Dean’s Top Picks
Best of the past week: Batman #16 – This comic shows what is possible when a publisher puts a stunning level of talent on a series. In Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion and FCO Plascencia, you have four guys who are probably Top 5 at their current positions right now. Seriously, there is nobody in that line-up who is a “role player”. Clearly there are no salary cap considerations on this title! And with the exception of a single fill-in issue, these guys have been churning out monthly Batman excellence for almost a year and a half. If you demand “excellence” from your superhero comics and “pretty good” just doesn’t cut it, Batman is the place to be.
Most anticipated this week: 1). Witch Doctor: Malpractice #3 – It’s a shame that the Witch Doctor comics can’t be a 12-issue-per-year thing because they’re really, really good. These books are funny, have clever concepts, demons and monsters and glorious art. Seriously, Lukas Ketner is an artist to keep both eyes on.
2). Chew #31 – After the shocking events of last issue, I’m curious to see what direction Chew goes next. I’ve heard some speculation that this series is planned as ~60 issues and that the second half will not be as funny and frolicsome as the first half. I hope that’s not the case because Chew is precisely the type of black and slightly mean-spirited humor that I love.
3). Mind Mgmt #7 – If you feel like it’s been awhile since we last saw Mind Mgmt, you aren’t wrong. The last issue of Mind Mgmt dropped in late October, so we’re a couple of months late on this issue. That’s a shame because the series was really starting to hit its stride and show how there was more to the tale than a simple plane full of passengers who developed mysterious amnesia. Matt Kindt was bringing in weird mental powers and the CIA and sinister governmental plots. I loved it and Kindt’s art is wholly unique in mainstream-ish comics. Let’s hope that issue #7 pulls me right back into the series rather than leaving me confused because I’m old and don’t remember stuff very well anymore.
4). Saucer Country #11 – Man, I feel like DC is just on a mission to have none of my money. Seriously, they just want to sell me Batman once per month? What a shame that Saucer Country is canceled after only a few more issues!!!!! It makes me almost want to cry seeing what Vertigo has been reduced to: Fables, on-hiatus American Vampire and a few upcoming miniseries. That’s a far cry from a couple years ago when we had: Fables, Hellblazer, Scalped, AV, Sweet Tooth, DMZ, Northlanders and always a miniseries or two like Spaceman, New York Five or Joe the Barbarian. Anyway, let’s enjoy the last few issues of Saucer Country and see how the very talented Paul Cornell can give the series a decent ending!
5). Bedlam #3 – Who knows what to expect from this issue? Issue #1 was light-your-socks-on-fire awesome! Issue #2 was good, but nowhere near as special. Let’s hope that talented creators Nick Spencer and Riley Rossmo were just having a sophomore slump and that we dive right back into the warped and transgressive world of Madder Red in issue #3.
Alex’s Top Picks
Pick of the Week: Saga #9 – I really enjoyed this issue. Vaughan’s humour was on point and once again he shows his ability to make likable, human characters. More than that though, what marked this issue in particular for me was how one of the tools Vaughan used so effective in Y: the Last Man shows up here. Much as in Y, it’s not as simple as our protagonists going on their own quest, it’s how that quest leads to others going on their own, related missions. It’s a way of making the book feel larger and gives the cast more depth and it works just as well here as it did in Y. Furthermore, it makes the mission of our lead characters feel all the more important, when it can spawn epic adventures for other characters, in other parts of the galaxy as well.
Most Anticipated: Uncanny Avengers #3 – Holy crap, this is coming out this week? Really? I realize that Uncanny Avengers is actually THAT delayed. I mean, I’m a long-standing fan of Powers. I’m still waiting for issue 2 of Nonplayer and issue 6 of Scarlet. I know what real delays are all about. But with Marvel cranking out so many new books, many of them double-shipping, it makes UA look really bad by comparison. Which is a shame, because I quite like the book. It’s really solid all around, with great character-work and lots of fun to be had. So perhaps this is a case of distance making the heart grow fonder.
Avengers #3 – After so many years of Bendis’ Avengers, Hickman’s Avengers is actually a bit confounding. It’s just so different. In fact, it’s so different from what I’m used to in terms of “the Avengers comic,” that I still haven’t wrapped my head around it. Of course, I’ll probably be reviewing it this week, so hopefully I’ll make a little more headway!
FF #3 – The first issue gave us very little to go on, but with the second issue, I feel that FF really has just about crossed the “too early to tell” line. I think it’s safe to say that this book is just plain fun.
Winter Soldier #14 – And so ends Brubaker’s tenure at Marvel. As a huge fan of his pulp noir superheroics, this is a bittersweet issue for me but, judging on its rock-steady consistency, this issue of Winter Soldier is sure to be a good one.
Justice League #16 – I have no idea what the hell happened last issue, but it feels as though Geoff Johns has really turned a corner here. The jump in quality on this book came seemingly out of nowhere and was truly exponential. With last issue, I felt like Johns was FINALLY delivering on the potential that have had fans clamoring for him to take over the Justice League franchise for years.