by Clyde Hall, Mickey Rivera, 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 ‘Captain Marvel’ #1 to the Wonder Comics debut of ‘Young Justice’, here are the comics that have our hearts set ablaze this week.
Captain Marvel #1
Written by Kelly Thompson.
Art by Carmen Carnero.
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain.
Letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles.
CH: Happy Birthday, Carol Danvers. How could readers have known during her first appearance in Marvel Super-Heroes #13, March of 1968, they were witnessing the premiere of a woman who would one day take her place among the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? Even be proclaimed the Mightiest Avenger? The hero’s journey for Carol wasn’t a short putt. No simple radioactive spider bites, no unshielded jaunt through cosmic rays. She was abused, Rogued, and re-imagined. She’s worked her way to the top arduously, one incarnation at a time. Carol’s more than earned those Captain’s bars.
With her pending entry into the MCU, the first MCU film to feature a female as its primary lead character, Marvel’s timing couldn’t be better to get a new Captain Marvel book in the hands of eager readers. They could have just issued combined reprints of her Ms. Marvel/Binary/Warbird/Captain Marvel legacy. Or done business as usual with books she’s already appearing in. (Hey, companies have inexplicably done such stuff before.) Instead, this promises to be a whole new Captain Marvel offering, and one done with excellence.
Kelly Thompson as writer is key. How many Best Writer lists did she grace in the last month? I frankly lost count. Artist Carmen Carnero (X-Men: Red) is now exclusive to Marvel and she’s a brilliant choice based on the CM #1 previews alone. That’s quite a preview. Giant monsters on the loose, Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman, best friends reconnecting over a battle royale in the heart of the city. Given Captain Marvel’s past, some of the variant covers are dedicated to her personas of Binary and Ms. Marvel, others to her military service. That’s class.
Captain Marvel’s been handled well the last few years, and it’s impossible to imagine this crafted new series failing to increase her status in the Marvel hierarchy of great heroes even more. She’s come a long way since ’68, but Captain Marvel is cosmic. Her sky has no limit.
The Dreaming #5
Written by Simon Spurrier.
Art by Bilquis Evely.
Colors by Mat Lopes.
Letters by Simon Bowland.
MR: Of all the returning Sandman Universe titles, The Dreaming is the one that I think has the most going for it. Its draw owes a lot to its new addition to the realm: Nora. Simon Spurrier’s done a great job of writing Merv and Lucien and all the other usual suspects of The Dreaming, but Nora feels like his own. She’s as likely to impale you on an sarcastic insult as a jagged talon. To her friends she gives everything, eagerly pouring out the kindness she stows away safely inside her. To her enemies she can range anywhere between evasive foul-mouthed jerk to actual frenzied hell spawn. There’s a lot to her, that’s all I’m saying, and most of it’s yet to be revealed.
We know as much about Nora as Spurrier wants to give away. The guy knows how to keep the mystery alive. How does Nora tie into the bizarre geometrical thoughtform that’s mysteriously materialized in The Dreaming? And what of the disappearance of the King of Dreams himself? Her search for safety and peace has so far been filled with terror and heartbreak, and it’s likely not going to be calming down any time soon.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1
Written by Tom Taylor.
Art by Juann Cabal.
Colors by Nolan Woodard.
Letters by VC’s Travis Lanham.
JJ: The debut of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is a bittersweet one. That this light-hearted Spidey book would kick off under the solemn black banner that heralds the passing of Stan Lee (not to mention the black back cover or the gone-dark first two pages), is a tough thing to accept. But the House of Ideas soldiers on into a bright, optimistic new era for Spider-Man. So must we all.
So, yes. New Spidey book. And while even Spider-editor Nick Lowe is quick to admit that yet another Spider-Man title might feel a bit… “cash-grabby” (as he puts it in his back matter notes), with the sterling Chip Zdarsky run on Spectacular Spider-Man come to an end (and the book shutting down as a result), the only thing to do was to knock out an all-new series featuring perennially put-upon Peter Parker.
I’d call foul had Nick not assembled such an impressive crew for this “extra” Spider-Man title. (Calm down, ASM fans, I’m still Team Spencer/Ottley/Ramos. You can be on more than one team.) For any editors out there looking to net a perfect writer for your superhero book, Tom Taylor’s your huckleberry. Energy, creativity, wit, and wisdom, that’s what Taylor brings to his scripts—you saw it in the Distinguished Competition’s Injustice series (and most recently in that truly incredible Batman Annual), you saw it in his creator-owned book The Deep, then again in X-Men Red—and that’s what he brings here. The optimism and, well, friendliness you’d expect from a title like Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is in here. Holy moly, is it in there.
Juann Cabal read this script and knew exactly how to deliver. Crisp lines, immersive detail, open skies, smiling faces and a Parker sporting a Romita spit-curl. (I cackled when I first saw it.) Nolan Wood employs primary colors that evoke kind comparisons to the vivid awe displayed in Insomniac’s Spider-Man. Travis Lanham is in on it too, matching the hue of the captions that convey the Web-Head’s internal monologuing to the radiance on the page. When Spidey leaps into the sky, surrounded by memories shaped by the very architecture of his city, you’ll know you’re right where you need to be—home. Just like a good neighbor ought.
Written by Mat Groom.
Art by Eduardo Ferigato.
Colors by Marcelo Costa.
Letters by Troy Peteri.
SM: Would it be a relief to meet your maker? To release the burden of leading your own life and touch the hand of God? To know, and to be done, with free will? For now, it’s your prerogative to have an answer to the question: Are your decisions really your own or are you just one piece in someone else’s game?
In the prologue to Self/Made, peace is said to be an impossible dream outside of the walls of Arcadia, where a strict adherence to tradition is what keeps their system stable. Everyone falls in line, and complies to the rigid hierarchy. We meet Amala, who defies her role within the system time and time again. As we jarringly learn, each transgression summons a mysterious pulse of blue electricity which leads us back to the moment in time where Amala has made the decision to act above her station. While Amala is unaware of this peculiar experience, her will is so strong that despite being faced with a myriad of shifting circumstances, she follows her intuition and makes her own decision, despite tradition, every time. And she’s caught the attention of the one pulling the trigger on those flashes.
So, is Amala a glitch in the system that needs to be smoothed out, or is she a miracle? What would you do if you were the one who had to decide? In this second issue of Self/Made, we will be faced with her creator’s decision. The debut of Self/Made is so densely packed and fast-paced that it will be a pleasure to discover what the creator’s have up their sleeves for us in the issues to come.
Young Justice #1
Written by Brian Michael Bendis.
Art by Patrick Gleason.
Colors by Alejandro Sánchez.
Letters by DC Lettering.
CH: Ah, the 1990s. Era of leather jackets for everyone, mullets, box braids, and the variant cover boom. Young Justice was very much a product of the time, a third-tier answer to the Justice League and the Teen Titans. With Titans outgrowing Junior JLA status, there was a lack of DC books dealing with superheroes maneuvering the dual trials of puberty and upholding the good. Basically, no meta-powered (or non-powered) adventuresome kids acting like kids. Or like the target audience of young readers could relate to. Bonding in simpatico with youthful versions of iconic characters is powerful. It turns diversions into hobbies, hobbies into lasting passions.
Comics scratching that reader-character connection don’t necessarily have to be good to retain nostalgic fondness. Early Young Justice certainly had villains and plots best left imprisoned on Earth-1990. But it evolved into a quality title, inspiring loyalty while finding its storylines adapted into other DC superhero media. Brian Michael Bendis wants to recapture that spirit. The Wonder Comics imprint proves, in the Halls of Superman, he has the juice to enforce his wishes. The vanguard of four new titles premiering under his shiny new imprint is this week’s Young Justice #1.
It’s important commercially, but also to the hearts of the former title’s now-adult fans. (It’s big doings as well for those reveling in the YJ animated series, recently revived for a deserved 3rd Season.) Bendis and artist Patrick Gleason have a proven work chemistry. His assignment to Superman and Action Comics has yet to do much for me, but Bendis has brought some brilliant spates of signature writing style to both books. He’s done great youthful heroes before, making me anxious to see how. How we get Conner, Tim, Bart, and Cassie back. How they’ve been spending time out of the spotlight. How a new Teen Lantern and a Jonah-descended Jinny Hex take their place in the roster. How an oft-neglected Princess of Gemworld finally gets her due. Wonder has other new stuff coming I’m even more stoked for, but Young Justice #1 sets the standard. May we find ourselves liking this team more and more.
What books are you looking forward to reading this week? Sound off in the comments below.