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The Green Lantern, Marvel Knights: 20th, James Bond 007 & More in Required Reading: Comics for 11/7/2018

Comics Lists Required Reading
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It’s hard not to feel a little bad for nine of the below titles—after all, how do you stand out during the week of Grant Morrison’s triumphant return to monthly comics? We’re probably overestimating how single-mindedly stoked for Morrison the wider fandom actually is, though. For every fan chomping at the bit to pick up The Green Lantern #1, there’s another curious about the bewildering narrative of Mirenda Vol. 1, or tickled to nab the first issue of a James Bond 007 ongoing series, or over the moon about a Marvel Knights anniversary tribute project. If none of those suit your fancy, we’ve got musical ruminations, retold fairy tales, two new horrors, a comedy and a nerdy British stalwart in a brand-new form. Whatever your pleasure this week (Morrison-ian or not), we’ve got you covered with Required Reading.


Blame this on the Boogie
Writer/Artist: Rina Ayuyang
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Popularity of Hamilton notwithstanding, the appeal of musical theater is lost on a lot of people, especially those from the golden age of Hollywood musicals, all flash and color and artifice. For Rina Ayuyang, these musicals are an escape from the world as it is, a vehicle to help carry her through her life. Beginning with her childhood in the ‘70s, Blame this on the Boogie traces the myriad challenges and milestones that Ayuyang has faced through the lens of her love of Hollywood musicals, shaping everything from her other entertainment choices to her approach to parenthood. With bright, vivacious colors that echo the very films she loves, Ayuyang draws in readers as she struggles to deal with conflicts and worries both personal and universal. Ayuyang has a unique perspective on something as singular and specific as American movie musicals, and offers insight as to why escaping into them is so satisfying, and can how it can help people find their own voices. Caitlin Rosberg


Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #1
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Rachael Stott
Publisher: Titan Comics
Look, I won’t lie to you—I know next to nothing about Doctor Who. I watched one season of the Matt Smith iteration and never felt compelled to continue, but you’d have to be totally geek-illiterate to not know that actress Jodie Whittaker new incarnation of the character is big news. Fans have seemingly responded quite well to the first female Doctor, and now longtime Who publisher Titan Comics launches a series of her very own. Illustrated by fan-favorite Doctor Who artist Rachael Stott and written by the prolific Jody Houser, Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor follows the Doctor and her three companions (is that a lot? I have no clue!) through original sci-fi excursions. To commemorate this launch and the historic nature of Whittaker’s casting, Titan has published this first issue with 13 different covers, each by a notable female artist. Whovians, take your pick. Steve Foxe


The Empty Man #1
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jesus Hervas
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
The Empty Man sees Cullen Bunn coming back to the series for a second time, revisiting the story that he and Vanesa R. Del Ray brought to life in 2014. This time Bunn is working with Jesús Hervás, artist for Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and Lucas Stand. The first arc introduced readers to a near-dystopian future, where a disease called the Empty Man was ravaging the world as we know it. This entirely new story returns to that same broken place, and now centers around an afflicted woman named Melissa Kerry. Her family is struggling to keep her infected status a secret, as those who enter quarantine never leave. As symptoms of Empty Man include rage, hallucinations and suicidal ideation, it’s no surprise that Bunn is tapping into the uncertainty of the current political and social climate for this run. Bunn himself has said that new readers won’t find themselves too confused if they choose to dive in now, but it’s worth going back to the first volume (and picking up Redlands) to check out Del Ray’s incredible art. Caitlin Rosberg


The Green Lantern #1
Writer:   Grant Morrison  
Artist: Liam Sharp
Publisher: DC Comics 
Grant Morrison returns to monthly DC Comics for an all-new series with artist Liam Sharpe, putting Hal Jordan back at the center of one of the newly relaunched The Green Lantern. Rather than revisit Jordan’s origin story for the umpteenth time, Morrison and Sharp are jumping right in with the former pilot acting as Earth’s space cop. It won’t come as a huge surprise to readers that there are aliens hiding out on Earth, but when Hal starts to uncover more of the strings being pulled, the plot really kicks off. Morrison hasn’t written a true monthly cape-and-cowl book in ages, so it’s exciting to see his name attached to a big, ambitious superhero story. For his part, Sharp has a slightly retro art approach here that’s not quite DC Comics house style, but still well suited to epic comics storytelling in the Morrison vein. Sharp’s previous work on Wonder Woman in particular is a good indication of what he can do with future issues of The Green Lantern. With one upcoming issue teasing a confrontation with God himself, it’s hard to predict where Morrison is going to go, which makes this even more of a must-read both for his fans and Hal’s. Caitlin Rosberg


James Bond 007 #1
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Marc Laming
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Warren Ellis is a tough act to follow, so we can hardly blame any subsequent James Bond writers, or publisher Dynamite Entertainment, for never quite recapturing the heights of Ellis’ two initial arcs with artist Jason Masters. Starting this week, Dynamite is trying a new method: an ongoing Bond series, written by Mech Cadet Yu’s Greg Pak and drawn by occasional Star Wars contributor Marc Laming. Yu and Laming’s initial arc pits Bond against one of the most memorable antagonists of the franchise: Odd Job, the hat-wielding killer. Pak has taken it upon himself to do right by a great number of poorly conceived Asian characters throughout his time in comics, so expect Oddjob to be no exception. Laming’s clean storytelling and line work should help it all go down as smoothly as a dry martini. Steve Foxe


Marvel Knights: 20th #1
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Travel Foreman
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada founded the Marvel Knights banner 20 years ago, bringing together his and partner Jimmy Palmiotti’s pals to craft slightly more mature takes on then-underused characters and concepts including Black Panther, The Punisher, Daredevil and The Inhumans. Unlike the Ultimate Universe, which followed a few short years later, or the MAX line, which was strictly for mature readers, Marvel Knights titles still took place within the main Marvel Universe. Marvel Knights the 20th anniversary series, on the other hand, launches this week with a Black Hammer-esque take on Daredevil, Frank Castle, Bruce Banner and other familiar faces. Matt Murdock wakes up in front of Karen Page’s gravestone, but has no memory of who she is—or who he is, for that matter. A dozen other Marvel mainstays appear throughout Donny Cates and Travel Foreman’s first issue, but none in quite the same role as they play in the mainstream Marvel U. Cates, who oversees this six-issue mini-series and helped pick the teams writing the middle four issues, may have a twist up his sleeve that grounds this book among Marvel’s wider line—or it may stay off on its own as a thought-provoking tribute to the publishing line that helped pull Marvel back from the brink of ‘90s excess (and bankruptcy). Steve Foxe


Mirenda Vol. 1
Writer/Artist: Grim Wilkins
Publisher: Image Comics 
Originally serialized in Image ComicsIsland magazine, Mirenda is the imaginative, curious story of a woman with a demon trapped in her leg. Wilkins doesn’t have a lot of mainstream comic work to his name beyond Mirenda and Prophet: Earth War, but his art is bright and his world-building ambitious. The visuals in Mirenda have been compared to Moebius by others, but there’s also a loose-limbed Studio Ghibli quality to it, with bright colors and intricate backgrounds lending a fantastical quality to each page. It’s always intriguing to see people who have drawn projects with writers write and draw a new story on their own; like many artists, Wilkins is comfortable cutting dialog and relying on visuals to tell the story, even when that runs the risk of confusing or even losing readers. Despite a steady stream of trades like Mirenda Vol. 1, there are still several stories from Island and Image+ that could use a collected edition, so hopefully Mirenda and last week’s Wytches: Bad Egg are indications of more to come. Caitlin Rosberg


Norroway Book 1: Black Bull of Norroway
Writer: Cat Seaton
Artist: Kit Seaton
Publisher: Image Comics 
Some readers may immediately recognize the title to the Seaton sibling’s new book as being a reference to the Scottish myth of the same name: a story about three sisters and a monstrous black bull that travels with the youngest. Norroway Book 1: Black Bull of Norroway from Cat and Kit Seaton seems to follow some of the traditional plot, but diverges in meaningful ways, with an adventurous young woman ready to travel out into the world alongside her bull companion. Artist Kit Seaton worked with Leila Del Duca on Afar, another Image title about a young woman, magic and big choices. Her work is pretty without being cloying, detailed but with enough flexibility to allow for fantastical elements on the page. The siblings have worked together in the past, and this is just the first installment in an all-new series they have planned, leaving the door open for more legends to be told and retold. Norroway is reminiscent of Jim Henson’s Storyteller—the sort of book sends not just the protagonist on a journey into another world, but the reader, too. Caitlin Rosberg


Outer Darkness #1
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Afu Chan
Publisher: Skybound/ Image Comics 
Sometimes a notable creator seems to “disappear” for a bit, as writer John Layman did after the conclusion of his smash-hit Chew in November 2016. It’s not that Layman was resting on his laurels—Leviathan with Nick Pitarra is a few issues deep now—but that making comics takes time. Outer Darkness, Layman’s new Skybound series with Immortal Iron Fists artist Afu Chan, was approved the very same month that Chew ended, almost exactly two years ago—but page after page of glorious Afu Chan art is more than worth the wait. It’s a mystery why he’s not more widely known, but hopefully this interstellar horror outing will change that. Chan simply stuns in each and every panel with an aesthetic and sense of motion that few artists can match. Letting him cut loose on alien, ship and monster designs only sweetens the deal. For fans of interstellar horror—and everyone who appreciates good art—Outer Darkness is a must. Steve Foxe


The Wicked & The Divine: The Funnies #1
Creators: Kieron Gillen, Chip Zdarsky, Kate Leth, Larissa Zageris, Kitty Curran, Hamish Steele, Erica Henderson, Margaux Saltel
Publisher: Image Comics 
Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s gods-as-reincarnating-popstars epic The Wicked & The Divine is nearing its long-planned finish, and I for one am already lamenting the loss of the only comic my boyfriend and I both enjoy. WicDiv is easily one of the strongest ongoing series on stands today, building an intricate mythic mystery and a complex cast of characters over dozens of issues, with Gillen, McKelvie, colorist Matt Wilson and letterer Clayton Cowles all working at the tops of their games. WicDiv: the Funnies #1 is classic Gillen/McKelvie: a one-shot that invites a host of creator pals to take the piss out of the concept, with shorts like “WicDiv, but dogs” from the likes of Chip Zdarsky, Kate Leth and Erica Henderson. Fans of the series who’re already sad to see it go should enjoy this collection of absurdities. Curious new readers…should start at the beginning. Trust me: it’s worth it. Steve Foxe

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