There are many comics coming out every month, it’s easy to lose track of promising new releases. That’s why we here at Critical Writ have started "Make a Solicit Check" — a monthly column devoted to the most interesting announcements.
This month: non-compliant ladies, ice-controlling superheroes and Lovecraftian eldritch monstrosities from beyond time.
10. Hush, Little Baby
Babyteeth #1 - Donny Cates, Garry Brown (Aftershock)
Oh, this one can go really good or horribly wrong. Thus far, Donny Cates had a winning string with Buzzkill, Paybacks, the amazing God Country and the upcoming Redneck; taking the fantastic and looking at it through a more human lens. For instance, God Country is Thor/Kirby's New Gods from the perspective of a family taking care of a member suffering from Alzheimer's, now cured thanks to a Mjolnir-like magic weapon.
This, though, will require more from Cates particularly; it's a Rosemary's Baby-style horror, told from the perspective of a pregnant teenage girl, whose baby will be the Antichrist. This type of horror can be already exploitative of fears and anxieties related to pregnancy, and taking an underage mother's perspective can turn it into a interesting story — or make it even more exploitative, depending on how it is written. Fingers crossed that Cates manages to make it work.
9. One Flew Under the Cuckoo's Nest
The Unsound #1 - Cullen Bunn, Jack T. Cole (Boom! Studios)
Cullen Bunn's Marvel output is mixed, but his creator-owned stuff, especially of the horror genre like Harrow County is top notch. This time, he's trying his hand at a horror set in a psychiatric hospital, which could turn out interesting, or tread old grounds by demonizing people suffering from mental illness. Our protagonist, Ashli, starts her new job in one of the aforementioned hospitals, only to find a new, darker world set in its bowels. I'll say this: even if the writing turns out to be disappointing, at least the art is going to be amazing. Just look at this cover.
8. Ice, Ice, Baby*
Iceman #1-2 - Sina Grace, Alessandro Vitti (Marvel)
The reveal that Bobby Drake of the X-Men is gay was met with trepidation. On the one hand, yay for increased diversity in mainstream comics! On the other hand, the handling of the reveal is commonly considered to be awkward, making the person responsible for the reveal –Jean Grey– look invasive and unconcerned with the privacy of Bobby's thoughts. There's also the fact that Iceman's had a sizable list of female love interests, so identifying him as gay is a bit weird when other orientations like bi or pan seem more fitting. Regardless, it's a new world for Bobby Drake, with his first ongoing solo ever. Sadly, yet in line with Marvel's other picks for RessurrXion (ugh), it will not be written by a gay man (or even a bi or pan one), but a straight man. Of course. Let's hope it's at least enjoyable enough.
*Oh like you wouldn't have done that yourselves.
7. It's Not Easy Being Dead
September Mourning, Vol. 1 - Mariah McCourt, Emily Lazar, Sumeyye Kesgin (Image)
So here's a weird thing: generally the word "volume" is reserved for collected editions and graphic novels that are part of a series. Even Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire's A.D.: After Death, despite each of its three parts being extensively longer than a regular issue, refers to each of them as an issue. So this new series, using the word "volume," should be a graphic novel and thus noticeably more expensive, right? Except it's only twice as long as a regular issue and it costs only a dollar more than any other new Image series.
In any case, the series sounds pretty interesting. Created by an all-female team, it'll tell the story of an amnesiac girl turned into a human/grim reaper hybrid by a former Reaper of the lonely, injured and abused. Left in charge of the souls of the "worthless", she aides them in remembering and finishing the last thing they left undone in their lives.
September Mourning, Vol. 1 is set to be released on June 14.
6. Heartbreak Hotel
Heartthrob Season 2 #1 - Christopher Sebela, Robert Wilson IV (Oni Press)
I really like Oni Press's seasonal model of releasing its original comics; on the one hand, it allows creators to test the waters, to see if readers like the concept. It allows them to release shorter and easier to produce regularly stories, with breaks between seasons allowing them a manageable production schedule. On the other, readers get a chance to test new stories from new creative minds and see if they can provide a satisfying payoff without needing to invest in a long-running title that can go off the rails before reaching the destination that might not even be worth the journey. Everybody wins.
Heartthrob is proof it works. Its first season, released in 2016, told the story of Callie Boudreau, a terminally ill woman saved by a heart transplant (at the time when this procedure was revolutionary), who discovered that along with a stranger's organ she also got his soul in the deal, sharing her mind. What followed was a story of love, crime, Fleetwood Mac and the eventual breakup. Now Callie's in hiding from the FBI in Canada, trying to live a normal life. Except Mercer is still inside her mind, waiting for his chance at payback.
Heartthrob Season 2 #1 will be released on June 7.
5. Fghtan! Fghtan! All-Ages Fghtan!
Calla Cthulhu - Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Erin Humiston (Dark Horse)
H.P. Lovecraft is a touchy subject in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror fandom. On the one hand, he create possibly the world's first and most enduring modern mythology that influenced many works in ways big or small. On the other... the guy was a horrible racist prick with questionable writing skills. Luckily, you don't have to enjoy him or his work to enjoy anything influenced by it, including this all-ages comic. Calla Cthulhu (quality pun) is a regular teenage girl except for the fact that in her veins runs the blood of the Great Old Ones. When others take summer jobs at McDonald's, she has to battle otherworldly threats, like her uncle, the King in Yellow. And this time, she also has to stop a terrifying Dread Dead One from awakening in the ruins of R'yleh. Written by Evan Dorkin (Beasts of Burden) and children's author Sarah Dyer, it's promising to be a fun read, with a subtle smattering of scares.
Given that it's an advance solicit, you'll have to wait until August 16 to read it.
4. Lon the Professional
Beautiful Canvas #1 - Ryan Lindsay, Sami Kivela (Black Mask Studios)
I love how exciting and unpredictable Black Mask's output is. This time, we have a story of a hitwoman named Lon Eisley, hired to kill a little boy—only a few days after finding out her girlfriend is pregnant. She spares the kid and together they hit the road across the dystopian world, which sounds like it's influenced by the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas aesthetic.
3. Heroes We Need
Secret Weapons #1 (of 4) - Eric Heisserer, Raúl Allén, Patricia Martin (Valiant)
I honestly feel bad for not covering Valiant often enough in those columns. This indie superhero publisher has built itself a nice niche, and I can only compliment its release strategy. Knowing full well it isn't as big a fish as either of the Big Two, Valiant doesn't overstretch its capabilities, only releasing generally about a dozen titles (ongoings and miniseries) and primarily investing in quality by hiring talents like Matt Kindt, Jeff Lemire, Fred Van Lente and Jody Hoser.
Sadly, few releases means not every character gets their chance to shine. And out of all its characters, few have been as underutilized as Livewire. This African American female technopath has been part of the universe since its reboot in 2011, and a key member of Unity; the publisher's Avengers/Justice League equivalent. Well, in June she'll finally get her chance to shine. Written by the screenwriter behind the Oscar-nominated Arrival and upcoming Valiant superhero movies (Harbinger and Bloodshot), this comic will see Livewire build her own team from people ignored by the universe's greatest villain, Toyo Harada, in his quest to build an army that would turn his vision of a utopia into reality. Where he saw disappointments, she sees talent that can be utilized. Secret weapons, if you will.
Secret Weapons #1 will be released on June 28.
2. The B Is Back
Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1 - Cheryl Lynn Eaton, Andrew Aydin, Conley Lyons, Maria Fröhlich, Joanna Estep (Image)
There hasn't been a new Bitch Planet issue for a while now, and the store shelves are poorer for its absence. To make up for it, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentino DeLandro are bringing a special anthology special issue for this feminist sci-fi satire comic. Written and drawn by creators hand-picked by DeConnick and DeLandro, the three stories featured promise to provide us with the series' trademark revolutionary rage and biting criticism of real life patriarchy. This series has been deeply missed, so it's fantastic to see it return with a bang.
Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1 is set to be released on June 14.
1. It's Just Another Freaky Friday
Crosswind #1 - Gail Simone, Cat Staggs (Image)
She may be taking a break from mainstream comics, her hit Vertigo horror series may be on hiatus, and her all-ages Wonderfalls book may be still in development, but there's still one title by comics queen Gail Simone to look forward to. Announced in late 2015, her ongoing that mixes body-swapping and mob stories will finally see the light of day. Ever since her exclusivity contract with DC ended, Gail has been on a roll, releasing quality series one after another, so this especially worth looking forward to.
Crosswind #1 is set to be realeased on June 21.
TRADE-SPOTTING - JUNE 2017 EDITION
(NOTE: many of the below trade solicits are advance solicits and won’t be released until August or later.)
Boom! Studios: Mega Princess (August); Namesake (August); SLAM! Vol. 1 (August)
Dark Horse: Dead Inside Vol. 1 (August 2)
DC Comics: Clean Room. Vol. 3: Waiting for the Stars to Fall (July 12); Deathstroke. Vol. 2: Gospel of Slade (July 5); Frostbite (July 26); Midnighter and Apollo (July 19); Mother Panic. Vol. 1: A Work in Progress (July 26); Shade, the Changing Girl. Vol. 1: Earth Girl Made Easy (July 12)
Image Comics: Descender. Vol. 4: Orbital Mechanics (June 21); Monstress Vol. 2 (June 21); The Wicked + The Divine. Vol. 5: Imperial Phase (I) (June 7)
Marvel: Ghost Rider. Vol. 1: Four on the Floor; Hulk. Vol. 1: Deconstructed (July 12); Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Vol. 3: The Smartest There Is; Ms. Marvel. Vol. 7: Damage Per Second (July 19); Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! Vol. 3: Careless Whisker(s) (July 19); The Totally Awesome Hulk. Vol. 3: Big Apple Showdown (July 12); U.S.Avengers. Vol. 1: American Intelligence Mechanics (July 19)
Oni Press: Angel City: Town without Pity (August 16)
Dominik Zine is a nerdy demisexual lad from northeastern Poland and is generally found in a comfy chair with a book in hand.