Tag Archives: american monster

Mini Reviews: Dept. H, American Monster, The Howling, Smoketown, and more!

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.


Christopher

Dept H. #14 (Dark Horse) – Unable to return to the surface, the surviving crew of Dept. H must make some difficult choices, with air and livable space at a premium. Will they have to sacrifice one of their own in order for the rest to survive? Meanwhile, we begin to see the larger role that Verve has played in the fate of our crew.Things are beginning to look up, as someone self-sacrifices to get the rest of the crew to the surface. Yet that still doesn’t answer who kills Mia’s father. Given they have two issue still to come, I hope they manage to answer that. Since that has been the lingering question throughout. Overall the story and art continue to impress. Merging both past and present. Writer and Artist: Matt Kindt Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

 

Ryan

Dead Inside #5 (Dark Horse)* – A thoroughly satisfying conclusion to John Arcudi and Toni Fejzula’s prison murder mystery complete with a Tarantino-esque Mexican stand-off on steroids? This is pretty much why I love comics in a nutshell. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

American Monster #6 (Aftershock)* – Just when you think that all Brian Azzarello is capable of these days is mailing it in, along comes the second arc of this amazingly depraved series complete with Juan Doe’s usual gorgeous, eye-popping artwork. Every single character here is a reprobate — even those who only show up for a page or two such as the couple splitting up at the start of this issue — and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lots of moving pieces and subplots within subplots going on here, so it pays to give every single word and ever single image very close attention indeed. Heady stuff, to say the least. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Flash # 22 (DC Comics)* – So, “The Button” began with the death of the Reverse-Flash and ends with — the death of the Reverse-Flash? So, what was all that bullshit in between about, then? Spoiler time: Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter — at the behest of their editors, no doubt — contrive a way to bring back Jay Garrick for a few pages before exiling him off into the Speed Force again, and Dr. Manhattan goes from looming over events off-page to looming over events on-page, but if you’re looking for anything resembling a resolution, look elsewhere: this is pure set-up for DC’s sure-to-suck “Doomsday Clock” mini-series that will finally see the Big Blue-Vs.-Superman punch-up that none of us in our right minds ever wanted to come to fruition. Kill me now, please. Or better yet, kill this whole “Watchmen-Vs.-DCU” idea before it goes any further. I know, I know, it’s too late for that vain wish to come true, but still, one can live in hope. Overall: 1.0 Recommendation: Pass

Batman #23 (DC Comics)* – Seemingly out of left field, Tom King delivers the stand-alone story that almost makes the rest of his hugely disappointing run on this title worthwhile. Seeing the Dark Knight team up with Swamp Thing is always great, but King’s take on the former Alec Holland goes well above and beyond, giving us the best iteration of the character since a certain bearded gentleman from England, and Mitch Gerads’ art — apart from a couple of goofy-looking pictures of Batman on the last page — is just plain incredible. Both a moving tribute to Bernie Wrightson and a heartfelt rumination on the relationship between fathers and sons, this is straight-up comic book magic, not to be missed under any circumstances. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

 

Allie

Night Owl Society #2 (IDW Publishing) – I had hopes for this. Not high hopes but hopes. Sadly, Night Owl Society #2 let me down again. As I mentioned in my review before, the writing and story presented here is bland and predictable. The main character has no redeeming qualities and the foils around him are all two-dimensional. Simply put, there’s just no reason to put any emotional stock behind these characters and reading made it feel like it was just a matter of when the “twists” would come less than what they would be. All in all, another disappointment that makes me want to drop the series entirely, if for no other reason than that I can probably call the ending right now. Recommendation: Hard Pass

 

Patrick

Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #3 (Dynamite) – I finally nailed what’s been bothering me about this competently-written, competently-drawn series: it’s trying SO HARD to be Noir, when the actual genre of the Hardy Boys novels is Procedural. The former assumes that nothing can be solved; the latter assumes that every crime can be solved with the application of reason, science, and intelligence. So the mixing of the two genres could be interesting – but they just don’t dig in deep enough. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Will Eisner’s The Spirit: Corpsemakers #3 (Dynamite) – Normally I love Fernando Francavilla, and the Black Beetle is a favorite. But maybe I’ve just read too many Spirit stories, so anything more than 8 pages gets too far away from the Platonic ideal of Eisnerian. I had the same problem with the Cooke/Bone/etc version a while back. It’s also devilishly hard for us goyim to really nail the Yiddishkeit of the originals – that combination of pathos and humor, romance and tragedy. Overall 7.0 (because Francavilla after all) Recommendation: Pass

Smoketown #2 (Scout Comics) – As an Army brat, I’m always happy to see stories that explore the life of military personnel and the demands that are made of them without most civilians really understanding what we’re asking them to do. Writer Philip Kennedy Johnson does a pretty good job with this crime fiction of a soldier returned from Afghanistan and the demands that his new civilian life makes of him, without understanding what has happened to him and what he’s dealing with. Artist Scott Van Domelen is also pretty good here, though still I think in a no man’s land between graphically flashy and kitchen-sink drama (I can’t help but compare his war sequences to Leandro Fernandez on The Old Guard). There’s something there, but not quite there yet. Overall 7.5 Recommendation: Read

The Howling #1 (Space Goat Productions) – Try as they did to recap the 1981 movie in the first few pages to bring us up to speed for this sequel, I found myself having to go back and rewatch it. So how does writer Micky Neilson and artist Jason Johnson’s work stack up? Pretty poorly. The original movie at least had something to say about the end of the 70’s, California cults, and the beginning of the 80’s fascination with the media. But this comic is just another werewolf story, and not even a particularly scary one at that. The writing is paint-by-numbers and the art is just too well-lit and neatly-delineated for the genre. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass (but do watch the movie!)

 

Shean

Star Trek TNG: Mirror Broken #1 (IDW Publishing) – In this debut issue of the Mirror Universe implications for the TNG crew, what one finds is a much more sinister and cynical crew. We find a muscle bound Picard wanting to climb the ladder in rank but is stuck on a ship called the Stargazer. While at HQ, he stumbles upon what looks like plans for a new class of ship. He recruits Laforge into his dastardly evil plans and gives the reader, a familiar sight on the horizon. Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy


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

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 (**).

Around the Tubes

American Monster #3It’s a new week and we’re excited for new comics! Who saw Captain America: Civil War this past weekend? It still ruled the box office and we’ll have our analysis in a bit.

While you await that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

The Mary Sue – 90% of Black Panther Cast is “Either African or African-American” – One would hope.

Weartv.com – Milton brothers charged with stealing grandparents’ comic books – Sad to see this.

Times Record – Can comic books teach kids money smarts? – Yes, they probably can.

The Root – John Lewis’ Graphic Novel To Be Taught in NYC Public Schools – It should be taught in all schools.

Uproxx – Why Can’t Marvel Translate Its Netflix Success To Broadcast TV? – Very good question.

The Beat – Darth Vader is coming to an end at issue #25–wait WHAT? – Nooooo!

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

The Outhousers – American Monster #3

Talking Comics – Batman #52

The Outhousers – Grizzly Shark #2

The Beat – Lady of the Shard

Talking Comics – Satellite Falling #1

The Outhousers – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #58

Comic Attack – The Ultimates #7

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

4001-XO_001_COVER-A_CAFUWednesdays 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: A&A: The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong #3 (Valiant) – This series is such a blast to read. I absolutely love how much fun it is, and yet there’s also a message underneath the booze jokes. I’ve loved every page thus far.

Ninjak #15 (Valiant) – What happens when you take everything from one of the most deadly men in England? Well, I assume he’ll want revenge of some kind…

4001 A.D. X-O Manowar #1 (Valiant) – It’s a full Valiant week this week, eh? I’ve been looking forward to 4001 A.D. for a couple of months, and I’m ready to devour all of the tie-ins as well.

 

Paul

Top Pick: All-New X-Men #9 (Marvel) – This has been a fun book and I’m really enjoying seeing these younger X-Men venture out into their new world, experiencing their new present and learning more about themselves.  This issue has the team jump into the Apocalypse Wars and Evan himself will come face to face with the villain many fear he will become.  I’m looking forward to seeing if he can write his own destiny, or is set in stone…and his genetics.

Guardians of the Galaxy #8 (Marvel) – Jaunting through space; helping those who need it; and the ever loving blue eyed Thing among their ranks, the Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun, exciting read I look forward to.  This issue has Groot and Venom facing off against Skrulls.  Lots and lots of Skrulls.  See? Fun!

Vision #7 (Marvel) – A new story arc starts for Vision.  This issue is described as a story about Vision and Scarlet Witch 45 years in the making, and it does not sound like a story book romance.  This has been a great book, showing the dark side to Vision’s idea of a normal family life.  Throw in Scarlet Witch and this is a story I’m ready to dive into.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Action Comics #52 (DC Comics) – Past meets present and future as Superman meets Superman! Been waiting for this one a long time and rumors abound what will happen to the current Man of Steel are rampant. Apparently Superman’s greatest foe is not Lex Luthor, Doomsday or Metallo. It’s time. The bell tolls for thee.

Batman #52 (DC Comics) – Last issue before the new direction. A presence from Bruce Wayne’s past comes back to haunt him. While that’s not entirely new, hopefully we get some more insight to his new 52 roots. Last stop before some dramatic changes to the Bat-Universe.

 

Brett

Top Pick: The Fix #2 (Image Comics) – I love a good cop drama, and especially crooked cop drama. The first issue by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber absolutely blew me away and is easily one of the best debuts of 2016. I’ve been counting down the days until the second issue, thankfully it’s here. The humor is amazing and mixed with the story itself, it’s just a damn near perfect combo.

American Monster #3 (Aftershock Comics) – Brian Azzarello, nuff said. He’s one of the few writers that I’ll devour whatever he writes. It’s not all perfect, but it’s at least interesting.

Grizzly Shark #2: Grizzly Shark Returns (Image Comics) – The concept is as bizarre as the title. The first issue had me laughing through almost the entire thing. It’s absolutely hilarious in a completely absurd way.

Pacific Rim: Tales From the Drift #4 (Legendary) – Big robots and Kaiju. I’m a huge fan of anything Pacific Rim and its been a bit of a break between the last issue and this one, but I’m sold no matter the wait.

Southern Bastards #14 (Image Comics) – One of the best comics on the market is back for a new arc. Always a must read.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 20/2/2016

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

Kennel_Block_Blues_001_A_MainKennel Block Blues #1 (Boom!) Was a pretty odd comic about an anthromorphic dog living in a state of  half hallucinated reality as he enters prison. It’s good, and  it is worth looking into, but likely more a “wait for the trade” kind of book. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

The Last Contract #2 (Boom!) A comic about a retired hitman getting back into the game long after his retirement, The Last Contract has been a fantastic ride so far, with the eighty-plus year old killer taking no shit from anybody. Well aware of his physical limits, he’s a refreshing change from protagonists that can take on the world with their hands behind their back. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Gutter Magic #2 (IDW) This has got to be one of the most entertaining comics I’ve read in a long time. The art is fantastically detailed without being overly cluttered, and the characters are inhabiting a rich and vibrant world that feels fully formed before you turn the page. Highly, highly recommended. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Deluge #2 Is an indie comic set during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. After reading the first issue, I’d actually thought it was just a one shot comic until I saw this. I actually found that the second issue was more enjoyable than the first, and I liked the first issue’s story about an undercover FBI agent infiltrating the New Orleans underworld amidst a layer of corruption from the local police. It’s a solid book that deserves a wider audience than it’ll end up getting. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #8 (Dynamite) I have nothing to say here that hasn’t already been said. A solid comic book that’s well written, well drawn, and above all it’s very, very fun. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Huck04_CvrBHuck #4 (Image) I just… wow. Just wow. Overall: 9.75 Recommendation: Buy it now, or buy the trade. You need to own this.

Black Hood #9 (Dark Circle) Is a solid comic. It’s not my favourite comic from this publisher (that honour belongs to The Fox), but it’s a very good gritty vigilante thriller with a hero who is very much just a man. A decent series that’s worth checking out. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

 

Elana

Catwoman #49 (DC)* When the Messina/Valentine creative team ended their landmark run of Catwoman as a crime boss I thought Catwoman would go down hill. And while the comic did return to its roots with a far more traditional Catwoman story it’s still a really good comic! It’s a smart, interesting story suspensefully told. The lines are almost delicate and the splash pages pack in far more visual information that you think at first glance. Selina fighting Croc in front of a Nosferatu billboard? That’s cool! And the intrigue is high. I keep reading because it’s quality comics. So should you. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

 

Ryan C

American Monster #2 (Aftershock) *: Brian Azzarello and Juan Doe’s journey into the dark underbelly of America’s sleaziest small town continues with some revelations of both the major and minor variety that will serve to suck readers into the web they’re spinning ever deeper. Two issues in, I remain convinced that this has the potential to be Azzarello’s best series since “100 Bullets,” and Doe’s art, while first striking me as being a bit too “cartoonish” for the dark subject matter, is quickly starting to grow on me. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

american monster 2Lucifer #3 (Vertigo) *: The devil went to The Dreaming, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt. Oh, and a damn good story — Gaiman-esque myth-spinning anchors one of Holly Black’s two main plot threads while the other, involving a trapped demon on Earth scheming to be set free, is pure Delano-era “Hellblazer.” Combine the two with Lee Garbett’s fun-yet-appropriately-grim artwork and a guest appearance by Matthew the Raven (who just turned up in his human form in the latest issue of “Swamp Thing”) and you’ve got yourself a heck — sorry, hell — of a book here. They say everything old is new again, and after three issues this series is proving that to be absolutely true. Overall: 8  Recommendation: Buy

The Tithe #8 (Image/Top Cow) **: Not a bad extra-length issue from writer Matt Hawkins and artists Rashan Ekedal and Phillip Sevy, but not a great one, either. The problem with the whole “Islamophobia” story arc isn’t that it was poorly done, just that it only had one big revelation in store and it gave that away in the opening installment. After that, we knew exactly where events were headed, and they simply proceeded to go there. It apparently pissed off a handful of right-wing dumbfucks online, though, so points to the creators for at least raising the blood pressure of all the right people. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read.

The Shield #2 (Dark Circle) : Normally I’d say this isn’t a half-bad little issue because, well, it isn’t, but given that the gap between numbers one and two was something like five or six months in length, it should have — perhaps even needed to — return with a big splash, and it didn’t. I’m sure Adam Christopher and Chuck Wendig’s script was “in the can” some time ago, but some tinkering around the edges to re-engage readers into the storyline more fully would have been welcome, and the art-by-committee approach with Drew Johnson and Ray Snyder doing the first half of the book and Al Barrionuevo taking over the second half is jarring and messy. Still, we’ve got a Steve Rude painted cover as one of the variants this time out, so how petty am I for bitching about anything? Dark Circle’s been plagued with delays on pretty much all of their titles barring “The Black Hood,” though, so Archie really needs to get their shit together with this line or it will die the same quick death that these characters always seem to bring upon themselves in one decade after another. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read

 

Bill-Ted-Go-to-Hell-1Shean

Bill and Ted Go To Hell#1 (Boom!): we catch up with the Wild Stallyns shortly after their adventures in the Triumphant Return.Colonel Oats and gang of baddies are enroute to Hell , kidnapping Bill And Ted’s buddy, the Grim Reaper, with them. The boys have to call on the help of Rufus and company to rescue him. By issue’s end , there is a bigger plan in play, than either of them expected. Overall:9.3 Recommendation: Buy


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 (**).

Around the Tubes

Some of the team is hunkered down due to the snow, we hope everyone else that’s impacted is sage, warm, and have some fun comics to keep them entertained.

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

Around the Tubes

Seattle Times – ‘King Kirby’ play profiles the artist behind the superheroes, overshadowed by Stan Lee  – Wish we could check this out.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – American Monster #1

The Beat – Baltic Comics Magazine #23

Talking Comics – Batgirl #4

Talking Comics – Silver Surfer #1

Review: American Monster #1

American Monster #1 CoverIn a small Midwestern town, a large man with a horribly scarred face gets off a bus, and takes a room. He spooks the locals–nobody knows him–or do they? It’s impossible to say be-cause he seemingly has no face. The man’s intentions remain unknown, until he takes on a corrupt sheriff and the rural crew of racist arms dealers. The town’s impression of the man changes, and he’s seen as a hero…until his real intentions bubble to the surface. The man isn’t there to end the gang, but to take it over. And he’s just getting started.

Brian Azzarello is one of the most talented writer of comics out there right now. He’s consistently one of my favorites, and thus American Monster #1 from Aftershock Comics was high on my list of anticipated comics. Maybe it’s due to that high expectation, I felt a bit let down by the first issue, which sets up a hell of a lot, but also explains very little.

That description at the top was needed, because if I went in to this comic cold, I’d have had no idea what the hell I was reading with a set up like a Tarantino film. The comic feels like individual segments, where a few crossover, and on their own make little sense. That can work great as a graphic novel or a trade paperback, but as a single regular sized issue it left me scratching my head and wanting more at the same time.

Here’s what we know. There’s some crooks who kidnap folks. There’s a vet who’s disfigured and heads to a town. Then there’s this weird scene on a playground that I’m still trying to figure out. It’s all connected some how, but right now, I couldn’t say how.

Azarrello is a master storyteller especially of the crime/noir genre and he’s also great at the long story that takes arcs and arcs to build up and pay off. I know there’s a good chance in the long run the series will pay off, but I haven’t read that yet, I’ve only read this.

The art by Juan Doe is an interesting, not quite the gritty style I’d expect for a comic like this. It does remind me a lot of a style I’d see at Dark Horse (in fact the whole comic feels like it’d be at home in Dark Horse Presents). There’s a clean look to it all which lets you soak in all the small details. It works, and works really well, but it definitely caught me off guard a bit.

I finished reading the comic a bit disappointed, but I think that’s due to such high expectations. It sets up an interesting story, and interesting characters, but the segmented style of the story without much explanation left me a little let down. Still, I plan on continuing to see where Azzarello and Doe go with it all before a final verdict.

Story: Brian Azzarello Art: Juan Doe
Story: 7 Art: 7.4 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Captain Marvel #1Wednesdays 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: Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior #3 (Valiant) – When a comic is released featuring of one my favourite characters squaring off against the legions of the afterlife alone, how could I not be excited? But beyond that, there is a raw quality to the artwork in this series that lends itself beautifully  to the surprisingly emotional story. Such a great series.

Batman #48 (DC Comics) – The only main Batbook I still read, and that’s entirely because of Scott Snyder. Last issue’s final page has had me counting down the days until #48 was being released. While I’m not a fan of the Robot Bunny Batman suit, I do love where the subplot featuring Bruce is going, and that subplot is the main reason I’m still reading.

Judge Dredd #2 (IDW Publishing) – Dredd was a staple of my childhood growing up in ol’ Blighty, and I’m loving seeing the direction of this new ongoing comic. If you haven’t read the last issue I won’t spoil what’s going on, but it’s not an overly unique idea, but it’s awesome to see it applied to Judge Dredd.

Red Thorn #3 (Vertigo) – This is a superbly illustrated tale about an American girl accidentally wandering into the world of Scottish mythology. Without any preamble, it’s good. Very good, even, and you should read it.

 

Ashley

Top Pick: Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #6 (Image Comics) – It all comes to an end for Emily Aster as well as Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s first series together. Basically everything you love about that team grew out of Phonogram and it will be sad to see the series end it swan song. Will it end in death though? Who knows, but this is Gillen, so probably. There’s also been confirmation that the final B-side story is about David Bowie, who passed away last week.

Batgirl #47 (DC Comics) – More Steph and Babs teamups! The first appearance of Bluebird in a Batgirl comic! Perhaps more resolution on what’s keeping Barbara up at night? Well, those first two are promised at least and I am hype.

Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – Even though they are the show runners of the amazing Agent Carter, Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters have big shoes to fill being the first ongoing writers for Captain Marvel after Kelly Sue Deconnick’s iconic three year run on the title. With Carol taking up the role of being Earth’s first line of defense with S.W.O.R.D. and Alpha Flight and art by Kris Anka, it seems like they’re up for the task.

Lumberjanes #22 (BOOM! Studios) – The series has been finding new footing since Kat Leyh joined Shannon Watters as cowriter, but the opening to this arc with a werewolf sea captain vs. selkies was just so darn great that it’s hard to think that Leyh hasn’t gained her sea legs yet.

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #2 (Marvel) – Kate Leth and Brittney Williams hit it hard out of the gate with the first delightful issue. Now to see if Patsy can survive working in retail to get her business idea up and going.

 

Brett

Top Pick: American Monster #1 (Aftershock Comics) – Brian Azzarello’s new series sounds like a twisted version of Walking Tall. A man with a scarred faced heads to a Midwestern town where he gets rid of the corrupt sheriff and racist arms dealers. But, he’s actually there to take over. Sounds awesome.

Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – The Agent Carter team come to comics to take over this top property. I’m intrigued to see what they do.

Carver: A Paris Story #2 (Z2 Comics) – Just a classic revenge tale started because of a misunderstanding. The first issue felt like one of the films from the 70s and 80s I grew up on.

Star Wars #15 (Marvel)Vader Down is over. Now to see what Marvel does next with their line of Star Wars comics. Really looking forward to see what comes next.

Transformers #49 (IDW Publishing) – All sorts of plots come together here as we head in to the big 50th issue next month! IDW’s Transformers line of comics continuously entertains.

 

Elana

Top Pick: Phonogram The Immaterial Girl #6 (Image Comics) – The finale issue of the best comic on the stands. If you are the sort of person who is having a deep emotional response to Bowie’s death then you definitely need this comic. The final back-up story is even about a Bowie song. Go read my essay on why Phonogram is the best thing ever. A comic about fandom, music and growing the fuck up while reconciling your past selves. I cannot over state how much I love this series.

Batgirl #47 (DC Comics) – New Arc! Great creative team. Approachable relatable Babs for the 21st century with art that actually appeals to young people (and also to me because I like things that are pretty)

Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – New creative team, the writers on the Agent Carter TV show (yay women in comics) and art by the perfectly matched Chris Anka.

Ms. Marvel #3 (Marvel) – The relaunch has really rejuvenated the already excellent title. The current arc is focusing on issues like gentrification and cooption of your public image as well as what happens when someone you always took for-granted falls for someone else.

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #2 (Marvel) – One of the most anticipated titles of the year! Kate Leth’s first issue felt like a Marvel comics version of the Archie revamp but through female eyes. Leth’s stories often deal with the indignities of the exploitative retail economy and I’m sensing those themes will continue. The comic is already doing great things on the diversity front. It’s going to be funny and interesting.

 

Jason

Top Pick: Silver Surfer #1 (Marvel) – Anywhere and everywhere, hang on! Slott’s Surfer definitely lives up to this promise in every way as the once lone sentinel of the starways continues his universe panning, reality hopping adventures with Dawn and Toomee. One of the few series to continue throughout Secret Wars, it was surprising how much it tugged in the heart strings last year despite not having a strictly ‘Last Days’ story like most other series. In the past comic fans have talked about Slott’s bold and very divisive Spider-Man writing, but for my money some of his best stories are right here with the Surfer. It continues to deliver everything a reader could want from a space bound adventure series and after the last arcs jaw dropping Mobius strip issue I’m left wondering where Slott and the Allred’s will take the trio next as they begin with a new number one this month.

Patsy Walker aka Hellcat #2 (Marvel) – After hearing her speak about creating fictional worlds at Thought Bubble last year (and then chickening out of speaking to her outside, sigh!) I’d give any series by Leth a chance but was particularly delighted to see her picking up one of the members from Soule’s interesting cast of She Hulk characters, Hellcat! Beyond the recent Soule series I was a little in the dark about Patsy’s history, but Leth effortlessly gets the reader up to speed in the first issue and captures her impulsive and headstrong character. Along with adorable art from Brittney L. Williams the pair are carving out their own unique little queer space in the Marvel Universe, adding more texture and diversity, with Patsy and newcomer Ian’s visit to ‘Burly Books’ in the first issue being one of many wonderful moments with the whole book harking back to the characters roots in romance comics.

Wolf #5 (Image Comics) – Kot’s supernatural noir thriller continues, picking up five years after the last issue and with a previous Zero collaborator Ricardo Lopez Ortiz taking up the art duties from Matt Taylor. Kot’s comics always make or a challenging and intriguing read, and although a little slow to start it finally felt last issue like the pieces were starting to gel together as the writer hits his stride with his newest series. Fans still hurting over the loss of the original John Constantine might find themselves with a new favorite series to fill that Hellblazer shaped hole in their hearts and bookshelves.

 

Javier

Top Pick: Carver: Paris Story #2 (Z2 Comics) – This is my top pick. It’s the comic book Hemingway would write if he was to be resurrected and forced to use his talents to shore up the literary comic book industry.

American Monster #1 (Aftershock Comics) – Lately it seems that Brian Azzarello has been writing with one hand tied behind his back at DC. He’s now partnered with a new indie outfit to produce a series, with art by Juan Doe, about a horrifically scarred, battle hardened soldier, returning home with questionable motives. I’m hopeful Azzarello goes all out with this new project.

I Hate Fairyland #4 (Image Comics) – This is the comic book I don’t share with friends and family. They’ll just think I’ve finally went over the deep end. It’s crude, rude, and funny in a sweet bloody way. And yes, I do buy both covers.

Ted McKeever’s Pencil Head #1 (Image Comics) – We fans sometimes forget that the comic book people who entertain us weekly are human too. This is suppose to be McKeever’s mostly true, semi-autographical, behind the scenes, tell-all of the absurd comic book industry … with a dead stripper. I’ll have fun trying to separate truth from fiction (I’ll bet the stripper is real).

Sunflower #3 (451 Media) – More cults and crime. Not sure why I continually gravitate toward the darkness. Mallouk and Ewington are working overtime to give me nightmares. I’ve been marked.

 

Madison

Top Pick: Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – Captain Marvel returns post-Secret Wars as the leader of the Alpha Flight Space Program. Though Kelly Sue DeConnick left some big shoes to fill, Fazekas and Butters are the showrunners behind Marvel’s Agent Carter and I believe Carol is in capable hands.

Ms. Marvel #3 (Marvel) – Ms. Marvel #3 will draw a three part arc to a close, and leaves Kamala to deal with the villainous Hope Yards Development, the company responsible for brainwashing Jersey City. Ms. Marvel is always a joy to read, and has been one of my favorites since the beginning.

Nowhere Men #7 (Image Comics) – Nowhere Men #7 will begin the long-anticipated second arc, after a hiatus that lasted more than two years. The comic follows the story of four scientists whose amazing work has had the cultural impact of The Beatles, which, to me, is a fascinating concept.

Wolf #5 (Image Comics) – Wolf, a story primarily about myths, and Wolf #5 is begins a new story arc. Ricardo Lopez Ortiz is taking over as the artist for this arc, replacing Matt Taylor (a tactic Ales Kot employs in several of his works). Readers were teased with mentions of the apocalypse but, as with most of Kot’s stories, we also got the sense that Wolf Vol. 1 was just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Batman #48 (DC Comics) – The clock is winding down and Bruce is soon to be back in the cowl, but before we get to Gordon and Mr. Bloom, we have the tale of two men on a park bench that will change the world forever.

Dragon Age: Magekiller #2 (Dark Horse Comics) – Greg Rucka’s gamer tale continues with the awesome bounty hunting duo of Tessla and Mathias. Fans of the franchise definitely want to check this out and newcomers will find it very accessible too.

Poison Ivy: Circle of Life and Death #1 (DC Comics) – Finally everyone’s favorite botanical temptress in her own title. Ivy is framed for murder and has to clear her name, or will she find it easier to resort to her wicked ways?

Silver Surfer #1 (Marvel Comics) – Dan Slott, Mike Allred in a trippy interstellar tale that leads us to.. Earth? Come see the book everyone is talking about. Grab your board and catch the wave!

 

Ryan

Top Pick: Pencil Head #1 (Image Comics) – McKeever’s projects are always so individual and idiosyncratic that you literally never know what to expect.

Clean Room #4 (Vertigo) – Each of the next three series have had strong starts with terrific stories, all with their own individualistic art styles.

Red Thorn #3 (Vertigo)

Lucifer #2 (Vertigo)