Comics We're Excited About for 2/24/2016

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Comics We're Excited About for 2/24/2016

What a week for dualities: a slice-of-life webcomic collected in print for the first time shares shelf space with a coming-of-age story that (literally) blossoms into something much stranger, a legendary DC artist and a Warped Tour staple both put their personal spin on timeless superhero franchises, and Norse mythology and Ted Cruz’s beloved Old Testament each inspire some beautifully rendered carnage. Comics are weird, man, and that’s kind of the whole point.

Big Kids

Writer/Artist: Michael DeForge
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Cartoonist Michael DeForge may illustrate an iconic youth's journey as storyboard artist for Cartoon Network's Adventure Time, but his latest work, Big Kids, takes a far more realistic dive into the trials of teenage boys. Well… half of it does. DeForge assumes a documentarian lens when capturing the plight of his protagonist, a young beta male neglected and abused by his asshole lover and his asshole friends. Before veering into Harmony Korine verite, though, DeForge lets his hero blossom—both figuratively and literally. A grand metaphor for growing cognitively and physically, Big Kids ushers the reader into a kaleidoscope of color and shape that leaves questions that remain far after the last page. Sean Edgar

Cry Havoc #2

Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Publisher: Image Comics

Simon Spurrier and Ryan Kelly's lesbian werewolf wartime jam got off to a crackling start last month, hopping between three time periods (each rendered by a different colorist) in the increasingly out-of-control life of protagonist Lou, newly afflicted with a shapeshifting curse and subsequently whisked off to Afghanistan with others of her ilk. Like other Spurrier works (Six-Gun Gorilla, X-Men Legacy), Cry Havoc isn't content to rest on its high-concept laurels—there's much more to Lou's story than her shaggy dog transformations. Kelly, simultaneously illustrating Vertigo horror outing Survivors' Club, offers ample evidence that he is one of the most underrated draftsmen in the game, equally at home portraying the concern in Lou's girlfriend's eyes as he is drawing a berserker boar-man with a raging libido. Cry Havoc has something dark pulsing beneath its skin, and this second issue proves that it's dying to get out. Steve Foxe

The Goddamned #3

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: R.M. Guera
Publisher: Image Comics

The Goddamned isn't a fun book. Nor is it heroic, swashbuckling or a comic that will make you feel even remotely better about your species. No: The Goddamned is a beacon of filth, even if it's hyper-imaginative, smart and as beautiful as an intentionally ugly heretic boys' adventure can be. Switching the lens ala John Gardner's Grendel, Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera justify the Bible's first earthly villain—Cain—as he scavenges the corpse of an earth due for a heavenly flood. Following in the spirit of the Good Book, this world is in dire need of a cleansing. Its inhabitants are categorically sociopathic, cannibalizing and enslaving one another through dialogue rooted in jarringly mean profanity. Unlike the Old Testament, the Big Bad is none other than Noah, who runs a concentration camp devoted to feeding his arc-bound fauna. In this ensemble, the first accused murderer is a saint. The role shifting adds a new twist on a mythology roughly 2.2 billion people base their faith on, and if it doesn't offend your values, it's one of the most creative, provocative action epics in any medium. Sean Edgar

Kill Your Boyfriend/ Vimanarama Deluxe Edition

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Philip Bond, D'Israeli Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

Few readers acknowledge that Grant Morrison's post-modern innovation is just as intoxicating when it tackles romance as dimension-hopping heroes and evil cosmic afterbirth. Sex Criminals creators Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky cite Kill Your Boyfriend as one of the Scottish scribe's finest works, and they're absolutely right. Released in 1995, it was an ahead-of-its-time riot grrrl proclamation of punk rhetoric and hilarity. The story of a high school student fed up with her milquetoast boyfriend, she indulges her inner anarchist to extremities we won't spoil here—though anyone who's suffered suburban malaise will appreciate. Vertigo is repackaging this one-shot along with Morrison's other collaboration with artist Philip Bond— the 2005 miniseries Vimanarama—for two of the finest offbeat romance comics in recent memory. The latter project takes place during an arranged marriage as gods inspired by Eastern mythology storm the couple's reality. A more intimate complement to Morrison's 18 Days—an update of the Indian epic Mahabharata—it nonetheless takes huge ideas of love and terror and injects them into an avalanche of mind-melt panels, capably conveyed by Bond. Sean Edgar

Octopus Pie Vol. 1

Writer/Artist: Meredith Gran
Publisher: Image Comics

Finally in print after years on the web, Volume One of Meredith Gran's long-running Octopus Pie is a sure pick for fans of slice-of-life cartooning and sharp humor. Octopus Pie successfully leans into many of the things mainstream comics avoid: discomfort with awkward breakups, discomfort with stoner roommates, discomfort with overbearing moms.... general discomfort is a theme. But in the tradition of unpretentious panels, the characters transcend the plot. Roommates Eve and Hanna blindly feel their way through post-college life with all of the real-world drama that phase entails. Serve me a slice. Tini Howard

Street Fighter X G.I. Joe #1

Writer:Aubrey Sitterson
Artist: Emilio Laiso
Publisher: IDW Publishing

Between Chun-Li and the Baroness, both Street Fighter and G.I. Joe were pretty formative when I was young. So when writer and pro-wrestling aficionado Aubrey Sitterson was tasked with writing this ultimate '90s brawler book, I couldn't help but be excited. Artist Emilio Laiso's kinetic style is perfect for the fight-based visual storytelling of the book, and he nails so many aspects key to both franchises—M. Bison's toothy grin comes to mind. The bulk of the plot is contained within the matches, so fans of fighting games will find themselves right at home. Go ahead and listen to "Guile's Theme" while you read—it goes with everything. Tini Howard

Superman: The Coming of the Supermen #1

Writer/Artist: Neal Adams
Publisher: DC Comics

There's no doubt that Neal Adams is one of the all-time industry legends, a titan who has left an indelible mark on DC's greatest heroes. His loose, brawny figures are instantly recognizable and have graced some of the publisher's most fondly remembered tales. He's also the creator of Batman: Odyssey, perhaps the most perplexing Dark Knight story ever told, in which a hirsute topless Bruce Wayne aggressively narrates at an aghast Alfred about an adventure under the earth's surface involving dinosaurs and rampant gun use. If nothing else, Odyssey proved that Adams has a vision, coherent or otherwise, and DC is all too happy to indulge him. With Super-fervor in full swing—DC's massive Rebirth initiative will kick off with at least six Super-titles by fall—it's no surprise that the publisher would green light a prestige Man of Steel tale. Fans of unfiltered (and unhinged) storytelling will no doubt be enraptured with whatever mad shenanigans Adams concocts for the Last Son of Krypton. Steve Foxe

Worst X-Man Ever #1

Writer: Max Bemis
Artist: Michael Walsh
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Max Bemis of confessional-heartache darlings Say Anything has paid his comic scripting dues with several BOOM! originals and the odd Marvel short, clearing him of any accusation that he is a mere dabbler in the field. The digital-first (and continuity-lite—the costumes on the cover should clue you in on this series' ambiguous spot in mutant chronology) Worst X-Man Ever is Bemis' first mini-series for the House of Ideas, and a testament to his natural affinity for raw, anxious characters. Rendered with fluid simplicity by Secret Avengers' Michael Walsh, the mini-series zooms in on—surprise—a young mutant who pretty much sucks at the whole protecting-a-world-that-hates-and-fears-him thing. Bailey Hoskins may not go down in mutant lore, but Worst X-Man Ever should be a delight for fans seeking fun, standalone, Inhuman-free X-stories. Steve Foxe