Can’t Wait for Comics | Building toward ‘Empyre’

New comics arrive this week from Terry Moore, Mark Russell, Steve Rude, Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and more.

The summer crossover season gets in full swing at your local comic shop this week; following the release of Dark Knights: Death Metal last week, Marvel delivers the start of their big cosmic event, Empyre. This week also brings several debuts from IDW, AHOY and Image, among others … it’s almost starting to feel like comics have returned to normal.

If you’re looking for something to get this week, check out a few recommendations below. You can check the Comic List page to see what’s arriving in your local shop, and the comiXology new releases page for what’s available digitally. As always, you should check with your local shop on their hours, curbside pick-up, mask requirements, etc. due to COVID-19. Stay safe out there.

COMICS

Empyre #0: Avengers (Marvel)

As we saw last week with the debut of Death Metal, not even the coronavirus can stop a summer crossover. This week Marvel gets in on the action with Empyre #0: Avengers, which helps kick off the big blockbuster cosmic story focused on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Fantastic Four, the Kree and the Skrulls. Al Ewing and Pepe Larraz bring the action this week, and will be followed next week by Dan Slott and R.B. Silva’s zero issue focused on the FF. [JK Parkin]

Marvels Snapshots:Captain America (Marvel)

This week’s Marvels Snapshot is from writer Mark Russell and artist Steve Rude, and takes its cue from the 1970s Jack Kirby “Madbomb” storyline. The titular Madbomb drove people insane and (if I’m remembering correctly) was designed to spark rioting so that an old-money cabal – seriously old, like descended from British loyalists who thought the American Revolution was a bad idea – could sweep in and restore order. Boy, Kirby sure was nutty back then, huh? I’m sure this was produced long before our current sociopolitical awakenings, but I’m eager to see what the sharp-eyed Russell and the always-exciting Dude do with the premise. [Tom Bondurant]

Sleeping Beauties #1 (IDW)

IDW debuts the first issue of a 10-issue miniseries that’s sure to keep you awake this week. Rio Youers and Alison Sampson tackle Sleeping Beauties, the horror/fairy tale mash-up novel by Stephen King and his son, Owen, which came out in 2017. It’s about a virus, dubbed “Aurora,” that starts out in an all-women’s Appalachia prison and eventually causes all the women in the world to fall asleep inside cocoons. [JK Parkin]

Five Years #10 (Abstract Studios)

Terry Moore’s universe of characters — which you may not have realized was a universe of characters when you were reading Strangers in Paradise or Echo — came together for this 10-issue series focused on saving the world. Even if you aren’t familiar with every book Moore has done, this is still a fun story, featuring intrigue, spies, scary little girls and the fate of everyone. After this final issue, I hope we get to see all these people together again at some point. [JK Parkin]

Batman: The Smile Killer (DC)

If you thought Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Jordie Bellaire were done, think again — this week they follow up their Black Label miniseries The Joker: Killer Smile with a one-shot that shows things from a different perspective — and that would be a young Bruce Wayne who “grew up watching The Mr. Smiles Show.” Yikes. [JK Parkin]

That Texas Blood (Image Comics)

If you’re a fan of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Criminal, then the cover for this one might seem familiar — it’s by Jacob Phillips, Sean’s son, who has worked with his dad in the past. With this one, he’s working with writer Chris Condon on a “mature neo-Western crime series” that “kicks off when the search for a casserole dish leads to a dark and tense confrontation on Sheriff Joe Bob Coates’ 70th birthday.” As searches for casserole dishes tend to do. [JK Parkin]

Ash & Thorn #1 (Ahoy Comics)

Originally slated to come out in April, this is a title with a fun premise: two old ladies team up to prevent the end of the world. Lottie Thorn is a retired art teacher and the last living heir of a mystical legacy, and Lady Peruvia Ashlington-Voss is her trainer. This first issue, which I’ve read, is very fun, so if you’re looking for something a bit different and offbeat in your apocalypse, check it out; it’s by Mariah McCourt, Soo Lee and Pippa Bowland. [JK Parkin]

TRADE PAPERBACKS/GRAPHIC NOVELS

Legends of the Dark Knight: Matt Wagner (DC)

DC’s latest curated Batman collection is Legends of the Dark Knight: Matt Wagner, collecting the writer/artist’s two retro-themed miniseries from about 15 years ago, plus his three-issue Two-Face arc from Legends of the Dark Knight from closer to 30 years ago. That’s 15 issues (plus some assorted shorter fare) worth of some really enjoyable comics, and the Two-Face arc featured some eerie, minimalist art and memorable storytelling choices. Wagner did more with Batman, including covers, a crossover with his own creation Grendel, and the Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity miniseries – but this is some of his best work on the character. [Tom Bondurant]

primer (DC Comics)

While most of DC’s middle-grade/kids graphic novels have featured original takes on existing DC favorites, over the past few months they’ve released some featuring brand new characters. This week brings Primer, the story of a foster child who ends up with a set of paints that give her powers — different ones based on the color of paint. Unfortunately, the paints belonged to the military, so they come callin’. It’s by Thomas Krajewski, Jennifer Muro and Gretel Lusky. [JK Parkin]

Raiders (Dark Horse)

This week Dark Horse releases Raiders, a new fantasy adventure graphic novel “about family, freedom and killing monsters for loot.” It’s written by Daniel Freedman, who previously worked on Burn the Orphanage and Undying Love, and it’s illustrated by Christian “CROM” Ortiz, who worked on The Golden Campaign for tapas. So, yes, this fantasy series is indeed “by CROM.” Heh. [JK Parkin]

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