Another year in comics is behind us, and there’s a dizzying array of new books on the shelves from 2015. We’ve got just the ticket, with a string of comics that launched this year and that are the must-reads.
The Omega Men
Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda take what could have been a Guardians of the Galaxy knock-off and change it completely: The Omega Men aren’t heroes. They’re terrorists. Turning a bunch of swashbuckling space opera heroes into brutal, ruthless, morally conflicted killers is largely an excuse for King and Bagenda to explore just what drives someone to those kinds of depths. Bagenda’s command of tone and King’s insight into human desperation, something reflected in his other DC series The Sheriff of Babylon, make this a unique book and one you can’t miss.
Steve Orlando and Aco are putting out what might be the most delirious, manic superhero book on the stands right now. But for all the brutal violence and smart-ass remarks, what anchors this series is Midnighter himself. If the guy were just an arrogant jerk, the book would be grating, but Orlando and Aco wisely contrasts Midnighter’s revelry in brutal violence with his far different personal life. Honestly, too often in comics, gay people are presented as if being gay were a random factoid, like where they went to college or their hometown; it has zero impact on the story or the character. And while there’s something to be said for not treating anybody’s sexuality as a big deal, it happens so often in so many books it feels a bit like a cop-out. That Midnighter has an openly gay man struggling with relationships, going out and finding a boyfriend, and unabashedly flirting with Dick Grayson is not only refreshing, it gives the book more flavor and focus, and makes Midnighter more than just the Batman parody some might mistake it as.
Howard the Duck
Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones offer up an affectionate satire of the Marvel Universe’s quirks and unquestioned assumptions, while skewering superhero tropes and coming up with bizarre, off-kilter plots into the bargain. Which doesn’t mean they’re not fully capable of nailing you right in the feels, as the most recent issue proved. Hilarious, smart, and unique, this is everything you want out of a humor comic.
The Vision has built a family, moved to the suburbs, and gotten a government job in Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s new book. It’s all perfect suburban life until his “wife” murders the Grim Reaper and becomes the target of an unknown blackmailer. That this is the Vision struggling with his humanity versus his nature in four different ways just makes this dark suburban noir all the better.
It’s understandable if you see Yet Another Steampunk Book, you might pass it on the shelf. But don’t be fooled: Lantern City‘s steampunkiness is just a backdrop to a deeply complex and rich story of one man trying to save his family and tied up in a mess of intrigues and obligations. It’s a story where there’s no real bad guy; even the worst of the worst are just trying, ultimately, to survive.