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Comics We’re Excited About for 9/16/2015

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This week’s comics-based conversations have seemed to turn to the small screen, with big news on release dates of Marvel’s Jessica Jones and a series order for Seth Rogen’s Preacher series order over at AMC. But the good stuff’s still over here on the comic rack, as we comic readers already know, and this week is no exception. As far as the Paste Comics team is concerned, we’re all unified in stoked-ness about Tokyo Ghost, the new dystopian project from Rick Remender and Sean Murphy. But there are plenty other exceptional releases, including a physical reminder that fall is on its way: a new installment of The SimpsonsTreehouse of Terror. Cool.

Check out our favorites below, and share your own in the comments section.

Agent Carter S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary #1
Writer: Kathryn Immonen
Artist: Rich Ellis
Publisher: Marvel Comics 

The S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary books have been excellent so far, with Quake and Mockingbird both successfully pulling in television elements in the least-obnoxious manners possible. Kathryn Immomen and Rich Ellis already proved they have the period-appropriate chops to bring Peggy Carter from screen to page in their Operation S.I.N. mini-series, making this one-shot a welcome return for a creative team who clearly gets what makes Hayley Atwell’s live-action portrayal click with fans. With Agent Carter headed back to television for a second season next year, can we expect this one-shot to lay the groundwork for a WWII-era ongoing? Steve Foxe

Captain America: White #1
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Tim Sale
Publisher: Marvel Comics 

“Not a hoax! Not a dream! Not an imaginary tale! THIS IS FOR REAL!”

The latest “color” book from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale was first announced in 2008, the same year Loeb torched most of his creative goodwill with a mind-bogglingly bad stint on The Ultimates before largely stepping away from monthly comics to focus on Marvel’s animation efforts. While releasing a book called “Captain America: White” so soon after replacing Steve Rogers with black hero Sam Wilson makes for cringe-worthy timing (within weeks of Dark Knight III: The Master Race, no less), Tim Sale’s painted pages historically bring out the best in Loeb, as seen in former color books Spider-Man: Blue, Daredevil: Yellow and Hulk: Gray, as well as Batman collaborations including The Long Halloween. Expect a heavy dose of Silver Age nostalgia rendered in fluid color washes, perfect for fans hesitant to embrace the “All-New” and “All-Different.” Steve Foxe

D4VE2 #1
Writer: Ryan Ferrier
Artist: Valentin Ramon
Publisher: IDW Publishing

Ryan Ferrier and Valentin Ramon’s first volume of D4VE followed the former war hero (and robot) as he tried to adjust to life as a standard office drone with no sense of forward momentum in his (robotic) life. Ferrier’s script walked the perfect line between tragic and comic, and Ramon found a way to imbue a cast of expression-less automatons with a full range of relatable human emotions. IDW must have been pleased with reader reaction to the existentially funny android action comic to fast-track this sequel, set one year later as a new extraterrestrial threat to “34RTH” looms large in D4VE’s ennui-laden existence. When you cast aside the circuit boards and alien monsters, who can’t relate to that feeling? Steve Foxe

Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection
Writer/Artist: Kate Beaton
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Kate Beaton have proved herself a master satirist, using the past few millennia of text-book history and pop culture footnotes as an everlasting comedy reservoir to yank jokes and hurl tomatoes. But Beaton’s work—published online before seeing print—is so much more. These panels display deep affections for their subjects, whether they’re iconic figures like Joan of Arc or the cast of Victorian children’s novels. Beaton knows the intricate details and antiquated lingo to volley jokes that are equally goofy, accessible and, on rare occasion, educational. (Think of the Dead Authors Podcast for a spiritual sibling.) Following a kids’ book dedicated to farts and overfed ponies, this new collection also charts huge growth in Beaton’s storytelling and dynamic art. Aww yiss. Sean Edgar

Lando #4
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Alex Maleev
Publisher: Marvel

Lando #4? Out of five? It’s a little bittersweet to see this one tick toward its finale as a limited release, especially with how much I’ve come to love the sweet-talking Lando Calrissian on the page. Like most of Marvel’s Star Wars properties, Lando has been pitch-perfect. Charles Soule and Alex Maleev have crafted a character that’s flawed, likable, hilarious and insanely clever—and as this title’s numbers ascend, I’m equally excited and bummed to see it inch toward its conclusion—especially with Lando’s hilarious appearance in last week’s Shattered Empire. Tyler R. Kane

The Paybacks #1
Writers: Donny Cates, Eliot Rahal
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Our favorite superheroes sure are lucky to inherit endless family fortunes or run multi-billion-dollar companies seemingly without ever needing to step foot into a boardroom, aren’t they? The Paybacks takes a look at the other half, the heroes who beg and borrow to make their capes-and-tights dreams come true—and often fall short of meeting their interest rates. Co-written by Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal with art from Cates’s Buzzkill collaborator Geoff Shaw, The Paybacks barrels out of the gate in a first issue overflowing with original ideas, including a Tardis-like van, a Soviet super-soldier who speaks only in action movie catchphrases, and the best one-panel gag of the year involving a costumed unicorn. A lot of high-concept original superhero books seem rife with bitterness, but The Paybacks is bursting with affection for the genre. This issue should remind readers of the best early issues of Invincible, when it felt like someone outside the Big Two was finally doing right by cape comics. Hopefully this series won’t go into debt any time soon. Steve Foxe

Sex Criminals #12
Writer: Matt Fraction 
Artist: Chip Zdarsky
Publisher: Image

Last month a massive, rigid, wet—uh, grin appeared on my face once I cut away the cellophane that contained Sex Criminals #11. If you’re behind on your comics homework, the series has been releasing triple-x variant covers since last month. So, imagine my reaction when I peeled away last month’s pink wrapping, only to see a throbbing member illustrated by none other than Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee “O”-Malley (the emphasis is Image Comic’s). Touches like these—and the elbow nudge-inducing “$4.69” cover price—makes Sex Criminals a title that’s as inclusive for fans as it is its creators. Now, we’ve strayed a bit from the narrative of Suzie and Jon—so much so, the comic’s felt a little up in the air for the past few issues, but page-to-page the series still succeeds in stirring up laughter—even if the tactics have gotten a little goofier in the past few issues (I’m looking at you, multiple illustration-free panels that Matt Fraction refused to let Chip Zdarsky draw out of sheer time restrictions). But Sex Criminals has also set out to expand its world, and that’s a slow-ride that I’m willing to endure for what’s hopefully a big payoff. Plus, with another triple-x variant cover (this time from Kate Leth!), how could you miss this? Tyler R. Kane

Shutter #15
Writer: Joe Keatinge
Artists: Leila Del Duca
Publisher: Image

Shutter is simply a delight. Joe Keatinge has calculated an ambitious formula of rollicking Euro adventure, ‘80s post-modern experimentation and a metric ton of heart for an engrossing, singular experience. This issue is…special. We would never rob those devout readers of the surprise provided by the first seven transcendental pages, but just know we want to. Artist Leila Del Duca continues to define “versatile,” providing pristine continuity between dimensions, species and landscapes with kinetic finesse. The tale of an explorer longing for her father has evolved into an unpredictable journey that embraces everything that’s wonderful about the comic medium. I’m not quite sure how this works, but I’m overjoyed that it does. Sean Edgar

The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror #21
Writers: Ian Boothby & Various
Artists: Tone Rodriguez & Various
Publisher: Bongo Comics

It’s almost impossible for a Simpsons fan to sit through a modern episode of the television show thanks to years of declining quality (some of it in a race to the bottom to hit the Family Guy demographic, much of it a natural result of being on the air for so long), but Bongo’s comic tie-ins frequently match the humor and heart of the first eight or so seasons, the period when Matt Groening and co. seemingly couldn’t produce a bad episode. If there’s anything that keeps bitter Simpsons fans returning to Springfield, though, it’s the annual Halloween Treehouse of Horror specials. This year’s broadcast episode sounds underwhelming, with promises of Bart’s death at the hands of Sideshow Bob, Homer waking up with short-term memory loss, and radiation-based superpowers (didn’t they already do that?), but the comic offers much more potential for spooky fun: Kwik-E-Mart gremlins, God-loving Ned Flanders left behind during the Rapture, and a class-conflict short inspired by silent film classic Metropolis. If you’ve ever found yourself missing the good old days of Springfield, the solution is sitting on the racks of your local comic book store. Steve Foxe

Swamp Thing By Scott Snyder Deluxe Edition
Writers: Scott Snyder, Jeff Lemire
Artists: Yanick Paquette, Steve Pugh, Various
Publisher: DC

Scott Snyder’s comics career may have ignited with American Vampire and rocketed into the heavens with Batman, but the superstar writer helped chisel the dark corners of the New 52 alongside BFF Jeff Lemire on their respective Swamp Thing and Animal Man runs. The pair built on Alan Moore’s concept of The Green and the Parliament of Trees, adding a metaphorical fauna realm with The Red—comprising all things flesh and bone—and The Rot, the embodiment of entropy and death. In a perfect universe, these three strata balance one another in perfect harmony. Thankfully, Snyder’s universe isn’t perfect. 

This new fictional diorama thrived on David Cronenberg-esque body horror and taught cliffhangers, but the huge world-building took on emotional life when its god-like avatars revealed themselves as vulnerable humans, crumbling under the weight of family and commitment. This hardback volume collects all of Snyder’s 18 issues proper as well as the very, very good Swamp Thing annual and the two Animal Man “Rot World” bookends. Sean Edgar

Tokyo Ghost #1
Writer: Rick Remender 
Artist: Sean Murphy
Publisher: Image Comics 

Now that his attention isn’t focused on Marvel work for hire projects, writer Rick Remender is free to rule his own creator-owned kingdom at Image. Tokyo Ghost could be his biggest hit yet thanks to collaborator Sean Murphy’s ink-heavy work, which has graced scripts from megastar writers including Grant Morrison (Joe the Barbarian), Mark Millar (Chrononauts, which has a sequel in the pipeline) and Scott Snyder (The Wake). While the premise of a technology-addicted dystopia is a little on the nose, the contrast between a ravaged Los Angeles and the tech-free “Garden Nation of Tokyo” should give Murphy ample room to flex his considerable artistic muscles, and will likely appeal to fans of Remender and Greg Tocchini’s undersea Low and Remender and Matteo Scalera reality-hopping Black Science. Expect huge action, packed pages and big breaks between arcs. Steve Foxe

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