Can’t Wait for Comics | Vampires, nightmares and bastards

New comics and graphic novels arrive this week from Robert Kirkman, Chris Samnee, Jonathan Hickman, Tim Seeley, Tini Howard, Peter David, Dale Keown and more.

The Smash Pages crew is back again with a look at what’s arriving in comic shops, bookstores and on digital this week.

If you’re wondering what 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.

Shane Bailey

First off, there were a couple of things on the list I was able to get a first look at this week, Vampire the Masquerade #1 from Vault Comics and the Star Bastard TPB from Scout Comics. Both are really worth picking up. 

Vampire The Masquerade is by the exciting creative team of Tim Seeley, Tini Howard, Blake Howard, Dev Pramanik, Nathan Gooden, Addison Duke, Andworld Design and Tim Daniel, and while I only dipped my toe into the RPG world way back when, there was enough familiar here to get me excited and get those neurons firing remembering all that info. The good thing is that the creative team reveals all you need to know, telling a cohesive story in this universe, and while it’s mainly setup, establishing the characters, the situation and the world in this book, it’s done well enough that you want to come back for more. I’m looking forward to picking this up as it comes out every week. Get started this Wednesday!

Star Bastard by Andrew Clemson and Jethro Morales follows a long-suffering mercenary crew as they stumble through the universe under the clumsy command of the loud, obnoxious (and invulnerable) Captain Greeves. It feels very ’90s 2000AD or DC’s Lobo, but with a sci-fi space opera twist. It’s fun, irreverent and a bit insane. If you want something a bit different, but a throwback to comics that get a little wild, pick this up. I found myself both smiling and cringing while reading this book, and that’s not something that happens much anymore.

In addition to these two I’m excited about a few others that I haven’t experienced yet:

I’ve always loved Fantomex since he was introduced so I’ll absolutely be picking up Giant Sized X-Men Fantomex by Jonathan Hickman and Rod Reis. They’ve kind of kept quiet and vague with all the solicits on these Giant Sized X-Men books so you never know what you’re going to get beyond who the story is about.

While I enjoyed the Fire Power Graphic Novel Prologue an awful lot, I think I might wait to read it in a big chunk, but if you are into the singles, #1 and #2 both drop this week. I’m sure they are excellent based on what I’ve seen so far. I would recommend picking up the graphic novel first because it was a great story, but I’m sure they tell you what you need to know if you can’t.

I’m always excited when another issue of Far Sector drops, as we’re up to #7 now, with the wonderful creative team of N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell. At this point I’d read anything with this team. They’ve more than earned my loyalty. 

And finally we have The Dreaming: Waking Hours, by G. Willow Wilson and Nick Robles, and OMG I love this creative team and can’t wait to see what they produce here. The whole story about having to form nightmares and none of them working out seems fascinating, too. I’ve been waiting for a while to jump back into the Sandman Universe and I think this is the time to do it. I can’t wait.

JK Parkin

As Death Metal continued to reign over the DC Universe, several creators come together to offer some “deep cuts” featuring stories of various Batmen from around the multiverse. Marguerite Bennett, Jamal Igle, Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Garth Ennis, Francesco Francavilla and more provide “short tales where demons dwell and reality is overrun by monstrous versions of the Dark Knight.”

Marvel has your Empyre event needs covered this week with not only the fourth issue of the main miniseries, but also tie-in issues and miniseries like Fanatstic Four #22, Lords of Empyre: Celestial Messiah (all about Quoi, the leader of the invading Coati) and even a handbook to help you figure out who the heck all these characters are.

Ice Cream Man returns this week with its 20th issue, featuring a horrific homage to Dr. Seuss. I mean, the solicitation text is pretty creepy itself: “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. Three fish, four fish, have some more fish. Five fish, six fish-are you sickish? Seven fish, eight fish…it’s getting late fish. Nine fish, ten fish, everyone you love will die and life is pointless so why even get out of bed you little worm you sick little insect with your sad flailing arms and creepy-crawly legs my god I’ve never seen such a pathetic specimen how sad how truly tragic…red fish, blue fish.”

It’s Moondragon vs. Moondragon in Guardians of the Galaxy #5 by Al Ewing and Juan Cabal. Ewing, who had a great turn on Rocket Raccoon a few years back, has brought that same sensibility to the entire Guardians team, with a story that has that same “heist” feel this far — but also with Olympians, multiple Moondragons and Blackjack O’Hare. This is a really fun ride so far.

Writer Tom Taylor has been teasing this one — the return of the digital Injustice series, which was a spinoff of the video game. This series focuses in on the Justice Society, with appearances by Amazing Man(!), Green Lantern, Hawkman, Wildcat and the rest of the Golden Age heroes. You can buy the first three issues now.

The Maestro, the Hulk’s evil future self, gets an origin story courtesy of Peter David and artist Dale Keown later this month. If you aren’t familiar with the Maestro, though, this collects the original Future Imperfect story by David and artist George Perez.

Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals is back this week for what’s billed as its 30th and final issue — “except for the one issue that comes next that’s like a coda or reprise or something classy like whatever the WICDIV guys called it.”

Now, the comics anthology edited by Fantagraphics’ Eric Reynolds, returns with what’s billed as its longest story to date — “Misguided Love” by Texas artist Raquelle Jac. It also features debuts by Young Francis/Pope Hats creator Hartley Lin, James Harvey and Emil Friis Ernst, so there’s a lot to like about this volume.

The opening arc of Daniel M. Bensen, Simon Roy and Artyom Trakhanov’s Protector comes to a conclusion this week, as First Knife, Mari and Hesukristos battle for the future of the world in an old, revealing temple. If you were a fan of things like Prophet, you will likely really dig this series.

Evan Dahm pulls from several sources to tell the tale of Christ’s assent into Hell after his death and before his resurrection in The Harrowing of Hell.

Finally, Fantagraphics offers a beautiful edition of Leila Marzocchi’s Nymph, the story of a doll-like creature that lands in a strange and wonderful forest filled with animals, spirits and other creatures.

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