Top Comics to Buy for March 27, 2019: Detective Comics #1000, Wasted Space, and more!

By Zack Quaintance — Here’s something crazy: it’s almost April. Spring is here and the first three months of this year have really just flown by. In fact, we’re now at one of those Wednesdays that was earmarked at the start of the year by many fans as one to watch out for, what with the release of this week’s headliner, Detective Comics #1000.

Issues like this don’t come along everyday...like, obviously. We had Action Comics #1000 last year, but, looking ahead, there’s not another #1000 issue anywhere on the near horizon. With the Wonder Woman-starring Sensation Comics sidelined, the next title to reach such an august threshold will likely by Amazing Spider-Man, and we’re still more than a hundred issues and a few years off from that milestone. So enjoy this week while it lasts superhero fans. This hobby is nothing if not a celebration of long-standing characters, and a #1000 issue is a pretty good excuse to do that.

Now, on to the rest of the books!

Top Comics to Buy for March 27, 2019

Detective Comics #1000.jpg

*PICK OF THE WEEK*
Detective Comics #1000
Writers:
Scott Snyder, Kevin Smith, Paul Dini, Warren Ellis, Denny O’Neil, Christopher Priest, Brian Michael Bendis, Geoff Johns, James Tynion IV, Tom King, and Peter J. Tomasi.
Artists: Greg Capullo, Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen, Becky Cloonan, Steve Epting, Neal Adams, Alex Maleev, Kelley Jones, Alvaro Martinez-Bueno, Tony S. Daniel, Joelle Jones, and Doug Mahnke.
Inkers: Jonathan Glapion, Scott Williams, Derek Fridolfs, Raul Fernandez, and Jamie Mendoza.
Colorists: FCO Plascencia, Alex Sinclair, John Kalisz, Jordie Bellaire, Elizabeth Breitweiser, Dave Stewart, Michelle Madsen, Brad Anderson, Tomeu Morey, and David Baron.
Letterers: Tom Napolitano, Todd Klein, Steve Wands, Simon Bowland, Andworld Design, Willie Schubert, Josh Reed, Rob Leigh, Sal Cipriano, and Clayton Cowles.
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $9.99
Check out our picks for the best Detective Comics #1000 variants!
After 80 years, it's here-the 1,000th issue of DETECTIVE COMICS, the title that literally defines DC! This 96-page issue is stacked with an unbelievable lineup of talent that will take you on a journey through Batman's past, present and future...plus a sensational epilogue that features the first-ever DC Universe appearance of the deadly Arkham Knight! But who is under the mask? And why do they want Batman dead? The incredible future of Batman adventures begins here! Will have decade appropriate trade dress. After 80 years, it's here-the 1,000th issue of DETECTIVE COMICS, the title that literally defines DC! This 96-page issue is stacked with an unbelievable lineup of talent that will take you on a journey through Batman's past, present and future...plus a sensational epilogue that features the first-ever DC Universe appearance of the deadly Arkham Knight! But who is under the mask? And why do they want Batman dead? The incredible future of Batman adventures begins here!
Why It’s Cool: Folks in the U.K. may have this experience all the time, but here in the States it’s a pretty rare thing for a major comics series to hit four digits. Last year we got it with Action Comics #1000, which gave publisher DC Comics a chance to celebrate one of the longest-standing characters in all of American fiction. Now it’s Batman’s turn. This issue serves as a celebration of all things Batman, past, present, and maybe even future. Like Action Comics #1000 before it, this individual issue is an anthology that serves as a checklist of great Bat creators and concepts. It is, simply put, a rare thing that should not be missed.

Friendo #5
Writer:
Alex Paknadel
Artist: Martin Simmonds
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: Vault Comics
Price: $3.99
The epic conclusion! Having barely survived their confrontation with the unstoppable Zaj ?ek the Cremator-who remains determined to leave their $#!t in ruins-Jerry and Leo are off-camera and off-the-grid. But where to go now that Leo's stolen pretty much everything he ever wanted? Only one item remains: the Action Joe action figure Leo lost as a kid. An epic showdown in the desert ensues, and a surprising hero rises...
Why It’s Cool: Alex Paknadel, Martin Simmonds, Dee Cunniffe, and Taylor Esposito have spent four issues building a late-model capitalism fevered nightmare...and now it all comes to a head in this finale issue. Friendo has been startlingly twisted throughout, taking familiar ideas and extrapolating them to horrifying extremes. It was never going to end happily for those involved. What’s for sale with this conclusion is seeing just how absolutely off the $^#*@*ing rails things go. Like the rest of this series, it all adds up to one great read.

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #3
Writer:
Kieron Gillen
Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
Colorist: Mary Safro
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Price: $3.99
A thousand dimensions from ours. All Earths' best hopes, resting on our heroes' fight. They've got everything... except a chance.
Why It’s Cool: Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt so far has been a delightful Watchmen sequel/homage, which goes in a totally different direction than DC Comics’ ongoing (and oft-delayed) Watchmen sequel/homage, Doomsday Clock. This is a book well aware of the impact that Watchmen had on the comicbook medium, and, as such, it is making form a key part of its plot. We saw hints of this showing up in a big big way in Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #2. Now, in Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #3, we get even more. It’s really strong stuff, and I can’t wait to see where the creative team ultimately takes it.

Snotgirl #13
Writer:
Bryan Lee O’Malley
Artist: Leslie Hung
Colorist: Rachel Cohen
Letterer: Maré Odomo
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
The big day is finally here-Lottie and Esther are launching their fashion line! But why is everyone being so annoying? Today of all days! Don't they know how important this is to her?!
Why It’s Cool: Snotgirl from the start has been one of the most vicious, funny, and good-looking satires of online Instagram culture. And what, prey tell, adjacent idea within that culture is more ripe for satire than the pop-up shopping event? That’s what this issue essentially asks, and that question results in what I think is the funniest (and possibly best) issue of Snotgirl to date. I chuckled to myself quite a bit while reading this one; there are just so many great one-liners. This book is also benefiting right now from having established a great level of familiarity with its many great characters. Now starting its second full year of issues (despite being around longer than that), Snotgirl is a comic that knows what it is and what it’s trying to do, and it’s absolutely nailing it. This is a must-read series.

Wasted Space #8
Writer:
Michael Moreci
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Colorist: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Vault Comics
Price: $3.99
Dust needs an arm; Billy needs redemption. Only one of these quests goes well.
Why It’s Cool: Speaking of books that know what they are and what they’re trying to do, Wasted Space has really found an amazing groove in its second arc, to the point where I think this is the book’s best issue yet. It’s just so smart, so funny, and so utterly confident in everything from its artwork to its characterization to the philosophical ideas that Michael Moreci has laced throughout this run. It’s not often that a comic comes along that feels this clever and this important/smart. I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: do not miss out on Wasted Space.

Top New #1 Comics and One-Shots

  • Bad Luck Chuck #1

  • Dial H For Hero #1

  • Femme Magnifique: 10 Magnificent Women Who Changed the World

  • GLOW #1

  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch #1

  • Star Bastard #1

Others Receiving Votes

Ironheart #4.jpg
  • Action Comics #1009

  • Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #2

  • Black Hammer: Age of Doom #9

  • Black Panther #10

  • Forgotten Queen #2

  • G.I. Joe: Sierra Muerte #2

  • Ice Cream Man #11

  • Ironheart #4

  • Isola #7

  • Martian Manhunter #4

  • Punks Not Dead: London Calling #2

  • Shazam! #4

  • Skyward #11

  • The Terrifics #14

  • Wonder Woman #67

Check back to the site later this week for reviews of Friendo #5 and Wasted Space #8, plus a run-down of the stories in Detective Comics #1000!

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.

Top Comics to Buy for March 13, 2019 - Catwoman, House Amok, Little Bird, and more

By Zack Quaintance — Phew, I just flew home from SXSW and boy are my arms exhausted! Kidding. That was incredibly lame and also I’m still physically at SXSW for one more day, but, you know, you can use the Internet from anywhere, so let nothing get in the way of our comics recommendations. How are the comics this week? Well, we’ve got a good mix of solid beginnings and exciting endings.

In the finale column, we have Cover and House Amok, which regular readers will likely recognize as two of our favorites around these part, with the former being an intimate and gorgeous meta take on the industry and the latter an unnerving dive into shared familial psychosis. Most notably in the debuts column we have Little Bird, which is quite possibly poised to be the best new comic of the year (stay tuned for an interview with the book’s creators later this week). So there, stage set for another great week.

Now, let’s take a look at the comics!

Top Comics to Buy for March 13, 2019

*PICK OF THE WEEK*
Little Bird #1 (
read our full review!)
Writer:
Darcy Van Poelgeest
Artist: Ian Bertram
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
MINISERIES PREMIERE!
Director/screenwriter DARCY VAN POELGEEST boasts a long list of awards and accolades for his storytelling prowess and brings the same writing finesse to IAN BERTRAM's breathtakingly detailed artwork in the gorgeous, hyper-detailed miniseries LITTLE BIRD.
Why It’s Cool: Is it enough to just say that this debut issue absolutely rules and these creators are destined to be stars? Because that’s first and foremost why this book is cool, but if you need more (and still haven’t read our Little Bird #1 review), I can also go on to tell you that this is a new #1 that absolutely brims with electric story, as ambitious as it is tense and beautiful, this is as imaginative as a comic as we’ve seen all year. It’s very very good, and you’ll want to get a copy now before it sells out and starts going for major bucks on eBay.

Catwoman #9
Writer:
Ram V.
Artist: John Timms
Letterer: Josh Reed
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
When crooks break into the pawn shop where Catwoman has set up her secret headquarters, they make off with a personal item that she has to get back. The trail of loot leads her to the Broker, the man who moves all illicit merchandise in Villa Hermosa. Now, Catwoman could just walk in and ask for her property back, but that's never been Catwoman's style. Instead, she's going to pull off a heist that will teach her foe a lesson, making sure the Broker never crosses the Cat ever again. This special one-off issue is written by acclaimed writer Ram V. (BATMAN: SECRET FILES) and artist John Timms (HARLEY QUINN).
Why It’s Cool: We’ve been calling this run of Catwoman underrated for weeks, and we’d like to reiterate that again here before moving on to discussing this individual issue. Catwoman #9 is essentially a break issue for the normal creative team of Joelle Jones (singular...although she’s been spelled lately by Elena Casagrande and Fernando Blanco), presumably so she can write and draw forthcoming issues. What’s nice is DC has brought in rising star writer Ram V., fresh off a fantastic Batman one shot story in the recent Secret Files one-shot. Ram V. is a favorite of ours from his creator-owned work, and this one-off issue is a great example of why. Highly recommended!

House Amok #5
Writer:
Christopher Sebela
Artist: Shawn McManus
Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Publisher: IDW - Black Crown
Price: $3.99
Read our review of House Amok #1
Ten-year-old twin Dylan Sandifer is now in the driver's seat of more than the converted old school bus her family called home for a summer murder spree. Will she turn on her family and the sacred bond between twins and break free from the shared madness? Conspiracy theories, organ thieves, and secret histories collide in the explosive final issue!
Why It’s Cool: This second wave of IDW - Black Crown titles—Euthanauts, Lodger, and House Amok—can do no wrong, as far as we’re concerned. They’ve all been consistently excellent while also bringing something new to the imprint. In the case of House Amok, that something has been nuanced and complex psychological drama, centered on an actual affliction that has to do with shared psychosis...and then filtered back by a little girl protagonist who breaks free and recognizes something is wrong. It’s a lot, and it’s all written and drawn to nigh-perfection by Christopher Sebela and Shawn McManus, respectively. This issue marks the House Amok finale, and we are as delighted as we are scared to find out what it holds.  

Livewire #4
Writer:
Vita Ayala
Artists: Raul Allen with Patricia Martin
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Price: $3.99
Read our review of Livewire #3!
Once, Livewire dreamed of devoting herself to the betterment of humankind. Now, her most steadfastly held ideals are about to be tested like never before as she struggles to stay alive in the clutches of a fearsome new foe! But who is the mysterious psiot mercenary hunting her...and more importantly, who do they work for?
Why It’s Cool: The summary text really nails it when it says, Livewire’s “most steadfastly held ideals are about to be tested like never before as she struggles to stay alive…”...which could really be a tagline for this entire run to date. Last summer during Valiant’s Harbinger Wars 2 event, protagonist Livewire took some drastic (and violent) measures to protect those close to her, and now this creative team is hellbent on simultaneously making her earn redemption while not backing down from the injustices that forced her hand in the slightest. It’s a tour de force in powerful storytelling, and it’s making Livewire one of our favorite superhero comics, month in and month out.

Superman #9
Writer:
Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Ivan Reis, Brandon Peterson
Inker: Joe Prado
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Josh Reed
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
The secrets of the house of El are revealed as the Unity Saga continues! Traveling through space, young Jon Kent has faced everything the universe could throw at him, but after an accident sends him and his grandfather Jor-El across dimensions, the new Superboy comes face to face with a terrifyingly evil version of his own father: Ultraman and his horrible version of the Justice League, the Crime Syndicate! Find out what happened to Superman's father and how Jon made it back home from this strange and crime-ridden alternate world.
Why It’s Cool: There is just no upper limit on the grandiosity of this run. In fact, the regular creative team of Brian Bendis and Ivan Reis have been upping the scale of this ongoing Unity Saga every issue, introducing more (and more bonkers) ideas into the plot, be it an out-of-his-mind Jor-El, a newly-powerful (and controversially older) Jon Kent, or the evil alternate reality Justice League known as the Crime Syndicate. They’re all coming together here as we get more of the backstory about what transpired in deep space between the three of them. This outsized Superman comic is a nice compliment to the more character-heavy and grounded Action Comics, another current favorite around these parts.

Top New #1 Comics

  • Age of Conan: Belit #1

  • Age of X-Man: Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #1

  • Assassin Nation #1

  • Batman Who Laughs: Grim Knight #1

  • Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1

  • Uncanny X-Men: Winters End #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • Age of X-Man: Marvelous X-Men #2

  • Amazing Spider-Man #17

  • By Night #9

  • Cover #6

  • Hawkman #10

  • Laguardia #4

  • Long Con #7

  • Murder Falcon #6

  • Oblivion Song #13

  • Prodigy #4

  • Shuri #6

  • Supergirl #28

  • Tony Stark: Iron Man #9

  • Wonder Twins #2

  • Wonder Woman #66

Check back to the site later this week for reviews of Assassin Nation #1 (which has a character named F*ck Tarkington), House Amok #5, Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1, and more!

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.

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
Writer:
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
Writers:
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
Writer:
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
Writer:
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)
Writer:
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.

Best New Comics February 2019 - Daredevil, Red Sonja, and Wonder Twins

By Zack Quaintance — One fun thing about comics from year-to-year is that we really don’t have an accurate idea of what the next 12 months will bring in early weeks. We can see as far out as the solicits allow (which is currently May), but anticipating what new books will come in the months that follow is at best a lightly informed guessing game. At this time last year we knew scant details about some of 2018’s defining releases, from Benids’ work on Superman to Marvel’s entire slate of new books: Captain America, Immortal Hulk, Venom, you name it.

That’s all to say that these new series that have launched in January and now in February, are just the tip of 2019’s forthcoming new comics. There are, without question, GIGANTIC releases that will shift and reshape the comics landscape yet to be unveiled. All that said, I’m still impressed with the number of quality releases we’ve gotten in 2019 so far. Marvel’s return to broader quality continues this month with Daredevil while DC’s Wonder Comics imprint continues to be a welcome new tone for the 80-some-year-old publisher.

It’s all very exciting, and so let’s not dilly dally any further. Onto the books!

Quick Hits

Let’s start with the most imaginative and welcoming new take on a long-standing property in year’s Michel Fiffe’s G.I. Joe: Sierra Muerte #1. This book makes setting capital I Important, with the titular Sierra Muerte area disrupting the old fight between Joes and Cobras. I for one love it.

Another book in which setting is vital (this time it being a dystopian future) is High Level #1 from writer Rob Sheridan and artist Barnaby Bagenda. This is the best of the Vertigo: Rebirth books so far, and with Second Coming off to another publisher, it seems poised to stay that way.

Meanwhile staying at DC, Female Furies #1 is a book I’m kind of surprised to not hear more folks talking about. It really extrapolates Darkseid’s all-consuming universal darkness in a way that’s relevant and specific to our times.

Speaking of relevant things to say about our current tumultuous times, Vindication #1 was a complex and realistic take on race-based injustices within law enforcement. This is a fair book setting out to take an unflinching look at how shades of gray can creep into these situations, or at least at how perception can alter behavior. This is a very smart comic. Read our Vindication #1 review!

The new book that left the greatest impression on me last month, though, was Girl in the Bay #1, a haunting tail of family and murder and the concerns of the young in a bygone era. There is a long tradition of horror-tinged innocence lost stories in American fiction that this book seems poised to fit right into.

One of the most consistent publishers in all of comics, Valiant, had a rare month in which it launched not one but two new books, those being Forgotten Queen #1 and Incursion #1, the former featuring a brand new character and the latter using established characters in the service of a new idea. Both debuts were strong and I’m excited to see where the larger stories go.

Last but certainly not least are a trio of the new X-Men miniseries, showrun by Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler, that I’m considering in my head to be Age of Apocolypse 2.0 (side note: there were four, but I wasn’t all that interested in the Nightcrawler one). The books I want to shout out here are: Age of X-Man: Marvelous X-Men #1, Age of X-Man: NextGen #1, Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #1. Contributing writer Allison Senecal will have more on each next week in her monthly Age of X-Man Round-Up, but I’d like to praise these books for the thoughtfulness of the alternate world they inhabit as well as the variety in the way they’re examining a flawed utopia. They all bring something different and welcome to a fascinating overall picture of the world. Kudos to the creative teams.

Top 5 Best New Comics February 2019

Daredevil #1 (Read out full review of Daredevil #1!)
Writer:
Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The transition to a brand new Daredevil creative team (which is what we got this month) is a long-standing and noteworthy event in comics, be it from Frank Miller to Annie Nocenti, Kevin Smith to Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee to Charles Soule, and so on. There’s just something about Daredevil—the Catholic guilt? the simultaneous aversion to/embrace of violence? the background that saw him become a hero because he already was one?—that consistently gives creators the fertile ground they need to do career best work.

I’m expecting no less, quite frankly, from Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto, and I’m also happy to say that I was encouraged by this opening chapter. In it, there are few flashy gimmicks, just solid comicbook storytelling and writerly impulse to put the protagonist up against great possible odds, thereby showing we the audience what our guy is made of. It’s an understated and appropriate debut for an often-understated character, and I highly recommend it.  

Punks Not Dead: London Calling #1 (Read our review!)
Writer:
David Barnett
Artist: Martin Simmonds w/flatting be Dee Cunniffe
Publisher: IDW - Black Crown

I was going to try and write this segment in a British accent filled with punk lingo...but I decided to save us all the indignity of that, banishing it instead to the deepest reaches of my mind where it will never be thought of again or uttered aloud. Anyway, Punks Not Dead: London Calling #1 is essentially the first issue of this book’s second season. It’s also my favorite issue of Punks Not Dead to date.

I loved the concept of this book from the time it launched last year—an angsty, lonely, and flailing kid gets linked to the ghost of Sid Vicious, annnnnd hi-jinx—but what I like about this new series is that the central duo now have a really well-built quest to go on. They are at once being chased by authorities while pursuing the true identity of the main character’s father. It’s such a solidly-written hero’s journey kind of deal. When paired with the book’s already-excellent premise, you get a really exciting new comic.   

Red Sonja #1.jpg

Red Sonja #1
Writer:
Mark Russell
Artist: Mirko Colak
Colorist: Dearbhla Kelly
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Dynamite Comics

It’s a Mark Russell double whammy this week, with first Red Sonja #1 and later on Wonder Twins #1. Obviously, Russell is one of my favorite writers, but I think he did outstanding work on both of the new series he launched in February. I’ve never read a Red Sonja book, and, really, I’m not one to read comics simply because I love a character. In fact, at this point I’ve aggressively become one of those readers who reminds you that I never do that, preferring instead to follow the creative team.

So, what then did I find in this issue as someone brand new to Red Sonja but familiar with pretty much all of writer Mark Russell’s comicbook work? I found quite a bit to like. Russell, joined here by collaborators Mirko Colak and Dearbhla Kelly, does a great job orienting readers like myself to this world, before then applying his wry satirical storytelling sensibilities. It’s a smart and savage read, and I know Russell fans (and probably also Red Sonja fans) have a lot to look forward to here.

Stronghold #1 (Read our full review of Stronghold #1!)
Writer:
Phil Hester
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Publisher: AfterShock Comics

Stronghold is a new book from one of my favorite indie publishers, AfterShock Comics, and it’s about a man who maybe has the power to break the universe but doesn’t have any inkling he’s significant. He’s an insurance salesman in St. Louis, for pete’s sake. Meanwhile, a secret society/cult (take your pick) is monitoring him daily to ensure he never finds out the truth of his existence. That’s the status quo we find upon entering the book. The plot begins when a young woman who interacts with him daily (and was raised in the secret society/cult) falls in love with him. Hi-jinx ensue.

This is a really well-formed comicbook produced by a talented and veteran creative team. It has a high level of ideas and themes one might expect to find in a full-blown novel rather than a graphic sequential story. Most importantly, though, I found the execution in this first issue to be absolutely flawless. Every scene is perfectly paced and enthralling. The POV is chosen well throughout, and it all adds up to a new comic series I’d recommend to pretty much any reader.

Wonder Twins #1
Writer:
Mark Russell
Artist: Stephen Byrne
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: DC Comics - Wonder Comics
I don’t play favorites with this Best New Comics monthly piece, but—between you and me, shhh—this one was probably my favorite new book. It recasts the Wonder Twins from the old Super Friends show (and probably other things?) as alien new kids in a new earth high school, where they suffer the same bouts of hubris and insecurity I know I did. Humiliation and triumph and searching for ones place ensue, all set with a superheroic backdrop.

I’m not generally a fan of loquacious meta humor comics, your Deadpools and Harley Quinns, and while this is a funny book, it’s not really kin to any of that. It’s sensibility is smarter and quieter, more like Russell’s The Flintstones. It also has a big heart. So often, joke superhero comics fall back on making their heroes look dumb or madcap. This book is respectful and humanizing of the Wonder Twins, and it gives the creative team a much broader emotional canvas to work with. Well done, everyone involved.

Check out more of our many monthly lists here.

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

Best Comics of January 2019: A disparate bunch

By Zack Quaintance — There was a weird start to the year, what with the first Wednesday of 2019 coming the day after a holiday. There was also this thing going on in January, wherein DC Comics had more books than usual due to not shipping any at all on the fourth Wednesday of December, which was itself the day after Christmas. So yeah, it felt like it took a week or two for the comics-availability world to sort of jog back into its normal form.

With that in mind, I—as usual—still struggled a bit with narrowing my sections down to their usual number of selections: 10 for Shout Outs and 5 for the Best Comics of January 2019. I won’t go into the gruesome details, but I without question had to get rid of some books that it absolutely hurt me to cut. Thus is the life of a volunteer comic book website editor, though. All in all, I’m super happy with the books that landed on our list, and I hope you find some of your favorites here too.

So then, what are we waiting for? Let’s get to the comics!

Shout Outs

I’m stealing this from my friend Kirk on Twitter, but with Saga on hiatus, Monstress is my Saga. This is true first in how much I look forward to/enjoy the comics, and in how well-done and immersive they are. Monstress launched a new arc this month with Monstress #19.

Speaking of well-done and immersive, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha’s burgeoning Aquaman run continued this month with Aquaman #44, which was even better than the previous issue. This feels like superhero comics by way of DeConnick’s creator-owned opus with Emma Rios, Pretty Deadly. That’s a very good thing.

Meanwhile at Marvel, shout out to Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo’s Thor #9, which got me excited as all get out for the upcoming War of the Realms. More on all of this in the next section (oooo, cryptic!)...

And now back to DC! One of my favorite comics from that publisher is The Terrifics, which has really taken a major step forward in recent issues. The Terrifics #12 from Jeff Lemire and Viktor Bogdanovic was the book’s best yet, featuring several all-time great modern Plastic Man moments.

On the indie tip, I’m absolutely loving the Kyle Starks and Chris Schweizer collaboration Mars Attacks, which is using a touching father-son relationship and a classic hero’s journey structure to breath life into this licensed franchise I know little to nothing about.

On to properties I do know something about (aren’t you just living the segueys today?). Archie 1941 #4 was just as fantastic as the rest of this series (I have a feeling you’ll see this book back here next month—ahem), feeling both true to history and its iconic characters.

Are you looking for low-key the most disturbing series in comics? Well then, let me just point you to Black Crown’s, The Lodger, which had its best issue yet with this month’s The Lodger #3. Black Crown editor Shelly Bond said this at SDCC when announcing the title, but in crime comics one name is above the rest: the Laphams.

Another sublimely-disturbing comic (a seguey again!) is Immortal Hulk. This month saw the release of Immortal Hulk #11 and #12, a storyline in which the Hulk goes to hell and the book remains utterly alone as Marvel Comics’ current best.

I’ve made it no secret for a while that Mark Russell is one of my favorite new comic writers, and he’s most-certainly doing his thing this month with Lone Ranger #4. This book has the complex societal commentary that has long-defined Russell’s work, with a better sense of suspense than any of his previous comics.

Warren Ellis continues to re-imagine characters he’s been writing for years in the context of 2019. In The Wild Storm #19, this story introduces the group of these characters with the widest appeal: The Authority. Even if you don’t care about/like that group, though, this is just a straight-up great comic that begs to be read.

Best Comics of January 2019

Walk Through Hell #7.jpg

5. A Walk Through Hell #7
Writer:
Garth Ennis
Artist: Goran Sudzuka
Colorist: Ive Svorcina
Letterer: Rob Steen
Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Garth Ennis is as consistent a writer as we have in comics and has been for many years. While his new WWII story with TKO Studio, Sara, is grabbing the most attention from comics fans, readers would do well not to sleep on his AfterShock Comics title, A Walk Through Hell. This is a scary book with a patient storytelling tact and a lot to say about our times. What else do you want?

In this issue, the full scope of Ennis and co-creator Goran Sudzuka’s ambitions continue to become clearer. This has been a disturbing mystery story from the start (albeit one that seemed like it might tip into overly grim territory). And that has all continued, but now we’re seeing more commentary about our times. What I continue to find most impressive about this series, however, is the way it somehow manages to both make ample use of flashbacks while also remaining rooted in the present. It’s great stuff, from both a reader’s and craft student’s perspective.

4. Action Comics #1007
Writer:
Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Steve Epting
Colorist: Brad Walker
Letterer: Josh Reed
Publisher: DC Comics
Earlier this week, site contributor (and all around great guy) d. emerson eddy choose Action Comics #1007 as his pick for Comic of the Week, noting as he did that Brian Michael Bendis’ ongoing Superman saga was one of his favorite things at DC Comics. I absolutely 100 percent agree with this. As eddy notes, it often feels like a light shining from their superhero offerings. This is even true of this individual issue, which launches a new storyline that presumably involves conspiracy.

Moreover, this issue is a must-read for any long-time superhero fan because of a landmark conversation that takes place between Lois Lane and her father. All of it is illustrated by espionage comics master Steve Epting, with Brad Anderson colors. Simply put, this is just all-around strong comic book-making.

3. Avengers #12
Writer:
Jason Aaron
Penciler: Ed McGuinness, Cory Smith
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Hoo man did this comic ever spark a lot of conversation on comics Twitter. On the surface, it sounds like a real chore: Black Panther, the Avengers current chairman, sets about shoring up the team’s new headquarters and its support staff. It’s procedural stuff, but writer Jason Aaron uses it to launch a new concept within the Marvel Universe, which can perhaps best be summed up with Hello Agents of Wakanda, Good Bye Agents of SHIELD!

A central theme to Aaron’s Avengers run has become the transition of America-centric heroes to a more global network of planetary protectors (or at least this stands to become a central theme very soon). As such, the transition from SHIELD, which almost always read as a more fantastical depiction of a combined FBI and CIA, with the Agents of Wakanda is basically perfect, as the latter group culls its membership from all across Marvel continuity, from Gorilla Man to Ka-Zar to some great surprises. Like all Aaron books this one is a slow-burn, well worth it to those willing to invest the time. This one is made even better by the entire Marvel line seeming to acknowledge that yes, this comic is the company’s flagship.

2. Livewire #2
Writer:
Vita Ayala
Artists: Raul Allen and Patricia Martin
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
As I wrote on Twitter immediately after putting this comic down, this young Livewire comic feels like the best X-Men series in years. Valiant’s psiots have long-cribbed parts of the X-Men’s central metaphor, but this is perhaps the purest exploration of it. And writer Vita Ayala with the art team of Raul Allen and Patricia Martin (one of my favorites in the industry) are more than doing it justice.

I often use this column to award long-tenured runs versus the hot new thing. Livewire #2, however, was so good that I threw all of that out the window. It’s a tense, well-told story that really tests its central protagonist. It’s the type of comic that has me eagerly checking the calendar in anticipation of Livewire #3.

1. Ice Cream Man #9
Writer:
W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Martin Morazzo
Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Good Old Neon
Publisher: Image Comics
We’re getting tight on space here (damn my self-imposed 1,500-word limit!), so I’ll keep this brief. Ice Cream Man #9 massively expanded the scope of this series, simultaneously re-contextualizing everything I thought I knew about this book. I thought this was an anthology series, with a few somewhat random appearances of the titular Ice Cream Man thrown in to heighten the sinister ambiance.

And it is some of that. I’ve read Ice Cream Man #10, and the horror anthology construction continues. This issue, however, adds a layer of multiversal, almost biblical consequence to the book that owes more than a little to the works of David Lynch and Stephen King’s Dark Tower. There are three issues left in this series, and I have a feeling Ice Cream Man #9 is not the last time our perceptions of what this comic really is will be upended.

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.

Best New Comics January 2019 - Naomi, Guardians, and Young Justice

By Zack Quaintance — Regular readers will know this is the column wherein we look at the best new comics from January 2019, specifically one-shots and new #1 issues. They may also notice that I’ve cheated this month, selecting six comics for my usual top 5. First of all, I set the rule so I’m kind of like, oh well. Second, I expanded that section this month so that it wouldn’t be pretty much all Big 2 superhero comics, and I don’t think that’s ever a bad thing.

The good problem that I had this month was that both Marvel and DC launched a pair of super high-quality comics that I couldn’t leave out of my top five, with Guardians of the Galaxy and Invaders coming from Marvel, and Naomi and Young Justice from the Distinguished Competition. So yes, it was a great start to the year for fans of superhero storytelling. In fact, I may write a full piece about this sometime soon, but I think we’re in one of those rare periods where both of those publishers are putting out generally stellar work. But that’s a topic for another time.

Today, let’s get on with our look at the best new comics of January 2019!

Quick Hits

As d. emerson eddy noted in his Comic of the Week feature, Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 is accessible and entertaining even to readers who may not have seen the old show...a group that embarrassingly includes me. That said, I thought this book was fantastic.

Another TV-based book I thought was fantastic? Adventure Time: Marcy and Simon #1 by Olivia Olson and Slimm Fabert. I’m a huge Adventure Time fan, and thought this book—which is set after the TV show ends—more than did the source material justice.

Let’s keep the transitions rolling and note that another book that more than did its source material justice was the new Conan the Barbarian #1, from Marvel, which was also a Comic of the Week pick this month.    

A little less exciting (at least for me) was Marvel Comics Presents #1. I still like this format—prestige creators telling short, one-off stories about the Marvel Universe—but other than the fantastic Namor story, this first installment was pretty average.  

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1.jpg

There were a couple nominative #1 issues this month with the Uncanny X-Men and Justice League annuals. The former was a character-driven story that minimized the weirdness of Cyclops coming back, and the latter a grandiose space opera epic that clarified some points about what’s happening in Justice League and why.

Another great Big 2 #1 was Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, which got even better with its second issue. Full review of the debut here.

Another comic I wrote a full review of was Oliver #1 by Gary Whitta and Darick Robertson. It’s a post-apocalyptic story with only a loose connection to Oliver Twist. I recommend it.

And one more review comic, Wyrd #1! You can read my full thoughts via the link, but this is a book that has all the hallmarks of the start of a special run.

Finally, I liked Barbarella / Dejah Thoris #1 well enough, but I overall recommend paying attention because the series’ writer, Leah Williams, is on the rise and it’ll be interesting to see how earlier work like this compares to later stuff.

Top 5 Best New Comics January 2019

Criminal #1.jpg

Criminal #1
Writer:
Ed Brubaker
Penciler: Sean Phillips
Colorist: Jacob Phillips
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
Read our full review of Criminal #1!

Ho man, what have we as contemporary comics fan done to deserve a team as talented as Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (joined here with colors by his son Jacob Phillips)? Seriously, the comics these guys make are almost too good. I read Criminal #1, which was an over-sized issue, with such an intense focus that I don’t think I liked up once until I was entirely through out. It’s that immersive.

Contributing writer Bo Stewart really summed up why it works so well in his review, but I’ll just reiterate again in brief: these are two masters of the craft working in tandem with a level of alchemy that is perhaps unprecedented. Do yourself a favor and read this comic.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1.jpg

Guardians of the Galaxy #1
Writer:
Donny Cates
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $4.99
Read our full review of Guardians of the Galaxy #1!

As regular readers of the site may be aware, Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw’s Thanos Wins was one of our top comics of 2018, and now it’s essentially being continued in Guardians of the Galaxy. Of all the writers at Marvel—even the long-tenured vets—Cates arguably writes the best new #1 issues, and this one is no exception. It establishes a killer premise, gleefully speeds through it in grandiose fashion, and leaves the reader fondly looking for the release date of the second issue.  

As with Criminal, we also ran a full review that elaborates in greater depth on this comic, so I will again keep it brief and just note that I’m not even all that big a fan of Guardians of the Galaxy, and yet the continuation of this series just became one of my most-highly anticipated comics of 2019. So, yeah.

Invaders #1.jpg

Invaders #1
Writer:
Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Carlos Magno with Butch Guice
Colorist: Alex Guimaraes
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $4.99

I’ve always liked Invaders more as a concept—the team of Golden Age Marvel characters that fought for the allies in WWII—more than I have in modern execution. Their stories have always felt like nostalgic throwbacks, inherently dated. This new comic, however, essentially flies in the face of that, with a first issue that seems to promise an exploration of the old times that will take us to modern places that are new.

How, you may wonder, does it do that? Well, if you’re so curious you really ought to read the actual comic, which, believe me, is very good. Chip Zdarsky is Marvel’s most nuanced writer. He may not write the flashiest stories (ahem, Donny Cates) or the best long-form narratives (Jason Aaron), but he’s the most likely writer in the Marvel stable to surprise and to land big emotional moments. This issue, which ends with a cliffhanger rooted in the past, gives every indication Invaders will be well worth readers’ time.

Naomi #1
Writers:
Brian Michael Bendis & David F. Walker
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Letterer: Josh Reed
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

We don’t play favorites in this section, but, truth be told, Naomi #1 just might be our favorite new comic of the month. It takes a new approach to DC Comics most iconic heroes in a few ways. It takes us to a new town we’ve never seen (a hip, semi-rural enclave in Oregon), it gives us a young girl we don’t know (yet), and it dives deep into her point of view, how she sees Superman and what as an adoptee herself she sees to relate to, as well as why.

There’s a mystery that seems destined to end with Naomi growing into a superhero, maybe even a Kryptonian or Superman analog herself, but moreover, there’s just a really solid human story here. Whereas Marvel has basically an entire universe of everymen and everwomen, that has never been DC’s strength. Naomi is looking to fix that, and I for one am hella excited to see where this comic is headed. Oh, and Jamal Campbell’s artwork is absolutely stunning.

Peter+Cannon+Thunderbolt+#1.jpg

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1
Writer:
Kieron Gillen
Artist: Casper Wijngaard
Colorist: Mary Safro
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Dynamie
Price: $3.99
Read our full review of Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1!

Wowzer, did this comic catch me by surprise! I—embarrassingly—had no familiarity with Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt as a property. I did not realize he was one of the original characters from Charleston Comics that the Watchmen characters were later based on, and I certainly didn’t know the rights had gone up for grabs and become property of Dynamite. That said, I love what Kieron Gillen and Casper Wijngaard seemed to be engaged in after this first issue.

You know the drill—more thoughts in our review—but this has a last page that all Watchmen fans will be interested to read. It could ultimately end up being a very nice counterpoint to Doomsday Clock.  

Young Justice #1.jpg

Young Justice #1
Writer:
Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez
Letterer: DC Lettering
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99

The Brian Michael Bendis-curated Wonder Comics imprint has arrived, and it is...well, wonderful. Young Justice #1 was the inaugural issue for the new imprint, and if this is the tone these books are looking to strike, well done. It’s fast, funny, and bent on being very tongue-and-cheek with DC continuity. It’s exactly the sort of in-universe lighter imprint DC needs, what with the other parts of the line seeming to perpetually bend back toward dark and gritty.

The most interesting thing about this individual story though, is the way it plays with continuity. It seems to know that readers have questions about the current status quos of characters like Impulse, Connor Kent, and Cassie Sandsmark, which by extension plays to more questions about what from the New 52 counted and what is wiped away. This is the central mystery the comic is built around, and it’s a really intriguing one, to be sure.

Check out more of our many monthly lists here.

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

Most Anticipated Comics of 2019

By Zack Quaintance — For a certain type of comics fan (which is, indeed, most of us) part of the fun of the hobby involves looking to the future. We ogle distributor solicitations the way some folks plan vacations, vicariously living out our forthcoming book purchases months in advance. Essentially, the excitement is as much in the anticipation as it is in the actual consuming of the story. This isn’t just a comics thing (people freaking love movie trailers and speculation these days, if you hadn’t noticed), but this is a comics site, so we’re going to go ahead and focus on that.

To that end, today we’d like to take a look at some of our Most Anticipated Comics of 2019. This is inherently tricky business. Books that have been teased but not solicited are liable to drop right off a publisher’s radar (remember that Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jen Bartel Storm comic? Yeah....). Meanwhile, some of the most prominent titles for 2019 are yet to be announced. Just think, Heroes in Crisis, Wonder Comics, and Immortal Hulk were all just glimmers on some whiteboard in Manhattan or Burbank at this time last year.

Anyway, knowing what we know now, here’s a list of the Most Anticipated Comics of 2019. Enjoy!

Top 10 Most Anticipated Comics of 2019

Age of Conan: Belit
Writer:
Tini Howard
Artist:
Kate Niemczyk
Publisher:
Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 13, 2019
Why It’s Cool: Tini Howard is a rising star writer, earning her way to more interesting/higher profile comics and consistently making the most of them, and Kate Niemczyk is dynamic an artist as I’ve seen of late. It’ll be interesting to see how she handles slightly more serious IP, given that her two most recent books (Man-Eaters and Mockingbird) essentially featured a pop art aesthetic.

Assassination Nation
Writer:
Kyle Starks
Artist:
Erica Henderson
Publisher:
Image Comics - Skybound
Release Date: March 13, 2019
Why It’s Cool: This book brings together two of the funniest visual storytellers in all of comics, with Kyle Starks (Rock Candy Mountain, Sex Castle, Mars Attacks) doing writing duties while Erica Henderson (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) does the art. This concept is also really funny...the former greatest hitman in the world hires the 20 other greatest hitmen in the world to be his bodyguards/investigate who’s trying to kill him. Expect laughs, and lots of ‘em.

Black Hammer ‘45
Writers:
Jeff Lemire & Ray Fawkes
Artists:
Matt & Sharlene Kindt
Publisher:
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 6, 2019
Why It’s Cool: As noted in our Top Comics of 2018, Jeff Lemire’s Black Hammer line of comics is one of our favorite ongoing graphic sequential stories. Part of what we like about is that it’s enabled him to apply his sensibilities to so many different comics concepts. This one sees Lemire teaming with his friends Ray Fawkes and the Kindts to homage classic war comics like those of Joe Kubert.

Female Furies
Writer:
Cecil Castellucci
Artist:
Adriana Melo
Publisher:
DC Comics
Release Date: February 6, 2019
Why It’s Cool: It’s a Fourth World book written by Cecil Castellucci, whose last DC project was the artful Shade, The Changing Woman. She’s teamed here with rising star artist Adriana Melo, who most recently collaborated on a Plastic Man mini-series with writer Gail Simone.

G.I. Joe: Sierra Muerte
Writer/Artist:
Michel Fiffe
Publisher:
IDW Publishing
Release Date: February 6, 2019
Why It’s Cool: Hate to be simplistic about this, but this book is freaking Michel Fiffe (Copra) writing and drawing G.I. Joe. Instead of typing that again, I’ll just go ahead and refer you to my previous sentence. Michel Fiffe!

Invisible Kingdom
Writer:
G. Willow Wilson
Artist:
Christian Ward
Publisher:
Dark Horse Comics - Berger Books
Release Date: March 20, 2019
Why It’s Cool: It’s such a great mix of talented creators and high-minded sci-fi concept. It’s also being published by Dark Horse’s Berger Books imprint, which is one of the most thoughful imprints in comics.

Outsiders
Writer:
Bryan Edward Hill
Artist: Dexter Soy
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: TBD
Why It’s Cool: Originally slated for late 2018, this book looks great. Dexter Soy is a fantastic artist, and Hill is fresh from doing career work on Marvel’s Killmonger.

Second Coming
Writer:
Mark Russell
Artist:
Richard Pace
Publisher:
DC Comics - Vertigo
Release Date: March 6, 2019
Why It’s Cool: This book envisions Jesus returning to Earth and rooming with a Superman analog, exploring the idea that few of the world’s problems can be truly be fixed with superpowers. The opportunities for killer satire abound.

Sentient
Writer:
Jeff Lemire
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Publisher: TKO Studios
Release Date: Spring / Summer 2019
Why It’s Cool: These two creators have a sympatico sensibilities, and I can’t believe they’ve never before worked together. Also, I dig TKO Studios distribution/printing format.

War of the Realms
Writer:
Jason Aaron
Artist:
Russell Dauterman
Colorist:
Matthew Wilson
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 2019
Why It’s Cool: Jason Aaron has spent more than six years writing Thor, with a significant part of that building toward War of the Realms. Through in Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson—hands down one of the best art teams in comics—and you’ve got one highly anticipated comic.  

Wonder Twins
Writer:
Mark Russell
Artist:
Stephen Byrne
Publisher:
Wonder Comics - DC Comics
Release Date: February 13, 2019
Why It’s Cool: Mark Russell has risen to prominence taking quirky and discarded (and sometimes lame) characters and then using them to tell powerful stories rich with meaning. Stephen Byrne is also arguably the best artist he’s work with to date.

Original Graphic Novels

Are You Listening
By:
Tillie Walden
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: September 10, 2019

Bad Gateway
By:
Simon Hanselmann
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Release Date: July 16, 2019

Black Canary: Ignite
Writer:
Meg Cabot
Artist: Cara McGee
Publisher: DC Zoom / DC Comics
Release Date: October 2019

Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America
By:
Box Brown
Publisher: April 2, 2019
Release Date: First Second

How I Tried to Be a Good Person
By:
Ulli Lust
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Release Date: June 11, 2019

Is This How You See Me?
By:
Jaime Hernandez
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Release Date: March 27, 2019

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me
Writer:
Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: May 7, 2019

Mister Miracle TPB
Writer:
Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
Publisher:
DC Comics
Release Date: February 13, 2019

My Favorite Thing is Monsters Vol. 2
By:
Emil Ferris
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Release Date: September 24, 2019

Superman Smashes the Klan
By:
Gene Luen Yang
Artists: Gurihiru Studios
Publisher: DC Zoom / DC Comics
Release Date: TBD 2019

Individual Issues

Detective Comics #1000
Writers:
Peter Tomasi, Brian Michael Bendis, Warren Ellis, Kevin Smith, Christopher Priest, and more
Artists: Becky Cloonan, Doug Mahnke, Dustin Nguyen, Greg Capullo, Jim Lee, and more
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: March 27, 2019

Doomsday Clock #12
Writer:
Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: July 2019 (maybe)

Saga #55
Writer:
Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: TBD

Seeds #3
Writer:
Ann Nocenti
Artist: David Aja
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 6, 2019

The Wild Storm #24
Writer:
Warren Ellis
Artist: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: June 2019 (maybe)

Others Receiving Votes

  • Ascender by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen

  • The Banks by Roxane Gay and Ming Doyle

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Jordie Bellaire & Dan Mora

  • Daredevil by Chip Zdarsky & Marco Checchetto

  • Dial H for Hero by Sam Humphries & Joe Quinones

  • Eve Stranger by David Barnett & Phillip Bond

  • The Forgotten Queen by Tini Howard & Amilcar Pinna

  • GLOW by Tini Howard & Hannah Templer

  • The Grand Abyss Hotel by Marcos Prior & David Rubin

  • Guardians of the Galaxy by Donny Cates & Geoff Shaw

  • Heathen Vol. 2 by Natasha Alterici & Ashley Woods

  • Incursion by Alex Paknadel, Andy Diggle, & Doug Braithwaite

  • Lazarus: Risen by Greg Rucka & Michael Lark

  • Little Bird by Darcy Van Poelgeest & Ian Bertram

  • The Magnificent Ms. Marvel by Saladin Ahmed & Minkyu Jung

  • Marvel Action: Black Panther by Kyle Baker, Vita Ayala, Juan Samu & Arianna Florean

  • Naomi by Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker & Jamal Campbell

  • Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt by Kieron Gillen & Caspar Wjingaard

  • Red Sonja by Mark Russell & Mirko Colak

  • Thanos (and Gamora) by Tini Howard & Ariel Olivetti

  • Tomorrow by Eleanor Davis

  • Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle & Isaac Goodhart

  • What’s the Furthest Place From Here by Matthew Rosenberg & Tyler Boss

  • When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll

  • Wyrd by Curt Pires & Antonio Fuso

Check out more great lists about comics!

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 of December 2018: Best Books at the Wire

By Zack Quaintance — While the focus has decidedly turned to year-end Best Of lists, we’d like to take a not-so brief look back at some of the best comics of December as well. The holidays are a busy time, wherein I know my own ability to read comics drops somewhat. Still! There was some excellent work being done in the last month of the year.

And that’s what we’re here to look at today. So, let’s get to it!

Shout Outs

It’s always nice when what are arguably the two flagship titles for Marvel and DC are on point, and that’s certainly what we got this month with Amazing Spider-Man #11 and Batman #60. Great individual issues within runs I enjoy.

In other Big 2 news, our sites personal favorite Marvel and DC books right now also had a strong month with Immortal Hulk #10 (what did we do to deserve this comic?) and Superman #6 (how is Bendis getting this run so right?). There was a reason these two ended up near the top of our Best Comics of 2018.

Phew, okay. Now that we have Big 2 business out of the way (for this section, more to come…), we can get to our favorite indie top comics of 2018, starting with Bitter Root #2.

Murder Falcon #3 is a book about metal and mourning that hits many of the same notes (sorry!) as this series first two issues...but it’s also so stylish, assured, and well-executed that those notes are still very powerful.

We have the writing duo of Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler as creators to watch in 2019, and a big part of the reason why is super smart creator-owned work. In December, they wrapped up one such series with Her Infernal Descent #5, a sad story of family and mourning and a tenacious mom mashed up with Dante’s Inferno. Highly recommend getting this one in trade.

This was a great year for upstart publisher Vault Comics, and they finished it out in pretty epic fashion, wrapping up two of their best series via Deep Roots #5 and Submerged #4. We’ve written a whole lot about both books, and you can find more on our Reviews Page.

Last but certainly not least is Mars Attacks #3 from the hilarious creative team of Kyle Starks and Chris Schweizer. This book has the duo’s trademark humor, as well as a really tight survival narrative used for wide-ranging satire on modern America. Great stuff.

Top Comics December 2018

5. Aquaman #43
Writer:
Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Robson Rocha
Inker: Daniel Henriques
Colorist: Sunny Cho
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
I’ve been reading a lot of Aquaman lately, namely returning to Geoff Johns’ New 52 run on the character before continuing on to the Jeff Parker and Dan Abnett runs that bridged that one and Rebirth. And you know what? I think for the first time since Johns revitalized the character, I can say that this book is doing something drastically new. There are no Atlantean Game of Thrones plots and no caught between two worlds conflicts.

What writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Robson Rocha seemed more interested in is an ethereal take on the character that speaks to his status as an almost elemental force within the sea...I think. It’s a little hard to tell after one incredibly intriguing issue. I am, to use a fishing pun (I know I’m a bad person), thoroughly hooked on what they’re doing. I also think that Rocha, who I’ve long felt is underrated, did his sharpest work yet on this opening issue. Overall, I can’t wait to see where all of this goes from here, and if the first issue is any indication, it will be filled with surprises.

4. X-Men: Red #11
Writer:
Tom Taylor
Artist: Roge Antonio
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Our number four overall choice for best comics of December 2018 is X-Men: Red #11, the finale to what has been the single best X-Men team book in a good number of years. We’ve written about this quite a bit (most recently in our Best Comics of 2018 feature...that again!), so we won’t go into our usual talking points about how Jean is a natural leader, the threats update the metaphor for 2018, the whole deal feels organized and rejuvenated, etc.

Instead, we’ll hone in on this one issue, noting that while the book seems to have ended a bit sooner than is ideal (writer Tom Taylor said on Twitter that he could have written it for years), the creative team really gave its all in putting together a finale that A. felt exciting, and B. spoke to the themes and concerns that had made this book so interesting throughout its run. It also did a great job incorporating much of the broader Marvel universe, which is always welcome but rarely easy for X-Men titles. RIP.

3. Marvel Knights 20th Anniversary #4
Story:
Vita Ayala & Donny Cates
Script: Vita Ayala
Artist: Joshua Cassara
Colorist: Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Marvel Knights 20th Anniversary six-part mini-series has been strong so far, launching with an intriguing mystery (amnesia! sort of) as its premise, and giving a host of talented writers and artists (many of which are rising stars) a chance to kick interesting ideas around while also playing with beloved characters. This fourth issue, however, ranks so far as the standout. Written by Vita Ayala (with Donny Cates getting a story credit) and illustrated by Joshua Cassara, this story is a surprisingly one about family, oppression, and what it takes to be not so much a hero as a net force for good when faced with injustice and impossible odds.

I absolutely loved this story, which even in an alternate reality did a wonderful job of humanizing T’Challa, long one of the most difficult characters to do that with in all of Marvel Comics. The story worked hard to give all the character’s choices weight (a great tool to yield poignant results in any narrative situation) while not sugarcoating the oppressive situation a semi-memory wiped T’Challa was facing as a black man without identification going about his business (or trying to) in New York.

2. Long Lost Part 2 #5
Writer:
Matthew Erman
Artist: Lisa Sterle
Publisher: Scout Comics
Matthew Erman and Lisa Sterle’s gorgeous and disquieting story of two sisters returning to a disenfranchised hometown beset by dangerous magic is, sadly, approaching its end. Long Lost Book 2 #5 is the penultimate issue, and in it, the creators stop understating their story and let loose with incredible visual flourishes. Lisa Sterle (another rising star if ever there was one) really shines in this issue, literally covering the skies at times with psychedelic horror that doesn’t draw from any established tropes I’ve ever seen to unsettle the audience.

Moreover, I appreciate that this story wisely left so many questions unanswered. As I wrote in my review of Long Lost Part 2 #5, this story speaks to a lot of what people of my generation (ages 25 to 40 or so) are going through in this political moment, especially those of us who have left rural or suburban hometowns to proliferate in urban centers. In short, we cannot shake our ties to our pasts, even if when we try to return to them what we find feels unfamiliar and ugly. This story captures all of that beautifully, and I can’t wait to buy it for my friends and family in collected editions.

1. Doomsday Clock #8
Writer:
Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics
This story took a little while to get going (made worse by the delays), but now that the action has begun in earnest, hoo boy is this a doozy. Perhaps most surprisingly, it also seems like it may be poised to live up to the incredibly lofty aspirations writer Geoff Johns set for it by using Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen characters (despite the creators publicly not wanting DC to revisit the IP they created for the company). While I don’t feel great about that disregard of Moore and Gibbons’ wishes, if I’m independently evaluating this story, I like it quite a bit.

It’s not entirely clear what it’s about just yet. This narrative, however, has become compelling and tense, using DC’s iconic superheroes to depict the vast complications of current global politics, which has become beset by a rise in authoritarian governments that rely on misguided populism. In this issue of Doomsday Clock, we see the Man of Steel himself brush up against some of those forces, being forced publicly by Vladimir Putin to take a basically take a side as Batman, listening from a Bat-Plane via radio or something, growls...Don’t take a side! It’s powerful stuff, and it seems poised to be even more provocative moving forward.

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 December 26, 2018

By Zack Quaintance — Happy holidays and Merry Christmas, everyone! And an early Happy New Year! This is a weird week for new comics. Diamond, the sole direct market comic book distributor, kindly gave employees a week off for the holidays. DC Comics isn’t releasing any titles (instead spreading its output across the five Wednesdays in January), and the offerings from other publishers are relatively sparse.

So, what does that mean for our beloved Top Comics to Buy for December 26 feature? What does that mean for commerce!? What does that mean for America??!? Relax. We’re still going to get it done (you are, after all, reading this right now...aren’t you?), but we’re going to do it a bit differently. Instead of our usual three sections, we’re just going to have one, and as you’re about to see, while there aren’t a ton of new books out today, there are still a few that very much demand some attention.

Let’s check them out!

Top Comics to Buy for December 26, 2018

*PICK OF THE WEEK*
X-Force #1
Writer:
Ed Brisson
Artist:
Dylan Burnett
Colorist: N/A
Letterer: N/A
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $4.99
FROM THE ASHES OF EXTERMINATION!
Cable is dead...and now, the original X-Force team of Domino, Cannonball, Shatterstar, Boom Boom and Warpath. must hunt down the murderer of their former leader! The mutant militia are hot for blood...but when their target is the time-traveling younger version of their fallen mentor, is there a line they absolutely cannot cross? And what does Deathlok have to do with all of it? From Ed Brisson (EXTERMINATION, OLD MAN LOGAN) and Dylan Burnett (COSMIC GHOST RIDER), comes an all-new, high-octane mutant adventure! A reckoning will come!
Parental Advisory
Why It’s Cool: The Extermination mini-series was also from new X-Force writer Ed Brisson, and—X-Men: Red aside—that was one of our favorite X-stories all year. Not to go into spoiler territory, but this book seems to be growing from the ashes of what all happened in Extermination, which is exciting indeed. Brisson, for our money, also tells some of the cleanest stories in the X-offices these days, providing a nice counterbalance to the ongoing continuity chaos that drives the rest of the frenetic work being done by the new generation of X-writers.    

Bone Parish #5
Writer:
Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jonas Scharf
Colorist: Alex Guimarães
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Price: $3.99
The war between the Winters and the Cartel continues its bloody rampage. With the terrible power of the Ash behind them, the Winters stand a decent chance. But Ash is not without its dangers, and some of them are already falling to Ash Madness…
Why It’s Cool: We’ve been digging this comic since Bone Parish #1, which caught us somewhat off-guard with its combination of creepy artwork, New Orleans setting, and drug trafficking drama. The plot has really accelerated as of late (which is saying something seeing as this is a comic that started with a woman using drugs that made her commune with the dead), and the preview for this issue makes it seem like all kinds of post-Christmas fireworks are in store. It is not to be missed!

Die! Die! Die! #6
Writer:
Robert Kirkman
Co-Plotter: Scott M. Gimple
Artist: Chris Burnham
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
Wow! I can't believe that happens in this issue! Or that! Or that, that and that!!!
Why It’s Cool: While Die! Die! Die! may be one heck of a logistical headache for our retailer friends out there—it never gets solicited, but instead just arrives each month unbidden—we’ve been liking the story and the artwork in this comic quite a bit. We’re not the biggest fans of gratuitous violence (which this book deploys liberally), but writer Robert Kirkman and co-plotter Scott M. Gimple strike just the right kind of over-the-top satirical tone as they go about the ample bloodshed. The entanglement of political power structures seems to hint at this book’s larger satirical ambitions, but for now we’re still largely content to sit back and take in all of Chris Burnham’s wonderfully-rendered absurd action sequences.  

Go-Bots #2
Writer, Artist, & Letterer:
Tom Scioli
Publisher: IDW
Price: $3.99
Cy-Kill and his Renegades declare war on human civilization... and they're winning. Go-Botics freshman A.J. Foster and cynical Go-Bot race car driver, Matt Hunter, along with their friendly Go-Bots Scooter and Turbo, flee for their lives as they desperately search for some way to stop the extinction of mankind and the dawn of the planet of the Go-Bots!
From the creative mind that brought you IDW's Transformers vs. G.I. Joe!
Visionary creator Tom Scioli unleashes his imagination on the bizarre, absurd, and wonderful world of GO-BOTS!
Why It’s Cool: Go-Bots #1 headlined our Comic of the Week feature when it made its debut last month, and with good cause: that debut was an expertly-rendered and whip smart comic that reeled readers in with nostalgia and then hit them with a story about subjugation and rebellion...rebellion by Go-Bots. It was an enticing hook, to say the least, and we’re really excited now to see where writer/artist Tom Scioli will take it from here.

Mars Attacks #3
Writer:
Kyle Starks
Artist: Chris Schweizer
Colorist: Liz Trice Schweizer
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Price: $3.99
The Carbutt boys continue their trek to safety, this time with the help of the U.S. military, who plan on swatting the Martians like flies...until they see how big the Martian flies are, and, oh boy, there is gonna be a whole mess of trouble!
Why It’s Cool: Speaking of wonderful surprises, it’s only been two issues but writer Kyle Starks and artist Chris Schweizer are also doing fantastic work with Mars Attacks. This is one funny comic, first and foremost, but like Go-Bots and some of the other titles on our list this week, it also has ambitions that go beyond that, with Mars Attacks #2 hilariously painting a picture of the futility of untrained civilian gun enthusiasts crumpling in the face of a real oppressor. The preview for this next issue seems to promise more of the same, and, as such, this comic is not to be missed.

Other Comics Out This Week

  • Fantastic Four #6

  • Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 #2

  • Man-Eaters #4

  • Marvel Action: Avengers #1

  • Superior Spider-Man #1

  • Uncanny X-Men #7

(This is literally it.)

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.

Top Comics to Buy for December 19, 2018

By Zack Quaintance — December is a weird month for comics, given the disruption to shipping schedules and reading habits created by the holidays. This year, we saw publishers front load the first couple of Wednesdays to get more product onto shelves that are surely going to be browsed by a higher frequency of holiday shoppers.

And with Christmas on a Tuesday this year, the subsequent Wednesday has Diamond (comics lone distributor) giving its staff a week off. As a result, no publisher is releasing very many titles on the final Wednesday of the month. Ack! For the normal comics reader, this is all fairly dry discussion of what goes on behind the scenes. And who really cares about that?! All of us, but we shouldn’t, right? What we should really care about is the comics!

So, without further adieu, let’s get to this week’s releases!

Top Comics to Buy for December 19, 2018

*PICK OF THE WEEK*

Livewire #1
Writer:
Vita Ayala
Artist: Raul Allen
Colorist: Patricia Martin
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Price: $3.99
ALL-NEW ONGOING SERIES! FOR THE FIRST TIME, LIVEWIRE TAKES CENTER STAGE!
Accomplice. Mentor. Savior. And now, Enemy of the State. Seeking to protect other vulnerable super-powered psiots like herself, Livewire plunged the United States into a nationwide blackout with her technopathic abilities, causing untold devastation. After choosing the few over the many, she must now outrun the government she served - and those she once called allies. With the whole world hunting her, what kind of hero will Livewire be...or will she be one at all?
Why It’s Cool: Livewire is easily one of the best Valiant characters to have never gotten her own series...but that changes this week. The publisher has also found the perfect creative team for this book, pairing rising star writer Vita Ayala (who has another book on our list further down) with one of our favorite art duos, Raul Allen and Patricia Martin, of Wonder Woman and Secret Weapons fame. For more, check out our Livewire #1 advanced review.

Captain America #6
Writer:
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Colorist: Sunny Cho
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
"WINTER IN AMERICA" CONCLUDES...
...with a shocking turn of events that will send the Star-Spangled Avenger's life into a sudden dramatic tailspin you won't see coming!
Why It’s Cool: This first Captain America story arc from Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Francis Yu has been fantastic, a slow burn that alternates big ideas about what America stands for (both past and present) with espionage and action sequences. Coates has done his best comic book writing to date within the first five issues of this series, and we’re excited to see what the end of this first arc brings, especially with the preview text promising dramatic surprises (although, doesn’t it always?).

Cover #4
Writer:
Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Mack
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Max is not having the best year of his career. Sales on his comics series are tanking, and his personal life is crumbling. Could it have something to do with his double life as a spy? Max learns the definition of "in too deep" as his worlds start to collide.
Why It’s Cool: This book is one of the best creator-owned titles in comics right now. We’ve written about it quite a bit in the past, but there’s just never been a look at what it feels like to be creator quite like this one. There’s also something really effective being done with tone here, via the way the aesthetic of the artwork switches depending on what’s happening. When a certain character comes into the protagonist’s life, for example, that character is met with an explosion of color; conversely, when the character flashes back to times in his life he maybe doesn’t remember so well, the figures take on an entirely different (and simpler) shape. Basically, every page of this comic is an utter treat, and we continue to strongly recommend it.

Friendo #3
Writer:
Alex Paknadel
Artist: Martin Simmonds
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: Vault Comics
Price: $3.99
It's time to request a clean-up on aisle seven as Leo and Jerry's attempt to rob a hypermarket goes stomach-churningly wrong. Luckily, a mysterious corporate benefactor is on hand to help them with a new mission and an offer they can't refuse. Meanwhile, the owner of the hypermarket chain is in no mood to put up with Leo and Jerry's antics. Enter 'Zaj c the Cremator', a brutal assassin with a predilection for bunny ear headbands. Leo and Jerry's lives are about to become a whole lot more complicated.
Why It’s Cool: Friendo is a series loaded with bleak near-future ideas...and it just might be one of the most prescient looks at the coming (or maybe ongoing?) fall of America as a major global power. This issue also takes a turn into new genre territory, although it’s certainly been foreshadowed in previous issues. In Friendo #3, though, there’s an added layer of dread-inducing aesthetics. Prepare yourself, because this is one intense and provocative ride, one that may hit pretty close to home for the vast majority of American consumers—er, I mean readers. (Read reviews of Friendo #1 & Friendo #2).  

Submerged #4
Writer:
Vita Ayala
Artist: Lisa Sterle
Colorist: Stelladia
Letterer: Rachel Deering
Publisher: Vault Comics
Price: $3.99
Bound by chains of her making, Ellie sits in judgement before her most dangerous adversary. In order to break free and escape the Otherworld with Angel, she must dig deep within herself and use a weapon that has the power to destroy them all. Every secret of the Puente family will rise to the surface in the final issue of Submerged!
Why It’s Cool: Submerged has been a wonderful deep dive (sorry) into two separate thematic interests: family history and cultural mythology. In Submerged #3, the creative team did a fantastic job of upping each in almost equal measure. The end result has been one of the best-paced graphic stories we’ve read all year. We fully expect more of the same from Submerged #4.

Thor #8
Writer:
Jason Aaron
Artist: Mike Del Mundo
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
THE PRISON OF ANGELS!
After waging war in Hel, Thor finds himself a prisoner of the fearsome warriors of Heven. Can even the intervention of Valkyrie and Thor's deadly sister Angela help him escape the unescapable prison of angels?
Why It’s Cool: Every once in a while it’s important to take a step back and be grateful for the long-running books we sometimes have a tendency to take for granted. This week, we’re doing that with Thor #8. Jason Aaron’s Thor is currently the most impressive long-form run happening in all of superhero comics, and it’s not even close, really. There just isn’t another run that’s been this good for this long happening at DC or Marvel. This issue continues the march toward the War of the Realms storyline, which by all indications is going to be the finale for Aaron’s epic work on this character. Don’t miss it!

Top New #1 Comics

  • Defenders: Best Defense #1

  • Freedom Fighters #1

  • Hardcore #1

  • Klaus and the Crying Snowman #1

  • Witcher: Of Flesh and Flame #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • A Walk Through Hell #6

  • Amazing Spider-Man #12

  • American Carnage #2

  • Aquaman #43

  • Batman #61

  • Black Badge #5

  • Catwoman #6

  • Deep Roots #5

  • Extermination #5

  • Gideon Falls #9

  • Infinity Wars #6

  • Killmonger #2

  • Long Lost Book 2 #5

  • Middlewest #2

  • The Punisher #5

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. He also writes comics and is currently working hard to complete one.