By Molly Jane Kremer, Arpad Okay, Clyde Hall, 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 Coates & Acuña’s ‘Black Panther’ #1 to the final bow of James Tynion IV’s ‘Detective Comics’ run, here’s what has our hearts set ablaze this week.
Written by Ta-nehisi Coates.
Art by Daniel Acuña.
Letters by VC’s Joe Sabino.
AOK: This new Black Panther book is action. Ta-nehisi Coates’ first run blew it off the hinges with its heady mix of politics, philosophy, and punching. Now he wants to reset. The new Black Panther is Coates escaping world diplomacy for character and leaving long-term repercussions for the moment. T’Challa over Wakanda.
But sometimes when we’re trying to escape something, we end up running with it instead of away from it. After reading Coates’ American history autobiography, Between the World and Me, this is what I expect: the world told through the life of a man. T’Challa, a man set to cross time and space.
More than ever, all eyes are on the Black Panther to see what comes next. I’m sure that Coates changing tempo and Daniel Acuña on the Jean Giraud interstellar army trip will edify and delight. Expect as fresh as Fresh can get.
Written by James Tynion IV.
Pencils by Eddy Barrows.
Inks by Eber Ferreira.
Colors by Adriano Lucas.
Letters by Sal Cipriano.
JJ: Let’s take a moment and bid a fond farewell to James Tynion IV. Yes, his time with Detective Comics has come to an end, though no, DC’s not let him off the hook just yet. In fact, James is about to be set loose on the wider DC Universe courtesy of Justice League Dark, a team book that now feels like a victory lap considering the major accomplishment that was Tynion’s 47-issue Detective run.
Tynion heard opportunity knock with DC’s all-hands-on-deck crisis Dark Nights: Metal, with its series of tie-ins and spin-offs (including his own The Immortal Men) that pulled him every which way but loose, and yet his stamp remained on Detective. That’s because James’ enthusiasm knows no bounds, though considering the characters DC allowed him to play with it’s easy to understand where that enthusiasm came from. Introducing classic characters such as Tim Drake, Cassandra Cain, and Jean-Paul Valley to the post-Rebirth paradigm, Tynion played in a sandbox that would have made his Nineties-kid mind explode with wonder. Then there were the artists James worked with: Eddy Barrows and Alvaro Martinez, Adriano Lucas and Eber Ferreira, and more. So much more. All of them brought a stately grace to this run of ‘Tec. It’s one that will be remembered with respect and appreciation.
But perhaps James’ greatest accomplishment was one he shared with Marguerite Bennett, giving Kate Kane a team of her very own to lead. Through James and Marguerite, Batwoman bumped up against the ego of Bruce Wayne, and somehow managed (with varying degrees of success) to diffuse explosive situations both within The Belfry and without. Thanks to this run, Batwoman received her very own series, short-lived though it may have been. But it gave a queer female superhero a spotlight of their very own, and that’s not for nothing. Detective Comics expanded its scope, made a home for its motley crew of Bat-characters, and became a touchstone in the process. Bravo.
Written by Aleš Kot.
Drawn by Danijel Žeželj.
Colored by Jordie Bellaire.
Lettered by Aditya Bidikar.
MR: Days of Hate has only gotten better as the year trudges on. With political news continuing to bludgeon the country on a nearly daily basis, it can be hard to think about it all clearly. This book, despite ostensibly being about politics, deftly sidesteps the noise associated with it, instead choosing to meditate on the interpersonal relationships of its characters. Thus far, we have had twists and turns in terms of who we trust, who we sympathize with, and what we think is true. Sounds like the past couple years to me.
Writer Aleš Kot has become adept at soaking the utterances of his characters with meaning, saying more with less. The infuriatingly glib and duplicitous government agent Freeman typifies this saturation best. As a representative of a government that’s bent on destroying all means and will to dissent, he spouts veiled threats and doublespeak overtures with all the mirth and sincerity of a Mormon missionary. His words show how often political oppression comes at us with an outstretched hand and a smile before it comes with a gun.
Something big has been brewing as we inch closer to the middle of this 12-issue series, another betrayal of confidence that will lead to pain and violence. Through the grimy shadows of Danijel Žeželj’s phenomenal artwork, and the subtextual twists of Kot’s writing, we’ll soon be seeing where it all leads.
Written by Jeff Lemire.
Art by Doc Shaner.
Colors by Nathan Fairbairn.
Letters by Tom Napolitano.
MJ: When my favorite writers work with my favorite artists, I can’t help but get a little, well, excitable. Happily, The Terrifics #4 has caused that exact reaction for me: Doc Shaner, Nathan Fairbairn, and Jeff Lemire are three creators whose work I follow almost religiously. The three together on this book? It’s comic book magic.
This may be my favorite issue of The Terrifics yet, and it’s not just because of the glorious art by Shaner and Fairbairn. (But that’s definitely a factor.) Lemire writes each character with enough personality to pull you in with every panel, while Shaner’s facial expressions (Plastic Man especially) and spotless storytelling hold you there, fascinated. Fairbairn’s colors are a perfect compliment to Shaner’s studied linework too, and it’s shocking this is the first time these two greats have worked together. Here’s hoping they stick together for a good long while, because their work together is (forgive me) terrific.
Like the last three issues, this one includes a smaller, mostly self-contained adventure (this one in space!) that moves the greater story forward. And as always, subtle and not-so-subtle nods to the Fantastic Four always cause a smile. Undoubtedly the best comic of DC’s “New Age of Heroes” line, The Terrifics mixes retro sensibilities, timelessly impeccable storytelling, and a subtle modern self-awareness to make one of the best darn superhero comics you’ll read this week.
Written by Jonathan Hickman.
Art by Dustin Weaver.
Colors by Sonia Oback.
Letters by Todd Klein.
CH: It was an entirely different kind of S.H.I.E.L.D. than Marvel fans had experienced before. It was dynamic, it was wild, it was inspired, and it was filled with deep concepts. It sorta made superheroes (and sometimes supervillains) of such historical figures as Leonardo Da Vinci, Nostrodamus, Galileo, and Sir Isaac Newton and integrated them with fictional heroes like Howard Stark and Nathaniel Richards. And it also changed the history of the Marvel Universe; Galileo thwarted an attack by Galactus centuries before the Fantastic Four encountered the World Devourer, and then suggested the Gregorian calendar revision to cover up the event.
It ran for a six-issue series starting in 2010, then returned for a second volume of equal issues in 2011. Four of the Vol. 2 books saw print, but the elusive #5 and #6 never arrived. Fandom assembled and proffered inevitable theories to the mystery of the unfinished epic. Sales too low. Creative team falling out. Delayed, then the announced Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show ensured nothing this far removed from the standard comic or cinematic versions of S.H.I.E.L.D. would ever see light of day. The Illuminati. Aliens.
The truth turned out to be pretty mundane for such a unique series. The creative team of Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver got busy with life events and then on other projects. But they managed to get the two issues done much belatedly in 2014, only to have them held by the company until the time was right. May of 2018 is that right time. (OK, to be honest, a week later in May than was initially announced by Marvel, because the Fates must have a hate-on for this title. Or the Illuminati does.) But patience has persevered. S.H.I.E.L.D. by Hickman and Weaver #5 finally hits the shelves this week.
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!