by Molly Jane Kremer, Stefania Rudd, Arpad Okay, Clyde 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 ‘Ronin Island’ #1 to ‘Black Hammer ’45’ #1, here are the comics that have our hearts set ablaze this week.
Ronin Island #1
BOOM! Studios / $3.99
Written by Greg Pak.
Illustrated by Giannis Milonogiannis.
Colored by Irma Kniivila.
Lettered by Simon Bowland.
AOK: Every aspect of the debut issue of Ronin Island has me excited. First, Greg Pak. Have you read Mech Cadet Yu? Because Pak knows how to write kids, he knows how to write unlikely pairings. How to get you to fall in love. Ronin Island is a child of peasants and a child of samurai thrown in together against an army of monsters and a Shogun’s greed.
Giannis Milonogiannis on art. That guy can do war, he can do armor, he can do inhumans. Have you read Prophet? Ronin Island is Milonogiannis flexing period piece muscles instead of science fiction ones. His inspirations, his humor, his humanity, folded into the story told by Pak.
The colors of Irma Kniivilia are lush, lively, and always on, pushing the boundaries of the book she works on while respecting them. Simon Bowland can letter wild fantasy and hard science. Expect his work to be in lockstep with the period tone.
Every piece a winner. A BOOM! book. Need I say more?
Morning in America #1
Oni Press / $3.99
Written by Magdalene Visaggio.
Art by Claudia Aguirre.
Letters by Zakk Saam.
SR: Morning in America is set in 1983 and centers on four teens in a slowly declining Ohio industrial town. Nancy, Ellen, Veronica, and Ashley are known as “The Sick Sisters,” recognized as a group of delinquents with a rap sheet populated with things like skipping school, vandalism, and shoplifting. In an environment such as this, it was only a matter of time before these kids bonded as a foursome.
As much fun a series about bad girls in the 80s could be, writer Magdalene Visaggio adds a layer of supernatural mystery to the tale. A handful of students at their school have gone missing. Officials think they’re runaways, but as The Sick Sisters soon learn, something far more monstrous is behind the disappearances. Although the premise is familiar, I’m excited to see how part of the Kim & Kim creative team use their considerable talents to craft this series through their particular brand of storytelling.
Meet the Skrulls #1
Marvel / $3.99
Written by Robbie Thompson.
Art by Niko Henrichon.
Color assists by Laurent Grossat.
Letters VC’s Travis Lanham.
CH: There are so many directions this mini-series could go, but all with a common denominator: Why a family? A space-faring version of The Americans, or in the vein of the 2015 Vision title? Or something entirely out of a starfield somewhere left of Skrullos? No matter, it’s prime timing.
The slippery shapeshifters will soon vex Carol Danvers in the MCU’s Captain Marvel. Curious movie-goers inclined to learn more about their alien threat will now have a stand-alone series. The Skrulls themselves certainly have a rich Marvel history of subterfuge. They’ve attempted Earthly infiltration with sleeper agents impersonating VIPs, associates of the planet’s mightiest defenders, and heroes themselves.
But since an espionage team could be composed of top Skrull operatives shifted to look like a Pop, a Mum, and their kids, the question remains. Why send an actual Skrull family into the field? The only certainty? Those scheming Skrulls always have a plan.
Paper Girls #26
Image Comics / $3.99
Written by Brian K. Vaughan.
Art by Cliff Chiang.
Colors by Matthew Wilson.
Color flatting by Dee Cunniffe.
Letters and design by Jared K. Fletcher.
MJ: This is the end, folks. No, scratch that: This is the beginning of the end. Ready or not, Paper Girls, everyone’s favorite time travel yarn from Image Comics, is approaching its conclusion. It’s time to discover our destination after this four-and-a-half year journey with Erin, KJ, Tiffany, and Mac (not to mention the various doppelgängers and clones thereof).
Though often compared to writer Brian K. Vaughan’s other Image juggernaut Saga, Paper Girls is a much different beast. And stellar art by Cliff Chiang, Matthew Wilson, and Dee Cunniffe, with flawless design and letters from Jared Fletcher, set it apart from any and every comic currently going. Intricate and complex plotting (as it’s a time-travel story, all manner of twisty paradoxes naturally come with the territory) have made the series more and more formidable as it’s run its course… which has, predictably, made us that much more attached to the series’ four eponymous protagonists, as well.
Image has a number of their biggest blockbuster-level series ending within the year, and while each of them are monumental and will be supremely influential for generations to come, Paper Girls is one series that I will miss with all my heart. So get those tray tables up and your seatbelts fastened; Paper Girls has begun its descent and we can only expect a bumpy—and glorious—ride.
Black Hammer ’45 #1
Dark Horse Comics / $3.99
Written by Ray Fawkes.
Story by Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes.
Art by Matt Kindt.
Colors by Sharlene Kindt.
Letters by Marie Enger.
JJ: Black Hammer has taken us to other dimensions, the future, the past. Fixed places in time and space, just like an ambitious superhero mythology ought. And if you’ve been keeping up with Black Hammer, you know its world lives like other comic universes do, with various points of interest popping up as it continues to expand. It’s exhilarating to watch.
Now Jeff Lemire’s über-myth leaps into the fray of World War II in Black Hammer ’45. It’s a title that denotes the critical year of the The Second War, where the tide turned in favor of the righteous. Comics, still in its adolescence, did its part in the titanic struggle: Captain America, Superman, The Human Torch and Toro, all of them and more were depicted smashing the Axis threat, and even Batman and Robin reminded Americans to buy war bonds in the Allied effort. Now it’s Black Hammer‘s turn, retrospectively, to rally against the dread Nazi forces. Eyes to the sky! There flies the Black Hammer Squadron!
Ray Fawkes, no stranger to the power of wonder and dreams, works from a story co-plotted by Lemire to spin a boffo wartime yarn. The Black Hammer heroics we’ve come to expect and presented in a most unexpected way, ’45 pays tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII while simultaneously expanding one of the most robust comic stories told in our modern age. No small feat. With Matt and Sharlene Kindt on the art team this melodrama is given a modest picturebook quality, where gallantry gives way to modesty, where simple, good men fought against a frightening wave of evil but only a few lived to come home again. It’s an arresting read. Don’t miss it.
What books are you looking forward to reading this week? Sound off in the comments below.