Comics We’re Excited About for 6/17/2015

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Summer has arrived, and there’s no better evidence than the big-event titles that’ll appear on comic store shelves this week. Aside from the launch of Noelle Stevenson’s massively anticipated Runaways, we’re getting a Thor-filled Secret Wars event, aptly titled Thors, a deafening revival of Black Canary, as well as a brand new Justice League of America comic. Below, take a look at what we’ll be picking up this week. As always, leave your own favorites in the comments section.



Black Canary #1

Writer: Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Annie Wu
Publisher: DC Comics

This series feels like it needs a drummer to count it off, not a text introduction. Spinning out of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr’s fan-favorite Batgirl run, Black Canary is a punk song in comic form (despite being published by one of the industry’s largest corporations). The anticipation all comes down to the creative team: Fletcher has been killing it in Bruce Wayne’s corner of the world with Batgirl and his co-writing gig on Gotham Academy, and artist Annie Wu seemingly arrived on the scene fully formed to keep Marvel’s much-delayed Hawkeye on schedule. Wu is dangerously stylish, and nothing in her career so far has seemed as perfect of a match for her than a comic about hip punks moshing in dingy clubs. Dinah Lance’s New 52 career has largely been spent in dark ops outfits, so her starring turn in a rock band may feel like a bit of a stretch for continuity nuts. Don’t sweat it—musicians reinvent themselves all the time. Think of this as Dinah’s comeback tour—and get your VIP tickets now. Steve Foxe



Bloodshot Reborn #3

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Mico Suayan
Publisher: Valiant

Is the same writer who waxed philosophical over pastoral hockey and broken families in Essex County really scripting the descent of a coke-addled guns-and-ammo parody? Yes. Jeff Lemire is, and the results are pretty damn great. The author is singlehandedly showing how much range one auteur can nail, with his sci-fi tearjerker Descender at Image and classic superhero sojourn Hawkeye at Marvel (and who knows what else after Secret Wars).

Bloodshot Reborn goes for broke with a similar devotion to the eclectic, packing resurrected ex-girlfriends and hallucinatory cartoon characters into a hyper-violent noir. The plot concerns a retired super-executer hunting down murderers cursed with his former powers. Artist Mico Suayan captures the contrast between hardcore austerity and whimsical hysteria with finesse. Sean Edgar


Doctor Fate #1

Writer: Paul Levitz
Artist: Sonny Liew
Publisher: DC Comics

The new “DC You” initiative mixes new talent, fresh ideas and established DC creators at about the same ratio as the New 52, and nowhere is that more apparent than Doctor Fate. This is a brand-new Kent Nelson, an Arab-American med student largely removed from the capes and tights of the main DCU. Artist Sonny Liew, fresh off of The Shadow Hero with Eisner-award winning cartoonist Gene Luen Yang (himself poached by DC to helm Superman) has a sensibility far removed from the standard DC house style. Writer Paul Levitz, on the other hand, is as classically DC as it gets, with a former stint as publisher and several recent (now-canceled) New 52 outings. Doctor Fate hasn’t carried as much buzz as Black Canary or Midnighter, but it looks to be a solid standalone take on the “With great power…” theme for readers eager for diverse stories full of magic and myth. Steve Foxe



Empty Zone #1

Writer/Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Publisher: Image Comics

Jason Shawn Alexander’s work is often called “haunting,” and for good reason: his pitch-black inks and tortured expressions place him in a rarified league of horror artists. The Empty Zone has been his on-again, off-again creator-owned project for years, although no knowledge of previous books is necessary to jump into protagonist Corinne White’s violent saga. The story is a sci-fi/horror grab bag of whatever Alexander felt like drawing that day: zombies, mechanical arms, human-animal hybrids. Image has been flooding the market with quality science fiction comics lately, each fighting for a chunk of sales. The Empty Zone is a harrowing visual journey too tempting to avoid, even if it’s not helmed by a flashy Big Two superstar. Steve Foxe



Justice League of America #1

Writer/Artist: Bryan Hitch
Publisher DC Comics

Ahh, summer. The outlook’s great for sunshine, water-based activities and increased chances that superheroes will band together and beat a shared enemy to a pulp. In DC’s case, they’re set to launch the latest iteration of the June-appropriate JLA franchise, which reboots at issue #1 tomorrow. Bryan Hitch, who recently contributed to another hero-spanning event in 2013 with Marvel’s Age of Ultron interiors, will lead the charge on this new take on DC’s greatest team of superheroes. In the new JLA’s case, the team will be up against an alien tribe for this packed, double-sized issue, which will also features an insane, broad-spanning pull-out that contains all seven members. Regardless of your take on these four-color blockbusters, issue one’ll be an event that—love it or hate it—will fuel comic fan watercooler talk for the next week. Tyler R. Kane



Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa #1

Writer: George Miller, Nico Lathouris, Mark Sexton
Artist: Mark Sexton, Tristan Jones, Szymon Kudranski
Publisher: DC Comics/ Vertigo

The editor who signed off on the Mad Max comic prequels months ago deserves a big pat on the back. Whether DC had faith in George Miller’s apocalyptic magnum opus or was simply obeying WB’s commands, it’s the lucky publisher of the only approved backstory the delightfully vague film has provided so far. Furiosa has become as much an icon as a character, so there’s a chance any expanded story won’t live up to what Charlize Theron embodied on screen. Miller is directly involved, though, and Vertigo isn’t a publisher known for churning out poorly-made comics. The three artists here capture the gritty, well-worn world of Furiosa to a T. If you’re still begging your friends to see this movie, you’ll definitely want to witness this comic. Steve Foxe



Mind MGMT #34

Writer & Artist: Matt Kindt
Publisher: Dark Horse

Mind MGMT is one of those hyper-dense stories whose inaccessibility only speaks to how absurdly intelligent it is; writer/artist Matt Kindt’s air-tight plotting needs to be experienced from its first issue to its soon-to-be last for full appreciation. In issue #34, series protagonist Meru breaches the base of the insidious organization she’s been hunting for years. Immaculately-paced, absorbing and meticulously-executed, it’s a simultaneous disappointment and victory that we’ve arrived at the near end of this narrative accomplishment. Sean Edgar



Runaways #1

Writer: Noelle Stevenson
Artist: Sanford Greene
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Runaways is a peculiar property in that it inspires rabid dedication among an audience not quite large enough to demand a consistent presence on shelves. It’s been six years since Marvel put out a Runaways book (ending on a major cliffhanger, no less). This volume eschews most of The Pride’s children for an alternate-universe assortment of Marvel teens, but creators Noelle Stevenson and Sanford Greene are a dream team for any property. Stevenson is fast becoming a household name thanks to Lumberjanes and the recent print collection of her webcomic Nimona, which is slated for a big-screen adaptation. Greene is likely less familiar to readers, but his brief Marvel work on titles like Uncanny Avengers proves he can handle kinetic action and diverse bodies well. This isn’t the Runaways we asked for—it’s the Runaways we deserve. Steve Foxe



Robin: Son of Batman #1

Writer: Patrick Gleason
Artists: Mick Gray, Patrick Gleason
Publisher DC Comics

Robin is best known as Batman’s sidekick, but his latest spinoff, Son of Batman, peers into a different, more guilt-ridden side of the recently resurrected Damian al Ghul. Maybe he’s a pint-sized hero first—after all, the book opens with a teeth-rattling confrontation. But Robin: Son of Batman is also set to tell the tale of a conflicted child—one struggling with the loss of his father while (no pressure!) still trying to do right by his larger-than-life legacypa. And as we discover more about Damian’s Year of Blood, where the first arc takes its name, we’re also set to have some epiphanies about the young man behind the green mask. Tyler R. Kane



Southern Bastards #9

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Jason Latour
Publisher: Image

Jason Aaron may be flying high with a squadron of Norse gods at Marvel, but in Southern Bastards he and artist Jason Latour dive deep deep into the sordid underbelly of high school football. This comic hasn’t pulled any punches, (spoiler alert) “retiring” series protagonist Earl Tubb in the first arc. Watching baddie Euless Boss absorb the spotlight—both literally and figuratively—has been no less entrancing, as the creative team shows just as much character exploration as Aaron’s previous back-road epic, Scalped. This new issue kicks off (sorry) with Boss’ team, the Runnin’ Rebs, facing off against Wetumptka County. Think of it as Friday Night Lights with far less optimism, way more homicide and, most importantly, authentic Southern cuisine. Sean Edgar


Thors #1

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Chris Sprouse
Publisher: Marvel

Diamond Comic Distrubutor’s May report revealed a shocking reality—Marvel owned more than 40 percent of both the dollar and unit shares of the month. Secret Wars may rely on an internal mystery within its carefully choreographed plot beats, but in the loud, public war of competing publishers, the summer event is a nuclear warhead. Even aside from Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic’s thrilling titular maxi-series, the parallel tales have been surprisingly engaging. These titles showcase a splintered Marvel Universe pangaea, where each country houses a separate timeline or previous Marvel event. Alongside such spectacles as Old Man Logan, Weirdworld and Runaways, Thors sports a gorgeous pedigree. Jason Aaron has a long history of shifting from epic intrigue to disarming humor—sometimes in the same panel—and his current run on Thor ranks along the Simonsons’ run as Valhalla-worthy.

As for the plot? A multi-universal squad of Thors. A lot of hammers. Chris Sprouse’s classically gorgeous art. The fates have smiled on us, dear reader. Sean Edgar