Tag Archives: dept. h

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 (**).

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays 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.

Mr. H

Top Pick: Batman/TMNT Adventures #5 (IDW Publishing) – This book has just been plain all out fun! I was skeptical of the quality it would be after the last Batman/ TMNT crossover, which was good but this story so far just ninjas the previous teams ass! It takes the very best aspect of Batman: The Animated Series and melds it together in the Turtles world. Each issue is better than the previous and even though they are leaning to The Mad Hatter being the big boss behind it all, when Tetch is written correctly he is quite the villainous force. I can’t wait to see how this joyride through my childhood icons ends.

Action Comics # 976 (DC Comics) – Well here it is, the battle for Superman’s future! Can Supes defeat Myx (not spelling his damn name) and get back his family or will he lose more than he gained in the process? All I know is if Jon becomes a casualty out of it, I’m going hunting with Kryptonite bullets. Nevertheless a good twist on a classic Superman character and I am enjoying the various runs on my hero since Rebirth. Can anyone say New New 52?

Reborn #5 (Image Comics) – I have really dug this team up of Millar and Capullo thus far. I don’t think it has tremendous long term value but the short term storyline has been fantastic. The art is some of Capullo’s best and Millar’s writing is less Millar-y than usual which keeps it at a nice tempo for me. Very interesting look into the theory of reincarnation and one that wants to make sure my pet gets all the love he can get before I meet him in the afterlife. A fun ride for sure, not ready to get out of the car yet.

Iron Fist #1 (Marvel Comics) – The timing for this couldn’t be better as I have just reached the middle of my binge watching of “Iron Fist” on Netflix and I love it. My Danny Rand – ometer is at it’s peak right now so more firery chi punching for me is a must. This book is welcome, hope it meets my kung fu needs.

 

Joe

Top Pick: The Unworthy Thor #5 (Marvel) – What did he do to make him unworthy?! It seems like this is the issue where we should finally learn what was whispered into Odinson’s ear.

Action Comics #976 (DC Comics) – The end of the fantastic Superman Reborn arc! I loved this entire run so far and this arc has been so crazy it works.

Doom Patrol #5 (DC’s Young Animal) – This is one of the most fun and wacky comics out. I am obsessed with Nick Derrington’s art and wished he was drawing everything lately.

Black Hammer #7 (Dark Horse) – It has returned! One of the best comics out in the medium and written by one of my favorite writers, Jeff Lemire.

Dept. H #12 (Dark Horse) – Matt and Sharlene Kindt have been so consistently good on this book every month. I love this cover and I am excited to return to the deep and find out whodunit.

 

Alex

Top Pick: X-O Manowar #1 (Valiant) – I have the review copy sat on my desktop just waiting to be opened up and read again, but before I did that, I realized that this was honestly one of the few comics this week I’m looking forward to reading (again) when I pick it up i print so I can see the art without the watermark on it. I can’t wait to see it.

Hulk #4 (Marvel) – I read the first issue of this entirely by accident and immediately found one of my favourite new series. The tension you feel as Jen struggles to not change into the Hulk is palpable, and so well written. I don’t even need a villain in the series, I could read about Jennifer Walters living her life all day long.

 

Paul

Top Pick: Extraordinary X-Men #20 (Marvel) – The war between the X-Men and the Inhumans has come to an end, and the X-Men need to figure out their next move. I am very excited for the upcoming ‘ResurreXion’ event and looking forward to seeing the new paths the X-Men take.

Top Pick: Hulk #4 (Marvel) – This has been a great book from the start, showing that even a superhero can be shaken to their core after traumatic events.  Jen has definitely seen her share, from losing her cousin to almost dying by Thanos’ hand. This book is doing a fantastic job of showing her struggle to try and gain back her life while keeping her Hulk side at bay. If you aren’t reading this book, jump in now while it’s still early; you won’t be disappointed.

Invincible Iron Man #5 (Marvel) – I’ve been enjoying this book and getting to know Riri Williams.  It’s a fun book, seeing her being mentored by AI Tony Stark, and seeing her show him a thing or two in the process.  This issue should be fun as well, as various heroes are approaching her to join their teams but, of course, we’ll some villains tag along.  This should be fun.

Unworthy Thor #5 (Marvel) – Will Odinson just pick up the damn hammer already?!?!

 

Brett

Top Pick: The Torture Report: A Graphic Adaptation (Arcade Publishing) – On December 9, 2014, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report condemning the CIA for its secret brutal torture during the Bush administration. This graphic novel summarizes and makes that important document understandable for individuals. The illustrations add poignancy to the facts.

The Circle #4 (Action Lab: Danger Zone) – A solid teenage horror tale that mixes fantastic art with a creepy story.

Heathen #2 (Vault Comics) – The first issue was great, the second issue is somehow better. This is a fantastic new series from a relatively new voice in comics and definitely a unique spin on things. Two words: lesbian. vikings.

Powerless #1 (Vault Comics) – Everyone has powers, but a new disease takes away those abilities. A cool concept from the upstart publisher.

Terms and Conditions (Drawn & Quarterly) – R. Sikoryak has taken the iTunes Terms and Conditions and created a word for word graphic adaptation.

Review: Dept. H #8

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Trapped in a flooding undersea base, Mia and the crew stumble upon a scientific discovery as their time is running out. They begin to fight among themselves about what to do with this valuable information, until one Dept. H crew member decides to take matters into his own hands.

As pressure mounts from both the inside and outside, Bob’s story is told in Dept. H #8. Bob is much more than his appearance would suggest and this issue really makes that apparent. The tale is a curious one considering Mia and Roger sit in a flooding chamber. But, writer Matt Kindt delivers a distraction from that.

The art by Kindt and Sharlene Kindt is much darker and contributes well to the mounting pressure in the story. It manages to do a superb job keeping things as grim as the situation appears. Yet there still seems to be a contrast in the atmosphere as the view switches from inside the chamber to outside of the chamber.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Sharlene Kindt, Matt Kindt
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Dark Horse “Number Ones” Anthology in March for $6

Trying to decide what to read next and not sure where to start? Dark Horse Comics has the perfect offering for your next binge read! Join their all-star roster of creators in the value-priced collection Dark Horse Number Ones, which contains full debut issues of eight different comics series for just six bucks and is slated for release on March 29, 2017.

Whether you’re looking for science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, or action/adventure, this affordable collection includes an issue for everyone, including entire first issues from some of Dark Horse’s most notable creators:

  • Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s The Umbrella Academy #1
  • Mike Mignola’s Hellboy in Hell #1
  • Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich’s Lady Killer #1
  •  Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Black Hammer #1
  • Matt and Sharlene Kindt’s Dept. H #1
  • Brian Wood and Mack Chater’s Briggs Land #1
  • Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook’s Harrow County #1
  • Kurtis Wiebe and Mindy Lee’s Bounty #1

This full-color, 224-page trade paperback retails at just six dollars!  Find your new comics muse or hero in the Dark Horse Number Ones collection!

dark-horse-number-ones-anthology

Review: Dept H #7

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

As the water rises inside their base, tensions rise among the Dept. H crew. They desperately try to stop the flooding of the headquarters, but a sacrifice hardly buys them any more time. They’ve got twelve hours to stem the tide.

With only three issues left of Dept. H, the crew seems to be facing imminent catastrophe from every angle. Writer Matt Kindt has made sure that the upcoming issues will make an interesting read as the series comes to a close. I’m curious to see if Mia can solve her father’s murder before everything goes wrong. Will the crew reach the surface alive or will they perish under the sea?

Compared to the colorful previous issues, this issue has a much darker tone. Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt use shades of black, and green mostly instead of the more vibrant color scheme we’ve seen in the past. Which, given the shift in the story, is a good move I think.

Story: Matt Kindt  Art: Sharlene Kindt and Matt Kindt
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

The Best Comics Of 2016 – Joe’s List

2016 was a good year for comics. Sure, there was some bad, but overall, it was a good year for the industry. A lot can happen in 365 days, so there is bound to be ups and downs, and this year was no different. As with every year, we saw good series end too soon, bad series go on too long, and new series, whether good or bad, enter the ring.

There were new series like Black Hammer, 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank, and Animosity. Even existing characters were given new and fresh takes like The Vision by Tom King. Doom Patrol returned in a very fun and weird way. Both Detective and Action Comics continued their fantastic legacy. Superman, Wonder Woman and more DC books returned to great storytelling and adventures. We got two new characters taking the mantle of Iron Man in Dr. Doom and Riri Williams, and watched as a few more Marvel legends lost their lives.

Like every year, there were also big events. There were the good like fantastic events like DC Rebirth and disappointing ones in Civil War II. Inhumans fought with X-Men. Spider-Man started having a clone conspiracy. There were major controversies that crossed into mainstream media with Hydra-Cap. Sad moments like Chelsea Cain with Mockingbird.  And to close out the year, the release of the beautiful and emotional Love is Love.

We saw more diversity in comics, both in characters and creative teams. Moon Girl, Riri Williams, and Amadeus Cho all shot up the ranks of Marvel’s brightest heroes. New titles like Alters, and Black were released. Gay superheroes Midnighter and Apollo have a six issue run that is still going. Ta-Nahesi Coates joined Marvel to write Black Panther, as did Roxanne Gay on World of Wakanda. It is apparent the industry is changing, and there’s still a lot that needs to be done, but this year was an improvement, and a step forward.

We also lost famed Preacher and The Punisher artist Steve Dillon. 2016 was a year, like any year that saw comics released in it, so let’s give you another unnecessary ranking list based off of my opinions!

Best Superhero Comic – The Vision

 vision__12This could be in best surprises too. Tom King really took the comic world by storm this year, and this was one of the reasons why. He had other fantastic titles released as well, and they will be mentioned in this article, but The Vision was something so refreshing and so different for Marvel. A perfect run that didn’t feel too short, or too long, is something I don’t always say for Marvel books. The Vision truly felt perfect in almost every way.

It wasn’t just King that made this title so great, as Gabriel Hernandez Walta provided some wonderful art that captured some horrific and heartbreaking moments. It is amazing to realize that a book about synths had some of the most human moments of the year. That’s the power of an amazing creative team, and I bow to the both of them, and to Marvel for taking a chance on such an odd and awesome book.

Runners Up:

  • Detective Comics – As good as The Vision is, and as many lists it will sit at the top of, I was almost the guy to pick another title for my top superhero book. That book is Detective Comics. James Tynion IV has created a fantastic and classic run on the long running title. The way he captures the bat family is perfect. There was so many moments. Tim Drake. Batwoman and her father. Clayface being just awesome. Spoiler and her recent moment. Batman and his role as a leader and mentor. We also got some great art from Alvaro Martinez and others. What a fantastic book, and it just keeps getting better.
  • Wonder Woman – This is one of DC’s most consistent comics, and it does so by juggling two alternating storylines in different time periods. Greg Rucka writes a fantastic Diana. I have enjoyed going through the range of emotions she has been put through as we watch her learn of man and our world in one time period, and the lies she is being faced with and the struggle to keep her sanity in the other. Also her relationships with both Steve and Barbara are some of the best I have seen yet in her comic. The art by Nicola Scott, Liam Sharp and others was consistently awesome.
  • Superman – This is one of the other most consistent comics from DC. In my top 5 superhero books, I have three from DC, and there is a good reason. Honestly, Action Comics almost made it’s way into the list as well. Like the other books, this is another return to greatness after Rebirth for DC. Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have proven before they know Supes, Jon, and others as they write them so well. There has been so much great art by talents like Doug Mahnke, and so many good moments throughout the series.  Yes, to one of my good friends, even Krypto being pulled from the chest of The Eradicator counts as one of those moments, that was awesome too.
  • Power Man and Iron Fist – I can say without hesitation that David Walker has done an amazing job on this series. Even when he had to do a Civil War II tie in, he made it work. What amazes me most is that the series just keeps getting better. Sanford Greene has such an incredible and original art style that you instantly recognize, and together these two creative powerhouses have easily made this one of my favorite comics of 2016. The return of that certain Runaways character as the big bad makes it even better!

Best Non-Superhero Comic – Saga

 saga_33-1While I struggled with picking my top comics since I love all of these, Saga takes the cake due to consistency, most memorable moments, and my deep investment Saga takes the cake due to consistency, most memorable moments, and my deep investment to this incredible series. This comic is the one I constantly cannot wait to read, and that is due to the amazing work by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. We all know how good they both are, but they just kept the ball rolling in my opinion this year. Sure we had some slower arcs, but the overall big picture to this book just keeps getting bigger, and crazier.

There were so many moments that made me smile, tear up, and cliffhangers that left me with my mouth hanging open. Not a lot of comics do that to me, and Saga did it countless times. There is a reason this series is so popular, and is still going. It is just fantastic storytelling, with awesome world building. You don’t just care about the mother, father, and daughter, but the prince, his child, the lying cat, and so many others. You truly feel invested in these people, their actions, and their lives. I cannot wait to see where it goes next.

Runners Up:

  • Animosity – This is such a brilliant comic. The premise seems simple. Have animals take over the world and dominate humanity. But it’s the execution and creativeness behind this title by Marguerite Bennett and Rafael de Latorre that blows me away. The art is great, and the storytelling is brilliant. Sandor and Jesse have a fantastic and loving relationship, and each issue packs a ton of suspense. A great title from Aftershock Comics.
  • The Wicked + The Divine – What an original book, with fantastic art. I am a sucker for Jamie McKelvie on art and Kieron Gillen is no slouch on writing either. Together they have crafted a beautifully looking yet chaotic tale of vanity, arroagance, obsession, love, power, and so much more. When you have a book filled with pop star icon gods and godesses, I guess anything is possible.
  • Black Science – It is no secret that I am a big Rick Remender fan. He has done so much great work, and is only getting better in my opinion. This year alone he had so many good books going on at the same time, and delivered on every one. Black Science was the most consistent, and best work in my opinion. This is a crazy book that moves at a fast pace, and you truly never know what happens next. Now that is something you can say for any Remender book, but with the element of time and dimension hopping, he really goes there in this book. Fantastic series.
  • The Sheriff of Babylon – What a refreshing comic, and a reminder to people that no, comics aren’t just superheroes. Tom King had an amazing year this year, and is one of the best writers in general, and like The Vision, this is one of the reasons why. This is a gritty, violent, hard to look at book with some great art by Mitch Gerads. These two creators tell a tale of corruption, war, politics, and much more in a book that feels so deep and something that you’d see on tv or in the movies. This is a definite recommendation of mine.

Best Limited Series or One Shot – 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank

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You know you’ve got something good on your hands when you’ve released three issues in 2016 and you’re making this much of a splash. Matt Rosenberg and Tyler Boss gave us those three issues and they were packed with awesome adventures and incredible nostalgia to my childhood era. This book is already a classic to me, and there’s a few issues still to come.

I have reviewed the comic, and gave it a ten across the board, and I am sure the final issues will earn those scores as well. Hats off to Black Mask Studios, to Matt Rosenberg, and to Tyler Boss for making something so special, so raw, and so damn good. Remember, this is just about 4 kids who catch one of their fathers doing sketchy stuff with sketchy people. This isn’t some deep time travel plot, or fantasy adventure. It is a simple premise executed with brilliant creative fashion. It is in the writing, the panels, and the lettering. I cannot wait for the last few issues!

Runners Up:

  • Civil War II: Kingpin – Yes, another Matt Rosenberg book, and for good reason. He has three Marvel series coming, with one, Rocket Raccoon, already beginning. This book was violent, raw, gritty, over the top, and featured Frank Castle. Every issue was fantastic, and I felt like he really gets Fisk’s character so well. The art by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz was loosely sketched and fit the series violent and chaotic tones so well. I cannot wait to read the ongoing beginning in February written by the man who wrote this miniseries so well.
  • AD: After Death – Two books into this fantastic series, and I am already crowning it one of the best of 2016. There is one book left, but remember, when I say book, I mean just that. The second book comes close to one hundred pages, and they are beautifully written by Scott Snyder and beautifully painted by Jeff Lemire. I still do not know all of the answers to the cure of death, and the world below, but I know enough to say this is one fantastic series, and something truly special for the medium.
  • Minighter and Apollo – Another series that only is halfway done, but that halfway point has been fantastic. Not only is it fantastic that we are getting a different kind of superhero book where the two male protagonists are lovers, but they aren’t cliche, or stereotypical, or offensive. They are three dimensional, like real gay people actually are, except one has a computer in his head and can take on an army, and the other is a god. Steve Orlando has done a fantastic job on this, and so has Fernando Blanco on art. I hope we get an ongoing after this!
  • Superman: American Alien – This was a really fun book. We get different chapters of Superman’s life, from his childhood where he is trying to understand who he is and what these powers are, to him meeting Lois and being a reporter. We get some fantastic moments with him hanging out with his friends, getting drunk, and learning how to live as a god among men. I love the parts with his parents, and seeing not just their stress, but their overwhelming love. Max Landis and a who’s who of amazing artists like Jock, Joelle Jones, Francis Manipul, and more make this one of the best books of the year.

Best Writer – Rick Remender

img_0408I could have gone with Tom King, or the other three excellent writers on my list, and none of them would have been wrong. Even someone like Rosenberg who made two of my favorite limited series could have been here. None of these lists are easy, as you see I keep saying, but if I had to pick just one writer this year, it would be Rick Remender. It isn’t just the quality of the content he made, which is very high, but the volume of it as well.

This year, we saw Black Science, Deadly Class, Low, Seven to Eternity, and Tokyo Ghost. The crazy part, is all of those comics were fantastic. You constantly hear that so many writers are taking on too many titles, and that their writing takes a major hit. I do not think that was the case this year for Remender, and actually, I think it was one his best years, which is saying a lot. The beautiful thing is that all of these series will still be going into 2017, as even Tokyo Ghost which will be returning.

Runners Up:

  • Tom King – What a phenomenal year Tom King had. The Sherrif of Babylon, The Vision, and Batman. Most writers would be proud writing one of those titles, and while his run on Batman isn’t everyone’s favorite, I am enjoying it quite a bit. I enjoy a different take on a character, and he is playing with the caped crusaders weaknesses, and making him human. As mentioned previously, both Sheriff and Vision are absolutely incredible, and I cannot wait to see what we get from him next.
  • Jason Aaron – I feel like Jason Aaron needs more love when it comes to the best writers of 2016. He was a beast this year. Southern Bastards, The Mighty Thor, The Unworthy Thor, Doctor Strange, Star Wars, and The Goddamned. I wish we got more Southern Bastards, but again as this list shows, you can see the guy is busy. He had a fantastic year, and because of that as a reader, so did I.
  • Brian K. Vaughn – There should be no shock that this name is on anyone’s list. He will probably be on most lists until the day he decides to stop writing. Both Saga and Paper Girls continue to be fantastic. I expect big things as these titles move forward, and hopefully we get another book. The more Vaughn, the better.
  • Jeff Lemire – Here is another writer that was a beast in 2016. Moon Knight, Old Man Logan, Descender, Bloodshot Reborn, Bloodshot U.S.A., Black Hammer, AD: After Death, and more. I am amazed at not only Lemire as a writer, but his work as an artist as well. I don’t know how he had time to do anything else this year but write and make art. A truly fantastic year for one of my favorite creators.

Best Artist –  Russel Dauterman

img_0409For the longest time, the background of my phone was The Mighty Thor #1. Now that I am typing this, I will be putting it back to that amazing artwork, because it is that good. Russel Dauterman is one of those artists in comics that you can just stare at his panels and pages for so long and see tiny details that just blow your mind. You will see me say things in reviews like, you are getting some real art here, as in pieces you could hang on your wall, and that is true of Dauterman’s work. The work is that good. Every panel could probably be framed and catch someone’s eye every time.

The way he draws his characters with such emotion is fantastic. Not to mention the way he draws frost giants, or the more modern version of Loki, or Jane, or Odinson, or Odin, or everyone in this comic! His work is fantastic, and he deserves to have it recognized. This is one of those artists, that when they take an issue or two off, you get sad. It’s that good.

Runners Up:

  • Andrew Maclean – Head Lopper was one of my favorite comics this year, and while the fun story was a lot of it, the art by Maclean was what caught my eye. It’s simultaneously violent and graphic, yet beautiful. The colors pop as our hero cuts the heads off of giant beasts.
  • FIona Staples – As I said early, Fiona captures her characters so well. Their emotions pour from the pages in her artwork, and I cannot imagine Saga without her. From Marko to Prince Robot to Hazel, she conveys who they are as people so well, as she always has with this excellent series. Also, her style is so original, that is is recognizable right away.
  • Jamie McKelvie – One of my favorite artists in general, and I would be happy if he drew ten more titles. The way he draws the Pantheon is so damn good. There is so much attitude and personality in The Wicked + The Divine, and McKelvie is a big reason why. Every character is drawn with such detail and life that they feel real, even if they are shallow pop star deities.
  • Andreas Sorrentino – Perhaps more than any artist this year, Sorrentino on Old Man Logan made my jaw hang open at the way he used splash pages. He is one of the most creative artists in the medium, and his work is dark and unique. There were so many breathtaking panels that he used this year on Logan, and it is one of the reasons that comic is as good as it is. Like Dauterman, I get sad when he isn’t on an issue or two.

Best New Series – Animosity

 bookanimosityMarguerite Bennett wrote one hell of a story this year in Animosity. This awesome title from Aftershock had one of the best first issues of the year, and the issues that followed kept that momentum up every time. Sandor is a hound protecting his owner, Jesse, a little girl who is scared when all of the other pets and animals in the world begin killing and targeting humans. We are only four issues in, and I feel like so much has happened. There is no doubt that this is one of the best new series of the year, and in my opinion, the best.

The art by Rafael de Latorre is fantastic, and the scenes in the book are filled with action, and keep you on the edge of your seat. The first issue alone had me yelling expletives in excitement, and the art as well as the storytelling is a big reason why. When a much scarier animal is trying to hurt Jesse, I love how protective Sandor is. He pulls no punches to protector his girl, and has the personality of an old and wise man mentor type. I think this is one everyone should check out, even if you have to wait for the trade, as it is hard to come by in many local comic shops.

Runners Up:

  • Seven to Eternity – What an awesome fantasy story from Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña. Already we’ve seen some fantastic characters, an awesome big bad, an interesting protagonist with a deep legacy to his family name, and a plot that promises some crazy things will happen. Oh, and it’s only getting started.
  • Briggs Land – The comic that AMC wanted optioned as a show before most people had even heard about it. Brian Wood and Mack Chatter have given us a very raw and real look at a family that ran 100 acres of land the way they wanted to for years. Well now that the father is in prison, the mother, Grace, is taking things over, but has to deal with a few of her sons. It has been a realty good slow burn so far, with some intense scenes, and I bet it only gets better from here.
  • Dept. H – Matt Kindt is a very unique storyteller, and artist. His work is some of the most original in the business, and I always get excited when he works on a new title, especially when he does the art as well. This time he brings Sharlene Kindt in on watercolors and the final product is fantastic. They both do an excellent job bring this fantastic underwater claustrophobic adventure to life. This is an awesome whodunit comic and I cannot wait to see where it goes from here.
  • Kill Or Be Killed – This is a comic that is always at the top of my read list when it comes out. It shouldn’t be a shock that Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips made an amazing pulp crime comic, but it is amazing that they make such a different one each time. This one follows a guy who is cursed with having to kill people, or lose his life in a deal he made with a demon who spared his life after an attempted suicide. I love this comic, and cannot wait to see where these creators take us.

Best Graphic Novel or Trade Paperback  – Love is Love

loveislovefi1.jpg

Moments like these are why I love this medium. Comic books are just a platform. Just like television, books, movies, etc. You can make whatever you’d like, and this is a fantastic example of that. After the horrible Orlando Pulse shootings, getting a book like this where the proceeds are donated to the families of those lost that day won’t fix the horrors, but maybe it can help us grieve and understand a little better. It can put a face not to the evil person who did this to these people just living their lives, but it can be a voice for the people who died that day.

In this anthology book we get so many amazing creators, not just in the comic industry, but from other mediums as well. This book choked me up more than once while reading these beautiful stories, or the powerful images in them. I don’t want to single any of them out, as there are too many to mention that are fabulous, and Logan from our site already did a fantastic job of that in his review, but as a whole, this book is so important, and so incredible, and while it makes me sad it has to exist, it is necessary that it does.

Runners Up:

  • Dark Night: A Batman Story – What a painful yet beautiful telling of such a horrific true event in Paul Dini’s life. We get to see Dini working on Batman: The Animated Series, and help narrate the tale himself with the help from Batman, Harley, Two Face, Joker, and more as we get a very personal look at his life. This was a very sad, very brave, and very good book.
  • The Prince of Cats – Romeo and Juliet in a 1980s block party. That is basically what this book is, and it is a lot of fun. It is filled with hip hop, bright clothing, sword fights, love, and more. It captures the spirit of the Shakespeare classic, as Ronald Wimberly puts his own creative spin on it. This was a very cool retelling of a story most people already know, but told in a new way.
  • Muhammad Ali – This was an enjoyable way to look at the life of an American icon, and sports legend. Sybil Le Titeux and Amazing Ameziane give us Ali as a child, his work with Islam, his fighting techniques, and so much more throughout his life. The art varies as it uses the pages and panels wisely, and we get some fantastic cameos from important people throughout the champs life.
  • Wonder Woman: The True Amazon – We saw a lot of Wonder Woman stories this year, and that is never a bad thing. Jill Thompson does such a beautiful job on art in this book. Everything looks hand painted and we get another origin story, but an enjoyable one. This is a good book to recommend to any fan of Diana, as it does it justice.

Best Genre – Fallen societies

briggs-land-1Now while this may not be defined as a genre, I read many fantastic comics this year that dealt with societies that had fallen to different degrees. There are groups of people that live on their self governed 100 acres in Briggs Land from Dark Horse by Brian Wood and Mack Chatter. The animals took over the world from the humans in Animosity from Aftershock by Marguerite Bennett and Rafael de Latorre.  And there was the land of Zhal that was taken over and run by the God of Whispers in Seven to Eternity from Image Comics by Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña. We also saw titles like Shipwreck from Aftershock by Warren Ellis and Phil Hester, and Warlords of Appalachia from BOOM! Studios by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Jonas Scharf.

Maybe I am cynical, but I really enjoyed spending times in worlds that fell in some form. Some of these stories had the people choose to live off the land and govern themselves, saw their animals take their society from them, or saw them rise up against their government as their own militia. Either way, they provided some of my favorite moments in comics this year, and these were just a few of them.

Runners Up:

  • Fantasy – What a great year for fantasy titles. We saw Saga, Seven to Eternity, Lake of Fire, Green Valley, Reborn, The Mighty Thor, Klaus, Head Lopper, Monstress, and so many more. Most important, many of these were fantasy, but not in the traditional sense. We saw the fantasy genre mix with others, and it was a lot of fun. Keep them coming!
  • Crime drama – Another strong genre this year with Kill or Be Killed, Violent Love, Triggerman, and more. I love reading pulp crime stories, and this year brought some very solid entries.
  • MagicSure we got Doctor Strange which has been fantastic, but we also saw Ether, The Wicked + The Divine, Seven to Eternity, and more. Magic is always a fun story element, and we saw some good use of it this year.
  • The 1980s – Everything that was always comes back, and that is true of the 1980s. Whether it was popular properties like He-Man vs Thundercats, IDW’s Revolution event featuring Transformers, GI Joe and more, Escape From NY/Big Trouble in Little China, or The Lost Boys, we saw quite a bit of that generation this year. Even one of my favorite titles, 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank felt so reminiscent of The Goonies or Stand by Me, while still feeling original. 2016 was a great representation of the 1980s.

Biggest Disappointment – Civil War II

civil_war_ii__8

I tried to defend the event after the first few issues, and the art by David Marquez is fantastic, but I can no longer defend this series. I like Brian Michael Bendis, even if I don’t like every series he has written lately. I think that Infamous Iron Man is very promising, and it was odd to me that one of my least favorite comics that released the week of Civil War #8 was written by the same person that wrote one of my favorites in Infamous Iron Man #3. So I don’t want to just make this about Bendis as a writer, because I know he is a good one.

But for whatever reason, be it delays, lack of editorial work or poor planning, this event did not do it for me. The way it ended felt wrong on so many notes, and leaves so much not settled. I also scratch my head at Captain Marvel being loved for what she did, and how they depicted her. I like her as a character, but I felt that this book really messed with who she was, and made her look horrible. While I enjoyed many things Marvel did this year, like Moon Knight, Power Man and Iron Fist, and Old Man Logan, this would be one of my least favorite.

Runners Up:

  • Death of X – If not for the awesome art by Aaron Kuder, this event is mostly forgettable. I didn’t hate the ending, I actually quite liked it, but the event as a whole felt so unnecessary, and a lesser version of the actual event that has had a really good first issue, Inhumans vs. X-Men. This could have been a one shot, but was hyped as something major for a long time.
  • Nighthawk/Mockingbird cancelled – Great books from great creators saw their run end way too soon. At least David Walker got Occupy Avengers and will be bringing Nighthawk into that book. Nighthawk was a gritty and fantastic book with a really interesting character. I look forward to seeing how he is used going forward. For Chelsea Cain, she got to issue 8 with a fun and original take on Bobbi Morse, but then chose to leave Twitter due to everyone getting upset over a comic book cover. Both of these things disappointed me quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I understand this is a business, I just wish there was a better way to support books like these aside from pre-orders at local comic shops.
  • Fanboyism – I know this is an every year thing, but as time goes on, I truly scratch my head over the constant fight between fans of the big two. We got some great comics from both publishers, and many others this year as well. It’s silly, and the growth of social media, clickbait journalism, and memes have only made it worse. It was one thing when it was kids busting each other’s chops as friends, but now it has taken on a whole new level of ridiculousness. Stahp!
  • Marvel legacy characters – While I am happy that Marvel has done a great job on adding diverse characters, I am not sure what they are doing with so many of their legacy characters. We saw three of them fall in eight issues of a comic alone. Another is now a super evil double agent. And more are dead or in some sort of coma. I am all for these new heroes, I just prefer the way DC is doing it with Rebirth. Bring the new characters in under the old ones and have them mentor them. Or at least give some balance. I am hopefully this improves in the new year, or at least soon.

Best Publisher – DC 

 DC_Logo_RGB_031816It is hard to give this award to one publisher, as multiple publishers had so many great books this year. Though I will pick one, and that is DC. From the fantastic launch of DC Rebirth as a title, and then the great books that came out of it, to Young Animal, and Vertigo, their imprints and the books that came out of those, they have had one hell of a year. Detective Comics, Action Comics, Superman, Wonder Woman, Doom Patrol, The Sheriff of Babylon, and so on were all such fantastic and consistent titles for them, and while they have always been producing get content, it is great to see them get back to such focus.

They signed some amazing talent with writers Tom King, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV, and artists like Liam Sharp, and Mitch Gerads to exclusive contracts. Not that they are the only talented people working on their books, because there are definitely more. Mikel Janin and Riley Rossmo both blew me away with their art this year. I was pleasantly surprised by DC this year, and I hope that trend to continue. I hope Marvel is paying attention to them, and while I do not want them to copy them, I would like to see somewhat of a Rebirth type event that can tie their legacy characters to their newer characters a little better, and give fans the best of both worlds.

Runners Up:

  • Dark Horse – They nearly took my top spot with such fantastic books as Black Hammer, Briggs Land, Dept. H, Ether, Hellboy, Harrow County, Lady Killer, Aliens and so much more. Very impressive year.
  • Image – So many titles, and they just keep adding more. Even Skybound has expanded with a few new titles. Image just keeps getting better with age.
  • Aftershock – With Animosity, Shipwreck, American Monster and more, Aftershock has proven it can hang with the best of them. Even with the start of 2017 we are seeing more promising titles like Blood Blister and The Lifespanners coming from some top talent.
  • BOOM! Studios – This year we saw BOOM! really expand its horizons with titles like Klaus, Warlords of Appalachia, Slam, and more while continuing to release their all ages comics that so many love like Goldie Vance, Adventure Time, and more. I expect we will see more serious titles like the Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins project, Grass Kings coming in 2017, and I am excited.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

4-kids-walk-3-6Wednesdays 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.

Joe

Top Pick: 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank #3 (Black Mask Studios) – You know you’re onto something when you wrote two issues and people are begging you for the next issue. Rosenberg has taken 2016 by storm and it shows. After the success of this awesome comic, and Civil War II: Kingpin, he will now be writing ongoing titles at Marvel for Rocket Raccoon, Secret Warriors, and Kingpin. Find this comic, with the first two issues if you can. It is one of the top books of the year, from one of the best writers of the year.

Ether #2 (Dark Horse) – After a fantastic first issue, I cannot wait to continue the adventures of Boone and the crazy world of Ether. Fans of Doctor Strange and even Sherlock Holmes will love this quirky original book.

Batman #13 (DC Comics) – The last issue was controversial, and I loved it. Now that Tom King has let us know what “I Am Suicide” is about, I want to see where he takes us to end this arc. I love what he has been doing with the character. Will he break Bane’s back this time around?Black Hammer #6 (Dark Horse) – It feels like it has been forever since I’ve read this book, but maybe it’s because I want it to come out every week. This comic has such an original and refreshing way to tell super hero stories and turn the tropes on their head.

Black Hammer #6 (Dark Horse) – It feels like it has been forever since I’ve read this book, but maybe it’s because I want it to come out every week. This comic has such an original and refreshing way to tell super hero stories and turn the tropes on their head.

Dept. H #9 (Dark Horse) – Will we get some answers on who’s sabotaging the base? I love this slow burn of a book that builds its slow tension with each issue. So far so good from the Kindt duo. One of the best books of the year!

 

Alex

Top Pick: Divinity III: Stalinverse #1 (Valiant) – When this year started I hadn’t read Divinity. Then I went on vacation and had time to read the first trade, and after scraping my jaw from the floor I realized that Divinity II was just about to drop in stores, which meant I had to scrape my jaw up again. Needless to say, I have my jaw scraper ready as we head into the Stalinverse.

Black Hammer #6 (Dark Horse) – Narrowly missing out on my top spot this week is this underrated gem from Jeff Lemire. There has been a lot of scene setting over the last five issues as Lemire takes his time to really delve into the story of the missing heroes turned civilians. It’s such a fantastic journey that I’m not at all concerned we haven’t really done too much more than set the stage right now. Miss this at your peril.

Bloodshot USA #3 (Valiant) –  While there may be some debate over whether or not this should have been a separate miniseries or a continuation of Bloodshot Reborn, the end result is pretty fantastic. I’m stoked for this issue (or I would be had I not already read it – review spoiler: it’s good).

Harbinger Renegade #2 (Valiant) – After I read the first issue of Harbinger Renegade I went back and read the first Harbinger series. I still haven’t read Imperium yet, but I will. I have the issues and some time off over the holidays, so I’ll be making a dent in the next chapter of the Toyo Harada and Peter Stanchek story. As for this issue? I’ll add it to the pile to reread once I finish Imperium.

Klaus And The Witch Of Winter (BOOM! Studios) – I loved the Klaus miniseries released last year, and somehow I missed the announcement that this was coming out. Needless to say, I’m excited about it.

 

Elana

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #3 (Black Mask Studios)4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is back! 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is back! It’s like a Coen Bros movie meets The Goonies but with a female protagonist and more diversity. Which means it’s actually better than The Goonies. Yes I SAID IT. It’s charming and funny and insightful caper comic and I’m going to make everyone read it goddamnit.

 

Shay

Top Pick: Harley Quinn #10 (DC Comics) – It’s Harley! It’s holiday short stories! It’s going to be awesome, dark and deranged! If you’re looking for a gateway comic for your non-comic book friend this holiday season, this might be the one!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 #2 (Dark Horse) – Buffy and her teams are trying to put San Fricisco back in one piece and that might be harder to do with the start of a magical powered “human” registration act. This season should be interesting because we all know how well registration of people with powers works in the other comic book universes.

Dead Inside #1 ( Dark Horse) – A new comic with a female lead, murder, and corrupt county jails. It’s like all of those murder shows and docs you love in comic book form.

Justice League vs Suicide Squad #1 (DC Comics) – The Justice League has found out about our fave group of bad guys and are out to shut them down. This is going to be the best damn six-episode series ever and I can’t wait to see how it all shakes out. Time to root for the bad guys!!!

The Punisher Vol. 1: On Road TP (Marvel) – Frank hits the road after a bad raid and Condor and Face are waiting to scoop in and take him out . Time to cheer on one of your favorite bad good guys! Let the battle royal begin!

Honorable Mention: Throwaways TP Vol. 1 (Image Comics) – It’s the fist collection of this new comic book. It’s had some bumpy clunky issues but, overall it’s been an interesting reads I think that being able to have all of the early ones in one package might bring it all together.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Divinity III: Stalinverse #1 (Valiant) – The second volume ended with an interesting hint as to what was to come (but we already got the announcement of this series) but who knows how it’d all shake out. The first two volumes of this series have been amazing and this third which has a Russian take on the Valiant universe has me beyond excited.

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #3 (Black Mask Studios) – The first two issues we damn near perfection and I’ve been waiting for this third one. Hopefully, the wait pays off, but this series is one of the best things to come out this year in comics.

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1 (DC Comics) – The exact silly fun I’d expect it to be.

Warhammer 40,000: Will of Iron #3 (Titan Comics) – It’s been a while since I was regularly paying 40K, but this series has got me wanting to dive back in. Fans of the Games Workshop game should absolutely check this out.

Hook Jaw #1 (Titan Comics) – It’s a story about a giant shark… and some scientists… and the CIA… As a fan of Jaws, sign me up.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

adbook01_coverartWednesdays 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.

Joe

Top Pick: AD: After Death #1 (Image Comics) – Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire are two of my favorite people in comics. Now they will be together with Lemire doing some fantastic art (one of his talents that is very underrated) on a book that they call part comic and part prose. This book asks the question, what if we could cure death? I am sure not everything will go well, but time will tell. What would a world with no death be like? Would it be as great as we think? The previews I have seen so far are beautiful, and I am very excited for the story this oversized book will tell.

The Mighty Thor #13 (Marvel) – After an excellent first issue of The Unworthy Thor that saw the return of Odinson, we will return to the current and actual holder of the Thor title. This issue will see the start of a massive war, and it will be interesting to see how this affects not only Thor, but Odinson as well. What will Odin do? Or Loki? This series has been fantastic all the way back to the last run. The story is great, the art is some of the best in comics, so yes, this is definitely high on my list.

Dept. H #8 (Dark Horse) – Who did it!? That’s the question we are all asking along with our protagonist, while everyone tries to avoid drowning to death. The water is rising and so are tensions. As they search for answers, they also have to search for a way to survive. Did someone sabotage the base? It would sure seem it. Matt and Sharlene Kindt have been doing such a fantastic job on this book and I expect that to continue.

Detective Comics #945 (DC Comics) – The Victim Syndicate continues, and I want to find out more about these characters. We basically know they want to make Batman hurt for what they think he did to them, but how far will they take things? It definitely seems like pretty far if the last issue is any sign. This is one of the best DC books, and probably my favorite bat book each month, so I am definitely looking forward to this.

bsusa_002_cover-a_braithwaiteWonder Woman #11 (DC Comics) – Speaking of the best DC book, this just may be it. Wonder Woman is probably their most consistent title, and Greg Rucka is writing a heck of a tale, well two tales each month. I love the going back and forth between the year one and the current storyline, and seeing how they tie together. Will we finally get some big answers this issue? This is a book everyone should be reading every month. Highly recommended.

 

Alex

Bloodshot U.S.A. #2 (Valiant) – I’ve recent been reading the earlier issues of Bloodshot from a few years ago, which has gotten me incredibly excited to get my hands on this issue with a new found appreciation for the character.

Venom #1 (Marvel) – Knowing next to nothing about this series, or Venom’s history since the symbiote was bonded to Flash Thompson, this is going to be an interesting read. Hopefully, it’s a little more than half decent.

Ninjak #21 (Valiant) – I’m looking forward to this more for the end of the arc than anything else. I’ve been pretty underwhelmed by The Fist And The Steel arc, although it was a perfectly serviceable story, it just didn’t do it for me. I’m hoping the next arc will be different, but we have to read this first.

 

warlords_of_appalachia_002_a_mainBrett

Top Pick: AD: After Death Book 1 (Image Comics) – Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire. Those two names alone should give you enough reason to pick up this first issue. The concept is interesting and Joe covered that above, but these are creators who I expect quality when I see their names and they consistently deliver. I don’t flinch at recommending this one and it’s near the top of my reading list.

Civil War II #7 (Marvel) – I’ll be the first to say this event has been a disaster from the beginning, but it’s a trainwreck where I want to see what happens next.

Death of X #4 (Marvel) – Filling in the gaps post-Secret Wars we finally find out what happened to Cyclops and a few others. That’s enough to get me to check out this final issue of the miniseries and also to see what happens next with the next event IVX.

Captain Canuck #10 (Chapterhouse Comics) – Comics should be fun and Captain Canuck consistently delivers that without the grim and dark that so many others rely on.

Warlords of Appalachia #2 (BOOM! Studios) – Might as well get ahead of the curve in what very well may be a prescient series. The story involves an uprising from Kentucky post second Civil War… entertainment is feeling a bit too real here.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

death-of-x-2Wednesdays 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.

Shay

Top Pick: Harley Quinn #6 (DC Comics) – The punk scene and Harley are a match made in anarchist heaven! This issue will give you life!

Wynonna Earp Vol 1 TP (IDW Publishing) – This reboot/re-imagining of Wynonna Earp will bring TV fans and die-hard fans from the OG comics when she was still blonde and buxom together under one accord. Wynonna is one hell of a bad ass and her story deserves to be told. Get semi caught up with this trade paperback and enjoy yourself. It’s a great jump off point to get to know the new Wynonna, meet her for the first time or, discover some of the things that you wish you

Black Panther #7 (Marvel) – Black Panther gets more than by with a little help from his friends! This issue has everything you need and want, a lot of action, some serious double crossing, a nice spirit walk , funny and clever quips ,a dash of blaxploitation fire and , some killer cameos!

Spell on Wheels #1 (Dark Horse) – Girl powered road trip! But, the girls are witches on the trail of the thief that stole their powers.

Death of X #2 (Marvel) – It’s going DOWN! two more issues then we have IvX! This is the bridge to cover that gap and set the stage for one hell of a fight. Without giving away too much lets just say that the X-men, especially Cyclops should “Beware when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become one.” Because where the Inhumans are concerned he’s starting to sound an awful lot like the humans who came for the X-men and the other mutants.

 

Joe

Top Pick: Dept. H #7 (Dark Horse) – This has been such a good series so far by Matt and Sharlene Kindt. The underwater claustrophobia continues as Mia searches for who killed her father while trying to stay alive. The combination of the pencils and watercolor is just beautiful in this book and you should definitely check it out.

Black Hammer #4 (Dark Horse) – Such an original series. I always have liked what Lemire does, but this is so weird and silly and yet has such a great story. The characters are somehow relatable while still being so over the top. The way it pokes at superhero tropes is hilarious and refreshing. I also love the classic style art in this book, it really fits well.

Batman #9 (DC Comics) – Now that we are done with “Night of The Monster Men,” we can get back to a more focused story I hope. I love what Tom King was doing with this book, and am excited to see what this “I Am Suicide” arc is all about. King has made Batman very vulnerable so far, and I want to see how far he takes The Dark Knight, and how far DC is willing to let him.

Death of X #2 (Marvel) – I love Aaron Kuder’s art. It’s a breath of fresh air for Marvel. I also liked the first issue and want to see what Soule and Lemire do here since they are both writing this series. I’ve been intrigued by this title, and as a kid who grew up with The X-books being my favorites, I want to see what Marvel is really planning for them.

Infamous Iron Man #1 (Marvel) – Who doesn’t want to see Victor Von Doom as Iron Man? I’m so curious to see what Bendis will do here. I am sure everyone is. Is Victor truly redeemed post-Secret Wars? What will he think of Riri? Where the hell is Tony? There are tons of questions, and I am very hopeful for this series.

 

Alex

Top Pick: Faith #4 (Valiant) – Alex looking forward to a Valiant comic? Hardly a surprise, really, but this issue that has Faith, Archer and Faith (yes, really) attending a comic book convention is going to be an absolute blast to read.

Batman #9 (DC Comics) – At last the crossover story is done, so hopefully now we get to something that’s just flat out better.

Black Hammer #4 (Dark Horse) – A story about forgotten, or lost, heroes trapped for some reason in a town that most of them don’t want to be in. It’s a brilliant story, and one I was fortunate enough to read the first two issues in one go – absolutely worth your time.

Green Lanterns #9 (DC Comics) – After eight issues, I’ve found that I’ve become rather fond of the Green Lantern property post-Rebirth, and a large part of that new found fandom is because of this comic. It’s fairly similar in tone to Faith, and seeing as how that’s one of my favourite series right now, it stands to reason that this would also be pretty high on my list.

Ninjak #20 (Valiant) – I’m still not as excited about this comic as I want to be, but it’s still more enticing to me than almost anything that Marvel are publishing this week. I don’t know whether that says more about Valiant’s consistent high quality or Marvel’s lack of anything interesting.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Infamous Iron Man #1 (Marvel) – Doctor Doom as Iron Man is an intriguing concept and we get the details as to why and how here. If you don’t want Civil War II spoiled, you might want to avoid this comic, but, it gives us our first hint as to what the hell goes down at the end of that event. Beyond that, Doom as hero is actually really interesting and something I want to see.

Death of X #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was a bit mixed for me, but I really want to see what happened between Mutants and Inhumans and the fate of a lot of characters. Marvel has teased things, and I want the details.

The Black Hood Season 2 #1 (Dark Circle) – Archie’s “superhero” series gets a second volume. The first was brutal, dark, and really great to read. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1 (DC’s Young Animal) – This new line of comics from DC has been really interesting and the latest release is an interesting one with a rather obscure character. I have no idea what to expect, but it’s one that’s high on my list to find out.

The Bunker #19 (Oni Press) – The time traveling mind trip comes to an end with this issue which feels like it has so much to wrap up. It’s been one hell of a ride, so how this all ends is something I really want to know and can’t wait to find out.

 

Anthony

Secret Path: Confronting the past is something that often requires dealing with controversial subject matter, looking outward to return inward in the present time, reflecting and hoping a light is shone on what is often ignored. Secret Path tells the story of a young boy named Chanie Wenjack whom died trying to find his way home, 400 miles away, after escaping from the often brutal conditions that many Aboriginal people faced in Residential Schools. Gord Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip and long time activist for Aboriginal rights, and artist Jeff Lemire, present a story in which Canada must come face to face with their own past reality.

Black Hammer #4 (Dark Horse) – The team of Black Hammer continues to flesh out some very thought provoking, emotional, and deconstructive stories/images on the superhero genre as a whole. This issue looks to focus on Abraham Slam’s past, intermingling with the present time.

Black Panther #7 (Marvel) – Chris Sprouse has been doing a solid job penciling the last few issues after Brian Stelfreeze’s first four issues and looks to continue expanding the wide range of characters and places with Ta-Nehisi Coates’s scripts and Laura Martin’s wide-ranging colours. It looks like the creative team will be re-introducing ‘The Crew’ with the new set of members looking like Black Panther, Misty Knight, Storm and Luke Cage.

Black Widow #7 (Marvel) – Black Widow returns and looks to confront the very person that has been screwing around with her life: Weeping Lion. Chris Samnee, Mark Waid, and Matt Wilson have created a wonderfully balanced series, showing the power of visual storytelling alongside scripts that don’t really rely too heavily on exposition.

Faith #4 (Valiant) – Faith and Archer decide to spend some much needed time together by going to the local comic convention, away from the hustle and bustle of being a superhero. But, sometimes you just can’t escape that. The two have found themselves about to face off against a group of people trying to invade on the fun to be had at nerdvana.

 

Jason

Top Pick: Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1 (DC’s Young Animal) – Even a few titles in, Gerard Way’s ‘Young Animals’ is already proving to be a shot in the arm for DC’s comics line, with the My Chemical Romance frontman and his team embracing the weird and cherry picking the most obscure and weird characters from the company’s vaults.They don’t come any more obscure than Cave Carson, the one with the cybernetic eye, first appearing in four issues of the ‘Brave and the Bold’ in the 60’s before making his way onto the aptly named “Forgotten Heroes” along with Animal Man in the 80’s.

“Inspired by the visionary work of DC’s experimental past, but shaped and focused on the absurdity of today” is the imprints mission statement and it would seem that Way and Rivera are taking the spelunking hero down a psychedelic, self exploratory path as he struggles with his grip on reality after his wife’s death.

Infamous Iron Man #1 (Marvel) – Following in the footsteps of Doctor Octopus as Superior Spider-man, this month Iron Man becomes infamous as the leader of Latveria dons Stark’s armor. One of two characters taking over the Iron Man Mantle along with Riri Williams it remains to be seen if Bendis and Maleev’s Victor is truly on a path to redemption or working an angle to a new devious master plan.

While his last big plan saw Doom elevate himself to the status of God of the newly formed battleworld, can one of the biggest and most complex villains of the Marvel Universe really step up and become a true hero? With the series’ second issue featuring long time adversary and sure to be skeptical Ben Grimm, it’s sure going to be an interesting look into an already layered character.

Review: Dept. H #7

dept-h-7-coverMatt Kindt is a massive talent.  He is one of the few people in the industry where I feel his art matches his writing.  I think the best thing I can call someone in this industry is original, and Matt Kindt is just that.  Dept. H may not be his first, or even his most recognized work, but it is one of my favorites.

The story follows Mia, a special investigator hired to uncover a possible sabotage taking place at a deep-sea research station.  The series is a “whodunit” featuring a cast of characters with outward traits ranging from kind and helpful to cold and suspicious.  Like any good mystery, it is becoming apparent that things aren’t always what they seem.  The book does a good job at playing with your preconceived notions, and keeping you distracted.  Just when I feel like I have something figured out, disaster rears its ugly head again.  This is what Mia is constantly dealing with in Dept. H.  The closer she is to solving the murder of her father, the closer she is to death.  She is not only fighting to solve the case, she is fighting for her life.

I like this book for many reasons, but one of my favorite things is that it reminds us that people are grey.  There isn’t always a cut and dry suspect.  Things like our own prejudices, paranoia, and other variables can skew our views on someone.  Each issue does a good job of taking a look at why each of the crew members in Dept. H would kill Mia’s father, further messing with the reader.

This issue focuses on Mia, Roger, Aaron, and Jerome.  Mia is with Roger as the crew is trying to stop the base from flooding, while Aaron went to go get Jerome who has been seemingly losing his mind.  Things take a turn here, and we get some fantastic character development into Aaron’s history with Mia’s father, Hari.  I am starting to feel the same claustrophobia and panic as the crew members.

The art is incredible, and I am not just referencing the brilliant work we usually see from Matt, but in the colors from Sharlene Kindt as well.  The watercolors take this book over the top, and are such a beautiful contrast to the dark and dreary underwater setting.  I probably looked at the jellyfish on the first page for a few minutes before I even read the story.  You are truly getting art here, and I have to get some prints of this work to hang on my wall.  The little sketches and notes in the beginning and ending of the book are nice touches and let us in the minds of the two talented Kindts if only for brief moments.

I highly recommend this book, and it is only getting better.  If you have been reading the series, I probably don’t have to tell you to keep going.  If you haven’t been, get caught up on the issues or get it in trade when the first volume drops in January.  This is one of the best comics coming out this week, and one of the best comics coming out period.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Matt Kindt Color: Sharlene Kindt
Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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