Lockjaw, The Terrifics, The Wilds & More in Required Reading: Comics for 2/28/2018

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<i>Lockjaw</i>, <i>The Terrifics</i>, <i>The Wilds</i> & More in Required Reading: Comics for 2/28/2018

…And that’s a wrap on February, folks! The year’s shortest month is over, and four fine New Comic Book Days with it. February isn’t going out without some fanfare, though. Three titles from our Most Anticipated Comics of 2018 list finally hit shelves this Wednesday, along with a new series from fan-favorite Yuri!!! on Ice creator Mitsurou Kubo, the conclusion of the wildly weird “Milk Wars” crossover, a Peter Parker milestone, a new look into Jim Henson’s iconic Labyrinth, Twisted Romance’s stunning conclusion, Mera’s very first mini-series, a fantastic new DC foursome and a spotlight on Lockjaw, the true hero of the Inhumans franchise. To find out more about all of these last-day-of-the-month treats, scroll on down.


STL072366.jpeg Again Vol. 1
Writer/Artist: Mitsurou Kubo
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Yuri!!! on Ice has become something of a phenomenon since its arrival in the U.S., reaching Western audiences beyond those already familiar with the medium. Though the popularity is in no small part because it includes one of the few positive portrayals of a queer couple in anime, it’s also due to the care and intention that went into creating each of the characters and their stories. Now, Yuri!!! on Ice’s writer Mitsuro Kubo has a manga series launching stateside, and hopefully it will have just as much to offer. Again!! is all about friendship and second chances as a shy, slacker high-school student on the verge of graduation wakes up one morning to discover he’s once again a freshman, but with the knowledge of what the next few years will hold if he doesn’t do anything differently. Sports and youth manga and anime cover an untapped niche in the states—and as demonstrated by the success of Check, Please!—there’s an appetite for these kinds of books. Hopefully Kubo’s rich and emotional style translates well to the page and even more readers can find the joy that Yuri!!! on Ice fans know so well. Caitlin Rosberg


STL071203RR.jpeg Cult Classic: Return to Whisper #1
Writer: Eliot Rahal
Artist: Felipe Cunha
Publisher: Vault Comics
We took a closer look at Eliot Rahal’s Cult Classic creator-owned shared universe last month with an exclusive four-issue story and the full list of contributors to Return to Whisper, the inaugural series set in the town of Whisper. Created and written by Rahal and illustrated by Felipe Cunha, Return to Whisper introduces a town where things sometimes get weird, even when a band of childhood best friends must return to bury one of their own. Rahal has an expansive, open vision for the Cult Classic banner, and we can’t wait to see how it all begins this week. Steve Foxe


STL072748.jpeg Doom Patrol/JLA Special #1
Writers: Gerard Way & Steve Orlando
Artist: Dale Eaglesham
Publisher: Young Animal/ DC Comics 
What else is there for us to say about the five-part “Milk Wars” crossover connecting DC’s eclectic Young Animal imprint with its slightly more standard main universe? Each installment, from Gerard Way, Steve Orlando and ACO’s epically scoped, epically weird kickoff to the specials from Shade, the Changing Girl, Cave Carson and Mother Panic’s regular writers has explored the fertile connective tissue between YA and DC, poking fun at DC’s capes-and-lassos icons without losing sight of what makes characters like Batman, Wonder Woman and even Swamp Thing so enduring. Way and Orlando return for the finale, bringing Dale Eaglesham along to provide perhaps the best-looking Flex Mentallo since Frank Quitely drew the character. Even the most hardcore vegan should be following “Milk Wars” through to its conclusion. Steve Foxe


STL071586.jpeg Jim Henson’s Labyrinth #1
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Daniel Bayliss
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
With Fraggle Rock, Dark Crystal, and Storytellers books already filling shelves, it’s no surprise that BOOM! has returned once more to the well of Jim Henson properties, this time, with Labyrinth. Last November, the publisher released a special anthology issue with a slew of talented creators lending their skill to tell new stories in the world of Henson’s 1986 film, and now Simon Spurrier and Daniel Bayliss kick off a 12-issue series. Spurrier contributed to The Power of the Dark Crystal, and his imaginative, inventive style is exactly what’s called for in Henson’s mythos; Spurrier’s Image series Angelic, with art by Caspar Wijngaard, would make a great Henson film, all flying cyborg dolphins, winged monkeys and manatees in escape pods. Bayliss, a BOOM! veteran, also worked on one of the first issues of Jim Henson’s Storyteller: Dragons, making this a great team to explore the history of Jareth before he became the Goblin King. Hopefully the book will do David Bowie’s iconic portrayal proud, and prove to be a must-read for fans of the film. Caitlin Rosberg


STL072049.jpeg Lockjaw #1
Writer: Daniel Kibblesmith
Artist: Carlos Villa
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Every single character in ABC’s Marvel’s Inhumans was given short shrift by writers and producers, but none more than Lockjaw. By all accounts, a horse-sized bulldog that can teleport should have been an immediate fan-favorite, an easy way to humanize some very unsympathetic characters. Unfortunately, Lockjaw was in just a few short minutes of the eight-episode run, but now he’s getting a solo title of his own. Rather than feature Lockjaw as a supporting character in a human story, the mini-series will focus on his efforts to save his siblings, who are both in danger and have never been mentioned before. Writer Daniel Kibblesmith not only has an appropriate name, but also a penchant for the wacky and weird as demonstrated in The Doorman and Quantum and Woody, which feels like a good fit for a story about a teleporting dog. While artist Carlos Villa is a relative unknown, he’ll be judged mostly on drawing cute dogs. It remains to be seen if Marvel will continue pushing the Inhumans as Disney’s deal with Fox continues to progress—no Inhumans were included in the “Fresh Start” teaser—but in the meantime, at least their lovable canine can have an adventure of his own. Caitlin Rosberg


STL072759.jpeg Mera: Queen of Atlantis #1
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Lan Medina
Publisher: DC Comics 
After 55 years, it’s exciting to see the Queen of Atlantis finally get her own solo title. Particularly in recent years, Mera has been a driving force under the surface of the DC universe, and has stepped up more than once when her sometimes-husband Aquaman has failed. Much the same way that Lois Lane can be underestimated and underutilized by creative teams who don’t understand her, Mera is often failed Aquaman writers and artists who don’t know her worth. DC is making it clear the character has new priority though, with a YA graphic novel written by Danielle Paige leading the new DC Ink imprint. Lan Medina provides the art for this main-universe mini-series, which will hopefully attract fans of his work in Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love. Medina has a rich, detailed, textured style that should give Mera’s book the heft and impact it deserves. Given that Dan Abnett is writing the main Aquaman title at the moment, it makes a certain amount of sense to have him kick off Mera’s story as well, but it is disappointing that the creative team is all male. If the book does well enough, it would be great to see an ongoing series given to someone like Renae de Liz, who did such incredible work with The Legend of Wonder Woman. Caitlin Rosberg


STL071736.jpeg Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #300
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Adam Kubert
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Marvel’s math on its Legacy renumberings was often shaky, and one suspects that edging closer to milestone numbers was one reason the House of Ideas played fast and loose with its calculations. Marvel’s secondary Spider-title reaches one of those milestones this week, as Chip Zdarksy and Adam Kubert usher in Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man’s 300th issue. Kubert hasn’t necessarily been in his prime on this book—for a better example of what he can do with the wallcrawler, check out Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine with writer Jason Aaron—but Zdarsky has been in fine form, channeling a believably flawed, human Peter Parker, and proving why he’s one of Marvel’s best rising writers in the process. This issue is actually the fourth part of an ongoing story involving the Tinkerer, but expect its expanded size to hold additional arachnid pleasures as well. Steve Foxe


STL069849.jpeg The Terrifics #1
Writer:   Jeff Lemire  
Artist: Ivan Reis
Publisher: DC Comics 
Perhaps the most exemplary title in the pipeline for the New Age of DC Heroes (originally known as “Dark Matter”), The Terrifics from Jeff Lemire and Ivan Reis is a clear riff on the Fantastic Four—most of the New Age of DC Heroes books have obvious Marvel comics analogues—and brings together Mr. Terrific, Metamorpho, Plastic Man and Phantom Girl to explore the multiversal shenanigans opened up by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Metal crossover. These titles are supposedly artist-driven, but The Terrifics presents the odd dynamic of launching with Ivan Reis before transitioning to team re-designer Evan Shaner. As if all of the above wasn’t enough to pique your interest, the inagural arc will also introduce Alan Moore and Chris Sprouse’s pulp tribute Tom Strong into mainstream DC continuity. Steve Foxe


STL073009.jpeg Twisted Romance #4
Writers: Alex de Campi, Sarah Winifred Searle, Naomi Salman
Artist: Trungles, Sarah Winifred Searle
Publisher: Image Comics 
Alex de Campi’s Twisted Romance mini-series has been an anthology delight throughout February, uniting a diverse group of talents for comics and prose centered around love, lust, longing and losing your damn mind over the three previously mentioned L-words. This fourth and final issue offers an extra treat: an interior story illustrated by Fauns & Fairies creator Trungles, whose unique linework is like nothing else seen in monthly comics. Joining Trungles and de Campi’s main story is a prose short from Naomi Salman and a backup comic from Sarah Winifred Searle, a contributor to Fresh Romance. Must get difficult keeping those two Romances straight on her creative resume. Steve Foxe


STL073227.jpeg The Wilds #1
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artist: Emily Pearson
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Vita Ayala has made a name for themselves despite their first announced title—Our Work Fills the Pews—never actually finding a release date from publisher Black Mask. The Wilds, their new series with artist Emily Pearson, introduces a floral apocalypse that looks to be a fresh twist on the genre—and a perfect follow-up for folks leaving the theater after seeing Annihilation. The Wilds follows Daisy, a Runner for a survivalist enclave years after a botanical plague sweeps the world. When Daisy’s lover, a fellow Runner, goes missing on a job, she must leave the relative safety of her compound to discover what horrors wait even farther from its gates. Pearson, an early contributor to Eliot Rahal’s Cult Classic universe, sports a clean line and a full garden of monstrous flowering designs to populate this new wasteland. Steve Foxe

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