Dean’s Top Picks
Best of the past week: Frankenstein Alive Alive #2 – There is a story in here – and it’s perfectly fine – but the this comic exists just to look at some Bernie Wrightson art. Writer Steve Niles is telling a perfectly fine story, but mostly he is just getting out of Wrightson’s way and making sure that the narration boxes don’t cover too much art. My GOD is this art amazing! I really can’t do justice to this art in a written description, so see this page over at writer Steve Niles’ website. Pretty good, huh? The whole comic looks that nice. Sure, Wrightson can’t produce something like this on a monthly basis, but we use that “good art is worth waiting for” in cases where the art is no where near as pretty as this. This will be a glorious oversized hardcover someday. Wrightson is slinging art as compelling as anything he’s done in his whole career.
Most anticipated this week: Funny…..you sour on Big 2 superhero comics and people accuse you of “not liking comics anymore” or “losing enthusiasm. Not true! I’m pretty stoked for all the comics on this list and a few others as well (Chew #30 and Nowhere Men #1). This is a BIG week of comics for me.
1). American Vampire #33 - This is the end of the Blacklist story arc and it has been pretty shocking so far. I can’t wait to see what happens as issue #32 made it look like the “bad guys” were winning and I don’t see much way that Pearl can reverse the tide in a single issue. Even though this is the penultimate issue before the series goes on a short hiatus, issue #34 is being pitched as a “wrap-up” kinda issue, so it looks like this issue #33 will contain THE story that we take into the break.
2). Bedlam #2 - The first issue of this was really hot. It told the tale of a really scary villain and how he might be trying to take a good turn. A lot of commentators have pointed out that this could have been a Joker story, but I’m really glad to see it exist as an unfettered, creator-owned tale.
3). Witch Doctor: Malpractice #1 - It’s been almost a year since we had any action from Witch Doctor. I really loved the initial 4-issue miniseries and the one-shot that followed. The characters are rich and funny and the art is incredibly good. Art like this just cannot be produced on a monthly basis. If you like paranormal, this is for you.
4). Planetoid #4 – Another “welcome back” moment! The first three issues of Planetoid were really sharp as they told the story of a soldier who was lost on a far-away planet. We’ve seen him make friends – and enemies – from the local population and what started as a space-based story now has more of a Mad Max feel about it. The art has been great!
5) Morning Glories #23 - It’s a shame that this series isn’t getting the buzz it did at the beginning because it is really good and those of us who bemoan the decline of Vertigo should be very thankful for the dedication by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma to tell us this long-form story. No, all the answers won’t be provided in every issue and that can be frustrating sometimes, but I thoroughly enjoy these characters and love all the little glimpses behind the curtain at the Morning Glories Academy.
Alex’s Top Picks
Pick of the Week: Hawkeye #4 – It as so tempting to go for Captain America #1, but goddammit, Hawkeye is just so good, in both writing and in art. This may very well be the best superhero comic on the stands and apparently it stands up just fine even without David Aja. Just fantastic comics.
Most Anticipated: FF #1 – Fantastic Four #1 was alright, but it felt a little “safe.” Well, FF, on the other hand, seems like Matt Fraction unleashed in the Marvel Universe, free to do whatever he wants. The result is a team whose roster isn’t done justice by the word “motley.” This looks like all sorts of goofy craziness and with the Allreds taking care of the art, the visuals are going to match Fraction’s madness step for step.
American Vampire #33 – The final issue of the Blacklist, it’s pretty clear that BIG things are going to happen in this issue, big enough to merit an epilogue issue next month and a series hiatus. I have no idea what Scott Snyder has in store but I’ll be honest: I’m a little scared.
Thor: God of Thunder #2 – So far, this is my pick for best book of Marvel NOW. This is a “bold new direction” in the truest sense. It’s epic, wonderfully ambitious, and absolutely filled with dread and sombre atmosphere. Put simply, this is the kind of Thor comic I’ve always wanted to read.
Fatale #10 – Few comics are as consistent in high quality and craftsmanship as Fatale. Well, if count consistent as getting steadily better, anyway. I’ve enjoyed this second arc more than the first and found it to have a much more stable creative vision and with its finale here, I’m anxious to see what fate befalls our 1970s cast. Knowing Brubaker and Phillips, it won’t be a happy ending.
Uncanny Avengers #2 – Are you kidding me? After that ludicrous, brain-snatching final page, how could this NOT make my list?