Superheroes never die, and if they do, they don’t stay dead for long. DC’s Eternity Girl, whose second issue is out today, has Magdalene Visaggio, Sonny Liew, and Chris Chuckry asking a question that never comes up in comics: What if a being of sheer power, one who can shatter planets, one who can laugh off nuclear weapons, is suicidal? How far would they go to die? And who would they take down with them?
The first issue of Eternity Girl was a bit of a whole-plot reference to a classic issue of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, where Element Girl, in a similar situation, is eased into the afterlife. The second issue, though, has VIsaggio writing something spikier and frankly more honest. Eternity Girl is pretty much beyond being a hero, here. She’s depressed, she’s suicidal and if the only way to die is to destroy the linchpin holding the universe together, then so be it. It’s a more confrontational look at these issues than comics publishers generally allow, and it’s refreshing that Eternity Girl is a person we can feel for but not always like, even as it weaves together some larger metaphors.
Liew, meanwhile, probably best known for his spindly figures and attention to detail, gets a lot more creative breathing room than he’s generally allowed outside his personal projects. Asked to spoof the grandiosity of ’60s and ’70s cosmic comics, he does a note-perfect riff on Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, right down to Ditko’s bizarre galaxies and Kirby’s elaborate zig-zag-covered style. The result is something refreshing, a superhero comic that takes the tropes and styles we’ve come to expect and tell a personal and relatable story with them. Eternity Girl may only be up for a six-issue run, but it’s likely to stick with you for a long, long time.
Resident Alien: An Alien In New York #1, Dark Horse
Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse return to their country doctor/stranded alien/amateur sleuth Harry with a new mystery for him to solve. After years of hiding in rural Washington, and thinking he’s stranded on Earth for good, Harry finds out that he might not be alone, and a trip to New York is in order. Hogan and Parkhouse’s comic has always stood out for its careful pace and its gentle humanism; the mysteries Harry solves are often less about the thrills and more about the regrets we rack up in a life and how none of us ever quite fits in perfectly. If you’ve missed out, you can pick up this entry in the series from the start, and discover just why Harry is a unique alien, even in the world of comics.
Bloodshot: Salvation #8, Valiant
Jeff Lemire and Renato Guedes, who has painted the entire final issue of this arc, deliver what would seem to be a fairly typical story, at least at first. Loving dad Ray Garrison, who just so happens to also be the immortal killing machine Bloodshot, sells his soul to save his daughter. You can’t cut a deal with the ruler of the dead and not expect to get stabbed in the back, but just how that backstabbing happens, and what Ray finds himself expected to do, sets up a great new arc.
Dead Head #1, Image Comics
Kyle Higgins and Stephen Mooney tell a story of the end of the Cold War. Carter Carlson is big, blonde, heavily armed, deeply cynical and highly trained CIA field agent. In 1991, he goes into the deepest reaches of Russia and finds… something. Higgins and Mooney play just what close to their chest, and we won’t spoil it here, but their collision of post-Cold War paranoia and early ’90s anti-heroes — right down to Carter’s black mask with a red star outline, a delightfully cheesy touch from Mooney and colorist Jordie Bellaire — will likely pull you in, and make you wish issue #2 was already here.
RoboCop: Citizens Arrest, BOOM! Studios
Brian Wood and Jorge Coelho pick up a new RoboCop series set five years after Detroit collapses and becomes a privatized nightmare. Omni Consumer Products has “retired” Alex Murphy by making him unable to pick up a gun and introduced R/Cop, a new app where citizens report crimes for a bounty and robot cops provide the punishment. The book struggles, at times, to keep the satirical tone of the movie; it’s fairly clear Wood and Coelho have some opinions about the bizarre distributed surveillance state we all live in. But it feels, very much, like the film in some ways, and it brings up some fascinating questions about the public good, even as the R/Cop app, where you pay money to report crimes and get a bounty if your report ends in an arrest, feels a bit too frighteningly plausible.
Domino #1, Marvel: Gail Simone and David Baldeon give Marvel’s luck-themed superheroine a fresh, funny take in this newly launched miniseries.
Crude #1, Image Comics: Steve Orlando and Garry Brown follow a former hitman as he traces the path of his dead son, murdered in Blackstone, a futuristic oil refinery. But it’s really a story about failure, regret, and, chillingly, rage.
Dodge City #2, BOOM! Studios:
Josh Trujillo and Cara McGee’s delightful take on a dodgeball-obsessed school, and a team of misfits just trying to survive the season, continues to offer up some truly great laughs for anybody who hated gym class.
The Brothers Dracul #1, Aftershock Comics: Cullen Bunn and Mirko Colak offer up a very different take on the early history of Vlad Tepes, the Impaler, and just how he became so stake-obsessed.
Season Of The Snake #1, Titan Comics: Serge Lehman and Jean-Marie Michaud explore what it means to be human in a world where you don’t have to be in a fascinating comic.
This Week’s Best Collections
Algeria Is Beautiful Like America, Lion Forge ($25, Hardcover): In a mix of memoir and travelogue, Burton returns to her father’s homeland, Algeria, to try and understand both it and him.
B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know Volume 1, Dark Horse ($20, Softcover): Mike Mignola and Laurence Campbell offer up the beginning of the end of Hellboy’s former division in a corker of a finale.
James Bond: Kill Chain, Dynamite ($25, Hardcover): Andy Diggle and Luca Casalanguida deliver old-school Bond antics as the MI6 agent gets to the bottom of just who is trying to break apart NATO.