by Molly Jane Kremer, Arpad Okay, 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 Image Comics’ ‘Assassin Nation’ #1 to ‘Catwoman’ #9, here are the comics that have our hearts set ablaze this week.
Assassin Nation #1
Image Comics / $3.99
Written by Kyle Starks.
Art by Erica Henderson.
Letters by Deron Bennett.
BH: Following acclaimed and inspired work on Marvel’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, it’s not surprising that Erica Henderson would turn to creator-owned comics for her next creative outlet. What might be surprising for some is that her choice of creator-owned work turned out to be a wild, action-heavy crime title, though the chance to see Henderson apply her talents to a vulgar, Tarantino-esque tale like Assassin Nation is certainly a big draw.
And while it’s fun to see a hitman-related comic that is more cartoonishly-styled and less in the vein of Brubaker/Phillips, that’s not the only thing this new Image title has going for it. Writer Kyle Starks has also had a varied and eclectic career, scripting the likes of Rock Candy Mountain and SexCastle and hitting a wide swath of tones along the way. Assassin Nation feels like a reasonable but distinct extension of his bibliography thus far, and he seems like an ideal creative partner for an artist like Henderson.
The style and tone that Henderson and Starks seem to be hitting with this book should make for a very fun and wild new series, with the most essential question being just how absurd it will become before it’s all over. I can’t wait to find out the answer to that.
Age of Conan: Bêlit #1
Marvel / $3.99
Written by Tini Howard.
Art by Kate Niemczyk.
Colors Jason Keith.
Letters VC’s Travis Lanham.
MJ: Marvel debuted its recent Conan books to enormous fanfare, putting some of their best creators on the titles and promoting the absolute hell out of them to anyone who would listen. Both books that have come out so far focus on Conan himself, and have sold out of multiple printings. A comic book reading audience for fictions of the Hyborian Age decidedly exists, and there is yet another book out this week that should satisfy that craving: Age of Conan: Bêlit #1.
Tini Howard deftly fleshes out the backstory for Conan’s would-be paramour, giving her an identity that is entirely separate from the lauded legends of the Bronzed Cimmerian. Kate Niemczyk‘s art is clean, glorious, and Jason Keith’s colors are stunning—the blues of the skies and the sea contrast beautifully with Bêlit’s pale skin. (Oh, and speaking of which: Bêlit is, at no point, as scantily clad as the cover by Sana Takeda might suggest.) Hopefully this sets a precedent and becomes the first of more titles to spotlight the property’s (few) female characters.
Marvel has spared no expense in their recent Conan rollout, the quality more than apparent with each successive issue. Bêlit #1 is no exception. With such an auspicious debut, Marvel’s latest proves this new Age of Conan will be one bards sing of for many years to come.
House Amok #5
Black Crown / IDW Publishing / $3.99
Written by Christopher Sebela.
Art by Shawn McManus.
Colors by Lee Loughridge.
Letters by Aditya Bidikar.
CH: It’s Dylan’s final entry in her ‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’ journal. Stories hold power over us. The power to explore, to instruct, to inspire. A killer story can change your life. In Dylan’s case, this is woeful truth. Presented to her family, her imaginative fiction served as the catalyst for a delusional, deadly road trip. The ten-year-old has been coping with her part in the brood’s murder spree even as she’s disassociated herself from their shared psychosis.
Abandoning her family is off the table, despite Dylan refraining from their latest blaze-and-bullets fest. Trying to reason with them and help them emerge from their conjoined chimeras proved nearly fatal. Now, Dylan is as trapped as the rest of her clan while law enforcement closes in to end their joyride of horrors. A Griswold/Firefly family combo, the Sandifers have no intention of going peacefully.
DC / $3.99
Written by Ram V.
Art by John Timms.
Letters by Josh Reed.
JJ: Reading a Catwoman book with an all-dude creative team seems like a step backwards, especially after all the work Joëlle Jones has done pulling Selina Kyle out from under the shadow of the Bat. It would, and it might, but wait. Hold that good thought.
One-and-dones are a scarcity in modern DC books, almost as precious as the bag of jewels our resident cat-burglar is no doubt eye-balling at this very moment. They serve a purpose beyond acting as a jumping-on point for lapsed or new readers, or offering die-hards a much-needed breather after an intense storyarc. The one-and-done issue is the optimal showcase for those who have yet to be tested by a major publisher. Enter: Ram V.
This week, DC publishes Ram’s first major leap into the murkier shadows of its universe. A snug fit for the writer of critical darling/seductive monster fable, These Savage Shores, a book with its own brand of fangs, claws, and passion. Perfect. Teamed John Timms, Ram’s short time on Catwoman will maintain the book’s A-list quality without overshadowing what’s come before. A placeholder issue that’s designed to lure you in, reminding all how much greatness can come by simply keeping up with the Joneses.
What books are you looking forward to reading this week? Sound off in the comments below.