by Molly Jane Kremer, Stefania Rudd, Arpad OkayClyde Hall 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 ‘Murder Falcon’ to ‘Wonder Twins’, here are the comics that have our hearts set ablaze this week.

Staff Picks: Murder Falcon #5

Murder Falcon #5

Image Comics/$3.99

Written by Daniel Warren Johnson.

Art by Daniel Warren Johnson.

Colors by Mike Spicer .

Letters by Daniel Warren Johnson and Rus Wooton.

MJ: Murder Falcon is by far one of the strongest series on Image Comic’s current roster. Writer/artist/letterer Daniel Warren Johnson followed up the harrowing and heart-filled Extremity (and all its critical acclaim) with this relatively lighthearted romp about getting your groove back… thanks to a heavy metal-fueled, kaiju-killing, cyborg falcon warrior.

It’s also quite possibly the most joyous comic out right now. Murder Falcon is a song of recovery, hope, and positive affirmations, punctuated by screaming roars of guitar blasting from an amp turned up to eleven. Oh, and don’t forget, it has some truly amazing art from Warren Johnson and colorist Mike Spicer.

It stars Jake, former lead guitarist and frontman for a metal band who’s let his life fall apart around him until the calamitous entrance of Murder Falcon, fueled (of course) by the power chords and riffs of Jake’s guitar. Murder Falcon #5 sees Jake attempt to rekindle a past flame as they battle a monstrous enemy who’s gained a terrifying upper hand. As luck would have it, they’ve gain an unexpected ally in their battle for Earth.

Only three more issues remain of this stellar series. Jump in as soon as possible before the band hits its encore.

Staff Picks: Murder Falcon #5

Wizard Beach #3

BOOM! Studios/$3.99

Written by Shaun Simon.

Art by Conor Nolan.

Inks by Chad Lewis.

Colors by Meg Casey.

Letters by Mike Fiorentino.

SR: Hexley Daggard Ragbottom, affectionately known as “Hex” to his estranged Uncle Salazar, is still stuck at Wizard Beach and trying his darndest to leave. Too bad he’s been smacked with a curse with no telling when it will ever be lifted… and if he’s truly stuck, who will save his homeland from the dark forces that have taken over?

We’re midway through this bewitching 5-issue series from BOOM! Studios, and while I appreciate a good curse, I hope this issue provides a crucial turning point for Hex. But who can say for sure? Wizard Beach #5 may indeed mark the moment in this magical hero’s journey where, after a few more tribulations, our hero emerges victoriously… but it’s important we don’t take that for granted.

In any case, I’m excited to see how things continue to play out for ‘ol Hex. Will he finally get help from his Uncle Salazar, or will he find the strength within to get back home and quell his nefarious enemies? Time (and a couple more issues) will tell. In the meantime I will happily continue enjoying this supernatural beachy romp from BOOM! Studios; it’s a much-appreciated ray of sunshine as the snowflakes continue to batter my window.

Staff Picks: Murder Falcon #5

The Warning #4

Image Comics/$3.99

Written by Edward Laroche.

Illustrated by Edward Laroche.

Colored by Brad Simpson.

Lettered by Jaymes Reed.

AOK: The slow drip drip drip of Warning continues to coalesce. The warrior on bumblebee wing flies into the breach. The sniper sits Akira-style in a satellite of death, muzzle pointed Earthward. The Warning moves forward at a glacial pace—we’ve barely passed through the introduction and yet the world is about to end.

The science is hard. What a man must go through to be the robotic killing machine of the future, what a team of doctors must do to his body. The situation, an alien invasion, one planet being pulled headlong into another, is fiction.

Each cover has been a clue to who the issue’s contents concern. You bet I’m excited for issue four. Is this blood red samurai skeleton leaking feathered fur finally our first glimpse of the opposition? Worse, is it on our side?

Everything is exploding. Everything is ending already. Everything is finally ready to begin.

Staff Picks: Murder Falcon #5

Wonder Twins #1

DC/$3.99

Written by Mark Russell.

Illustrated by Stephen Byrne.

Letters by Dave Sharpe.

CH:  Will Zan explore the potential utility of his powers, or be carried around in a bucket? Will Jayna be able to call up powerful alien animal forms like Kryptonian Thought Beasts or the Koa-Ruhl? Or will she be more Beast Boy/Vixen hybrid? We’re getting treated to Mark Russell’s take on the Exxorian brother and sister superhero team. Given his track record (Flintstones, Snagglepuss: Exit Stage Left for DC, The Lone Ranger for Dynamite), expect to be impressed.

Since their introduction in 1977 as part of the Super Friends cartoon, the Wonder Twins have been Justice League farm club talent. They replaced the non-powered Wendy and Marvin on the show so just having powers was trading up, but the Twins’ reputation for lameness surely gave Aquaman an ego boost. Things may change as Russell chronicles their first headlining title, Wonder Twins #1, part of the Wonder Comics imprint.

The DC division’s already drawing praise after successful premiere issues of Naomi and Young Justice. Besides, we all know character ‘lameness’ is an illusion that needs only a single good writer to dispel. Inaugural issue previews show exiled alien teens just trying to fit in with Terran classmates. They have TMI moments. They feel overwhelmed between the new social dynamic, acclimating to a new world, and juggling new responsibilities as members-in training with the Justice League.

The previews nod to previous versions of the young heroes. Their insignias are intentional design matches to Superman’s, just as they were in Super Friends #10. One classmate very much mirrors Zan’s secret identity ‘Johan’ adopted in his first comics appearance.  

All honesty, the Twins are due. Why are Zan’s liquid forms any less valid than Hydro-Man’s? Let him take “Shape of… liquid nitrogen!” and see what happens. Why should Jayna’s animorph powers be inferior to Garfield Logan’s? Why shouldn’t the inventors of the fist bump headline their own title? We’re ready.

Staff Picks: Murder Falcon #5

Outer Darkness #4

Image Comics/$3.99

Written by John Layman.

Art by Afu Chan.

Letters by Pat Brosseau.

JJ: Space. The final resting place. These are the voyages of the starship Charon. It’s continuing mission: to infiltrate strange, demon-infested worlds, to survive cosmic evil, and survive each other. See, in this particularly gnarly star trek, Captain Rigg doesn’t have the patience for his own command, and as a result his crew is mere seconds away from mutiny-ing his ass out the nearest airlock. It’s only a matter of time.

Outer Darkness, like Rigg, is unapologetically brash. Vulgar. Impulsive. Those juvenile quirks are matched by a timeless fascination with the endless reaches of space. It wonders just what could be out there, lurking, watching, waiting for us to finally get our shit together enough to boldly go. With a mere four issues out this series has already proven to be a consistent cosmic thrill, written by the anti-Roddenberry himself, John Layman, and illustrated by comic’s own psychedelic answer to David Pelham, Afu Chan. Then there’s the weirdo alien elocution supplied by letterer Pat Brosseau, who gives life to alien, ghost, and nimrod captain alike.

This month’s installment of Outer Darkness gets personal with a revealing look at the haughty Chief Navigator Elox. What’s been up his ass this entire time? Maybe reincarnated gods don’t appreciate being subservient to hipster dweebs who can’t be arsed to remember their names. Maybe Elox doesn’t have to take this shit from his captain anymore. Could be my new favorite space saga has secrets it wants to share. I say we let it.

What books are you looking forward to reading this week? Sound off in the comments below.

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