By Molly Jane KremerStefania Rudd, Arpad OkayClyde Hall, 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 ‘Saga’ #50 to ‘Mother Panic: Gotham A.D.’ #1, here’s what has our hearts set ablaze this week.

Staff Picks: 'Saga' hits a milestone, acts predictably chill about itSaga #50

Image Comics/$2.99

Written by Brian K. Vaughan.

Art by Fiona Staples.

Letters and design by Fonografiks.

MJ: When a comic reaches a landmark 50 issues, its publisher will tend to roll out the red carpet with oversized anniversary spectaculars, adding a lot of surface gleam and sparkle to a glorified (and often mediocre, let’s be honest) anthology issue. But Saga isn’t the sort of comic to stand on industry ceremony. (Unless of course you count the Eisner Awards ceremonies, which Saga systematically crushes under its excellent weight each year.)

Series creators Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples just want to make a consistently arresting and heartrending comic, released on time every time (such a lovely and rare thing at Image Comics), and have little patience for attempts to, well, milk their audience for more cash. They surveyed their readership asking if Saga #25 should feature a bunch of variant covers, and when the majority voted “no thanks”, Vaughan and Staples did too. (And this is being typed by someone currently wearing a Saga t-shirt and four Saga enamel pins—hungry for more—so you know the consumer base exists.)

Issue #50 of this monumental series doesn’t go for any fireworks or “Collector’s Item!” shenanigans. It’s simply the second installment of the ninth story arc, and just goes about packing a massive amount of gorgeously rendered emotional punch like it always does. So happy anniversary, Saga. Many happy returns.

Staff Picks: 'Saga' hits a milestone, acts predictably chill about itThe Terrifics #2

DC Comics/$2.99

Story by Ivan Reis and Jeff Lemire.

Pencils by Ivan Reis and Jose Luis.

Inks by Vicente Cifuentes and Jordi Tarragona.

Colors by Marcelo Maiolo.

Letters by Tom Napolitano. 

JJ: I can’t tell you how much it tickles me that Jeff Lemire is writing at DC again. That Ivan Reis is illustrating this book is only the icing on the cake.

The Terrifics is the strongest book coming out of DC’s Age of Heroes line. It fills a void in superhero comics — that of a quartet of super-powered misfits traipsing across space and countless dimensions in search of adventure. It’s fun, almost to the point that I’ve considered each issue’s 22-page count as a tease. But good luck expecting me to wait for the trades; DC’s The Terrifics is about as good as cosmic superhero derring-do gets these days.

However. What will be even more interesting is seeing how The Terrifics will perform against Marvel’s Fantastic Four  reboot hitting stores this August. Will the tone shift to accommodate its competitive forebear? Will The Terrifics attempt to out fantastic FF? Ah, competition is a healthy thing, especially when it brings out the best from comics’ strongest creative teams. Lemire, Reis, and the rest of team Terrifics will have their work cut out for them, and we will be all the better for it.

An aside: How odd/great is it that DC’s neo-Fantastic Four book shares a similar name with a similar group from the Batman Beyond episode, “Heroes”? (Tell me you haven’t forgotten about the Terrific Trio.)

Staff Picks: 'Saga' hits a milestone, acts predictably chill about itMother Panic: Gotham A.D. #1

DC’s Young Animal/$3.99

Written by Jody Houser.

Illustrated by Ibrahim Moustafa.

Colors by Jordan Boyd.

Letters by John Workman.

AOK: Mother Panic consistently twisted our expectations for Gotham City while staying true to its spirit, and we should expect no less from the new Gotham A.D. Gotham wrecked in the future isn’t a new idea, but trust Houser (and Moustafa, Boyd, and Workman) to breathe a freshness into it with new rogues. Gotham A.D. will be shaped by an artist-villain who is only satisfied when we what know of the past is naught but cinders.

That said, one can also look forward to the classic figures of the Batman world appearing, though changed in ways we haven’t seen in DC before. (Joker as a washed up nobody on the fringe is a take I’m eager to behold.) Merely changing the recognizable to the extreme to connote time’s passage is a painfully well-trod path at this point. I want something different. You can bet Gotham A.D. is poised to deliver.

Staff Picks: 'Saga' hits a milestone, acts predictably chill about itAdventure Time: BMO Bonanza #1

BOOM! Studios/kaboom!/$7.99

Written by Laura Langston, Cynthia Cheng, Nicole Mannino, Boya Sun, Ian Moore, Shirley Chan.

Art by Laura Langston, Cynthia Cheng, Nicole Mannino, Boya Sun , Ian Moore, Shirley Chan.

Letters by Warren Montgomery.

SR: Fans of Adventure Time get all sorts of warm fuzzies when BMO appears in any story offering support, guidance, and loyalty to Finn and Jake. So just imagine my excitement when BOOM! Studios announced there would be a one-shot multi-story spinoff featuring our little gaming device pal. (If you need a visual, just picture that gif of Kermit the Frog waving his arms all excitedly.)

Various creators use their talents to give us short stories featuring how BMO spends their time and provides insights on their interests. For example, Boya Sun’s story centers on a rare blooming flower, and how BMO just has to see it. It just sounds so sweet!

I cannot wait to delve into where the other stories will take me. At 42 pages this book is heftier (and at a higher price point) than a single issue, but should still allow any all-ages reader a good time with a beloved character from the Land of Ooo.

Staff Picks: 'Saga' hits a milestone, acts predictably chill about itBattlestar Galactica vs. Battlestar Galactica #3

Dynamite/$3.99

Written by Peter David.

Art by Johnny Desjardins.

Colors by Mohan.

Letters by Taylor Esposito.

CH: Not going to lie, I’ve read comics this month that were better than BSG vs. BSG in all the ways that matter. Overall, the series isn’t without a few flaws, but that only makes it the best kind of guilty pleasure. The heart of the book is beating, intact, and highly entertaining.

Veteran writer Peter David included most of what I hoped for in issue #2, namely the meeting of both Galactica crews and the felgercarb storm that ensued. To his estimable credit, David made the character responses accurate for both series, and tossed in a few extra surprise details and moments.

That milieu was worthy of an issue unto itself, but at the cost of relegating the Commander Cain side story to a few panels. Also, we’ve not seen much of the two Cylon elements converging or conflicting, and for these reasons, I’m looking forward to issue #3 this week.

Maybe that pacing focus is intentional, because it’s working to treat readers to scenes they’ve imagined and anticipated while keeping enough revelations (hoped for or unexpected) pending as the story builds. I’m going with intentional; David holds some Eisner awards, after all. The result, personally? It’s like having the latest episodes of different television programs saved on your DVR, and consistently picking the same one to watch first each week. It’s not because that series is necessarily as brilliant or as groundbreaking as some of the others, but because it’s familiar, it’s fulfilling, and most of all—it’s fun.

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!

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