Dean’s Top Picks
Best of the past week: The Unwritten #45 – Easy choice. When this series has a really good issue, it tends to be on a higher level because the series already has more ambition than most. This issue made sure that we readers all understood what was at stake in a “world without stories” and offered some brilliant meta-commentary on contemporary comics. You’re really doing yourself a disservice if you don’t read this series OR if you read the first trade and dropped it because you didn’t like the Harry Potter parallels (trust me….that stuff is gone pretty fast).
Most anticipated this week: Since last week was the dreaded “fifth week”, there wasn’t much going on. This week snaps back into normal action and there are a lot of comics to look forward to.
1). Scarlet #6 – Did you realize that it’s been almost 2 years since the last issue of Scarlet came out? I really liked the first five issues of this series about a young woman who decides to strike out against over-zealous law-enforcement. Who doesn’t love some anarchist fun and seeing the jack-booted thugs get some of what they’ve been dishing out? Toward the end of the first arc, Scarlet realized that she had really swallowed the “blue pill” and gone to a very weird place. Wonderfully written by Brian Bendis and illustrated by Alex Maleev, Scarlet was a comic I loved. Over the last two years, I’d see those issues in a long box and I’ve given the trade as a gift, but just assumed that we’d never finish Scarlet’s tale…until I saw the release schedule for this week. I often can’t remember what happened in Avengers from week to week, but I remember Scarlet two years later.
2). Dia De Los Muertos #1 – When I saw Riley Rossmo’s art in Bedlam #1, I thought he drew the villain Madder Red a lot like a Mexican Day of the Dead character. Then the next week I saw that Rossmo was releasing this comic about–the Day of the Dead. Guess I wasn’t the only one who saw the similarity, huh? Honestly, story aside, there’s almost never a good excuse to miss Rossmo’s art, especially if he’s drawing a subject that he seems to have some passion for.
3). Rachel Rising #14 – This series is headed into its middle phase and that means that nobody talks about it anymore. That’s a shame because it is a wonderful comic. You simply cannot beat Terry Moore’s art either.
4). Snapshot #1 – This is how good the upcoming week in comics is: a new creator-owned #1 issue with art by Jock is only checking in a #4 on the list. Written by Andy Diggle, this is the story of a comic shop employee who finds a cell phone that is full of photos of murder victims….and the killer wants his phone back. This is the same creative team that did The Losers, so it’ll be good.
5). All New X-Men #7 – Isn’t it fun to have a weekly book? Ha–I’m kidding! But it does seem like this book is coming out very frequently. Regardless, I’m enjoying this book a ton. Bendis has a nice handle on the interpersonal drama of the X-Men and the art has been wonderful.
Honorable Mention: Green Arrow #17 – Man, did I pour a lot of poo on this comic before I even saw it! I was so irritated that Jeff Lemire was ending his creator-owned series Sweet Tooth and immediately starting work on Green Arrow that I lashed out a bit. Okay, I lashed out a LOT. But, I’m going to give this a try. I’m not a Green Arrow fan, but that’s because I just haven’t read much Green Arrow (not because I dislike the character–although I do think archers have been obsolete since gunpowder rolled out in the mid-1400s). If I feel like I have anything useful to say, I may team up with MQ on a review, but if I hate it, I’ll probably just keep it to myself.
Alex’s Top Picks
Pick of the Week: Hawkeye #7 – It was an admittedly pretty slim week for me, so Hawkeye had a really easy time taking the prize home. A thoroughly human and grounded comic with a big heart and a great cause, it was basically impossible to dislike this comic. This was just another installment in what is, in my opinion, Marvel’s very best book
Most Anticipated: Scarlet #6 – This is actually coming out? Seriously? It’s going to feel surreal reading this tomorrow. It’s been, I believe, coming on three years since the last issue and this issue was solicited forever ago. Surprisingly, I actually remember what happened pretty well and I also remember enjoying this book quite a bit, ultimately. And it’s Bendis and Maleev on a creator-owned jam. But seriously, this is really coming out? Maybe the Mayans were actually right and the world did end in December and this is the afterlife.
Green Arrow #17 – On any other week, this would get top spot, but I can’t help but gape at Scarlet‘s miraculous resurfacing. That doesn’t make this issue of Green Arrow any less intriguing, however. It pits the guy who is, in my opinion, one of the top three writers on DC’s roster with arguably the best talent find of the new 52 in Andrea Sorrentino. Better still, Lemire is saying that this is basically an issue 1, which hopefully suggests that he’s tossing the awful Krul and Nocenti runs out the window. I’m also liking the fact that Lemire has said that this is him trying his hand at a crime/noir book.
Animal Man #17/Swamp Thing #17 – I’ve enjoyed A-Man and Swampy, but yeah, the criticism that it’s felt like Rotworld has gone on forever isn’t without merit. That, however, makes this big conclusion all the more dramatic and makes it feel particularly important. Given how long we’ve taken to get to this point, I’m very interested in seeing what Lemire and Snyder’s endgame is.
All-New X-Men #7 – Great art mixes with soap opera dynamics in All-New X-Men as Brian Bendis writes like a man reborn. This book has proven terribly addictive to me and I really look forward to the drama that Mystique’s manipulations are sure to bring.
Secret Avengers #37 – While it may never have quite lived up to expectations (essentially, that it would be to the Avengers what Uncanny X-Force was to the X-Men), Rick Remender’s Secret Avengers has never been less than solid. Much like I said about Rotworld above, this Descendants storyline feels like it has been running for a very, very long time, basically the entire run to some extent. As such, I’m really interested in seeing where this journey was meant to take us.
Hugo’s Top Picks
Pick of the week: Journey Into Mystery #648 – This is close to everything I am looking for in comics: good action, good clean fun and some great concepts. Kathryn Immonen has truly surprised me in how she accomplished so much with this series so far and I will be watching her from now on as one author that deserves to be followed.
Most anticipated this week: 1) Hellboy In Hell #3 – The continuing adventures of Mike Mignola’s enduring creation are truly fascinating. Now that Hellboy is in Hell, we can get more of the recurring themes of destiny and fate that Mignola has uncessantly weaved in the tales of our hero. If this issue is as good as the previous two, we are in for quite a ride.
2) Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #13 – The amount of lore and great development James Roberts has put in this series is simply astounding. I have turned more and more from cynic to a true believer with each issue that came out from this series and I cannot wait what kind of concepts he will throw at us next.
3) New Avengers #3 – The second issue was a major enhancement over the first one, so who can tell if Jonathan Hickman will continue the quality set in the second issue with the third one? Considering that Beast joins in this issue, I am eager to see just what will happen here.
4) Earth Two #9 – I am a fan of James Robinson and also a huge fan of the JSA, so considering I can get two fix with one book, it would be a shame to miss out. The world-building Robinson has done on this title is promising, but I am eager to see if he will use all the potential of such a series.
5) Superior Spider-Man #3 – I have been enjoying Spider-Ock adventure so far and I am curious to see where Dan Slott will take the villainous-yet-heroic Otto next. Last issue was an improvement over the first, so if it continues that way, we might get an astounding issue here.