By Molly Jane Kremer, Arpad Okay, Clyde Hall, Sara Mitchell 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 Black Crown’s ‘Euthanauts’ #1 to AfterShock’s ‘Clankillers’ #1, here’s what has our hearts set ablaze this week.
Black Crown/IDW Publishing/$3.99
Written by Tini Howard.
Illustrated by Nick Robles.
Letters by Aditya Bidikar.
CH: Few of us will have a chance to explore the frontier of space. Undersea expeditions into unchartered depths are a slightly better bet, but still not on everyone’s life docket. Death, however, remains the one great frontier that we all have First Class reserved seats for.
For as much as poets and theologians may glamorize death as a grand adventure into the vast unknowable regions of existence, it’s a trip we all tend to procrastinate taking. Not so with the protagonists of Euthanauts #1 based on the promo copy from Black Crown/IDW Publishing. Not that they’re suicidal necessarily, but they are prepared to launch on a voyage of trans-death discovery. All hold a vested, varied interest in cracking the Hereafter Code. From the member obsessed with the concept of mortality, to the spiritually fortified, to the terminally ill, to the scientific pioneer, the crew represents many of the phases we consider prior to that inevitable road trip into the Light.
After Howard’s run on Assassinistas it’s hard to know what to expect, but like the Euthanauts themselves expectation is part of the journey. The humor elements in the previous series make one anticipate the balance she’ll strike between soulful examinations of eternity and having exact currency for the toll booths along an intergalactic Afterlife Expressway. Her writing cred reassures me that Euthanauts will include both, resounding in her signature smart, refined style.
Artist and colorist Nick Robles leaves no doubt that this is a drastic departure from the books he’s been doing (Alien Bounty Hunter, Kong of Skull Island) and that he’s seriously pumped with Howard’s concept, right down to the series’ name itself. “Inspired,” is the word he uses to describe his disposition on beginning the run, and his zeal is communicable.
It’s been said that we’re all going to die, but we should at least try to keep the trip interesting. Isn’t that one of the reasons we read comics, injecting colorful conflicts and characters so bold, so riveting, that no page confines them sufficiently to prevent their influencing our really real world? Tini Howard, Nick Robles, and letterer Aditya Bidikar add their inventive voiceovers to our collective life junkets with this examination of transience. What better tour guides for learning to encounter darkness as a bride—and hold it close?
Written by Margaret Stohl
Art by Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz and Marguerite Sauvage.
Colors by Marcio Menyz.
Letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles.
MJ: For us fans of Carol Danvers it’s been a hefty wait—six months since February—for more from our favorite Air Force Colonel’s ongoing comic. Sadly, as the first installment of a five-issue mini, this week’s The Life of Captain Marvel #1 isn’t the return of that ongoing, but it’s a heckuva read, and delves into some of Carol’s personal history that could be considered revelatory for a lot of modern readers.
If you enjoyed the last Captain Marvel run you’ll probably be pretty happy here, as scribe Margaret Stohl returns to the character and tests the old “you can’t go home again” adage: in this issue, Carol returns home to New England to visit the family she’s practically estranged herself from. The pathos is palpable throughout, and it’s nice to see a return of a supportive, friendly relationship between Carol and Tony Stark amidst the issue’s goings-on.
Carlos Pacheco’s art is reliably great superhero stuff, with inks by Rafael Fonteriz and bold coilors by Marcio Menyz. As always, his storytelling is superb, although Pacheco’s visual misinterpretations of a couple food items might give you a giggle. (Marinara!) There are also a few pages of flashback sequence with art by Marguerite Sauvage, and her soft inks and muted colors emphasize both the soothing reminiscences of youth and the heartbreak expressed within.
Public interest in Captain Marvel is at an incredible high right now. The Life of Captain Marvel #1 is the perfect comic to pick up for the multitudes with piqued interest after seeing that red, blue and gold Hala star at the end of Avengers: Infinity War.
Image Comics / $3.99
Written by Joseph Keatinge.
Art by Wook Jin Clark.
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain.
Letters by Ariana Maher.
SM: Flavor is beautiful, thoughtful, playful, and will lure you in towards a soft, gooey caramel center. Then once you take a bite you will realize everything wholesome in the world is a lie and that the government is trying to control you. Threats are creeping out of Flavor like long shadows in the late afternoon. Mysteries drop like sand in an hourglass—slowly, surely, without hesitation. There’s a new grain and a new question on every page. Who’s making the rules in this city? Who exactly is Uncle Geoff? What consequences will Xoo face in the issues to come? How will she survive? What’s happening outside of The Bowl?
The city Flavor takes place in is called The Bowl. It feels completely separated from reality; isolated within its own universe. The reason I keep turning the page and why I will diligently make my way to the end is because there is something telling me that if I were to take a look at The Bowl and zoom out as far as I could, it would be an actual bowl. And there would be something sinister holding the whole world in its hands. It would be grinning as it placed a spoon in the bowl and stirred. It would look me straight in the eyes as it placed the bowl on the stove and turned the heat on high.
Written by Sean Lewis.
Illustrated by Antonio Fuso.
Colored by Stefano Simeone.
Lettered by Dave Sharpe.
AOK: Folklore and vengeance collide in Clankillers. Ancient Ireland is a land of mythical monsters and madmen in power, fields of blood, constant feuds. The daughter of the worst warlord decides the road to peace goes through her father’s corpse and the cadavers of all who hold power. Sean Lewis, who has a history of telling stories where myth, murder, and maidens come together, is drawing from the stories that haunted him in his youth, adding Shakespeare, synthesizing influence and interest into something that looks truly exciting.
Lewis collaborates with Antonio Fuso, whose natural talent at depicting violence with a touch of the gothic reminds me of legends like Chris Bachalo or Mike Mignola. Fuso getting to cut loose on a book that is as invested in characters as it is grimoire spirits is an ideal use of his talent. If you like the 90s Vertigo vibe, Clankillers is going to be a book for you.
Written by Dan Slott.
Art by Valerio Schiti.
Colors by Edgar Delgado.
Letters by VC’s Joe Caramagna.
JJ: I wasn’t quite prepared for how much I enjoyed Tony Stark: Iron Man #1. Marvel’s post-Legacy debut for ol’ Shellhead was crisp, refreshing, a blast of fresh air. At first I thought it might have benefited from that “new comic book smell” but during a second read-through I found myself reacting to the book—nodding my head at Dan Slott’s observations on how a neurotic billionaire playboy like Tony Stark might be perceived by the world around him, chuckling to Valerio Schiti’s characterizations, marveling at how clean and energetic Edgar Delgado’s colors were. I may still be enamored by how “new” the series feels, but if “new” also translates into “fun” what’s the harm?
Tony Stark: Iron Man is fun. Slott & Schiti have introduced a compelling supporting cast and surrounded Tony with them. Android Jocasta Pym, the chief robotic ethicist who gets the best lines in the book and a wit that might outclass Stark himself. Bethany Cabe, the head of security who has secrets even she doesn’t know about. Andy Brang, an engineer from Tony’s past who had just as much promise but not near enough privilege. And Rhodey. Dear, dear Rhodey. Still recovering from Civil War II (but then, so are the rest of us) but keeping his head high. What a crew. What a book.
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!