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Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors are choosing up to five books and why they’re choosing the books. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Joe

Top Pick: Avengers #2 (Marvel) – After the fantastic first issue, I am super excited for this one and many more from Aaron and company. Celestials falling to the Earth? That is how you set the tone for an epic series!

Curse Words #14 (Image) – I love this crazy book. Charles Soule balances action, comedy, and ridiculous things all in one comic so well. Talking Koalas and a Wizard fight!

Cable #157 (Marvel) – This book has been getting better and better. I have always loved Cable and it feels like it is really bringing back the classic stuff I love about the character and his best runs.

The Punisher #224 (Marvel) – Frank Castle returns to the States and now Captain Marvel is on his tail. I cannot wait for this showdown or whatever happens with this. It has been a great run so far!

Daredevil #602 (Marvel) – Mayor Fisk or Mayor Murdock? This has been a fantastic run and Soule has given us action and twists that I didn’t expect. I am excited to see how this continues.

 

Alex

Top Pick: Ninja-K #7 (Valiant) – There are some comics that I am genuinely so excited to read every month, and this is one of them. I can’t say enough good things about the writing, the art, the everything. There are two comics from Valiant out this week, and the only reason this is on top is because the coin landed on tails.

Bloodshot Salvation #9 (Valiant) – See above. Except for tails and second place.

Mighty Thor: Gates Of Valhalla #1 (Marvel) – I’ve been itching for more Thor after seeing Infinity War, and why not grab a new #1 issue?

 

Brett

Top Pick: Dodge City #3 (BOOM! Studios) – Dodge ball in comics! This series has been so much fun so far with great characters, great art… it’s a comic that just puts a smile on my face.

Barrier #3 (Image Comics/Panel Syndicate) – An absolutely amazing series first released digitally and now in print. Timely and brilliant, it’s a must get.

Fence #6 (BOOM! Studios) – Like Dodge City, this one focuses on a sport… fencing! Also has great characters and fantastic art. Another series that’s just fun.

Flavor #1 (Image Comics) – A new series from Image that takes place in a magical world and revolves around cooking. Absolutely fantastic and a must get this week.

James Bond: The Body #5 (Dynamite Entertainment) – A different take on James Bond focusing on the grittier aspects of it all and a man just beat down.

 

Jen

Death of Love #4 (Image Comics) –  Imagine if you will: a young man with a chainsaw can see the creatures that float around making people fall in love. What’s he gonna use that chainsaw for? Is it good? Is it evil? And what about these cupidae? What role does a mortal dude have in messing in the affairs of such ephemeral creatures? Issue #4 of DEATH OF LOVE promises to answer only some of these questions while leaving way more on the floor. If you missed this book in single issues, keep an eye out of the Trade this August.

Rat Queens #9 (Image Comics) –  All girl warriors, all the time. That’s the promise of RAT QUEENS and for years now, not matter the battle, that is what they deliver. Part four of THE COLOSSAL MAGIC NOTHING has Reality Wizards and interdimensional wizards. If anyone can deal with all that crazy and still come out on top, it’s the Rat Queens. Probably.

Goosebumps: Download and Die #3 (IDW Publishing) – Not only has GOOSEBUMPS been updated to include digital spooks, it’s got an all-new, all-female creative team. Goosebumps works because it doesn’t try to be something it’s not. The plot is simple: defeat the monster, save the town. But, as with most GOOSEBUMPS tales, there are sure to be a few Bumps in the night along the way.

The Mighty Thor at the Gates of Valhalla #1 (Marvel) – Thor is such good fun in any format, and personally I love when his world expands beyond himself. GATES OF VALHALLA may have some heavy plot points (saving Jane/Thor’s life), but it keeps the lighthearted moments that draw me back to Asgard time and again. The Godesses of Thunder may be my new religious figures, and the meta-call to “the Golden age of Thor” is absolutely delightful.

Star Wars: Lost Stars Graphic Novel Vol #1 (Yen Press) – Did you read Claudia Gray’s books are among the most celebrated of the new Star Wars Canon. Her YA novel Lost Stars was a smash-hit, and now I can’t wait to see how it translates to a graphic novel. The source material has plenty to play with–action, romance, intrigue, Imperial Academy classes, brainwashing….the list goes on. If you’re not a big novel reader but love a good graphic tale, this might be the best way to dive into Gray’s work.

Rat Queens Get a Special with Neon Static

Fans will experience a cyberpunk take on the Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Will Kirkby from Image Comics and Shadowline this July in an electrically thrilling one-shot, Rat Queens Special: Neon Static.

Readers will need to strap themselves in for a ride to an alternate and futuristic world, where the Rat Queens take to the neon streets of Palisade as an elite team of shadow operatives. An anonymous fiend creeps through the dark web, stealing identities and blackmailing innocent civilians for cold, hard Goldyen—and only the Queens can stop him!

Rat Queens Special: Neon Static one-shot (Diamond Code MAY180047) hits stores on Wednesday, July 18th. The final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, June 25th.

Blindbox Comics’ March 2017 Unboxing

Blindbox Comics is a monthly comic book subscription box that includes five regular monthly releases and one exclusive variant cover. Or, you can order just the variant. Or, you can order just the comics.

We open up and show off the latest and final box released, going over the comics plus a variant! Find out what’s inside!

Rat Queens Vol. 2 #1 Heads Back to Print

Image Comics and Shadowline have announced that Rat Queens #1 written by Kurtis Wiebe with art by Owen Gieni is being rushed back to print. The Rat Queens #1 #1, 2nd printing and Rat Queens #2 of the highly anticipated reboot will hit stores on Wednesday, April 12th.

The Rat Queens reboot begins with “Cat Kings and Other Garys,” Part One. The Rat Queens are back! Betty, Violet, Dee, Braga, and Hannah return! Palisade is still a rat-infested troll’s ass, and everyone still hates Gary. It’s been awhile since the Queens have done a good slaughter, so join them as they get back to the basics of killing monsters and drinking away the profits!

Fans won’t want to miss out on this brawling, foul-mouthed fun with a fresh artistic spin and new adventures on the horizon.

The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers for Rat Queens, Vol. 2 #1, 2nd printing (Diamond Code JAN178754), Rat Queens, Vol. 2 #2 Cover A by Gieni (Diamond Code FEB170671), and Cover B (Diamond Code JAN178755) is Monday, March 20th.

(Update) Image Announces 100% of the March Women’s History Month Variant Proceeds to Go to Planned Parenthood

Image Comics has revealed the first five of 11 variants planned for March’s 25th anniversary theme month—“Women’s History.” The variants will serve to celebrate the careers of women in comics, the strides made throughout comics history made by the women’s movement, and the company’s history of shaking up the status quo. 100% of the proceeds made from these March Women’s History variant covers will be donated to Planned Parenthood. We’ve reached out to Image to clarify exactly what is being donated.

(Update) We asked for clarification as to what would be donated. Image responded with:

Any money Diamond pays Image for these Women’s History variants covers will instead be donated to Planned Parenthood. Image Comics will cover the artists’ fees for these covers.

In the release announcement Director of Sales at Image Comics Corey Murphy said:

Many of Image Comics’ staff—myself included—and an ever-growing catalog of some of the most talented writers and artists in the industry, feel strongly about supporting women’s reproductive rights. Women have come a long way in this country, and the progress that’s been made is in part due to the efforts Planned Parenthood has made in sex education and affordable, preventative healthcare. I’m extremely proud to be a part of a company that’s unafraid to take a stance in supporting a non-profit that’s recently been under fire. This month we celebrate Women’s History, the strides the women have made in the comics industry, and the difference that everyone—male and female—has made by coming together in spreading equality.

Each month of Image’s 25th year will boast a theme for special anniversary variants, beginning with Wednesday, February 1st—the exact date of Image Comics’ founding in 1992, and the date of this year’s “Image Comics Day.”

Available in stores on Wednesday, March 1st:

  • Rat Queens #1 by Kurtis J. Wiebe & Owen Gieni, variant artwork by Colleen Doran (Diamond Code DEC168662)
  • Royal City #1 by Jeff Lemire, variant artwork by Emi Lenox (Diamond Code DEC168665)

Available in stores on Wednesday, March 8th:

  • The Wicked + The Divine #27 by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie, variant artwork by Chynna Clugston-Flores  (Diamond Code DEC168658)
  • Motor Crush #4 by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart & Babs Tarr, variant artwork by Leslie Hung  (Diamond Code DEC168659)
  • East of West #32 by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta, variant artwork by Meredith McClaren (Diamond Code DEC168668)
  • Low #16 by Rick Remender & Greg Tocchini, variant artwork by Vanesa R. Del Rey (Diamond Code DEC168663)

Available in stores on Wednesday, March 15th:

  • Moonshine #6 by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso, variant artwork by Jill Thompson (Diamond Code DEC168660)

Available in stores on Wednesday, March 22nd:

  • She Wolf #7 by Rich Tommaso, variant artwork by Marian Churchland (Diamond Code DEC168661)
  • Magdalena #1 by Tini Howard, Ryan Cady & Christian Dibari, variant artwork by Roberta Ingranata (Diamond Code DEC168666)

Available in stores on Wednesday, March 29th:

  • Monstress #11 by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda, variant artwork by Sanya Anwar (Diamond Code DEC168664)
  • Old Guard #2 by Greg Rucka & Leandro Fernandez, variant artwork by Nicola Scott (Diamond Code DEC168667)

Review: Rat Queens #15

RatQueens_15-1When the solicitation for Rat Queens #16 went out and showed a cover of the Queens without Hannah, the speculation went wild amongst comic readers about what was happening to everyone’s favorite rockabilly elf mage in issue #15. Was she going to die? Was she getting kicked out? Was she going missing?

Well, the good news is that it was none of those things happen in #15, but the bad news is that it somehow managed to be way worse emotionally.

The third arc of Rat Queens, aptly titled “Demons,” has been less action packed than the previous “The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth” arc, but for good reason. Taking more of a focus on the pasts of the Queens with a specific focus on Hannah, it allowed for the buildup and the blow up of this issue perfectly as Hannah reveals why she was kicked out of Mage University in the first place. Instead of a big battle like the one in Palisade, instead the climax is an argument amongst best friends that leads to misunderstandings and irreparable damage.

And actual deals with demons. It’s still a fantasy comic, after all.

Part of what makes Rat Queens a special comic is how natural the friendship between the four main characters felt and how much it drives a series filled with magic and monsters. For Kurtis Wiebe to write such an intense argument between the Queens that ends with an arrest and Betty just giving up on any hope of getting Hannah back is somehow even more heartbreaking than if he had killed her outright. Even with a demon on the edges, tugging at the strings to prompt the argument, you’re under the impression that he wouldn’t have to really do that much. Sooner or later, this was all going to spill over for them.

The art team of Tess Fowler and Tamra Bonvillain have been the MVPs of this comic since they joined the comic back in issue #11. With a more kinetic approach to posture and expression with Fowler and Bonvillain’s dark and intense color palette, the shift to a more personal story ended up playing off super well in the art change and in spades in this particular issue. From the full-page splash of Hannah staring at herself in the mirror as she makes the decision that drives the rest of the issue and potentially the rest of her story to Betty sobbing as she tries to tell Hannah how much she loves her and wants her to stay with the group. It hurts so bad as someone following their story, but the team pulls off that pain wonderfully.

Speaking of Betty, a lot of this part of the story feels like hers as well. While Hannah has been the focal point for so much of it and for good reason, it’s still Betty who serves as the big heart of the Rat Queens and if I ever have to see her as sad as she is in this issue again when she watches Hannah get taken away, it’ll be too soon.

Rat Queens #15 isn’t a big, dramatic battle with noble sacrifices, but an all too real fallout between best friends that will have greater consequences for the series from here on out. It’s an effective gut punch of a climax that works with the way Wiebe has built the story up until this point. Mixed with Fowler’s heart wrenching art and Bonvillain’s colors and #15 becomes a perfect mix of personal tragedy.

Now that we know the fate of Hannah, the big question now isn’t what happens to her, but rather where does everyone go from here?

Story: Kurtis Wiebe Art: Tess Fowler and Tamra Bonvillain
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Captain_America_White_1_CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

The Paypacks #1 (Dark Horse) – A hilarious new entry into the superhero genre. How do heroes get all of those wonderful tools? They need to get them from somewhere right? What happens when they fall behind in payments for them? This is the group tasked with getting those items back. And holy shit is it amazing.

D4ve2 #1 (IDW Publishing) – The second volume to the amazing digital series. It’s a year after the events of the first volume, and another ship shows up. The first volume was fantastic, I’d expect the second to be the same.

Jem and the Holograms #7 (IDW Publishing) – Jerrica and her sisters face their biggest threat yet—success! This sounds really interesting, and helps I love the series in general, which helps.

Prez #4 (DC Comics) – DC Comics’ series about a teenage girl elected President is winding up to be rather prophetic. I now want to read about this future election/political series, to see what’s going to happen in the real world.

Princeless: Raven, the Pirate Princess #3 (Action Lab Entertainment) – Raven has part of their crew, now she just needs the rest. This series has more to say in just a few of its panels than most do their entire run. An entertaining comic series that has something to say too.

 

Elana

Constantine the Hellblazer #4 (DC Comics) – Johncon is about to go on a “magical bender” through London. This is going to hurt so good. His particular brand of self obsession mixed with self loathing may not make for a good friend in real life but he is a lot of fun to spend time with on the page. Easily one of DC comic’s best books.

The Fade Out #9 (Image Comics) – Something huge is about to happen in my favorite LA noir series. Gil, the blacklisted screenwriter is about to blow up a Hollywood cover-up centered around a powerful man who sexually assaults women. At least, that’s what I THINK is about to happen. This story is a mystery after all and so far nothing has been as simple as all that.

Island #3 (Image Comics) – The art is out of this world— the first story in this issue is absolutely museum worthy art. I think if you skim this issue you’ll know if it’s right for you. A range of kinds of stories and different kinds of art and nothing in here feels cliched. Some of it can be challenging to process and that’s the point. This new comics magazine pushes at all the boundaries in the medium.

Lumberjanes #18 (BOOM! Box/BOOM! Studios) – New creative team and a new story arc start for our favorite girls at the badass feminist summer camp of your dreams. The original team won an Eisner. Let’s see what this new crew can do.

No Mercy TP Vol. 1 (Image Comics) – Take a bus load of college bound kids getting ready to go on one of those “building schools and posing for photos with brown people” trips to Central America. And then push the bus off a cliff. There is nothing else like No Mercy. It is brutal and human and completely unpredictable. It’s totally outside the conventions of standard comics between its unique, sensitive art, diverse cast and unclear genre alignment. A good choice for comics unbelievers too.

Rat Queens #12 (Image Comics) – The D&D adventuring party you wished you rolled with. Great art. Feminist fun.

 

Kenny

Top Pick: Usagi Yojimbo #148 (Dark Horse)I have been a longtime fan of the wandering ronin Myamoto Usagi and, whether he is in the midst of a multi-arc epic or a single issue, Stan Sakai always delivers a masterpiece.

Bizarro #4 (DC Comics) There are a lot of serious comics out in the world right now and sometimes you have to break that up with a little fun. And that is exactly what Bizarro is. Simply put, this comic puts a smile on my face and that is more than enough reason to check it out.

Captain America: White #1 (Marvel Comics)My picks are very heavily creator influenced this week and this selection is no different. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale have been a favorite tandem of mine for a while and seeing the two back at it is all the motivation I need to be excited for this comic.

Secret Six #6 (DC Comics)The first iteration of the Secret Six is probably my favorite comic series ever. Yes, I said it. And, while the initially relaunch started slowly, it seems Gail Simone and our favorite gang of psychos is finally getting back to the beautiful brand of lunacy that I love them for.

 

Mr. H

Captain America: White #1 (Marvel Comics) – The amazing team of Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb back again! I have not been disappointed by them in any previous endeavor thus far and no reason to believe it to happen here. Things are sure to be excelsior True Readers!

Graphic Policy Radio: SDCC FOMO Special

GP Radio pic MondayWhile Brett is off covering San Diego Comic Con, Elana’s doing the next best thing: podcasting with two academics! The show airs LIVE this Monday at 10pm ET.

Returning guests Steven Attewell and Sarah Rasher join her to talk SDCC news, Marvel Comics, the Eisner winning Lumberjanes and popular indie books like Rat Queens and the new Arclight.

Sarah Rasher blogs about religion and politics for Friendly Atheist, recaps Teen Wolf for The Rainbow Hub, and writes comics reviews for Graphic Policy. In her own blog, Sarah Explains the Finer Sports, she talks about figure skating and football from a queer feminist geek perspective. Sarah earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Connecticut and is now working on a book on Shakespeare in popular culture and building an iambic pentameter ray in her secret lair

Steve Attewell is a political & union activist. Steve got his PhD in Policy History from the University of California, Santa Barbara and teaches public policy at CUNY’s Murphy Institute for Labor Studies. He is the founder and writer of Race for the Iron Throne as well as The Realignment Project.

Elana is here every week. This week she will be playing the role of Brett.

So listen in LIVE this Monday at 10pm ET.

Tess Fowler and Tamra Bonvillain Join Rat Queens

One thing that Rat Queens fans know for certain is that when one of the good guys goes down in a fight, another steps forward to help swing the tide of battle back in their favor. So, as Stjepan Sejic steps down, two new artists step up to join the New York Times bestselling Rat Queens team.

Shadowline/Image Comics has announced that the wonderfully skilled artist Tess Fowler—who received critical acclaim for her work on Rat Queens: Braga Special #1—will be taking over as series artist with issue #11. Joining her will be Tamra Bonvillain the title’s first colorist! Readers may recognize Bonvillain’s name from her coloring work on Pisces, which is also written by Wiebe.

While Sejic had to cut back due to his workload and illness, he will continue to do covers for the series through issue #15.

Rat Queens #11 (Diamond Code: MAR150504) is due to hit stores on August 12th. The final order cutoff for retailers is July 20th.

Rat Queens 1

Around the Tubes

So who spent the weekend watching Daredevil?

Around the Tubes

The Comichron – March 2015 sales mildly up as comics outperform graphic novels; Princess Leia #1 leads the charts – Good news.

iO9 – The Most Depressing Days In Daredevil’s Preposterously Sad History – Yeah, there’s been a lot of low points.

Venturebeat – New Nintendo mobile partner DeNA confirms layoffs at Vancouver game studio – Wonder how this’ll affect their Marvel or Transformers games.

iO9 – The First Ever Sketch Of Wonder Woman Is Going On Sale – Very cool piece of history.

BoingBoing – Make this display frame that holds 10 comic books – This is really cool.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle #1

Talking Comics – Convergence: The Question #1

Bleeding Cool – Rat Queens #10

CBR – S.H.I.E.L.D. #4

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