By Molly Jane Kremer, Stefania Rudd, Brandy DykhuizenClyde 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 Brian Michael Bendis’ DC Comics debut, ‘The Man of Steel’ #1, to the lovely premiere of ‘Valiant High’, here’s what has our hearts set ablaze this week.

THE MAN OF STEEL #1The Man of Steel #1

DC Comics/$3.99

Written by Brian Michael Bendis.

Pencils by Ivan Reis and Jay Fabok.

Inks by Joe Prado.

Colors by Alex Sinclair.

Letters by Cory Petit.

MJ: Yes, I know it’s yet another retelling of Superman’s origin. Yes, I know it’s another dreaded weekly series hot on the heels of Justice League: No Justice. Yes, I know we have no idea what a Brian Michael Bendis penned DC comic is gonna read like. My response to that? I don’t mind at all.

I am at the very least curious (okay, I might even be a little excited, if I’m being honest with myself) to see what this Marvel mainstay—a person who has been deemed an actual “Architect” of that Universe—is going to do on the other side of the aisle. I’m glad this will put a whole lot of new eyes on the Superman family of books. It might even bring people over who have never read a Superman comic before. That’s great news for the ol’ Distinguished Competition.

And with Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Alex Sinclair on the art, there’s no way this book isn’t going to look gorgeous, even if all those aforementioned hopes don’t pan out as well as I hope. It’s a new era for Supes (lest we forget, #TheTrunksAreBack). Let’s hope this series is more akin to its Byrne-era namesake than, say, any character-shredding shenanigans of the Electric Blue sort.

Staff Picks: The Man of Steel, Vampironica, Aquaman/Jabberjaw/Valiant High, We Are The DangerVampironica #2

Archie Comics/$3.99

Written by Greg Smallwood and Megan Smallwood.

Art by Greg Smallwood.

Letters by Jack Morelli.

SR: Even though World Dracula Day has since passed (it was May 26), we can keep our bloodlust alive via another iconic, vampiric character — Veronica Lodge of the Archie universe.

In the first issue of this new series by Greg and Meg Smallwood, Veronica encountered a vampire as he loomed over the bodies of her parents. In an attempt to kill off this fiend she found herself bitten and transformed. However, she has enough self-awareness to know she cannot eat her friends, no matter how delicious they smell, and tries to hide away from the world. It’s high drama as we’ve come to expect from the Archie Horror line.

I’m looking forward to this second issue, where Dilton discovers Ronnie’s secret and tries to help her out. Fingers crossed that Vampironica doesn’t indulge her human “I get what I want” tantrums, and poor Dilton ends up dinner. I’m also looking forward to the beautiful charcoal-like artwork by Greg Smallwood, which adds a cool layer of depth and uniqueness to the story.

Staff Picks: The Man of Steel, Vampironica, Aquaman/Jabberjaw/Valiant High, We Are The DangerAquaman/Jabberjaw Special #1

DC Comics/$4.99

Written by Dan Abnett (Backup written by Jeff Parker).

Pencils by Paul Pelletier (Backup art by Scott Kolins).

Inks by Andrew Hennessy.

Colors by Rain Beredo.

Letters by Carlos M. Mangual.

CH: DC is bringing a couple ongoing series to a close (BatwomanHal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps) and the question arises, “Why cancel these, and yet continue to trot out one-shots of superheroes teamed with Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters, for cryin’ out loud?” It’s a valid question. For many, the answer lies purely in fleeting nostalgia. But for me, it’s about potential, especially for some of the H-B action heroes. Those characters are no goofier or more unrealistic than many Golden Age comics heroes still headlining today. They have untapped potential worth exploring.

Jabberjaw isn’t one of those, but neither was Elmer Fudd, and yet the 2017 Batman/Elmer Fudd Special has earned an Eisner nomination. Reading the blurb for Aquaman/Jabberjaw Special #1, it seems clear that while I have zero nostalgic interest or untapped potential fancies about Jabberjaw, some very talented and creative folks do. In fact, they became inspired enough to craft a story where a talking shark who sounds like Jerome Howard and who drums for a rock band called The Neptunes finds common ground with the hard-edged post-Rebirth Aquaman. It’s also clear they were jazzed to reference a shark movie that did big business many summers ago.

Writer Dan Abnett admitted in a recent interview that the project first caused him to do a disbelieving double-take, but then began to gel in his imagination. Not just as one-shot nostalgic whimsy, but as a challenge to work the story into actual Aquaman canon without diluting either character. He spoke with such passion for his concept that I want to read that resulting book.

Personally, most of the H-B humor characters don’t interest me. Passionate writing does, though. I’m holding out equal hope for the backup story of Captain Caveman and his encounter with the wizard Shazam embodying that same raw creative potential.

Staff Picks: The Man of Steel, Vampironica, Aquaman/Jabberjaw/Valiant High, We Are The DangerWe Are the Danger #1

Black Mask Studios/$3.99

Written and Illustrated by Fabian Lelay.

Colors by Claudia Aguirre.

Letters by Taylor Esposito.

BD: What new kid hasn’t wanted to instantly win the approval of her skeptical peers by showing off an incredible talent? And what better way to prove your mettle than with metal – blasting everyone’s faces off with a rock-n-roll auditory assault?

We Are the Danger is the anthem of encouragement for new kids everywhere. It’s scary enough trying to make it in high school on a daily basis, let alone in a brand new scene with few friends at your side. Luckily, music is a universal language, and our girls’ have got what it takes to get their point across. And with colors from Kim & Kim’s Claudia Aguirre, it’s sure to be an eye-popping adventure from the hallways to the stage.

Staff Picks: The Man of Steel, Vampironica, Aquaman/Jabberjaw/Valiant High, We Are The DangerValiant High #1

Valiant/$3.99

Written by Daniel Kibblesmith.

Art by Derek Charm.

Colors by David Baron.

Letters by Simon Bowland.

JJ: Valiant’s line-up of superheroes exists in the top-three of all time as far as I’m concerned. X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Faith, Quantum & Woody, Ninja-K — these are icons, instantly recognizable, informed by decades of storytelling courtesy of the industry’s best.

So when Daniel Kibblesmith, Derek Charm, David Baron, and Simon Bowland teamed up to pitch the idea “Valiant, but in high school,” my heart did a triple axel in my chest. (Should probably see a doctor about that.) Kibblesmith has already bowled me over with his first stretch on Quantum and Woody! and Derek Charm’s run on Jughead cemented him as one of my favorite artists working today. With Baron’s colors splashing teen spirit across the pages, and Bowland’s steadfast letters grounding its adolescent, Dynasty-level melodrama, there’s absolutely zero reason to pass on this, Valiant’s first-ever all-ages book. See you in class.

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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