1. Wayward (No. 1, Aug 2014, Image) – Jim Zub, Steve Cummings & John Rauch
Yet another gorgeous, creator-owned Image #1 makes it to the top of my weekly pull list. A labor of love from Zub and company, Wayward has resparked my interest in dense East Asian cityscapes and Japanese folklore. The story thus far: Recently estranged from dad, our young budding heroine Rori arrives to Narita Airport to attempt to start a new life with mom in Tokyo. The twist: Urban living in Tokyo is surprisingly dangerous. So much so in fact that Rori will be strained to hone and develop a newfound superpower that will become vital to navigating Tokyo’s twisted streets and haunted back alleys. Entropy readers in particular may appreciate the fact that each issue will feature an academic essay about Japanese monsters and folklore. An excerpt from last month’s issue:
Traditionally the size of a small person, kappa appear as humanized turtles, complete with shell and beak. . . . Once worshipped as gods of the rivers . . . they are now viewed as little more than mischievous imps – albeit dangerous. . . . Their favorite foods are . . . a magical ball that resides in the human anus which kappa forcibly rip out in brutal attacks. . . . In Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s 1927 book Kappa, they are portrayed as having a society of radical capitalism, where poor kappa are slaughtered as food for the wealthy class. / In modern Japan, kappa experienced a renaissance lately, depicted as children’s toys or cute, harmless mascots for sushi restaurants. But underneath the plastic smiles and friendly waves lie the brutal monsters of folklore.
2. Adventures of Superman (No. 16, Oct 2014, DC) – Joe Keatinge, Ming Doyle, Jordie Bellaire, Brent Schoonover, Nick Filardi, David Williams, Al Gordon, Jason Wright, Tula Lotay, Jason Shawn Alexander & Lee Loughridge
A brooding meditation on the near immortality of the last son of Krypton, Adventures of Superman is quickly turning out to be my favorite Superman title in DC’s current bloated catalog. Perhaps because Superman is not a creator-owned property, he’s such a tricky character to get right. But DC, it appears, is quickly realizing that inviting talents to go where they will is probably the best bet. Entropy readers in particular will appreciate the fact that the newest issue of Adventures of Superman explores many of the dense, existential themes of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic Interstellar.
3. The Multiversity (No. 1, Oct 2014, DC) – Grant Morrison, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Nei Ruffino
Retailers have been recommending Multiversity to fans who enjoyed Crises on Infinite Earths. However, the book is really for anyone who cares to see where Grant Morrison’s head is at these days. Expect to see all of your favorite DC characters as they would exist in a parallel reality, including a black Superman, a dwarf Wonder Woman, and a female Aquaman. A dense metanarrative of a read, prepare to block away a good chunk of an afternoon to contemplate the scary dialectics that is Grant Morrison’s imagination.
4. Dark Horse Presents (No. 1, Aug 2014, Dark Horse) – Geof Darrow, Dave Stewart, David Mack, Peter Hogan, Steve Parkhouse, Brendan McCarthy, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Damon Gentry & Aaron Conley
56 pages of madcap experimentation, the first issue of the newly formatted Dark Horse Presents will appease both longtime DHP fans and first-time readers. If you’re like me and you were a fan of the 1999 Fox Kids series Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, then you’ll certainly want to check out creator Geof Darrow’s newest take on the unlikely duo. I have a feeling that Entropy readers in particular will appreciate Damon Gentry and David Mack’s formal attempts to innovate the standard multiple-panel sequence and complicate what are usually quite static individual panels.
5. The Delinquents (No. 1, Aug 2014, Valiant) – James Asmus, Fred Van Lente & Kano
Whether you’re a longtime fan or never heard of Quantum and Woody, the first issue of The Delinquents may just make you laugh outloud. The premise: Treasure hunt/joyride across America using a secret underwear map to find “the great treasure of the hobos!” Entropy readers will also get a kick out of the fact that The Delinquents is evidently the world’s first board game/comic book. Just cut out the player tokens and game cards from the back pages of each issue.