Doom Patrol, The Pervert, Deep Roots & More in Required Reading: Comics for 4/25/2918

Comics Lists Required Reading
Doom Patrol, The Pervert, Deep Roots & More in Required Reading: Comics for 4/25/2918

The final Wednesday of April is as tantalizingly diverse as any in recent memory. While many comic fans—and millions of folks who might never pick up the art form—prepare for the release of Marvel’s biggest film yet, the sequential-art industry offers up everything from a brutally honest story of trans sex work, a magical tale of chosen family in the snowy mountains, the conclusion to one of the most celebrated cartoon tie-in comics of all time, the launch of a new Xenomorph excursion and an explanation for how Logan lost his metal shell. This week also sees the return of a weird fan-favorite, the trade collection for a series that underwent a name change mid-run, the second adaptation of a jazz-inspired detective series, a new look at an old cult favorite and the first issue of a bold new series from a bold new publisher. Happy Wednesday reading, folks.

STL067970.jpegA Girl in the Himalayas
Write/Artist: David Jesus Vignolli
Publisher: Archaia/ BOOM! Studios
Cartoonist David Jesus Vignolli’s debut graphic novel was, amazingly, a blind submission to BOOM! Studios’ Archaia imprint, which lends an extra note of magic to this touching tale of chosen family. Like a mystical, modern-day Jungle Book, A Girl in the Himalayas follows a young child, Vijaya, who finds herself taken in by a secluded group of immortals deep in the Himalaya Mountains. Encroaching fellow humans threaten her wondrous new life, and the immortals who take her in must decide if her presence is worth that danger—and if having a human child around is changing their way of life for the better or for the worse. Vignolli makes stunning use of a restrained palette, letting large swaths of white dominate the snowy setting, offset by the watercolor peach visible on the cover. A Girl in the Himalayas stands poised to become one of this year’s poignant crossover successes, and the latest in Archaia’s permanent collection alongside books like A Tale of Sand. Steve Foxe

STL076540.jpegAdventure Time #75
Writers: Mariko Tamaki, Ryan North, Christopher Hastings
Artists: Zachary Sterling, Braden Lamb, Shelli Paroline
Publisher: KaBOOM!/ BOOM! Studios
After six years, this week marks the final issue of Adventure Time, the comic series that builds on the TV show of the same name. Like the pending conclusion of the cartoon, the ending of the comic run feels bittersweet; some very talented creators have contributed to the series, and there’s a lot of Ooo left to explore. Issue #75 marks the return of Ryan North of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Dinosaur Comics fame, who kicked off the series with #1, and Dr. McNinja’s Christopher Hastings, who helmed a slew of the issues himself. Along with Mariko Tamaki, who wrote Supergirl: Being Super and Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power!, North and Hastings will bid adieu to this set of adventures, though Ooo and its residents will continue on in other titles like the continuity-lite Adventure Time Comics. Long-time series artist Zachary Sterling rounds out the creative team, with contributions from the original art duo of Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline. The slightly longer-than-standard issue should give readers a chance to reminisce alongside their favorite characters, and see how much they’ve all grown since the comic series—one of the first cartoon tie-in comics to be taken seriously in the modern era—began. Caitlin Rosberg

STL077474.jpegAliens: Dust to Dust #1
Write/Artist: Gabriel Hardman
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
James Stokoe’s Aliens: Dead Orbit was a stunning, singular take on the Xenomorph franchise—and one hell of a tough act to follow, both for license-holder Dark Horse Comics and for the lucky creator(s) to next take up Ridley Scott’s most famous creation. Luckily, writer/artist Gabriel Hardman is a sci-fi comic pro, from Image series Invisible Republic to DC Comics’ Green Lantern: Earth One to story boards for films like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Hardman’s approach to the genre seemingly owes a lot to Scott’s original film, with a grounded, lived-in aesthetic that comes full circle in Dust to Dust. Hardman’s protagonists are a 12-year-old boy and his mother who must face a gauntlet of acid-blooded extraterrestrials to escape their invaded colony. It’s a nice change of focus from hardened marines and hyper-capable engineers, and, like Dead Orbit before it, should re-center the horror aspect of the Aliens franchise. Steve Foxe

STL077678.jpegCrossroad Blues
Writer: Ace Atkins
Artist: Marco Finnegan
Publisher: Image Comics
Though titles like Southern Bastards and Redlands prove there’s an appetite for comics rooted firmly in the American South’s specific sense of place, there’s still a dearth of stories set in the region. Ace Atkins and Marco Finnegan have teamed up Crossroad Blues, in which New Orleans is just as integral a part of the story as any of the characters. Atkins, a former journalist and native son of Alabama, is the author of a series of crime novels starring detective and blues historian Nick Travers, and along with Finnegan, is working to adapt each into its own graphic novel. In Crossroad Blues, Travers is trying to find a missing professor while searching for lost recordings by one of the most famous bluesmen of all time. It’s actually the first of the Nick Travers novels, though it’s the second to be adapted. Atkins and Finnegan worked together previously on Last Good Deal Gone Down from 12 Gauge Comics in 2016, and it’s often a good sign when a creative team sticks it out together. Music is a difficult medium to translate into comics, but with the compelling history of Robert Johnson at its center, Crossroad Blues may stand a chance. Caitlin Rosberg

DeepRootsCvrADaniStrips.jpegDeep Roots #1
Writer: Dan Watters
Artist: Val Rodrigues
Publisher: Vault Comics
If you don’t yet know Dan Watters’ work, you certainly will soon. The writer behind the Image Comics VHS-horror Limbo hits the mainstream in a major way this August, when he becomes the fourth-ever devil’s advocate for Neil Gaiman’s take on Lucifer. But before Watters pledges himself to the Morningstar, he, artist Val Rodrigues, colorist Triona Farrell and letterer Aditya Bidikar have their own mythology to create in Deep Roots, arriving this Wednesday from upstart publisher Vault Comics. The debut issue of Deep Roots takes readers on a gnarled ride of Brussels-sprout bank robbers, shadowy government operations, deadly airborne spores, faerie walkabouts and a grand destiny buried in the soil, which should attract the interests of old-school Vertigo fans. For more on the book, check out our exclusive early look at the first issue’s prose back-up feature. Steve Foxe

STL062847.jpegDoom Patrol #11
Writer: Gerard Way
Artist: Nick Derington
Publisher: Young Animal/ DC Comics
After a months-long delay and growing concern from readers, Doom Patrol returns this week with issue #11. Writer Gerard Way was deeply entrenched in the “Milk Wars” event for several of those months, and Nick Derington has stayed busy creating remarkable covers for Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ Mister Miracle, but for most fans, that wasn’t enough to replace their work on Doom Patrol. Despite being the flagship title, it’s the only Young Animal title that didn’t reach 12 full issues last fall in advance of the “Milk Wars” event, and between that delay and the changing titles for the other three series, fans were understandably worried about possible cancellations. But Way and Derington have returned to lead the team into a conflict against Dada and pose a lot more mind-bending questions than they probably intend on answering. As with all of the Young Animal line up, Doom Patrol has been weird, wonderful and wild, so the book’s return is welcome, if bittersweet—orders for issue #12 have been indefinitely delayed. Caitlin Rosberg

STL067978.jpegHeavy Vinyl Vol. 1
Writer: Carly Usdin
Artist: Nina Vakueva
Publisher: BOOM! Box/BOOM! Studios
After a name change partway through its first four-issue run, Heavy Vinyl is returning to shelves in collected format, hopefully reducing any lingering confusion about the title. Formerly known as Hi-Fi Fight Club, the book is written by Carly Usdin, a film and TV director, with art by webcomic veteran but print newcomer Nina Vakueva. Equal parts Empire Records, Set It Off and Bring It On, Heavy Vinyl revolves around a group of teenagers who work together at a record store, doggedly following the mystery of a beloved disappearing singer. What they uncover is even more alarming as the store acts as a front for a fight club of teenage girl vigilantes. It’s roller derby on Record Store Day in suburban New Jersey in 1998, Nancy Drew meets mosh pits and a lot of just-plain-fun hijinks. The trade paperback collects the entire series in one place, for ease of reading and also for use as a shield against any flying fists. Caitlin Rosberg

STL078615.jpegHunt for Wolverine #1
Writer: Charles Soule
Artists: David Marquez, Paolo Siqueira
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Last fall’s Marvel Legacy #1 heralded the mysterious return of the one true Logan to the Marvel Universe, even though the line is currently flush with All-New Wolverine/X-23, Old Man Logan, Daken, Honey Badger and Ultimate Wolverine’s refugee son Jimmy Hudson, not to mention fellow clawed X-characters like Sabretooth and Lady Deathstrike—but who’s counting? Logan’s death was portrayed by Charles Soule and Steve McNiven in a razor-wire-tight four-issue mini-series, but both the lead-in and aftermath to that series were a mess, so it’s worrying that The Hunt for Wolverine kicks things off before expanding into four mini-series starring everyone from Daredevil to Iron Man. Readers who simply want to know how Logan went from encased-in-Adamantium to not-encased-in-Adamantium will find their query capably answered by Soule and artist David Marquez in this issue, but a portion of the oversized page count, rendered by Paolo Siqueia, is essentially an ad directing readers to the Hunt tie-ins for more answers. Decide for yourself how much you’re willing to spend to discover how Wolverine got his groove back. Steve Foxe

STL076236.jpegThe Pervert
Writer: Michelle Perez
Artist: Remy Boydell
Publisher: Image Comics
Readers seeking either titillation or a happy ending from The Pervert will likely leave disappointed, if not a little depressed. Michelle Perez and Remy Boydell’s graphic novel is the definition of “unflinching” in its portrayal of a young trans woman surviving Seattle (for a time) via sex work. Perez’ script invites readers into this world, bumps and all, and the story, which eschews tidiness at every turn, feels memoir-like in narrative structure. Characters appear and disappear without fanfare, and the ending is a downbeat if realistic note. Boydell draws and paints The Pervert with anthropomorphic figures, which recalls early alternative comics and forces readers to more actively consider their relationship to the book’s cast. Image Comics may be best known for high-concept action, sci-fi and horror series, but The Pervert is the latest example of the publisher’s potential when it chooses to embrace a wider range of stories and storytellers. Steve Foxe

STL076496.jpegThe Prisoner #1
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Colin Lorimer
Publisher: Titan Comics
The Prisoner returns in comic form on the 50th anniversary of the show’s premiere in the United States, complete with a Mike Allred cover. In just 17 episodes, the psychedelic and quite-weird show earned a cult following with the idea of a village where people are held captive if they are too dangerous to be allowed out in the rest of the world. Robbed of his name and former life, prisoner Number Six spends most of the show attempting to escape from The Village, combating mind control, torture and balloons called Rovers that are dispatched to collect anyone who tries to run. A strange attempt at a televised reboot mostly flopped in 2009, but this new comic gives fans a chance to revisit the world built by and starring Patrick McGoohan. Writer Peter Milligan is fresh off a successful run on Kid Lobotomy for IDW’s Black Crown imprint run by Shelly Bond, and that alone should be proof that he is the perfect person to helm a new story about Number 6. The Prisoner requires the kind of writing that can be both ridiculous and terrifying at the same time, full of metacommentary and weirdness at a scale that too many comic creators shy away from, hesitant to invoke the over-the-top antics of the Silver Age. Artist Colin Lorimer is a veteran both of the weird and of recreating real-life people in comics panels, with titles like Millennium and The X-Files under his belt. This is a dream team for a very specific kind of book, including publisher Titan Comics, who has done a great job with adaptations for the last several years, from Doctor Who to Rivers of London to Bloodborne. Caitlin Rosberg

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