Uncanny X-Men, Firefly, Bitter Root & More in Required Reading: Comics for 11/14/2018

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<i>Uncanny X-Men</i>, <i>Firefly</i>, <i>Bitter Root</i> & More in Required Reading: Comics for 11/14/2018

This Wednesday is doing the absolute most when it comes to comics. The (discouragingly priced) Uncanny X-Men #1 is obviously the mutant elephant in the room, but we’ve also got the finale of Mister Miracle, the launch of Electric Warriors and Bitter Root, Firefly’s new debut at BOOM! Studios, the first issue of G. Willow Wilson’s Wonder Woman, OGNs like Form of a Question and Hedy Lamarr: An Incredible Life and the long-awaited realization of William Gibson’s Alien 3 script, now in comic form. This Wednesday is so jam-packed that we couldn’t even squeeze in books like The Rugrats: C is for Chanukah Special, God of War #1 and The Black Order #1, all of which you can assume just barely missed the cut-off. If you can’t find something to enjoy this week at your local comic shop or preferred digital retailer—why, you might not like comics at all (or you’re just too picky for your own good).


STL100254.jpeg Bitter Root #1
Writers: David F. Walker & Chuck Brown
Artist: Sanford Greene
Publisher: Image Comics 
The incredible creative team behind Power Man & Iron Fist reunites to tell an original story about supernatural danger during the Harlem Renaissance. For Bitter Root, David F. Walker and Sanford Greene are joined by writer Chuck Brown, the mind behind titles like Trench Coats and Cigarettes and Shotguns. If that wasn’t enough to pique the interest of readers, Rico Renzi and Clayton Cowles are along for the ride with colors and letters, respectively. What makes Bitter Root really shine is its time period and setting. The Sangerye family aren’t just street-level heroes safeguarding the incredible creative forces booming in Harlem at the time—they’re responsible for the safety of the entire human race. Walker’s work on Shaft for Dynamite proved that he’s got a great eye for weaving historical context into fictional stories, and he and Greene know how to put out a book that’s ambitious and exciting to read. The addition of Brown to the team pushes Bitter Root from an exciting new title to a must-buy for fans of all three, or just about any reader of historical fantasy. Caitlin Rosberg


STL099254.jpeg Bloodshot: Rising Spirit #1
Writers: Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson & Kevin Grevioux
Artist: Ken Lashley
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Valiant’s newest batch of series continues to roll out this week with Bloodshot: Rising Spirit, a look back at the nanite-enhanced soldier’s earliest days in the field. Writer Jeff Lemire rang a surprising amount of emotion and pathos out of the character across multiple volumes, each increasingly more focused on Bloodshot and his family over the run-and-gun roots of the unkillable pale warrior. The Rising Spirit creative team kicks off with three writers: originally announced duo Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson, and one-time New Warriors writer Kevin Grevioux, who is scheduled to continue on subsequent issues as Nadler and Thomspon step away. It’s a shame to lose them—their run on Cable made Bloodshot a natural next step, while Grevioux’ previous comics credits leave something to be desired. Still, with the action-packed art of Ken Lashley and the reliable Valiant stamp of approval, Bloodshot: Rising Spirit should be a solid battlefield outing for the flagship character. Steve Foxe


STL099788.jpeg Electric Warriors #1
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Travel Foreman
Publisher: DC Comics 
Much of DC Comics’ strategy since its Rebirth initiative kicked off a few years ago revolves around getting back to basics, but the new Electric Warriors mini-series offers a fun combination of accessible new concepts and deep-cut continuity nods. Set in the previously unexplored era after the Great Disaster from Jack Kirby’s Kamandi but before the gleaming future of the Legion of Superheroes, Electric Warriors finds the DC cosmos operating a Hunger Games-style combat tourney to decide conflicts between planets. Each planet sends one enhanced warrior at a time—until Earth decides to split its “Electric Seed” between a representative from the human race and a highly trained octopus from the sentient animal kingdom. Writer Steve Orlando has been touting Electric Warriors as DC’s answer to Overwatch’s eclectic cast of characters, and thanks to Travel Foreman’s unique design sense and the warriors’ readymade abilities, Orlando may be onto something. Electric Warriors is set to be a brisk six issues, which makes it an equally appealing choice for DC diehards or those curious about the far boundaries of the publisher’s shared universe. Steve Foxe


STL098887.jpeg Firefly #1
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Dan McDaid
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Joss Whedon’s most successful shows have lived on in comic books for years, much to the enthusiasm of fans. The medium allows space for stories to continue and for characters to keep growing, but it’s particularly exciting when it also offers up a chance to get more back-story for the heroes, villains and events we saw onscreen. One of the big gaps in the Firefly universe is the tale behind the civil war that turned Mal Reynolds and his first mate Zoe into soldiers, and BOOM! Studios has launched its new Firefly title with just that tale. Artist Dan McDaid has experience adapting TV to comics, including Doctor Who and Big Trouble in Little China, and writer Greg Pak is currently bringing James Bond and John Wick from the big screen to the small page. Pak’s work for Marvel is excellent, but it’s his original work like Kingsway West and Mech Cadet Yu that prove just how good he is at writing exciting character-driven adventures. He has a particular skill with group dynamics and sympathetic but flawed warriors, which makes him the ideal fit for this title’s band of well-intentioned misfits. Caitlin Rosberg


STL091917.jpeg Form of a Question
Writer: Andrew J. Rostan
Artist: Kate Kasenow
Publisher: Archaia/ BOOM! Studios
Andrew J. Rostan has always had an impeccable memory, one that connects facts with key moments and important people in his life. At the young age of 22, this ability landed him a spot on the game show Jeopardy!—an experience that forever changed the way Rostan looked at the world. This week, Rostan and cartoonist Kate Kasenow immortalize that life-changing opportunity in Form of a Question, a graphic novel memoir from BOOM! Studios’ Archaia imprint. Back when Paste first announced the title, Rostan praised Kasenow’s blend of nonfiction and magical realism on the page, and touted the story as embodying the important message “that what makes you feel different from others can help you accomplish what you never imagined you could.” Fans of the long-running game show and of extraordinary memoirs will want to snatch this one up—or consider gifting it this upcoming holiday. Steve Foxe


STL099119.jpeg Hedy Lamarr: An Incredible Life
Writer: William Roy
Artist: Sylvain Dorange
Publisher: Life Drawn/ Humanoids
The new graphic biography of Hedy Lamarr is the perfect storm of two separate industry trends colliding: biographies that reveal the lesser known history of incredible woman, and the growing market of French comics and creators in the United States. More and more publishers are bringing French bande dessinée to American readers, and a book about Hedy Lamarr’s amazing life is a brilliant way to do it. Though some people are familiar with her work as an actress, her skill with technology and the inventions she made (including an early forerunner to Wi-Fi) aren’t as widely recognized as her talent in front of the camera. Writer William Roy and artist Sylvain Dorange are both French, and largely unknown to the readers that they’ll be trying to reach, but there’s a big market for books about “women of wonder” like Lamarr. Books like this one fit in with titles such as Rejected Princesses and Branzen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World to make a feminist library for budding scientists, warriors, actresses and politicians, offering a multitude of different paths to follow to greatness. Caitlin Rosberg


MMIR_Cv12_ds.jpg Mister Miracle #12
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
Publisher: DC Comics 
Mister Miracle #1 opened with a cult-favorite Jack Kirby Fourth World creation attempting suicide and went on to become one of the most critically acclaimed comics in recent memory. Its balance of interpersonal family drama and cosmic war trauma is perhaps best summed up by an issue in which Mister Miracle and his wife Big Barda navigate a series of deathtraps while discussing how they’d like to remodel their condo. This week, after dominating the comics discourse for over a year, the curtains finally close on Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ critical darling as issue #12 hits comic stores and digital retailers. Mister Miracle #11 ended—spoiler alert—with Scott Free seemingly slaying his adopted father Darkseid. Fellow New God Metron appeared in the aftermath and presented the titular hero with a portal to what appeared to be the current DC Universe. The exclusive preview pages we ran last week offer some hints at how Scott Free responded to Metron’s offer, but you’ll have to pick up this conclusion to find out firsthand how one of the most talked-about comics of the last half-decade wraps it all up. Steve Foxe


STL099733.jpeg Uncanny X-Men #1
Writers: Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson
Artists: Mahmud A. Asrar, Mark Bagley, Mirko Colak
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Since roughly the advent of the Marvel Cinematic universe, some of the non-Avengers team books at Marvel have foundered a bit in trying to find their way. Uncanny X-Men marks the latest new era of mutant storytelling—a return to the flagship title with a big creative team and an ambitious weekly print schedule. Someone has disappeared, and the X-Men are hellbent on finding them in what previews say might be their “final” adventure. The creative team is made up of writers and artists who have brought titles like X-Men Red, Old Man Logan and Astonishing X-Men to life, but it’s perhaps most exciting to see Kelly Thompson’s name on the list of writers following her work on Rogue & Gambit, sequel series Mr. & Mrs. X and non-mutant titles like Hawkeye: Kate Bishop and West Coast Avengers. Her sense of humor and skill with writing genuine, layered relationships should help keep Uncanny X-Men from getting bogged down in excessive interpersonal drama and fight scenes. Though this first issue is twice the normal cover price, it’s also got three times as many pages—and, thankfully, Nightcrawler is still handsomely bearded. Caitlin Rosberg


STL099479.jpeg William Gibson’s Alien 3 #1
Writers: William Gibson & Johnnie Christmas
Artist: Johnnie Christmas
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Alien 3 famously—or is it infamously?—went through numerous potential scripts before director David Fincher cut his teeth on a film that remains controversial among franchise fans to this day. One of the most promising early iterations of the story came from famed sci-fi author and cyberpunk icon William Gibson, who crafted a Cold War allegory set mostly in an interstellar shopping mall. Beginning this week, Firebug writer/artist Johnnie Christmas, colorist Tamra Bonvillain and publisher Dark Horse Comics bring that script to life for the first time ever as William Gibson’s Alien 3, a faithful rendition of what could have been. This first issue is a slow burn, but Christmas and Bonvillain make for a stunning collaboration, even when the focus is on corporate hostility, not acid-dripping Xenomorphs. Those hoping for a repeat of James Cameron’s Aliens should be warned, though: Gibson’s script, intended to be the first of two movies filmed back to back, positions Hicks as the protagonist and reduces Ripley to more of a cameo role. Maybe if this series takes off, Dark Horse will magically conjure up a version of William Gibson’s Alien 4. Steve Foxe


STL099903.jpeg Wonder Woman #58
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Cary Nord
Publisher: DC Comics 
Despite a hit film (the sole unequivocal success among DC Entertainment’s modern cinematic efforts), Wonder Woman’s ongoing comic series has been…ehh since writer Greg Rucka finished his epic saga. Other than brief runs from Shea Fontana and Steve Orlando, the series languished for over 20 issues under writer James Robinson, whose tenure focused too much on Wonder Woman’s brother (don’t ask) and tying up old crossover loose ends. All of that ends this Wednesday when celebrated Ms. Marvel co-creator G. Willow Wilson takes over as Wonder Woman ongoing series writer alongside artist Cary Nord. While the pitch for Wilson’s first arc feels a little familiar—Ares is back, back, back again—the execution is as splendid as anyone could have hoped. Wilson brings a clear voice to the full cast, and Nord inked by Mick Gray is a revelation. If Wilson and Nord can maintain the level of skill demonstrated in this first issue, Rucka may need to make some room in the Wonder Woman hall of fame. Steve Foxe

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