Required Reading: Comics for 1/18/2017

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Monsters Unleashed! #1

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Steve McNiven
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Marvel has settled into an event rhythm, alternating between contained crossovers like Original Sin that affect a select number of comics in their wake and relaunch-priming game-changers like Civil War II. Monsters Unleashed!, unless the House of Ideas has any kaiju-sized surprises in store, looks to be the former, and that's likely good news for fans. Without the burden of resetting the publishing line (which is still in its post-CWII rollout), MU! can focus on being a beastly bit of fun using the full collection of toys in Marvel's sandbox. Uncanny X-Men writer Cullen Bunn orchestrates the carnage of Marvel's famous giant monsters running loose, while a crew of the company's biggest artists alternates duties, beginning with Steve McNiven this week and following up with Adam Kubert, Leinil Yu, Salvador Larroca and Greg Land in coming installments. If you dig Pacific Rim and Marvel's current slate of heroes, you're likely to enjoy this destructo-thon. Steve Foxe

Snow Blind

Writer: Ollie Masters
Artist: Tyler Jenkins
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

The unsettling combination of geographic isolation and shocking violence has produced amazing comics ranging from Whiteout to 30 Days of Night. Ollie Masters, who proved his grasp on depravity with The Kitchen, tackles this subgenre in the miniseries Snow Blind, now available in a single collection. The comic is more Fargo than The Thing, rooted in the mysteries and lies of one family. The backdrop of remote Alaska forces characters to confront hurdles that may have been left uncovered in a place where there were more distractions, more ways to lose track of the threads that have held their lives together. Tyler Jenkins' watercolors feel deceptively simple, but he doesn't sacrifice movement or action with that style. For commitment-phobes, the first issue is available free on Comixology Unlimited. Caitlin Rosberg


Writer/Artist: Joan Cornella
Publisher: Fantagraphics

Joan Cornella's vicious, black-souled strips find a new collection in Zonzo, and we can only recommend this to the most heartless reader. The Barcelona-based cartoonist recently crossed the mainstream threshold on social media and his artwork for Wilco's last LP, Schmilco, and it's not hard to see why. His jubilantly colored, smiling characters are sociopathic assholes, oblivious to any other consideration than their own gratification. We can easily associate any flavor of awful to these bizarre times of political disconnect and rising sea levels, but Cornella's depictions of people perpetually frozen in masturbatory selfy-stick cheer may well be the defining image of 2016 and beyond. Zonzo is a rare work that will make you laugh and weep simultaneously. Sean Edgar