Comics We're Excited About for 1/13/2016

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Comics We're Excited About for 1/13/2016

For many comic fans, January 13 has been a long time coming. The date will see the end of the long-running Marvel miniseries, Secret Wars, which—depending on your level of involvement in side-issues—might’ve absorbed a decent amount of your paycheck over the course of summer 2015. And Marvel’s sales numbers seem to back that up: behind the first issue of Star Wars, Marvel’s Secret Wars launch nabbed the second most-purchased title of 2015, and its first five issues made up a quarter of that list. Seriously.

And if Marvel super-events aren’t your thing, don’t worry: We’ve got tons of other titles to whet your comics appetite. This week, we’ve got great new launches from IDW, Dark Horse and more, as well as The Walking Dead’s momentous 150th issue. As always, it’s a good week to step foot inside your local comic shop.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1

Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: German Peralta
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Marvel's first attempt at folding ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. into the 616 was a solid anthology effort, but it did little to establish characters like Agent May as anything but interlopers in their own book, thanks to the constant presence of (more interesting) guest stars. This new ongoing, helmed by television vet Marc Guggenheim and artist German Peralta, may stand a better chance of giving the team—spruced up with superpowered members including the most recent Deathlok—its own identity in the wider Marvel U. Steve Foxe

Gotham Academy #14

Writers: Various
Artists: Various
Publisher: DC Comics

Penciller extraordinaire Karl Kerschl may have left Gotham Academy two issues ago to return to his beloved webcomic, The Abominable Charles Christopher, but DC is using his absence as an excuse to throw a three-issue creator jam until March. Zac Gorman (Costume Quest, Rick & Morty), Katie Cook (Gronk, My Little Pony), Hope Larson (A Wrinkle in Time) and Dustin Nguyen (Descender) join main writers Brenden Fletcher and Becky Cloonan for "Gotham Academy Yearbook," which will see Olive and Maps recounting lost tales that probably won't include the pair's common werewolf or ghost shenanigans. Gotham Academy has remained a breath of fresh air in the DCU—the closest we'll ever see the publisher come to a Shojo manga—and with its future in flux, now's the time to appreciate its creepy mysteries and vivid world building. But when writers and artists this talented are teaching class, reading Gotham Academy is never homework. Sean Edgar

Gutter Magic #1

Writer: Rich Douek
Artist: Brett Barkley
Publisher: IDW

The Internet has made hobby-dabbling easier than ever. In a night, I can YouTube videos about how to knit, how to play guitar solos and how to cook a decent vegan soup—which all makes the barrier to entry in some of these activities a little lower, I guess. Rich Douek and Brett Barkley take the idea of amateur expertise and apply it to wizardry for this new IDW series. Dubbed Gutter Magic, the series follows a man named Cinder Byrnes (get it?) who follows a DIY path toward a magic career. And like any expertise, there are some fogies settled in the old-school who don't take kindly to newcomers, and Byrnes is set to defend his own life because of it. Tyler R. Kane

Huck #3

Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Publisher: Image Comics

In a world where '80s classics like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns didn't usher superheroes into cynicism and bleak color schemes, more comics like Huck might exist. This comic represents writer Mark Millar's attempt to find Superman's Christ-like core after the realpolitik buzzkill of the Man of Steel film snapped it apart. Appropriately, the titular character—a simple agrarian with inexplicable strength and speed—also finds lost things, including wayward family members and trapped pets. While a larger plot brews in the background as politicians and family attempt to exploit Huck's newfound celebrity, this miniseries has thrived off pure moments of altruism. Through the skilled hands of artist Rafael Albuquerque, a sequence featuring the protagonist cradling a teen drug addict transforms into a tear-jerk pinnacle of human compassion. Though writers like Mark Waid and Joe Kelly have explored the timelessness of Golden Age morality, Huck reaffirms that the best heroes are rarely the most complex. Sean Edgar

InSeXts #2

Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Ariela Kristantina
Publisher: Aftershock Comics

The debut issue of Marguerite Bennett and Ariela Kristantina's InSeXts was a nearly word-for-word repeat of Bennett's short story from the Rachel Deering-edited In The Dark horror anthology, redrawn in Kristantina's seductively sensual, sinister style, but it was clear even in the story's original form that Bennett had more to say about her murderous insectoid lesbian lovers. The Aftershock edition also pushes the envelope both in the bedroom and in the abattoir, proving that the young publisher has few limits as it seeks to establish itself in the marketplace. With the first issue recap out of the way, Bennett and Kristantina have an unfettered opportunity to keep testing sensitive stomachs as the newly liberated bug ladies discover another predator stalking their hunting grounds. Steve Foxe

Secret Wars #9

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Esad Ribic
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Event comics typically exist to serve a purpose outside of the story: fixing shattered continuity, explaining away a reboot, positioning a major change to the status quo/temporary stunt character death. So what does it mean when delays cause the conclusion of an event to come out a full three months after the relaunch it spawned? If nothing else, it means that the story on the page had better be worth reading on its own merits. As long as this concluding issue sticks the landing, Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic's multiverse-rocking Secret Wars saga should go down as one of the best events churned out by the Big Two in the past decade, a culmination of years of concentric plotting by Hickman across at least five ongoing series, brought to life on an immense scale by Ribic's painterly style. Readers may already know the fate of all but a handful of characters, but this is one tale fans—especially diehard Fantastic Four junkies—will want to see through to the end. Steve Foxe

Superman: American Alien #3

Writer: Max Landis
Artist: Joelle Jones
Publisher: DC Comics

We've said it before, and I'll say it again: Max Landis' Superman: American Alien has been an intensely refreshing take on the Superman mythos. We've seen a young Clark Kent learn to fly, face down his first law-breakers and all the other awkward moments that developing as a super-human might have, but the premise of Issue #3 offers a hilarious alternative: What if Clark Kent was mistaken for Bruce Wayne during a yacht party? If Ryan Sook's hilarious cover is any indication (I don't know what it is, but seeing Clark Kent in a Hawaiian shirt makes me uncomfortable), we're in for some lighthearted fun. After all, this kid's had a rough, awkward childhood. He should get to live it up after puberty, just like the rest of us. Tyler R. Kane

Leaving Megalopolis: Surviving Megalopolis #1

Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Jim Calafiore
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Gail Simone's passionate fanbase doesn't always turn out with dollars in hand—see the sales on her current Secret Six run for example—but over 4,000 backers (this dude included) were happy to pony up Kickstarter cash in 2012 to help Simone and collaborator Jim Calafiore launch Leaving Megalopolis, a horror/action romp that mashes up Escape From New York, The Walking Dead and barely disguised versions of your favorite superheroes. The first self-published volume generated enough interest for the book to find a second home through Dark Horse, who serves as publisher for this long-awaited sequel that sends the book's surviving human characters back to the psycho-infested titular city for more gory fun. Steve Foxe

The Walking Dead #150

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Publisher: Image Comics

In 149 issues, Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard have updated Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, leaving out 17th-century prose and adding in hordes of decomposing zombies in their portrait of a reality that's become increasingly nasty, brutish and short. After years of fending off mindless ghouls, the burden of leadership has taken its toll on Rick and his growing commune of survivors. In this landmark issue, post-apocalyptic politics take on a new import as a villainous voice from the past plants insidious seeds into a potboiler situation of angsty masses and hidden threats. Whether this developing social contract works or not, heavy are the braiiiiins that wear the crown. Sean Edgar