Dean’s Top Picks
Best of the past week: Punk Rock Jesus #6 – There were other very good comics last week (American Vampire #34 was great), but they were “just telling a story.” PRJ #6 had a much higher degree of difficulty because it was a true ending. Endings are so hard because the reader can always think of things they wish would have happened instead, so I was very impressed that Sean Murphy wrapped PRJ without any obvious stones unturned. PRJ also gets points for tackling challenging material and in a nuanced and thought provoking way. It’s easy to say, “Organized religion sucks!”, but much harder to go through the layers that Murphy has. It really makes something like an Aquaman or Hulk comic look trite in comparison. This wasn’t just a comic book series, it was a serious piece of fiction. There’s enough meat on the bone that PRJ could be used in college-level courses. Can’t wait for the next time Murphy gets to tell his own story.
Most anticipated this week: 1). The Walking Dead #106 – It’s amazing how after 100+ issues TWD is back to being an absolute “must read right away” type of comic. This series went through a rough patch where the group was just spinning it’s wheels in Arlington, but ever since Kirkman opened up the world to show us multiple settlements in the same area this series has been HOT. Last issue didn’t even show us Rick and the Gang, instead focusing on little Carl and the Negan who is the most unnerving comic villain I’ve read in a long time. This will be on my iPad shortly after the digital comics go live.
2). Star Wars #1 – I’ve read a LOT of novels set in the extended Star Wars universe and more than a few of the comics. Generally stories set during the period of the original trilogy lack a little snap because we already know (generally) what happens to the characters. Still, this series just feels different. I’m very optimistic. Plus, this is probably the last hurrah for Dark Horse and the Star Wars franchise before it flips back to Marvel in a few years (2015?). That still gives writer Brian Wood two years to send Dark Horse out on a very strong note.
3). Sweet Tooth #40 – It’s so sad. I looked in the January 2013 edition of Previews and there are more Green Lantern comics than ongoings left at Vertigo. WTF!?!? I’ve loved Sweet Tooth and will miss it. This is the final issue and I’ll be curious to see how Jeff Lemire concludes this series after accomplishing so much in the penultimate issue last month. It is very much set up for him to take a sentimental victory lap and he deserves it, although there is hope that we get something more out of the finale.
4). End Times of Bram & Ben #1 – This new series from Image just sounds cool. After the Rapture, one non-believer is almost taken to Heaven by accident. Of course, he is promptly sent back to Earth where he commences taking advantage of the end times. Sounds like it could be a fun and irreverent time and the art looks sharp.
5). Superior Spider-Man #1 – I’m in the camp of people who aren’t happy with the direction that Dan Slott has taken the Spider-Man franchise. I mean, if the solution to super-villains is Peter Parker’s super-memories, why not just have some telepath pipe that stuff straight into everyone when they check into The Raft? Wouldn’t that fix all crime in the Marvel Universe and make all criminals realize that – Say it with me!!! – “with great power comes great responsibility”? Still, even though Dan Slott’s star is dimming by the second, Ryan Stegman is a Grade A badass on art. He’s always been wonderful and has only gotten stronger since he started inking his own work. The thought of Stegman drawing a Spidey-like character and MJ makes me very happy!
Alex’s Top Picks
Pick of the Week: Fatale #11 – Possibly the best single issue of the series yet, this was just a great horror read that at times left me scared to turn the page to find out what lurked ahead. I absolutely loved this book, even if it was, in some respects, a terrible tease.
Most Anticipated: Sweet Tooth #40 – Whelp, I’ve been following this series in singles since the first issue and throughout, it’s been one hell of a ride. It’s also the work that first introduced me to Jeff Lemire. It’s but a gut-wrenching book that sort of redefined comic art for me, personally. I’m sad to say goodbye, but I also realize that it’s time to put this one to bed. Let’s see how Lemire leaves our cast as we say farewell to Gus and friends.
Thor: God of Thunder #4 – This is, for my money, the best book of Marvel NOW thus far. Epic in scale, ambition, and artwork and filled with an atmosphere dripping in menace and malevolence, this is the Thor book I’ve always wanted to read. People say Thor is heavy metal, but when they say that, they’re thinking of cheesy power metal shit. Jason Aaron’s Thor is definitely heavy metal, it’s just closer to the death metal and black metal that would have the other heavy metal Thor fans holding their hands over their ears.
Fantastic Four #3 – Matt Fraction’s Fantastic Four has yet to do much for me partially because nothing much has happened. It’s too early to judge this book. That said, I felt the same way after FF‘s first issue, then it’s second issue whacked me upside the head and began delivering on its potential. I’m hoping that serves as a sign of things to come in this issue of its sister title.
Animal Man #16/Swamp Thing #16 – Another installment of the epic crossover between two of my favourite DC comics by two of my favourite creators. Don’t need to know much more than that.
Dial H #8 – Mieville fanboy that I am, I am very, very curious about this new villain, the Centipede. It’s a really awesome concept that reminds me a bit of ideas briefly explored in Mieville’s novels that I look forward to getting better acquainted with.