By Molly Jane KremerArpad Okay, Brendan F. Hodgdon, 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. From “Milk Wars” to ‘Quantum + Woody!’, here’s what has our hearts set ablaze this week.

Staff Picks: JLA/Doom Patrol #1JLA/Doom Patrol #1

DC Comics/DC’s Young Animal/$4.99

Written by Steve Orlando, Gerard Way, and Magdalene Visaggio.

Art by ACO, Hugo Petrus, and Sonny Liew.

Colors by Tamra Bonvillain and Marissa Louise.

Letters by Clem Robins and Todd Klein.

MJ: This week brings us JLA/Doom Patrol, the first of five crossover specials between the DC Universe and the new(ish) Young Animal imprint. Young Animal has seen the release of five series’ under the wild auspices of Gerard Way over the past year-and-a-half, all of which have garnered high praise. Three series resume with a twist in March, and add a brand new book to the lineup. It’s all very exciting, and Milk Wars is the beginning of it all.

Young Animal’s loose connection to the DC Universe proper has been most noticeable in books like Mother Panic and Bug!, and that connection becomes much more overt in Milk Wars. That’s fitting for this Justice League of America/Doom Patrol special; the two writers for each series — Steve Orlando and Gerard Way, respectively — co-write this forty-eight page whopper and give it a premise that bridges that tenuous connection in a wild and innovative way: A company called RetCo has been, well, retconning where it shouldn’t, which naturally unites the two offbeat super-teams. And things get just as meta and bonkers as you’d think.

Aco’s creative and gorgeous layouts—previously lauded in books like Midnighter and Nick Fury — are reliably breathtaking. Check out pages eighteen through twenty-one for a massive four-page battle spread that, let’s be honest, really should have been a fold-out poster. Tamra Bonvillain and Marissa Louise’s colors give the first few pages in Happy Harbor a bucolic warmth, and switch gears seamlessly to bright, bold superheroics when the need arises (and it does as such quickly, of course).

As an added incentive, the first of four Eternity Girl backups by Mags Visaggio, Sonny Liew, and Todd Klein is found in the last two pages of the special. This is our first taste of the new upcoming series due out in March, and in these two pages Liew perfectly homages the Silver Age art style and colors (even the paper is printed to look pulpy). This is the most exciting book on the stands this week, and probably the only one featuring a psychic cow’s radioactive milk. So drink up.

Staff Picks: Hungry Ghosts #1Hungry Ghosts #1

Dark Horse Comics/Berger Books/$3.99

Written by Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose.

Art by Alberto Ponticelli and Vanesa Del Rey.

Colors by José Villarrubia.

Letters by Sal Cipriano.

Edited by Karen Berger.

AOK: If I haven’t convinced you already, let me say it again: Hungry Ghosts is the vanguard of Berger Books. Miss it and be devastated. Why should you be on board? Karen Berger helped shape comics into the thing they are today. Berger puts talented people together so that they can achieve a mutual vision that pushes the boundaries of this medium we love. It is from Berger’s hard work that we have Vertigo Comics, and it is from Vertigo that we have so much of the stories we read today.

Here, now, is Berger doing it again. Anthony Bourdain writing about food and culture and blood. Joel Rose shepherding tall tales into sequential art. Illustrations from an international murderers’ row including the incomparable Vanesa Del Rey, Alberto Ponticelli, José Villarrubia, and Sal Cipriano. Berger has even tapped industry cult legend Paul Pope for the cover. Hungry Ghosts is a true objet d’art bound in staples.

Staff Picks: Quantum + Woody! #2Quantum + Woody! #2


Written by Daniel Kibblesmith.

Art by Kano.

Letters by Dave Sharpe.

JJ: Brotherly love broken in twain, a supervillain’s treasure-trove ripe for the plundering, and a strutting pet goat off in the periphery: To say Quantum + Woody! is an eclectic book would be to undersell it. To say that it is an eccentric book would be to underestimate it. Quantum + Woody! is but a mere two issues deep, and I already know I’m hooked. For heart-sinking emotions, frenetic action sequences, and a flair for the depraved, go no further.

Valiant’s Icons line of books have been a rousing success, cranking out books such as Bloodshot SalvationX-O Manowar, and Ninja-K with all-star creative teams who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with anything the Big Two can throw our way. Valiant’s line of superhero books feels exciting because no two books are the same. They feel like they inhabit the same universe, maybe, but each one has their own story to tell, their own verve and panache. Yes, Daniel Kibblesmith and Kano’s Quantum + Woody! is a Valiant book through and through. But it’s also next-level fun.

Kano’s ACO-esque layouts give Q + W!‘s merriment motion. His panels are set in an almost random order, but his pages are never too busy or cluttered. Kano makes this buddy-hero yarn feel like an innovative blend of Midnighter, Lethal Weapon, and The Spirit. And his colors? A lush pop confection. As for Kibblesmith, he’s a Zdarsky in the making, sneaking in pained emotions that sneak up when we’re too busy being distracted by multiple flashbacks and walking monster-hedges. To twenty-five solid issues of Quantum + Woody! And to twenty-five more.

Staff Picks: Motherlands #1Motherlands #1

DC Comics/Vertigo/$3.99

Written by Simon Spurrier.

Art by Rachael Stott.

Colors by Felipe Sobreiro.

Letters by Simon Bowland.

BFH: Over the years, Simon Spurrier has shown himself to be a very nimble creative mind, particularly with his own original series. From The Spire and Six-Gun Gorilla to Angelic and Godshaper to Weavers and the particularly-mesmerizing Cry Havoc, Spurrier has built some very lively and distinct worlds fit for a wide variety of styles and tones. And from everything I’ve heard, it seems like Motherlands will be a wonderful continuation of that trend.

Reading promotional interviews and preview pages, it seems like Spurrier is building a sprawling and ridiculous sci-fi world that recalls everything from Judge Dredd to Transmetropolitan, chock-a-block full of zany ideas and driven by a visceral thematic core. And it looks like artist Rachael Stott and company are doing a beautiful job of bringing this absurd work to life, capturing smaller emotions and the bigger spectacle in equal measure. This feels like it will be another solid step forward in the rehabilitation of Vertigo. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Staff Picks: Saucer State TPBSaucer State TPB

IDW Publishing/ $19.99

Written by Paul Cornell

Illustrated by Ryan Kelly

Colored by Adam Guzowski

MR: Saucer State is a continuation of Saucer Country, a 14-issue political fever dream put out by Vertigo. The original series followed Presidential hopeful and alien abductee Arcadia Alvarado as she traversed the country in search of the truth behind her extraterrestrial experience. Despite being an imaginative mix of conspiracy folklore and political commentary, Saucer Country came to an abrupt end due to low sales. Luckily for all of us, it found a new home at IDW.

Bringing back writer Paul Cornell and illustrator Ryan Kelly, Saucer States delves back into the American mythology of UFOs, cults, and government secrets, with a healthy dose of surrealism that accentuates the bizarre and unnerving state of American politics. Now, Saucer State‘s conspiratorial insanity can breathe free.

What books are YOU looking forward to reading this week? Sound off in the comments below. Best answer wins a free set of DoomRocket stickers!