Dean’s Top Picks

Best of the past week: FF #23 – Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four is sadly over, but this was a very nice send off.  It was so nice that I started rereading his run from the beginning last night because I’d like to experience it again.  Hickman understood that the FF are about adventure and family and that allowed his run to withstand all manner of publishing decisions that weren’t necessarily conducive to great storytelling (renumbering, spin off series, the Death Bag, etc).  Matt Fraction has some big shoes to fill.

Most anticipated this week: LOTS of good stuff this week.  I could probably do a Top 10 if I wanted to.

1). American Vampire #32 – With the news that AV is going on hiatus in a few issues, each remaining issue becomes more precious.  Scott Snyder swears it will come back next year and knowing him, the rebirth of the series will be something awesome – like jetting the series 100 years into the future or something.  However, the fact remains that he and Rafael Albuquerque are telling an outstanding story with The Blacklist that centers around vampires hiding amongst the elite of Hollywood.  Of course, the stars have been Pearl and Skinner Sweet and seeing their interactions change and the relationship grow has been good drama.

2). Bedlam #1 – I really enjoy Riley Rossmo’s art a TON, but unfortunately he’s been collaborating with a writer a lot recently whose work just doesn’t click with me.  So, I’m super-excited to see him paired up with Nick Spencer.  I haven’t been wild about Nick’s work at Marvel (but I’m not thrilled with most of Marvel right now), but his creator-owned stuff has been great: Morning Glories, Forgetless, Existence 2.0/3.0, etc.  If we get that Nick Spencer and Riley Rossmo, this should be great.  Oh yeah, it’s supposed to be a story about a homicidal manic trying to go straight or something.

3). Fashion Beast #3 – Even without it being a traditional Alan Moore work (FB is adapted from a 80’s screenplay that Moore wrote), it’s still pretty good.  What’s more, I think the fact that it is an old Moore work keeps all the people adapting it on the toes – lest the Bearded One give an interview about how pathetic it is that people are making money off his name.  This comic looks like people gave a shit about how it looks.

4). Rachel Rising #12 – If you aren’t reading Rachel Rising, why not?  The story is pretty good (Salem-esque witches coming back to haunt a town) and the art is spectacular.  Seriously, I thought Terry Moore was pretty awesome on Echo and Strangers in Paradise, but he’s leveled-up again with his art on RR.

5). The New Deadwardians #8 – I’m so sad that this isn’t an ongoing because I’d love to read more about this world where the zombie hordes were held back by all of the English nobility infecting themselves with the vampire virus.  As you can imagine, when you have zombies at the gates and vampires inside, some interesting things can (and do) happen.  The character work and art in this series have been outstanding.


Alex’s Top Picks

Pick of the Week:  Journey into Mystery #645 – It was a week full of farewells at Marvel, and while all were fairly good (FF in particular), the conclusion to one of Marvel’s very best books stole the show.  JIM was a hard-hitting, tragic finale that only served to emphasize how utterly merciless Gillen is to his characters and to his readers.  Packed full of emotion, pulling no punches, and showing some serious balls, this was a big issue and a truly fantastic conclusion.  Long-time series cover artist Stephanie Hans also comes in to do the interiors, and it’s about as gorgeous as you can expect.  It’s digitally painted interior work that actually, well, WORKS being lush and gorgeous without ever feeling artificial or buried in effects.

Most Anticipated: Swamp Thing Annual #1 – This week is a weird one in that there are a lot of solid books coming out, many of which will no doubt be quite good, but nothing that really, truly gets me excited.  I suppose it’s the calm before the Marvel NOW storm.  I suppose I’ll go with Swamp Thing’s annual given that it’s Scott Snyder and Becky Cloonan teaming up (!) to give us a double-sized dose of one of the best books coming out of DC.  On the downside, I do feel a little suckered: I’m staring at my stack right now and have only now discovered that Snyder has a co-writer on this one.  On the plus side, it’s Scott Tuft, the guy Snyder co-wrote Severed with, so it should be alright.

Fatale #9 – Fatale is a remarkably consistent book in quality, offering the same heady mix of pulp horror with every issue with two masters of their craft doing what they do best.  Every issue of Fatale guarantees high quality comics and so Fatale almost always has a place reserved for it on this list.

Mighty Thor #22 – Fraction’s run has certainly been an uneven ride, but with the Everything Burns crossover and the arc just prior to it, I felt the book finally found its footing.  While hardly the most remarkable Thor run of all time, I do respect Fraction as a creator and am a big Thor fan, so I’m interested to see how Fraction bids farewell to Asgardia.  Better still, it’s a done-in-one, so it won’t fall prey to the decompression that so often hampered Fraction’s run.

Happy #2 – The first issue of Happy was a thoroughly schizophrenic, bizarre book that seemed like it almost didn’t feel comfortable in its own skin.  And yet, I get the feeling that that was strangely the point.  With the blue horse showing up, things are only going to get weirder this month and just how MUCH weirder is what’s got me interested in this sophomore effort.

American Vampire #32 – Scott Snyder left us with one HELL of a cliffhanger last month as an old foe returned.  Given that this is the pen-ultimate issue of “the Blacklist” and Snyder’s continued promises that the Blacklist would be a huge, game-changing arc, I’m expecting big things out of this issue.