Comics We're Excited About for 4/6/2016

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Comics We're Excited About for 4/6/2016

No shade to our fellow comic sites who ran April Fools jokes, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to distract from the wealth of real books hitting the stands. This week sees a heavy roster of media-friendly releases: Marvel’s one-two punch of Poe Dameron’s solo series and the long-awaited Black Panther from Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze, as well as DC’s potential lightning rod Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette. Flying just under the mainstream radar, we’ve also got an anthology focusing on women in gaming, a creator-owned debut from a Big Two cult-favorite team and the latest issues of hip delights like WicDiv and Batgirl. With actual comics this good, who needs fake ones?

Batgirl #50


Writers: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Babs Tarr
Publisher: DC Comics

Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr will all take the stage tomorrow at The Showbox in Seattle to announce a new comic project at this year's Image Expo. And with that news, we can be certain of one conclusion: this Batgirl creative team will probably cease creating Batgirl comic books by the summer. All good thing must pass. For 15 issues, the two writers and growing artist have crafted a ferocious millennial icon in Barbara Gordon, tech-savvy enough for the Bay Area and hip enough for Williamsburg. The title remained bright, bold and inviting to a new audience of comic readers. This 50th issue also ropes in other new-gen heroines Spoiler, Black Canary and Bluebird for a lasting punctuation mark on the most progressive title from DC in years. Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr (on covers) may be around till issue 52, but we're already saying goodbye to Burnside's favorite vigilante. Sean Edgar

Black Panther #1


Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Brian Stelfreeze
Publisher: Marvel Comics

In 2015, with race relations in American pop culture at a seemingly record level of screw-up, Marvel announced they were bringing Black Panther, the King of Wakanda, to the big screen—and fans rightly demanded a comic series to go along with the film. Marvel responded with a stronger team than anyone thought possible, hiring comics legend Brian Stelfreeze to draw the book, and National Book Award-winner and MacArthur genius Ta-Nehisi Coates to write it. With Stelfreeze describing it as "not a superhero book," and Coates insisting on a T'challa who doesn't shy away from "the very real history of society," any savvy comic reader owes it to themselves to pull this book. Tini Howard

Chainmail Bikini


Writers: Hazel Reed Newlevant, M. K. Reed, Various
Artists: Jane Mai, Various
Publisher: Alternative Comics

I grew up playing D&D with my dad, picking out my own shiny, plastic polyhedral dice at the hobby shop, and suiting up for my first LARP at 16, so simply put: this book speaks to me. As an anthology of comics by and for women gamers, Chainmail Bikini fills a space so desperately needed—a place for women to revel in their gaming rather than defend it, for us to feel welcome and happy, and share the warm fuzzies of our past. Video gaming, tabletop roleplaying and even collectible-card gaming are all covered in this super-cool indie anthology that got its start on Kickstarter. Tini Howard

Empress#1


Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Kick-Ass and The Secret Service writer Mark Millar's work is often noted for its brutality, but there's another side to the scribe. Both 2014's Starlight and the current Huck dabble with a different kind of hero, a different kind of world—one that retains the innocence and wonder of genre fiction without cynicism. His latest, Empress, seems to follow this sterling path as well. A mother, married to an alien despot, flees her husband with her children in tow. With Nextwave and All-New X-Men veteran Stuart Immonen on art, it's bound to be a beautiful galaxy full of sweeping action and familial drama. Tini Howard

The Fix #1


Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Steve Lieber
Publisher: Image Comics

One of the best parts of the ongoing Image revival is the chance to see beloved but under-selling Big Two creative teams break off and do something on their own. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie found success with WicDiv following their mic drop on Young Avengers and the Batgirl of Burnside crew will soon announce an original follow-up to their celebrated run on Barbara Gordon. Now Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber finally have a new outlet for their crime-and-comedy hijinks, after the much-mourned cancellation of cult favorite The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Spencer is an unpredictable writer, jumping between modes without warning, so The Fix might scratch your Criminal itch or make you bust a gut, but with Lieber on art, at least we know it'll look good. Steve Foxe

Harley Quinn & Suicide Squad April Fools Special #1


Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Jim Lee
Publisher: DC Comics

How much Harley is too much Harley? If sales charts are to be believed, the limit does not exist. This Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad April Fools Special holds the distinction of being a surprise preview of DC's upcoming Rebirth slate, with two-thirds of the incoming Suicide Squad creative team showing up early to help prime fans for David Ayers' upcoming SS cinematic outing. Rob Williams is quite literally killing it on the criminally underselling Unfollow over at Vertigo, and there is, of course, no greater show of confidence at DC than head honcho Jim Lee jumping in on pencils. While there's no shortage of Harley options these days, this one-shot is ideal both for Harley/SS diehards and dabblers excited to see Margot Robbie lead the pack onscreen in a few months. Steve Foxe

The Nameless City Vol. 1


Writer/Artist: Faith Erin Hicks
Publisher: First Second Books

Faith Erin Hicks has proven herself a sequential art expert on the trials of adolescence, deconstructing the chaos of teenage-hood in such titles as Friends With Boys, The Adventures of Superhero Girl and Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. Her new The Nameless City trilogy injects historical escapism into that legacy, with a sweeping tale that sees two kids from different socio-economic platforms banding together to thwart evil. Publisher First Second has crafted a strong niche in YA Asian folklore with entries including Boxers & Saints and First Man, and this new addition should be an apt continuation of that escapism. Colorist stalwart Jordie Bellaire lends an organic, rich spectrum of greens, oranges and blues, grounding the magic in earthy hues. Sean Edgar

Spider-Women Alpha #1


Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Vanesa R. Del Rey
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The Spider-side of the Marvel office has been pumping out books of consistently strong quality since the much-maligned "One More Day" gave Peter Parker a refresh, but never before has the line featured so many scene-stealing Spider-Women. Silk, Spider-Gwen and Jessica Drew have each carved out their own defined niches in the wider web of the Marvel Universe, and this one-shot throws them all together for a reality-hopping crossover gorgeously illustrated by Vanessa R. Del Rey. Thompson, who turned surprise plot twist Silk into a compelling new character, gets the ball rolling with an alternate-reality Cindy Moon tale before the creative teams behind Spider-Woman and Spider-Gwen get a crack at writing the other arachnid ladies. Who even needs Parker at this point? Steve Foxe

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1


Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Phil Noto
Publisher: Marvel Comics

From doomed plot device to the heartthrob who launched a thousand "ships" (and we don't mean X-Wings), Poe Dameron has emerged as The Force Awakens' breakout supporting character. Writer Charles Soule and artist Phil Noto have been on Marvel's speed dial for Star Wars projects, and are a fitting choice to kick off the first ongoing set in the TFA era. While Greg Rucka wrote Poe's prenatal origin in Shattered Empire, Charles Soule proved on Lando that he can work wonders with a character given minimal screen time, and Noto's knack for capturing celebrity likenesses is much appreciated when applied to Oscar Isaac. Despite his short time on screen, fandom has latched onto the character, and will surely eat this title up as fast as I'd eat up the actor himself. (Too far? YOLO.) Steve Foxe

The Wicked + The Divine #18


Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Publisher: Image Comics

The Wicked + The Divine hurdles forward to its operatic climax, showing various teen pop stars assume the identities of ancient gods in decadence and violence. This series' last trade paperback, Commercial Suicide, was something of a compilation album, giving insight into each god's life through guest artists, backups drawn by co-creator Jamie McKelvie and even a full-on remix issue. In this issue, the series once more hits the ground running with one of the best jumping-on points I've ever read from an indie title. It's just like falling in love with a new band: listen to their latest release, and go back through their catalog if you dig it, yeah? Tini Howard

Wonder Woman: Earth One


Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Yanick Paquette
Publisher: DC Comics

Writer Grant Morrison has gone on record to state his distaste for Wonder Woman, telling website Newsarama that "he sensed something slightly bogus and troubling" at the heart of the character in a 2009 interview. That antipathy might stem from the fact that the feminist icon was created by psychologist William Moulton, a polyamorous bondage advocate whose portrayal of Princess Diana was saturated with confusing sexual innuendo. Or maybe Morrison just doesn't dig invisible jets. This graphic novel serves as the Scottish scribe's reconciliation with DC's marquee heroine, incorporating her unconventional past and evolution. Illustrated with bounding, sun-bleached joy by Yanick Paquette, this original graphic novel unspools the origins of Diana as she thrives with her fellow Amazons in a secluded island. When an Air Force Pilot crash lands on the haven, gender politics and hormones explode. This creative team should offer up one of the most arresting experiences from DC all year, and no, we're not referencing that one scene with the handcuffs. Sean Edgar