by Arpad Okay, Don Alsafi, Clyde Hall, Sara Mitchell and Rachel Acheampong. Comics that challenge us, slay us, beguile us — the comics we simply can’t wait to devour. That’s DoomRocket’s Staff Picks. From Marvel’s ‘Shuri’ #1 by Nnedi Okorafor and Leonardo Romero to the latest tasty issue of ‘Flavor’, here’s what has our hearts set ablaze this week.
Written by Nnedi Okorafor.
Art by Leonardo Romero.
Colors by Jordie Bellaire.
Letters by VC’s Joe Sabino.
DA: When Black Panther came out this past February, it took the world by storm. Audiences had met T’Challa in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, and then found so many other compelling characters in Panther’s first solo movie — from villain Erik Killmonger to antagonist/ally M’Baku and more. But the character who perhaps won audience’s hearts the most was T’Challa’s sister Shuri: A technological genius, a playful teenage sibling, easily confident and self-possessed. Actress Letitia Wright stole nearly every scene she was in, and moviegoers left the theater wanting to know more about her.
Well, wait no longer. This week sees the release of Shuri #1, and what’s most exciting is that they’ve tapped Hugo and Nebula Award-winning SF author Nnedi Okorafor to write it! Afrofuturism – a cultural aesthetic which has informed much of Nnedi’s work – has been on rise the past few years, with the way Black Panther broke box office records being simply one of the most recent examples of its growing reach. To that end, having one of the designers of the technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda be written by one of Afrofuturism’s most acclaimed authors was nothing less than inspired. (And with Leonardo Romero providing the art, it’s certain to be gorgeous, as well.)
Written by Brian Michael Bendis.
Art by Michael Gaydos and Jessica Schaufer.
Letters by Joshua Reed.
SM: A spider knows you’re there as soon as you start to struggle, once you disrupt the stillness of its web.
Pearl is a girl with a spider tattoo, her own tattoo parlor, and a gun. We are two issues deep into Pearl so far, and while we’ve learned a lot about her past and current circumstances, I can’t say we’ve got any real idea about who she is, and no way to describe her personality. She isn’t defined by her internal world, but by the external. Not by herself, but by those around her. Her tattooing is defined by her mother, her skill with a gun by her father, and all of the rest is defined by the Yakuza. She didn’t even choose her tattoo. The spider was placed upon her.
Like her mother and father before her, Pearl is owned by the Yakuza, by Mr. Miike. She was born into the Yakuza’s web and into Mr. Miike’s debt. She’s safe as long as she pays her dues and doesn’t cause any disruptions. But Pearl, who’s spent her whole life following in her parents’ footsteps, and tattooing for the Yakuza, has been given her first-ever taste of power as she points and shoots her gun to kill. And this is where her trouble, and eventual liberation, will come from. When you’re the prey in a spider’s web, how do you stay alive? You stay still. And Pearl has made a move.
Written by Joseph Keatinge.
Illustrated by Wook Jin Clark.
Colored by Tamra Bonvillain.
Lettered by Ariana Maher.
AOK: Flavor caught my attention and held it. It’s an immersive and heartfelt tale told with clarity and no small amount of beauty. Look. Telling a food story is also telling a story about family, about history, wealth and poverty and survival, and when done right — like a hearty meal itself — it can be as satisfying as life gets. This book has got all that, and more, and if you are skipping it because you think it’s not to your taste, you’re truly missing out. A bit of Bone, a dash of Studio Ghibli. Tamra Bonvillain. Painting a kitchen. What are you waiting for?
Flavor hits on all the YA points that give rise to untempered, innocent excitement, all while providing the complex relationships that young and old minds alike crave from good literature. This issue closes off the first arc, and we’d like seconds, please.
Marvel Zombie #1
Written by W. Maxwell Prince.
Art by Stefano Raffaele.
Colors by Rachelle Rosenberg.
Letters by VC’s Travis Lanham.
CH: Reading W. Maxwell Prince’s superb work on the unsettlingly spoopy Ice Cream Man has been one of many comic joys in 2018. Hearing that he’s setting his gleefully aberrant sights to bring back a favorite Marvel monster in time for Halloween? Priceless. Simon Garth, the resident Marvel zombie since he premiered when they were still Atlas in 1953, was unearthed again in the 1973 series Tales of the Zombie. What’s more, In-Hyuk Lee’s variant cover for this week’s Marvel Zombie #1 is appropriately an homage to Boris Vallejo’s Tales of the Zombie #1 cover.
Traditionally, Garth has been an undead reanimated by voodoo magic, and whoever holds his talisman controls the Zombie. From preview art pages, this is still the case, while the other walking dead of an alternate Marvel universe are the Night of the Living Dead variety. In Prince’s hands, this difference is almost certainly going to become important to the story, and I can’t wait to see where he takes it.
The solicitations also indicate this will be a new alternative reality than the one used for the previous Marvel Zombies metaseries. Not only does this free Prince to have undead carte blanche regarding how the zombie plague began and developed, it also means new readers won’t become the walking dead themselves, finding and reading copious volumes of what’s gone before.
Garth’s Zombie was a pitiable monster in past stories, one who retained some self-awareness, fleeting memories of his past. This should also play to Prince’s style of story-telling. In a land overrun by mindless brain-munchers, the Zombie with even a spark of cognizance may be king.
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson.
Art by Flaviano.
Colors by Miguel Muerto.
Letters by Jim Campbell.
RA: This modern day coming-of-age story continues to reveal even more strange mysteries. From the onset, Low Road West has been a compelling journey with a series of unlikely events becoming the catalyst for a host of emotions. The premiere issue concluded with its five refugee teens seeking shelter from a dust storm, and that journey continues in Low Road West #2 with the group in search of supplies only to find that in the ghost town of Duster’s Wake they are not alone.
In this limited series Eisner Award-nominated writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson takes the classic roots of the fantasy portal story and perfectly blends it with apocalyptic science fiction. The artist Flaviano makes an effortless match to the writing with images that run together smoothly and in beautiful detail. (I love Emma’s look and her afro is so cute and modish.) Flaviano’s artwork and Miguel Muerto’s colors keep pace with the story as the group continues down a long dusty, dangerous road.
Some of my favorite stories have reflected many of my own personal feelings as I’ve learned more about myself. There’s no mistake, we can all relate to being a teen, learning to define both ourselves and our autonomy. And while they will continue to mature and learn throughout this series, adulthood doesn’t come with the flip of a switch — even in the wake of a disastrous war. As these five teens continue on this exodus in Low Road West #2, they will have to learn to trust one another as they take those crucial steps through this door to a new life.
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!