Comics We're Excited About for 6/29/2016

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Comics We're Excited About for 6/29/2016

Happy Millar Day, everyone! In a savvy marketing move, publisher Image has claimed this Wednesday in the name of writer Mark Millar and artist Frank Quitely’s generational superhero epic, Jupiter’s Legacy, which returns to monthly status after a hiatus that allowed Quitely time to catch up. Those two Scottish treasures don’t have a complete hold over the day, though. It’s a surprisingly balanced week, and we’ve got recommendations from Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Top Shelf/IDW, Black Mask, Z2, BOOM!, Archie and Eric Powell’s Albatross Funny Books in addition to Image’s attention-getter. While you’re browsing Comixology or visiting your local comic shop to pay tribute to the man behind “You think this letter on my head stands for France?” consider picking up one of the other titles in the gallery above.

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #2

Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Tyler Boss
Publisher: Black Mask Comics

It should be clear to anyone who checked out We Can Never Go Home that writer Matthew Rosenberg isn't interested in the expected, so it's no surprise that 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank, his eclectically titled follow-up with artist Tyler Boss, isn't your standard crime caper. Like Stray Bullets filtered through the Fraction/Aja/Wu Hawkeye run, 4 Kids blends crime-noir staples with reams of authentic dialogue and impeccable visual storytelling from Boss. The covers and solicit texts may be getting goofier, but you can tell this story of loyalty and friendship is gearing up to break our hearts—and we can't wait. Steve Foxe

Coloring DC: Wonder Woman

Artist: Phil Jimenez, George Perez, Various
Publisher: DC Comics

Thanks to Rebirth, Wonder Woman is back at the top of her game, with well-deserved and much-needed enthusiasm returning to the character. There's no better time to pick up DC's Wonder Woman coloring book, featuring the art of honorary Themyscirans George Perez, Phil Jimenez and more. Folks who wore their black pencils down to nubs with all of the Batman coloring books will be eager to break out some color and bring the brightness back to Paradise Island. Tini Howard

Cryptocracy #1

Writer: Van Jensen
Artist: Pete Woods
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

After spending years tending DC legacy characters like Flash and Green Lantern, Van Jensen pivots back into the creator-owned sphere with Cryptocracy. Illustrated in vibrant, black-light colors with exaggerated cartoon figures by Pete Woods, this new Dark Horse cosmos is dense and borderline uncategorizable. The plot revolves around a collection of families who have dictated the course of human development over history, and the lone organization that regulates them. Instead of taking a grounded, gritty mystery-noir approach, the creative team tosses Doritos-munching aliens and talking bears into the mix. The subplots fly fast and furious amid the fanciful imagery, and the sheer scope of Cryptocracy will be worth the investment in this narrative jigsaw puzzle. Sean Edgar

The Fun Family

Writer/Artist: Benjamin Frisch
Publisher: Top Shelf/ IDW Publishing

Circular frames, by definition, omit sharp corners. Such is the case in fictional cartoonist Robert Fun's idyllic newspaper strips chronicling an idealized version of American family life, perfect and wholesome and tidy. Sound familiar? Real-life cartoonist Benjamin Frisch took a good, hard look at Sunday morning fodder like Family Circus and discovered the darkness and complexity lurking just outside of the frame, embodied by the dysfunctional family life surrounding Fun's picturesque comics (within this comic). Frisch's bright, sunny figures wouldn't look out of place on Cartoon Network, which makes the book's darker topics all the more menacing in contrast. If you've ever dismissed newspaper comic strips as shallow and trite, The Fun Family is for you. Steve Foxe

Hillbilly #1

Writer/Artist: Eric Powell
Publisher: Albatross Funny Books

Eric Powell put the final touches on his Depression-era, witch-brawling lummox The Goon last September—a devastating swan song for a comics horror staple, soon followed by Mike Mignola's Hellboy in Hell last month. Unlike Mignola, though, Powell is still devoted to pumping out hyper-stylized, folklore chills in sequential art, not counting the development of a Goon film directed by Deadpool's Tim Miller. Hillbilly emerges from Powell's resurrected publishing line, Albatross Funny Books, introducing a hulking, bearded backwoodsman with a cleaver from hell and a bear BFF.

Like he did with the dusty, Midwestern Steinbeck towns of Goon, Powell pumps his worlds with flavor and detail, in this case the impoverished hills of Appalachia, where hags prey on children snatching up their strawberries. It occupies a similar setting and tone to Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook's Harrow County, but both hold their own eccentricity. Whereas County takes a coming-of-age approach to its backyard spooks, Hillbilly thrusts readers into a moonshine rabbit hole guarded by a terrifying (and endearing) supernatural witch hunter. City slickers beware. Sean Edgar

Indoctrination #1

Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Matt Battaglia
Publisher: Z2 Comics

Throughout his relatively brief history as a comics scribe, Michael Moreci has used the medium as a tool to unpack intimidatingly big questions. The recently wrapped Roche Limit trilogy took a sparse, otherworldly sci-fi saga and wrapped it around a deafening question: What is a soul? Moreci's new series, Indoctrination, appears to scale similar philosophical pinnacles. Its tagline: "How do you kill an idea?" The plot follows two FBI agents working with a prisoner formerly active in a death cult to decipher a horrific murder spree. The illustrations from newcomer Matt Battaglia ooze with etched, ink-heavy foreboding, an appropriate complement for Moreci's slow-burn plots. Though summer often boasts mindless, big-budget spectacles, Indoctrination presents a weighty exploration of moral relativism and white-knuckle suspense. Sean Edgar

Jughead Vol. 1

Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Erika Henderson
Publisher: Archie Comics

The 2014 Archie relaunch prioritized quality over quantity, opening strong with Mark Waid and Fiona Staple's flagship book, while balancing its macabre reflection with Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina in addition to the Dark Circle imprint. Roughly a year ago, Chip Zdarsky (writer on Kaptara, illustrator of Sex Criminals) and artist Erica Henderson (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) brought a new reason to take the resurrected publisher seriously. The pair's take on Forsythe Pendleton Jones III, aka Jughead, isn't just a nod to comics' coolest wingman, but a celebration of the historical publishing line he inhabits. Throughout this inaugural 6-issue arc, the ravenous teen eats many a snack, butts heads with a conniving principal and then zonks out to pay homage to hilariously obscure Archie footnotes in his dreams. If you thought Jughead's Time Police or The Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E. were marooned to moldy bargain bins, Zdarsky and Henderson show them alive and well inside Jughead's subconscious as the protagonist shoots a ray gun, escapes from death traps and even commands a pirate ship.

With the new (and pretty damn great) creative team of Ryan North and Derek Charm taking over with issue #9, this trade paperback is the perfect introduction to not just the titular character, but the entire Archieverse. Sean Edgar

Jupiter's Legacy Vol. 2 #1

Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Frank Quitely
Publisher: Image Comics

The follow-up to one of Mark Millar's longest running series, Jupiter's Legacy does "realistic superheroes" in a way that manages to feel fresh. Superstar Frank Quitely's art and Peter Doherty's muted colors infuse these heroes and their families with a fleshy verisimilitude, creating beautiful flaws. The idea of superheroes as real people isn't a new one, but what does feel new in Jupiter's Legacy is the way that flaws don't have to be damning—that reality doesn't have to be dark—especially now that its protagonists Hutch and Chloe have come out of hiding..with their son. Tini Howard

Semiautomagic TPB

Writer: Alex de Campi
Artist: Jerry Ordway
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Following initial publication in the pages of the popular anthology Dark Horse Presents, Jerry Ordway and Alex de Campi's story is finally collected. Alice Creed is like a cross between Indiana Jones and Witchblade-bearer Sara Pezzini, ditching her professorial work to go hunt monsters all over the city. Even better news: if you dig these two arcs, the creative team just funded three more original Semiautomagic stories via Kickstarter. Tini Howard

Spider-Gwen Annual# 1

Writer: Jason Latour
Artists: Chris Brunner, Chris Visions, Various
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Paste may have cheated and counted the trio of Spider-women titles as "one" of the best Marvel comics on stands today, but each has its own distinct identity, as ably demonstrated by the punk-rock explosion of the Spider-Gwen Annual. An artistic jam featuring standout talents like James Harren and Chris Visions—not to mention writer Jason Latour jumping in to illustrate a particularly porcine page—this oversized outing promises to launch the next year of stories for Gwen, the Mary Janes and the rest of the alternate-universe cast. Not bad for a character created as an event anthology one-off. Steve Foxe