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 Eve Ewing’s debut in Marvel’s ‘Ironheart’ #1 to the latest fabulous issue of ‘These Savage Shores’, here are the comics that have our hearts set ablaze this week — and we even have an extra pick for next week!
Written by Eve Ewing.
Art by Kevin Libranda and Luciano Vecchio.
Additional layouts by Geoffo.
Colors by Matt Milla.
Letters by Clayton Cowles.
MJ: After debuting in the pages of Invincible Iron Man, Riri Williams takes to the skies with Ironheart #1. And there’s writer Eve Ewing, right there next to her (appropriately, in Eve’s comics debut). It’s my duty to say that Ewing absolutely knocks it out of the park with this first issue.
For those of us well-versed in superheroics, Ironheart #1 hits the requisite, familiar buttons with flourish: foreboding mention of an established criminal organization? Check. Thrilling battle with a cracked-mirror villain? Got it. But it’s the incredible, finely-wrought character work on Riri that makes this comic stand apart from most others on the stands. For the unfamiliar, the issue functions as a perfect introduction to the character and proceeds to unfold so much more of her than we’ve ever known as the story goes on.
And there is a ton of story here — thirty-two pages crammed with it, with action and wit and compelling drama. Riri also tends to remind herself of science factoids in the midst of her work (in both science and heroics) which results in the most organically modernized “Flash Facts” this side of the delightful Unstoppable Wasp.
The art by Kevin Libranda and Luciano Vecchio (with Geoffo and Matt Milla) is marvelous stuff. Incredibly expressive acting make a long-distance Facetime conversation that much more impactful and poignant, and (with the help of typically stellar lettering by Clayton Cowles) crystal clear storytelling flows through what could have been a couple overly-packed pages.
Ewing has yet to bring the Ironheart action back to her native Chicago yet, but according to future solicits visits to the Windy City are on the horizon. But whether she’s flying Midwestern skies or soaring above MIT, Ironheart is back and better than ever. With this exceptional creative team, I can only hope Ewing will be fronting this incredible new series for a long, long time.
House Amok #3
Written by Christopher Sebela.
Art by Shawn McManus.
Colors by Lee Loughridge.
Letters by Aditya Bidikar.
SM: What would it require for you to defend reality? If it were put to trial, could you argue an objective reality defining the world in which you live? Would you testify against the ones you love? If your case failed, would you change your mind? Could you adjust reality? House Amok reminds me that smart, independent people join cults, pseudo religions, and are vulnerable to groupthink. That even I can see the appeal in letting go of individual responsibility in favor of a higher calling; a divine perfection. A reason for reality.
Desperate for a reason why they are falling apart, this family clings to the slightest shred of hope that there is someone else to blame for their failures to find joy and success. They lose themselves in a world of their own theories in order to define a new reality. Slippermen, Reality Adjusters, and The Elders are all welcome alternatives to the other side of the coin — that their family is sick, and deteriorating. They need diagnoses for their lives, to cut out the weed, and poison the soil from which it sprang. We all have this same desire to externalize our problems. It’s why we create dragons to slay, and comics to read. And we are all susceptible to losing our minds in the process when we convince ourselves that our problems can be fixed by adjusting the reality around us. It’s hard to return from believing you’re the only real thing in this world.
I’ve been shocked, I’ve been moved, I’ve been completely absorbed. You should have seen me while I read the first two issues of House Amok in public. I saw my server double take at my expressions. I gestured towards my laptop, I threw up my hands, I covered my eyes. If that’s not a testament to an engrossing story, then, sure, I’d consider that, because I question everything around me now. Nothing is real. The Elders are coming.
The Warning #1
Written by Edward Laroche.
Illustrated by Edward Laroche.
Colored by Brad Simpson.
Lettered by Jaymes Reed.
AOK: The more I read about The Warning, about the things its creator Edward Laroche wrestles with and intends, the more excited I become. The consummate warrior is being slowly crushed by existential crisis. The burden of being a living weapon is too heavy a load for any real person to bear. The Warning promises to kill, maim, explode, inflame, titillate, but to do it at the pace of the inexorable roll of the tide. A wash of dread. A sea of sickness.
But, you know, aliens and super soldiers and stuff. A Ghost in the Shell love letter to chaos and action written in the melancholy hand of Maxim Gorky and sealed with and stained by tears. Laroche’s art is understated for a genre book but will assuredly get you there, and Brad Simpson’s colors play a joyous counterpoint to Laroche’s characters’ internal dirge.
These Savage Shores #2
Written by Ram V.
Illustrated by Sumit Kumar.
Colors by Vittorio Astone.
Letters by Aditya Bidikar.
JJ: Surrender yourself completely to These Savage Shores. Two issues in, and I’m already calling this series the crown jewel of Vault Comics. It’s that good. Beautiful, sumptuous, frightening, bloody, sexy, it’s all of these things. More. Ram V. has tapped into a vein of inspiration that is beyond the measurement of wealth. Sumit Kumar and Vittorio Astone spoil our eyes with riches, make them widen in shock, surprise, astonishment. With Aditya Bidikar, These Savage Shores becomes an affair of sophistication, a page-turning shocker that promises pulsating geysers of blood. Was that last bit intense? Well. So is These Savage Shores.
These Savage Shores feels at once timeless and vividly now. Like it’s been around for generations but it’s only arrived to us today. It’s a vampire story, with shape-changers, murderers, kings and subjects. All of them yearning to be free, but from what? Even the immortals don’t quite know. Two cultures relate the same horror story, tell it from different vantage points, different lives. In These Savage Shores, there is the hunter and there is the hunted. But in These Savage Shores, that means the same thing. It’s classic horror with teeth. And it has such sights to show you.
And since DoomRocket will be taking time off in December, here’s a special Staff Pick for next week!
Written by Geoff Johns.
Art by Dale Eaglesham and Mayo “SEN” Naito.
Colors by Michael Atiyeh.
CH: When DC’s major characters shine in their respective titles, it’s a great day. But they ought to; Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman should draw the best creative teams, the crème de la crème at the top of their games. I’ve always been more impressed when a character further removed from the Trinity (recently, Hawkman and Plastic Man) enjoy a great run in their own book. The Big Red Cheese formerly known as Captain Marvel isn’t as far out of the mainstay Hero Hall as Hawkman (Center Aisle) or Plas (Nosebleed Section), though. He’s a mere half-step behind the Big Guns. Now Shazam’s getting a new series as DC’s movie of the same name readies for theatrical release.
Previous incarnations by C.C. Beck and Jerry Ordway registered with me as a younger reader for their whimsy and nostalgia, respectively. When the Justice League series featured the character in an origin set of backup stories, writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank applied the New 52 trappings. Oddly for that DC relaunch overall, their more realistic, modernized version of Shazam impressed me. It was funny, had great characters, took chances with the heroes as originally presented, and told an upbeat story of foster kids, murderous mystical malefactors, and finding your own family. Johns returns to script next week’s Shazam #1, joined by artist Dale Eaglesham and backup story artist Mayo “SEN” Naito. Can they build on what the New 52 began?
Some readers will never accept the magic word becoming the name, but the fact that a Captain Marvel is being handled very well at Another Huge Comic Company (and also has a film coming out soon) soothes that hurt in me. From the Shazam! trailer, the cinematic hero’s origin is being taken wholesale from Johns’ original revamp. If you liked that onscreen peek, we can expect this new series to have a similar spirit of adventure and fun. The DC world can be a dark place. But nothing illuminates the night like sizzling flashes of lightning from a young, unlikely hero set on becoming a better man.
What books are you looking forward to reading this week? Sound off in the comments below.