Tag Archives: archie

Preview: Archie #6

ARCHIE #6

Script: Mark Waid
Art: Veronica Fish, Andre Szymanowicz, Jen Vaughn, Jack Morelli
Archie #6 CVR A Reg Cover: Veronica Fish
Archie #6 CVR B Variant: Derek Charm
Archie #6 CVR C Variant: Marguerite Sauvage
On Sale Date: 2/17
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

The biggest comic series of the year continues into 2016! Archie and Jughead are on the outs with each other, and now Archie has no one to help him against the fury that is Hiram Lodge!  Not even Veronica wants to go up against her own father!​ Rising star comics artist Veronica Fish (Howard the Duck, the RIVERDALE CW promo image) joins the legendary Mark Waid for another brand new issue of the hit series!

Archie#6

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day tomorrow, and we’ll have our picks as to what you should check out in a few hours.

Until then, here’s some comic book news and reviews from around the web.

Around the Tubes

Newsarama – Report: Gambit To Begin Filming In March – Bets if this’ll be a disaster or not?

ComiChron – The 2015 Two Thousand: Sales estimates for 2015’s Top 1,000 comics and Top 1,000 graphic novels – Some great data on 2015.

ComiChron – December 2015 comics sales estimates online: Secret Wars #8 leads with 170k copies ordered – More good comic data!

Radio Times – Stan Lee on his failing eyesight: “I can’t read comic books anymore” – This is really sad news.

GamePolitics – Nintendo claims fanboy’s YouTube video, fanboy extends middle finger – DMCA = broken.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Archie #5

CBR – Bitch Planet #6

Around the Tubes

It’s a new week! What did folks think of the Golden Globes results last night? Discuss om the comments below!

While you talk, here’s some comic news and reviews and reviews from around the web.

Around the Tubes

9 News – Thief steals 4,000 comic books from man with cerebral palsy – What a scumbag.

NBC News – First Black Woman to Open Philly Comic Shop Talks Diversity – Great read, and road trip!

ComiChron – Comichron’s Top 300 Bestselling Comics of the 21st Century: Star Wars #1 is #1, huge 44 titles from 2015 make list – Some interesting info.

ComiChron – Secret Wars, Private Eye top December comic charts in strong finish to 2015 – And more interesting info!

Black Nerd Problems – It’s Time to Talk About the Worst Magical Girl Anime Of All Time – Sounds interesting.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

The Herts Advertiser – Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows

Talking Comics – Archie #5

Black Nerd Problems – Bitch Planet #6

Black Nerd Problems – Jumbe #1

The Herts Advertiser – Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Deadpool

Black Nerd Problems – Princeless: Make Yourself #0

Black Nerd Problems – Rat Queens #14

Talking Comics – Sheriff of Babylon #2

Black Nerd Problems – The Ultimates #3

Talking Comics – Uncanny X-Men #1

CBR – The Vision #3

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/1/2016

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

The Last Contract Main Cover by Lisandro EstherrenHeroes Vengeance #3 (Titan Comics) The more I read this series the less I seem to like it, but much like the  TV show I just can’t turn away. It might get better! Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read…?

Archie #5 (Archie Comics) This is one of those series that’s just fun. There’s no superhero action here what so ever, despite the writer, and it has been a breath of fresh air for me. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Swamp Thing #1 (DC Comics)* is apparently far more polarizing than I expected. After reading Patricks’ review (you’ll find that a bit further on) I felt compelled to pick this issue up. In a time when comics often have numerous art focused scenes it’s nice to get a comic that has a lot of text within it’s pages, reminding me in many ways of both the earlier Swamp Thing comics and how the page layouts looked when I first started reading comics. There’s a bit of a slow build here, with Len Wein really taking his time in setting the story that has echoes of an early era. You’re either going to like this, or you’re really not. I expected this to be at best average, but I was pleasantly surprised. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read (with caution)

The Last Contract #1 (Boom! Studios) Well holy moly. This is great. Dark, gritty, with the promise of something lying just beneath the surface ready to tear you to pieces. This comic is a tour de force that is absolutely  worth your time – which is impressive coming from a guy who usually only reads superhero comics. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Gutter Magic #1 (IDW) A stunning mix of steam punk and magic, coupled with some jaw dropping artwork make this first  issue worth picking up, and the series something to add to your pull list. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

 

Brett

A-Force #1 (Marvel) – I enjoyed the miniseries this spun off from, but this first issue is a stumble. It’s not exciting, nor has enough to get me excited. It fills like a middling Avengers comic. Overall: 6.4 Recommendation: Pass

Bitch Planet #6 (Image Comics) – It’s been a whole since we’ve seen this series and while I anticipated its return, this issue was a bit of a stumble. A stand alone issue that pulls the curtain back, the story feels more like a sci-fi Law & Order: SVU than the smart commentary we’re usually accustomed to. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Black Science #19 (Image Comics) – Wrapping up the current arc in a way, we learn more about Grant and things begin for the next great adventure. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

The Last Contract #1 (BOOM! Studios) – I liked the first issue of a hit man finding out who wants him dead. There’s a solid homage of the genre that it clearly loves. Overall: 7.2 Recommendation: Read

Letter 44 #22 (Oni Press) – That reveal at the end, holy crap. Loving this mashup of politics and sci-fi. It continues to surprise. Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

Nailbiter #19 (Image Comics) – One of my favorite comics. The search for the George serial killer is fantastic and there’s some great twists here. I seriously have no idea where it’s going. Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

Rocket Racoon and Groot #1 (Marvel) – An interesting debut, but how this fits in to the other comics that are out featuring these characters makes it have little sense. This is an example of overuse of characters. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Spidey #2 (Marvel) – Much improvement over the first issue. There’s a lot of good, but the comic still is just missing something for me. It feels like a mediocre miniseries rehashing the character’s origin, updating it, but giving us little that’s new. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Totally Awesome Hulk #2 (Marvel) – I hated the first issue, and this one is an improvement, but not enough to get me to continue reading. The strongest part is it’s mystery of what happened to Bruce. Overall: 6.2 Recommendation: Pass

 

Patrick

SwampThing_001_cvr_Jones_56240e9bab2e83.86181442Detective Comics #48 (DC Comics)*: While I’m still not used to Jim Gordon as the Batman, I do enjoy seeing him struggle to fill Bruce Wayne’s shoes. Watching him make mistakes adds something to the book you don’t get to see with Bruce Wayne… a guy in overhead his head trying his best. And the gimmicky nature of the murders he’s investigating harkens back to classic Batman stories, an interesting bit of nostalgia as everything else about Batman is new. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read.

Injustice: Gods Among Us – Year Five #1 (DC Comics)*: The best comic book based on a video game based on a comic book ever written returns! Following Plastic Man inadvertently releasing all of the prisoners held by Superman’s regime, Superman and his cronies are trying to put everyone back while Batman sets out to create another unholy alliance. You might say you can’t expect it to go very far because it’s only the first issue (of its fifth year), but considering the story really started in the Year Four: Annual maybe some sort of plot development would have been fair. And stop making Hal Jordan a “funny man”. If you want a funny Green (or Yellow, in this case) Lantern, you should have picked Kyle Rayner. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Swamp Thing #1 (DC Comics)*: This book was admittedly a disappointment. Unless what you have been demanding all this time was to watch Swamp Thing wrestle an alligator. In fact, the most implausible part of this book about a mass of vegetation with human consciousness hanging around a swamp is when two people show up in the swamp to ask said mass for help. As though it were on their list of errands. No, maybe the most implausible was Swamp Thing essentially responding with, “Okay, I have nothing better to do.” Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Spider-Man/Deadpool #1 (Marvel Comics)*: Put two of the funniest characters in their own series and what to do you have? Two people bemoaning their own potty-humor, actually. Things don’t really need to make sense when Deadpool is involved, but a plot device that put the two together would have helped go a long way, rather than Deadpool hiring someone to pretend to be Dormammu for… actually, I’m not sure how that was supposed to aid Deadpool’s plan to get Spider-Man to work with him. Instead, you side with Spider-Man’s reluctance to have anything to do with the laugh-less title. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Star Wars #14 & Star Wars: Darth Vader #15 (Marvel Comics)*: Reviewed together because they came out on the same day, are of the same caliber and conclude the same story, “Vader Down”. The last half of the series really revved up and became increasingly entertaining. These last issues make for the most enjoyable Star Wars you can have, on paper or on the silver screen. If only Hollywood were taking their cues from Marvel. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy (but a collection would be better than title-jumping through your back issues)

Squadron Supreme #2 CoverSquadron Supreme #2 (Marvel Comics)*: Some good moments here and there. Nighthawk stands out as the character to watch, certainly the most intense and interesting of the Squadron. Hopefully the series isn’t suggesting that Hyperion is going to take a job as a truck driver. Squadron Supreme has been looking for its readership for decades and suffering a great many changes and incarnations along the way. Hopefully that balances out and this title holds its own until Marvel decides to cancel all its titles and relaunch everything again. So… give it a year. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Uncanny X-Men #1 (Marvel Comics)*: What was one of the longest running titles in comic books is relaunched again as a blatant X-Force rip-off. It’s a bit like watching your dad get his ear pierced only to realize, “No… you’ll never be young again”. The cast is interesting, though Sabretooth as a good guy will always be a disappointing sell-out and the presence of the Psylocke/Archangel pairing really highlights the parallels to X-Force. X-Force was great… but Uncanny X-Men is supposed to be a prestigious flagship, not a transparent attempt to recapture the gritty eighties and nineties. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #1 (Image Comics): Great art, so-so story. Yes, we all agree that dog-fighting is inhumane (most of us do, anyway) and plugging in dragons instead of dogs in a depression-era story… one of these things is not like the others. Someone walking into this without having read the previous work is likely to think it very odd the way dragons are almost a humdrum aspect of the story… and they wouldn’t be wrong. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Bitch Planet #6 (Image Comics): As always, a well-stylized, entertaining book. The one question, though, is if the read would have been as compelling if not for the disclaimer. The book leads with a warning that it features sexual assault, promising that the events of the sexual assault will be limited to this issue and not revisited later. It prepares the reader for the worst and consequently, the reader races through the book in dread anticipation of the horrific inevitable. In the end, not to marginalize sexual assault, I was left wondering if I missed a page. Considering the exploitive nature of Bitch Planet and the state of graphic content in comic books, the warning seems disconnected from the content. Are the editors really afraid of offending readers despite the gratuity of the book or was it a cheap ploy? Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read (and then tell me if I’m just desensitized).

 

Paul

the ultimates #3Ultimates #3 (Marvel) * The team has been successful in further evolving Galactus and has transformed him into a force of giving life..and his first act has been to restore life to the first planet he fed upon. The Shi’ar Imperial Guard discovered this and forwarded the information to Gladiator, who is, surprise surprise, not pleased with Earth for their actions. I wonder why it is the Shi’ar are never happy..I mean Galactus is no longer a devourer of planets, and still Gladiator gets all up in Earths face about it…maybe it’s the mohawk? I digress, now the team want to look into fixing the space/time continuum problem. Yeah, nothing can go wrong there. I do enjoy this team and the banter between them, but I find the scope of their missions a little ‘out there’ traveling through deep space, superflow, neutral zone, blah blah..starting to read like stereo instructions, to paraphrase Beetlejuice. Is this an Avengers team necessary of the time and resources they have been given? That remains to be seen. But the art is beautiful.  Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read 

Uncanny X-Men #1 (Marvel) * So the mutant population is facing yet another life changing event; the terrigen cloud making its way around the world is slowly killing the mutant population as well as sterilizing those who survive, ensuring that no new mutants will emerge. This leaves those mutants remaining as easy targets, and that threat needs a response just as threatening; enter the Uncanny X-Men. Magneto has gathered a group of X-Men not afraid to get their hands dirty to protect mutants from those who would take advantage of this current situation, but in this first issue, we see they aren’t going to let other mutants take the easy way out either. I really like the team roster in this book, though have a little issue with Archangel being some mindless ‘drone” being controlled by Psylocke (though I’m sure this will come to blow up in their faces in the upcoming Apocalypse story arc). I was a little let down with Magneto, as I enjoyed him more in his solo book then I did in this first outing in this first issue, but it didn’t ruin the book for me. I also enjoyed the blast from the past at the end of this issue. And Greg Land’s art is exactly what I expected, beautiful as ever. I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next issue. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

 

Shean
MIRAGE-SEC_001_VARIANT_EVANSThe Death Defying Doctor Mirage: Second Lives #1
 (Valiant) The story of Shan Mirage and her husband Hwen, is story of heartbreak , loss, redemption , justice and. Undying love, which the first volume of this ongoing series covered well. In the beginning of this new volume, deals with the reality of their lives since his untimely physical death,while they thrust themselves into new adventures.Van Meter Is seemingly getting more personal the more she writes these characters much to the reader’s benefit as the overall story becomes richer. The art by De La Torre is interesting, abstract and very much George Perez in the best way. Overall:10 Recommendation: BUY NOW

 


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Preview: Archie #5

ARCHIE #5

Script: Mark Waid
Art: Veronica Fish, Andre Szymanowicz, Jack Morelli
Archie #5 CVR A Reg Cover: Veronica Fish
Archie #5 CVR B Variant: Thomas Pitilli
Archie #5 CVR C Variant: David Williams
On Sale Date: 1/6
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

The biggest comic series of the year presses on! Betty and Jughead have declared war on Veronica over the heart and soul of Archie Andrews!  Who should you be rooting for? You might just be surprised by the answer! Rising star comics artist Veronica Fish (Pirates of Mars, the RIVERDALE CW promo image) joins the legendary Mark Waid on creative duties for this brand new issue!

Archie2015_05-1

Brett’s Best Comics of 2015

It’s the first day of a new year and so that means I’m posting my “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2015. Generally these are comic books that came out in 2015, though some are from earlier times and I got around to reading them, or limited series that continued. Keep in mind, this is what I have read (and does not reflect what other contributors to this site might think). If it’s not on here, I just might not have read it.

This was a particularly tough year of choices with some categories easily having their own top ten or twenty-five. Check out below what made the cut!

Best Super Hero Comic – Captain Canuck

Captain.Canuck 1 cover2015 continued the diversification of the comic industry and we saw an explosion of new comic characters and series that looked a lot more like us, the readers. But, for all of that, many of those series brought with them over the top violence or were aimed at specific audiences. That’s why Chapter House Comics‘ relaunch of Captain Canuck was such a fresh series and hero in 2015.

The comic series and character seem to embody Canadian ideals well and the series is a perfect example of a superhero series that can be enjoyed by both adults and kids alike.

Within its pages, there’s action and fighting, but what’s shown isn’t over the top, taking on a more PG/PG-13 tone compared to a lot of what else is out there. The series also celebrates the diversity that is Canada with characters from numerous backgrounds, including First Nations, and regularly uses French (without translation) to great affect. Plus that design is badass.

Each issue also gives you two-for-one, with a back-up story of equally high quality and fun. A retro tale of a Captain Canuck of the past, I’ve enjoyed these stories so much, I’m hoping Chapter House spins them out in to their own sister series or a regular anthology.

This is a series where the hero is one who not only wants to stop the bad guy, but also won’t put innocents at risk and go out of his way to protect them. Add on to the fact that he’s surrounded by a diverse cast, with actual depth, and we have a comic that can be enjoyed by all. This is a series to watch in 2016.

Runners Up:

  • COPRA – There’s some arguments to be made that Michel Fiffe‘s indie series about a group of raftag characters should be the top pick, and there was long thought about if it should, it’s that good. Out of all of the series I read this year, this is one that delivered with every single issue. This is a comic that shows that superheroes aren’t the domain of just two companies anymore.
  • Midnighter – Writer Steve Orlando‘s series has gotten me interested in a character I seriously had little interest in before. He’s take a one note character and added tons of depth showing that superheroes can be more than just punching.
  • The Omega Men – Writer Tom King took this ragtag group of characters and has given us a maxiseries that explores revolution/terrorism in so many ways. This is one to read once collected if you haven’t started yet.
  • Plutona – Is it a superhero comic? So far I’d say yes. Jeff Lemire is a master writer and Emi Lenox‘s art is fantastic. This is basically Stand By Me with superheroes and it’s a series that I want to see what happens next. With just a few issues so far, it has completely sucked me in.

 

Best Non-Super Hero Comic – Southern Bastards

southern bastardsWelcome to Craw County, Alabama, home of Boss BBQ, the state champion Runnin’ Rebs football team…and more bastards than you’ve ever seen.

Jason Aaron and Jason Latour have created a Southern gothic noir series that once you think you’ve got it down, pulls the rug right out from under you.

This series was my top pick last year, and it has continued to show with each issue why it deserves to continue to be so praised. Each volume has given us a new twist and new perspective on the greater world they’ve put together and Aaron and Latour aren’t afraid to bring the violence and make us wince.

It’s a brilliant exploration of the Southern community, especially its focus on sports and football. This is one of my first reads with each issue that comes out, and I have never known where it was going next. An original in every way.

Runners Ups:

  • Archie – I care about an Archie comic!? Archie took a gutsy chance and reworked their entire line. While it has failed with two other relaunches this year, this series (as well as Jughead) has been a standout for it’s new take on the classic character.
  • Bitch Planet- The series continues to explore tough topics and continues to entertain while doing so. This is a comic with a message, and it pulls it off with every single issue.
  • Descender- Jeff Lemire makes it on the list again, but this time with art by Dustin Nguyen. This sci-fi series is so hard to describe revolving around an android that looks like a little boy. Every issue is a treat to read, and Nguyen’s art helps with beautiful visuals.
  • Fresh Romance – Romance comics are dead! Who’d read them?! Well Janelle Asselin (a some times contributor to this site) proved folks wrong Kickstarting this line of comics that’s a romance anthology. Every issue has delivered with fantastic stories and extras like advice columns. Expect this series to be copied (poorly) in 2016.

 

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Secret Wars: Secret Love

secret wars secret love 1 coverMarvel’s Secret Wars as a whole was an event that started off strong and then sputtered along the way. However it did give us at least one highlight, and that’s Secret Wars: Secret Love.

Four stories that vary in tone and look, this comic is a spotlight on so many creators that should have been at the forefront of the All-New, All-Different Marvel.

Secret Wars: Secret Love was so good, with so many varied talented creators, it was a reminder how much Marvel dropped the ball with its relaunch just a few months. Whitley not on a Misty Knight series? Cmon! Michel Fiffe not being given something! Marguerite Bennet, Katie Cook, Felipe Smith, Gurihiru, Kris Anka, this comic was filled with folks who are comic stars. This is the type of creative line-up I’d be building a line around.

It was just a one shot, but when I was done it was clear I want more of this!

Runners Up:

  • The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage – Valiant cranked out so many good series this year, their miniseries especially were good. This one took on the new Doctor Mirage in a series that had her going to the other side and exploring her own past. This was a miniseries that in a short time gave us lots of depth, entertained, looked so good, and did it all in a short period of time.
  • Justice League: Darkseid War: Green Lantern – DC Comics released a series of one-shots for “Darkseid War,” and one stood above all others. The comics were supposed to explore what happens when regular humans get godlike powers, and this one did an amazing job as Hal Jordan was presented withed difficult choices. A great read all on its own.
  • Lady Killer – A suburban housewife is actually a contract killer. The comics was entertaining with a kick-ass female lead. The miniseries was fantastic playing with so many stereotypes and genres. This is Mrs. Smith, without the Mr.
  • The Paybacks – Mixing superheroes and comedy this miniseries has delivered. This comic has gotten me to laugh with every single issue and one of the downer moments of the year was the fact this wasn’t an ongoing series.

 

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Mike’s Place

MikesPlace-300RGB

There was one graphic novel that haunted me for a good chunk of 2015, and that’d be Mike’s Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv.

Written by Jack Baxter and Joshua Faudem, Mike’s Place is a graphic novel spun out of their experience that you can see in the documentary Blues by the Beach. What was supposed to be a movie celebrating Israeli life, and the peace found between Israelis, Palestinians, folks of all different backgrounds, who come together in a bar, instead it captures tragedy, and perseverance.

The graphic novel grips and effects you at a personal level. Part of that is due to the fact it’s both tragic and uplifting. The lead up, and post event accounting of what happened shows strength in tragedy, it’s a mesmerizing, and in ways uplifting, story.

Beautifully haunting, Mike’s Place is a graphic novel that sticks with you for days and weeks.

Runners Up:

  • The Arab of the Future – A biography of Riad Sattouf’s life as he navigates between Libya, France, and Syria. The graphic novel originally came out in French in 2014 and was released in English in 2015. The graphic novel is absolutely fascinating, and makes Sattouf’s life entertaining.
  • The Fall of the House of West – The latest entry in Paul Pope‘s Battling Boy line of comics, this has the early years of the West family and everything from its pint sized hero to pint sized format is a win. This is fun pulp comics.
  • March: Book Two – The second volume of Congressman Lewis‘ biography recounting his life in the Civil Rights movement. Much like the first, the second volume will be taught in classes for decades to come.
  • The SculptorScott McCloud‘s latest graphic novel has its fans and haters. The graphic novel follows an artist who makes a deal with death and has a finite time to live. The story is haunting and one that’ll have you debating with your book club.

 

Best New Series – Monstress

Monstress01_Cover

Monstress kicked off with a triple-sized first issue (60 pages!), and even when you got to that last page, it didn’t feel like enough. The series is a magical world (pun intended) that mixes so many genres that there’s a little something for so many. Fantasy, steampunk, Kaiju, anime, it’s all here mixed together in an amazing combination that seamlessly flows together.

I think what’s more impressive is the inclusion of political and societal commentary within, and doing so in a way that doesn’t come of as preachy, and is almost not noticeable. The story at it’s core is about a woman, a minority, fighting against the oppressive majority. Choices to have what seems like a matriarchal society changes that context into something more than a woman fighting the patriarchy which the series could have easily been (and it still would have been great I’m sure). Instead it gives us women who are good, evil, and somewhere in between painting a broad swath that can be debated for hours on end. It’s this type of layering of ideas, themes, and concepts that has created one of the richest debuts of the year.

In two issues Monstress feels like a thought out world with a history that goes back decades. Battles are referenced, events mentioned, it all feels like its been thought out and meticulously put together. Add on top of that women (well character really) of all types, shapes, sizes, skin color, and you have what is a diverse, in many ways, debut. All of that together creates the best debut of the year.

 

Best Single Issue – Batman #44

Batman #44 CoverBatman has gone through a fascinating shift this year as Bruce Wayne lost his memory and James Gordon stepped in as the iconic hero in a new mechanized suit that’s more anime fighting robot than the great detective we’ve known.

The series has also brought us a new villain in Mr. Bloom who is a great addition to Batman’s rogues and feels like a worthy adversary.

Through all of that, this comic, which focuses on Bruce Wayne’s Batman, is the best single issue of the year of any comic as it shows us something we’ve never seen before in comics, a Batman who actually focuses on the interplay between institutional racism and economic injustice.

Titled “A Simple Case,” the issue was written by regular series writer Scott Snyder who was joined by Brian Azzarello, we find out the issues Batman faces here are anything but simple and more complicated than any villain he’s faced.

For an issue we see how superhero comics can address actual social and economic issues we face today such as gentrification, institutional racism and bank’s disinvestment in communities. But, more importantly, addressing those issues and entertain at the same time.

Add on top of that the usual beautiful art, this time by Jock, and you have a comic you can read on its own, and the best single issue this year.

 

Best Event of the Year – Book of Death

BOD_TPB_COVER_GILLWho has the best superhero universe out there today? That’s not the big two, the answer actually is Valiant who continued in 2015 to show off quality comics filled with quality writing and art.

Not only does the publisher put out great comics every month, but they also have figured out how to weave in major events in to their universe and make it new reader friendly.

Book of Death saw the Eternal Warrior with the newest Geomancer from the future on the run trying to both dodge and take on a great evil pursuing them. Along with the main series, we got a glimpse in to Valiant’s future along with the end of many of its heroes.

The battles felt epic, the use of characters were great, the story progressed at a nice pace with each issue being vital. Add on top a series of one-shots all of which were at least good, and you have the making of an epic tale.

But, what’s even more impressive is the fact that Valiant has figured out the outro in many ways with their events leading in to natural changes for their line of comics and characters.

They’ve consistently put out quality, and continue to do so with their events. I usually shudder when I hear some major comic event is coming, but with Valiant, I look forward to it in anticipation.

Runners Up:

  • Darkseid War – A good event should be epic, and DC’s storyline event currently running through Justice League qualifies. The story has been building for some time, but the Anti-Monitor has arrived to battle Darkseid, and many of the issues have left us with imagery that feels massive in scale. Hopefully the second half delivers as much as the first.
  • Secret Wars – So much good, and so much bad here. Delays and the second half that hasn’t quite delivered as much as the first has tarnished what started off as Marvel’s best event in some time. Still, there’s absolutely this world changing event hasn’t been absolutely huge touching every corner of the Marvel Universe. With one issue to go, the series isn’t perfect, but it does deliver a game changing event.
  • Transformers: Combiner Wars – This was a story that hit so much nostalgia, but what I think as really impressive was the synergy across platforms. Comics, toys, video games, they were all in sync and it all worked together very well.
  • The Valiant – Did you read about Book of Death above? Everything there can be applied here in what is the prequel that eventually led in to Book of Death.

 

Best Genre of the Year – Indie Comics/Small Publishers

Is it a “genre”? We can argue about that, but lets face it, 2015 was a year we saw major creators continue to shrug off the big two, instead launching creator owned series at other publishers, digitally or through Kickstarter. We saw more comics, in more varieties, on more subjects and more ways to consume them, than any time before. It really wasn’t the year of the Big Two, this was a year that we as consumers could continue to find something that would fit our varied tastes.

With more channels for distribution and more ways to produce comics, we’re in a golden age where the old ways of publishing no longer hold back the creativity that abounds.

We named Indie Comics “it” in 2013 and 2014, and nothing changed in 2015. There’s a massive opening for someone to step in and be a mainstream breakout, maybe 2016 will be the year we see it.

 

Best Surprise of the Year – DC Comics

dc-logo-252x3002015 was a year that it was cool to shit on DC Comics. But, for the bad, their best is some of the best. Batman, Batgirl, The Omega Men, Justice League, Midnighter, Prez, Bizarro, Doctor Fate, We Are Robin, Grayson, Black Canary, Constantine the Hellblazer, Cyborg, DC Comics Bombshells, Martian Manhunter, and lots more hit the shelves each week and show off the new quality of a publisher that has been in second place for so long. Add on top of that a resurgence and reinvigoration of Vertigo.

After sputtering for some time, the company shook up their line of comics with Convergence which saw the recreation of the multiverse and opened up the possibilities to tell stories out of continuity and with numerous versions of classic characters.

The company also decided to expand of the success they saw with Gotham Academy and Batgirl, trying new things with new series many receiving critical praise though middling sales.

The company continued to expand upon its digital first program, and has begun to look towards expanding its market with its DC Super Hero Girls line. 2016 sees the real launch of their new movie universe after dominating on television.

The company has really turned the ship around and 2015 was a stellar year that you can see them right the ship while continuing to be faced with criticism from armchair experts.

The dots are all there, now we’ll see if the company has the vision to connect them all.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Kickstarter

KickstarterLast year’s disappointment continued to be so, as projects were delayed, vapor ware, or not as advertised. Also add in issues on the creator end of folks pledging high amounts and then disputing the charges, at times getting the goods. Add in the platform’s unwillingness to step in to deal with either situation and you get a tech company showing off it’s greed. What was once the toast of the town has shown its cracks which will only get worse.

The crowdfunding platform became a way for creators to raise funds for projects, only to get picked up by publishers, at times delaying projects and leaving bad tastes in the mouths of fans. If all creators were held to the standards of some of the best users of the system, there’d be no issue, but over 90% of the projects I’ve pledged to have been delayed or non-existent only creating angry backers and fans.

These issues have lead this site to rethink what we promote and how we do so, no longer choosing comics to promote, as we feel some responsibility for things gone wrong and your dollars being held hostage.

Kickstarter continues to be tone-deaf, and it’s only a matter of time before someone stands up and challenges the platform with a system that’s fair to creators, and protects those who pledge.

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

 

Publisher of the Year – None of the Above

This one I’ve thought about the most out of all of the categories on the list. I keep going back and forth between Image, BOOM! Studios, Valiant, Action Lab, IDW, First Second, and so many more. For each strength one brings to the table, they also have major weaknesses. Whether it’s a focus on a genre, pigeonholing themselves with adults, failure in digital, a mix of quality of comics, none of them are at least good everywhere. But, the comic industry has really grown in 2015 with no one breaking out as THE publisher to rival the big two. Partially that’s because so many have stood out with some of what they’ve done.

Both DC and Marvel have stumbled in 2015 (though DC has shown improvement in many ways, see above), and it’s everyone else that has stepped up in an attempt to fill the gap left by the big two.

Image has become of the home of amazing indie comics by big name creators, but they generally lack a kids line that gets the next generation of readers. BOOM! has had a great mix of comics, but they’re missing that ongoing series that goes on for 30 to 50 issues. Valiant is quality all around and have tried some interesting market tactics, but you have to like superhero comics, Action Lab is a solid up and comer with good consistent releases. IDW has shown its possible to do great licensed comics, while First Second has fantastic graphic novels of all sorts. The year also saw newcomers like 451 Media, Aftershock, and Double Take, but each are having issues getting the word out.

Out of all of that, where’s the standout above everyone else? They’re all good in their own ways, but each have some flaws, with some of those flaws being pretty big. After a lot of deliberation, I couldn’t decide on one, so I chose none.

Much like I said about DC, each publisher is close to going huge, it’s just taking someone to connect those dots. Or maybe no one will, and it’ll be up to the individual creators to fill up the gap.

Archie Comics in March 2016

THE BLACK HOOD #10

“The Lonely Crusade, Part 4” When he donned the Black Hood, Greg Hettinger swore to keep the awful truth from those he cares about most—his partner Devon, his friend Jessie. But he’s going to have to break those promises if he’s going to survive the death trap that the Crusaders have prepared for him… and nothing will ever be the same.

Script: Duane Swierczynski
Art: Greg Scott, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Rachel Deering
The Black Hood #10 CVR A Reg: Francesco Francavilla
The Black Hood #10 CVR B Variant: David Mack
On Sale Date: 3/23
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

BlackHood#10 BlackHood#10macksvar

THE HANGMAN #4

“Damned, Part 4” Mike Minetta has not been the Hangman long but he already faces the hardest decision any Hangman has ever had to make—let his family die… or save them and defy the will of Heaven and Hell itself!

Script: Frank Tieri
Art: Felix Ruiz
The Hangman #4 CVR A Reg: Tim Bradstreet
The Hangman #4 CVR B Variant: Greg Smallwood
On Sale Date: 3/16
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

TheHangman#4 TheHangman#4var

THE SHIELD #4

“Daughter of the Revolution, Part 4” She has served her country well, fighting for US interests the world over. But when the Shield’s next mission ends in tragedy on American soil—a tragedy televised live to every home in the country—the true nature of Black Seven is revealed as the superhero the world has been waiting generations for becomes… Public Enemy Number 1!

Script: Adam Christopher and Chuck Wendig
Art: Drew Johnson, Rachel Deering, Kelly Fitzpatrick
The Shield #4 CVR A Reg: Drew Johnson
The Shield #4 CVR B Variant: Andrew Robinson
On Sale Date: 3/30
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

TheShield#4 TheShield#4Robinsonvar

JUGHEAD #5

Riverdale High was just the beginning as Principal Stanger’s despotic reach shuts down Pop’s Shoppe! Jughead and the gang need to stop him once and for all! Maybe with the help of the SuperTeens and… Iron Mantle??

Script: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Erica Henderson, Jack Morelli
Jughead #5 CVR A Reg Cover: Erica Henderson
Jughead #5 CVR B Variant: Elliot Fernandez
Jughead #5 CVR C Variant: Thomas Pitilli
On Sale Date: 3/23
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Jughead#5 Jughead#5Pitillivar Jughead#5Fernvar

ARCHIE #7

Hiram Lodge finally learns who his daughter, Veronica, is dating. And when he realizes that it’s the boy who destroyed their mansion-to-be, his resulting rage will upend the entire town of Riverdale in this next installment of the best-selling all-new ARCHIE series!

Script: Mark Waid
Art: Veronica Fish
Archie #7 CVR A Reg Cover: Veronica Fish
Archie #7 CVR B Variant: Djibril Morissette-Phan
Archie #7 CVR C Variant: Marguerite Sauvage
On Sale Date: 3/30
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Archie#7Djibrilvar Archie#7Sauvagevar Archie#7Fishvar

ARCHIE COMICS DOUBLE DIGEST #267

When Mr. Weatherbee has had enough of the teens’ sloppy attire in the halls of his school, he decides to enforce a mandatory dress code for Riverdale High. Unfortunately, the new dress code is a bit too high class for some of the students. Can they afford to look presentable? Or will they end up making clowns of themselves? Find out in “Mess Code!” the fun, all-new lead story to this comics double digest!

Script: Fernando Ruiz
Art: Fernando Ruiz
Cover: Fernando Ruiz, Bob Smith, Rosario “Tito” Peña
On Sale Date: 3/30
160-page, full color comic
$4.99 U.S.

ARCHIEComDig#267

BETTY & VERONICA JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #242

In this next segment of “The Many Loves of Archie Andrews,” we get the lowdown on Amisha Mehta, who recently moved to Riverdale with her family after her and Archie met in India when the Archies were on their world tour. Archie and Amisha are working on a Bollywood project for film class, but of course, Archie has ulterior motives—like winning her heart!  But Amisha has her eye on Raj Patel! Yet another love triangle… Bollywood style! See how it all unfolds in “Hooray for Bollywood!” the lead story in this JUMBO comics digest!

Script: Dan Parent
Art: Dan Parent, Bob Smith
Cover: Dan Parent, Bob Smith, Rosario “Tito” Peña
On Sale Date: 3/23
256-page, full color comic
$6.99 U.S.

B&VJumbo#242

JUGHEAD & ARCHIE SPRING ANNUAL #20

Archie and Vegas’s new trick has made a viral splash, and Archie’s collapsing under the pressure of his pup’s newfound popularity! Can Archie get everyone to quiet down, or will he and Vegas be doomed to never walk the streets of Riverdale in peace again? Find out in “Paws for Effect” the entertaining, new lead story to this special spring annual, featuring even more pages of fun!

Script: Adrian Ropp
Art: Bill Galvan
Cover: Fernando Ruiz, Bob Smith, Rosario “Tito” Peña
On Sale Date: 4/13
192-page, full color comic
$5.99 U.S.

Jug&ArchieComAnn#20

SONIC SUPER DIGEST #16

Get ready for fun & adventure—it’s Sonic Super Digest! Don’t miss all the excitement and action you love in stories from the Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Universe and Sonic Boom™ comic series! Sonic and his friends embark on daring adventures, face evil villains and save the day one chili dog at a time! Spin into the fun that only Archie Comics and Sonic Super Digest can bring! Featuring awesome new cover art from CG artist supreme Rafa Knight and story & art from the biggest names in Sonic comics history!

Script: Various
Art: Various
Cover: Rafa Knight
On Sale Date: 4/6
128-page, full color comic
$4.99 U.S.

SONICSuperDig#16

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #283

SONIC and the FREEDOM FIGHTERS are GO in “The Mission”: Sonic and Sally put out the call to the world!  They have the Chaos Emeralds, they have the Gaia Keys, and now they have a plan!  And the central hero to it all is… Cream?!  Then, in “Zero Hour,” Dr. Eggman finally tracks down Phage!  And when Tails Doll gives the mad doctor some crucial info, will Sonic’s plans for saving the world fall apart? Featuring cover art by the delightful Diana Skelly and a “GUARDIANS” variant cover by the amazing Adam Bryce Thomas!

Script: Ian Flynn
Art: Jamal Peppers, Jennifer Hernandez, Terry Austin, John Workman & Gabriel Cassata
Sonic the Hedgehog #283 CVR A Reg: Diana Skelly
Sonic the Hedgehog #283 CVR B Variant: Adam Bryce Thomas, Gary Martin & Gabriel Cassata
On Sale Date: 4/13
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Sonic#283 Sonic#283var

SONIC UNIVERSE #86

It’s the END for EGGMAN in “Eggman’s Dozen” Part Four: The final, frantic fracas is here! Dr. Eggman and his Egg Bosses square off against the Naugus Twins and the fearsome Crystal Sonic!  Will everyone make it out of the battle alive?  And who is the twelfth and final Egg Boss?  All the action and answers are here! Featuring cover art by Mr. Sonic comics, Tracy Yardley and a “Baddie Bunch” variant by the radical Ryan Jampole!

Script: Ian Flynn
Art: Adam Bryce Thomas, Jim Amash, Jack Morelli & Matt Herms
Sonic Universe #86 CVR A Reg: Tracy Yardley, Jim Amash, Matt Herms
Sonic Universe #86 CVR B Variant: Ryan Jampole
On Sale Date: 3/23
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

SonicUniv#86 SonicUniv#86var

TEAM BETTY VS. TEAM VERONICA (TR)

It’s the ultimate battle for Archie’s heart! Betty and Veronica, the best of frenemies, have been locked in a tug-of-war over Riverdale’s favorite redhead for over 70 years. Will you root for Betty, the sweet and innocent girl-next-door, or for Veronica, the rich and sophisticated socialite? Will Archie finally be able to choose between them? Archie’s girls go head-to-head in this excellent collection of winner-take-Arch stories featuring two books in one—each half features stories of one girl getting the better of the other, and readers can literally pick a side in the eternal battle of Betty vs. Veronica in this flipbook format graphic novel!

Script: Various
Art: Various
Cover(s): Harry Lucey
978-1-62738-870-2
$10.99/$11.99 CAN
5 ¼” x 8”
TR
224 pp, Full Color
Direct Market On-Sale Date: 3/30

TeamBettyvsTeamVeronicaFront TeamBettyvsTeamVeronicaBack

WORLD OF ARCHIE COMICS DOUBLE DIGEST #57

When Archie’s emotional, bawling display at a romantic chick flick goes viral, Archie vows to prove his masculinity—no matter what that takes! Can he prove he’s not a crybaby? Or will he have to accept the fact that he’ll never be a macho man? Find out in “The Art of Chaos!” the hilarious new lead story to this comics double digest!

Script: Pat and Tim Kennedy
Art: Pat and Tim Kennedy
Cover: Dan Parent, Bob Smith, Rosario “Tito” Peña
On Sale Date: 3/16
160-page, full color comic
$4.99 U.S.

WOArchieComDig#57

Around the Tubes

It’s Thanksgiving Day! For folks celebrating, we hope you have a wonderful day and for those that aren’t we’ll have a normal day here at GP!

While you await the Turkey to be ready, here’s some comic book news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

ArtsBeat – ‘The Walking Dead Experience’ Is Coming to New Jersey – This sounds cool.

Kotaku – Arkham Knight’s New Catwoman And Robin DLC Is A Drag – This game just doesn’t get much love.

Elle – What It’s Like to Be a Woman of Color in Privileged White Spaces – If you read one thing in this list.

Panels – Unconventional Romance Comics! – If you need any suggestions.

 

Around the Tubes

Comic Vine – All-New Wolverine #2

CBR – Archie #4

Comic Vine – Art Ops #2

The Rainbow Hub – Fight Club 2 #7

CBR – Jacked #1

Comics Alliance – Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #1

CBR – Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #1

CBR – Oyster War

The Rainbow Hub – Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #4

The Rainbow Hub – Ringside #1

Comics Alliance – Silk #1

Comic Vine – Silk #1

CBR – Silk #1

Comic Vine – Star Wars: Darth Vader #13

Comic Vine – Venom: Space Knight #1

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Moon_Girl_And_Devil_Dinosaur_1_CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Alex

Top Pick: X-O Manowar #42 (Valiant) – The comic brings the conclusion to a four part story arc that has the potential to be world changing within Valiant’s Universe. I can’t wait to get this in my hands.

All-New Wolverine #2 (Marvel) – I really enjoyed the first issue’s introduction to Laura Kinney as Wolverine, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the story carries on.

Ivar, Timewalker #11 (Valiant) – It’s a comic by Valiant, so I’m already excited for it, but Ivar has been one of the most entertaining comics each month. Well worth adding to your pull list.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1 (Marvel) – The comic has an intelligent Tyrannosaurus Rex. That sold me on the comic right there, but on top of that there looks to be a lot of soul here that I’m excited for.

 

Ash

Top Pick: Silk #1 (Marvel) – As a Silk fan from the moment we met her in the bunker, Silk #1 has got to be my top pick for this week.  Featuring everyone’s favourite feline, The Black Cat, this first issue promises to be packed with turmoil as we see Silk taking a turn for the sinister.  The artwork is bursting with colour that really strikes, and Silk is looking seriously stunning.

But will she go too far on her new found path? Only one way to find out…

Carnage #2 (Marvel) – Carnage brings chaos, destruction and devastation with him wherever he goes (this issue promises to be no different) so it is really little wonder that the FBI are tracking down this serial Killer with sonic technology, supported by former astronaut John Jameson and a newly reformed Eddie Brock. With a faultless (?) plan to trap Carnage in an abandoned mine, what could possibly go wrong?

 

Brett

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 (DC Comics) – The comic has been hyped for quite a while and lets face it, Frank Miller’s previous two volumes are classics and important works (even if you dislike them). The third volume of Miller’s Batman tale hits shelves this week and he’s got the help of Brian Azzarello for writing. I love Azzarello’s work, so his inclusion only makes this more anticipated. Add on top of that, art by Klaus Janson and Andy Kubert.

Archie #4 (Archie Comics) – Archie has been killing it this year, and especially in recent months with their relaunch of their Archie line of comics. This one finally reveals the “Lipstick Incident,” and I know Mark Waid and Annie Wu will knock it out of the park.

Captain Canuck #5/Captain Canuck: Unholy War (Chapter House Publishing) – Are you reading Captain Canuck? Well, you should. The series is a superhero comic in its purest form without the dark and gritty negativity so many others have. This week also has a double dose with a brand new issue, plus a collection of a limited series from 2004 reprinted as a trade. This week is a double dose of Captain Canuck awesomeness!

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1 (Marvel) – The comic looks and sounds beyond cute and awesome. It’s one of the most intriguing new series from Marvel.

Ringside #1 (Image Comics) – I loved wrestling growing up in the 80s. While it’s been a long time since I was a regular viewer, this new series by Joe Keatinge and Nick Barber sounds awesome with interconnected stories exploring the relationship between art and industry from the view of the wrestlers.

 

Elana

All-New Wolverine #2 (Marvel) – This is the best Wolverine comic in a generation. Marvel’s most exciting post Secret Wars title so far. Check these reviews out to see why.

Art Ops #2 (Vertigo) – If you see Mike Allred’s art on this comic and it speaks to you (and it’s trademark Allred pop-art enthusiasm certainly speaks to me) then it’s certainly worth picking up issue #2 to see where it goes.

Black Magic #2 (Image Comics) –  A “witch noir” from one of the top creative teams in comics. I gave the first issue a 9 out of 10 score in my review. This is a brand new series from creators I trust to write fascinating female protagonists in interesting worlds with beautiful art.

The Fade Out #11 (Image Comics) – The best noir comic. Fascinating female characters. Beautiful, era evocative art.

Kaptara #5 (Image Comics) – The funniest and most outlandish fantasy series on the shelves. It’s actually Chip Zdarsky’s best work if you ask me. That’s saying something since I think he’s currently working on 100 different titles, all of which are of some renown.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1 (Marvel) – One of Marvel’s most anticipated debut issues. A black girl genius and her dinosaur. I know this is going to be a hit and I know you’ll be buying it for all the kids in your life and for yourself.

 

Paul

Top Pick: Guardians of the Galaxy #2 (Marvel) – Kitty “Star-Lord” Pryde and her Guardians, who now include The Thing, have come to Spartax..but is Emperor Peter happy to see them?  The first issue of this relaunch was fun and brought me right back to the Guardians we left before Secret Wars (though now The Thing is a member…which is fantastic!…see what I did there?) and I am looking forward to more space fun with this crew and to see if Quill has let power go to his head.

All-New Wolverine #2 (Marvel) – This title was a pleasant surprise for me.  I was worried we’d get a typical hack and slash Wolverine book, but issue 1 definitely set Laura up as her own heroine and now she’s facing a problem that looks exactly like her…and she needs to know how and why this is happening; and I will be right there with you.

Preview: Archie #4

ARCHIE #4

Script: Mark Waid
Art: Annie Wu, Andre Szymanowicz, Jen Vaughn, Jack Morelli
Cover: Annie Wu
Variant Covers: Mahmud Asrar, Francesco Francavilla, Jaime Hernandez with Rosario “Tito” Peña, Joe Quinones, Paul Renaud
On Sale Date: 11/25
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

The biggest comic series of the year continues as the greatest mystery in comic books is finally revealed! The “lipstick incident” split Archie and Betty apart and left Riverdale changed forever. What exactly happened and can things possibly be fixed? Find out in this issue and welcome ANNIE WU (BLACK CANARY, HAWKEYE) to Riverdale, as she takes over art duties in this brand new issue!

Archie#4

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