by Molly Jane Kremer, Stefania Rudd, Clyde Hall, Brendan Hodgdon 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 ‘Punks Not Dead: London Calling’ #1 to ‘Martian Manhunter’ #3, here are the comics that have our hearts set ablaze this week.
Punks Not Dead: London Calling #1
Black Crown / IDW Publishing / $3.99
Written by David Barnett.
Art by Martin Simmonds.
Color flatting by Dee Cunniffe.
Letters by Aditya Bidikar.
JJ: The debut of Punks Not Dead: London Calling is a cause for celebration, both for lovers of great comics and for Black Crown.
The IDW Publishing imprint has been making serious moves in its second year, and London Calling is but another example of all the incredible things coming down the pike. If the presence of Punks Not Dead in Black Crown’s opening salvo was a declaration of intent, consider London Calling an announcement to the world that they’re here to stay.
So, where are we with Punks Not Dead? The second act. Rising action, nerve-wracking tension, impeccable style. Turns out dancing pensioners and young love fever dreams seem to only be the tip of young Feargal “Fergie” Ferguson’s powers, but there’s no time for a field test. The first arc ended with Fergie disrupting the lives of England’s quieter corners to such a degree he and his ghost-bud Sid had to lam it to merry ol’ London. Dorothy Culpepper & Asif Baig of MI5’s Department for Extra-Usual Affairs are on their case, and so is the dread Bobby, who’s nefarious deeds have already chilled my blood.
Let me tell you what I want: I want more. More Culpepper sass and Sid taking the piss. More syrupy “will they/won’t they” from Fergie and Natalie, more gazes into the abyss with Bobby. Punks Not Dead is packed with secrets and I have sorely missed it whispering sweet everythings in my ear. Welcome back. Looking sharp.
BOOM! Box / BOOM! Studios / $3.99
Written by Carly Usdin.
Art by Noah Hayes.
Colors by Rebecca Nalty.
Letters by Ed Dukeshire.
SR: Even though I didn’t go to art school or was a celebrated athlete, I can relate to Charlie. She just wants to move as unnoticed as possible at Georgia O’Keeffe College of Arts and Subtle Dramatics as she can. Extracurriculars and making friends causes attachment, and she seems adamant on not letting that happen.
My freshman year of college was similar in that I really didn’t want to get too comfortable; I had plans on leaving. However, all it took was one friendly invite to shift my focus on school and work to becoming overly involved in everything from student government to the speech and debate team.
In the first issue of Avant-Guards, Charlie received an invite from Olivia to step back into the world of basketball, which she declined. However, Olivia recognizes Charlie’s skills and her natural tenacity means Charlie’s about to get another nudge from this burgeoning friendship. I’m reading Avant-Guards not simply because of my college-years nostalgia, but to see how Carly Usdin plays the game with such a team as this: Noah Hayes, Rebecca Nalty, Ed Dukeshire… that’s how victories are made. So don’t worry, Charlie—sometimes we all could benefit from a push, though it looks like you’re about to get a full-court press.
Catalyst Prime / Lion Forge / $3.99
Written by Alex Paknadel.
Art by Diego Galindo.
Colors by Adam Guzowski.
Letters by Jim Campbell.
CH: Start with a bona fide human hero suddenly possessed of dangerous metahuman abilities. Lock him in stasis with idealized dreamscapes of his family life. Add superhero fantasies straight from 1970s comics, complete with silly villain names and melodramatic phrasing.
Our hero overcomes the stasis and returns to his real, flawed family in the real, flawed world. Sensing the power inside him feeding off exterior and internal stimuli, and that a stray thought could endanger lives, he logically divulges it to lessen his pain, retain his sanity, protect his family.
The random recipient gets the worst of the deal in castoff memories and unpredictable abilities. Kino created his own opposite number, and now they must battle. Just like in a 70s comic book. Those classic, era-accurate dives into Kino’s ‘superhero simulations’ paralleling real-world happenings remain a guilty pleasure of the series. The showdown in issue #14 should use them to great effect.
Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier #1
Marvel / $3.99
Written by Jody Houser.
Art by Simone Buonfantino.
Colors by Erick Arciniega.
Letters by VC’s Travis Lanham.
MJ: If you frequent a local comic shop—or anywhere else that displays a goodly amount of nerd merch—you may have noticed a distinctive uptick in the amount of Carol Danvers and Captain Marvel being offered. This is because, of course, a Marvel Studios motion picture is around the corner, and on top of the new Captain Marvel ongoing series that debuted last month, a stand-alone one-shot comes out today: Braver & Mightier #1, an excellent introduction to the good Captain for the uninitiated.
Jody Houser knows how to write characters that are yank-your-heartstrings endearing but could totally kick any bad guy’s ass. (If for any reason we get another Captain Marvel ongoing, especially a team-up book, my vote’s Houser all the way.) Houser ensures new readers and longtime fans will equally enjoy this adventure, and artists Simone Buonfantino, Erick Arciniega and Travis Lanham (who also would rock on a monthly series together) pack the thrills and feels and fun into every page.
This last month or so has been an embarrassment of riches for us Captain Marvel fans, and Braver & Mightier is only going to stoke your excitement for March 8. Renew your love for the Earth’s Mightiest Hero. And spread the word.
Martian Manhunter #3
DC / $3.99
Written by Steve Orlando.
Art by Riley Rossmo.
Colors by Ivan Plascencia.
Letters by Deron Bennett.
BH: That DC has decided to build on the success of Mister Miracle with another extended, high-quality miniseries is a pretty great thing. That they decided to do one based on Martian Manhunter is an even greater thing. That it comes from the stellar duo of Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo seems like it would be the best thing, and after two fantastic issues, it’s safe to say that it just might be.
Orlando and Rossmo are a creative team that deserves more credit for being ideal partners for each other; both Batman/The Shadow and DC’s Night of the Monster Men crossover proved how effectively Orlando’s words and Rossmo’s pencils fit together. Now with Martian Manhunter they’ve taken it to a whole new level. Rossmo’s rendition of Martian culture and society (up to and including their sex lives) has been nothing short of stunning, while Orlando’s script gives it all an appropriately tragic underpinning. So far, their work on this book has lived up to the standard set by King & Gerads’ Mister Miracle.
With this issue we reach the quarter-mark in the story. I expect at least one or two major revelations or twists, but no matter how they pace their story, with Orlando and Rossmo at the helm? I know it will look gorgeous.
What books are you looking forward to reading this week? Sound off in the comments below.