Image in April is an embarrassment of riches. With so many excellent ongoing series, it’s almost too easy to miss the new debuts. Fortunately, we’re going to get a couple of those too. Check out the fun, the dark, and the weird things Image has in store for us, not to mention a major Marvel writer making his Image debut!
10. Brubaker Blues
As Brubaker gets more work outside of comics, his returns to the medium that made him famous start to become rare treats. This new issue of “Kill or Be Killed” looks like business as usual for the series — wild murders with detectives only a few steps behind — but that’s a good thing. Brubaker’s partnership with Sean Phillips is one of the classic modern duos, and a new issue in their only current ongoing is always a treat. The two of them work so well so consistently, business as usual is the best kind of business. You know what you’re getting on one of their collaborations and it’s going to be a dark, shadowy noir throwback. Sometimes reliability beats surprise.
KILL OR BE KILLED #18
STORY: ED BRUBAKER
ART: SEAN PHILLIPS, ELIZABETH BREITWEISER
COVER: SEAN PHILLIPS
APRIL 18 / 40 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
While Dylan’s been locked away inside, the vigilante has been running wild on the streets—but how is this possible? Featuring the return of Detective Lily Sharpe, who is hot on the trail of the masked man! And remember, each issue of KILL OR BE KILLED contains extra content and articles only available in the single issues.
9. This future is brought to you by the Carlyle Corporation
The actual monthly comic “Lazarus” is great. It’s a thrilling dystopian corporate sci-fi answer to Game of Thrones. It’s probably the story I think comes closest to what the future will actually look like. Isn’t that depressing? Part of the reason it gets so much right is how much research is put into it, giving it one of the richest settings in comics. The future history seems palpably obtainable, and the technology is all based on things being researched right now. The depiction of family-owned corporations at war doesn’t feel cyberpunk, it feels CNN. When all of that world-building is published in a single volume, not only is it a fun look at all the work that goes into this series, it’s probably a handy roadmap for the future. Which damn, is depressing.
LAZARUS: SOURCEBOOK COLLECTION, VOL. 1 TP
STORY: GREG RUCKA, NEAL BAILEY, DAVID BROTHERS, ROBERT MACKENZIE, GARETH-MICHAEL SKARKA, DAVE WALKER, ERIC TRAUTMANN
ART: MICHAEL LARK, OWEN FREEMAN
COVER: ERIC TRAUTMANN
APRIL 25 / 152 PAGES / FC / M / $16.99
Collecting the first three LAZARUS SOURCEBOOKS, covering the lands ruled by Carlyle, Hock, and Vassalovka, now in one volume. With revised and expanded content, including additions to reflect developments in LAZARUS as the series moves into the year X+67 with “FRACTURE,” beginning summer of 2018.
8. Three series, one baseball bat, no problems
My high school English teacher was pretty cool and he had cool English teacher tastes in comics. His favorite was Matt Wagner’s “Mage.” I don’t think I was smart enough to pick up on all the subtleties of this series when I was a stupid teen but I’ve found myself returning to the first two entries in the “Mage” epic again and again. ‘The Hero Denied’ is going to be the conclusion of the entire series and #8 is the halfway point. From here on out the final few issues are going to take their time coming out, letting us savor every remaining installment in this sprawling saga. In other words, it is the perfect time to catch up on a challenging, amazing series that you probably haven’t read. Or if you have, you probably forget exactly how wild it is. The point is, now’s a better time than ever to hop on board the adventures of the most unlikely of kings.
MAGE: THE HERO DENIED #8 (OF 15)
STORY / ART / COVER: MATT WAGNER
APRIL 18 / 32 PAGES / FC / T+ / $3.99
MATT WAGNER’s classic saga of comics fantasy continues in the third and final part of his epic MAGE trilogy. Kevin Matchstick’s obsessive search for a mysterious creature has left his family vulnerable to attack from the Fairy Realms, even as the Umbra Sprite’s bounty on the Pendragon’s head leads to disaster. Faced with the unthinkable, Kevin must fight off devastating despair if his family has any hope to survive. MAGE: THE HERO DENIED is a 15-issue limited series climaxing in a double-sized finale. Issue number eight marks the halfway point for the series, which will, as previously announced, skip a month every fourth issue, returning with THE HERO DENIED #9 in June.
7. This future is brought to you by mad science
What is it about 2018 that makes all the dystopic sci-fi feel like required reading? I don’t know but it’s gotta be something right? “Evolution” (which sadly is unrelated to the movie masterpiece by the same name) forgoes the usual environmental apocalypse, political collapse, or zombie plague for something much more fun: mad science gone awry. With every other apocalypse feeling ripped from the headlines, it’s nice to be dealing with insane, and sometimes inane, pulp. Consider this your balance to “Lazarus,” the silly fun dark dystopia. Besides, the solicit says that “everything changes after this” and when was the last time you heard a solicit claim that? Oh, it’s all of them? Well fair enough, but rogue scientists vs the Catholic Church is still a book worth checking out.
STORY: JAMES ASMUS, JOSEPH KEATINGE, CHRISTOPHER SEBELA, JOSHUA WILLIAMSON
ART / COVER: JOE INFURNARI, JORDAN BOYD
APRIL 18 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
Humanity is undergoing rapid evolution, and the rogue Dr. Hurley must take drastic measures to ensure humanity’s safety. Meanwhile, Hannah discovers that the Catholic Church is harboring dangerous secrets, while Rochelle reveals a dreadful surprise to her girlfriend. Everything changes after this….
6. Swingers in a dangerous time
One of the cool things about comics is how it has historically been a medium that lends itself well to exploring elements of counterculture. Comics are cheaper than movies and that makes the barrier of entry much lower, giving all sorts of people chances to tell all sorts of different kinds of stories. Even with wider release, that gateway to counterculture has never gone away and can reach more people than ever. BDSM romance is definitely now a well-known scene, but a widely misunderstood one. That’s where Stepjan Sejic’s “Sunstone” comes in. No comic finds more romance or humanity in any sort of relationship than “Sunstone.”
“Swing” is a spin-off series. It explores the lives of swingers trying out an open relationship to help rekindle their own love. Typically in romance fiction, “open relationship” is a euphemism for a relationship that’s not working. Not so in “Swing,” which delves deep into the emotions and the logistics of the sort of communication that goes into polyamory. Basically, you’re looking at a sweet and relatable love story. That sounds nice.
SWING, VOL. 1 OGN
STORY: MATT HAWKINS, JENNI CHEUNG
ART / COVER: LINDA SEJIC
APRIL 25 / 128 PAGES / FC / M / $9.99
Spinning off from the universe of SUNSTONE comes a slice-of-life romantic story about a couple trying to regain the sexual energy from the beginning of their relationship by swinging with other couples. An emotional journey of two people fighting to stay in love.
5. The Patience of a saint
You probably know if you are a “Kick-Ass” fan or not by now. If you are, hey, the third issue of the exciting new ongoing. New protagonist, new conflict, and no end in sight. If you’re not, the series is so ubiquitous you’re probably are keeping up with it, if only through osmosis. New hero Patience Lee is already generating a lot of buzz and this issue looks like it show us what’s going on in her head than any issue yet. Plus, we’re all fancasting her for a future movie, or listening to Millar talk about how much he’d love to see Tessa Thompson play the lead role. This issue can be your imaginary Tessa Thompson dream movie delivery service for now. Knowing Millar, the movie can’t be too far off.
STORY: MARK MILLAR
ART / COVER / VARIANT COVER: JOHN ROMITA JR.
APRIL 18 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
KICK-ASS IS BACK. Patience Lee’s shaking up the city’s organized crime rings to feed her family and give stolen money back to the community. But the enemies she’s making have friends in low places, friends that will avenge their bosses come hell or high water. The city’s most violent offender is fresh out of jail, and he’s got Kick-Ass in his sights. The third installment of the high-octane, blood-soaked return of KICK-ASS from MARK MILLAR and JOHN ROMITA JR.
4. That Rat thinks she’s the Queen of the neighborhood. I got news for you: she is.
With all of its ups and downs, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and write off “Rat Queens” as more trouble than its worth but actually the series has never been better. Writer Kurtis Wiebe has found more focus than with any arc since the first one. Artist Owen Gieni joins the pantheon of talent working on the series. It feels like Wiebe has stopped buying his own hype, which threatened to consume the first volume of the series. Instead, he’s focused on telling a more straightforward fantasy adventure. That’s great. It gives Gieni the space he needs to go really wild. The Queens are facing off with an evil wizard. It doesn’t get much more simple than that. That means that it’s all about the execution, and watching the most likable screw-ups in comic bicker as they enter trippy drug-addled adventures is a godsdamned delight every month.
RAT QUEENS VOL. 2 #9
STORY: KURTIS J WIEBE
ART / COVER: OWEN GIENI
VARIANT COVER: LEILA DEL DUCA
APRIL 04 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
“THE COLOSSAL MAGIC NOTHING,” Part Four
Whatever happened to crazy, baldheaded Hannah? Why hasn’t she been locked away in a dimensional prison? Dee comes face to face with the mysterious reality wizard and learns that she’s behind it all.
3. Royal guard/Evil spell/Lost throne
I’m a sucker for new #1 issues, and fantasy comics in particular. Skimming this solicit, you can find such lovely phrases as “captain of the royal guard,” “suffering under the effects of an evil spell,” and “only hope of returning Queen Olwyn to her throne.” I’m an easy mark for stuff like that. But then you see that this is part of the creative team from “Gotham Academy” and suddenly this moves from another fun fantasy series to a must-read. Can you imagine a kingdom drawn by Karl Kerschl? I can’t, which is why I’m going to have to get this issue to find out what sorts of gorgeous landscapes and terrifying creatures live in his brain, and how he uses soft-focus and vibrant colors to give them to me.
STORY: BRENDEN FLETCHER, KARL KERSCHL
ART: KARL KERSCHL, MSASSYK
COVER: KARL KERSCHL
APRIL 04 / 32 PAGES / FC / T+ / $3.99
Childhood friends BRENDEN FLETCHER (MOTOR CRUSH) and Eisner Award-winning storyteller KARL KERSCHL (Gotham Academy) reunite on the comics page with a breathtaking fantasy adventure two decades in the making! The captain of the Royal Guard has fled the capital city with the Queen of Maar, suffering under the effects of an evil spell. Captain Rook’s only hope of returning Queen Olwyn to her throne and saving the kingdom from impending war lies on an island half a world away—a place known in myth as Isola, land of the dead. Featuring lush color work by MSASSYK (Gotham Academy) and letters by ADITYA BIDIKAR (MOTOR CRUSH). Recommended for fans of Studio Ghibli and the work of Hayao Miyazaki.
2. A magical rave in a wizard cave
My enthusiasm for “Curse Words” hasn’t abated. I want to hang out with Wizord and Margaret (#TeamMargaret), I want to see what evil shennanigans Jacques Zacques and Sizzajee get up to. What I didn’t know is that I wanted an entire issue of Ruby Stitch rocking out at a rave. Just look at that cover! She looks so happy, and that outfit makes me want an entire magical “Curse Words” clothing line. Ruby Stitch has been one of the more enigmatic characters in the series thus far, but the more time we spend with her, the more I want to get to know her. Up to now, she’s been absolutely miserable, but seeing her smile on the cover makes this look like the happiest comic of the month. We all deserve a little bit of happiness, and a magical rave in a wizard cave might be the happiest place in the hole world.
CURSE WORDS #13
STORY: CHARLES SOULE
ART / COVER: RYAN BROWNE
VARIANT COVER: ZANDER CANNON
APRIL 18 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
“THE HOLE DAMNED WORLD,” Part Three It’s the social event of the season! Ruby Stitch is throwing the biggest shindig New York City has ever seen, a true wizard party—consequences be damned! Meanwhile, Margaret is making friends in prison, and the demon Sizzajee reveals a fundamental, shocking truth about the nature of the Hole World.
1. This solicit will self destruct
Gerry Duggan is already a writer I really like. He took up a lot of thankless tasks at Marvel and never failed to turn out a book that was readable at the worst of times, and sometimes veered into brilliance. He wrote a better “Nova” than Jeph Loeb, a better “Guardians of the Galaxy” than Brian Michael Bendis, and a better “Hulk” than Mark Waid. Giving him a creator-owned Image book is a cool idea, but this isn’t what I’d expect. “Analog” has a sharp sci-fi premise (what if privacy concerns forced society to move back off the internet?) and a fun noir style. The thing is, high concept sci-fi and shadowy noir aren’t what I expect from Duggan. He’s more of a irreverent hijinks kind of guy. That either means that this book is going to have a vastly different tone than I expect, or Duggan is going to be trying something entirely new. Either way, this is the story he wants to tell, and that has me itching with curiosity. I’ve got a feeling this is gonna be a really good one, maybe even a great one.
STORY: GERRY DUGGAN
ART / COVER: DAVID O’SULLIVAN, JORDIE BELLAIRE
VARIANT COVER: DECLAN SHALVEY
APRIL 04 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
CHAPTER ONE Five years from now: the security of the internet has been totally destroyed. Secrets are no longer sent over the web, they’re entrusted to armed couriers called “Ledger Men,” like human punching-bag Jack McGinnis. He’s got a gun in one hand and a briefcase handcuffed to the other. Danger lurks around every corner, and Jack has to watch his back—because he had a part in the cyber attack that changed the world. Get in on the ground floor of this new ongoing series and thrill as we slam Jack’s fist into the faces of spies, mercs, fascists, and eventually less punchable adversaries like a very grumpy artificial intelligence. From your new favorite artist, DAVID O’SULLIVAN, and GERRY DUGGAN, The New York Times bestselling author of such indie titles as Deadpool, Star Wars: Chewbacca, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Uncanny Avengers!