Comics We're Excited About for 9/14/2016

Comics Galleries Raina Telgemeier
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Comics We're Excited About for 9/14/2016

It’s a bittersweet week here at Paste Comics. For all of our unbridled excitement over Raina Telgemeier’s splendid Ghosts, Gerard Way and Nick Derington’s madcap Young Animal vanguard Doom Patrol and Alan Moore’s murder weapon of a novel Jerusalem (just kidding, we’ll never have time to read Jerusalem), we must also bid adieu to Tini Howard’s weekly recommendation contributions. While Tini was a working writer when she came aboard the good ship Paste, her first issue co-writing Power Rangers Pink hits shelves this week, making her both too busy and too conflict-of-interest-y to continue sharing her fine taste with Paste’s dedicated readership. You’re briefly stuck with the one-two punch of Sean Edgar and Steve Foxe, but this week’s powerhouse line-up of books, from the previously mentioned debut trio to the return of Gotham Academy, the latest issue of All-Star Batman and thought-provoking new launches like The Forevers and Hadrian’s Wall, should soothe the sting of not seeing Tini’s byline every week.

All-Star Batman #2

Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Publisher: DC Comics

For anyone who thought the man who curated the Dark Knight throughout the character's entire New 52 and DC You phases was out of ideas, Scott Snyder is overloading his newest take with a wealth of twists, developments and insight. A dissection of dissociative-personality gangster Two-Face, the first arc of All-Star Batman takes the villain on a road trip alongside the titular vigilante with his soul hanging in the balance of a diabolic bet: if Two-Face reaches his (unrevealed) destination, all the secrets of every denizen in Gotham will be released. If he doesn't, his disorder will never be treated. A parade of bounty hunters offer cool cameos from the outer fringes of Batman's rogue's gallery, but Bruce Wayne's inner circle has also begun to look out for its own interests.

With Snyder's rare knack for mainstream superhero intellect, this book is a rollicking good time—no doubt aided by John Romita Jr.'s galloping storytelling. A fight on a moving train elevates into cinema-level elation rife the gadgets, blur lines and hulking physiques of grown men (and animal-men) batting one another with redwood tree trunks. It's an ideal marriage of escapism and cerebration, and evidence that Snyder may be entering a new prime. Sean Edgar

Doom Patrol #1

Writer: Gerard Way
Artist: Nick Derington
Publisher: Young Animal/ DC Comics

Quite possibly the most anticipated comic of the fall is finally here as Umbrella Academy writer (and little-known indie musician) Gerard Way teams up with artist Nick Derington to resurrect the Doom Patrol, the misfit superhero collective made famous by a young Grant Morrison's surrealist reinvention. Way has long been a disciple of the mad Scottish scribe (Morrison even appeared in several My Chemical Romance videos), and has spoken at length about his desire to not only pay tribute to previous Doom Patrol runs, but to forge bravely ahead into the new and—perhaps more importantly—the weird.

Derington is a revelation in his own right, bringing a pitch-perfect vintage Vertigo vibe to the proceedings, landing somewhere between frequent Morrison collaborator Frank Quitely and pop-art maestro Mike Allred. Doom Patrol has a lot of pressure riding on it—the property hasn't quite stuck since Morrison left the book decades ago, and this new launch serves as the flagship book of the Young Animal imprint—but Way and Derington's pure passion for bonkers comics bodes very, very well. Steve Foxe

The Forevers #1

Writer: Curt Pires
Artist: Eric Pfeiffer
Publisher: Black Mask Studios

The fatalistically glamorous motto "live fast, die young" gets turned on its head in Curt Pires and Eric Pfeiffer's The Forevers as a cast of fame-hungry friends commit a black-magic ritual to get everything they always wanted. When it's revealed that their fading "glow" is a shared resource—one made more powerful for the living pact members whenever one of their number is killed—The Forevers becomes a murder mystery meditation on how far we're willing to go to be adored. Curt Pires has fast made a career out of intellectually challenging high-concept books like Pop and The Fiction, and artist Eric Pfeiffer's painterly style brings to mind Sean Phillips' early work on titles like The Heart of the Beast. Steve Foxe


Writer/Artist: Raina Telgemeier
Publisher: Scholastic GRAPHIX

Do we really need to tell you to read the latest engulfing middle-grade masterpiece from Raina Telgemeier, the reigning matriarch of all-age comic essentials including Smile, Sisters and Drama? Probably not; Telgemeier tops the sales charts on a regular basis, but nobody deserves the acclaim more. This latest entry features a young girl, Catrina, who moves to a dark, cold NorCal town to facilitate her sister, who's diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. The 240-page book will make hearts flutter and pound with a concentrated balance of emotion and supernatural mischief. If there were any question of Telgemeier's mastery of the form, this book is further proof that she's one of the medium's most valuable voices. Sean Edgar

Gotham Academy: Second Semester #1

Writers: Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl
Artist: Adam Archer
Publisher: DC Comics

Sorry kids—we're glad school is back in session. Gotham Academy was one of the most beloved late-stage New 52-era launches, with a "spooky Harry Potter in Gotham" vibe that endeared the largely original cast of characters to both diehard DC fans and new readers alike. Given Rebirth's focus on back-to-classics storytelling, it was a pleasant surprise when Second Semester was announced with the writing duo of Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher not only intact, but joined by original series artist Karl Kerschl. Adam Archer, longtime contributor to properties ranging from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Scribblenauts to Ame-Comi Girls steps into Kerschl's vacated art seat, lending a slick sense of cartooning to the arrival of a brand-new student at the Academy, keeping Olive Silverlock company over winter break…and getting them both into trouble along the way. Steve Foxe

Hadrian's Wall #1

Writers: Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegel
Artist: Rod Reis
Publisher: Image Comics

Hadrian's Wall isn't the first (or second) "murder mystery on a space station" series from Image Comics, but it is the long-awaited new book from the C.O.W.L. team of Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel and Rod Reis, and that earns this interstellar locked-room tale substantial goodwill. If you're not familiar with that twist on the superhero genre, at least look up Reis' interior work; while the creative team opted for more stylized graphic covers, Reis' gorgeous sequential work falls on the same spectrum as Phil Noto, Fiona Staples and Nic Klein, lending a sense of pulpy atmosphere to Higgins & Siegel's script. Steve Foxe


Writer: Alan Moore
Publisher: Liveright

Clocking in at 1,250 pages (longer than both Infinite Jest and The Stand), Alan Moore's prose magnum opus seems to be, based on its descriptive text, about everything. "An opulent mythology for those without a pot to piss in," the metadata reads, hinting at ever-shifting literary modes (children's tales, James Joyce tributes, stage directions) employed in service of a far-reaching, physics-screwing plot centered in Moore's own backyard of Northampton, England. Much like the previously mentioned Infinite Jest, it's likely that Jerusalem will sit unread on countless bookshelves, as impulsive buyers console themselves with the empty promise of "getting around to" its monumental commitment…eventually. For those lamenting Moore's recent announcement of imminent retirement from the comic world, however, Jerusalem might be a saving grace in the form of a literary doorstopper. Steve Foxe

Leave Me Alone!

Writer/Artist: Vera Brosgol
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Though not a comic per se, Leave Me Alone comes from the feverishly inventive, enchanting mind of Vera Brosgol, the cartoonist behind the YA spookfest Anya's Ghost and storyboard artist of Laika classics ParaNorman and Coraline. This picture book retains every molecule of charm and dark whimsy found in those previous works. The story follows an old woman seeking solace to knit in peace as she's swarmed by perpetual waves of grandchildren. Her journey takes her to places unimaginable, from the local forest to the furthest reaches of theoretical physics. For the empathizing adult or the mesmerized toddler, this book is perfect proof that limitless creativity can thrive under a tight page count. Sean Edgar

Old Man Logan #11

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The mutant corner of the Marvel Universe may not be thriving at the moment (check out Steve's great retrospect of New X-Men for more on that), but Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Old Man Logan remains an undeniable bright spot of not just the X-Men, but the entire 616 publishing line. Lemire keeps the text light and the emotions high, while Sorrentino concocts unorthodox panel layouts that never cease to stun. The series has predominantly offered readers a visual history of the character's trials, lovers and enemies. Also: this Wolverine happens to be a parallel dimension-traveler who accidentally slaughtered the X-Men in his own timeline, though that exposition seems to matter less to the core of the character with each passing issue.

The most recent arc delves into Logan's history in Japan with Ogun, a nice footnote from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's time with the character during the '80s. The use of color—those highlight reds!—and the jagged line work are worth the price alone, though collected this may be one of the most comprehensive and coherent treatises on the character to date. Sean Edgar


Writer/Artist: Pascal Girard
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Many of the comics featured in this week's list focus on childhood and can be read by children. Pascal Girard's Nicolas is certainly about childhood, but its vivid, unadultured recollection of when the author lost his 5-year-old brother would probably fly over the heads of younger readers. Like Tom Hart's Rosalie Lightning, this book once served as therapy for a single person before transforming into a public tool to help others empathize and do the same. Girard wrote this in three days, and that focus shows. The stream-of-conscious memories, rushed line work and unedited passion define every page. The author calls Nicolas raw and unpolished in the intro, but we'd all also call it one of the most emotional experiences in comics this decade. Sean Edgar