Comics We’re Excited About for 9/30/2015

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Anyone with an Internet connection was painfully aware of last week’s supermoon, which overshadowed dozens of muscle-clad heroes in its cloudy glory. I saw it discussed on social media in place of, frankly, better conversation topics like Fury S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary #1 and Hellboy in Hell #8. The world-wide silent-treatment toward supercharacters worldwide during this period was almost too atrocious to discuss here, but maybe we can do better with this week’s clean slate, comic fans.

On the superhero-spectrum, your local comic shop with have a new mega-sized Batman annual, but there are also plenty of other great stories like Sandman: Overture, which is set to reach its six-part conclusion tomorrow. And if you’re looking for brand-new tales, we’ve got you covered too: Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra’s latest Colder installment, Toss the Bones, is set to make its debut on Dark Horse, as well as From Under Mountains, a new Image fantasy tale from Claire Gibson, Marian Churchland, Sloane Leong and Brandon Graham.

Check out our favorite comics below, where you can also join in the conversation in the comment section.

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Archie #3
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Fiona Staples 

If Archie Comics was looking to successfully hook an audience outside of already-committed Archie readers old and young, they got me with the recent re-boot. I didn’t expect to care about Archie Andrews, Jughead—really any member of the Riverdale gang, but Mark Waid and Fiona Staples have surprised me with this nuanced time-capsule of a comic that should send any reader of a certain age back to the joys (and terrors) of high school. And with a Jughead ongoing series on the way, you should be hopping on the Archie train right about now. Tyler R. Kane

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Batman Annual #4
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Roge Antonio

Batman didn’t quite jump the shark when it took Bruce Wayne out of the cape and cowl. In fact, it’d be far from the first time the character was replaced as the Batman. But the rage-free Bruce Wayne within Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s world leaves a lot of unanswered questions: some of which might be explored in the mega-sized Batman annual. For a while, I’ve been lukewarm on this particular element of the Batman storyline, and I’m surprised to see Batman Eternal co-writer James Tynion IV handle the first deep-delve into Wayne’s washed-clean psyche. But it is pretty new ground for the Batman world, and a path that I’ve at least got to explore. And plus, I’m more than happy to see Sean Murphy’s recent collaborations to the Batman universe—this cover art is no exception. Tyler R. Kane

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Colder: Toss The Bones #1
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra’s Colder is more macabre fantasy than true horror—frosty protagonist Declan has the ability to cure madness in others, and made his lovely female caretaker swoon the instant he awoke from his decades-long coma. Even with these underpinnings, Ferreyra’s otherworldly imagination provides more than enough visual nightmare fuel to please genre purists. This concluding volume picks up where The Bad Seed left off, with the resurrection of original series antagonist Nimble Jack, the barefoot Joker-esque monster who feeds on insanity and flits between reality and the Hungry World. This isn’t a good starting point for new readers, but anyone who enjoys the sort of twisted dream logic employed by the Nightmare on Elm Street series (especially the third entry, Dream Warriors) would do well to pick up the first two affordable trades and get up to speed. Steve Foxe

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From Under Mountains #1
Writers: Claire Gibson, Marian Churchland
Artists: Sloane Leong, Brandon Graham
Publisher: Image Comics 

You have to give it to Marian Churchland and Brandon Graham’s creative circle: they’re doing what they want to do and don’t seem to care much about selling it to uninterested parties. Like the duo’s inaugural 8house anthology entry Arclight, the solicit text for From Under Mountains is brief to the point of obscurity. There is a kingdom, and there are monsters in that kingdom. Perhaps someone will do something about that, perhaps not. Joining Churchland and Graham are co-writer Claire Gibson and primary artist Sloane Leong. You can be assured this fantasy tale will be visually pleasing even if it’s a bit narratively abstract. Let yourself experience it and don’t ask too many questions. Steve Foxe

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The Goon: Once Upon a Hard Time #4
Writer/Artist: Eric Powell
Publisher: Dark Horse

Is this the end? The brass-tacks, zero-sum culmination of Eric Powell’s Depression-era pulp masterpiece? It might be, but what a ride it’s been.

Powell created a character who merged John Steinbeck austerity with paranormal fun for an experience equally universal and escapist. The reader felt for the hard-luck spirit of small desert towns banding together to last another day. The zombies, mist witches and sorcerers? That shit’s just fun, reveling in the same macabre funhouse as Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. More interestingly is how seamless Powell made it work, and that singular tone comes to a head in this final issue of, allegedly, the final Goon miniseries. The titular antihero has reached his breaking point in his battles, and this ultimate salvo runs high with emotion and majesty. In any case, hopefully Powell will offer future projects in the same universe, even if they don’t feature a hulking, newsboy-cap sporting strongman who doesn’t look a day over 55. Sean Edgar

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Greenberg the Vampire TPB
Writer: J. M. DeMatteis
Artists: Steve Leialoha, Mark Badger
Publisher: Marvel Comics 

J. M. DeMatteis is best known today for his humorous run on Justice League International alongside Keith Giffen, as well as the landmark Kraven’s Last Hunt Spider-Man saga, but before he fully committed to cape comics, DeMatteis wrote several contemplative creator-owned series including Moonshadow, Blood: A Tale, Mercy and this, an offbeat story about a vampire who doesn’t drink human blood and the Succubus and vampire hunter standing between him and true love. Who knows if DeMatteis requested a reprint of this obscure done-in-one with art by Mark Badger and frequent Fables contributor Steve Leialoha, or if Disney-controlled Marvel is just hawkish about maintaining every possible copyright. Either way, this reprint is likely your only chance to check out Greenberg before it goes back in the Disney vault for another 30 years. Steve Foxe

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The Sandman: Overture #5
Writer:   Neil Gaiman  
Artist: J. H. Williams III
Publisher: Vertigo/ DC Comics 

One month shy of two years since the series kicked off, the sixth and final issue of Neil Gaiman’s prettiest Sandman tale (a lofty honor, given the quality of artists who’ve come before) finally hits stands. No one expected master artist J. H. Williams III to do six issues in six months, especially after seeing the surreal dreamscapes of the debut issue, but it’s still a little surprising that the creators nearly doubled the bi-monthly shipping schedules. Of course, for a pitch-perfect prequel to one of the medium’s greatest sagas, drawn like no other comic on the shelf, the wait is worth it—unless you already gave up and decided to wait for the inevitable hardcover, deluxe hardcover and Absolute Editions. Steve Foxe