By Molly Jane Kremer, Clyde Hall, 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 ‘The Mighty Thor’ #705 to ‘Ice Cream Man’ #3, here’s what has our hearts set ablaze this week.
Written by Jason Aaron.
Art by Russell Dauterman.
Colors by Matt Wilson.
Letters by VC’s Joe Sabino.
MJ: “The Death of the Mighty Thor” should have been self-explanatory as far as titles go, but I have to admit I had been holding out hope for a happy(ish?) ending to this arc. But the penultimate issue of this epic six-issue story has me more than a little verklempt, and the fact that it is the penultimate issue of the series has me facing facts—there’s a high chance that there will be tears (mine, duh) at the end of all this.
I’m not sure what more I can say about the creative team: I’ve gone on at length on their chemistry and talents, and I know the comics industry is going to look back on this stellar run as one of the greatest of the decade (if not century). The emotional buildup in the past four issues has been enough to have me tearing up already, so come April 18th I might have to take a personal day after reading issue #706.
Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matt Wilson (and all the various artists who have guested on this book) have taken us on a magnificent roller coaster ride with Jane, truly a character who stands for the best in all of us mere humans. It’s a relief, in some strange way, to see her series going out in grand fashion.
Berger Books/Dark Horse Comics/$3.99
Written by Emma Beeby.
Art by Ariela Kristantina.
Colors by Pat Masioni.
Letters by Sal Cipriano.
CH: If you haven’t picked up a copy of Mata Hari #1 from Dark Horse/Berger Books yet, treat yourself double this week and get it along with Mata Hari #2. The first issue is near the top of my list for the best comic so far this year, and while 2018 is scarce begun, I’ve a feeling Emma Beeby will keep her series in that lofty perch until winter rolls back ‘round.
With a less capable author, the story of the infamous spy and femme fatale might have devolved into a sordid soup of bed-hopping, pillow talk, and treason. That would be the easy and sensationalistic modern method, and the exact opposite of Beeby’s. The first issue carefully examined the layers of Mata Hari’s experiences before her trial, the societies in which she was born and raised, and the world of her era. All are shown to play a part in her destiny.
Beeby also beautifully, painfully, builds empathy for any woman of that time, a period of woefully limited opportunities and freedoms. She makes us understand why M’greet would court scandal resisting a life plotted for her by men. And often, she makes us applaud Mata Hari for her mettle even while revealing her foibles.
Beeby’s storytelling is intensified by the artistic talents of Ariela Kristantina, who works here not only in pencil and ink, but in hurt, betrayal, and even wonder. Kristantina’s images of M’greet’s life remain, both the sublime and piteous, long after you close the cover. Issue #1 left me wanting to experience more through Kristantina’s and Beeby’s time portal, to know Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod better, and all three are why I’m anxiously queuing up for issue #2.
Written by W. Maxwell Prince.
Art by Martín Morazzo.
Colors by Chris O’Halloran.
Letters by Good Old Neon.
MR: The next issue of this monthly, Outer Limits-style sundae returns with a tale of a middle aged rocker trying to save his city with what appears to be a highly modified, possibly atomically powered Fender Stratocaster.
I came into this series not knowing what to expect, going for it based entirely on the strength of it’s promise of frosty delights and uncanny terror. The creators have thus far delivered in full, putting out two stand-alone stories full of madness, putrefaction and despair.
As the series grinds on, one hopes to learn more about the mysterious Ice Cream Man himself and the meaning behind the existential horrors he encounters. Is he friend? Foe? Alien? Demon? Hallucination? Does he even like ice cream?
Black Crown/IDW Publishing/$3.99
Written by David Barnett.
Art by Martin Simmonds.
Flats by Dee Cunniffe.
Letters by Aditya Bidikar.
JJ: Consider the plight of one Feargal “Fergie” Ferguson. He’s not a very popular fellow, gets kicked around by class bullies a bit. In fact, we were introduced to Fergie last month just as he was about to take a sound trouncing by a rather punchy-looking brat named Oggy, to the delight of all his peers. Where does the animosity come from, we wondered. What’s the root of all his troubles?
We kept reading. In the pages of Punks Not Dead #1 we discovered that Fergie’s father is long gone — he might be dead, or possibly not. Either way, his mother isn’t telling. And as for dear ol’ mum, she parades Fergie around on talk shows across Britain to spin a sob story about this or that just to make ends meet. Mom’s got grief on her mind, and she copes with it the only way she knows how. Doesn’t leave much room for Fergie. To Mom, Fergie’s a partner, a friend, an ally in her scam campaign. All Fergie wants is a friend. A family. Your heart aches for him.
And then a ghost who thinks he’s Sid Vicious pops into Fergie’s life. In the periphery of this little melodrama we begin to learn of a vast conspiracy embedded in the history of Britain, something that may or may not include details on the disappearance of dear, departed father. Who can say. But answer me this: How in the hell could we not dive head-first into Punks Not Dead #2?
Lion Forge/Magnetic Collection/$3.99
Written by Lewis Trondheim and Zep.
Art by Dominique Bertail.
Design direction by Olivier Vatine.
MJ: Lion Forge has been one of a few comics publishers translating and republishing recent(ish) European comics, allowing American audiences a peek into a world where “superhero” isn’t assumed to be the medium’s default. Infinity 8 is their newest translated release, originally subtitled Romance et Macchabées #1 when originally published in France in 2016.
Euro comics always seem to excel in sci-fi forays of imagination. Infinity 8 definitely owes a lot to the oeuvre of Jodorowsky and Moebius. Dominique Bertail’s art is a definite selling point: he draws cool, creepy interstellar vistas just as well as a heckuva lot of uniquely weird-looking aliens. Though I can’t speak for the comic’s… well, unenlightened sexual politics, I can warn that the comic has a “mature” rating due to a couple panels of full frontal boobage. But despite that frequently male-gaze-centric perspective, this is a really fun romp that sci-fi fans should seek out.
Written by Kelly Thompson.
Art by Corin Howell.
Colors by Valentina Pinto.
Letters by Neil Uyetake.
BFH: The all-new Ghostbusters just can’t catch a break, can they? First their movie gets trashed beyond the point of reason by possessive man-children, and then their debut comics miniseries suffers a series of unfortunate delays. But despite these roadblocks, our personable new phantasm-wranglers are still here to charm the pants off of you, in the latest issue of their first sequential adventure.
That being said, even you aren’t already a fan of this entertaining new crew or have yet to read the series’ previous issues, this creative team would make any story worth checking out. How could you resist Kelly Thompson writing another team book filled with earnest, wisecracking women? How could you not be sucked in by Corin Howell’s expressive, energetic artwork? These creators work well together, and they bring life to the Ghostbusters that matches that of their cinematic originators.
With the series back on schedule and nearing its end, I hope more people will take the time to catch up on Answer the Call, and treat themselves to more of these effortlessly fun heroes.
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!