Comics We're Excited About for 3/2/2016

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Comics We're Excited About for 3/2/2016

Super Tuesday? More like Wonderful Wednesday! (Sorry.) While the rest of the country eagerly awaits delegate news, faithful comic fans are anticipating the first issues of accessible new takes on space vampires and warrior princesses, the latest adventures of Chiroptera-influenced computer whizzes and intergalactic clones and even a mighty kaiju or two. If your chosen candidate flops this week, there’s no better conciliatory escapism than the funny books.

Another Castle #1

Writer: Andrew Wheeler
Artist: Paulina Ganucheau
Publisher: Oni Press

The frustrating refrain uttered by naysayers when a critic challenges the status quo is frequently, "If you don't like it, do it yourself!" Comics Alliance editor-in-chief Andrew Wheeler, a major voice in calling for better representation in sequential art, has done just that. Pairing with breakout Zodiac Starforce talent Paulina Ganucheau, Wheeler has created Another Castle, a fantasy romp about a princess who fights to free her land from tyrannical rule (with a handsome bumbling prince at her side). With hints of shoujo influence and a fleet of inverted action tropes, Another Castle hits similar beats to cult favorite Princeless while making the most of Ganucheau's slick style. All eyes will undoubtedly be on Wheeler's first major foray into the medium, and Ganucheau guarantees those eyes will be satisfied. Steve Foxe

Batgirl #49

Writers: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Babs Tarr
Publisher: DC Comics

Few Big Two titles survive a year, let alone longer. Under the stewardship of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr, Batgirl has flourished since its 35th issue—even as publisher DC veers away from accessible titles to once again embrace legacies and hardcore fandom. Hey, Barbara Gordon can tackle editorial recalibration just as capably as electric super-villains and overprotective cop fathers. That said, she has recently struggled with a less tangible threat: her erratic memory. In this issue, Barbara's friends storm the vigilante's mind to (probably) find all kinds of fears posing as metaphorical boogeymen and surrealist imagery. If Tarr even attempts some M.C. Escher mindscapes, this comic will once more confirm itself as the most refreshing DC offering on stands today, and one that can seemingly weather any market. Sean Edgar

Coloring DC: Batman-Hush Vol. 1

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Jim Lee
Publisher: DC Comics

I want to say this whole coloring book fad has gotten out of hand, but I can't stop buying them! And while many folks say, "You know, any coloring book is an 'adult coloring book' if you hand it to an adult and add a glass of wine," there's something more satisfying shading in the complex sequential art geared toward grownups. Coloring DC: Batman-Hush is just that, using the visual medium of comics to do something fun: allow readers to color some of the actual pages of one of their favorite Batman stories. If there's anything these coloring books are good for, it's highlighting the skill possessed by actual, professional comic book colorists. My attempts are never anywhere near as good as original colorist Alex Sinclair, but it's fun all the same. Tini Howard

Black Widow #1

Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Chris Samnee
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Given her prominence in the Marvel films (although how difficult is it to stand out when you're the only human woman to don a costume in nearly a decade of male power fantasies?), Black Widow should be a knockout for the House of Ideas. The recent Phil Noto-drawn ongoing failed to hook readers, though, so Marvel called in the big guns: maestros Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, fresh off of a character-defining run on Natasha's horn-headed pal, Daredevil. Waid has rarely stumbled with a Big Two character—the man simply gets what makes heroes tick—and Samnee's masterful cartooning and knack for noirish action is a perfect fit for the Russian super-spy. With the exception of a criminally brief and under-read Marjorie Liu/Daniel Acuña run, Natasha has long deserved better. Now she finally has it. Steve Foxe

Deadly Class #19

Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Wes Craig
Publisher: Image Comics

Deadly Class may as well come in a battered VHS clamshell for all the '80s overkill it channels. Big hair, punk anathema and saturated neon washes—Jordan Boyd does wonderful work here—hammer home an experience with one of the most focused aesthetics in all of comics. Rick Remender's brutal grindhouse homage hits a new high in "Die For Me," a story arc that witnesses a school of assassins hunting its fellow students from lesser pedigrees and income levels. The narrative shifts from hyper-stylized fatalities to John Hughes-level sentimentality, functioning within all extremes. Last issue witnessed a new dark imperative for Yakuza-daughter Saya, tasked by the school's headmaster with murdering former lover Marcus. What will hurt more as the plot progresses: the betrayal or the impalement? Sean Edgar

The Discipline# 1

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Publisher: Image Comics

To paraphrase Ron Swanson: I'm a simple woman. I like mysterious, well-crafted narratives fraught with sexuality (and breakfast food). The Discipline seems fit to scratch the first half of that itch with the story of a woman who falls in lust with a stranger as only the first component of a deeper mystery. "Erotically charged thriller" was a term that got thrown around frequently in the '90s, but it's admittedly retro now, and something comics has a great need for. Peter Milligan's writing always brings to mind one of my favorite Bat-family stories, "The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul," and Leandro Fernandez's art grabs the reader from the cover, with claws in the shadows seeming to hint at more than just skeletons in the closet. Tini Howard

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1

Writers: Kyle Higgins, Steve Orlando
Artists: Hendry Prasetya, Corin Howell
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

A 2016 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers ongoing comic has no business being so hyped, but BOOM! Studios and the talented creative team behind the book have reminded a generation of nerds why we all once cared about teens in tights piloting transforming robots to fight giant monsters. Wait, never mind, that premise is literally always awesome. Kyle Higgins and Hendry Prasetya have captured the spirit of the original American cast while smoothing the extremely rough edges on the 23-year-old show's admittedly horrible dialogue, while Steve Orlando and Corin Howell go full cheese with the Bulk and Skull back-up stories. Nostalgia would only get this book so far, and it's a testament to the creative teams that this title seems to have a promising future. Steve Foxe

Predator: Life and Death #1

Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Brian Thies
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Following in the footsteps of the Kelly Sue DeConnick-led Fire and Stone crossover event, Predator: Life and Death kicks off a new story cycle for the interconnected Predator and Alien franchises under publisher Dark Horse's roof. Writer Dan Abnett is an all-purpose sci-fi pro, perhaps best known for helping to rehabilitate Marvel's then-dormant Guardians of the Galaxy, and artist Brian Thies's deep-black inks and grungy dry-brush skills, previously seen on Dark Horse's Star Wars books (R.I.P.), are a perfect fit for the former Schwarzenegger foe from outer space. If the thought of a another pseudo-religious Ridley Scott Prometheus outing makes you feel like you swallowed a chestburster, then take solace in Dark Horse's capable handling of these long-running franchises. Steve Foxe

Prophet: Earth War #2

Writers: Brandon Graham, Simon Roy
Artist: Ron Ackins
Publisher: Image Comics

Buoyed by a small army of writers, artists, alien species and plot threads, Brandon Graham's Prophet could pull no bigger plot twist than a series-wide ending. Unfortunately, the upcoming fifth issue of Prophet: Earth War promises that finality. Thus far the miniseries has laid out a chess board of rebels ready to battle the genetically-modified war clones that now comprise the human race. Also introduced last issue: A sect of crystal-worshipping priests, a dangerous assassination mission that will probably go very poorly and Sarah Horrocks' mixed-media backup story. This eclecticism has come to define the title, and the second issue mixes up the formula with artist Ron Ackins (Moon Knight) on interiors. Enjoy the fleeting challenge and wonder of this sci-fi anomaly before it leaves the orbit of your comic shop. Sean Edgar

Vampirella #1

Writer:Kate Leth
Artist: Eman Casallos
Publisher: Dynamite Comics

Dynamite broke the "event crossover" mold with last year's Gail Simone-led Swords of Sorrow, gathering a mighty stable of women creators to write and draw the publisher's licensed pulp heroines. Spinning out of that powerful reclamation of power-fantasy chicks comes an all-new Vampirella, penned by Power Up! and Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! scribe Kate Leth. As a Valkyrie myself, I get excited for any of the Fearless Leader's work, but with Hollywood vampire-hunting on the docket, I'm extra stoked. Dynamite house artist Eman Casallos has a reputation for old-school genre beauty, perfect for bringing the beasts behind the silver screen to light. Tini Howard