By Molly Jane Kremer, Brandy Dykhuizen, 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.
Written by James Tynion IV.
Art by Eddy Barrows.
Inks by Eber Ferreira.
Colors by Adriano Lucas.
Letters by Sal Cipriano.
JJ: Detective Comics isn’t just DC Comics’ namesake — it is one of DC’s crown jewels. A widescreen melodrama of family, consequences, regret, and triumph, delivered twice-monthly with nary a sign of strain. I don’t know where James Tynion IV finds the stamina.
He’s not alone. Since the book’s relaunch last June, James has been flanked by an astounding artistic armada. Eddy Barrows and Alvaro Martínez, Eber Ferreira and Raul Fernandez. It’s a dream team. It’s the stuff of legends. That’s fitting, considering the material. Gotham City in peril. Sinister forces plotting its destruction. A super-team, held together by trust, love, and respect. Minus one vital component.
Until now. ‘TEC #965 is chapter one of “A Lonely Place of Living”, a Tim Drake story told by a Tim Drake super-fan. Vital implications for Doomsday Clock are likely to be found here. The third Robin’s fate will be decided in the issues to come. It’s high-wire DC greatness, just as you like it. James Tynion’s heart has always been in Gotham. When you read Detective you can almost hear it beating.
Written by Jeff Lemire.
Art by Jeff Lemire.
CR: With Essex County, Jeff Lemire delivered a prime example of indie comics, laced with melancholy vignettes that built into a sprawling, satisfying story. In his latest series, Royal City, he somehow accomplishes something far more personal. The story of a shattered family drying out in a defeated factory town where their deceased son/brother continues to haunt their lonely lives could easily be a bit too stark for an enjoyable read. But through Lemire’s authentic characters, keen observations, and gently escalating drama, he manages to maintain a muted suspense that scratches exactly the right wistful itch.
It also doesn’t hurt that Lemire is a great artist. His lushly painted watercolors are both lovely and somber and bathe each character in realistic light. Plus, it can be incredibly satisfying to see the direct outcome of a writer’s vision, especially when the art is this detailed and nostalgic.
Though the themes are sometimes heavy, picking up Royal City won’t depress you so much as it might linger with you for a while, like all good stories should.
Written by Donny Cates.
Art by Lisandro Estherren.
Colors by Dee Cunniffe.
Letters by Joe Sabino.
BD: There’s something of the Southern Gothic coursing through Redneck, and boy am I a sucker for that. With grudges between clans as deeply rooted as a Live Oak, men of God using their costumes to mask mysterious origins and a little family secret tucked away in the attic, Redneck could almost stake a claim in Yoknapatawpha County. However, Donny Cates and Lisandro Estherren have done well to carve out a universe all their own, anchored here and there by snippets of history but employing subtle humor to prevent it from getting too bogged down in itself. Overall, its kept a healthy disregard for formula. All hell is about to rain down on Sulphur Springs, and I can’t wait to see how the comeuppance is meted out.
Written by Jason Aaron.
Art by Jim Cheung, Alex Maleev, Esad Ribic, Chris Samnee, Russell Dauterman, and others.
Colors by Matthew Wilson.
Letters by Cory Petit.
MJ: Though this is the third time in the last three years that Marvel has launched an autumn reboot of its shared comic book universe, somehow I’ve gathered the wherewithal to actually be excited for this one. It’s partially because Legacy will be returning many titles to original numbering (a nostalgia-milking trick, I know, but it still gets me), but mostly because they seem to be taking a note from DC’s successful Rebirth initiative. Cue Marvel Legacy #1, not dissimilar in both ambition and quality to the DC Rebirth one-shot penned by Geoff Johns and released last May.
Jason Aaron has long been my favorite comic book writer, superhero or otherwise, and I can think of few others better suited to this freshening-up of the Marvel Universe. The amazing Esad Ribic (colored by Matthew Wilson) draws most of the pages, although superstars like Chris Samnee, Russell Dauterman, Stuart Immonen and many others drop in to add a page here and there.
There’s an already-spoiled surprise or two nestled in these fifty pages, and possibly an appearance you won’t expect. But what should resonate with readers the most is the joy, heart, and love of Marvel Comics that imbues every page of it.
Written by Jonathan Hickman.
Art by Tomm Coker.
Colors by Michael Garland.
Letters by Rus Wooton.
JJ: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The Black Monday Murders is a horror show of the highest order. It’s sleek, sophisticated, shrewd in its telling, devastating with its subtext.
For months we’ve been teased with the presence of the god Mammon. We’ve seen the catacombs. We’ve witnessed the horrors done in his name. But does Mammon actually exist? Could Mammon actually exist? And, if there is tax-collecting deity of sin and evil lurking behind everything, would we really want to see it?
The Black Monday Murders #7 has a lot of answers. What it does not provide, however, is a tonic to calm your nerves once all is said and done. If you’ve purchased anything in your life, you have paid homage to Mammon. You have always been his, a puppet on the world stage. Now let him in. He’s in there, lurking behind the cover to the latest issue of one of Image Comics’ best.
What books are YOU looking forward to reading this week? Sound off in the comments below.