Staff Picks: Yep, we're still hyping 'Mother Panic'

Staff Picks: Yep, we’re still hyping ‘Mother Panic’

By Brandy Dykhuizen, Arpad Okay, Courtney Ryan, 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: 'The Few' TPBThe Few TP

Image Comics/$19.99

Written by Sean Lewis.

Art by Hayden Sherman.

CR: If you were a fan of Sean Lewis’ brilliant doomsday horror-saga Saints, you might find yourself falling for his latest opus too.

This collection assembles the first six issues of The Few, a series that is as much a gruesome post-apocalyptic dystopia as it is a revisionist Western. A fascist regime and brutal autocrat control the former coastal United States while rebels fight for a territory known as the Remainder States. If you’ve ever wanted to see the Midwest get the Mad Max treatment, then climb on board!

This first story arc centers around a renegade soldier who manages to ravage her foes all while a baby is strapped to her chest. Her only trusted allies—brothers with a weirdly mysterious relationship—happen to be among the terrorists she used to hunt. It’s bloody, often bleak, and oh so captivating. First-time artist Hayden Sherman adds to the story’s bleakness and mystery with minimalist scratchings and colors as muted as a Minnesota hot dish. As much as The Few can be a bit grim and even confusing at times, the characters and clever plot turns make for a worthy read.

Mother Panic #10

DC’s Young Animal/$3.99

Written by Jody Houser and Jim Krueger.

Pencils by Shawn Crystal and Phil Hester.

Inks by Shawn Crystal and Ande Parks.

Colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu and Trish Mulvihill.

Letters by John Workman, Shawn Crystal, and Deron Bennett.

AOK: I’ve got two solid reasons to be excited about the new issue of Mother Panic.

First, there’s the promise of a great story. The last arc closed with Violet Paige reaching a new plateau. Her amoral past exposed, she’s reborn under the surgeon’s blade. Paige is released from her physical and emotional shackles. What’s next? The sky’s the limit.

Second, Shawn Crystal’s return. He’d established his style as a blend of horror à la Anton Arcane in Swamp Thing meets Batman: The Animated Series. It was scary, but airy and light. Now that he’s back, there’s still a touch of Cartoon Network (which is a good thing), but with a palpable seriousness. The signature swirls have become shadows. The confidence has become experimentation that works. It’s moody and dynamic and thoroughly noir. Mother Panic’s practice of artists in rotation succeeds when they come back stronger than before. Crystal certainly has.

Dept. H #17

Dark Horse Comics/$3.99

Written by Matt Kindt.

Art by Matt Kindt.

Colors by Sharlene Kindt.

BD: As far as science fiction murder mysteries go, Dept. H is 20,000 leagues above your standard fare. The characters are compelling, the story contains ample cliffhangers and you never know what sort of creature is going to pop out of the deep. Matt Kindt explores the caverns of the mind with the same relish and zeal he devotes to the aquatic abyss, and allows for equally surprising discoveries.

As exciting as the writing may be, the real satisfaction comes from simply staring at the pages. I live for the page-wide scenes of underwater worlds, and admit to getting completely lost in the Kindts’ perfectly colored watercolor tableaus. I don’t know how they make a world unable to sustain human life feel like it’s giving you a hug, but they do. Blame it on a poor concept of time and formative years spent watching way too much Cousteau, but when lost in the Kindts’ deep sea realms, I find myself forgetting to come up for air.

Staff Picks: 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' #8Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #8

Archie Comics/$3.99

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

Art by Robert Hack.

Letters by Jack Morelli.

JJ: “Witch-War” is Sabrina at its best. Issue #7 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina established the unspeakable origins of Edward Spellman while setting a few rules for the skirmish to come. If issue #8 behaves the way the second chapter of a good scary story ought, then count on being thrown for a loop.

Think of Edward Spellman as a more Satanic version of [insert your favorite politician here] and you’re about halfway there. His return threatens everything we love about Sabrina. He’s manipulative. He’s cunning. He knows just what to say and when to say it. Edward Spellman is dangerous. He’s bad for business. And now he’s back.

I’m not sure I’m ready for the Fall of the House of Spellman. But at least I’ll know who I’m rooting for. Sabrina is top-notch horror comics. For those of you who like their stories downright terrifying, look no further.

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

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