‘Death Of Love’ Tops This Week’s Best Comics

Senior Contributor

Image Comics

Justin Jordan, in the afterword of Death Of Love, the first issue of which is on stands today, makes no bones about his protagonist Philo. Philo, in Jordan’s words, is an @$$hole. He thinks he’s nice, but he isn’t. He thinks it’s women’s fault they can’t see what a nice guy he is, but it’s not. And Philo is about to learn the hard way just what an @$$hole he really is.

We’ve had a long cultural lingering on what it means to be a Nice Guy (as opposed to a decent person) and what Jordan does here is lay out why otherwise intelligent people fall into the trap of assuming that kindness is a form of sex coupon. Philo isn’t evil, just stupid and self-involved enough to believe love is a transaction and he’s getting stiffed on the deal, but that’s more than enough to screw up his life. And then when Eris comes along with the apple (a pill, in this case), his stupidity leads him to discover that cherubs with bows and arrows are real. And also not happy with him.

Donal Delay, who handles art, and Omar Estevez, on coloring duties, strike a fairly careful balance here. The book is just cartoony enough to emphasize the comedy of attacking cupids with a chainsaw, but it also draws from reality enough that you feel like you’ve met Philo, stupid hat and all, in the street. The main question, of course, is whether Philo can pull his head out of his ass long enough to realize his romantic failures are his own fault, but it’ll be a fun ride in the meantime.

Aftershock Comics

Cold War #1, Aftershock Comics

Christopher Sebela and Hayden Sherman go full dystopian science fiction in their new book, where a sociopathic soldier is thawed out and immediately dumped into a war where he doesn’t understand the motives or side… and really doesn’t care that much, either. Sherman’s gritty, angular art emphasizes the shock and trauma as people completely unprepared for a Warhammer 40,000-esque super-war go into it and, well, you can guess how it ends for most of them. There are already hints as to what’s going on, but it’ll be fun to see how Sebela and Sherman riff on this classic SF trope.

Marvel Two-In-One: Fate Of The Four #3, Marvel

Chip Zdarsky and Valerio Schiti riff not just on the Four here, but on the classic Marvel idea of how superheroes and supervillains are their own little cottage industry. They have their own bars, they have their own tailors, why not have their own doctors? Zdarsky’s love of Marvel has shone through all during this series, and Schiti has an absurd amount of fun delivering classic Marvel fighting with a twist.

Ninja-K #4, Valiant

Ninjak has always been a strange mix of ’90s excess (he’s James Bond, except a ninja, after all) and, in the modern day, espionage drama about how serving country can destroy self. Christos Gage and Juan Jose Ryp have been exploring the flip side of that, an “acclimation bureau” who enjoys agents like Ninjak never make friends, never form connections, never lose sight of the job. And yeah, it’s every bit as violent and unpleasant as it sounds, but Gage and Ryp strike a balance between the high dramatics of James Bond movies and the ugly business of espionage in a way that keeps the books action-packed and fun, but still with real emotional weight.

Kill Or Be Killed #16, Image Comics:

Dylan, the homicidal vigilante, is locked up in a mental hospital, for entirely unrelated reasons. Unfortunately, somebody else has taken up his mask, and if that weren’t enough, the question of Dylan’s sanity has taken a much more complicated tone. Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Elizabeth Breitweiser have pretty much completely disassembled the “white urban vigilante” trope at this point and we’re starting to delve into darker, more fascinating territory as they ask the question of what’s justice, what’s vengeance, and what’s simply a justification for your own actions.

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