Doom Patrol, Miles Morales & More in Required Reading: Comics for 7/26/17

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<i>Doom Patrol</i>, <i>Miles Morales</i> & More in Required Reading: Comics for 7/26/17

Even if you didn’t make the pilgrimage to San Diego this past weekend for Comic-Con, chances are that you and any other nerd-adjacent folk in your life are worn out from the deluge of comics, television and film announcements that poured out of the convention halls. We’ll have a full rundown of our favorite comic news later on, but first, it’s our sworn duty to remind you that this week’s comic haul will proceed without convention-fatigue delay. One album/comic hybrid drops this week, along with a prose novel focused on one of Marvel’s newest stars. In less medium-pushing news, DC mashes up bats and cats, Mignola’s creations begin the long process of restarting the world, Becky Cloonan’s evocative self-published trilogy gets a colorful re-release, the Power Rangers return to their roots and Valiant’s Faith looks toward the future.


batgirl13.jpeg Batgirl #13
Writer: Hope Larson
Artist: Inaki Miranda
Publisher: DC Comics 
DC’s Rebirth efforts have allowed (or perhaps encouraged) creators to embrace the family structures built into DC canon, letting characters meet on the page again and reestablish relationships that were discouraged during the publisher’s previous era. Hope Larson’s Batgirl run, like many of the Bat-family books, has been awash with these meet-ups, and stronger for it. Larson’s version of Barbara Gordon builds a bridge beautifully between the seriousness of Gail Simone’s run and the fun, poppy tone of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr’s tenure. It’s been fun and adventurous without losing sight of the relationships that make Barbara a compelling character, and issue #13, drawn by Inaki Miranda, gives Batgirl a chance to reunite with Selina Kyle, who’s suffered a lack of attention since the loss of Genevieve Valentine’s run on Catwoman. If this issue is anything like Barbara’s interactions with Dick Grayson, it’ll be nostalgic and sweet without being cloying—a reminder of just how fun comics can be when characters are allowed to have nuanced, complicated relationships and still work together for the greater good. Caitlin Rosberg


bprddevilyouknow.jpeg B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know #1
Writers:   Mike Mignola, Scott Allie
Artist: Lawrence Campbell
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Though Hellboy himself is rarer to see on the page these days, Mike Mignola and his creations thankfully continue to have new adventures, some of them under Mignola’s own guidance. With B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know, Liz Sherman is off on a rescue mission through the wreckage of the world following the onslaught of Eldritch horrors seen in B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth. Mignola returns with long-time editor and collaborator Scott Allie alongside artist Laurence Campbell and colorist Dave Stewart, reassembling the team responsible for much of Hell on Earth and lending a fortunate sense of continuity between the two titles. Mignola is still one of the absolute masters of supernatural comic storytelling, and it’s gratifying to see him continue to build on the universe he made (and destroyed). Caitlin Rosberg


bychanceorprovidencecover.jpeg By Chance or Providence
Writer/Artist: Becky Cloonan
Publisher: Image Comics 
In the past few years, Becky Cloonan has earned attention for her writing on titles like Southern Cross and The Punisher, balancing nuanced, complicated characters and devastating violence with remarkable grace. Southern Cross in particular holds a lot of unexpected layers, and shows just how hard Cloonan has worked at her craft. Long before those titles though, she self-published three individual comics that are now collected into a single trade, atmospheric and drenched in the kind of emotionally fraught horror that her fans have come to expect. Wolves, The Mire and Demeter feature Cloonans’ sleek original art with lush new colors from Lee Loughridge. Though the setting is medieval in each story, the cartoonist’s style verges on art nouveau, full of organic curves and Pre-Raphaelite women with deadly weapons. This is a must-have for people who are already fans of Cloonan, and an excellent, self-contained jumping on point for people who want a good primer to her work. Caitlin Rosberg


doompatrol7.jpeg Doom Patrol #7
Writer: Gerard Way
Artist: Michael Allred
Publisher: Young Animal/DC Comics
It’s hard to imagine what additional praise we can heap upon Young Animal, Gerard Way’s Vertigo-inspired pop-up imprint. We’ve charted the imprint’s accompanying (and amazing) tunes, handed out a perfect 10/10 review, spotlighted Way’s favorite panels and named two of its titles to our Best of 2017 (So Far) list. If you’re not at least curious about what the Umbrella Academy co-creator is doing with DC’s strangest superheroes, then you’re not reading our coverage. This special issue kicks off the book’s second volume and welcomes guest artist Michael Allred to lend his pop-art sensibilities to Niles Caulder, the team’s frequently ill-intentioned benefactor, who has returned with the goal of reshaping the Doom Patrol into the squad he once founded (and manipulated). Allred is one of the few talents that can make a brief break from regular DP artist Nick Derington bearable, and his off-kilter vibe should mesh perfectly with the title’s unbridled imagination. Steve Foxe


faithfutureforce.jpeg Faith and the Future Force #1
Writer: Jody Hauser
Artists: Stephen Segovia, Barry Kitson
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
As Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic’s epic, emotional cover immediately announces, this is no typical Faith story. Regular Faith writer Jody Hauser joins Valiant mainstay Stephen Segovia and frequent Marvel and DC contributor Barry Kitson for Faith and the Future Force, Valiant’s latest time-spanning saga, in which Faith “Zephyr” Herbert, breakout star of Valiant launch title Harbinger, leads a squad of heroes assembled throughout Valiant’s past, present and future. Under Hauser’s pen, Faith has remained one of Valiant’s best-loved titles, and one of the most accessible and relatable superhero stories on the stands. Segovia and Kitson employ substantially different styles, and there’s a promise of “surprise guests” throughout the mini-series, but the solo Faith title has often employed a dual artist conceit to solid effect, and the time-hopping premise opens the door to stark visual changes. Valiant’s version of “Event Comics” often nails the scale of conflict without requiring readers to drop hundreds of dollars on tie-ins, and Faith and the Future Force looks to be the latest satisfying summer blockbuster from the publisher. Steve Foxe


gogopowerrangers.jpeg Go Go Power Rangers #1
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Dan Mora
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
BOOM! Studios and Saban have taken a page out of Marvel’s playbook and spun out a second Power Rangers title with the same cast, set apart by adjectives and settings. While the core Mighty Morphin title continues to push the story of Jason, Kimberly, Trini, Billy and Zack in unexpected new directions, Go Go Power Rangers takes a step back and shows how Angel Grove’s most heroic teens first adapted to life in skintight superhero suits. Writer Ryan Parrott scripted the well-received tie-in to the reboot film, which showcased a knack for believable teenage introspection and drama. Artist Dan Mora, best known for Klaus with Grant Morrison, is a similarly smart fit, offering a style with manga influences balanced perfectly between high-school interpersonal scenes and giant-monster insanity. Steve Foxe


milesmoralesnovel.jpeg Miles Morales: A Spider-Man Novel
Writer: Jason Reynolds
Publisher: Marvel Press
Miles Morales’ solo adventures in the main Marvel Universe continue to showcase co-creator Brian Michael Bendis at his best, delivering the Miles readers came to love in the Ultimate Universe with the benefit of interactions with countless other costumed characters. The drawback is that there are…countless other costumed characters, often edging out the focus Miles received as one of the last handful of operating heroes before the Ultimate Universe’s demise. Miles Morales: A Spider-Man Novel is the latest prose venture from Marvel Press, written by National Book Award finalist and Coretta Scott King Award winner Jason Reynolds, and it offers a returned focus on Miles’ personal life, albeit without accompanying art. In Reynolds’ novel, Miles’ precarious balance between school life at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy and his nightlife as Spider-Man begins to topple, and his scholarship comes under threat just as something much more nefarious encroaches on his neighborhood. By eschewing Galactus-level threats for a more personal tale, Reynolds recalls the Miles readers met in the first 12 or so genre-redefining issues of Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man. Steve Foxe


notsosecretsociety.jpeg The Not-So Secret Society
Writers: Matthew & Arlene Daley, Trevor & Ellen Crafts
Artist: Wook Jin Clark
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
BOOM! Studios has become one of the leaders in publishing kid-friendly, fun comics, and it’s not surprising that they’ve turned toward including titles that have an educational bent. The Not-So Secret Society joins comics like Secret Coders: fun adventure stories with engaging, educational content tucked in to encourage readers to pursue new subjects, particularly in STEM fields. The book is designed to fulfill a slew of specific educational requirements and actually aligns with nationally set standards, which should help get it into classrooms and school libraries. The first of three graphic novels, The Not-So Secret Society emphasizes problem-solving through working together and celebrating difference, which is ideal for a book of this type. The art is colorful and dynamic, the perfect avenue for holding kid’s attention and encouraging them to enjoy learning. Even better, the creators have a website with free content introducing the characters along with mini-comics that come with activities for readers to complete, taking full advantage of all the tools at their disposal. Caitlin Rosberg


solidstatecoverrr.jpeg Solid State
Writers:   Jonathan Coulton, Matt Fraction
Artist: Albert Monteys
Publisher: lmage Comics
Jonathan Coulton’s nerdy, emotional library of songs has earned him a fanbase that continues to grow to the point where it can support an annual cruise packed with like-minded comedians, musicians and comic creators from all over the world. With the release of his new album Solid State, Coulton has teamed up with writer Matt Fraction and artist Albert Monteys to make a graphic novel tie-in, a sadly uncommon experiment in both industries. Fraction is excellent at inflating big, sweeping ideas and tends to flourish with partners who ground his vision, which Coulton and his album should offer. The downfall of projects like this is often that they’re difficult to follow without the context of the album, but with an experienced comic writer at the helm, that should be easy to avoid. Monteys isn’t as well known in the U.S. as he is in his native Spain, but his work on Universe! for Panel Syndicate earned him well-deserved attention. Solid State has a lot of promise as a modern, personal, funny science-fiction story, and this is a skilled group that very well could pull that off. Caitlin Rosberg


StreetAngel_Gang-1.png
The Street Angel Gang
Writers: Jim Rugg, Brian Maruca
Publisher: Image Comics 
A few weeks ago, Paste released an exclusive preview of The Street Angel Gang, Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca’s latest tale of a skateboarding street scamp with some mad ninja skills. The pair straddles two comics genres with titular angel Jesse Sanchez, blending the endearing orphan strips of the Great Depression with the vacuous, double-page-spread hyperbole of ‘90s superhero books. The resulting hybrid is funny, sassy and kicks all manner of ass. This graphic novel tosses Sanchez into a pitfight to join The Bleeders, a gang led by a guy who looks remarkably like Glenn Danzig, because of course he does. Throughout the ordeal, the Street Angel’s main incentive remains a warm meal, and possibly a make-shift family to alleviate the loneliness of poverty. It’s a swift read with an aesthetic at once raw (sketchy lettering, limited backgrounds) yet fully realized, including faux trading cards of the gang members. The project stands as a fascinating reflection on archaic comic trends submerged in goofy, parodic violence, and also serves as a fantastic introduction to one of comics’ most interesting underdogs. Sean Edgar

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