Comics We’re Excited About for 7/1/2015

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My nails have been a little shorter thanks to the ending of last month’s The Wicked and Divine #11. The WTF second-arc finale left me pretty scatter-brained when it came to cracking any other comics. Like, how am I supposed to adapt to Bunny-Ear Batman when stuff like this happens? Is it okay to watch Midnighter pummel his opponents? What even is a Secret War good for, and is Image’s latest release, We Stand on Guard #1, going to just wreck my heart, too?

We’ll see tomorrow, when WicDiv’s third arc starts. But the comic store has plenty of other titles that can, hopefully, eventually, help me rediscover happiness. Aside from the 8House and We Stand on Guard’s debuts, we’ve got a few cool issue #2s—check the aforementioned Midnighter and Groot #2.

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A-Force #2
Writers: G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Jorge Molina
Publisher: Marvel Comics 

It was probably a little confusing for casual readers to see A-Force publicly announced once again last week, but such is the nature of company-wide crossovers. The A-Force on the stands this Wednesday is a Secret Wars tie-in set on the island utopia of Arcadia, a realm that resists the iron rule of Doom. The A-Force that’s just been announced on Glamour’s blog is a post-Secret Wars ongoing series set in whatever the Marvel Universe will look like come this fall, starring many of the same faces and written by half of the mini-series writing team. Make sense? Even if the current series is awash with alternate-universe characters and Doom-related shenanigans, G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett and Jorge Molina are having a blast with this book. It’s doubtful that the ongoing series will require knowledge of this mini, but new character Singularity promises to reward fans who check out A-Force in all of its iterations. Steve Foxe

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Bob’s Burgers #1
Writer: Rachel Hastings
Artist: Frank Forte
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

I was a late adopter to the Bob’s Burgers craze, but it’s already turned into visual comfort food for me after binging on every episode I could consume. And for fans who aren’t satiated by their episode-a-week allowance, Dynamite has a re-launch of the ongoing Bob’s Burgers title. It’s not that we really needed a jumping-on point at a brand new issue #1, but a Bob’s Burgers comic still gives us a slice of Belcher family life that you couldn’t have on a TV show. Here, you get Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction, Louise’s Unsolved Mysteries and Curious Curiosities, and I’m especially looking forward to the vegan options on Bob’s Fantasy Food Trucks (If Money Were No Object). Tyler R. Kane

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Chew #50
Writer: John Layman
Artists: Rob Guillory
Publisher: Image Comics 

Image has so successfully cultivated it’s #brand of blockbuster creator-owned comics that it’s easy to forget the days when The Walking Dead was an outlier, not a trendsetter. John Layman and Rob Guillory’s Chew follows a world-wide poultry ban following a mass avian flu outbreak and the Cibopathic detective tasked with unraveling the resulting food-related conspiracies. The title proved to be one of the first post-TWD success stories, selling out of multiple printings and spawning a dedicated fanbase for murderous cyborg roosters and weird mutant frog things. Layman and Guillory have been at the top of their game for the entire series, and this milestone issue promises a long-awaited showdown that should appease the appetite of longtime fans. With only 10 issues left in the series, it’s time for Chew readers to catch up and see this culinary epic off in style. Steve Foxe

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8House: Arclight #1
Writer: Brandon Graham
Artist: Marian Churchland
Publisher: Image Comics 

Fans of thorough sci-fi/fantasy mythologies: this is your chance to hop on the 8House train. Don’t blow it! Brandon Graham’s wide-spanning universe, which follows the complete stories of eight magical houses, launches this week with issue #1 of Arclight. We took a look at Marian Churchland’s process behind the gorgeous art of the comic last week, and while the cover might tease a fantasy-focused piece, Churchland and Brandon Graham’s opening installment features alien influences and genderqueer knights. Sure, fantasy fans will feel right at home. But those tired of the format’s ages-old tropes will have a chance to dig in as well. Tyler R. Kane

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Groot #2
Writer: Jeff Loveness
Artist: Brian Kesinger
Publisher: Marvel Comics 

Groot might have a three-word vocabulary, rely on a rotating cast of characters to interpret his grunty mumbles and take a second fiddle to Swamp Thing in tree-based accessories. But I loved the hell out of Marvel’s Groot debut, partly because of the great pick Marvel made in Jimmy Kimmel Live! writer Jeff Loveless. It’s not Shakespeare; he is still Groot, after all. But the result is an other-worldly action comic that’s as funny as it is heartwarming. Groot is as close as you’ll get to Calvin and Hobbes’ warm-and-fuzzys in a big-two superhero comic. Tyler R. Kane

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Midnighter #2
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Alec Morgan
Publisher: DC Comics 

With most of the “DC You” initiative on stands (barring the hotly anticipated Cyborg #1 and a few titles currently in limbo without announced creative teams), the fan-favorites have already become clear, Steve Orlando and ACO’s Midnighter chief among them. Previously a (very violent) team player, Midnighter just felt right as a solo lead in his debut issue, juggling street-level heroism with sheets-level bedroom exploits. Orlando shared on his personal blog that regular series artist ACO would be off and on for the first five issues, but second-issue replacement Alec Morgan keeps the book in more than capable hands. Get on board now with the best hyper-violent outlaw science/gay romance/superhero action comic on the market. Steve Foxe

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Onyx #1
Writer: Chris Ryall
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Publisher: IDW Publishing

There is, among fans of a certain age, a dogged persistence that Marvel losing the rights to Rom the Space Knight ranks as one of the great modern comic tragedies. If you don’t mind a little Samus Aran in your space knight, Chris Ryall and Gabriel Rodriguez’ Onyx might just make up for Rom’s persistent legal purgatory. Onyx is a cyborg from beyond the stars who arrives on Earth to “save it or to end it.” She’s also an original creation from Ryall and Rodriguez, the latter of whom hasn’t had a long-term project since wrapping up his near-perfect run on Locke & Key with writer Joe Hill. Onyx is only a four-issue mini-series, but enough copies sold could turn this into Rodriguez’ next substantial saga. Steve Foxe

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The Princess and the Pony
Writer/Artist: Kate Beaton
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

So we’re going to cheat a bit, as The Princess and the Pony isn’t exactly a comic, but it is the work of Kate Beaton, the enchanting voice behind Hark! A Vagrant, the historical parody webcomic that lives on Paste’s annual Best-Of awards. So she can frequent any list we do whenever she damn well likes. And more importantly, Princess Pinecone and her flatulent pony are simply adorable. The story of a juvenile warrior sick of receiving cozy sweaters as gifts, the lass finally gets her hands on a rolly-polly steed that doesn’t quite fulfill her expectations, but carries her onto greatness nonetheless. Though it’s a picture book for young children, these 40 pages overflow with charm and laugh-out-loud moments. While Steve and Tyler may try to draw you into books featuring epic tales of intergalactic warfare and sci-fi intrigue, the coolest thing on stands this week is a spunky princess and her farting one-unit calvary. Sean Edgar

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Secret Wars #4
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Esad Ribic
Publisher: Marvel 

Jonathan Hickman has built a comics legacy around leaders and the sordid extremes they’ll venture for greatness. Whether an evil twin Oppenheimer manipulates the mad scientists of Manhattan Projects or the Vatican embraces an unearned dogma to wreck the time stream in Pax Romana, Hickman has shown with meticulous clarity that those who build do so at a great cost. (Or are just gleefully batshit crazy.) In Secret Wars—Marvel’s universe-ending, chapter-closing maxi-series about every timeline coalescing into a collection of disparate fiefdoms author raises the stakes to narrate godhood. And it’s not pretty.

Doctor Doom may have exercised maximum hubris as the ruler of Latveria, but as the god-king of Battleword who (probably) bested reality-exploding entities called The Beyonders, he’s struggling. This fourth issue of Secret Wars looks to further weigh one of the heaviest crowns in modern fiction, and as a character study, we couldn’t be more entranced. Doom be praised. Sean Edgar

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Will Eisner’s The Spirit #1
Writer: Matt Wagner
Artist: Dan Schkade
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

Will Eisner’s seminal creation The Spirit laid the foundation for countless of our favorite comics, yet the character himself has had trouble sticking in the 75 years since his debut. With rights seeming to swap every season and a disastrous big-screen adaptation still stinking up the memories of many fans, poor blue-suited Denny Colt can’t seem to catch a break. It’s a shame; the original Eisner comics read as well today as they did during the ‘40s and ‘50s, and many talented creators (notably Darwyn Cooke when DC held the rights) have told exemplary stories with the character since. Dynamite Entertainment is the latest publisher to attempt to do right by the domino-masked detective with Matt Wagner and Dan Schkade’s 12-issue “Who Killed The Spirit?” story, kicking off with The Spirit’s apparent demise and working backwards to finger the culprit. The pulp era that helped spawn The Spirit is comfortable territory for Wagner, so odds are good that this revival may just be the one that sticks. Steve Foxe

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Supreme: Blue Rose TP
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Tula Lotay
Publisher: Image

Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay offer a second take on a revisionist character, rooted in Rob Liefeld’s ‘90s deconstruction of Superman and following Alan Moore and Chris Sprouse’s extensive revamp in the early aughts. Got it? Yet here, there isn’t a spandex strongman in sight. Inspired by the cryptic noir psychedelia of David Lynch and bands like Tangerine Dream, Supreme: Blue Rose dissects the boundaries between alternate universes and mental illness with delicate finesse. Aside from Ellis’ honed pacing, much of the inspired aesthetic comes from Tula Lotay’s soft, gorgeous linework, enhanced by diffuse color artifacts. The more they appear, the more the reader knows just how far he or she is traveling down the rabbit hole. Sean Edgar

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We Stand on Guard #1
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Steve Skroce
Publisher: Image Comics 

The last time Brian K. Vaughan launched a title on Image Comics—that turned out pretty good, right? But with We Stand on Guard, Vaughan isn’t looking toward other worlds for politically fueled adventure. The Saga and Y: the Last Man creator is set to tell the story of Canadian civilian fighters defending their border against—uh, this is awkward—The United States. And though we’ve had a few progressive, uplifting weeks of national headlines, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. And with the Image Comics return of Steve Skroce, who briefly drew for Youngblood before creating storyboard art for the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending and Matrix. U.S., Canada. Futuristic military thriller. Cool. Tyler R. Kane

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The Wicked + The Divine #12
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie, Kate Brown
Publisher: Image Comics 

YOU CAN’T JUST LEAVE US HANGING LIKE THAT, KIERON AND JAMIE.

Without spoiling the climactic events of the previous issue, notoriously impish Brits Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie concluded the second arc of their widely acclaimed The Wicked + The Divine with a bang—one that could prove to be a shake-up of epic proportions or… a fake-out of similarly epic proportions. Odds are good that these frequent collaborators are going to make us wait for any tidy resolution, too, as issue #12 welcomes the first in a string of guest artists while the series shifts format to spotlight individual characters. Kate Brown, who also guested on the duo’s Young Avengers run, is first up for a story of the Prince-inspired love god Inanna. The second-arc trade is out this week, too, if you’re new to the series and enjoy having your feels manipulated by cruel British people. Steve Foxe