partnership between BOOM! Studios’ all-ages imprint KaBOOM! and Nickelodeon is Rocko’s Modern Life. Time to get back on the nostalgia train! Choo-choo!

Like the cartoon it follows the story of an Australian immigrant wallaby named Rocko and his faithful pup, Spunky, as they navigate living in their new home of O-Town. Alongside for his adventures are his friends, Heffer and Filbert, who have very distinct personalities and behaviors that don’t always make life easy for Rocko.

Writer Ryan Ferrier and artist Ian McGinty have the honor of introducing the surreal and quirky world of Rocko to a new generation of kids. Although, instead of keeping it in the Nineties, they’re updating the series to tackle more current day issues and themes. I’m really looking forward to revisiting one of my favorite characters, and seeing how Rocko and company will endure in this new modern life.

Staff Picks: Captain America #696Captain America #696

Marvel Comics/$3.99

Plot and script by Mark Waid.

Plot and art by Chris Samnee.

Colors by Matthew Wilson.

Letters by Joe Caramagna.

JJ: So the “will Marvel be able to turn around reader perception of Steve Rogers” experiment seems to have been a success considering how well Captain America #695 was received by practically everybody last month. Big stunner, I know: Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Matthew Wilson working at the peak of their assembled might on a classic character that leans into the vintage style that seems to be the driving thrust of Marvel Legacy and it was spectacular. Never saw that coming.

Sarcasm aside, it’s important to vote with your dollars here, and since we saved up a bunch of cash by dumping Secret Empire entirely after the first batch of issues, we have enough in our coffers to keep Captain America on our pull lists. If you have any love in your heart for classic superhero derring-do cast in shades of contemporized gray but still knows where to hurl its shield, then Waid/Samnee/Wilson’s Cap is the book for you. Things are looking pretty grim out there these days. Let some four-color back into your life.

Staff Picks: Paper Girls #18Paper Girls #18

Image Comics/$2.99

Written by Brian K. Vaughan.

Illustrated by Cliff Chiang.

Colors by Matthew Wilson.

CR: In Paper Girls #17, our newspaper delivery girls finally sussed out some pertinent answers to what mysterious force has struck their sleepy suburban Cleveland community. It was a satisfying chapter, spared from being overly informative thanks to some meaningful character development. Following up last month’s explosive issue would be an exhausting feat for most series, but this is Paper Girls, so the expectations are even higher for #18.

Along with learning what’s behind the War of the Ages, the girls have been hurled into a new timeline, this one infested with giant robots. Despite its robust plot, Paper Girls still manages to feel light and fresh to read, thanks largely to Brian K. Vaughan broadloomed style of storytelling. Though the highlight continues to be the work done by artistic team Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson, whose lucid panels subtly help make sense of the jumping timeline so that when information does get revealed, it feels like we arrived there on our own.

Staff Picks: Archie #26Archie #26

Archie Comics/$3.99

Written by Mark Waid.

Art by Audrey Mok.

Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick.

Letters by Jack Morelli.

JJ: Archie is just one heck of a great comic. Teen angst, written plainly and not without nuance. An iconic comics publisher trying something new and succeeding beyond expectations.

The latest arc is doing things with Betty, Veronica, and Archie that are leaving me agog. It’s astounding how much drama simmers just underneath all the Riverdale slapstick and the town’s cotton candy palette. Mark Waid’s done something to the Riverdale gang that might once have been considered a stretch — he’s made them flesh and blood characters without jettisoning the schmaltz. Sometimes his characters don’t know what they want, but we walk alongside them as they get their stuff sorted. And when they do know what they want, they seek it out with confidence and passion. It’s exhilarating.

And the art teams on this book have been a dream. Audrey Mok comes in and spruces up the iconography. Kelly Fitzpatrick grounding her work as the essential through-line of the series. Style is the name of the game here — each character under Mok’s care has their own identity, which makes what’s going on in these panels work all the more. Read Archie. Then let’s talk about it. There’s so much to cover.

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

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