by Molly Jane Kremer, Stefania RuddMickey RiveraRachel Acheampong 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 ‘The Wicked + The Divine: The Funnies’ to Drawn & Quarterly’s ‘Bad Friends’, here’s what has our hearts set ablaze this week.

The Wicked + The Divine: The Funnies #1

Image Comics/$3.99

Written by Kieron Gillen, Lizz Lunney, Chip Zdarsky, Chrissy Williams, Romesh Ranganathan, Hamish Steele, Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris, and Kate Leth.

Art by Erica Henderson, Lizz Lunney, Chip Zdarksy, Clayton Cowles, Julia Madrigal, Hamish Steele, Kitty Curran, Margaux Saltel, and Jamie McKelvie.

Colors by Juan Castro, Lizz Lunney, Becka Kinzie and Dee Cunniffe, Hamish Steele, Kitty Curran, Margaux Saltel, and Matt Wilson.

MJ: Every month (or so) there are new issues of The Wicked + the Divine. They will be dramatic. They will be bloody. But this month, something a little different has manifested itself at your local comic shop: The Wicked + The Divine: The Funnies #1, an irreverent, laugh-out-loud satire of (and homage to) everything WicDiv.

A star-studded group of creators populate this special, writing and drawing stories ranging from one to six pages each. Creators Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson actually appear in a couple of the shorts (and, written by their friends, the results are utter hilarity), as well as making fun of themselves in a short of their own. (Well. Making fun of Kieron’s ridiculous tweet-puns, at least.)

There isn’t a single dud within this issue’s far-too-short 28 pages. Chip Zdarsky again flexes his comedy skills in a five-page send-up of the series (and of Kieron and Jamie, naturally). This may have been my favorite, because I am still stifling giggles just writing about it. Clocking in at six pages, one of the longest (and funniest) stories in the issue is Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris’ “13 Go Mad in Wiltshire”, a silly mashup of the WicDiv pantheon and Scooby-Doo.

Other series regulars get in on the fun, too. Series editor Chrissy Williams tries her hand (very successfully) at writing a page of Gentle Annie’s mumblings, with letterer Clayton Cowles on art and color flatter Dee Cunniffe on colors. Rounding out the credits, Erica Henderson, Lizz Lunney, Becka Kinzie, Romesh Ranganathan, Julia Madrigal, Hamish Steele, Kate Leth, and Margaux Saltel all contribute amazing pieces. Not a page is wasted.

For a series that has gotten real heavy in the last few months, Funnies is a much appreciated ray of sunshine before we jump back into the final story arc and begin to plan our mourning attire for—*gasp*—The End. Let’s laugh it up while we can, shall we?

Border Town #3

DC Vertigo/$3.99

Written by Eric M. Esquivel.

Art by Ramon Villalobos.

Colors by Tamra Bonvillain.

Letters by Deron Bennett.

MR: Like an otherworldly luchador charging up from our subconscious minds, Border Town slams you in the face with ancient Gods, modern politics, and a dark sense of humor that cuts like sharpened machete. If there’s a comic that might succeed in synthesizing the combined sense of disdain, obstinate resistance and self-recovery that’s coursing through the minds of Latin Americans, and do it in a way that’s both impish and entertaining, this might be it.

Border Town‘s creative team works off of much under-utilized Mesoamerican mythology, which offers a dragon’s hoard worth of visual richness and novelty to draw from. Artist Ramon Villalobos and colorist Tamra Bonvillain are marching in lockstep with artwork that features some of the prettiest terror and violence I’ve seen in a while. Eric Esquivel’s writing is boobytrapped with mischievous quips and fortified by a great sense of narrative rhythm. What can I say? This team knows what they’re doing, and I like it.

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #1

Titan Comics/$3.99

Written by Jody Houser.

Art by Rachael Stott.

Colors by Enrica Eren Angiolini.

Letters by Comicraft.

SR: The day has finally come—in so many ways—for us to witness the 13th Doctor in her full comic book glory! After a few teasers and hints in the past few months from Titan Comics’ Doctor Who series, the creative team of Jody Houser, Rachael Stott and Enrica Angiolini have the honor of bringing the newest Doctor to the page.

With all the excitement of surrounding Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor, this issue just might bring new readers to the Who comic series—it will, if nothing else, certainly satiate fans who need more 13 in their life beyond the show. And no need to worry about whether or not these books are canon; as most Whovians know, the timeline is ever in flux and nothing is concrete.

Titan has also cleverly released 13 different covers for this issue to commemorate the series from artists such as Babs Tarr, Alice X. Zhang, and Paulina Ganucheau. I’m really looking forward to grabbing a cuppa, eating some custard creams, and enjoying the Doctor’s new adventures through time and space. Oh, brilliant!

Crowded #4

Image Comics/$3.99

Written by Christopher Sebela.

Pencils by Ro Stein.

Inks by Ted Brandt.

Colors by Triona Farrell.

Letters by Cardinal Rae.

RA: One of the joys of reading comic books is experiencing alternate realities that allow a momentary escape from our daily lives, the politics of the day, the over-saturation of a viral post. Sometimes a book, in spite of its fiction, can hit a little closer to home. Crowdfunding platforms already exist to fund the next big idea, why not assassinations? A story about a future run on job-sharing that includes apps where murder-for-hire can be crowdfunded might’ve seemed like a crazy idea a few years ago. With the ongoing series Crowded you get just that. But this is more than just another witty social commentary on our media-driven lives.

Reapr is the app for that. Crowded does have its moments that speak to celebrity in the age of the internet and the demise of social structures (public libraries are reduced to chains of cheap motels), but the story is full-on L.A. action that moves at the speed of a bullet. Christopher Sebela has a remarkable ability to make multiple themes rely on each other without an overemphasis on any, while adding his brand of dark humor that will have you laughing to tears at the over-the-top nature of the situation. Hot pinks and Kill Bill yellows serve to draw the contrast between the two main characters: Charlie Ellison, who has an almost two million dollar Reapr campaign on her life, and Vita, the Defnd app bodyguard. As exciting as the storyline is, the funky art is an equal partner in this page-turning series.

With eye-catching characters (the new hit-woman in town is fire), and a sharp reflection on the current state of our world it’s not hard to see why the rights for Crowded have already been optioned for a movie adaptation. Crowdfunded gunmen are on the hunt across Los Angeles and new ones continue to arrive as the dollar amount rises. Results might become more disastrous before the campaign expires—or the campaign expires them. Whichever comes first?

Bad Friends GN

Drawn & Quarterly/$21.95

Written and illustrated by Ancco.

JJ: I didn’t realize I was looking for Bad Friends until I found it. This treasure from South Korea. Written and illustrated by a creator I’m ashamed to have only just read about this past week. Ancco’s story is one we know, some more intimately than others, though perhaps from different perspectives. Different countries, similar lives, same devastation. The pain of people could fill a book and Ancco has written a tome.

It’s about a girl named Pearl. Just entered her teenage years and wants to go on a tear. Isn’t sure she knows how to just yet. So she makes a go of smoking, drinking. Dumb kid shit. Late night karaoke with her new friend Jeong-ae, who seems to take quite a bit of abuse at home when the sun is gone and all that anger in your family comes to the fore. Pearl gets hers, too, but she sees something else in Jeong-ae’s suffering. Something beautiful, frightening. Something more.

Bad Friends is a story about violence. Violence to ourselves. Kids finding reasons to suffer. Set loose on a city that doesn’t quite know what to do with the times, which are changing and perhaps not for the better. The stifling nature of modern life choking the love out of our hearts. Wanting things to change but not knowing how to make them. Bad Friends is about learning to harden until our soft skin begins to scratch, crack, bleed. But there’s hope in there, too. Ancco wants us alert, aware. Her backgrounds are a sea of blackness, her characters radiating, raging against it, shining. Pearl and Jeong-ae, friends who need each other. Us reading, needing to know they’ll be okay.

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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