By Molly Jane Kremer, Arpad Okay, Jami Jones 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 Joëlle Jones’ solo ‘Catwoman’ debut to the historic beginning to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ ‘Captain America’ run, here’s what has our hearts set ablaze this week.

Catwoman #1

DC/$3.99

Written by Joëlle Jones.

Art by Joëlle Jones.

Colors by Laura Allred.

Letters by Josh Reed.

JamiJ: Catwoman has always been a nebulous character to me. Mercurial and capricious, she is a creature that continuously escapes definition. Her personality can vary from “bad girl sex symbol” to “calculating thief”, never really settling on any one constant—save her infatuation with the Batman. During DC’s Rebirth Tom King did much to re-define the character with a solid background and a personality; he has taken the best traits from her plethora of incarnations and built the skeleton of a character for collaborator Joëlle Jones to flesh out.

Catwoman is Jones’ first solo DC title, though you’d never guess it. Her previous work on Dark Horse Comics’ Lady Killer gives Jones a unique understanding of a femme fatale who refuses to be defined by her actions, and what’s more, she updated Catwoman’s look during her recent Batman run, from desert gear to wedding dress, with an acute awareness of Selina and her sense of style. Selina Kyle hasn’t been tested like this in some time, and neither has Joëlle Jones. That empathy, of a creator for an iconic character, makes Jones the perfect choice for Catwoman’s solo title debut.

Captain America #1

Marvel/$4.99

Written by Ta-Nehesi Coates.

Pencils by Leinil Yu.

Inks by Gerry Alanguilan.

Colors by Sunny Gho.

Letters by VC’s Joe Caramagna.

JJ: I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how pissed people were about Marvel’s Secret Empire event. Overlong, overwrought and overbearing, not only did the series force the publisher’s entire line down a narrow, disagreeable path for the better part of a year, it tarnished the reputation and legacy of one of the Marvel Universe’s most cherished heroes both on the page and off. While the “true” Captain Steve Rogers has since returned to us, the consequences of Secret Empire have yet to be addressed, and for a minute it certainly looked as though Marvel might have turned its back on its storytelling responsibilities. Mark Waid & Chris Samnee’s recent run, fun and beautiful though it was, glossed over the severity of the situation. Cap fans balked. And you know what? Marvel actually listened.

This Independence Day marks an all-new era for Captain America, and to mark the occasion the publisher has decided to go one further. They’ve rightfully given Cap to one of America’s finest writers and thinkers, Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has teamed with Leinil Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Sonny Gho and Joe Caramagna to tell a story that will address the ramifications of Secret Empire. They’re here to right a wrong. To clean a mess. To carve a piece of comics history out for themselves.

Look at that creator roster. A list of names as diverse as the country for which our Captain defends. Happy 4th of July, people. The future’s looking bright.

Thief of Thieves #38

Skybound/Image Comics/$3.99

Written by Brett Lewis.

Illustrated by Shawn Martinbrough.

Colored by Adriano Lucas.

Lettered by Rus Wooton.

AOK: Nobody writes crime like Brett Lewis. Nobody. You couldn’t ask for a better man to wrap up the series Thief of Thieves, for Lewis is a poet whose specialty is telling the tales of men who give up their happiness in service of their talent. Is this not the epitome of Thief of Thieves? Lewis will send it off like the iceberg sent the Titanic.

The past is coming up fast to bite Conrad Paulson on the ass, the face, the everything. Rend him, chew him, swallow, dissolve, shit it out, and bury. Redmond, not dead, in a notorious Russian prison (because Lewis), maybe worse than dead. Lewis kicks his arc off with a one-and-done story to give you a feel for what’s to come. What’s coming? You can expect monkey wrench to gears, beyond grit to gristle. Gravitas. Get excited.

Assassinistas #6

Black Crown/IDW Publishing/$3.99

Written by Tini Howard.

Art by Gilbert Hernandez.

Colors by Rob Davis.

Letters by Aditya Bidikar.

JJ: This week’s big debuts and anniversary issues have their work cut out for them if they’re to match the sheer ferocity and emotional fireworks found in this glorious finale to Assassinistas. One part Fantagraphics curio, one part telenovela, one part snort-inducing comedy, Assassinistas was the raucous action saga amid the intimidatingly cool roster that was Shelly Bond’s Black Crown opening salvo. Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez? An indie dream team. A comics legend paired with a newbie creator destined for legendary status herself. Backed by a killer crew of creators, Rob Davis and Aditya Bidikar, who gave this assassin vs. assassin saga added life. This book had more sass in it than the all-caps logo design advertised, more heart than its wily Tarantino-esque moxie let on. How I will miss it.

This issue brings Charlotte “Scarlet” Calvert to the fore. No longer content to merely wait for former partner Octavia to deliver her first-born son home, Charlotte has decided to dust off her old sniper rifle and take aim for the retribution her enemies definitely have comin’. It all comes to a ferocious, fiery end with issue #6. Don’t miss it.

Batman #50

DC/$4.99

Written by Tom King.

Art by Mikel Janín and others.

Colors by June Chung.

Letters by Clayton Cowles.

MJ: There’s been much ado about Catwoman and Batman’s “I Do’s” this week in Batman #50. (Don’t worry, you’ll see no spoilers here.)

Arguably the biggest book in a week of huge releases, this anniversary issue is the culmination of writer Tom King and company’s Batman run so far. (Funny how quick fifty issues rush by when you’re releasing twenty-four of ‘em a year, eh?) The last six months or so have seen the series steer decidedly in the direction of a romance comic, and this wedding issue (with its looming will-they-or-won’t-they tension) punctuates that creative decision perfectly.

The sequentials in the issue are drawn by Mikel Janín, colored by June Chung, and lettered by Clayton Cowles, and everything looks just as beautiful as those credits would suggest. Twenty additional pin-ups by the likes of Becky Cloonan, Lee Bermejo, Joëlle Jones, Jordie Bellaire, and Rafael Albuquerque both fit snugly into the issue’s unique narrative and drive home its major event status. (And heck, they’re just super dang pretty.)

And even if that New York Times article spoiled you, there’s still a plot twist you won’t see coming, a huge pay-off for regular series readers, and a definite indication of where Batman is heading in its next fifty issues. Love that ending or hate it, Batman #50 remains a can’t-miss single issue for any superhero fan.

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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