It’s almost Wednesday, and you know what that means: a fresh load of comics and graphic novels! With so many publications hitting your local comics store or digital storefront, BF is here to lead you through the woods. These are the books that need to be on your pull list this week.
Comic of the Week
Returning to Image with Black Science must’ve given Rick Remender a huge itch to scratch, because the writer is back for another new adventure at the publisher, one of teenage high school drama with a twist.
Deadly Class is exactly what the title forecasts: it’s a book about a class and it’s pretty deadly – no pun intended – because the students are the sons and daughters of the world’s leading assassins. At the same time, it’s a coming-of-age comic set in the 1987 that gives Remender the chance to look back on his own high school days and all the rollicking fun and bad shit that came with growing up thirty years ago. Except here, all of the backstabbing is not metaphorical.
Making Deadly Class truly eye-catching is Wes Craig bringing to life Remender’s period piece. Together with colorist Lee Loughridge, Craig has created the best-composed pages you’ll find in your comic store this week. It’s the kind of artwork that makes you stop reading simply to take in its sheer beauty.
Rick Remender (W), Wes Craig (A) • Image Comics, $3.50
– Frederik Hautain
Based on a story idea by actress/philanthropist Alyssa Milano, Hacktivist centers around the revolutionary activities of two super-hackers operating behind the scenes and the world-changing social networking site they co-found.
Although this innovation has made them international celebrities, their opposing personalities clash as the benefits and potential hazards of social networking on such an overwhelming scale and their covert hacking capabilities bring up the classic fight between power and responsibility.
Alyssa Milano (S), Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly (W), Marcus To (A) • BOOM! Studios/Archaia Entertainment, $3.99
– Karen O’Brien
Ever since Tom Taylor brought the house down with his horn solo at the end of the Unwritten/Fables crossover in issue #54, fans have been wondering how he was going to make his way back from the final white-out. Now, after a couple of months off, Vertigo are relaunching Mike Carey and Peter Gross’s metafictional mystery series for its final 12-issue arc.
The publisher is promoting the new #1 as a perfect jumping-on point for new readers, but after nearly sixty issues and a standalone graphic novel, I don’t know how many newbs will take the plunge, even though The Unwritten‘s literary mix of intelligence and imagination has been consistently intriguing since it first dropped in 2009.
As much as anything else, it’ll be a treat to have the extraordinary cover art of Yuko Shimizu back for another 12 issues. Once the series reaches its conclusion, it’d be great to see Vertigo put out a Dust Covers-style collection.
Mike Carey (W), Peter Gross (A) • DC Comics/Vertigo, $3.99
– Tom Murphy
Quinn the orphan continues his quest here, with Skerrigan hot on his trail. Skyward keeps on delivering high-fantasy action in a gorgeously illustrated package. This is a book that continues to surprise and delight with every issue, and if you consider yourself a fantasy fan to any degree, it deserves a spot right at the top of your pull list.
Five issues in, writer-artist Jeremy Dale’s all-ages fantasy series is still picking up steam, and now is the perfect time to jump aboard.
Jeremy Dale (W/A) • Action Lab Entertainment, $2.99
– Evan Henry
The All-New X-Men have only had four issues to recuperate from the events of their last crossover (“Battle of the Atom”), only to be plunged again into a dire event. This one has a very promising concept.
The series has been great at juxtaposing the promise of youth with the disappointment of these characters finding out what they’ve grown into. This story will take that concept another step forward as a young Jean Grey will have to face the consequences of something she hasn’t even done yet. Various alien forces demand retribution for the Phoenix’s destruction in the past. “The Trial of Jean Grey” will crossover into Guardians of the Galaxy, meaning Marvel gets to show off two of their very best artists (Stuart Immonen and Sara Pichelli) in one event.
Brian Michael Bendis (W), Stuart Immonen (A) • Marvel Comics, $3.99
Cutter, the chief of the Worlfriders, knows that change is coming for his tribe. The close proximity of their home to the magical Palace of the High Ones makes it inevitable. Cutter’s daughter, Ember, is the chief of her own tribe and struggling to preserve their traditional way of life. But when the human tyrant Angrif Djun ascends the home mountain of her clan, she shakes the foundations of peace for all.
Wendy and Richard Pini have delighted fans with the adventures of the Wolfriders for more than 30 years and this latest tale is a welcome addition to the comics shelves this week.
Wendy Pini & Richard Pini (W), Wendy Pini (A) • Dark Horse, $3.50
– Karen O’Brien
Greg Pak fast-forwards Gilad Anni-Padda’s life to the year 4001. The Eternal Warrior is still alive, but not exactly kicking like he used to. The world is ravaged by what in hindsight seems like endless wartime, which has taken its toll on Gilad. Yet, he’s got to muster all of his remaining power to ward off humanity’s extinction.
Will he succeed? Find out as the second arc of Eternal Warrior kicks off and the door to the Valiant Universe of the future gets unlocked.
Greg Pak (W) Robert Gill (A) • Valiant Entertainment, $3.99
– Frederik Hautain
DC’s loss is Marvel’s gain. Marvel welcomes James Robinson (Starman, Earth-2) and Steve Pugh (Animal Man) with this series focusing on the legendary World War II Invaders team operating in the present.
No stranger to updating 1940s concepts to the modern day, Robinson looks to take the some of the sensibilities that made his Starman and Justice Society of America stories so successful with an Invaders squad led by Captain America. Rounding out the team is Namor, Winter Soldier, and the Human Torch. This first storyline pits the reunited team against the Kree Empire.
James Robinson (W), Steve Pugh (A) • Marvel Comics, $3.99
The latest in IDW’s series of top-notch Judge Dredd minis is here, and this time the Judge himself is headed for Mega-City One’s West Coast counterpart. In the futuristic city formerly known as Los Angeles, chaos reigns; what few laws there are change from neighborhood to neighborhood, and every district has its own, often horrifyingly amoral version of a moral code.
When his latest case brings him to town, it’s up to Judge Dredd and his Lawgiver to enforce order in this anarchic, post-apocalyptic California metropolis.
Douglas Wolk (W), Ulises Farinas (A) • IDW Publishing, $3.99
– Evan Henry
A classic in its own right, Planetary by Warren Ellis & John Cassaday turned the comics world upside down upon its publication. A mystery inside a Chinese box wrapped in the exploration of pop culture it features atomic monsters, Hong Kong action movies, chinese ghosts, superheroes, pulp novels, sci-fi etc. All is condensed into the story of Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner, and The Drummer as they set about keeping the multidimensional world as strange as it can be.
This omnibus is the collection of the complete series and all one-shots. Simply put, this is a must for your bookshelf.
Warren Ellis (W), John Cassaday, Jerry Ordway, Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning (A) • DC Comics, $75.00
– Bart Croonenborghs
The ongoing success of The Walking Dead, on the comics page and the TV screen, shows that there’s still a bit of life in the undead. And who better to take things to the next level than the “zombie godfather”, who almost single-handedly created the genre back in the day with Night of the Living Dead?
This 40-page opener marks the start of a 15-issue series set in New York City years after the undead plague has struck. Despite being quarantined, Manhattan is still being bothered by the lumbering flesh-eaters, and we’re promised the appearance of another ancient menace with a bit of bite…
George Romero’s Empire of the Dead: Act One might not be the snappiest title on the shelf this week, but with art from the always visceral and atmospheric Alex Maleev, it’s got to be a must-buy for fans of all things hurrrrghhh.
George Romero (W), Alex Maleev (A) • Marvel Comics, $3.99
– Tom Murphy