Required Reading: Comics for 11/2/2016

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Required Reading: Comics for 11/2/2016

With Halloween out of the way, we’re free to focus on the true terror stalking America in 2016: Election Day. No slasher, chainsaw-wielder or poltergeist has inspired as much existential dread this year as the imminent poll contest, and this week’s comic haul capitalizes on the looming battle between the competent, dedicated woman with e-mail issues and the Orange Skull. Valiant’s Faith, a character Trump wouldn’t deign to be seen with in real life, shares a cover with Hillary Clinton this week, while DC uses the election bump to resurrect Catwoman and Prez in shared one-shot form. In both less and more realistic fashion, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro kick off “President Bitch” in their Image favorite Bitch Planet.

For those of you whose brains are on the cusp of melting every time you click on FiveThirtyEight, there’s plenty of escapist fun to take your mind off of our possible apocalypse. Pin-up dreamboat Kevin Wada joins the WicDiv team for a very special issue, Marvel delivers a one-two punch of stellar Avengers options, Ulises Farinas throws down the auteur gauntlet and manga hit Attack on Titan goes Western with stunning results. All of this plus second outings from last month’s breakouts Midnighter and Apollo and Shade the Changing Girl make this pre-election New Comic Book Day a welcome respite from the madness.

Aleister & Adolf

Writer: Douglas Rushkoff
Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

A foreword by Grant Morrison is typically a solid sign that you're in for something mind-bending, but readers of turn-of-the-century Vertigo series Testament already know writer Douglas Rushkoff's predilections for melding science fiction, mysticism, media theory and history to dizzying results. Joined here by Powers artist Michael Avon Oeming, Rushkoff transports readers to a WWII in which infamous real-life occultist Aleister Crowly has conjured a major weapon in the battle against Hitler's forces. Oeming's bold black-and-white cartooning should help convince fans of Mike Mignola's Hellboy saga to take a chance on an unrelated tale of Nazis and magic. Steve Foxe

Attack on Titan Anthology

Writers: Scott Snyder, Brendan Fletcher, Gail Simone & More
Artists: Cameron Stewart, Paolo Rivera, Afua Richardson & More
Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Isayama Hajime's Attack on Titan has been an unstoppable juggernaut of manga, anime and merchandising since it hit American shores a few years ago, so it's no shock that it counts among its many fans some of the biggest names in western comics. All-Star Batman scribe Scott Snyder has proclaimed his love of the series for years, and he proves that fandom alongside Cameron Stewart, Kate Leth, Evan Dorkin and other A-list creators in the Attack on Titan Anthology, an all-original, out-of-continuity volume of AoT stories told by non-Japanese talents. It's rare that manga properties get official original English content, so props to publisher Kodansha Comics and Isayama for their willingness to open the gates to the universe in such an unprecedented fashion. The comic-market cover hit stands two weeks ago, but fans who have held out can now nab the unsettling Asaf & Tomer Hanuka giant-baby version. Steve Foxe

Avengers #1

Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Mike Del Mundo
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Mark Waid's Avenging duty tripled in the wake of the yet-to-conclude Civil War II, transitioning from the All-New, All-Different to the teen-dream Champions, decimal-pointed throwback and Avengers, the most classic iteration of the team we've seen in years (with a twist). Captain America, Thor, Vision, Spider-Man, Wasp and Hercules (three of the six new mantle-bearers) must unite against one of the Avengers' all-time greatest foes, the time-traveling Kang. Waid has long since proven that, with few exceptions, he just gets superhero storytelling, so the most notable draw here is artist Mike Del Mundo, a digital painter who singlehandedly upped Marvel's cover-art game before proving he had sequential chops to supplement his single images. With Del Mundo on board for interiors alongside Waid and a more traditional hero roster, Avengers looks primed to be the best flagship team title from Marvel in half a decade. If Avengers is too mainstream for you, this week also sees the debut of Foolkiller from artist Dalibor Talajic and Say Anything frontman Max Bemis. Steve Foxe

Bitch Planet #9

Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Valentine De Landro
Publisher: Image Comics

Maybe it's for the best that Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro's feminist sci-fi exploitation tale has had a…prolonged release schedule. In the era of "Nasty Woman" and "Grab them by the…" Bitch Planet's Non-Compliant core concept seems all too appropriate. This issue, perfectly timed for the Wednesday before Election Day, introduces Eleanor Doane—"President Bitch." Despite shipping snafus, Bitch Planet has shown both DeConnick and De Landro at their career-best, making each issue worth the wait. Now let's just hope the series hasn't been predicting reality too closely. Steve Foxe

Catwoman: Election Night

Writers: Mark Russell, Meredith Finch
Artists: Ben Caldwell, Shane Davis
Publisher: DC Comics

When her solo title went out with a whimper after the stellar Genevieve Valentine run, fans of Catwoman were justifiably annoyed. Catwoman: Election Night is one of several double-wide politically focused issues coming out this week, but probably not the best. Though it features Prez, one of the more critically acclaimed elements of the DCYou initiative, Election Night is marred by the presence of Meredith Finch on the creative team, whose run on Wonder Woman with her husband was less than well-received, and for good reason. Hopefully Prez writer Mark Russell, who's been rocking (pun intended) an incredible run over on The Flintstones, can salvage the issue with a bonus story featuring President Beth Ross. At the very least, buy this one-shot to tell DC we want Selina Kyle back in a solo title ASAP. Caitlin Rosberg

Faith #5

Writers: Jody Houser, Louise Simonson
Artists: Meghan Hetrick, Pere Pérez
Publisher: Valiant

There are two stories packed into this week's 48-page issue of Faith: up front the core creative team of Jody Houser and Meghan Hetrick kicks off a new story arc, and in the back veteran comics writer Louise Simonson works with Pere Pérez to deliver a timely, overtly political story of their own. If that Clinton-starring one-off isn't enough to pique your interest, Houser and Hetrick's work definitely should be. Faith #4 wrapped up an arc that proved just how much they love fandom and nerds, and as the series has gone on, the titular character has become more grounded, human and relatable. With her comic-con adventure with new boyfriend Archer wrapped up, Faith is put in the position of confronting a new villain and her own faults and failures. Be sure to check out Archer & Armstrong too for a double whammy of cute and funny. Caitlin Rosberg

Jim Henson's Labyrinth Artist Tribute

Artists: Various
Publisher: Archaia/BOOM!

The last time publisher BOOM! hosted an artist jam, Charlie Brown and his flippant Beagle galloped through a showcase of styles from industry luminaries like Jeff Lemire, Tony Millionaire and Roger Langridge. This week offers a new anthology tackling the 1986 nostalgia well Labyrinth and it's just as handsome; legends including Bill Sienkiewicz, Dave McKean and Mike Allred illustrate characters from Jim Henson's puppet/live-action epiphany in a hardback of absorbing pinups. It's also an unintentional memorial to David Bowie, who played the fabulous Goblin King, Jareth—seeing his glam myth amplified in the sculpted linework of Tula Lotay or Eric Powell is a more than fitting tribute to the rock icon. Sean Edgar

Mayday #1

Writer: Alex De Campi
Artist: Tony Parker
Publisher: Image Comics

Unplanned creative confluence is a real thing (remember when we got two Capote movies in the same year?), and with Putin's consistent presence in the 2016 election, it's little surprise that more than one new title draws on the Cold War for inspiration. Unlike Tini Howard and Devaki Neogi's The Skeptics, Mayday seems poised to layer on the sex, drugs and ultra-violence right out of the gate as two young Russian spies find themselves stranded in America with competing motivations. Alex De Campi is no stranger to grindhouse sensibilities (see, uhh…Grindhouse) and Tony Parker's noir-tinged art should be a good match for this red-blooded thriller. Steve Foxe

Motro #1

Writer/Artist: Ulises Fariñas
Publisher: Oni Press

Oni Press is great at singling out skilled creators and letting them just do their thing, often to wonderful results. Ulises Fariñas, perhaps best known for his recent run on IDW's Judge Dredd, has shown a capacity for off-the-wall originality on par with Brandon Graham, James Stokoe and Andrew MacLean, with a clean line and pleasantly rounded figures reminiscent of Sophie Campbell. So it's a treat to see him taking the wheel with Motro, a ten-issue post-apocalyptic fantasy epic with heavy shades of Mad Max—if Max drove a miniature motorcycle that talked. Steve Foxe

Occupy Avengers #1

Writer: David F. Walker
Artist: Carlos Pacheco
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Civil War II is a mess. Thanks to delays and an awkward extension into an additional issue, major plot points have been uncovered out of order, much to the frustration of readers. David F. Walker has helped guide Power Man and Iron Fist through the quagmire relatively unscathed so far and is now at the helm of a new Avengers title focused on "the 99%." This isn't a new concept in comics—there are plenty of books out there that ask "Who watches the Watchmen," both literally and metaphorically. But Walker has proved his socio-political chops with books like Nighthawk and Shaft, and Carlos Pacheco is a master of clean lines and clear storytelling. It's a shame that Hawkeye is at the center of this particular iteration as opposed to one of the Defenders, but as long as Walker's given some freedom to tell his kind of story, you're guaranteed a good read. Hopefully Clint will give Misty Knight a call. Caitlin Rosberg