Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski's The Madness is a super-powered revenge thriller

The Madness #1 cover.
(Image credit: AWA Studios)

J. Michael Straczynski is returning to comics with super-powered revenge thriller, The Madness, in August.

The new series, drawn by ACO and published by AWA Studios, follows Sarah Ross, a young woman with amazing powers who has been stealing from the rich. This brings her to the attention of some very bad people, one of whom targets Sarah for assassination. While she escapes, her family is killed in the hit. Grief-stricken - and dealing with the sudden appearance of an imaginary friend - Sarah sets out to get revenge.

Straczynski said of the new series: "I love writing stories about atypical heroes. I wanted to play with the idea that we all have another side of us deep within that isn't comparable to what we show people in everyday life. And - when that part comes out - how destructive it can really be, regardless of intent. It was a joy to develop Sarah, a complicated and passionate lead character seeking accountability, in the world that is The Madness, especially working with a talented artist like ACO to bring it all to life."

Axel Alonso, chief creative officer at AWA described the book as, "An adrenaline-pumping page turner with artwork so eye-catching that readers will be forced to linger on those pages that they're so desperate to turn, The Madness brings a deeply psychological take to superhero comics."

The six-issue series is also getting a set of alternative covers in the style of iconic punk albums. We've got all six below, including covers based on Black Flag's Six Pack, The Cramps' Bad Music for Bad People, Sex Pistols' Nevermind the Bollocks, and more. AWA said the covers, drawn by Chris Ferguson in collaboration with various (still to be announced) artists, expressed, "a shared attitude between the books' themes and the punk music genre."

J. Michael Straczynski is, of course, the award-winning creator of beloved science fiction saga Babylon 5 - which is due to make an animated comeback soon. He was also (with the Wachowski sisters) the co-creator of Sense8

Straczynski has also had an illustrious comics career, having penned Amazing Spider-Man for Marvel between 2001 and 2007, the three volumes of Superman: Earth One for DC, various Beyond Watchmen spinoffs, and much more. He was named head of the creative council for Artists Writers and Artisans (AWA) in 2020. 

ACO is the artist name of Alex Cal Oliveira, who has pencilled for Marvel, DC and other AWA projects.

You can check out several pages of The Madness below.

The Madness #1 is published by AWA on August 9.

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Will Salmon
Comics Editor

Will Salmon is the Comics Editor for GamesRadar/Newsarama. He has been writing about comics, film, TV, and music for more than 15 years, which is quite a long time if you stop and think about it. At Future he has previously launched scary movie magazine Horrorville, relaunched Comic Heroes, and has written for every issue of SFX magazine for over a decade. He sometimes feels very old, like Guy Pearce in Prometheus. His music writing has appeared in The Quietus, MOJO, Electronic Sound, Clash, and loads of other places and he runs the micro-label Modern Aviation, which puts out experimental music on cassette tape.