Dean’s Picks

Best From The Past WeekLarazus #5 – It probably would have been Uncanny X-Men #15, but the second half of the issue detoured away from the Girls’ Night shopping trip into a crossover with Inhumanity.  Yuck…  Thus, Lazarus gets the cheese!  You won’t find a more competent approach to storytelling in comics.  I love that suddenly Image Comics isn’t just a place for new kids to make a name, but also a place where we can get comics from experienced professionals like Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, Brian K. Vaughn, Matt Fraction, Steve Epting, etc.  Lazarus is really really good and will probably contend for this award every week it comes out.

Most Anticipated:

1. Black Science #2 – I can’t WAIT to see if Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera can keep the magic going in issue #2.  The first issue was probably the most electric first issue of 2013.

2. Saga #17 – How did Saga get all the way up to issue #17?  Has it really been so long?  Anyway…..Saga feels so comfortable.  It really shows the advantages of keeping a limited cast.  I feel like I know a LOT about the main 4-5 characters in Saga and each month when I read about them, they seem like old friends coming over for storytime.

3. East of West #8 – I really do enjoy this comic, but I’ll be candid that I’m losing my grasp on the central plot.  Have you ever ridden a mechanical bull?  Well….if you have, you know that you don’t fall off all at once, you start to fall off when you make one bad move on the bull and then you have 2-3 seconds of frantic attempts to regain your balance before you are tossed into the padded area around are the bull (accompanied by a hoot of pleasure from the surrounding rednecks).  I feel like I’m in that “frantic attempts to regain balance” stage with East of West.  I’m still having fun and will get back on the bull if I fall, but I don’t have the slightest idea what is going on.

4. Transformers: Robots in Disguise #24 – This Dark Cybertron crossover hasn’t been the best, but it is still pretty entertaining.  I think the key to my enjoyment is to just focus on the parts of the comics I’ve enjoyed all along: Starscream’s attempts to rule Cybertron and the weirdness that is the denizens of the Lost Light.  Just try to let the Shockwave and Orion Pax stuff wash over me….

5. All New X-Men #20 – I think I’ve loved every issue of Bendis’ X-Men work so far.  He’s really good at it.  And…..the X-Men titles have real artists now.  Remember a few years ago when it was Greg Land and Steve Kurth?  Yuck!  Now we’re getting Bachalo, Immonen and a host of other very solid artists.  This is as good as the X-titles have been a LONG time.


Hugo’s Pick

Best From The Past Week: Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground – All in all, this was a pretty good week, with some rather entertaining and strong comics, but the very best was Darwyn Cooke’s latest adaptation of Donald Westlake’s creation. This was beautifully drawn, had a great pacing, superb action and some astounding twists and it deserves to be loved. It’s always a nice thing when one of those books are released and this one was a brilliant explanation on why exactly.

Most anticipated this week:

Well, this is quite a sign that the holidays are indeed coming, as it seems that publishers are rushing all their best books for this week alone. A top 5 would be hard to write, but not impossible.

1. East of West #8 – Any week with this title is a good week. With more apocalyptic mythology, weird concepts and gorgeous art, it’s hard not to get excited whenever an issue of this title is released. A book with Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta and Frank Martin at the top of their game? Yes please.

2. Black Science #2 – The opening issue was just great. Full of action, bizarre ideas, a fast-paced story and some absurdly beautiful art and colorization, it was a clear winner. With a touch of the greatness of Fear Agent behind it, I am really eager to see if Remender, Scalera and White can keep the momentum of their series.

3. Saga #17 – It might seem like a sacrilege not to put this at the top spot for some, but in a week with plenty of strong releases, this is actually not bad at all. With the arc getting crazier by the instant in terms of development, I am really anxious to see what will happen to Marko, Alanna, The Will, Prince Robot, Lying Cat and all those loveable characters that populate this rich universe.

4. Uncanny Avengers #15 – Yes, I am still hopeful with this series. It’s nowhere near bad and the last issue did raise my interest in how everything could possibly get worse, but this title never did get to a level of true excellence to me. With chaos now being part of this story and with the players reacting frantically to the action and conflict, I certainly am always expecting for this title to truly take a stand in the greatness that the creative team can attain.

5. Secret Avengers #13 – This title is good in a relatively consistent way and I do enjoy the espionage vibe, but it has never really reached a level where I was always anticipating the next issue. However, the latest issue presented me with something that I just cannot ignore: the return of M.O.D.O.K. prime. The way Jeff Parker had written him was perhaps one of my very favourite aspects of the great Hulk run he did and I am really anxious to see if both Spencer and Kot can do justice to such an awesome character. Yes, this is in my top five because there’s M.O.D.O.K. in it. Deal with it.