by Jarrod JonesBraving the gauntlet of Big Two events, prestige format risk-takers, off-the-radar indie releases and a non-stop avalanche of floppies is DoomRocket’s HOT PRESS. With so many comics out there screaming for your eyeballs, HOT PRESS is here with general chatter concerning the latest releases from this wild comics industry of ours. This week: the debuts of ‘My Bad’, ‘Newburn’, ‘The Human Target’, and some stuff from a couple weeks back.

New week, a deluge of new debuts. Comics are doing all right, don’t you go worrying about a damn thing. I wish I had more to say this week! But deadlines are closing in (something new and cool is dropping soon), and there’s still a podcast to record. (Subscribe to CASUAL WEDNESDAYS today!) Let’s jump into some quick reviews.

My Bad #1
AHOY Comics / $3.99
Written by Mark Russell, Bryce Ingman.
Art by Peter Krause, Joe Orsak.
Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick, Paul Little.
Letters by Rob Steen.

Think a warped and unrepentantly juvenile version of Black Hammer and you’re about there. It’s the latest AHOY superhero goof that toys with dusty superhero tropes like other notable AHOY superhero goofs, only My Bad tosses out the reflective nature of Second Coming and the clash-of-eras thrills of The Wrong Earth and throws in deranged mail-away sheets and fruit pastry adverts that evoke vaugely lukewarm memories of reading Cracked or What The–?!. It seems primed to jab its elbow in the ribs of corporate entities who unironicaly treat superhero stories as corporate intellectual property and artistically little else, but that doesn’t feel as present in this issue. I hope its portentous Immortal Hulk gag pays off at some point and right now its anthology-style approach doesn’t leave a whole lot to cling onto, but it absolutely has some proper yuks for those shopping for what it’s selling. (My favorite out-of-context yuk: “Trust is a plate!”) Buy a copy and normalize comics that make you laugh! (Available now.)

Newburn #1
Image Comics / $3.99
Written by Chip Zdarsky, Nadia Shammas.
Art by Jacob Phillips, Ziyed Yusuf Ayoub.
Letters (“Carmine’s Apartment, Chapter One”) by Who Knows.
Letters (“Brooklyn Zirconia”) by Frank Cvetkovic.

Bone-dry crime procedural that puts its central character to work rooting around murder and double-cross, lets us learn the lay of the land along the way. Phillips draws like he was destined to follow in his pops’ footsteps; Newburn has sturdy, workmanlike grids, plus his figures are distinctive and (considering the material) appropriately scuzzy. His environments have stylized character, though it often feels like Phillips is looking to capture the arid camerawork of sturdier, grimmer tv cop dramas. Zdarsky’s okay at writing the rough stuff, though the twist in this issue was more interesting to me than navigating this alternate version of a violent, hard-assed NYC—whose residents, alarmingly, tend to speak with Canadian accents. (“Neighbours!”) Gonna keep reading to see where this (and Shammas & Ayoub’s intriguing “Brooklyn Zirconia”) ends up, though I think Newburn will work gangbusters if it sticks to a done-in-one format that nudges its saga along bit by bit. Slow burns are the best burns. (Available now.)

The Human Target, Book One
Written by Tom King.
Art by Greg Smallwood.
Letters by Clayton Cowles.

Stately DC Universe murder mystery charged with early-Sixties pop. Smallwood’s a genius, that much has already been made abundantly clear. But his performance in this first issue—where he absorbs character model work from the likes of José Luis García-López and Darwyn Cooke and Kevin Maguire and turns it into the most beautiful goddamn thing—is staggering. I’ll admit I’ve been flipping through King’s latest works just to enjoy the art (Strange Adventures and Batman/Catwoman both lost me midway), but this issue is a knockout. Christopher Chance-as-Don Draper nihilism, YOLO platitudes muttered with a bitter whiskey scorch, the appearance of Lex Luthor and Justice League International from back when that team was at its best—yes, to all of this. I’m keeping the bitter memories of Heroes in Crisis close by just in case this thing takes a sour turn further on, but for right now? This is the best comic on the stands today, damn the hyperbole. (Available now.)

Catwoman: Lonely City #1
DC Black Label / $6.99
Written, drawn, colored, and lettered by Cliff Chiang.

Gripping Gotham future saga crafted by one of the best to do it. Chiang scrawling, rendering, finessing, finishing, all for us, like we did something to deserve such a thing. Has a palette that’s clearly meant to evoke Miller & Mazzucchelli’s Year One, and I think that’s beautiful; it’s a poetic way to parallel the “first” Catwoman story and what could possibly be her last. There are certain dialogue rhythms that are very reminiscent of Miller, as well—look, lots of folks are gonna be talking about how this recalls The Dark Knight Returns, but the book prowls its own territory, posits its own strange and thrilling questions, and crafts stunning pieces of imagery and mood that can only come from Chiang. Immaculate, iconic. (Available now.)

Eat the Rich #3
BOOM! Studios / $3.99
Written by Sarah Gailey.
Illustrated by Pius Bak.
Colored by Roman Titov.
Lettered by Cardinal Rae.

Wildly demented “haves eat the have-nots” tale with a serrated satirical edge. The series’ central horrors come into better focus this issue; Gailey & Bak hoist up their sleeves and make patently clear their feelings about the phony altruism of the 1%. “It feels so good, knowing that I’ve made a difference here.” “But… why do you have to eat them?” You’ll laugh yourself cynical, I promise. Makes a temporal leap that I’m not 100% sure is a great idea—not if this is going where I think it’s going—but we’re at the midway point here and I’m locked in for the duration. For those of us on the lower economic rungs sneering up at our purported “betters,” Eat the Rich might have some serious catharsis in store for you. Hope it comes, enjoying the ride along the way. (Available now.)

That’s all I got this week. Read any good comics lately? Share them in the comments or email me: jarrod@doomrocket.com. Talk soon.

More HOT PRESS:

HOT PRESS 10/12/21: ‘What’s the Furthest Place from Here?’, ‘Batman: The Imposter’, and ‘Undone by Blood’

HOT PRESS 10/6/21: A new format, an apology, some comics stuff, etc.

HOT PRESS 6/17/21: Paying for comics, summertime Sonic, ‘Planet-Size X-Men’