Comics We're Excited About for 9/21/2016

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Comics We're Excited About for 9/21/2016

Ohhhhhhh, it’s beginning to look a lot like Halloween/ Skeletons in ev’ry store. It’s late September, so you know what that means: CVS is stocked with cheap decorations, Whole Foods has moved its organic pumpkins near the checkout lanes and comic publishers are shipping their spookiest, most monstrous titles, offering Samhain-savvy readers a solid month and a half lead-up to All Hallow’s Eve. Bongo’s annual Treehouse of Horror issue, BOOM!’s yearly Spoooktacular (note the extra “o” for bonus spookiness) and a beastly Batman crossover all share shelf space this Wednesday, along with new launches from Eisner-nominated cartoonist Ethan Young, longtime collaborators Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña, DC superstar Francis Manupal and British Invasion vanguard Peter Milligan. Unfreeze your fake blood and dust off your imitation cobwebs: it’s a terrifyingly good week for comics.

Adventure Time 2016 Spoooktacula

Creators: Nikki Mannino, T. Zysk, Travis Betz, Meg Gandy, Justin Hook, Christine Larsen, Ruth Turner, Matthew Smigiel
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Ooo's premiere penguin, Gunter, is somehow at the core of this annual Halloween offering, filled to the brim with cartoon talent cultivated from the webcomic and small press scene. Adventure Time has long been BOOM!'s showcase licensed property, but it's often these side stories, in which creators are afforded more flexibility and showcase more spontaneity, that the results are most memorable. If nothing else, Couceiro Magno's cover showing Gunter astride The Lich, donning a crown of flames straight out of Hellboy, should be worth the price of admission alone. Steve Foxe

Batman #7

Writers: Tom King, Steve Orlando
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Publisher: DC Comics

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo routinely destroyed Gotham during their storied run on Batman, but nothing tears down a city like rampaging kaiju. For the first crossover of the Rebirth era, DC has enlisted Supergirl scribe Steve Orlando to co-helm the Bat-books as they enter "Night of the Monster Men," pitting the Caped Crusader and his allies against towering terrors brought on by a mysterious storm. Batman #7 kicks things off with prolific (and frequently horrific) artist Riley Rossmo joining Orlando and regular writer Tom King before the giant monsters rampage through Nightwing #5, also out this week. Artist Yanick Paquette flashes back to his Swamp Thing days to provide disturbing covers. Steve Foxe

The Battles of Bridget Lee: Invasion of Farfall

Writer/Artist: Ethan Young
Publisher: Dark Horse

The creator of Paste's favorite comic of 2015 veers into post-industrial sci-fi with this genre bending update of the Chinese folktale, Mulan. Ethan Young's penchant for humor, heart and heroism flows into this narrative of one woman's fight against a horde of alien brutes called The Marauders, and it's an engrossing experience. Complementing the genre veneer, Bridget Lee embraces the hard truths of combat, where the scramble for medical supplies and the acceptance of impending doom prove to be bigger battles then donning a mech suit. Young's sheer mastery of the cartoon medium and thoughtful rhythms are worth the price of any of his projects, but it doesn't hurt that this one is an electric analysis of gender roles in a cosmic wartime theater. Sean Edgar

Britannia #1

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Britannia isn't Peter Milligan's first Valiant offering, but it is his most original. After stints on longstanding company IP Shadowman and Eternal Warrior, the talent behind Shade, The Changing Man and the current questionably consensual Image series The Discipline has teamed up with artist Juan Jose Ryp for a tale of the "world's first detective." Set in 65 A.D. at the time of Nero, Britannia promises "terror, temptation and bloodshed" on the Roman frontier, presented in an oversized prestige format. Ryp is one of the only Avatar artists to break out of that company's gore-porn excesses to find mainstream work, but his gnarly origins should prove useful in realizing Milligan's horrific subject matter, and colorist mastermind Jordie Bellaire will surely elevate proceedings. Steve Foxe

Raven #1

Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Alisson Borges
Publisher: DC Comics

Raven, the Teen Titan most likely to shop at Hot Topic, got hit pretty hard in the New 52, ditching her widely recognized TV-friendly robe for vision-impairing haute couture and losing much of her familiar characterization in the process. The upcoming Ben Percy/Jonboy Meyers Teen Titans looks to return the demon daughter to a more recognizable iteration, but how to reconcile the change beyond "Dr. Manhattan did it"? Enter Raven's co-creator, Marv Wolfman, and artist Alisson Borges for this solo mini-series, first announced over a year ago. Bridging the gap between Ravens New and, uh, newly old, Raven drops the titular character in a high school with dark secrets lurking behind the lockers, and looks to put the spotlight on a longtime second-tier fan favorite sorely in need of character rehabilitation. Steve Foxe

Revolution #1

Writers: Cullen Bunn, John Barber
Artist: Fico Ossio
Publisher: IDW Publishing

As Paste's own Mark Peters has stated, licensed properties tend to go batshit creative when—and only when—multiple licensed properties cross over. This theory explains the unhinged cool of projects like Transformers Vs G.I. Joe, Archie vs. Predator and the recent Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens. With that equation in mind, IDW's Revolution should be an epiphany of bullets and imagination. Merging an entire shelf '80s toy porn, the miniseries tosses characters from Transformers, G.I. Joe, Action Man, M.A.S.K., Rom, Micronauts and Barnyard Commandos (maybe) into the narrative blender. With John Barber and Cullen Bunn at the helm, this series will most likely transcend shallow nostalgia and b-movie action set pieces, but we'd probably still buy it even if it didn't. Sean Edgar

Seven to Eternity #1

Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Jerome Opeña
Publisher: Image Comics

After years of playing in the sci-fi sandbox with projects including Fear Agent, Low and Black Science, it was only a matter of time before Rick Remender tackled fantasy, a genre he skirted in the biblical adventure Strange Girl. Seven to Eternity conjures deep questions in one man's war against a deity who manipulates the populace via word and promise. The levels of meta could go deep here, as the villains' modus operandi resembles what writers such as Remender do: form opinions, build arguments, cement philosophies through written communication. Frequent collaborator Jerome Opeña dresses these weighty issues in a world that looks flat-out majestic. Like an '80s celluloid barbarian epic crossed with a heavy dose of Moebius—magenta and cyan palate included—this is a world worth the visit for its scenery and demonic wolf-snakes alone. Fortunately, it appears as rewarding to read as it is to look at. Sean Edgar

Survivors' Club: The Complete Series

Writers: Lauren Beukes, Dale Halvorsen
Artists: Ryan Kelly
Publisher: Vertigo/DC

The all-too-brief nine issues of Survivors' Club featured a hook so deep and compelling that it felt as if it could have expanded endlessly: all the protagonists of every horror film scenario band together to make sense of their torn lives. It's the type of postmodern clever that elevated Drew Goddard's The Cabin in the Woods to cult-darling status and firmly enchants a nostalgia-starved generation. Novelist Lauren Beukes (Broken Monsters) and Dale Halvorsen keep the twists frequent and wet, while Ryan Kelly renders the ethereal and disturbing with clarity and perspective. If enough eyes fall on this trade paperback, maybe Vertigo will count some Club minutes in a sequel. Sean Edgar

The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror #22

Creators: Ian Boothby, Rex Lindsey, others
Publisher: Bongo Comics

Yes, The Simpsons has seen better days, and even the annual Treehouse of Horror episodes have waxed and waned in quality since the first seven or eight seasons, but there's something comforting about seeing the Simpsons clan getting in the holiday spirit each autumn. Bongo Comics often has a better grasp on the show's appeal than the current TV writers' room, and this year's trick-or-treat offers readers comedic takes on geriatric bloodsuckers, will-they-won't-they paranormal investigators and that funny ghost-related movie that no one saw because of sexism. Steve Foxe

Trinity #1

Writer/Artist: Francis Manapul
Publisher: DC Comics

Writer/artist Francis Manapul crafted some of the New 52's best-looking books between runs on The Flash and Detective Comics, and, with co-writer Brian Buccellato, proved he has the scripting chops to back up his lush, ink-washed visuals. Trinity gives Manapul a well-earned promotion, placing Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman in the cartoonist's sandbox. Given that Rebirth has so far seen a marked increase in optimism and, well, heroism, the prospect of Manapul's monthly take on DC's biggest heroes is beyond delightful—even if the pitch of the book highlights the confusing status of the new-old Superman, a plot point best pushed aside in favor of forging ahead into new territory. Steve Foxe

The Wicked + The Divine 1831

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stephanie Hans
Publisher: Image Comics

The last issue of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's pop culture think piece broached what can only be described as a new status quo. Conflicts were resolved, characters (probably) retired and new questions raised. To the unassuming, it was the kind of ending that would serve as a series finale. But for these creators, it's simply a mid-point with loads more to come as the godly teens who inhabit the book overcame a massive hurdle and are now left with themselves, suspended outside whatever rules governed them before under a former blood-thirsty chaperone.

For any hints at what may or may not follow, Gillen and guest artist Stephanie Hans offer this one-shot look at the pantheon of 1831. Familiar names including Hades (how we missed you), Inanna and Woden all make appearances, albeit possessing a cast that flits between Rome and Gothic mecca, the Villa Diodati. It's all frightfully cool, intelligent and provocative, which is to say it's another wonderful chapter of The Wicked + The Divine. Sean Edgar