Comic Book Picks of the Week, 09/25

Wednesday is new release day in the world of comic books, and perhaps it has something to do with our current residence in The Darkest Timeline™, but the major publishers just have some kind of thing for their bad guys and gals lately. DC has decided to make 2019 "The Year of the Villain" while Marvel has realized how much untapped real estate the new Star Wars movies have given them in the form of mysterious baddies who need backstories. Writer Charles Soule is evidently quite nervous about his upcoming Star Wars "The Rise of Kylo Ren" series, wherein a lot of the missing details from Episodes VII and VIII reside. Don't worry, Mr. Soule, I'm sure the entire Internet will ravenously help you with what they think "should" happen. Poor dude, he's coming right out and saying "Some of you are going to hate me after this," because he knows his audience, now. Well, you either die the hero, or you...yadda yadda yadda.

The following picks from my pullbox release today, September 25 at digital retailers and local comic book stores near you:

Detective Comics #1012
If you're a fan of "Heart of Ice," the Emmy-winning episode of Batman: The Animated Series that successfully redefined Mr. Freeze as a sort of Shakespearean tragedy character, this issue might interest you. All Victor has ever wanted is to revive and cure his beloved wife Nora. That's the impetus for every horrible thing he's ever done. But what happens when Lex Luthor helps to make it possible? Expect Batman to take issue with the methods of the mad scientists, and maybe even some agency for Nora as a character, at long last?

Writer Peter Tomasi is a DC veteran going back to the "Battle for the Cowl" days of Nightwing and Batman and Robin as well as co-writer of the Green Lantern-centered Blackest Night and Brightest Day storylines. I'm detecting a pattern here: Tomasi has a knack for character motivation. Makes perfect sense that he would be tapped to help us empathize with the Rogue's Gallery.

Pencils are by Doug Mahnke, who has collaborated with everyone from Ed Brubaker on The Man Who Laughs and Grant Morrison on Final Crisis. Funny enough, his earliest prominent work was on The Mask for my beloved Dark Horse Comics.

Dr. Mirage #2
The Valiant comic book universe is one of my very favorite, and there's no better time to jump in before all the characters are optioned as films or shows (Dr. Mirage is apparently on her way to the CW, while Bloodshot is an upcoming Vin Diesel film). From Magdalene Visaggio, the Eisner and GLAAD Media Award-nominated writer of Marvel's "Eternity Girl" and Dark Horse's "Calamity Kate," we have the latest incarnation of the supernatural detective who has herself become a ghost! This time out, Shan Fong Mirage is teamed up with an emotional teen. And also, where is Shan's husband Hwen? Rumor has it, this issue addresses his absence from the new run so far.

Visaggio made a big splash last year with her collaboration with Umbrella Academy creator (and former My Chemical Romance frontman) Gerard Way, but this character is a terrific fit for her, as is Nick Robles' dramatically textured and shaded art. My first encounter with Robles was the comic adaptation of the Rush concept album Clockwork Angels--written by one Kevin J. Anderson of Star Wars expanded universe repute--and it's such rich steampunk aesthetic they built for one of my favorite bands. That's a solid recommend as well.
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