Best Comics of February 2019: Thor #10, The Wild Storm #20, and more

By Zack Quaintance — Holy cow, the debate over the final selections for the Best Comics of February 2019 got pretty heated within the committee (of one), raging for what felt like days. Some of our usual superhero favorites—Action Comics/Superman, Immortal Hulk, etc.—have maybe hit places in their runs where we take them just a tiny bit for granted. By the same token though, some of our other favorite long-form superhero narratives are hitting some pretty resonant emotional crescendos (see The Wild Storm, see Thor). But more on that below.

Let me just use this second paragraph of an intro most people scroll right past to address an ongoing narrative that comics are bad now and the industry is dying: stop it. I could go into the business (which is something that myself and roughly 99.9 percent of readers as well as most creators know absolutely squat about), but that’s been done ad nauseam. So instead I’ll point out how little we as fans of stories know about the economics that make them feasible, and wonder (not for the first time) why we waste mental energy on something we don’t understand.

Why did I waste such a long paragraph on it? Who knows! Onto the comics...

Shout Outs

The level of melancholic beauty Die #3 achieves is absurd. It’s just a beautifully-told graphic sequential story that uses the comic’s fantasy setting to tell a tale about WWI that speaks on a deeper level to the creation of the genre by J.R.R. Tolkien. It juuuuust missed this month’s top 5.

I’ll say this about Teen Titans #27: I can’t believe this, but I’ve found myself increasingly interested in the current run on this book by Adam Glass and Bernard Chang. Both creators are wildly exceeding my expectations at the moment.

Also surprising was The Terrifics #13. I’d left this book for dead somewhere around The Terrifics #7. The artists were inconsistent, and the initiative it led—the New Age of DC Heroes—died out of the gate. Yet, the creators have quietly put together one of DC’s best comics, ricocheting around the multiverse and hitting big emotional beats through Plastic Man and his son,. Read this!  

One more superhero surprise, and we’ll continue! Uncanny X-Men #11 caught me off guard. I didn’t like the bloated (and frankly lazy) X-Men: Disassembled that re-launched Uncanny X-Men. This comic, however, was the opposite of that: compressed and consequential, it now feels like a new era for the X-Men has started. I’m (cautiously) in.

I still maintain, however, that the best X-Men comic on the market is Livewire #3. Free of the bonds of corporate comics, it can up the stakes for its title character the ways the Big 2 can’t, and the creative team on this book is doing so monthly in such brilliant ways. Read this!

Another book I love for its mix of commentary with a sense of anything can happen is Vault Comics’ Wasted Space. We fortunately got both Wasted Space #6 and Wasted Space #7 this month, and I’m happy to say this comic remains amazing.Staying on the Vault Comics train, These Savage Shores #3 really stood out to me this month, so much so that I almost considered adding a sixth slot to our top 5 (but then, is it really a top 5 still?). Gorgeous and literary, These Savage Shores is a must-read.

This next comic on our list is here because it’s become underrated, which is maybe an odd thing to say about something written by Robert Kirkman of The Walking Dead. Oblivion Song #12, however, was a very good comic with an ending cliffhanger that seems likely to extend our story for years to come. I’m in on it.

Ice Cream Man #10 returned the best horror story in comics to its core concept a bit this month while pushing the background (foreground now?) narrative to new places. This is a must-read creator-owned book if ever there was one.

I really struggled with the last of our customary 10 shoutouts, so let me just note that this final spot could have gone to any of the following: Action Comics #1008, The Green Lantern #4, Guardians of the Galaxy #2, Hot Lunch Special #5, Naomi #2, the entire Batman/Flash crossover, Magic Order #6, or Tony Stark: Iron Man #8.

Best Comics of February 2019

5. Mars Attacks #5
Kyle Starks
Artist: Chris Schweizer
Colorist: Liz Trice Schweizer
Publisher: Dynamite Comics

There’s just something about a perfectly-told five-issue miniseries that makes it in many ways the idea way to do a comicbook story. If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say that, I’d highly recommend checking out Kyle Starks and Chris Schweizer’s Mars Attacks. This could be the most emotionally-honest and overall satisfying contained comicbook story I’ve read in years.

It’s also wickedly funny, combining as it does a heartrending father-son survival story with the trademark mostly-irreverent humor that has made Starks such a fun creator to follow through past works such as Sex Castle or Rock Candy Mountain. I didn’t really know anything about the Mars Attacks franchise coming into this and mostly still don’t care, but this book is well worth reading.

4. Archie 1941 #5
Brian Augustyn & Mark Waid
Artist: Peter Krause (read our interview!)
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Publisher: Archie Comics

As friend of the site the great Will Nevin pointed out on Twitter as I was praising the bejeezus out of this book, the world could use more period comics in general, please. If those comics are anywhere near as good as this one, I’m all for it. In recent years, Archie Comics has experimented quite a bit with its classic characters, doing so in alternate reality scenarios and genres such as horror.

In the context of that experimentation, Archie 1945 comes across as a prestige title, a more dramatic and emotionally-taut story with the same sensibilities and dynamics that have helped the Riverdale gang endure for years. Our committee (of one) has picked Archie 1945 for a spot on this month’s list as a merit award for the entire series as a whole. It’s incredibly deserving, and I sincerely recommend picking it all up now in trade. I’m planning to for my bookshelf.

3. Criminal #2
Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Colorist: Jacob Phillips
Publisher: Image Comics

Our committee (of one) doesn’t often like to put comics this close to the debut of a run in our list, but Criminal #2 is more of a fresh vignette in a long-running story than it is an entirely new comic. This is, of course, now Criminal Vol. 8, and as good as the debut issue of this one was, the follow-up was even better.

This was, simply put, an incredibly well-done comic for people who love to read comics. It’s essentially set at San Diego Comic Con, following as it does an older celebrated artist who has turned to less savory ways of making money (see the title, please) and his former protege who gets swept up into whatever it is the aforementioned artist is tangled up in now. It’s a tense and well-told story (it’s Brubaker and Phillips, would you expect any less), and it works well both as a stand-alone issue and as a continuation of events in Criminal #1. Highly recommended.  

2. The Wild Storm #20
Warren Ellis
Artist: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colorist: Steve Buccelatto
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Publisher: DC Comics

The Wild Storm #20 is, in a word, @%$#-ing epic. Okay, that was two words, or, rather, one word and that weird set of characters people use to denote cussing (like you don’t know what I was trying to say). Anyway, our committee (of one) has loved The Wild Storm since it began, featuring as it does such a deliberate and smart narrative. This issue has a bit of that for the first two pages, and then it moves into all action.

What it also does is return one of the best couples in all of comics to our monthly pages: Midnighter and Apollo, appearing here in their most recent depictions. It’s incredibly satisfying, and it makes you realize just how great of a veteran writer Warren Ellis is and has been for a while (if you hadn’t already). He gives us big, fan-service moments within the context of a really smart long-form narrative. I think the biggest compliment I can pay this book is that issues like this one are what make me continue to love superhero comics.

1. Thor #10 (read our full review)
Jason Aaron
Artist: Mike del Mundo
Colorists: Mike del Mundo & Marco D'Alfonso
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel

Speaking of long-form, there is no better (nor longer) story in superhero comics right now than Jason Aaron’s Thor, which has been literally happening for something wild like six years (probably longer). He’s done compact story arcs, big events, and largely contained stories. Thor #10 is maybe all of those things, or a little bit of each, anyway.

It definitely fits into the larger story arc right now, of everyone in the Thor world preparing for the upcoming War of the Realms, which is as big an event as Marvel has had in recent years (which is really saying something). Meanwhile, it’s also a largely self-contained story about a father (Odin) and a son (Thor), kept from being emotionally honest because of toxic masculinity...and the world is all the worse for it. I have a strong suspicion this comic will also end up on my Best Individual Issues of 2019 list. So stay tuned for that in 10 months, ahem.

Check out our monthly lists, plus all of our Best of 2018 coverage, here.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.

Top Comics to Buy for February 6, 2019

By Zack Quaintance — This is pretty much a perfect week for new comics, featuring as it does the launch of multiple exciting new #1 series (the bright shiny new toy to the long-time comics fan) as well as the return of some of the best books on the market right now, including a new arc for Wasted Space and the conclusion of the phenomenal Archie 1941. Plus, books like Die continue to establish themselves as wonderful new comics.

There is, simply put, a lot going on this week, and so here we are as always with a brief guide: Top Comics to buy for February 6, 2019. As is standard protocol, we’ve selected our top 5 (plus a pick of the week), listed the most-exciting new #1 issues, and thrown-in for good measures the others that received votes. The top 5 are more heavily weighted toward books that have already established them, but rest assured, you can’t go wrong this week checking out anything from Female Furies to G.I. Joe: Sierra Muerte. Just choose wisely, there are a ton of stellar comics to pick from.

And now, on to the actual comics!

Top Comics to Buy for February 6, 2019

Archie 1941 #5.jpg

Archie 1941 #5
Brian Augustyn & Mark Waid
Artist: Peter Krause
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Publisher: Archie Comics
Price: $3.99
Archie Andrews-MIA and presumed dead! His friends and family-devastated! Don't miss out on the conclusion of this headline-making comic event!
Why It’s Cool: It’s a young year, but this is easily a front-runner for the best single issue of 2019 at this point. This entire series—which re-imagines Archie set in 1941 (incidentally the year he was created) during WWII—has been something truly special. With a different sort of fandom than superhero comics but no less an iconic history, Archie Comics as a publisher is generally freer to use its characters for alternate takes, or at least such has been the case in recent years. While the horror comics and Life With Archie have all been interesting, this is the prestige picture in the bunch, a comic with impeccable historical research, a deep emotional core, and unbelievable artwork courtesy of Peter Krause. This is not to be missed.

Die #3.jpg

Die #3
Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stephanie Hans
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
"FANTASY HEARTBREAKER," Part Three: One of the saddest comics in Kieron's career. One of Stephanie's prettiest. Clayton's lettering, of course, remains impeccable.
Why It’s Cool: As we wrote in our reviews of Die #1 and Die #2, this comic is one of the most-exciting new creator-owned books in some years, combining as it does the recent trend of teen D&D nostalgia with the dark lessons of life's hard-lived. Well, this third issue to the book feels like a bit of a thematic pivot. Fantasy has always been inherent to this title (the basic premise is that years ago six friends went into a realized fantasy realm via a role-playing game and only five came out—and now those five have been pulled back in), and this comic looks at some of the real-life inspiration for fantasy as we know it: WWI, which Lord of the Rings progenitor J.R.R. Tolkien himself was a veteran of. Essentially, this is a gorgeous and sadly poetic comic that draws a shattering parallel between fantasy games and stories we enjoy, and the real-life strife that helped to create them.

Justice League #17
Scott Snyder
Artist: Jim Cheung
Inkers: Cheung with Mark Morales and Walden Wong
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
After the disastrous events of the Justice League Annual, Martian Manhunter decides to take matters into his own hands and negotiate a peace with Legion of Doom leader Lex Luthor. Traveling to a distant moon, the two enemies face their intertwined pasts in a showdown for the fate of the Multiverse. However, before either of them can lay claim to the power of the Source Wall once and for all, an unexpected threat forces them to unite...or risk death at the ends of the cosmos.
Why It’s Cool: Last week’s Justice League Annual #1 was my favorite issue of the Snyder/Tynion/Cheung/Jimenez Justice League era to date, but it won’t reign long—this one is even better. Since No Justice ended, my favorite element to this complex and grandiose run has been the idea of Martian Manhunter and Lex Luthor essentially captaining their opposing teams in a conflict of ideology wherein both thinks they are doing what’s best to save the multiverse or at least the Earth. This story takes that concept to another level. I won’t go into how, but it’s a sight to behold. Highly recommend this.

These Savage Shores #3
Ram V.
Artist: Sumit Kumar
Colorist: Vittorio Astone
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Vault Comics
Price: $3.99
The stench of war clings to the air as Hyder Ali of Mysore comes calling for the levy. Good men and demons alike are set to march, even as lovers part with the promise of a safe return. But in these troubling times the promise of a hunt brings the devil himself to this faraway coast. Along These Savage Shores where blood begets blood and dawn-light shimmers over a land soaked in betrayal.
Why It’s Cool: Way way too many disparate properties these days are getting compared to Game of Thrones. In fact, I feel like it’s become reductive pop culture short-hand for something I like that’s slightly beyond average scope. But! Try as I might, I can’t help but describe this third excellent issue of These Savage Shores as feeling in scope a bit like Game of Thrones. It just has so many of the elements: large-scale political machinations, alliance building, betrayals, and seemingly inconsequential deaths having ripple effects that seemed destined to have retribution due. These Savage Shores also remains a gorgeous comic, as lush with its artwork as it is lyrical in its dialogue and narrative prose. If you’re not reading this comic, I don’t know what to tell you at this point.

Wasted Space #6
Michael Moreci
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Colorist: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Vault Comics
Price: $3.99
Now officially an ongoing! The whole fam damily is back! Billy visits a crooked politician. Dust and Fury make sweet bot-love in unsanitary locations. A ghost haunts Molly's visions of Rex. And Legion pets a dog. The galaxy is still totally borked, but maybe together they can un-bork it... oh, probably not.
Why It’s Cool: One of my absolute favorite comics of 2018 is back, and it’s at the same high (sorry) level it was when we last saw it. This issue has all the hallmarks of this series: the humor, the high-minded philosophical contemplations, the subtextual commentary on the modern world, and the ever-looming threat of even more space nukes that might destroy the world. It is, in other words, a very very good comic. We’ll have a review of this book later in the week, but know now that each and every one of you should be reading this.

Top New #1 Comics

  • Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command #1

  • Daredevil #1

  • Female Furies #1

  • G.I. Joe: Sierra Muerte #1

  • Girl in the Bay #1

  • Gunhawks One-Shot

  • Man and Superman 100-Page Super-Spectacular #1

  • Oberon #1

  • Red Sonja #1

  • Vindication #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • Age of X-Man: Marvelous X-Men #1

  • Archie #702

  • Avengers #14

  • Batman #64

  • Conan the Barbarian #3

  • Deathstroke #40

  • Dreaming #6

  • Giant Days #47

  • The Green Lantern #4

  • Immortal Hulk #14

  • Killmonger #4

  • Prodigy #3

  • Self/Made #3

  • Tony Stark: Iron Man #8

  • Wrong Earth #6

See our past top comics to buy here, and check our our reviews archive here.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.

“Keep Looking Up”: An Interview with Peter Krause

The Millionaires’ Magician is available now via the book’s website.

By Andrew Scott — Not every graphic novel begins with a foreword by a legendary illusionist.

But then, The Millionaires’ Magician bucks many of the norms associated with American comics today. The narrative is autobiographical, except when it’s not (which is nearly every page). The concept belongs to magician Steve Cohen—and readers can buy the book directly from his website—but the story credit goes to another writer. Some readers might find it odd that the credit for Copperfield’s foreword precedes the names of the creators who actually produced the book.

That said, Copperfield does capture the essence of this graphic novel succinctly: “The behind-the-scenes story is as engaging as the magic [Steve Cohen] performs. Like any good fable, it weaves fact with fiction, truth with tall tale, into a memorable read.”

What he means is (spoiler alert) the character of Steve Cohen spends years hiding in Japan and training in the martial arts before returning to New York to save the innocent and exact his revenge. If you don’t know about Steve Cohen, this Q&A is a good primer for understanding the basics of his act and philosophy. In short, his is an old-school magic performance. Sleight of hand. Quick fingers. No explosions or loud music. If you’ve seen him perform—and some of you might remember his appearance on David Letterman’s Late Show—the idea of Cohen-as-superhero has to bring a smile to your face.

But despite this magician’s obvious skill, no amount of trickery can produce a completed graphic novel to pull from a hat. For that kind of magic, he had to turn to the professionals. Keith Champagne gets the story credit, while Bill Tortolini is the letterer and Tara Phillips is the cover artist. But my primary interest in the project is the art by Peter Krause and colorist Jordie Bellaire.

From Daredevil: Road Warrior.

Cohen says he admired Krause’s work in the Daredevil: Road Warrior comic. “I instantly knew that he was the artist for my book,” he says. “I had rejected other artists’ portfolios because their style was too modern. The specific vision I had in mind pointed at the moody styles of Alex Toth and David Mazzucchelli. Peter’s work on Shazam also convinced me that he was the right artist for this project.” Cohen admired colorist Jordie Bellaire’s “textured color work,” as well. Bellaire currently lives in Ireland, so Cohen invited her American parents to attend his show at the Waldorf Astoria New York. “Their endorsement of the show clinched the deal,” Cohen says, “since Jordie ultimately agreed to participate. That was a happy day in the development of this project.”

Peter Krause is a productive artist with a long career who is still under-appreciated, in my opinion, despite that steady work. Irredeemable and Insufferable, both with writer Mark Waid, are certainly worth your attention, and I wouldn’t be surprised if his recently completed Archie 1941 series—for which he again partnered with Waid, as well as co-writer Brian Augustyn—garnered some attention from industry award committees this year.

The Millionaires’ Magician is a great-looking, fun book. I wanted to interview Peter Krause to learn a little more about how he became involved with the project, as well as his approach to making comics in general.

From The Millionaires’ Magician.

How did you end up working on The Millionaires’ Magician? What compelled you about the concept?

PK: Keith Champagne contacted me in the spring of 2015. He had a preliminary outline of the script. I was immediately taken with the visual possibilities of the story—magic, foreign intrigue, and crime. My work has evolved to a more noir-like approach and The Millionaires’ Magician seemed like a perfect fit.

I’d also be able to work on this with no monthly deadlines. That allowed me to do various storyboard projects, as well, and to really perfect the drawing on The Millionaires’ Magician.

After a bit of email communication, everyone agreed to terms and we were off!

Were you familiar with Steve Cohen and his act before this?

PK: I was not. But Steve provided plenty of back story, photo reference, and video of his appearance on Letterman. Steve is an energetic guy, and a huge comics fan. He enjoyed my artwork on Daredevil: Road Warrior. It’s what prompted him to contact me via Keith for TMM.

How long did it take you to complete the story? What’s a typical work day look like for you?

PK: The book is a 100-page graphic novel with a handful of added illustrations. It basically took a year for all the line work. There were a few revisions per Steve’s request and the line drawings were completed by the end of September 2016.

I like to be in the studio in the morning to begin the day. I’ll start around 8:00 a.m. and work until 5:00 p.m.—that’s the ideal. I will get some storyboard work now and then that entails some evening hours. But I don’t do night shifts for comics. I think it’s counterproductive and you pay for it with reduced efficiency the next day.

I’m all digital now, as well. I draw on a first-generation Cintiq. One of these days I’ll update it.

From The Millionaires’ Magician.

Was it your request to have Jordie Bellaire color your work, or was that something the rest of the team already had in place? If she’s not the best colorist in the business, there’s certainly no one who is clearly better.

PK: When we were thinking about colors for TMM, Jordie was at the top of the list. Steve was very familiar with her work and really wanted her for the book. I can’t say I really know Jordie, but we had communicated a few times on Twitter. I was the one who reached out with a great page rate that Steve offered. We were all overjoyed when she agreed to terms.

Before she started enhancing the line drawings with her hues, she sent me an email asking for my coloring preferences. I’d never had that happen before—understandable because comics is generally such a deadline driven monster. I had a couple of suggestions, but at the end I told her I trusted her judgment. Really, who wouldn’t? Her work is so wonderful. It was a career highlight to be colored by Jordie.

You stopped drawing comics for a number of years. What prompted that move? It seems to have coincided with some pretty lean years in the industry after the 90s bubble burst.

PK: Great question. If you get into comics, I think you have to be aware of the history. I saw what had happened to the previous generation of artists that had “aged out” of the industry. I vowed I wouldn’t be completely beholden to comics work. When I left Power of Shazam!—I think that would have been around 1997 or 1998—I began to ask around for other stuff and didn’t get any response. But I had been doing some ad work and storyboard jobs on the side, so that became the focus of my work. Also, my darling wife Lisa was doing fine in the tech world, so things weren’t dire.

Other than a handful of fill-ins for DC, it wasn’t until I started working on Irredeemable for Boom! Studios that I was drawing comics full-time again.

From The Millionaires’ Magician.

The Millionaires’ Magician, Archie 1941, and even Insufferable before that—your work has moved to the next level in recent years. What do you think is the reason for that? Is it because you’re working digitally, inking yourself, or something else?

PK: Thanks for the kind words. If true, I think it has to do with all of what you’ve mentioned.

Working digitally gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility to resize and revise. As long as you don’t go down the rabbit-hole of trying to reach perfection it is also a big timesaver. It eliminates the bad brush and the recalcitrant pen nib.

Also, when I came back into comics I gave myself a pep talk of sorts. I’m much nearer the end of my career than the beginning, and I take the actual drawing more seriously than I did before. Don’t you want to make your next work a bit better than the last? That’s become a mantra for me. Look at the people who do work you admire—not just comic art. There are so many talented artists out there. Keep looking up, keep being inspired. If you do that, I think you’ll be lifted.

The Archie 1941 series is wrapping up. You’re already at work on another “mystery project,” as you like to say to your Twitter followers—this time with writer Ron Marz. What do you want the next few years of your creative/professional life to look like?

The first four issues of Archie 1941 are available now.

PK: Archie 1941 was a pure joy to draw. My goal over the next few years is to do “bucket list” projects, and drawing the Archie gang in my style ended up being one of those. I have had the opportunity to draw both Daredevil and Superman professionally—not to mention Shazam/Captain Marvel—so those are checked off. I’d love to do something in the Hellboy/BPRD universe. I’ve never drawn anything for Dark Horse Comics.

Yes, I am currently drawing a Ron Marz scripted saga. It’s an espionage tale. Shady characters, sordid establishments—love drawing that kind of thing!

I should also note that there is one other unpublished, 54-page graphic novel that I’ve completed. I can’t tell you who wrote it, but it has been lettered by Ed Dukeshire and is currently being colored by Giulia Brusco. It’s a really dark murder/mystery set in southern California during the 1970s-1980s. I think it’s the best thing I’ve drawn, and it should see the light of day sometime this year or next.

Whatever the future holds, I feel blessed. I’ve met many of my comic book heroes, and most people in the comic book world are so supportive. I tell people I’m doing the same thing I was doing when I was ten years old—drawing. I just get paid a bit of money to do it now.

Andrew Scott is the author of Naked Summer: Stories. He has written for dozens of outlets. He lives in Indianapolis. You can find him on Twitter: @_AndrewScott.

Top Comics to Buy for September 12, 2018

By Zack Quaintance — I spent this past weekend at Rose City Comic Con in Portland (which was pretty fantastic, as one might expect from a smaller-ish con in a cool city), and as a result I didn’t have as much time as usual to go over my advanced review copies for the week. Luckily, I’d had a chance to read some books in advance and some others while I’m there. That, plus the strength of previews, is what has given us our list.

You know what? For the second straight week I’m putting six comics in our Top Comics to Buy section (plus the new #1s and the 15 in the lower section). It’s my list, I make the rules, etc. I just find that dropping that last book down to others receiving votes is too thin a margin to really justify keeping it out. And, hey, what’s the hard in just one more tiny recommendation, right? Comics are too good right now.


Top Comics to Buy for September 12, 2018

Archie 1941 #1 (of 5)
Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn
Artist: Peter Krause
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Publisher: Archie Comics
Price: $3.99
THE HISTORIC, GROUND-BREAKING MINI-SERIES STARTS HERE! Archie has been around for over 75 years and has been through many significant moments in time, but never before have we seen the characters take on real-world events as they unfold. WWII is looming and Archie and many young men from Riverdale are close to enlistment age. If you're a Riverdale teen, how would you cope with a looming world-changing event? Join the writing team of MARK WAID and BRIAN AUGUSTYN along with artist PETER KRAUSE for the all-new mini-series that is sure to have everyone talking!

Why It’s Cool: Mark Waid is a thoughtful writer with a vast respect for comics history...and this is a book steeped in thoughtful concepts and comics history. It seems like an ideal fit, a great way to look at the universality of being young and facing the churn of a tumultuous world.

Amazing Spider-Man #5
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Ryan Ottley
Inker: Cliff Rathburn
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
Things look bad for Peter Parker......but GREAT for Spider-Man! The first arc of the epic new run on ASM comes to a climactic finish!

Why It’s Cool: We’ve been pretty effusive with our praise for this new Amazing Spider-Man creative team, which you can read about in this review of Amazing Spider-Man #4. Given that excitement, we are understandably psyched to see how they rap up their very first arc with Marvel’s flagship character. They've set up a pretty intriguing plot point, and we're excited to see how they pay it off and what kind of seeds they plant for the future in the process (ahem, more Mary Jane?)

Cemetery Beach #1 (of 7)
Warren Ellis
Artist: Jason Howard
Letterer: Fonografiks
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
From the creators of the acclaimed TREES graphic novels, which are currently being adapted for television, comes something completely different. A professional pathfinder, his only ally a disaffected young murderess, breaks out of a torture cell in pursuit of his worst extraction scenario ever: escaping on foot across a sprawling and secret off-world colony established a hundred years ago and filled with generations of lunatics. WARREN ELLIS & JASON HOWARD ignite a high-speed new action serial.

Why It’s Cool: This is a high-speed, high-concept action thriller with a ton of the usual big Warren Ellis ideas waiting just beneath the surface to be explored. Howard’s artwork is kinetic and crackling, and the team as a whole does a fantastic job, putting together one of the best debut issues all year. Read more here.

House of Whispers #1
Writer: Nalo Hopkinson
Artist: Dominike “Domo” Stanton
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
An all-new corner has been added to Neil Gaiman's Sandman Universe! Welcome to the House of Dahomey, the houseboat of Erzulie Fréda, where the souls of Voodoo followers go when they sleep to beseech the flirtatious and tragic goddess to grant them their hearts' desires and counsel them on their futures and fortunes. When you arrive, you'll find a party is in full swing, filled with all kinds of fabulous and fierce folk, while fish fry and music blasts. From her bayou, Erzulie scries upon the mortal realm and sees four human girls open a mysterious and magical journal filled with whispers and rumors that, if they spread, could cause a pandemic unlike any the Earth has seen, with the power to release Sopona, the loa lord of infectious disease and cousin to Erzulie, who is currently banned from the human plane. But even the fearsome Erzulie cannot be of assistance when her dream river turns tumultuous, tossing her house from her realm and into another…

Why It’s Cool: This book had me at all-new corner has been added to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Universe...mostly because I’m a Sandman neophyte (who is very publically and shamefully making up for this on Twitter by reading an issue of that series every night). Not having a lengthy pre-existing relationship with the seminal series—but still wanting in on the fun—this book is perfect for me. I also heard Hopkinson and Stanton discuss their plans for the book at SDCC, and it sounds fantastic.   

Long Lost Book 2 #2
Writer: Matthew Erman
Artist: Lisa Sterle
Publisher: Scout Comics
Price: $3.99
Thought. Void. Space. Hazel Patch. Piper is lost and must work with an unlikely ally to find a way home while Frances is reunited with Jody as she sheds new light on everything that has happened. Piper and Frances are fast approaching the end and as questions are answered, they are forced to make game-changing decisions.

Why It’s Cool: Long Lost is a hazy and haunting dream of a comic, one that deals in nostalgia, regret, the lasting effects of childhood damage, and the ongoing fade of America’s small’s also one of my favorite new comics discoveries this year. This book is clearly headed to a massively intriguing climax, and I for one can’t wait.

Wicked + Divine #39
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Colorist: Dee Cunniffee
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
END OF STORY ARC! A 2018 Eisner Award nominee for Best Continuing Series and Best Lettering by CLAYTON COWLES! "MOTHERING INVENTION": Conclusion-Well, it's the end of the arc, in just about every way you could define those particular words.

Why It’s Cool: Wicked + Divine is far into its end-game now, and so many plot points from its distant past are coming around to matter. The end of last arc was certainly heavy with revelations, and we expect the last issue of the penultimate arc of this fantastic ongoing title to be much the same. As always, here’s hoping for HBO or a similarly-prestige heavy network to tap this one for adaptation.

Recommended New #1 Comics for September 12, 2018

  • Iceman #1

  • Journey Into Mystery: Birth of Krakoa #1

  • Low Road West #1 (of 5)

  • MCMLXXV #1

  • Wrong Earth #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • Champions #24

  • Crowded #2

  • Fantastic Four #2

  • Flash #54

  • Hawkman #4

  • Hot Lunch Special #2

  • Infinity Wars #3

  • Mech Cadet Yu #12

  • New World #3

  • Seeds #2

  • Supergirl #22

  • Wasted Space #5

  • Weatherman #4

  • Wildstorm: Michael Cray #11

  • Wonder Woman #54

See our past top comics to buy here, and check our our reviews archive here.

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.