Required Reading: Comics for 10/12/2016

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Required Reading: Comics for 10/12/2016

With New York Comic Con in the rearview mirror (be sure to check out our comic highlights and cosplay roundup), publishers have stacked yet another October Wednesday with a full serving of treats (and maybe a few tricks). Marvel spins into its latest Spider-mega-crossover and launches a pair of surprising solo series: Mosaic, featuring a brand-new Inhuman; and Solo, starring the quintessential ‘90s c-lister. Horror fans get a triple dose of toothy terror with the Lost Boys comic sequel, second American Vampire anthology and zombie manga I Am A Hero Vol. 2. If neither irradiated arachnids nor bloodsuckers are quite your speed, indies are nicely represented on the new-release shelves this week as well, and another lyrical Neil Gaiman prose story has been adapted into lush comic form. Click on through to the gallery above for all of these titles and more (Mark Millar and Greg Capullo!) in this week’s Required Reading.

American Vampire Anthology #2

Writer: Scott Snyder, Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Steve Orlando & More
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque, Joelle Jones, Artyom Trakhanov & More
Publisher: Vertigo/ DC Comics

Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque's decades-spanning tale of homegrown bloodsuckers hit some scheduling snags as its creators were drawn to other high-profile gigs, eventually finding a proper pausing point for a hiatus of indeterminate time (Snyder promised on Twitter that we'll know more soon). In the meantime, Vertigo has assembled a host of its best talent—along with some promising new faces—to tell stories set in the rich American Vampire mythology. With contributions from DC stalwarts like Marguerite Bennett and Steve Orlando as well as unexpected faces like Kieron Gillen, American Vampire Anthology #2 should help sate our appetite until the ongoing resumes. Steve Foxe

Clone Conspiracy #1

Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Jim Cheung
Publisher: Marvel Comics

As Civil War II drags itself across the finish line, the Spider-line kicks off its own, more contained event. Much like 2014's epic Spider-Verse, Clone Conspiracy seeks to revive and reconcile a much-maligned corner of Peter Parker's history: the '90s "Clone Saga," an absolute mess of a never-ending crossover that nearly undercut Peter Parker's legacy for good. Given writer Dan Slott's impeccable track record with the Web-Slinger, it seems doubtful that Clone Conspiracy will do the same—and with artist Jim Cheung kicking things off and a stunning redesign for B-list villain the Jackal, it'll be a beautiful mess if nothing else. Steve Foxe

Doom Patrol #2

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

Iconic Doom Patroller Larry Trainor—better known as Negative Man (or, if you're a Morrison purist, Rebus)—makes his introduction as writer Gerard Way and the art team of Nick Derington and Tamra Bonvillain keep the crazy train chugging along at full speed. Last month's first issue, which also marked the debut of Way's Young Animal "pop-up imprint," captured the purposeful, gonzo zaniness of Morrison's famed run on the title without merely producing a cover version of a classic song. It also dropped a metric ton of unanswered questions into readers' laps, daring us to keep up with the capital-w Weird. Fans of Way already knew he could deliver a master-class in comic storytelling, which means Derington is likely to be the book's breakout star thanks to his versatility and clean style. Fingers crossed that the pair gets as long of a run on the title as Morrison and Richard Case did decades ago. Steve Foxe

The Electric Sublime #1

Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Martín Morazzo
Publisher: IDW Publishing

It's fitting that The Electric Sublime #1 drops the same week as Doom Patrol #2; despite writer W. Maxwell Prince admitting to not having read Grant Morrison's seminal DP run, the two books share a willingness to penetrate the borders of art and converse directly with the creative process and its often-maddening (literally) effects. Arthur "Art" Brut possesses the ability to "enter" the worlds behind great works of art—but it comes with the hefty price of his sanity while back in the "real" world. When a Warhol-worshipping terrorist starts assassinating famous paintings, a government agent calls on Brut for his extraordinary assistance. Martín Morazzo, best known for his collaborations with Joe Harris at Image, channels Frank Quitely in his figure work and goes full Steve Ditko to realize the titular otherworldly dimension. Also, the breakout character of the book might just be a wooden drawing model. Steve Foxe

Great Lakes Avengers #1

Writer: Zac Gorman
Artist: Will Robson
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Squirrel Girl Doreen Green's old team is forging ahead without her, and it'll be interesting to see how successful the Great Lakes Avengers without their breakout member. Writer Zac Gorman isn't exactly a newbie, with a couple titles and his webcomic—Magical Game Time—under his belt, but he's not a known quantity, either. This is his first foray into a monthly capes-and-cowls book, and he's working with an artist who has even less experience at the big publishers. Without Squirrel Girl on the team, Gorman and Will Robson will need to hook readers quickly since novelty nostalgia will only take the book so far in a competitive market. Judging by the solicits, the team will strive to hit on some of Ryan North's humor, but will they also embrace the kindness, compassion and heart that makes The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl so successful? We'll have to wait and see how these Midwestern heroes manage. Caitlin Rosberg

Hellboy in Hell Vol. 2

Writer/Artist: Mike Mignola w/ Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse

It's hard to think of a comic more defined by its creator than Hellboy. Mike Mignola's style as both a writer and an artist so permeated the world he created for Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. that it can be tough to read other iterations. Following a pretty lengthy break from the character, Mignola returned to Big Red for a ten-part miniseries that explored Hellboy's adventures in the afterlife, the second half of which is collected here. After years of busting himself up to save the world, Hellboy in Hell is a fitting goodbye (for now) to Hellboy, both for readers and for his creator. Mignola's always had other projects and ambitions, and it's really excellent that he was given a chance to bring this story to a close in a poignant, meaningful way that felt right to him. It's not often that a creator is allowed to wrap up a successful series like this instead of seeing it drag on indefinitely, and Hellboy in Hell is the perfect example of why we should see that more. Caitlin Rosberg

I Am A Hero Omnibus Vol. 2

Writer/Artist: Kengo Hanazawa
Publisher: Dark Horse

Dark Horse's omnibus collections of Kengo Hanazawa's zombie thriller I Am A Hero are a godsend for fans of horror manga, otherwise limited to Junji Ito, Kazuo Umezu and whatever scanlations or expensive out-of-print collections lovers of the macabre can excavate. Hanazawa revels in deliberate pacing, eschewing tropes of hectic manga to draw out the terror over dozens of pages before unleashing truly disturbing moments of gore and violence. In this second omnibus, protagonist Hideo Suzuki, a struggling manga creator and one of Japan's few licensed gun owners, escapes his undead (and very hungry) girlfriend and stumbles into Japan's infamous "suicide forest." Yeah, bro—definitely the place to be during a zombie apocalypse. Steve Foxe

James Bond: Hammerhead #1

Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Luca Casalanguida
Publisher: Dynamite

Warren Ellis and Jason Masters have taken Bond through two complete story arcs together, and starting this week they step back to let a new team take over. Previous story arcs VARGR and Eidolon offered modern Bond at his finest, full of snark and style, but they packed just as much corporate backstabbing as international intrigue, defined by a clear struggle to keep up with the leading edge of technology (a recurring theme of Ellis'). Artist Luca Casalanguida is talented but relatively unknown in America, but writer Andy Diggle is an experienced writer who has worked mostly at Dynamite for a few years now, and his previous work on Uncanny and Control proves he's got the chops to write mysteries and political shenanigans. What remains to be seen is if he can keep up the momentum Ellis created and manage the delicate balance of quasi-satirical chauvinism and feminism that makes Ellis's Bond so great. 007 is one of those characters who's unfortunately all too easy to mess up, but Diggle's inheriting an incredible run. Caitlin Rosberg

The Lost Boys #1

Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Publisher: Vertigo/ DC Comics

It feels like you can't turn around without hitting a reboot or a refresh of a beloved '80s or '90s franchise these days, but The Lost Boys has been sadly, perhaps unjustly, left behind in that trend. DC is taking a lot of interesting risks these days, with the new Young Animal books, the recent announcement of Warren Ellis' return to oversee a Wildstorm imprint and a reinvigorated Vertigo lineup, with The Lost Boys along for the ride. Given Tim Seeley's success on Grayson and both Batman Eternal and Batman & Robin Eternal, he seems like a good fit for a vampire tale that calls for both seriousness and a solid sense of humor, which Seeley has proven he can balance. Artist Scott Godlewski has a great handle on likenesses and facial expressions, which is a huge measure of how successful a comic based on a movie or TV show will prove with franchise fans. Caitlin Rosberg

Reborn #1

Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Greg Capullo
Publisher: Image Comics

Making the leap from primarily publishing under Marvel's Icon banner to calling Image Comics home seems to have revitalized Mark Millar, the divisive mind behind Jupiter's Legacy, Starlight, Huck and the rest of the "Millarverse." His books with the big I have all raised the bar once set by Nemesis and its (well-drawn) schlock. Reborn, his latest collaboration, pairs Millar with major-league artist Greg Capullo, fresh off of bringing his New 52 Batman run to a close. Stuck in a sci-fi purgatory, the protagonist of Reborn must literally defeat her personal demons (in the form of people from her past) to move on with her (after)life. Capullo's involvement ensures the book's carnage will be gorgeous, but Millar's recent quality streak suggests it might be a killer read, too. Steve Foxe