Welcome to Can’t Wait for
Wednesday Tuesday, our look at the comics and graphic novels hitting stores this week. And what a weird week it is, as we adjust to a new life of “social distance.” Whether your comic shop is actually open probably depends on where you are and your location’s situation. Several counties in California’s Bay Area, including my own, are implementing a “shelter in place” order that begins Tuesday, which is going to be hard on local small businesses like comic shops. There’s a lot of great comic shops in this neck of the woods, and my heart goes out to all of them.
You can see the complete list of this week’s releases over at The Comic List, and I encourage you to share what you’re planning to get in the comments below. My thanks to Tom Bondurant and Shane Bailey for sharing their picks this week.
Update: Per Newsarama, Diamond has given retailers permission to start selling comics on Tuesday this week instead of Wednesday, to try to avoid any potential quarantines or “shelter in place” orders that may be issued this week.
Atlantis Attacks #3 by Greg Pak, Ario Anindito, Robert Gill, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Sabino (Marvel): I love this book. It’s over here making me care about new characters that I didn’t even want to like at first AND bringing back a bunch of characters that Jeff Parker and team made me love years ago. This is FATHOMS better than the original Atlantis Attacks was. This book is what makes me love Marvel; Weird locations, weird ideas, characters that shouldn’t work when mashed together that end up being fantastic, it’s got it all. I mean you have new characters, some Champions characters, Agents of Atlas characters, Atlanteans, all thrown together, there’s almost too many characters in one book, but it works. It’s fun comics with actual stakes for that corner of the MU. I can’t wait to read more. [Shane Bailey]
Black Stars Above #5 by Lonnie Nadler, Jenna Cha, Brad Simpson, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Vault Comics): I’ve never seen a comic paced as well as this one. If you want a masterclass in building tension and dread, read Black Stars Above. This comic is the equivalent of a Shepard Tone, the illusion of the ever-rising note. Eventually the musician ends the song, ending that tension. In this case, though, I really don’t want it to end. Every part of the team does their job at making this a premium horror book. The forest as illustrated by Cha and Simpson is a presence in and of itself. It’s filled with the unknown and never lets you forget things could be hiding in the dark there. The lettering perfectly matches the tone of the book, and perfectly portrays the smallness of the characters voices in these large expanses, both figuratively and literally. The book speaks of a presence, something that seems out of place and stands out in the wilderness, that belongs there, yet seems unnatural. That’s what this book feels like on the shelves. It’s different, strikingly so, yet it deserves its place there, making itself known. [Shane Bailey]
Starship Down #1 #1 by Justin Giampaoli, Andrea Mutti and Vladimir Popov (Dark Horse Comics): Mankind discovers a space ship buried under ice in Siberia that may explain their origins — leading to a cultural anthropologist having to deal with meddling Russians, the Vatican, a media frenzy and more. You can read a preview here. [JK Parkin]
Star Wars #4 by Charles Soule, Jesus Saiz, Arif Prianto, and Clayton Cowles (Marvel): I really like Charles Soule’s new take on the book, it’s set in the time right after Empire, it’s dark, but it feels more personal than the previous book. The characters are all undergoing massive changes after Empire and this is a great time period to explore. Luke is doubting himself and the Force and with that doubt losing some control with no mentor to guide him. Lando is trying to make amends. Leia is becoming the leader of the Rebel movement that we all know and love. All the characters act perfect, just like their movie counterparts and the team is really doing something new with them, which is an amazing feat considering all the work that has been done with these characters. The art and design in this book is superb and makes you feel like your watching a continuation of the movies. This book more than any other Star Wars media I’ve read, watched, or listened to, really bridges the emotional gap in the characters between Empire and Return of the Jedi. [Shane Bailey]
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #9 (DC Comics): I don’t want to make this a whole passive-aggressive thing about DC’s overarching “Year of the Villain” theme. Still, it is kind of ironic that amidst all of the Batman Who Laughs and Apex Lex carnage, DC has put out some very funny superhero comics. It seems a little odd to be recommending the 9th issue of Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber’s 12-issue series, but considering this feature’s title, I can’t wait for each installment. Fraction and Lieber’s take on Jimmy Olsen leans hard into a sort of postmodern Silver Age anything-goes approach, where not only is Jimmy subject to various wacky circumstances, he’s the latest participant in a generations-spanning Olsen/Luthor feud. So far he’s teamed up with Metamorpho and ticked off Batman, and in issue #9 he’s paired with Dex-Starr, the ferocious feline Red Lantern. This book is DC’s answer to Marvel’s great pair of superhero sitcoms, Howard the Duck and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and I hope it means there’s more hilarity to come. [Tom Bondurant]
Wicked Things #1 (BOOM! Studios): John Allison reunites with Giant Days artist Max Sarin for a six-issue series starring 19-year old mystery maven Charlotte Grote, and I am here for it. The adolescent Lottie was one of the stars of Allison’s long-running Bad Machinery webcomic, but now it’s seven years later and her creator wants to channel comfort-food TV detectives. Although Giant Days took its cast on complex emotional journeys through the formative years of university, it wasn’t quite the same as Lottie’s joy at a) glomming onto a new case and b) delivering wickedly cutting remarks about said case and her colleagues’ handling thereof. Put that together with the well-worn tropes of shows like Monk (of which I was also very fond) and it sure seems like appointment reading. [Tom Bondurant]
X-Ray Robot #1 by Mike and Laura Allred (Dark Horse Comics): This is one I’ve been anticipating for a while — Mike and Laura Allred working together on more zany adventures as only they can deliver. This is the story of Max, who somehow brings his 277-year-old self — now robot — to the present, and the pair teams up to take on “a nihilistic entity from another dimension who wants to take all life to its ”Pre-Big Bang’ status.” That’s the most Mike Allred description of a Mike Allred comic I’ve ever seen. [JK Parkin]