Tomorrow’s a tough day for Paste’s comic readers—specifically our Fables fans, who will stand by helplessly as the 150-issue series finally comes to a close.
Can you handle more? I mean, what’s one more tear? Or two, or 12, or a million? Today, Matt Kindt’s excellent Mind MGMT ticks one issue closer to its finale, cemented in next month’s NEW MGMT #1.
But a few things are keeping the esteemed Paste Comics Crew from taking on new lives as nihilists, and they’re included in the list below. We’ve got a few great new launches here, like Cyborg #1; a mandatory Grant Morrison collection in Batman: Gothic; and a hilarious take on the struggling, drunk, wannabe artist in Noah Van Sciver’s Fante Bukowski.
Leave your own favorites in the comment section.
All-New Hawkeye #4
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Ramon Perez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Matt Fraction’s under-the-radar Hawkeye send-off last week was supposedly awesome, which I will be able to confirm as soon as I get my paws on a copy. But here’s another big wrap-up in the Hawkeye world, even with that momentous, stealthrelease: The first two storylines of Jeff Lemire’s All-New Hawkeye, which have been flipping back and forth through the series, are set to converge in issue #4.
So far, I’ve enjoyed Lemire’s take, which revolves around an emotive story of two adopted kids. The story feels similar—nowhere near as wry as Fraction’s world, but artist Ramon Perez no doubt carries on in the unmistakable direction David Aja created. But here’s the chance All-New Hawkeye has to plant its feet as its own book. And once the book’s time-shifting, interwoven stories converge, I’m thrilled to see where Lemire and Perez take us. Tyler R. Kane
Batman: Gothic Deluxe HC
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Klaus Janson
Publisher: DC Comics
Long before shaking the Batman mythos to its core with Damian Wayne, ninja Man-Bats, Batman Inc., and time-rocketing Bruce Wayne, Scottish scribe Grant Morrison joined legendary Daredevil artist (and current Superman inker) Klaus Janson to tell this horror-tinged four-issue Legends of the Dark Knight tale. Released a year after Morrison and Dave McKean’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, Batman: Gothic skips the implied creepiness of many Batman stories and full-on features the Devil himself in a bid for the souls of Gotham. This handsome new deluxe hardcover is a quality standalone bat-tale and essential reading for any Morrison completionist. Steve Foxe
Writer: David Walker
Artist: Ivan Reis
Publisher: DC Comics
When the New 52 began waaaaay back in September 2011, long-time Teen Titan Cyborg was retconned as a founding member of the Justice League—the only one without a solo ongoing to call his own. Nearly four years later, as part of its “DC You” soft relaunch, DC has assembled breakout black writer David Walker (Shaft) and company superstar Ivan Reis to rectify that oversight. A technological thriller angle and an ever-louder call for diverse voices tackling diverse characters, this new series positions Cyborg to join the ranks of DC’s wide-appeal books alongside Batgirl and Midnighter. Steve Foxe
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Mark Buckingham
Jim Vorel’s fantastic feature on the end of Fables conveys so much more than any blurb ever could, but here’s what you should know:
- Fables is one of the last epics that harkens back to publisher Vertigo’s post-modern fairy tale roots.
- This last “issue” is 160 pages.
- It concludes the adventures of fairy tale and folk lore characters united together through a host of obstacles and crises.
- Artist Mark Buckingham’s conveys a massive spectrum of emotion through his fluid pencils and inspired acting.
- He’s joined by other fabulous illustrators including Mark Schultz, David Petersen, Gene Ha, Neal Adams and many, many more.
- With MIND MGMT and this wrapping…I just…I can’t even….what?
- No those aren’t tears. Who cries over comic books, and then transcribes conversations discussing crying over comic books?
- Listen: the pollen index for today is 5.52, so I don’t want to hear it. It’s an allergic reaction…really. Oh, who the hell am I kidding…
- WE’LL MISS YOU SNOW, BIGBY, ROSE RED, FLYCATCHER AND BOY BLUE. You made our world more magical than it had any right to be.
Definitely Not Sean Edgar…Probably Tyler Kane
Ed.—If this keeps affecting your work, we’re gonna have a talk soon.
Writer and Artist: Noah Van Sciver
We’ve all had that friend: a Charles Bukowski devotee who spends more time at the bottle than the typewriter. But the difference between that guy and Noah Van Sciver’s hilarious Fante Bukowski? You don’t want your time with the successful alcoholic/failed novelist to end. The book follows Fante Bukowski, a bar-dwelling writer who subs beers for honing his craft, or as he succinctly puts it to a fellow drinker: “I’ve been trying to be a famous writer for a year and I’m still empty-handed. I need to write a book! I have to show my father that I’m not a loser!”
He’s a loyal follower of the drunk romantics, John Fante and Bukowski, so much so that he legally had his name changed. By the time I got to Fante Bukowski’s first piece of fiction, The Tragedy of Success, I’d laughed hard enough to stir a few tears. After the opening lines, how could you not? “Nothing I do is good enough for my dad. I sit in this cheap hotel and swig cheap wine. This is who I am. Dad. Dad. I want to kill you.” We’re unabashed fans of Van Sciver’s work, and Fante Bukowski only extends his vision of smart, flawed characters—just hilariously so. I loved it. Tyler R. Kane
Fight Club 2 #3
Writer: Chuck Palahniuk
Artist: Cameron Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse
Chuck Palahniuk has been slowly panning out his narrative lens to show a bigger, more brutal world surrounding his 1996 novel about man’s violent resistance to complacency. Thought the first issue didn’t offer a vast shift from its source material—swapping suburban ennui for corporate boredom—last month’s entry flipped the narrative in profound ways. Sebastian, the nameless narrator from the novel, discovers that his son has been abducted by Tyler Durden. Who is Tyler Durden? Up till now, the reader has assumed he’s a personality construct sharing Sebastian’s consciousness. This sequel challenges that information, hinting at a destructive, amorphous force shaping civilization throughout history and surgically destroying lives.
While the initial book framed Durden’s anarchy as anti-establishment romance, this new project paints that destruction with a new level of menace and hostility. In that, Fight Club 2 isn’t a sequel, it’s a philosophical reevaluation. Sebastian is no longer fighting himself; he’s fighting the legacy he made, whether he did so willingly or not. And with real-world author Chuck Palahniuk soon to make a cameo in the series, does he feel the same way about the characters he unleashed almost 20 years ago? Could any other comic in the history of comics raise questions like these? Sean Edgar
MIND MGMT #35
Writer/Artist: Matt Kindt
Publisher: Dark Horse
MIND MGMT’s penultimate chapter is a beautiful, inexplicable brainfuck of words and pictures. Photographic fortune cookie communiques nestle within page tears, while the margins hold parallel flashback sequences that inform the plot as the reader devours this showdown between a woman and a bureaucracy of psychic manipulators. Writer/artist Matt Kindt has rethought how the comic book canvas can tell a story, leaving no crevice, color or margin unused. As for the actual events, this climax offers the metaphysical and action-packed in equal measure, and the intelligence of this series—not just select arcs or issues—has never been more apparent. This opus wraps with next month’s NEW MGMT #1, concluding one of the smartest, most imaginative runs in the comics medium. Sean Edgar
Old Man Logan #3
Writer:Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Publisher: Marvel Comics
At its thematic heart, Old Man Logan revolves around survivor’s guilt. Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s original 2008 miniseries presented a victim duped into killing his associated family, and his ensuing exile into pacifism before another malignant party forces him back into violence. It’s a clever extrapolation on the famous mutant’s roots: how does a soldier built on manipulation respond when he’s continually used as a witless pawn on an escalating scale, systematically destroying his humanity in the process? Brian Michael Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino’s new miniseries raises the stakes once more, casting Wolverine as a survivor of entire planes of reality. We’ve yet to witness a controlling baddie, but there’s a decent chance issue three will introduce such a player. Go big or go home.
With geriatric Logan already set to star in Marvel Universe’s relaunch this fall, this Secret Wars set piece stands as a lone ember for the future of the X-Men universe under upcoming writer Jeff Lemire, who will also pen a new Old Man Logan solo series. Fortunately, Lemire’s old Green Arrow partner Andrea Sorrentino will rejoin him with his moody, noir-tinged inky art. Sean Edgar
Power Up #1
Writer: Kate Leth
Artist: Matt Cummings
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Over the past few years, the American comic book industry has experienced a surge of talented young voices—many of them women, LGBTQ+ folks, and PoC—raised on manga, anime, alternative comics and subversive ‘90s cartoons during an era when mainstream superhero stories catered to an EXTREME crowd. Power Up, from New York Times bestselling writer/Valkyrie founder Kate Leth and artist Matt Cummings, is a stellar example: a Magical Girl story that upends tropes by featuring a confident young black girl, an overworked mom, a bearded guy in a dress and a pet goldfish (who turns into a whale!?) in the Chosen One roles. Leth has garnered a dedicated fanbase through pitch-perfect runs on licensed properties like Adventure Time, and Cummings seems poised to break out in a big way thanks to an animated style that’s equally successful at bringing to life exaggerated expressions, cosmic vistas, and sinister bad guys. Fingers crossed this six-issue mini-series “powers up” into an ongoing. Steve Foxe
Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde #1
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Alti Firmansyah
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As the core Secret Wars series hits its midpoint, tie-in mini-series launches have slowed to a trickle. Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde, from Legendary Star-Lord scribe Sam Humphries and Marvel debut Alti Firmansyah, is one of the last major books to drop, and has added significance now that the characters’ post-event plans have been made public: Star-Lord Peter Quill will step up to lead his father’s Spartax Empire and traditionally Earth-bound X-Man Kitty Pryde will take up the Star-Lord mask and gun in the Guardians of the Galaxy crew. This book may or may not set up these major changes—the Kitty Pryde of the title is an alternate-reality version, after all—but Firmansyah’s art is an animated delight, and Humphries has proven successful at capturing the Chris Pratt-ized voice of Star-Lord’s current characterization. Steve Foxe
Artist: Mike Del Mundo
Publisher: Marvel Comics
In a time when mass media is obsessed with zombies, apocalypses and earth-rending cataclysms, Weirdworld is a refreshing change of pace. Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo introduce an unfolding reality full of mystery and perilous beauty, a succession of cracked doors to ‘70s tinged swords-and-sandals imagination. Recycling old Avengers barbarian Arkon was an inspired choice, calling back the nostalgia of an era where primal wars raged under comics veterans like Frank Frazetta and Barry Smith. (Legendary Conan the Barbarian scribe Roy Thomas created Arkon with John Buscema.) Mike Del Mundo moves from his usual gig on covers to interior art, comprising lavish paintings of expressionist flora and fauna that beg to be explored. It’s really, really green. If the All New All Different Marvel Universe includes fare as diverse and intoxicating as Weirdworld this fall, it will dutifully live up to its name. Sean Edgar
Writer: Ales Kot
Artist: Matt Taylor
Publisher: Image Comics
Ales Kot is constructing a small creator-owned empire at Image Comics, with the just-finished Zero, The Surface with Langdon Foss, Material with Will Tempest, and now Wolf with artist Matt Taylor and colorist Lee Loughridge. This more-than-double-sized debut issue introduces Antoine Wolfe, a biracial John Constantine-esque paranormal detective, tasked with protecting a young girl who may be the Antichrist. Spooky gumshoes aren’t exactly rare in the nerd world, but Kot is a consistently surprising creator, pulling inspiration from seemingly unrelated realms to keep readers guessing, and Taylor and Loughridge mesh perfectly to create the seedy, perpetual twilight of Wolf’s LA. Quite possibly the next step in Kot’s creator-owned domination. Steve Foxe