Buzzkill, Dark Horse Comics. Here’s a premise that literally everyone claims to have thought of — a superhero who gets his powers from drugs & alcohol. But what Donny Cates & Mark Reznicek accomplish here is so well executed and original that it’s hard to believe it’s their debut. It’s a story that’s tons of fun, has a lot of heart, and a great sense of humor without sacrificing the tone of the book. The art from Geoff Shaw & Lauren Affe is also top notch — it’s a book that will definitely be turning a lot of heads for all the rights reasons.
Doc Unknown, Believe in Comics. Fabian Rangel’s Doc Unknown is a pure bit of pulp bliss. Cut from the same cloth as my own series, Five Ghosts, Doc manages to keep the action ramped up to 11 and beautifully rendered by artist Ryan Cody. Cody’s cartoonish stylings make for a hell of a read, as Rangel crafts a series of interconnected one-shot stories that truly capture what makes comics fun and my favorite medium.
Menu, Trip City. My friends Matthew Rosenberg & Patrick Kindlon continue to explore the post-apocalypse genre through the lens of a man and his dog. A fresh take on a genre that is being done to death, each story is a one-shot that builds more of the world. With a finely curated rotating staff of artists, every story has its own flavor and is a great example of the great things that can be done in comics.
Liberator, Black Mask. Matt Miner’s Liberator takes a concept that could be so heavy handed and off the rails and turns it into great comics. The idea of “superheroes” who aggressively liberate animals in captivity is a great, original concept and Miner manages to approach the topic with grace and intelligence. An activist himself, Miner’s work feels authentic but doesn’t lose the sense of fun that this medium, particularly superhero comics, does so well. Some well-crafted comics with real-world issues front and center.
Sheltered, Image Comics. Another staggering take on the post-apocalypse from Ed Brisson & Johnnie Christmas. Sheltered imagines a society of doomsday preppers in which children take over through violent means — and things get crazier from there. It’s a wonderful character piece with brutal action that drives the narrative to dark and exciting places. Christmas’ art and the colors of Shari Chankhamma are quite a wonder to behold and fit the dangerous world quite well.
First Law of Mad Science, Noreon Labs. Mike Isenberg & Oliver Mertz have self-published four issues of this sci-fi thriller. It’s about a family of scientists who are all deeply affected by their patriarch’s invention — “cyber eyes” that have become a staple in society. When the cyber-eyes start revealing strange, almost Lovecraftian monsters living in the world, it all goes to hell. A great new mythology introduced by new writers, I would recommend to anyone who likes heady sci-fi and fun fictional worlds.
Frank J. Barbiere is a writer from Brooklyn. He writes Five Ghosts for Image Comics, The White Suits & Blackout for Dark Horse Comics, and will be launching a reboot of Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom this Spring with Dynamite Entertainment. The first paperback collection of Five Ghosts is out now!