1. Harrow County #1
Cullen Bunn explores his literary side with a horror tale set in the Depression that follows a young girl who may have incredible power… which may be used for evil ends. What stands out most here is Bunn, freed from having to write supervillains, delivers a far more tender and complex story than you might expect from the creepy cover or his other horror work. Tyler Crook happily backs it up with some great watercolor and character work; the art is rich and detailed, but Crook never wanders away from the story, and he delivers some great, subtle chills. This is up to Dark Horse’s incredibly high standard for horror, to say the least, and definitely worth the read.
2. Astro City #23
Sticks has the same story a lot of us do: Authoritative upbringing, strict military discipline, and an escape, first figurative into music he never thought was possible, and then literal, as he heads to the big city to chase his dream.
Okay, so he’s also a talking, military-trained gorilla. There’s that detail. What makes this issue work is that Sticks is just so damn relatable: He’s a decent guy who does the right thing and really just wants to play music… but life keeps getting in his way. It’s a lovely, funny, low-key, heartwarming and even heartbreaking story, perfect for jumping onto if you’ve been curious about this book.
3. Rebels #2
Brian Wood and Andrea Mutti’s gritty, ugly ground war gets a tense second chapter. What’s great about this book is that Seth, little more than a teenager, is already waging war, and with little preaching and more violence than you’d expect. It’s a surprisingly hard-edged book and a nice piece of historical fiction. It’s also a bit more accessible than the first issue, so grab it for a change of pace.
4. Howard The Duck #3
Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones once again bring their cockeyed sense of humor to the Marvel Universe, complete with Aunt May robbing convenience stores and Howard discovering that no matter what obstacles he puts in its way, the universe will find a way to rob him of still more of his dignity. Admittedly, a book for Marvel nerds to some degree, but really, isn’t a book about being nearly killed by the elderly universal?
5. The Injection #1
Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey are working together again, after their superb run on Moon Knight, and it’s about a team of… not quite paranormal investigators. They’re emotional and physical train wrecks, but unfortunately eldritch horrors don’t wait for you to get a sandwich. The series is to some degree Ellis up to his usual tricks, but the dry humor and grounded sensibility make it engaging, and overall it’s well worth picking up.